First of all I want to say congratulations for taking the daring leap of faith that is entrepreneurship. I’m sure you’ll find it a journey that is incredibly rewarding as well as very frustrating. I know I do."The more challenging the goal the more obstacles you are going to cross." - Jeff Hawkins (Palm Computing) Click To Tweet
As you are aware the first step for building up an audience for your coaching business is your website. All of your online marketing efforts will either start there or, more likely, end there as people see your marketing, visit your website, see if it looks professional, and then sign up for a consultation.
Before you start work on your website you need to figure out what you’re going to say on your site. That begins with what is called the value proposition.
All marketing is selling somebody on a better version of themselves. This is true for car commercials, purse ads in magazines, and insurance commercials on the radio (saving money makes a richer you). With your marketing for your coaching services you are doing this literally.
With that in mind let’s first look at your value proposition. Here is one formula (from Steve Blank at Stanford) about coming up with your value proposition:
“We help X do Y by doing Z”
X = your audience
In this case the X is your audience. Who are they specifically? You need to have a very clear idea about this for two reasons:
- It is easier to tailor your message when you can picture your audience. (Check out this article for more information about customer development.)
- Your first instinct is to not limit your possible customer base but that is exactly what you should do. You can pick out a niche (a smaller segment of your overall audience) and own it with very targeted messaging. Once you conquer that niche (be the big fish in a small pond) you can expand. Or, said differently, if you try to sell to everyone you’ll end up selling to no one. Instead start by selling to exactly one person (a niche of your niche).
Y = the better version of themselves
Be specific about what this is. “Achieve your goals” or “find success” are very vague and mean different things to different people. “Smile more”, “sleep better”, and “secure a promotion” are bit more specific goals that somebody might have. (I haven’t done coaching but I imagine the more specific the goal your client has the more actionable the advice you give can be. And the more actionable the advice the more likely they are to follow it and achieve a positive outcome.)
Z = that action required to achieve Y
Your coaching services but what specifically does that entail? Weekly or monthly meetings? In person? Over the phone? Is it an x-step process?
“Renew the adventure in your life with one small step a day.”
A way that I came up with to reach a value proposition is using the “Five Whys?“.
This website visitor wants to hire a coach.
To gain confidence.
They feel overlooked and/or taken advantage of.
Nobody asks them for their input at work.
They are not viewed as an authority/leader.
They keep to themselves and do not attract attention.
So, in this example (and it is just an example) they think they want to gain confidence but they really want more attention, recognition, etc.
“The path to wins, recognition, and accolades starts with one step.” (signing up for a free consultation)
tldr: be specific about your service and the outcome right at the top of your page."Resilience is something you do. Get up and go forward every day with hope and optimism." - Jackie Speier (U.S. Congress) Click To Tweet
Back to selling somebody a better version of themselves I would recommend that your site use images with bright colors. Show them the person they want to become. Specifically for the first image I would use an image of an attractive female smiling (research shows both men and women are more likely to click a button on a landing page that features an attractive woman).
You can use Unsplash to find images to use on your site. I like this one if it were to be inverted (so she is facing left to right):
This one also seems appropriate for coaching and could be used further down the page:
Testimonials are great (they form what is called social proof) but they are even more effective with the picture of the person. Your testimonials should be on the front page of your site and, if you can, put smiling pictures next to each one."Expect the unexpected and whenever possible be the unexpected." - Jack Dorsey (Square/Twitter) Click To Tweet
As much as you possibly can you want to write your copy about the visitor rather than you. A good exercise it to replace “I” and “we” in your copy with “you”.
Secondly, be confident. Phrases like “I think” and “I believe” weaken your message.
Finally, tell me about what the process will entail for me as a client. What happens day one? Is there a plan tailored to my goals and time frame?
Traffic and trust:
Most entrepreneurs learn fairly quickly that putting up a website by itself does not actually result in any customers. This is particularly true for service businesses as opposed to ecommerce businesses. You likely will get some business from people you know and referrals but you will not initially get any from strangers on the Internet.
But you can change that!
You can build trust with your audience by developing a relationship with them and building your brand. Typically on the Internet that is done with social media, blog posts, email, videos, podcasts, etc. Focus on one or two of those.
Basically you need to put in a lot of hours and give everything away for free at first. The people that connect with you the best will be the ones that become your customers.
I strongly suggest email being one of your ways of building an audience, and a relationship with them, because it is a direct line to your audience that you own. You’re going to need to start with an email marketing platform. I really like Drip but there are others out there (Mailchimp probably being the most popular).
Sign up for Drip and create a five-day educational email course where you go in depth about a single sliver of what you cover in your coaching. Five lessons on meditation might be something that would be popular. Five lessons on workplace communications, going back to work after having a baby, marital nitpicking, etc. There are lots of problems that people would love to learn to handle better. Write up five emails about a topic and then on the last email mention that if they would like to explore further they can reply to the email and set up an appointment.
Put an opt-in form for this email course on your homepage.
Another way to get people to signup for your email list is by giving away an ebook. They don’t have to be long but, like with an email course, you are demonstrating what you are an authority and why somebody can trust you. (This is my guide to creating an ebook.)
I might recommend podcasting as your second avenue for building an audience as it is really hard to standout in the blogosphere these days and it is less work than video. Possible formats for a podcast:
- Q&A (either with a “caller” or where people write in with questions and you answer)
- Book reviews
- Discussions on books, academic papers, etc.
Stick to one format for your podcast (you can launch more if you want) as I hear it is good to get into a rhythm for them and it allows you to be creative inside constraints."Creativity loves constraint." - Marissa Mayer (Google) Click To Tweet
Instagram could be a powerful platform for reaching your ideal client and seems to be a place where inspiration (and self-help?) thrives.
Eventually you are going to want to track the number of people who visit your site and how they find you so install Google Analytics.
Some days I struggle to find the motivation to work on my business and do my ONE Thing. One thing I posted on my business dashboard is a question, “Why are you trying to help and how can you best help them?”
If you needed any further entrepreneurial inspiration check out my book, Passion and Perseverance, which is a collection of advice from entrepreneurs much smarter and more successful than myself."Your best day is always in front of you." - Mark Forchette (OptiMedica) Click To Tweet