Vocational training is a great way to set yourself up for a successful career in your chosen field – but once you’re fully qualified, and effectively self-employed, you’ll be up against some stiff competition for work.
So the way you market yourself is vital not only in attracting new customers, but also in making sure those customers keep coming back.
Get yourself a website
The first thing to do is set up a simple and professional looking website, as many of your prospective clients will be looking online for local business services.
You can either employ a web designer to do this, or use a DIY online site builder – the key thing to remember is you don’t need to spend a fortune on your website. It doesn’t need to be anything flashy, just make sure it looks good, is simple to use and outlines all of your services, rates and contact details.
Get your website optimised
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is vital if you want to make sure your website reaches the right people and it’s not as difficult as it may at first seem.
The key points of optimising your business website are:
- Choose a domain name that includes your business name and, if possible, the nature of your business.
- Make sure all pages are clearly headed using H1 and H2 tags where necessary.
- Include key words in text that reflect the nature of your business, and perhaps the area of the country you work from, for instance “personal trainer in Liverpool”.
- Include a site map so the search engines know what the site is about.
- Register your site with local business listings such as Yell, Yelp, Yahoo and Google.
- Make sure your site is optimised for mobile devices
- Include and regularly update customer feedback, and maybe include a blog featuring regular articles on aspects of your business, for instance “5 great personal training tips”.
Get social media savvy
Social media is a great marketing tool, so get social media savvy as soon as possible.
Set up a Twitter account – remembering to choose a handle that is both memorable and reflective of your business – and start following influencers in your field and engaging with both them and your target market.
It’s also worth opening a Facebook account to engage with customers, and a G+ (Google’s social network) account to keep the search engines happy.
Remember to post regularly, perhaps giving followers special rates or deals, but don’t overdo it – no one wants you spamming their timeline.
Once you’ve an online presence, it’s time to get a real world presence – so print out business cards highlighting your service, website and content details and go to industry events and even networking clubs to get your name known.
It’s also worth leaving your business cards or putting up posters in prominent positions where potential customers can see them. For instance, if personal training is your thing, leaving cards in the gym you work from or even local authority fitness centres could be a good way to drum up business.
And if your clients are happy with your service, make sure they pass the message on to friends, family, colleagues and anyone who’ll listen, as word of mouth is arguably the best and certainly the most cost-effective marketing tool out there.