If you’ve finished your coaching qualification and are ready to launch a business, it can be daunting to realize that you have no idea of how or where to find clients and to create a consistent income. On top of that, the word marketing might conjure up a sense of dread and that you need to do all these things that the experts say you should do.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Forget the Facebook ads or webinar skills training courses – in this episode, I’ll discuss three marketing roadmaps for coaches that play to your natural communication strengths and help you start promoting with authenticity, integrity and confidence.
When I started my coaching business, I was convinced I needed a Facebook page and Facebook group. All the gurus told me it was the only way to ‘get clients’ – and to set up some ads.
The trouble is, I feel incredible anxiety when I go onto Facebook. But I persisted as I thought I had to be on that platform and that it was the only way to succeed.
So, what happened?
I felt anxious every day. I had to force myself to open the app and create posts.
I spent hours debating over the words, trying to get them right, and picking images. I cringed at the lack of engagement, and I stressed over the future of my business.
For a good six months, I did Facebook training courses, paid for mentoring and joined support groups. I felt miserable and hopeless.
Then I reflected on my communication skills and strengths and worked out that this was not how I should be doing marketing. I needed to do it MY way, so that I could feel energized, motivated and excited about connecting with my audience.
From there, I went on a journey to explore how best to market my business.
I realised that I feel most comfortable and authentic when I’m talking to people, networking and to a lesser degree, writing. My main skills are active listening and relationship building, so these options make sense to me. I get to express my opinions, listen and reflect, and draw on my extensive technical writing skills and experience.
Fast forward to today, and these are the ways I do my marketing.
As part of my ‘visibility’ marketing, I write an article each week and turn it into a podcast, where I speak about things that my audience wants to know about. These build trust and relationship.
I’m pretty busy with contract work and as a board member of HCANZA, our industry association to do much more than this. But If I wanted to go really big online, I’d be looking to be a guest blogger on a nationally-recognised online magazine, or guest on a podcast that is nationally-recognised, or on the radio.
As it is, I share links to articles and podcasts on LinkedIn and Instagram. These are my best promotional platforms because I feel comfortable and more connected with my audience – it’s where ‘my people’ are.
But actually, my preferred way of marketing is networking, so I do a lot of connections with others so I can meet and learn more about what people do, where there are synergies, and work collaboratively via cross-referral and cross-promotion.
As you can see, I have a mix of marketing channels that leverage my communication skills and help me build visibility, and the ability to scale if and as needed.
It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but when you’re starting out, it’s better to start more simply. Let’s talk about three rough marketing roadmaps for coaches that leverage your communication skills and can help you get visibility, new clients and traction more easily.
Please note that it’s highly likely that your ideal clients within your niche have the same communication strengths and skills as you. By playing to your strengths, you’ll more likely attract your people.
Here are three roadmaps that I think are the most effective for building coaching businesses. There are other marketing strategies out there, but these three are more effective because you get the chance to connect more personally and emotively with potential clients or referrers.
As per my previous episodes – it’s the emotional connection between you and your clients that builds the trust and rapport that clients need before they commit to buying from you.
Now, let’s explore the three roadmaps!
If you’re a great writer and you love writing, chances are your audience is the same.
You’re probably someone who:
As a skilled writer, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by guest blogging on highly visible online publications like MammaMia, Forbes, Thrive Global or other platforms.
You could also write case studies, stories and articles for your own blog and build a following, or longform posts on social media platforms where your audience hangs out. Mine is on LinkedIn, yours might be elsewhere.
You can write for your local industry association and/or industry publications to gain visibility.
Of course, any writing you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), and on social media and your client email list.
If most of your audience are readers, then your website can offer a well-written lead magnet (e.g. a how-to guide) that they can download, and join your list.
As you become more comfortable with writing and build a presence, you can start to offer live webinars or 1:1 calls to connect with you.
Writing as a stand-alone marketing tool can take more time than speaking or networking, so if you are starting here, you would aim to build in another marketing strategy later such as networking or speaking, events or PR, to speed up the process of becoming known, liked and trusted.
If you’re a great speaker and you love talking, chances are your audience is the same.
You’re probably someone who:
If this is you, then it’s entirely possible for you to engage your audience in this way.
As a skilled speaker, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by being a guest on a highly visible podcast or getting interviewed on the radio or scoring a regular community radio spot.
You could also develop your own podcast or YouTube channel, where you build a following by posting audio files or video files and inviting comments.
You can deliver a signature talk to local groups, allied health professionals or clients. You could engage your local public library to help you promote and deliver a workshop and present your signature talk (promotional) in their space.
You can present at conferences, expos or other events.
Of course, any speaking you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), on social media and your client email list, or the list of the event organiser.
If most of your audience is speakers and listeners, then your website can offer a well-scripted video or audio that they can watch that invites them to join your email list or meetup group.
As you become more comfortable with public speaking you can offer live webinars or workshops that promote your service offering.
Speaking is a fabulous marketing tool that requires confidence and practice. It’s easiest to start small and with people, you know, and build up to larger audiences and/or more complicated means of delivery (e.g. in-person vs online).
One thing is for sure – public speaking is one of the fastest ways to become known, liked and trusted because there is an authentic connection in real-time, and you can build trust and authority easily if you know your subject matter.
If you love interacting and meeting people to share ideas, chances are your audience is the same.
You’re probably someone who:
As a skilled networker, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by attending events that are hosted by business, social or online groups, or joining networking groups or social media groups.
You could also develop your own group (e.g. a Facebook group), WhatsApp messenger chat, or live MeetUp group if you don’t like social media that much (MeetUp is a platform to facilitate groups that meet.
You can offer interactive workshops, breakout rooms or discussion/opinion topics with allied health professionals, complementary businesses or potential clients. You can co-host workshops with other professionals to share knowledge and gain insights.
You could also host events like movie nights, book clubs, meditation sessions or other such events that bring people together to meet, connect and share insights and ideas.
This is a lot like the ‘speaking’ roadmap, with a key difference being that you are more interactive and collaborative, with the focus on sharing ideas and listening more.
Of course, any networking you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), on social media and your client email list, or via the event platform.
If most of your audience is interactive too, then your website can offer a live session with you (could be virtual) as a 1:1 on a meeting platform, VR, or to attend an introductory group event.
If you are attending networking events hosted by other people, it’s important to define a goal for the event and complete that goal so it advances your marketing effort. For example, I make a point of finding one or two people at each event that I like connecting with, and to email them afterwards and set up a coffee date. This could be a potential client or a potential referrer.
As you become more comfortable with networking, you can start your own group or simply schedule connections with like-minded people that you’ve built connections with. An allied health professional near me does this well – he emails me every quarter to set up a coffee date.
Networking is a fabulous marketing tool that requires confidence and organisational skills. It’s easiest to start with small local groups and build up to attending larger groups or even creating your own group (which requires learning a bit of tech in some cases).
Networking is one of the fastest ways to become known, liked and trusted because there is an authentic connection in real-time, using both auditory and visual cues to gauge and develop rapport.
My opinion is that while speaking can build a sense of authority, networking can build connection and engagement.
Today we talked about three marketing roadmaps for coaches.
To create your roadmap, it helps to play to your communication strengths and style to build confidence and to be truly authentic.
Depending on your personal skills and strengths, I outlined three roadmaps:
There are other marketing strategies, but these are known to be more effective because you get the chance to connect more personally and emotively with potential clients or referrers. If you need help to develop your proven marketing roadmap, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July 2022, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business. Click the link to learn more about the program.
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.
Learn more here: