13 ways to attract new athletes

Running an online coaching business is much more complicated than it looks, as it includes many tasks that stretch beyond coaching itself. Marketing your business to attract new athletes is among the most important ones. 

Now, it’s not easy to market your business — and yourself, as a coach; however, it’s not rocket science. You just need to come up with a marketing strategy that suits your goals and needs best — and stick to it. 

I hear you, you are a coach, not a marketeer, however, marketing can be a powerful ally; and, you’re going to need all the help you can get when it comes to attracting new clients. That’s why we’re here, after all, to help you make the necessary evil of promoting your business much easier, with these tips.

Why promote your business?

That’s as clear as a bell; you want to promote your business because you want people — your target audience, specifically — to know about your brand; and, of course, show an interest in your services. In order to get there, you need a marketing strategy. Without it, you can’t possibly get the desired results.

You need a marketing strategy

Indeed, a marketing strategy will set you on the right path, when it comes to creating a buzz around your brand; which, in turn, will help you grow your coaching business. In effect, with a marketing strategy, you can define:

  • The positioning of your coaching business in the sports industry
  • The partnerships you’ll need to make
  • And the type of promotion you should invest time and money on

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is a clearly defined action plan to achieve your business goals. Put another way, it’s a blueprint that includes all the steps you need to take, to attract new athletes, and grow your business. Where do you start with such a plan? As we’ll see below, first, you have to find out who your ideal customer is; then, you have to understand their needs. Upon those needs, you will start building your competitive advantage.

Read on, to learn how you can create an effective marketing strategy for your online coaching brand.

The AIDAR model

The AIDAR model is actually a branch of the AIDA model (plus the ‘R’ element), which is a classic — and very effective — marketing model. Following the AIDAR funnel, your potential customer goes on a journey through:

  • Awareness: Learns about your brand from your presence on social media or other platforms
  • Interest: The visitor develops an interest in your product or service; especially if they are looking for something specific
  • Desire: You’ve achieved an emotional connection between the “consumer” and your brand or service
  • Action: The visitor/consumer takes action and either makes the purchase or goes off with some positive or negative feedback
  • Retention: You’ve achieved a mutually beneficial relationship between yourself and your (by now) customer. They keep coming back for a renewal

Why does an athlete — who is a prospective customer — have to go through this so-called ‘journey’? Well, as the athlete goes further down your (sales) funnel, they become an actual customer. Not only that, but they can also become a loyal brand ambassador; someone who stays with you for years to come, and is the living proof of your awesome coaching skills, promoting your service to others.

Building your marketing strategy to attract new and retain existing athletes

So far so good, but where do you start building your marketing strategy? Remember what we said earlier about the marketing strategy being the action plan to achieve your business goals? Treat your coaching brand as one of your athletes; where do you start with your athletes? That’s right, goal setting!

Using SMART goals

SMART goals are a great way to start building your marketing strategy for attaining new athletes. SMART is (yet another) acronym that describes what you should be able to do with the goals you’ve set, to get the results you want. To explain, SMART goals are:

  • Specific — they zoom in on what you want to achieve, and only that
  • Measurable — they draw on data; hence, they’re quantifiable
  • Actionable — they’re attainable; you’re not chasing rainbows here
  • Relevant — they’re appropriate and realistic; you’re not building castles in the sand, either
  • Time-bound — they have an expiration date; meaning, they outline a timeframe of action

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Common marketing strategies to attract new athletes

Below, we highlight a few common — but essential — marketing strategies to step up your game.

1. Use customer profiling (customer personas)

Customer profiles or personas are data-based descriptions of your target audience — your prospective customers. It’s important to use customer profiling to pinpoint who your ideal customers are. Only then can you craft the right content that addresses their problems and needs.

2. Create content

Creating content — the right kind of content — will eventually attract new athletes. It will also help you retain existing athletes. And, what makes content right? Value and consistency, of course.

3. Develop Search Engine Optimization

You need to leverage Search Engine Optimization — or just SEO — because it can help you increase website traffic without having to pay for it. To make your SEO practice work, you need to use the right kind of keywords; and follow some important guidelines when creating your content.

4. Leverage social media presence

Whether organic or paid — or both — social media marketing can be very effective in bringing your brand into the limelight. More and more coaches use social media platforms to attract new athletes. And, you know what? It works!

5. Build a sales funnel — Using a Call to Action

So, we mentioned that the customer goes through a journey, right? The funnel and all? That’s pretty much the steps a customer takes, until they decide upon a purchase. A relevant Call To Action can bring a customer to this decision sooner. Using a Call To Action (CTA) in strategic parts across your sales funnel entices prospective leads to take action, ‘while the sun still shines’. 

6. Build an email list

Building an email list will allow you to set up an email marketing strategy to promote your services. This may include newsletters, collaborations, updates, offers, etc. How do you persuade people to give you their email? One idea that works is to offer a discount for subscribers; you can create a post about it on your social media pages to let them know.

7. Tend to customer care (Support/Demo/Chat)

Customer care is about establishing emotional connections between your brand and your customer. To build a strong customer care system, you need to make yourself available to your customers. Show them that you care, that you understand their problem, and are willing to help them out. But be careful not to promise anything you can’t deliver; be genuine and truthful.

8. Provide customer education (Webinars/Conferences/Activities)

Offer value to your customers, whenever you can, in all the ways that you can, using your knowledge and skills. Providing education — hosting webinars, conferences, or other activities —  is a great way to offer value; and, at the same time, promote your services. 

9. Build an affiliate program

Affiliate marketing is one of many ways to attract new athletes. This typically works with the pay-per-click model (or pay-per-sale, etc.). Make sure to recruit the right affiliates for your brand. 

10. Work with influencers in your industry

Influencers have already built a following that values their opinion and even trust them for providing good recommendations. For this alone, it’s worthwhile to test the waters of influencer marketing.

11. Create strategic partnerships (tech, know-how, manpower)

Don’t hesitate to seek partnerships, it can make a big difference for your attracting new athletes. Forging strategic partnerships will help you welcome new athletes on board, in more ways than you can imagine. Use the sports network to your advantage, to find professionals with whom you can pair, to offer premium services.  

12. Use online advertising for an inbound sales model

The inbound sales model implements marketing techniques that encourage prospective customers to contact your business. This model can work very well for coaches who want to attract new athletes.

13. Keep an eye on your competition

When it comes to your competitors, knowledge is power; so, keeping an eye on your competition is crucial. Why? Because it can help you understand your competitive advantages — and disadvantages. Moreover, by understanding your competitors’ strategies, you can develop a better one, to create a competitive advantage.

Common marketing tactics, depending on your marketing strategy

1. Use word of mouth — Virality

Word of Mouth (WoM) is an effective marketing tactic to bring awareness to your brand, and generate conversations (virality) around you, and the services you offer. WoM usually happens as a positive outcome of your coaching skills, and exceptional customer care. To explain, WoM is when a happy athlete-customer recommends your services to other athletes. And that’s how you attract new athletes without lifting a finger — just ‘flexing your natural coaching muscles’! 😁

2. Use directory listings

Google search is not the only way to look for information regarding a business. Some find directory listings more reliable sources. What’s a directory listing? It’s an online database that presents businesses — and their services or products — to visitors and users. It helps you attract new athletes because it connects your business with athletes searching for specific services; services that your business provides.

3. Do giveaways

Giveaways are mini contests where you offer a free prize to a group of randomly selected people (ideally within your target audience), who respond to it. This simple marketing tactic encourages people to become your followers (if done on your social media pages), or even convert to potential customers. Giveaways are a smart way to stand out from your competition and attract new athletes — give them a go!

4. Host events

Events are yet another available option to get new athletes on board. As its name denotes, events are the main focus of this marketing tactic. These events can be anything, from webinars to face-to-face activities or competitions. 

5. Offer discounts

Discounts can lead your prospective clients to buy a service and create some buzz around your brand. Thus, it’s a great opportunity to capture their attention and build momentum. In this way, you can also get them familiar with your work and introduce them to other services you provide.

6. Leverage loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are simply rewards, discounts and other incentives as a way to attract and retain athletes. What they do is encourage people to keep buying your coaching services by offering them a reward for their loyalty. A well-designed and implemented loyalty program can attract new clients; and, also, establish a close relationship with your existing ones. 

7. Ask for referrals

Referrals can help you build customer relationships, and of course, bring in new athletes. How can you get referrals? Simply ask, but do it the right way — at the right time, and place. By all means, try not to make it sound like a favor, nor be pushy; you don’t want to put people off.

8. Distribute leaflets to attract new athletes

Good ol’ leaflet distribution is another option to attract new athletes to your coaching business. In your leaflet campaigns, pay attention to both content and design. Since you want to reach your target audience much more efficiently, think about your distribution strategy, too.

9. Use OOH (Out Of Home digital media)

Out Of Home includes digital billboards and signage (screens), wallscapes, etc., placed at strategic points in the city; where prospective clients can see them, while on the go. These points can be, for example, public transit stops, stadiums, busy city squares, parks, sports events, and other venues. 

10. Promote your business on TV, Radio, or Magazines — online or offline

Luckily, there are several types of ad campaigns you can run to promote your coaching business; from TV and radio to magazines — both online and offline. You can pick the best media for your business, based on your goals and overall marketing strategy. One thing is for sure, each of these media has its unique set of advantages and disadvantages that you should consider, if you want to maximize your campaign’s impact. If nothing else, test them out and reach your own conclusions as to which of them work best for you.

11. Build an easy-to-use, fast, informative website and keep it updated

If you don’t have a website yet, you should get one built as soon as possible. This is important because your website will serve as your headquarters; most of your online activity will flow out of your website, and echo back to it. For this reason, make sure it’s highly responsive to different types of devices, easy to use, informative and updated, at all times.

12. Create blog content

Blogging offers a great opportunity to get organic traffic to your website and flaunt your coaching skills 😉. In case you’re wondering about what kind of blog posts to write, just focus on your target audience — who they are and what kind of challenges they face — and pick it up from there. By all means, create content that brings value to your readers.

13. Produce a podcast

Podcasts are the new hype these days. More and more people show an interest in this medium. In fact, marketing gurus believe that podcasting will be getting a much bigger piece of the marketing pie in the coming years. So, why not make the most out of it, today, to attract new athletes? It will certainly help build a relationship with your target audience, in the long run.

14. Produce video content

Just like podcasts, videos can also help you build a relationship with your target audience. Being a versatile medium, it gives you the freedom to produce one on the spur of the moment, and post it on your socials (maybe do a story or a Live session?); or create a more elaborate and targeted video, and post it on your website and your YouTube or Tik Tok channel. 

15. Leverage content promotion to get backlinks

Why do you need backlinks to your website? Simply to improve your website’s ranking in search engines. To elaborate, algorithms in search engines are designed to consider a website important, when other people refer to it, through the use of links. And, since your website offers valuable information, it should rank high in SERPs

One of the most effective tactics to achieve that is, of course, content marketing. Creating high-quality content consistently — and, promoting it properly — will eventually get you backlinks. The rest is history; these backlinks will attract new athletes to your website and, thus, new clients to your business.

16. Work on your Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that market researchers use to measure a client’s willingness to recommend a business, product or service to other people. How does this work? You ask a client the typical NPS question that may go like: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend X (your business or a specific service you offer) to family, friends or colleagues?” 

Then, they respond just by clicking on a number — from a 0 to 10 range, also known as the Likert scale — and you get a result. The higher the number the better. But, even if you don’t get the results you were hoping for, you can always work on enhancing your services; to keep your clients happy and attract new ones.

17. Generate leads: Attract new athletes through cold calling

When you need to generate leads relatively fast, cold calling may be something you want to integrate into your marketing strategy. Although most businesses outsource cold calling services, if you don’t have the budget for it, you can take matters into your own hands. 

However, you should be careful not to sound pushy. At the same time, you should keep your prospective leads engaged during the cold calling session. How do you do that? By being relevant, empathizing with their problem and showing a genuine willingness to help them solve it — that’s when you can pitch your services.

Keep your athletes coming back: Let’s go practical

Modern coaches do so much more than just coaching. They are advisors and counselors, planners and organizers, supporters and motivators; and, when it comes down to business, yes, they can be marketeers, too. They need to attract new athletes, somehow!

Yet, to its core, coaching today is all about forming a real connection with your athletes, and improving their overall training experience. That’s how you can retain them.

Stay tuned dear coach, for, this was only the first part of the process. In part 2, we’re going to talk about keeping your athletes coming back.

Try Endogusto, for free!

13 ways to attract new athletes was last modified: August 1st, 2022 by Eleni Konstantinidou