Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Three Keys in Marketing Your Group Coaching Work

Three Keys in Marketing Your Group Coaching Work
Jennifer Britton, 2015. All Rights Reserved

Business development and marketing are usually not what attract coaches to the profession. AND it is inherently a critical part of what most of us do to build a sustainable business particularly if you are a solopreneur.  It's pretty common to be asked several times a month "how do I fill my groups when I am a group coach"? For many of us who opt to run group programs to the public, marketing is a key, on-going activity. The specifics of what that marketing will entail is going to look different for each coach based on his or her client needs, AND
there are some key principles in marketing group coaching. Today's post looks at three key principles, and encourage you through questions to consider what it can look like for your own work.

1. Consider your Sweet Spot. Inspired by Jim Collin's Hedgehog Principle in Good to Great, the Sweet Spot gets us to think about What I'm great at? What I'm passionate about? and What my clients want, need and prefer. This place of overlap is a place of leverage. you can read more about it in Effective Group Coaching (pg 157-158) or in the digital marketing chapter of From One To Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching. (Use code 4411). Reflecting on these three questions can provide some interesting insights around leverage, and possible quick wins and traction points for marketing.  It's been interesting to meet many coaches who have now gone through this exercise as part of their own coach training process.

Questions to consider are:
What is your sweet spot? 
What do your clients really want? 
What are they looking for? 
What can you provide as a solution to this need? 
What will this look like?

Read a 2007 post I wrote about Leverage and Impact and Marketing for Coaches here.

2. Be consistent with a strategy  - As you get clearer on who your ideal clients are, what lights you up, and where your strengths lie, you will develop a better sense of what you want to include in your strategy. Your strategy for business development, building relationships, developing a platform and also promotion. Notice these are all different things. Have a plan, work the plan as we used to say, and take consistent action.

In group coaching particularly numbers are key as are relationships. Filling groups may take time and it is important that you are communicating about programs regularly. I continue to go against the grain of other marketing "experts" and advocate with group coaching that it can be important to offer multiple dates at at time and let people know about how frequently programs will be offered. In my own work this has paid off time and time again, where people are able to budget and plan for attendance.

The marketplace continues to shift and change. As I look at blogging, something I have been involved with actively for 10 years now, I smile when I hear "experts" saying that blogging is a #1 strategy for getting business. Track your results, and know what is important to your people. Leverage the strengths you bring and notice over time where you get your traction. The great thing with something such as blogging is that over time it does create a "digital footprint", which can be more easily traced and followed over the longer-term compared to otehr social media strategies. Again, it's one part of a strategy!
Questions to consider: What is my strategy? Where do I want to put attention, resources etc? What does consistency mean for me in marketing? How will I track my results?

Read my 2011 Coaching Business Builder blog post on Focus, Track and Consistency here.

3. Experiment -Not all coaches are entrepreneurs, embracing risk. At the same time, in service to designing with our clients the best solution for them, we need to experiment. We may need to go out of our comfort  zone in using new technologies, or returning to old ones, in order to create the richest environment for dialogue.
As this relates to marketing, listen to the adage of "experts" (myself included!) with the lens of what's going to work best for me, and for my clients. In this work it is not a one-size fits all solution. Experimentation and trying things out is key to finding the strategies and approaches that will work best for you and your clients. 

Read my post from earlier this year on Experimentation an Our Work as Coaches here.

Question to consider: What does experimentation mean for me as it relates to marketing?

As you consider what you want to create during 2015 around group coaching, what's the question you want to consider around marketing success for you and your clients? What's the action you want to take?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials.com - Next classes start this Thursday February 12th at 10:15 am ET (3 spaces still open) and in early April 2015
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)

In case you are interested I've just released my second on-demand video training at Udemy on Tips for Your Group and Team Programs. Based on my 2014 e-book, 28 Tips for Group and Team Programs, this class includes more than 3.5 hours of video lectures with me, and 28 structured activities you can undertake at a pace that works well for you. Do it in one day or one tip a day over the course of a month, I cover 28 tips in areas of pre and post program ideas, design and implementation. They are all road-tested, practical tips you can apply to a workshop, retreat, teleclass, group or team program. Part 2 will follow as soon around marketing your group and team programs. Click here to sign up for the course (or use this special link  until Feb 13th to save 50% on  your registration).


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