Don’t worry about the marketing you’re not doing, get excited about what you could be doing

When you read about marketing your coaching business, it’s easy to feel bad for not doing enough. But instead of making you feel bad (not how we do things here!) I’d rather talk about marketing in a way that will excite and inspire you.

When you read marketing blogs and videos, it’s easy to get the impression you’re not doing enough, you’re not keeping up, and unless you’re relentlessly posting on social media you’re just not good enough. 

Frankly, most of what I read is just hype. So many blogs and videos paint an unrealistic picture of what coaches NEED to be doing in order to get their marketing working. Hundreds of posts, seemingly continuous Stories, Reels and TikTok dances. It’s all bullshit. You don’t need to be doing it.

So, as someone who wants to get the word out about their coaching services, what should you be doing?

Simon Batchelar Marketing Mentor

Influencers rely on vanity…

When your job is to show off (things, places, people, yourself) then naturally you need to be on social media all day, every day, engaging and building your audience. It’s not so much marketing as a lifestyle choice for those who can take the pace and stress. For the rest of us, the relentless hamster wheel of posting, liking, tagging and commenting is just not worth the time it takes. And yet, many people think that marketing (including marketing coaching services) requires you to practically live on social media platforms. Fortunately, unlike influencers, coaches don’t need vanity metrics to attract sponsorship, you’re simply building an audience of people who like what you do and want to know more.

…whereas you have a business to run

Apart from anything else, you don’t have time to maintain influencer-levels of visibility. Luckily, your business doesn’t need you to.

Still, a lot of the ‘advice’ out there is focused on vanity metrics (followers, likes, etc.) insisting that you need to build a huge audience to get results. that’s a simplistic approach that only fits for simplistic marketing situations. If you’re selling a £30 water bottle, or a £97 online course, then yes, it’s all about the numbers. But as a coach, the service you’re selling is more expensive and complex. A casual or passive online audience isn’t enough. You need a spread of content and information, easily accessed, to show your ideal clients how their lives will be better after working with you. You can’t just take selfies in coffee shops!

Person balancing on tightrope

It’s a balancing act

The key is to balance the time spent making and posting content with the return you generate. You’re not trying to build a mega audience of coaching fans, you’re aiming to convert people interested in what you do into active clients. Most coaching businesses only need to nurture and convert a relatively small number of ‘interested strangers’ into paying customers to be successful. (For more on this, see the other article, “Why Your Coaching Business Only Needs 100 True Fans”)

There’s more to life (and marketing) than social media

A lot of marketing advice focuses on social media and completely ignores email marketing. If you follow that advice, you’re missing out! For most coaches, the most effective marketing asset they have is their email list. It’s direct access to their prospects’ inboxes and attention, something that you don’t get with social media. When used well it can be really effective and it’s very low cost.

If you want to encourage people to join your email list, give them a great reason to subscribe, no one wants your boring newsletter, instead, give them something that really adds value. For example, when you join our email list you get weekly marketing inspiration and a feel-good Friday update from the community.

Influencer posing for phone

Don’t mimic, be authentic

If you want to engage your ideal client then focus on their needs, wants, problems and questions. Make content that helps them learn, understand and think. Show them how you guide your clients, how your process works, what goes into doing what you do..

And remember, you’re making content for them, not for you.

We have a full guide on creating social content that really works. Drawing on that, here are our top 3 content creation tips:

  • Be authentic – be yourself and put yourself out there (people will be nice).
  • Focus on your goal, not vanity metrics – use a marketing journey to nurture and convert more of your ideal clients.
  • Don’t sell. Show up and add value – no one likes a pushy salesperson, especially on social media, so don’t try and sell. Instead, just add value

What platform should I be using?

This is one of our most common questions. There is no single right answer but consider this: where does your ideal customer spend time online? Where do they go to look for advice, to meet like-minded people or just hang out? 

If you don’t know then either ask them or take a look at a few channels and see what is going on there. Don’t assume you know what is happening on each social app or platform, especially if you’ve never used it before. Try a few out. Find your people.

But… I don’t like (insert least favourite social platform).

I hear this a lot. I don’t use Facebook/Instagram/TikTok… blah, blah, blah… my clients don’t use… blah, blah, blah…

Stop making excuses. Your clients are definitely 100% guaranteed using social media. So if you want more clients, you need to get involved.

But…I’ve tried social media and it didn’t work

Unless you have tried posting consistently for 3-6 months then you don’t know for sure. If it didn’t work for you then the problem wasn’t the platform, the app, or the algorithm, and it certainly wasn’t your clients. It was your content.

If you’ve not tried posting yet then how do you know? The only thing stopping a social platform working is you

You can make it work, you’ve just got to consistently show up, be authentic and add value for at least 6 months. Your clients are out there right now waiting to hear from you and they really want to engage with your story and hear all about it. Millions of coaches post about their business every day and it works, they check in, say hello, show their audience how their process works, and how they delight their customers.

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Getting started

To get started, my advice is to focus on one channel and get that working. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to be on them all at once. If you already use a channel, then start there – you already know how that works and what content you like. If you think your customers might be on a different platform then give it a go. 

If you’re going to go fishing, go where the fish are.

Plan out three posts for next week and get started. They don’t have to be perfect, just start and see where it goes.

If you want to learn more, join our community of coaches who are growing their businesses and becoming better, bolder and braver.

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