September 02, 2022 - Coaching
How To Market Your Coaching Business: 9 Effective Strategies
Explore 9 strategies to effectively market your coaching business. Plus, actionable tips to help you improve your marketing efforts & attract more leads..
This is a guest post by Libby Hogan from Coach Connect Australia
We all know that even if you're an amazing coach or consultant, you need a solid marketing strategy to be able to attract clients and run a successful coaching business.
The kicker though is knowing what to do and how to do it right. And unless you're a marketing coach specifically, this can be an understandable challenge for many.
The good news is there is an abundance of different ways to market your coaching business. And do so not only within a budget that works for you but also with what's in line with your strengths, and the target audience you wish to reach.
Hi, my name is Libby and I'm a web designer, marketing strategist and coach in training. I specialise in helping coaches, like you, to build the business you really want, and live the life you dream about.
In this article, I explore 9 popular marketing strategies that you can use for your coaching business. As well as provide handy, actionable tips to improve your marketing efforts so you can attract more leads.
Marketing Strategies: Common Misconceptions
Choosing which strategies are best for your business to reach more potential clients
Before you launch any marketing activities, know who your ideal clients are!
- Instagram, Facebook Pages & Facebook Groups
- Start Your Own Blog and Guest Blogging
- List Your Business on Directory Websites
- Create a Strategy-Driven Website
- Speaking Gigs
- Be a Podcast Host or Guest
- Networking Groups
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising
First, let's dispel some myths to get in the right mindset. In my time speaking with other coaches, a lot of misconceptions would often come up about marketing strategies for their business:
They associate marketing with having to be "salesy" or even "sleazy".
The best way to get extra clients is through paid advertising.
You absolutely have to have multiple social accounts and do Reels, Facebook lives, YouTube videos and [insert every other medium that is every introvert's worst nightmare here]. 😱
You should be posting on all the different social media platforms, multiple times a day, every day.
Your marketing efforts should include: [whatever Insta's latest marketing guru is flogging here].
Gah, no wonder so many get turned off by marketing. More good news though, none of this is true. So, as the old adage goes, 'stop shoulding yourself to death!'
Sure, there are foundations that are consistent in the marketing industry but there are no hard and fast rules. Even if you're in the same industry and have the same niche as another business, what works and doesn't work for them, won't be the same for you.
What makes you unique and special, is also what makes your business special.
So, give yourself permission to take a breath, and not put any unnecessary pressure on yourself.
With numerous options to choose from to market your coaching business and every guru, each saying theirs is a "must-have", finding what's right can be difficult. My advice - ignore all the noise and shiny objects, and answer the following 3 simple questions:
What's in line with your strengths: Seriously, if you suck at making videos but are great at content marketing, give priority to your content marketing! You'll be able to do it well and more importantly, be more motivated to be consistent with it... and consistency is the key.
What will resonate with your target audience: There's no point posting on Twitter for example if none of your ideal clients hang out on that particular social media platform. Plus, you don't just want to reach any and all clients, you need to connect with your ideal clients.
What works with your budget: While we don't always want to admit it, budget is often a factor, especially if you are a new business. There's no need to break the bank though when so many effective, free marketing strategies are available. Find what is comfortable for where your business is now. You can always re-evaluate investing in new marketing strategies down the road.
I can't stress enough how important it is to have complete clarity on who your ideal client is. Without this knowledge, you won't know what they really need, let alone how to create compelling content that resonates with them.
Before you can market anything effectively, you need to understand your ideal customer completely. Then, integrate this knowledge across your entire coaching business and marketing strategies.
If you haven't defined your ideal customers yet, or if you're messaging isn't quite landing, I've already written another article about this which will help. In it, we explore the importance of defining your ideal customers so you can confidently create marketing strategies that work.
Check it out here 👉 Successful marketing: It starts with your ideal customer
Now, let's dive into the different ways you can market your coaching business. And remember, you don't have to use ALL of these. Hone in on the ones that are best for your business.
Having an appealing social media profile legitimizes your business and is an effective way to attract followers and reach new potential clients. With best practices in place, the multitude of free options is almost always sufficient for many coaches.
If you want to reach even more clients though, paid ads are a cost-effective option. (discussed further below)
Plus, you can be found in multiple ways. Such as through keyword searches, hashtags and even by scrolling through other social media accounts to see who they are following.
Joining Facebook groups is also an easy way to increase brand awareness and start building your network. Like guest posting, this is an easy way to leverage someone else's larger, more established audience.
Social Media Pro Tips:
Optimise your profile on all social accounts with a great headshot and make it clear what you do and what your niche is.
Take the time to create relevant content your current and potential coaching clients will gain value from.
Social media is a social network, so get in and participate. Don't expect people to engage with your business if you don't return the favour. It's a great opportunity to get the conversations rolling and start building strong relationships with your potential customers.
Facebook Groups: As above, it’s important to engage with Facebook group members as much as possible in order for them to take you seriously and view you as an authority figure in your industry.
Blogging is an effective form of content marketing to attract new clients. It gives you a consistent platform to share your ideas, build your reputation as an expert in your field, and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
Furthermore, each new blog post can help potential clients understand what services you offer, how much value you can give your customers, what kind of results they can expect and all that before they even opened their wallets.
If your own blog readership is low, guest posting is another option that ticks a lot of boxes:
Contributing an article to a more established site allows you to reach a larger audience and build your credibility and authority.
You get a link back to your own website which is beneficial for SEO.
The blog post will continue to drive organic traffic to your website for as long as it remains published.
In return, the host website gets valuable content to serve their own audience, as well as drive more traffic to their own website, and all with minimal effort on their part. It's a fantastic win-win situation.
Listing your coaching business with online directories is quick, affordable and an effective way to target specific online consumers.
Directory websites have a number of benefits in helping you to to reach more coaching clients, such as:
They allow you to gain an instant online presence, particularly helpful if you don't have a website yet.
It can give your own website an SEO boost.
Niche directories help to build your credibility and provide social proof (for example by including client reviews or through guest posting).
Pricing varies but most offer plans where you should only need to gain 1-2 new clients per year to get a return on your investment, on top of the benefits mentioned above. So, the cost-benefit is incredibly good.
Directory Website Pro Tips:
Like all of your marketing activities, directory listings are not a magic wand. You have to do your part also in optimising them:
Make sure you have appealing content that is SEO optimized.
Ensure you have a strategy in place to make it easy for potential clients to take the next step with you, such as offering a free consultation or free coaching, getting them into your sales funnel, or something as simple as just getting them to visit your website.
Always keep track of all your directory listings and ensure your business's content is always up to date, relevant and fresh.
As long as the websites are reputable, don't be afraid to list in multiple directories, the more online awareness you have the better.
Listing on directory websites specifically for coaches is a no-brainer in terms of not just expanding your reach, but in gaining higher quality, targeted leads for your business.
Shameless plug - my website Coach Connect Australia is specifically for coaches and consultants within Australia and has over a dozen categories to niche down even further.
A website allows you to showcase your knowledge, credentials, experience, services and success stories, making it an effective means of establishing the credibility of your coaching business and authority in your industry.
Having a website isn't enough on its own though, in addition to being visually appealing and functional, a conversion-focused strategy is a must-have for successfully converting visitors into clients.
Website Pro Tips:
Make it easy to use and navigate.
Make sure it loads as quickly as possible, everything works and no broken links.
Avoid unnecessary bells & whistles, they just distract from the important stuff!
Mobile responsiveness is a MUST.
Have a robust, value-based content marketing plan for each primary page of your site.
Include social proof (testimonials, reviews etc.).
Include CTA's (Call To Action) to create more touchpoints and to start building know, like and trust.
Utilise the power of lead magnets: Create a free offer (checklist, guide, etc.) that gives your potential client lots of value and an easy quick win. Make sure it’s integrated with your email list so you can build the relationship from there.
Be searchable. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is an ongoing effort for every online coaching business. For example, research and implement relevant keywords into your content and inbound marketing efforts, include alt tags in all your images, gain reputable backlinks and so on.
Similar to joining a relevant Facebook group, speaking gigs are a great way to introduce yourself to your host's audience. They allow you to increase brand awareness, build connections and networks, and possibly even gain media attention.
Plus, once you have provided value and gained credibility, it's a great platform to promote your services. Such as a free workshop, your coaching programs, or offering a free session.
Speaking Gig Pro Tips:
Focus on providing massive value first, before talking about any of your coaching services. Serve first, sell second.
As always, align yourself with an event that has the same target audience as you
Know upfront what other business owners will also be speaking about so you can make sure your content is differentiated from theirs.
With our on-the-go lifestyles, the popularity of podcasting has grown exponentially over the last few years.
For a coaching business specifically, the platform allows you to connect with customers on a much deeper level as the listener can hear the passion in your voice and the emotion behind your words.
If that's not your forte, having your own podcast is not a must. Instead, you could consider appearing as a guest on someone else's and still reach a large audience and provide massive value from there.
Guest podcasting Pro Tips:
Before you even approach a podcaster, be sure to listen to at least 2-3 podcasts to get a good sense of their content and so you’re well prepared to participate.
Only approach channels that have the same target audiences as you.
Have a look through their reviews so you can get a good idea of what the listeners like (and don't like) about the show.
Get your tech sorted. Nothing worse than low-quality audio!
Networking is another great way to gain more exposure, especially to your local area for in-person events.
You can try your local BNI chapter, local business chambers, or other business groups. Or, you can try social media groups to find other online communities.
Networking groups Pro Tips:
Have a goal. What do you actually want to achieve by going? Don't just go to these events because you have been told that you should. Set a purpose, so you remain focused on it, rather than just aimlessly wandering around.
Have a solid elevator pitch prepared and ready before you go.
Whilst many predominantly run an online coaching business, business cards are still handy for in-person events and make it easy to remember your name, website etc.
Dress the part - you want to be comfortable but also give a good impression.
Use your coaching skills! Listen and ask good questions.
Email is one of the most effective ways to reach out to potential clients and stay in touch with existing ones. It provides a great way for you to share content with your audience, build relationships, and promote your services to new and past clients alike.
Email marketing Pro Tips:
Create an opt-in list that allows people who visit your website to sign up for news about upcoming events or webinars. This gives them an opportunity to learn more about what you have going on without being pushy or spammy
Send emails that contain valuable information that might interest readers who aren't necessarily looking for coaching specifically but might still benefit by learning something new. This is a great way to build trust.
Personalised emails (i.e. where you use their name within the content or subject line) have better opening and click rates. As do interactive emails, (e.g. including a video)
Be realistic. Our inboxes are overflowing so don't be discouraged if not everyone reads all of your newsletters. For example, according to 2022 statistics from Oberlo, the average open rate for a welcome email is only eight percent.
Paid ads are one of the most effective ways to gain more clients for your business and build your brand. Plus, you can decide upfront exactly how much you want to spend and you can refine the targeting options to very specific audiences.
So, if you've got a budget for it, here are some great places to start:
We all know it and we all use Google. So it just makes sense that boosting your business there has a strong chance of giving you a solid ROI.
There are multiple ad options to choose from including text, image, videos etc. plus multiple budget choices such as impressions versus clicks. Between that and what can be a very complicated-looking dashboard, this can be overwhelming for some.
So, if you do want to utilize this service, my advice is to first get yourself familiar with the foundations and basic terms. Then, set a small budget to begin with and use that as a low-risk, learning opportunity before diving in further.
If you're new to Google AdWords, Neil Patel offers a great overview and step-by-step guide to help you get started. And, Google itself offers a very handy checklist to follow here.
This social media giant is the largest so there's already a lot of noise out there and it's true, reach is getting harder and harder.
It is still a good option though in that it can work with any budget, targeting options can be as specific as you need, and the insights make it easy to refine and optimize your campaigns.
With over 2 billion monthly active users Instagram is another great option to promote your business. Like Facebook, budget choices, targeting options and insights are very good.
For example, say you're a health coach that works with Australian mums over 40 who want to lose weight. You can create a social media campaign that targets that specific demographic, and within a budget you choose.
Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine?! As such it's getting a tonne of traffic and it's not all funny cat videos and such. A lot of users come to YouTube for a variety of purposes such as education, inspiration, and motivation... which is right up your alley!
Interested? Check out this video: YouTube Marketing in 2022: A Complete Beginner's Guide
Being a work-centric space, this is a haven of quality clients for business coaches and the like. It can be expensive, but if this is where the ideal customers for your niche are, then it should be a worthwhile investment.
I hope this article has given you a good overview of the different ways that you can promote your coaching business effectively and attract more potential clients.
Each strategy could warrant an individual article on its own (e.g. for each social media platform), so this is really just a taster to give you inspiration, and motivation to get started.
As you go through each strategy, think about how it might fit into your overall marketing plan. The idea is not to use all of them (that would be exhausting!), but to hone in on the activities that work best for your business and your ideal clients.
I suggest starting with at least 3. Educate yourself on the foundational details and best practices and get in there and just start experimenting.
Finally, don't be afraid to delegate! There are experts who specialise in every single advertising option mentioned above. By hiring a pro, not only will you get the most out of your investment, but your time and energy will be free to do what you do best... coaching!