If your coaching business provides a very unique service with very little competition, congratulations! But what if you are just one voice in a full choir? Everyone is singing the same song, at the same level, and to the same audience. How do you stand out from that choir? Here are seven tips to grow your coaching business by using effective marketing.
Stop focusing on your competition
In order to grow your coaching business, you need to understand that, chances are, you really aren't that different than your competitors. Your bullet points describing why your coaching business is unique is most likely the same bullet points the next coach down the road is using. Every coach offers value, gets results and has testimonials. Every coach has changed lives and/or businesses.
The danger in marketing your coaching business with the angle of competition differentiation is it keeps your mind on the competition and not on you or solving your clients' problems. Stop looking at what other coaches are doing. Stop trying to find an angle. Think about all the time you've spent analyzing the competition, and developing arguments and strategies about why you're better. I'm willing to bet very few of those strategies gave you a heads up over the competition.
Just Be You
Because you've chosen a coaching industry that's saturated with fellow coaches, the only way you'll grow your coaching business, really compete and "prove up" your coaching expertise is to be you. Be completely transparent and authentic. Do not try to mimic or model the business of a highly-successful coach, because you are not her. You will never be her because you have your own set of DNA, your own history and your own outlook on life. Anyone can be a copycat and elevate the noise in the marketplace. But no one can be you. Brand you. Market you.
Ultimately, your clients won't choose to work with you because of your systems, programs or track record. They'll choose you because there's something about YOU that resonates with them. So, just be you.
Focus on solving your Clients' problems
Your potential customer has a problem they need solving, otherwise they wouldn't need your services. Your marketing approach should focus on solving that problem, not on how you're different than your competition.
In his book, "This is Marketing," (that's an affiliate link) Seth Godin writes (and I'm paraphrasing here) that a hardware store customer doesn't want the store's drill bit. He wants a hole in his wall. But really, Godin continues, the customer wants the shelf that will go on the wall he wants to put a hole in. Even further, the customer really wants less clutter in their home, and the shelf will accomplish this. Further still, the customer is looking for the feeling of peace in his home that comes from decluttering. So, the customer doesn't want the hardware store's drill bit. He wants peace in his home.
Finding a way to market your coaching business with that end point in mind is where the magic is to growing your coaching business. Solve your customer's real problem. Needing to lose 20 pounds is not the real problem your weight loss client has. Instead, it might be understanding what is triggering her to emotionally overeat at 4pm everyday. Perhaps that overeating is being triggered by her lack of confidence. Therefore, to effectively help her lose that 20 pounds, you have to help her gain inner confidence.
Find a niche within your niche to grow your coaching business
Niche marketing is a way of focusing on a smaller group of potential customers. For example, if you're a life coach, you could specialize in helping women. But, that's still a large niche in a very competitive market. You'll want to take your niche down even further. Maybe you choose to focus on 40- to 50-year-old women, who are divorced, and who are starting new career paths. Now that's a micro niche!
I know the gut reaction here is the thought that you could be losing out on more clients by narrowing your target audience. But, look at it from a market spend point of view. Taking the same marketing budget to focus on a small subset of potential clients would result in getting more traction out of your marketing. How? Because you are focusing on just that subset's problem. And you have the answer they are searching for. And you're the only voice in the choir singing their song.
Do you want to spend $1,000 to reach 1,000 women in general in hopes of getting 10 new leads? Or, would you rather spend $1,000 to reach 1,000 women -- in your specific target group -- with the likelihood of getting at least double the new leads, and converting half of those into customers? Micro niching in your advertising makes good financial sense and is critical in order to grow your coaching business.
Get in your prospect's daily path to grow your coaching business
It's almost comical how everyone in one industry does the same type of marketing. The trick to effective marketing in a crowded, bloated, competitive industry is to get your message in front of your target audience -- right smack in the middle of their daily path.
In his book, "It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For," (that's an affiliate link) author Roy Spence writes about a marketing campaign Norwegian Cruises did to promote their new "no dress code" program. The cruiseline, instead of traditional television, radio and newspaper advertising, took their message to the dry cleaners. Yes, the dry cleaners! They provided dry cleaners with bags that said, "whatever this is, you can wear it onboard." Mind. Blown. They got in front of their target audience right smack in their path -- and in a spot where their competition had never even thought of being. Genius.
Your job is to get right in front of your audience, in a spot where your competition isn't. Which social media platforms are they on? Which businesses do they frequent? How do they spend their free time? It's real quiet in the places your competition isn't at. Your message will be heard. Here are some great inexpensive marketing strategies to consider.
Your Marketing message should focus on your customer
Similarly to focusing on your customer's pain points, your marketing message should have more "you" points and less "I" points. This is the No. 1 mistake I see so many coaches, and businesses in general, make. Their marketing messages go on an on about them, and neglect to focus on the customer.
Seriously, no one cares how many widgets you make, sell or design. No one cares how many companies you grew. Everyone cares about what you can do for THEM. How are you going to help them thrive and survive? It's never been and never will be about you. It's always been about the customer. Stop the self promotion, delete all the "I" points in your copy, and instead rewrite them as "Customer" points, focusing on how you can serve your customer better.
Build Trust and credibility to grow your coaching business
I've talked a lot about focusing on what makes you unique, focusing on your customer's problems, and focusing on a micro niche market. Now it's time to take all that focus, and apply it to your coaching programs, branding and marketing. Not sure what branding is all about? Check out this blog post.
Think of your coaching business like a kitchen funnel. I've encouraged you throughout this post to take your coaching business from the wide opening, and narrowing it down. In the life coach example above, if you've decided to focus on 40- to 50-year-old divorced women undergoing career change, resist the urge to create a program for weight loss, or a program for married couples.
Do not take your eyes off of your tribe and their pain points. Stick with your plan and give it time to grow and thrive, otherwise you begin to look desperate for clients and business. And that's never a good position to be in. Go narrow and very deep. Avoid the shallow.
All of your landing pages, sales funnels, webinars, ebooks, lead magnets and courses should be consistent and congruent with the tribe you serve. When you give public speeches, you only want to talk about your tribe's pain points and how you solve them. The clients you take on are only those that fit your tribe persona. Your pricing points make sense to the tribe you are serving. Even how you dress and talk should be congruent with your tribe. When you are consistent in all aspects of your business by focusing on your one tribe, you grow the perception of expertise, gain trust and ultimately will grow your coaching business.
By following these tips and applying them to your coaching business, you'll be on your way to positioning yourself as a true expert in your field. Get out of the generalist category where there's a plethora of coaches trying to be the same thing. Become a specialist. That's where the sweet spot is.