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.