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The internet hype is raging when it comes to promoting your coaching business. As soon as you search for advice on how to attract high-quality leads for your unique specialty of coaching, you will find an entire tribe of experts revealing their secrets. And to be honest, a lot of the advice provided is great, but for one thing…
An essential element you need to understand in order to make all of your marketing decisions.
And this element is your ability to take a step back from the exciting prospect of generating leads for your coaching business. Once you do, you will be able to really understand what you are trying to achieve with your business depending on what stage it’s at. An essential consideration that can make or break your new business.
Because a strategy that will work for a coach that has ten years of experience will often leave a new coach feeling like a failure and reconsidering their entrepreneurial life choices. The reason for this mismatch is that just as your personal needs change over time, so do the needs of your business - and more specifically, your marketing needs.
That’s where you must stop and make sure that you listen to advice that is directly considering your unique needs, not a one size fits all type of advice. We recommend for new coaches to focus on building a solid marketing funnel first because it gives the kind of flexibility that makes it easier for coaches to find long-term success instead of quick wins that often lead to long-term failure and disappointment.
You need to view your marketing funnel as a tap that can be turned wide-open to generate high amounts of water (hear “targetted leads”) or turned on a low trickle when you need to focus your attention on other areas of your business (or have reached your current client delivery capacity).
The truth is that when you begin as a coach, you will - most likely - not be able to handle a high flow of clients. You will still be formulating your exact message, refining your delivery strategy, and maybe even creating and recording an online program. In other words, you will be busy building the many facets of your business and won’t be able to spend large amounts of time nurturing your leads and taking calls with each and every one of them (nor should you anyway!).
In our experience, at first, coaches need a low to moderate flow of leads. Those can be easily obtained using free lead generation techniques. Then, as their systems and delivery processes fall into place, coaches can start spending more time on marketing and sales to grow their business.
Once a coach is delivering to a near-maximum number of clients, they need to maintain a trickle of new leads to sustain their clientele numbers as clients flow in and out of their coaching programs.
Furthermore, this process is often not as straightforward as explained above and needs flexibility (in terms of the flow of clients) depending on a hundred variables in each coach’s business. Maybe it’s the funds' availability for advertising, the effectiveness of one’s delivery systems, or maybe a mindset block that needs to be resolved in order to grow the business. All of these - and more! - could impact your lead generation needs.
The beauty of an effective marketing funnel is that new leads get generated, nurtured, and engaged with automatically so it becomes the coach's decision to turn the tap on and off to more clients or not. The power of building and nurturing a solid database that engages regularly with your high-quality content is one of the key foundations of a successful coaching business.
Taking a step back once more, you now understand that your marketing funnel fits between your marketing (see options below) and your sales funnel. Setting up a marketing funnel is a step easily missed as it requires a lot of “work-hard-once” efforts. And without the right skills and knowledge, it isn’t uncommon to see coaches take a couple of years to finalize their marketing funnel set-up.
Note: Marketing for coaches includes 3 essentials:
Free Marketing: podcast interviews, blogging, online videos, SEO, free media exposure, etc.
Paid Marketing: Facebook/Instagram/Google ads & ads retargeting, banner ads on other websites and platforms, Influencer marketing, etc.
A good coach marketing funnel will grab a potential client’s attention, then attempt to capture their basic contact information. Over time, the funnel’s automation processes will respectfully expose them to more and more of your work so they can decide if they want to get on a call with you to explore the possibility of working with you or simply sign-up for your services straight-up.
Your marketing funnel is the “online dating” part of generating new high-quality leads. You want to show your best profile with integrity, respect for the other person, and of course generosity. Impress enough for them to want to show up on a date and meet with you (read: meet on your insights or sales call).
Like all great relationships, they’re much more likely to last if they start with the right energy and intentions. That’s why it’s essential that you spend some time thinking about what you want people to know about you and your work - as a first impression - but also what you can generously give them that will help them connect with your message and trust your expertise.
The key steps to your coach marketing funnel are:
Your Lead Magnet = A high-value (free) gift to your potential clients. Great Lead Magnet examples are things like the PDF version of your book if you’re an author, a detailed guide to achieving a specific outcome, or a quiz to assess a particular aspect of themselves or their business that helps them decide how much more work is required to make things better, etc.
Your Email campaign(s) = A comprehensive succession of emails that will be automatically delivered to a potential prospect at a frequency of one email per week minimum. These emails will vary in length, answer the most common questions people ask about your work, offer valuable insights, and allow prospects to easily reach out to you when they feel ready to work with you.
Your Website’s opt-in and thank-you pages = One of the functions of your website is to be used as the “professional profile” interface in place between you and your potential clients. It is via your website that your potential clients will receive your free lead magnet and give you their contact information.
Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) = This is the other essential part of online marketing. A platform that sits in the background of your business but that gathers all your prospect's data, delivers the email campaign(s), allows your potential clients to either reply to your messages or click on the links that send them back to your booking calendar or other offers, and much more.
With such a marketing funnel in place, you will be able to:
Nurture the leads generated from your marketing campaigns without taking more of your time.
Build a list of potential clients that you can send special offers and messages to whenever you are ready to open the tap to your client's intake, and
Never again miss the opportunity to work with clients that you don’t have the capacity for but who might be suitable to work with in the future.
Finally, it’s important for you to remember that a good marketing funnel is only as good as the sales funnel that follows it. Good potential leads are only that: potential. And unfortunately potential doesn’t fill up your booking calendar. Following your marketing funnel, you will need to design and implement a solid sales funnel that has the purpose of converting prospects into clients.