A lot of coaches have trouble explaining what they do, what health coaching is and how it works. And that’s why I want to get a bit ranty today. We’ll talk about the #1 reason why you may NOT be getting the leads you want, and how best to explain what you do so that you can confidently speak to people and attract more paying clients.
I want to start this episode by talking about advocacy versus niche marketing. The problem I see is that a lot of coaches are so stuck on telling people what health and wellness coaching is BUT they’re not really communicating the value of health and wellness coaching. Let me explain
For starters, people buy things that they believe will get them a result.
But if you are trying to explain your services in terms of how your profession works, then you’re not really talking about how you help the individual or the results they will get.
For example, imagine a doctor explaining how doctors work. He might say something like:
“Well, patients come to see me when they’re not feeling well. They come in and make an appointment and then we sit down and go through the health history, and I work out what’s going on with them now and I may prescribe medication or treatment that will help them to get better. They might come and see me again in a couple of weeks to make sure everything’s been resolved and that’s how being a doctor works.”
Now, I know that’s a really obvious example, but it illustrates what some coaches are trying to do when they’re explaining Health and Wellness coaching to people.
When you talk about helping clients to set visions and create goals and make lifestyle change, then you’re talking much more about how professionals in our industry work within a session with a client.
For the sake of clarity, let’s call this type of explanation “advocacy”.
The term fits pretty well with the dictionary definition of advocacy, which is “the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active espousal.”
How do you know if you’re going down the road of ‘advocacy’ in your marketing?
Well, your copy would include words that focus more on our profession. The language you use would be broader and perhaps more about you as a coach. If you are using more thinking, factual or logical words to describe what you do. He might be also talking about qualifications and standards, professional affiliations, or the science behind what you do.
Let’s be clear – There is a role for advocacy in your marketing particularly if you are talking to other health professionals for the sake of building relationships to gain referrals. But you are not likely to get clients this way directly, because you were not speaking to them emotively in their language.
This is why I’d like to talk about niche marketing now.
Niche marketing is very different to advocacy. In niche marketing, your language focuses more on person, not the profession. You’re using more feeling words and specifically, the words that your clients used to describe their pain points and desired feeling-based solutions. You’re talking about their unmet needs, their perceived problem, how that plays out in their daily life, their desired solution and your value proposition. As a refresher, a value proposition is defined as a basic statement that communicates the benefit you promise to deliver to your customers post purchase.
This is how the hypothetical doctor might discuss his value proposition to a prospective client.
“I’m a Doctor who specialises in helping people who have just been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or diabetes. I understand that being diagnosed with this might be a shock and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you are confused about your treatment options, mediation and their side effects, or which areas of your health require attention.
I understand how worrying this can be, especially with your work and family responsibilities at this time of your life. As someone who has treated metabolic conditions for 10 years, I am here to help you to navigate your condition, understand what’s going on in your body and take action to prevent the progression of this condition by taking action to lower your cholesterol, reduce your waist circumference, normalise your liver function and improve your physical and mental health.”
Can you hear the difference in the language? Of course, doctors don’t usually describe their work like that or use emotive language.
But if you had a metabolic condition and you heard those two descriptions, one based in more advocacy language and one about the challenges that someone with metabolic syndrome faces, which one would be more appealing?
Which one of those doctors would you trust more?
As I mentioned earlier, if you want to explain what you do really clearly and in a way that grabs attention then it’s important that you appeal to their emotions. And to appeal to someone’s emotions, talk with emotional words about things that they are emotionally engaged with.
You want to tell a story, but not just any story – you want to tell the niche client’s personal story.
You want to use descriptive and emotive words, and real examples of what the person might be thinking, living, experiencing and feeling. This portrays your understanding of them as a person and not just as a prospective client. This naturally brings a flavour of empathy, compassion, understanding and relatability to your words and messages.
Imagine how confident you’d feel knowing you had something that engaged people at their very heart and soul!
So how do you work out how to describe what you do in a more emotive way?
Brand laddering is one exercise you can do to bring more emotive language into your marketing copy, and to make it more about the person than about your profession. I will talk about that in the next episode, but the premise is that it helps you peel of the why’s behind the service.
It helps you to unpack the mental and emotional process your potential client goes through as they are becoming engaged to buy.
It works just like our very own coaching process of exploring the whys. As coaches, we explore a client’s challenge and desired solution with them by asking several why-type questions to uncover their values, motivators and drivers.
More in the next episode! But first, let’s back up a step and talk about a four step process to help you improve the way you describe your services to potential clients.
If you want to get better at attracting paying clients, you will need to switch out of advocacy marketing and into niche marketing.
Here are four steps to better-explain how you work, and more easily engage paying clients.
1. Conduct LIVE market research interviews with your niche to hear what they are emotional about, and to hear the words they use to describe their problem, desired results and bigger why outcomes.
2. Create a brand ladder that captures the key words from these interviews, moving beyond the ‘features’ of what you do and into the emotional and transformational benefits.
3. Use this to craft a value proposition that clearly explains the tangible emotional benefits that your niche client wants.
4. Ask some of your niche clients for feedback on the value proposition. Why do they like it or why not? What does it mean to them? What would be more appealing, if anything?
Engaging people in your niche for feedback is ALWAYS, 100%, the best way to get your marketing copy, your explanation of what you do, and any descriptions of your services, spot on.
If in doubt – contact a business or marketing coach for support!
Today we talked about what coaches typically do wrong when describing what they do as a profession, and why it doesn’t work.
We compared the more factual, profession-based ‘advocacy’ approach to marketing, versus the more emotive, client-focused niche marketing approach.
Your ability to attract clients is all about appealing to their emotions. If you want to attract more paying clients, try following my four step process:
1. Conduct market research interviews with your niche
2. Create a brand ladder to draw out the more emotional, why-based words
3. Develop a value proposition using more emotive, client-focused words
4. Practice it on your niche before sharing your insights in your marketing
Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.
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