Three Ways to Find New Customers Even If You’re Just Starting Out
Have you been watching other coaches online and wondering how they’re attracting all these clients, while you’ve just got crickets?
Today, I’d like to share three super easy ways to find new customers even if you’re just starting out in business. Your core coaching skills are a key ingredient!
When you’re starting out in business, it feels like you have all these things to do and yet you don’t have any clients. It’s a strange kind of limbo. You’re probably posting all sorts of things in an effort to stand out, yet nobody’s liking, commenting or watching.
In this episode, I’ll talk about
* The Evolution of a Niche
* Leading With Your Why
* Why Listening is Critical
* Niche Content Marketing – Getting It Right
What do you do?
If you’re like most people, you think you need to do another course or learn how to do social media marketing. But like most things, the problem is waaaay upstream of these things.
Let me explain.
Meredith Hill said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
What this means is that if you are speaking broadly and generally, using generic content that covers a lot of topics or problems, then it’s hard for the audience to understand who you are and who you help. People might glance at your content and scroll right past it, because it doesn’t speak to them.
Consider the analogy of fishing. Your broad, general content is much like someone standing on the beach with a hook and a pilchard, hoping to catch a fish, but catching nothing.
Next to you, there’s a person who is smashing it online. They’re like the fisher who knows what they can catch at that particular beach, and they have the right hook and bait to catch that fish. If they’re catching tailor, it’s probably a gang hook with a pilchard. But if they’re trying to catch a mulloway, fresh or even live bait like yellowtail is better.
Hopefully you’re getting the picture – the more you know about who you want as a customer or client, the easier it is to be visible and connect with them in your marketing.
This is what ‘finding your niche’ is all about, where your niche is a problem that exists, that certain types of people are desperate to solve, and will pay money to get help with.
Just like the fisherperson using a specific rig and bait to catch a certain fish, knowing your niche means you can go online and speak about specific topics to attract specific types of people who have specific problems – and in doing this, you stand out like a beacon to them, making it easy to be seen, trusted and purchased from.
So, how do you get started?
The Evolution of a Niche
If you’re in the process of career change, have just completed a training course in a totally new area and you’re starting a business, with no prior experience – please take a moment to acknowledge that that’s a pretty steep learning curve!
And just like you can’t go out beach fishing for the first time and expect to know everything about tides, weather, gutters, rigs, and which bait to use, please know that you can’t expect to know or perfect your niche and connect with them easily when you’re first starting out!
Your niche WILL evolve over time. The way to even start defining your niche is by actively speaking to people, using your coaching skills in daily life, and working with practice or paid clients.
Your clients are your teachers. You can start to notice common trends in the conversation, which people you have the best rapport with and how they describe their problems.
This is the evolution of a niche.
As you get more and more experience in using your coaching skills, you will get more and more clarity about your niche.
In my experience, there are three levels of niche clarity:
(1) You are totally clear on your niche.
This is usually because you have been engaging in your own or other groups about this problem, have a lot of experience with clients who have a specific problem, or have been on your own journey as part of a group.
(2) You have some level of clarity on your niche.
This is usually based on a passion you have or experience with a specific problem area that is meaningful to you. In either case, you can do market research to further your understanding of your niche person and problem and work out what they want your help with, so you can find the common ground.
(3) You have a great idea but have no clue on who would need or want it.
If you’re really stuck wondering how to attract customers, you’ll need to get started with something. Beyond working with practice clients there are three ways you can start to work out your niche and attract new clients online, beyond just doing practice coaching.
(1) Start with your why
When posting online – any kind of post – focus on your why, values and passion area.
One thing’s for sure – when you get ranty and fired up about something, some injustice or area of need, that sense of conviction will be appealing and attractive to the right people.
In other words, people form relationships because of shared values. When you lead with your why, you put your values on display. This gives people an insight into who you are, and they can work out if you are someone they would like to know more about.
By zooming in on your why, you can find some things to talk about and start to create ideas on specific topics of interest.
The key word here is specific. Having a why of ‘wanting to help people’ is pretty vague. Be more specific at least about an area of health and wellbeing, like weight loss, or exercise, or mental health.
Assuming you are on a social media platform where people can search for content topics easily, you can experiment with why-driven posts to see which ones get the most engagement.
(2) Start listening and reflecting
Once you have identified a few topics, do a little live and online research to gain opinions and insights, and to see how engaged other people are with those topics.
For example, if you’re getting ranty about impostor syndrome, or weight gain after 40, or anxiety in menopause, what are other people saying and thinking about those things?
Take your coaching skills out into the world and ask people for their opinions. Notice how fired up they are too – or not. See the problem from their point of view.
How big of an issue is that thing for them? Why or why not?
What is their magic wand solution?
What possibilities might open up, if they could solve that problem?
As you do this work, notice the physical shifts you experience. Notice which topics or particular conversations excite you, grab you by the heart or make you irritated.
And most importantly, notice how your sense of clarity and confidence develops as you talk to people about what matters to them.
(3) Explore niche content marketing
The third way is to explore what’s in the news and social commentary about niche content that’s already out there. This is a slower, longer-term game compared with live conversations.
Think about whether online research is an initial project to help you understand your niche, or whether you will continue building information and content over time as part of your marketing. If you have skills and strengths in research, detail and writing, then this might be a good strategy.
Here are some questions you could ask yourself while exploring niche content online:
- What are the most popular angles being talked about?
- Where is the gap?
- Do you agree, or disagree? Why?
- Which posts or episodes make you irritated or frustrated? Why?
Write down all the things you like, agree with and disagree with.
Then, look for qualified facts to back up your views, for example, from Google Scholar, or recognised institutions.
Check in with yourself to work out which topics are most meaningful and interesting to you. These are the ones that will create a natural energy that is attractive to your audience.
Based on the topic or related topics you have identified, develop some blogs, live videos or podcasts that map out the problem, and outline 2 – 3 things that back your position.
Then, you’re ready to promote these topics to your audience – but not all at once!
For example, let’s say that you are really into natural methods of managing and avoiding stress, and you are super interested in managing the nervous system.
You’d talk about one or two related topics per month over a series of months.
Start your first month talking about one topic in depth online and offline – in this example, let’s say you focus on comparing different breathing techniques to manage stress. You could find research papers and share the findings, and also your own experience.
Note which conversations or posts get the most interest.
In the second week, start refining the conversations to focus on the specific parts of the topic that are most popular.
For example, you might find that people have been talking about the 4-7-8 technique because it’s been in the news and was developed by a Harvard-trained medical doctor, Dr Weill, so you could ask for people to comment on their experiences or insights about the technique. This will get engagement and organic reach.
If you wanted, you could collate all your insights from the month and do a live presentation or in-depth blog at the end of the month. Invite people to attend, invite comments and/or sharing through your networks.
The next month, you might start talking about something that goes a bit deeper, like polyvagal theory, which is related to and goes deeper into the topic of the first month.
The first thing that happens here is that by posting on specific topics, you will either attract “your people” – the people who like and trust you based on your messaging and promotion – or you will attract people who are curious and interested in your topics.
You will also be ignored by people who aren’t interested – but that’s a good thing!
This process takes you closer to understanding and clarifying who has the problem that you can help to solve, and what the problem means to them in their lives.
Over the series of months and topics, you will find out which topics are most interesting to your audience, what types of people like each topic, what their main challenges are, and you will be closer to defining your niche.
Over a longer period, you can refine your content and topics to meet the audience, and you can also go back and update older content you created so it is more up-to-date and polished.
When you’re new to business, it can be easy to compare yourself to others and wonder why they seem to be so successful, when you’re just getting crickets.
If this is you, remember that your clients are your teachers. By using your coaching skills in daily life, and by working with practice clients, you will start to get a deeper understanding of the people you want to work with, and what sorts of common problems they have that you can help with.
At the same time, you can do three things online to fast-track your understanding.
- Develop posts and content built around your why (be specific)
- Start listening to what people say (live and online conversations) and reflect on the trends, and which topics and people light you up.
- Explore niche content marketing, by assessing what is in the news, what is a hot topic right now, and which posts irritate or inspire you. Then, start developing content around specific topics that are relevant and meaningful to you and your potential audience and start getting a sense of their reactions.
- Live conversations take the least amount of time, whereas online research is more time-consuming and takes longer to engage your niche. Reflect on your skills and strengths to help you decide which way to go.
Welcome to the evolution of your niche!
If you need help to understand, define and connect with your niche, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help building the foundations of your business.
Balogh, A. Polyvagal Theory: A Simplified Explanation. Swan Counselling website accessed 28.2.22. https://www.swancounselling.com.au/polyvagal-theory-a-simplified-explanation/
Cuncic, A. October 2021. What is 4-7-8 breathing? Very Well Mind website accessed 28.2.22 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-4-7-8-breathing-5204438
Shatto, R. May 2019. Here’s Why Shared Values Are so Important in Couples, Experts Say. Elite Daily website accessed 28.2.22. https://www.elitedaily.com/p/why-are-shared-values-important-in-relationships-experts-weigh-in-on-this-common-thought-17917975
Passion to Profit Program: Wellness Coaching Australia Website https://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/business-resources/passion-to-profit/
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