Are you a small business coach?
Marketing online can be one of your most lucrative avenues for getting new business, but only if you’ve got good strategies in place.
A lot of people advertise online as a coach these days – you have to find a way to stand out. (Kudos, you’re off to a great start if you’ve already identified your coaching niche!)
If you can nail down some great online marketing strategies, then you open up a big new world of possibilities for sharing your business coaching expertise. Ready to get started? Here are some tips for small business coaches:
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Speak directly to your audience
Want to know what can make you stand out from others who are marketing coaching services? The ability to narrow down your messaging to the audience who you specifically want to target.
Too many coaches speak in general terms on their websites, resulting in wishy-washy language and messaging that doesn’t really speak directly to anyone. Sometimes they come across as too “woo-woo” and let’s face it, if you sound like you might be suggesting crystals and meditation as a way to improve business results, you are unlikely to attract the analytically-minded business owner!
Here at One Week Website, we really like the Storybrand approach to engaging with your target audience. The first step is to put that target audience first. This means you should have a clear understanding of the tone, language and overall messaging that will really resonate with them.
You might go as far as to identify a specific group of small business owners that you want to target. What are their biggest worries or problems? How can you help? Can you distill that into a headline that will grab their attention?
Doing this first guides with messaging on your website, but also everywhere else that potential leads might see you.
Build your email list
Once you have your target audience and messaging dialed in, it’s important that you look for other ways to stay in touch. Most people who arrive on your website won’t be ready to buy from you the first time, but it’s an opportunity to get their email address so you can send messages to them.
There are a couple of great strategies for getting that email address:
- Create a “lead magnet” – a piece of valuable content that you give away in return for their email address.
- Create an email newsletter that people want to receive. Most businesses have some kind of email newsletter, but only a small number have people searching for them just to sign up. Some examples of popular newsletters include: NextDraft, Ben Settle, TheSkimm and REI.
Here again, when devising your lead magnet or hot email newsletter, think about what will be appealing to your target audience. Your aim is to get as many “good fit” leads onto your email list as possible.
The important thing once you get people onto your email list is to be consistent about communicating with them. Email marketing works if people get to know and trust you. For example, if they’ve signed up for your newsletter, make sure that gets sent at regular intervals. If it’s to go out every week on a Tuesday, don’t miss a Tuesday!
Delivering value is as important as consistency. Whatever you are sending out should be relevant and interesting to your target audience. For example, you might address common problems that they have. You don’t have to write a novel every time, but you should always deliver something they can use, even if it’s a quick tip.
Use a marketing funnel
A marketing funnel is a useful tool for nurturing potential leads, from their discovery of you to making a purchase. A funnel is so-called because the shape describes that journey from lead to customer. At each stage, some people will drop out, so like a funnel, it is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. See the diagram below from Entrepreneur, which also depicts how potential customers may be attracted by a lead magnet:
At each stage of the funnel, the lead is interested in different things. For example at the awareness stage, they probably want to know more about a specific problem. At interest and decision stages, they want to learn about their options for dealing with the problem.
As a small business coach, a sales funnel is a great opportunity to help people get to know you and build their trust in you. You’re able to showcase your expertise throughout. Here’s an example of how that might work:
- Lead signs up for a free guidebook you have written that addresses something that concerns them (that you can help with). For example “How Your Own Mental Blocks Are Holding Back Your Business.” They now enter the “awareness” section of the funnel.
- You send regular emails, including an invite to a webinar you are giving on that problem or something closely related. (Interest)
- The webinar grabs the interest of the lead so they enter into the next step with you – a quiz designed to see if you will be able to help them. (Something like this can be a great way to segment leads so that you’re only continuing with those you can help the most.) (Decision)
- The leads that “pass” your quiz are invited to apply to your coaching program. The features and benefits of doing so are highlighted for them. They take action – either by joining or declining. (Action)
The idea of a marketing funnel is that if you pull it off well, you’re left with highly qualified leads. It’s a common frustration of small business coaches that you often spend time on “tire kickers” when you’d like to spend more time with those who are genuinely interested!
Another great thing about marketing funnels is that you can automate all or most parts of them. So for example, when someone signs up for your lead magnet, that can trigger a series of events based on actions that they take.
You may find that when the lead reaches the decision stage, it is appropriate to schedule a consultation with you to seal the deal. This is common when people require a bit more of a personalized touch to reach a decision. (It’s also a good reason to stow the personal consultation down your funnel, rather than leading with it. This should mean that you’re able to convert more of the people whom you talk with).
Take opportunities to establish thought leadership
One of the big things people expect from coaches is that they are thought leaders. People come to you because you have the necessary skills to help them plan, strategize and be more self-aware. Establishing credibility in the space is important, especially with so many people now selling themselves as coaches.
How can you do this online? We’ve got a few suggestions here:
- Write regularly on key topics in your niche. This might be for your own blog, or for guest posts on other blogs and on sites like Medium. Look for opportunities to share your work, for example sometimes local newspapers will run guest columns from coaches that will be published online.
- Be consistent on social media. You don’t have to cover every channel, but work out where your target audience is most likely to be found. For example, LinkedIn is a business and career-oriented platform, will you find a lot of your audience there?
- Consider creating a podcast. Only do this if you have the time to commit to a regular publishing schedule! Many entrepreneurs and small business owners like to listen to podcasts, especially if they’re on the go. Otherwise, see if you can get a guest spot on another popular podcast, one that is likely to reach your target audience.
- Run webinars, or be a guest on someone else’s. If you’re comfortable in front of a camera, this can be a good way to make people feel that they know you better.
These online opportunities to establish yourself as a thought leader not only help to build your public profile, but SEO value for your business too. The more content out there that focuses on you and your niche, the more likely you are to come up in related searches.
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As a small business coach, marketing yourself so that you will stand out from others is essential. Online channels give you the opportunity to reach a wider audience, but you have to start with defining exactly who that audience is.
From there, establish regular contact with your leads via an email list. Have an effective marketing funnel (or more than one) so that prospects are automatically lead down a path toward purchasing from you.
Finally, harness the power of online channels to build up your own credibility and thought leadership. Think about what people want as a requirement of their coaches – why should they choose you?