Move your marketing from conversions to conversations

Most marketing advice for coaches doesn’t work.

Why? Because the Holy Grail of traditional marketing strategies is the conversion.

And as a coach, conversions are not what you’re chasing.

You’re not selling vacuum cleaners, or water bottles, or any other ‘disposable’ product or service. Conversions are not your focus. The heart of the coach’s marketing journey isn’t the ‘sale’ at the end of it, it’s the conversation that takes place between you and the prospective client.

You’re not just chasing a sale, you’re looking for the right sale, to the right client… and that requires a conversation, an exchange with someone who resonates with what you do and sees the value in the outcome, feeling or insight that you’ll guide them to.

So, how can you shift your marketing mindset? How do you wean yourself off the conversion drive and focus on creating opportunities for conversations instead? We have a few ideas…

Move your marketing from conversions to conversations

The risk of focusing on conversions

Conversions lead you to think about the client in the wrong way. If your focus is on sales, on signing people up to coaching sessions or online courses, you’re at risk of selling the client something that they don’t need and won’t appreciate.

A blind focus on conversions comes from a couple of assumptions about the client:

a) they want to work with a coach, and

b) they understand what you can do for them.

And that’s not how the client’s journey of consciousness works. At the start of the process, most clients don’t even know that coaching is what they need.

They may know that they have a problem to solve (problem aware), but not that coaching is a potential solution (solution aware).

When marketing coaching, the goal isn’t to get the product in the basket and then have the client click BUY. The potential buyer of coaching must understand their own situation first. Only then can they understand what coaching can do for them. By focusing on BUY, you’re effectively asking them to make a blind purchase.

First, they need to be ready to make a change, and invested in the process of change before they commit to making it.

Don’t sell, engage.

conversation (noun): talk between two or more people in which thoughts, feelings, and ideas are
expressed, questions are asked and answered, or news and information is exchanged.

There’s the secret: “…exchanged”

In traditional marketing, the information flow is one way: from the person trying to persuade towards the person being persuaded.

Instead of persuasion, focus on engagement, on asking, on listening.

In order to speak to a client in a way that doesn’t feel like selling, you need to ask questions, inspire ideas or invite a change of mindset. Get them thinking about the kinds of things you work on with clients.

Start a conversation, shine a light on the shadowy corners of their understanding. The key is to make them think – with information, a question, a fresh perspective… (if this sounds familiar, you’re right – you’re using your coaching skills to market your coaching!) Turn on the lightbulb and leave them wanting to know more.

Diagram showing 5 Levels of Client Awareness

Be a guide

At the movies, heroes are great – we cheer them on, we applaud them, maybe we even want to be them. But in real life, we’re each the hero on our own journey (even if it doesn’t always feel “heroic”!) Your potential client doesn’t need another hero, they need a guide – someone who has made similar journeys, knows the routes, and the pitfalls.

Bear in mind the five levels of awareness along that journey: Unaware, Problem Aware, Solution Aware, Product Aware, and Most Aware.

A conversation is the ideal vehicle for that journey. They travel at their own pace. You guide and encourage. Their trust in you grows along the way… By the time they get to BUY, they’re aware of the work to be done, how you can support them in doing it, and what results they can reasonably expect. Or they’ve decided that what you’re offering isn’t for them. And that’s okay too – because it’s a decision based on knowledge and understanding and you’ve both avoided working with somebody who’s not right for you.

So, start the conversation. With words, with a blog post, a podcast, a video… Invite them to learn, and to take the next step.

But… I still need to convert people to customers.

Yes, ultimately, you do need enough people to buy what you’re offering. But to focus your marketing efforts on that ‘point of sale’ is missing the point. Without the conversation, you’re trying to sell somebody something that they don’t feel or understand the need for.

Taking people on a journey that ends with them thinking, “I know what I need and I want to work with this coach to get it”, is a far better marketing ‘strategy’.

It’s all about making a connection

Don’t obsess about conversions, form fills, listens, likes, views… Instead, think about all the ways in which you converse with potential clients and bring your energy to making content that inspires, excites and makes your ideal client curious.
When they feel a connection to what you’re saying, they’re already starting to work with you.

If you want to shift your marketing focus to more authentic, truthful and meaningful conversations then our coach’s marketing journey will guide you from adopting the right mindset through to creating a meaningful client journey. If you want to work through this process in a structured way, we have created a self-service course to support you in doing just that.

If this blog has got you thinking about your marketing in a different way, join our community of coaches who are all working on creating meaningful conversations with their ideal clients. Find out more.

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