Still Insisting on Instagram? For Your Marketing? Every three months I measure my marketing. I look at my list of current clients in my database and check the source – how each one heard about me.
There’s the first essential marketing activity which I’d like to remind you. Every time you receive a new enquiry, please make sure you ask how they heard about you. Then record it somewhere – in a database or a spreadsheet. After all, if you don’t track you marketing, you’ll probably be wasting the majority of the time, effort and money you’re spending on it.
Every time I measure my marketing I am relieved to see very similar results. This time:
- Speaking – 40% of my current clients are with me because they’ve heard me speak at an event. This might have been when I’ve been invited to give a presentation at a networking event, or when I’ve been asked to run a marketing workshop for a group of coaches or speakers. The number is down from 50% three months ago; I’m not worried.
- Referrals – 20% of my current clients have been referred to me by a happy client or a networking contact who knows me. This is down from 25% the last time I measured my marketing. I’m still not worried.
- Networking – 35% of my current clients signed up with me after meeting me at a networking event. This has shot up from 25% in the last three months. Worried? No, just curious.
I looked at the quarterly numbers to work out why these changes have happened. I also looked at the comparison graph that shows me the quarterly figures over the last few years. There was no surprise to me – the same three marketing activities are the ones that consistently bring me the majority of my new clients. If you’ve read any of my A-Z of Marketing blogs or my newsletter Scribbles, you’ll know that I’ve been banging on about how A (Ask for referrals) and B (Business networking) will always be the most effective marketing activities for service businesses.
So why are coaches, consultants and trainers still wasting time, effort and money on social media and in particular on Instagram?
About 10 years ago I remember starting a talk I was giving at a networking event by telling the audience that ad hoc marketing doesn’t work. I also insisted that coaches will never win significant business from social media. There was a coach in the audience who piped up to disagree. And I love it when people disagree! She told me that she’d found a new client through Pinterest. Remember that one?
“I created a board of photos from my favourite holiday destination. Someone found the board and now they’re a client.” She was so proud of being able to prove me wrong!
Always up for a challenge, I asked her “So how do you plan to replicate that marketing strategy? How will you use Pinterest to win another coaching client?”
Silence. Why? Because she knew that what she’d done was ad hoc marketing and it was pure luck that she’d found a new client through sharing her holiday snaps.
About 6 months ago my new client Denise told me that she’d been spending time on Instagram.
“Why?” I queried. “You know it won’t work for you, don’t you?”
“I like creating images and adding my own quotes,” she told me. “I get lots of ‘likes’.”
But here‘s the thing. ‘Likes’ might give your ego a warm fuzzy feeling, but they won’t bring you paying clients. No. Not ever. Not the ones who will pay your full rates and pay upfront, without quibbling. Not the ones who will recommend you to more ideal clients who will pay your full rates and pay upfront and recommend you to ideal clients … get the message?!
Recently I was delighted to hear about Denise’s change of heart. “I switched my time and effort to LinkedIn and met a new client inside a couple of weeks,” she told me proudly.
Why doesn’t Instagram Work?
When you run a service business, such as coaching, consulting or training, people are buying you. They need to trust you before they will part with their money. Nobody is going to work with a coach and share their deepest darkest secrets, fears and worries if they don’t trust that person. This level of trust can only be built up over time through speaking to potential clients, through being heard speaking at networking events, training sessions and workshops; or by being recommended by a trusted friend or colleague.
A short post or image on Instagram does not allow you to build up the level of trust needed. This is why social media platforms such as Instagram just don’t work for promoting coaching, consulting and training companies on a consistent basis. Stick to the A and B of the ABC of Marketing – Ask for referrals and Business networking – with a bit of Content for backup, where you can share your expertise, through blogs, newsletters and videos.
Why do I insist that tools like Instagram don’t work for promoting coaches, consultants and trainers? Because of the numbers that I measured this month and that I’ve been measuring for my business for the last 20 years. If you look at the numbers at the top of this blog you’ll see that 20% of my new clients come from referrals (A) and 75% from networking, in the form of speaking and networking events (B). Nothing from social media!
So if you really want to grow your coaching, consulting or training business, stick to the marketing tactics that are tried and tested by the experts.