Expanding Your Market With Remote Coaching
Very few industries have taken off during the global pandemic. If you aren't in home improvement, online communications, or eCommerce, these last nine months have been rough.
We hope things will get better fast, but it's always good to look at different ways to be less dependent on a single stream of income. Golf instruction is no exception. Several instructors have dramatically expanded their client base by embracing technology and including remote instruction as part of their repertoire.
What is Remote Instruction?
Remote instruction is simply using video and statistics to instruct clients on how to improve their swing. If you're picturing watching your client at the driving range through Zoom, we encourage you to think bigger. Some of the most popular instructors online use slow-motion video to literally illustrate a video (using a tool like Camtasia or even iMovie) by drawing arrows and circling problem points. Then they ask their clients to submit subsequent videos to record progress.
The nice things about remote instruction are that your schedule is flexible and you can work with anyone around the globe. If your client is a night owl and happens to own a golf simulator, they can email you their video at 2 AM. Your response can be emailed or messaged at 10 AM or days after receiving the video—whatever timeline you decide to offer clients.
While some instructors only require slow-motion video uploads of a person's swing, aboutGOLF provides accurate statistics and a popular add-on, aG Flix—our video analysis system captures multiple angles in high definition. Your potential client doesn't need to own a simulator to access precise ball and club data. Some regions are still (or newly) allowing customers to use indoor golf facilities. Some private indoor golf clubs have found ways to safely reopen by limiting usage, providing sanitizing products, and cleaning the facility more frequently.
If your local club has a simulator, you may want to check governor restrictions to determine whether instruction-less usage is an option (and what needs to be added to make it an option: like hand sanitizer stands, cleaning frequency, etc.). You may not be able to stand by their side while they use a golf simulator, but you can have them record their hitting session and send you a video.
Whether you decide to eyeball your lessons or use precise data to back up your suggestions, there are some things you should know before kicking off your new side hustle.
Why Expand Your Market?
Ask any investor for their number one recommendation, and it will probably involve diversifying your investments to reduce risk.
Not being allowed to work with your local clients is frustrating and financially draining. Opening your market minimizes the risk that comes with only having access to a single club's membership base. The more potential clients you have access to, the higher the probability your calendar will be full.
Geographic diversity allows you to get access to people who can still play golf, visit indoor golf simulators, or hit the driving range when you're in a market that's completely locked down.
Who Shouldn't Do Remote Coaching?
If you hate technology, you probably aren't reading this blog post and wouldn't enjoy remote instruction. If you know your way around smartphones and already have a bit of a social media following, you're going to be a natural.
However, you don't have to be a social media maven to excel at remote instruction.
If you're willing to learn how to illustrate instruction (which means learning some kind of video editing software) and spend the money to hire someone to manage your website and social media maintenance, you'll do just fine.
Marketing Is Essential
As an instructor, chances are you're already doing some marketing. If you have professional social media profiles and a decent website, you're ahead of the game. Bonus points for an email marketing system or client management system. Building a remote client base will involve marketing and word of mouth referrals. You should be comfortable asking for referrals, talking about how you've helped players succeed, how you're different from your competitors, and what you offer—and your marketing materials should tell this same story. To get started, you'll need:
A professional looking website
An email database (like Mailchimp)
Social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook at least)
When you build your website, you'll need to quickly highlight how you help people, how you're different from your competitor, and the types of services you offer. You'll want to keep these key business differentiators and offerings somewhere prominent because you'll be using them in your other online marketing channels.
Some people hire instructors because they're the cheapest available coach. Most people hire instructors who have a great reputation. People gauge your reputation through word-of-mouth referrals and testimonials. A great way to build testimonials is to email your existing customer base and ask them to record a short iPhone video testimonial. If you don't get many videos, you can also ask to get a quote—but a video is always best.
Be sure to communicate what you offer as clearly as possible. Communication goes a long way in preventing confusion and disputes.
You Don't Need to Go It Alone
Entrepreneurs often trick themselves into thinking they have to do everything themselves. There are several excellent marketing consulting agencies that specialize in social media, paid advertising, and websites. Working with an expert is a great way to avoid learning things the hard way.
We recommend you consult with a marketing agency to help you build a brand and put a social media strategy in place. Make sure you ask any agency for examples. They'll send you examples they feel best represent the work they do. Avoid anyone proud of designing something you find distasteful, confusing, or beneath your standards.
If you want to learn more about how instructors have increased their income using aboutGOLF technology, check out Michael Breed and Luke Elvy's session from the virtual PGA Merchandise Show.