My Year of Guerrilla Marketing

Originally, I became a certified health coach because I wanted to help people heal themselves using the power of food. That’s all good and nice, but the moment that I graduated from The Institute of Integrated Nutrition I realized that I was not really a health coach. In fact, I probably only spend a few hours a week actually being a “health coach” when I’m sitting in my office with clients. So if I’m not a health coach, what am I?

I am a marketer.

That’s correct—I trained to be a health coach and now I’m a marketer. I spend my days discovering new ways to market my services, reach new clients and get out in the community. Honestly, this is not quite what I imagined when I started nutrition school, but that’s just how small business operates when you’re not working for someone else.

During the second year of running my health coaching business, I decided that I’d spend a year doing guerrilla marketing and really figure out what works (and what doesn’t). That way, I could experiment with my marketing and then directly hone in on the strategies that bring me the most clients. Throughout that year, I worked my butt off. Here are some of the marketing strategies that I tried (these are only the ones that I remember):

  • Free teleclasses
  • Free telesummit
  • Free community workshops
  • Paid community workshops
  • Speaking at corporations
  • Setting up a booth at health fairs
  • Referral partners
  • Meetup group
  • Offering less expensive classes
  • Running deals on Groupon-like sites
  • Info products
  • Fiveer deals
  • Offering free ebooks and audio downloads

 

What I learned is that some approaches worked for me and some didn’t. I remember working incredibly hard to market my telesummit in which I was interviewing other inspiring speakers about health and wellness, and literally, NO ONE showed up for some of the free calls. I’ve presented workshops with 1 person in attendance and cancelled others when no one signed up. I’ve organized Meetups that no one showed up to. I’ve run deals on Groupon-like sites that no one bought. I’ve created info products that never sold. Guerrilla marketing is no walk in the park.

What I did learn during this year was that free community workshops were the best marketing approach. These workshops actually became the most consistent way I was able to bring in new clients.

So what did I do? I spent the next year focusing solely on free workshops. That was it. I didn’t do ANY of the other stuff. All of sudden, I went from working really hard and trying every marketing technique under the sun, to just scheduling a couple workshops a month. I was able to cut my marketing time in half and double my clients.

For me, that year of guerrilla marketing was hard, but extremely helpful because I got to figure out what worked just for me to grow my business. Would it have been helpful to have a strategic marketing plan with projections and goals? Maybe. But when you wake up one day and realize that you’re a marketer (not a health coach, musician, artist, chef, blogger, writer, etc), then by golly, you figure out how to market. When in Rome.

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Trevor Page - 3 years ago

A very good lesson to be learned here, when running a business you NEED to realize that marketing is where you’ll need to invest a significant amount of time.

Taking that one step further, and you need a plan. Sounds like Laurel was able to execute on her plan quite well. My only question is, how did you find out about all these different marketing strategies?

    Laurel Staples - 3 years ago

    Thanks for your thoughts Trevor! I’m glad you agree that marketing needs to be top priority when you’re a small biz owner. And great question…I figured out about these different marketing strategies through…
    (1) My health coaching school (The Institute for Integrated Nutrition). The nutrition school that I went to put a huge emphasis on marketing (and rightly so). Their thought was that if you’re a health coach and no one knows about you, you’re not helping change people’s lives, are you? They had classes and a workbook that went through effective marketing strategies for holistic practitioners.
    (2) Other marketing experts. I’ve listen to and read A TON of material about marketing. I signed up for a telesummit with PJ van Hulle about growing your mailing list (because the power is in the list) with 26 great marketing speakers/experts. I’ve listen to online coaching series with Ali Brown. I’ve tuned into Pat Flynn’s blog and David Siteman Garland’s blog and audio courses.
    (3) I’m dating a marketing expert myself. I can’t lie–that really helps me get an edge on my business. 🙂

    I suggest always trying to seek out new marketing advice. I tend to get tips and ideas from all of the different experts and figure out which ones will work best for me, my personality and my business.
    Hope that helps!

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