How to Market Your Coaching Business

A Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing for Coaches

How to Market Your Coaching Business

Becoming a certified coach is only half the journey. The other half is establishing yourself in the industry and proving your abilities to potential clients. 

As a coach, you are passionate about helping people achieve their goals and live fulfilling lives. However, building a successful coaching business requires more than just passion and a coaching certification. It also requires a solid understanding of marketing, brand and sales.

And that may feel overwhelming. But it’s ok because you’re not alone.

At Better Story Marketing, we want to help you tell your story well so you can impact as many people as possible. With the right marketing strategies, you can attract clients and build your coaching business in no time. 

In this guide, we’ll explore proven marketing strategies to help you attract clients and grow your coaching business. The process isn’t complicated, and when you put in the work, I believe you’ll be delighted with the results.

Let’s take a look at the process:

  1. Define your niche
  2. Build your online presence
  3. Utilize content marketing
  4. Offer free and paid consultations
  5. Network, collaborate and refer
  6. Make the happy path easy

Don't go it alone. Let's write your better story together.

Define your niche

One of the first steps in marketing for life coaches is to identify your target audience. You cannot be everything to everyone, so focusing on a particular niche can help you speak more directly to your ideal client. 

Consider the specific area of coaching you want to focus on and what kind of clients you want to work with. For example, you might specialize in executive coaching for professionals looking to advance their careers or relationship coaching for individuals seeking to improve their romantic relationships.

It is essential to have a clear understanding of the kind of people who will likely benefit from your coaching expertise. Obtaining this clarity means defining your niche and the specific problems you can solve for potential clients. 

As you clarify your niche, you’ll want to create personas of your ideal clients. Next is developing your message and marketing efforts by writing your brand story.

Build your online presence

In today’s digital age, establishing a solid online presence is crucial for any business. As a life coach, you can leverage various online platforms to promote your services and attract new clients. 

A  beautiful and clear website showcasing your coaching services, experience, and success stories is a must. And while first impressions are important, what your website says is more critical than how it looks. You have to focus on clarity around what problem you solve for your potential clients, how their life will be better and how they can get started or try it out.

Consider where your ideal client spends time online, especially when they’re thinking about the problem you solve. Choosing which social media platforms you engage on isn’t about your preferences but your ideal client’s.

Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or TikTok? You can also leverage these platforms by creating a business page.

If you’re just getting started, don’t feel pressure to do all of them simultaneously. That will burn out most people. Instead, focus your efforts on one or two platforms and regularly deliver quality content, like articles, insights, and tips for your target audience.

As you do this consistently, you’ll see what resonates with your ideal audience and begin to position yourself as an authority in your niche.

If this seems overwhelming, consider hiring a professional web designer who can customize your website, brand it effectively and teach you the proper SEO techniques to help your target clients find you. 

At Better Story Marketing, we love helping coaches launch and grow their businesses. That’s why we created both the Marketing OS for Coaching and the Coaching Brand Intensive.

Utilize content marketing

Another effective marketing strategy for coaches is content marketing. 

Creating content for crucial moments in your client’s journey from prospect to lead to buyer allows you, as the coach, to guide them along the way. But most businesses, coaches and entrepreneurs make the same mistake when it comes to creating content.

They write the content about themselves.

In the story of your business, your client is the main character, not you. This can be a challenging paradigm shift to make. But when you do, it unlocks so much potential to both help your clients and grow your business.

Content can take many forms, including:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • E-books
  • Courses
  • Webinars
  • Email campaigns
  • Infographics
  • Tips and tricks
  • Case studies
  • Success stories
  • How to guides
  • Personal experiences

This type of marketing can help build your credibility and drive traffic to your website. 

Personalizing your marketing efforts is vital because as you guide the client in the journey, you’re also building a digital relationship with them. You’re not helping the masses; you’re helping an individual grow.

An easy starting point is personalizing automated emails to include the client’s name. But to really bring personalized value, you’ll need to segment your audience and deliver personalized content. 

Here’s an example. If you’re a leadership coach, you could set up a quiz for people to identify their strengths and weaknesses or current challenges and opportunities. This quiz itself delivers valuable insights to the client, but it also helps you know what they need. If a challenge they face is leading a newly formed team, then you would want to deliver an email campaign around that topic and invite them to a product you offer that helps them lead this new team.

When the automation in your Marketing OS is set up correctly, this works like a charm. Potential clients are receiving personalized value and moving toward becoming actual paying clients without you actively doing anything.

It’s easy to feel stuck or uncertain about how to move ahead and take the next step in your marketing. Maybe you feel overloaded or like you’re just spinning your wheels. What if you had someone alongside you on the journey?

Offer free and paid consultations

Think back to your last significant purchase. Was there a moment when you were on the fence about whether or not you should move forward and buy?

This feeling is a typical moment in any buyer’s journey. And it’s especially common for potential coaching clients to want to move forward but feel unsure if it’s the right choice.

It’s really all about risk. Your potential clients are afraid they’ll make the wrong decision. They’re worried it won’t meet their expectations, and they’ll regret it.

This phenomenon is why most software companies offer some kind of free trial. It lets the customer try it out, allowing them to feel more confident about moving forward. 

As a coach, you can take a similar approach by offering a combination of free and paid consultations. In our Marketing OS for Coaches framework, the out-of-the-box automation pipeline includes two sessions.

  • Explore Session
  • Breakthrough Session

Let’s look at each and see how they will help you grow your coaching business.

The explore session

This is a short, 20-minute session that you can offer free to anyone interested in your coaching service. They choose from time slots you pre-decided could be available. The session flow includes getting to know each other by understanding the challenge they’re facing, the change they want to see and the timeline they’re hoping for. 

The goal of the explore session is twofold.

  1. You know if they’re someone you want to work with and can help. 
  2. They feel more confident in what they will get from you as a coach.

At the end of the explore session, some clients will be confident in what they want and ready to sign up, which is a fantastic return on the investment of a 20-minute session.

But others will still be on the fence. Because they signed up for the explore session, they should, by default, already be added to a nurture campaign to continue helping them identify if your coaching is a good fit for them and inviting them to sign up. But the game-changer at this moment is the breakthrough session.

The breakthrough session

The breakthrough session is a little different. It’s longer, 60-90 minutes, and not free.

During the session, you will collaboratively map out a plan for them. It will take them from the old story of where they’ve been to the new story of where they want to go. 

The breakthrough session accomplishes three things.

  1. They get to see you in action as a coach.
  2. They experience receiving significant value from a short session.
  3. They practice paying you for coaching.

At the end of the breakthrough session, they have an actionable plan. They can decide to take it and try to execute it on their own, or they can accept your invitation to coach them through that journey. 

After working with you for these two sessions, most will want to continue. 

Neither session needs to have a strong sales vibe. They are each touchpoints for both parties to decide if they want to continue. In the end, you’ll have more clients overall and more who you really like working with. 

Providing potential clients with a mini-coaching session can help them get to know your coaching style, build trust, and lead your clients to hire your services. It creates a low-risk opportunity for them to try out your services and see the benefits for themselves. 

If you want a really deep dive into these two sessions, check out this guide.

Network, Collaborate and Refer

Approach coaching with an abundance mentality rather than a scarcity mindset.

More than enough people need a coach to help them grow and make an impact. In fact, most people probably need a collection of coaches.

Once a client experiences the compounding impact of a coach in one area of their life, they will be open to it in other areas as well. 

Consider a small business owner who hires a Business Made Simple coach who helps them grow their business and, at the same time, experience less stress. Now that they’re experiencing growth and peace in their business, they realize how much they’ve been neglecting their health through minimal sleep, no exercise and stress eating. 

The business coach who has already helped them with their business is not the right person to help them with their health. But wouldn’t it be great if they knew someone they could recommend? 

Building a network of coaches who can refer people to one another expands your reach and revenue potential. The impact of this network multiplies when those coaches are all practicing explore sessions. 

During an explore session, it's common to discover that potential clients need a different type of coaching service than you offer. When you have a network, you can pivot the call by affirming the area they want to grow in and telling them you know someone who does precisely that. 

So, how do you build this network?

You can begin by attending coaching industry events, joining networking groups and organizations, and connecting with other coaches inside and outside your niche. Collaboration opportunities could include creating joint content, sharing leads, and even creating shared coaching programs.

Referral programs can help you gain new coaching clients in two ways. 

  1. Encouraging your existing clients to refer new clients to you. Offering a referral bonus or discount can incentivize your clients to spread the word for you. 
  2. Partnering with other coaches or complementary businesses that serve your target audience can expand your network and attract new clients.

Ultimately, you want to make it easy for the right clients to find the right coaches so they can grow and make an impact. And that brings us to our last section in this guide.

Make the happy path easy

We’ve covered a lot in this guide, and you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering where to begin. Don’t worry, that’s normal. 

Whether you’re just getting started marketing your coaching business or your remodeling and already existing strategy, the best place to start is with the happy path.

The happy path is a user experience term meaning “the most direct path a user can take within a product to achieve their desired result.” 

When you create a customer journey map, there are numerous paths a customer can take. But this one is more direct and often more frequent. As you develop the marketing OS for your coaching business, begin by building out the happy path. 

Building the happy path first will allow you to test and learn what resonates with your ideal clients. Optimizing the happy path will ensure those ideal clients can sign up with the least amount of friction possible.

As a coach, you have unique skills and talents to help people improve their lives. Let’s multiply that impact.

Marketing your coaching business can initially feel intimidating, but with a solid plan and the right tools, you’ll be landing more clients in no time.

To build a successful coaching business, you must focus on marketing strategies that will help you reach your target audience effectively. One key to success lies in persistence and consistency. And at the same time, don't be afraid to experiment with different marketing strategies to find what works best for your coaching practice.

Action Plan

We covered a lot of actions throughout this guide. But here’s a quick summary of the path you can take to create an effective strategy for marketing your coaching business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Marketing for Coaches

What is marketing for a coaching business?

Marketing for a coaching business involves promoting your services to attract potential clients. This involves a mixture of strategies, from content marketing to social media promotion, all with the goal of building your brand and attracting new clients.

Here's a breakdown:

  1. Content Marketing: Share your knowledge and expertise through blog posts, ebooks, white papers, or videos. This can help establish you as an authority in your field and attract potential clients who are looking for the information you provide.
  2. Social Media Marketing: Use platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to connect with potential clients, share valuable content, and build your brand.
  3. Email Marketing: Develop an email list and send regular newsletters or updates to your subscribers. This keeps your audience engaged and reminds them of the value you offer.
  4. SEO: Optimize your website and content for search engines to increase your online visibility. When potential clients search for coaching services, you want your business to appear in the results.
  5. Networking: Attend industry events, join professional organizations, or participate in online forums related to your field. This can help you connect with potential clients and other professionals who might refer clients to you.
  6. Testimonials and Case Studies: Showcase the success stories of your past or current clients as testimonials or case studies. These serve as social proof and can help potential clients see the value of your coaching services.
  7. Paid Advertising: Consider using paid advertising channels like Google Ads or social media ads to reach a larger audience.
  8. Webinars or Workshops: Host free or paid webinars or workshops on topics relevant to your target audience. This can help demonstrate your expertise and give potential clients a taste of what your coaching sessions would be like.

The key to successful marketing is consistency and authenticity. Be true to your brand and message, and aim to provide real value to your audience.

Learn more about marketing your coaching business.

What marketing strategies should I use for my coaching business?

Here are some marketing strategies you can consider for your coaching business:

  1. Social Media: Use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to connect with potential clients, share valuable content, and build your brand.
  2. Speaking at Events: Position yourself as an expert in your field by speaking at relevant events. This can help you gain visibility and credibility in your niche.
  3. Value Proposition: Start with your value proposition in your profile instead of just listing your achievements. Show potential clients how you can help them.
  4. Podcasting: Consider starting a podcast or appearing as a guest on other podcasts to reach a larger audience.
  5. SEO and Social Media Marketing: Use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website's visibility in search engine results. Also, leverage social media marketing to reach and engage with your target audience.
  6. Quora: Engage in platforms like Quora where you can answer questions related to your field of coaching. This can help you establish authority and potentially attract clients who are actively seeking advice.
  7. Networking: Join social media groups, attend conferences, and network with individuals who might be interested in your services.
  8. Authentic Branding: Focus on building an authentic brand that resonates with your target audience. This involves being true to your values, sharing your story, and consistently communicating your brand message.

It's important to try different strategies, monitor their effectiveness, and adjust your approach as needed.

Learn more about marketing your coaching business.

Why is marketing important for my coaching business?

Marketing is crucial for your coaching business for several reasons:

  1. Visibility: Marketing helps increase the visibility of your coaching business. It allows you to reach out to potential clients who may not know about your services.
  2. Credibility: Effective marketing can help establish you as an expert in your field. By sharing valuable content and insights, you can build credibility and trust with your audience.
  3. Client Acquisition: Through marketing, you can attract and convert prospects into clients. Whether it's through social media advertising, email marketing, or search engine optimization, marketing is the primary way to bring in new business.
  4. Client Retention: Marketing doesn't stop once you've acquired a client. Ongoing marketing efforts can help keep your existing clients engaged, increasing the likelihood of repeat business and referrals.
  5. Competitive Advantage: In a crowded market, effective marketing can help differentiate your coaching business from others. It allows you to communicate your unique value proposition to your target audience.
  6. Revenue Growth: Ultimately, marketing drives sales. By increasing your visibility and attracting more clients, marketing can directly contribute to revenue growth for your coaching business.

Marketing is not just about selling your services; it's about building relationships with your clients, understanding their needs and goals, and communicating how your coaching services can help them achieve those goals.

Learn more about marketing your coaching business.

How can I build an email list for my coaching business?

Building an email list for your coaching business can be a powerful way to connect with potential clients, share valuable content, and promote your services. Here are several strategies based on the search results:

  1. Identify Your Target Audience: Understand who you are trying to reach and what their needs and interests are. This will help you create content and offers that attract these individuals.
  2. Create a Lead Magnet: A lead magnet is a free resource that you offer to people in exchange for their email address. This could be an eBook, a webinar, a quiz, or any other piece of content that provides value to your audience.
  3. Set Up an Opt-In Form: This is a form on your website where people can sign up to receive your emails. Make it visible and easy to find, and consider adding it to multiple pages on your site.
  4. Promote Your Lead Magnet: Share your lead magnet on social media, on your website, in your email signature, and anywhere else your target audience might see it.
  5. Offer a Free Resource: In addition to a lead magnet, consider offering other free resources, such as a newsletter, blog posts, or training videos. This can encourage more people to sign up for your email list.
  6. Create a Contest: Contests can be an effective way to encourage people to sign up for your email list. Just make sure the prize is something that your target audience would find valuable.
  7. Join the Right Groups: Participating in relevant online communities or networking groups can help you connect with potential clients and grow your email list.
  8. Engage Your Subscribers: Once people have signed up for your email list, it's important to keep them engaged. Send regular emails with valuable content, ask for their input, and encourage them to share your content with others.

It's important to comply with all relevant laws and regulations when collecting and using personal data, including email addresses. Always obtain consent before sending marketing emails, and provide an easy way for people to unsubscribe if they wish to do so.

Learn more about marketing your coaching business.

Should I have a website for my coaching business?

Yes, it is highly recommended to have a website for your coaching business. Here are a few reasons based on the search results:

  1. Trust and Legitimacy: Having a website helps to establish trust with potential clients and gives your business a sense of legitimacy. Without a website, some may perceive your business as less professional or established.
  2. Control: A website is completely in your control, unlike social media platforms. This means you can decide exactly what content to publish and how to present your brand.
  3. Authority and Networking: Starting a blog on your website can help position you as an authority in your field and create networking opportunities.
  4. Pricing Transparency: There's debate over whether to list your prices on your website. Some argue it helps set clear expectations, while others recommend keeping pricing off the site to encourage potential clients to reach out directly for more information.

It's important to note that while having a website can be beneficial, it's not the only way to establish an online presence or attract clients. Platforms like social media, online directories, and professional networking sites can also be effective tools for marketing your coaching business.

Learn more about marketing your coaching business.

Customer Journey Maps

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey refers to the complete sequence of experiences that customers go through when interacting with a company or brand. This journey captures all stages, starting from the initial awareness or discovery phase, moving through engagement and consideration, leading to purchasing, and finally towards post-purchase interactions which may include support or advocacy.

The aim of mapping the customer journey is to get a comprehensive insight into different customer interactions across various touchpoints. It helps businesses understand how customers are experiencing their brand, where there might be pain points or areas for improvement, and how they can streamline the process to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Understanding the customer journey is vital for delivering exceptional customer experiences, improving customer retention, and driving business growth.

Learn more about creating a customer journey map for your small business or non-profit.

What are the stages in the customer journey?

The customer journey map should include the following stages.

  • Awareness. How does the customer become aware of your activities? What questions are they asking as they become aware of or try to understand the problem they’re facing? What channels do they use, and are they physical or digital?
  • Consideration. What triggers the customer to consider your product or service, are they comparing it with other alternatives in the market? What questions do they now have? What understanding will they need to be comfortable making a decision?
  • Decision. What concrete choices does the customer make at this point? How are they comparing the options? What factors are most important in their decision? How do they buy the product or service?
  • Delivery + Use. How does the customer finally receive the product or service?
  • Loyalty + Referral. Does the customer engage with your service again and become a repeat customer? How will an ongoing connection be cultivated? Do they introduce others? What channels do referrals typically come through?

Learn more about creating a customer journey map for your small business or non-profit.

Why is mapping the customer journey important?

Mapping the customer journey allows you to understand your customers' experiences, needs, and pain points at each stage of their interaction with your business. This understanding can help you improve your products, services, and marketing strategies to better meet your customers' needs.

Learn more about creating a customer journey map for your small business or non-profit.

How do I start creating a customer journey map?

Creating a customer journey map involves several key steps. Let's walk through them:

  1. Define Objectives: Understand why you're creating the map. Are you trying to improve the overall customer experience, solve a particular problem, or identify gaps in your service?
  2. Create Buyer Personas: These are fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. They should include demographic information, interests, behaviors, goals, and pain points.
  3. Identify Touchpoints: These are the points of interaction between your customers and your business. They could be anything from visiting your website, speaking to a salesperson, or using your product/service.
  4. Map the Customer Journey: Outline the steps your customers take from their initial interaction with your business to the final purchase or end goal. This could include stages like awareness, consideration, decision, and retention.
  5. Identify Opportunities and Pain Points: Look for areas where the customer experience can be improved. These could be places where customers are getting frustrated, or where there's an opportunity to exceed their expectations.
  6. Implement Changes: Use your findings to make improvements to your customer journey. This could involve changing your website layout, improving your customer service, or altering your product offering.
  7. Review and Update Regularly: Customer needs and behaviors change over time, so it's important to regularly review and update your customer journey map to ensure it's still accurate and useful.

Remember, a customer journey map is a tool to help you better understand and serve your customers. It should be used as a guide to improve your customer experience, not as a strict rulebook.

Learn more about creating a customer journey map for your small business or non-profit.

How often should I update my customer journey map?

It's a good practice to review and update your customer journey map periodically to ensure it remains accurate and relevant. Changes in your business, market trends, or customer behavior may require adjustments to your map.

The frequency at which you should update your customer journey map largely depends on various factors such as changes in your business model, introduction of new products or services, shifts in customer behavior, or significant changes in market conditions.

However, a good rule of thumb is to review your customer journey map at least once every six months to a year. This helps ensure that it continues to accurately reflect your customers' experiences and expectations.

If there are major changes happening more frequently in your industry, you might want to review and update your map quarterly.

Remember, the customer journey map is a dynamic tool that should evolve with your business and your understanding of your customers. Regular reviews and updates will help you keep it relevant and effective.

At Better Story Marketing, we review our map quarterly as a team to ensure it is effectively engaging our ideal customers and helping them reach their goals.

Learn more about creating a customer journey map for your small business or non-profit.

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