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How to Attract Clients and Fill Your Coaching Practice Using Blogging and Content Marketing

Today I want to give you some ideas for how you can attract clients and fill your coaching practice using blogging and content marketing. If you would like some background on why I believe coaching is a fantastic service to offer in your business, check out the previous article.

First Big Mistake

Before we get into the approach I suggest you try, I want to share the first big mistake I see my own coaching clients and some friends make.

If you want to learn how to sell any product or service, don’t just look at the sales letters of your competitors.

The fact is, while there are some things you can learn by looking at sales copy, you need to look elsewhere to learn the strategy.

Looking at offers to learn how to sell your service is like looking at empty plates in a restaurant to learn how to be a chef.

Your competitors are NOT getting sales just because they have a better sales page than you do! The offer is the END POINT, not the whole cause of the sales they make. In fact, in my case, many of my clients don’t even read the sales letter, they just hunt out the price and the order button.

So if it is not all about the copywriting, how DO you get more customers to buy?

Be Known for Something

Coaching tends to be a bigger ticket item than many people are used to selling. It could be that you have, up to now, only sold $20, $50 ebooks. A lot of what goes into getting that ebook sale will be the same as your coaching, but the problem is while people will be more likely to make an impulse purchase on small ticket items, a coaching package is going to be a bigger commitment.

Attracting clients to you, getting them to know, like and trust you, is vital when the price is high and the personal interaction is such a deep part of what you offer. I call this approach “Authority Blogging”, you build a blog that grows your authority. It attracts your prospects, and establishes a relationship. The Copyblogger folks use a similar approach they call “Content Marketing” – you attract and maintain attention via compelling information.

You don’t have to use my approach, just make sure you build your profile and reputation as the person who provides a solution.

  • Determine your ideal prospect and client.
  • Be highly visible where those people hang out and look for solutions.
  • Provide content that speaks to their wants, problems, challenges.
  • Invite them to stick around to get more great stuff from you. People usually need to see a solution multiple times before they buy in. (Build your list sooner rather than later).
  • Make timely, compelling offers that speak to the results they want.

Launches and Pre-Sell

In most cases people go from trying to craft the perfect sales page to thinking a “launch” is the silver bullet.

You might want to occasionally launch, in fact I just did a low-key launch of my group coaching and sold out in around 9 minutes, it is very satisfying! Coaching has some elements that make for powerful launches, most notably

  • Scarcity – You must limit how many coaching clients you take on at once, therefore there is built in scarcity
  • Urgency – If you are doing group coaching then you need to start on a certain date and time.

That said, while launches are a powerful tool, but it would be crazy if you were launching your coaching all the time. You would soon burn out your audience with coaching launch fatigue.

Instead you can pre-sell by creating content around the problem, by building your social proof, discussing case studies, and by constantly reminding your audience of your coaching service as a solution.

Want an example? You are reading one.

Trust and Proof

The more proof you can provide, the greater the trust will be.

Your best proof will be getting results. That is even more true when your prospect has already gotten results from you.

If you can create results from your free content then they will trust that your paid content is going to deliver fantastic results.

Maybe get your prospect to consume and take action on free content, then take a low ticket offer and get results from that, before taking the full coaching?

In my case people start with my blog and free ebooks, they might buy the Problogger book or one of my lower priced courses such as Make More Progress, and they progress from there. Some hear me speak at events and approach me afterwards. Others are looking for a coach and discover me via many different channels. In all cases they get to experience some of what I offer that reassures my client they are making the right choice.

If you don’t currently have any easy to take up lower ticket offers, consider creating something carved out of your current solutions. Carve-outs or the MVP approach are terrific ways to create focused offers that build customer trust and loyalty,  plus they give you another profitable income stream.

Drive Towards a Result

This brings us to the next point, another place people go horribly wrong.

People care less about what you do than what you do for them. Don’t sell what you do, sell the outcome or result!

Build up the value that you offer, make it very real in your prospects imagination, that way they will focus on what they get rather than what you charge.

Yes, things like your process, the certifications and who you trained with can lend credibility, but they are not the only reason people will want to buy from you. We want to invest in getting a certain reward, achieving a goal, or fixing a problem. The person who understands our challenge and proves they can get us where we want to be will get our money.

Get Testimonials and Case Studies

The more you can show rather than tell, the more convincing you will be. We are not going to trust you right away, but we will be more persuaded when we see people just like us got results with you.

Even more compelling is when a friend of ours tells us that you helped them. Encourage referrals as much as you can. Testimonials and case studies are fantastic, but they are even more convincing when delivered in person as a response to your enquiry. Word of mouth is the most effective advertising there is.

  • Give the best customer experience you can.
  • When someone praises your service, ask for the testimonial.
  • Keep notes on the results your clients achieve. Ask for permission to share.
  • Praise your client’s progress, don’t take all the credit!
  • Reward referrals, with thanks or even gifts.
  • Create an affiliate program.

Summary

Coaching is not a commodity that you can sell just by putting up an offer with a great price. You need to establish yourself as the credible solution to a particular need, you need to build trust and a relationship. Work on attracting your prospects via content that speaks to their needs and also positions yourself as the person to contact, then build on that relationship before making an offer.

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Comments

  1. Chris-

    Solid. A couple of problems:

    1.) Nobody wants to do the work.
    2.) It takes time to build the skills (which is doing the work)
    3.) The first 10 iterations will suck. Mine did.

    So what do we do to get people over that hump, to acquire the hours needed to truly be of service.

    -Chris

    • 1) If nobody wants to do the work, the few that do have a competitive advantage

      2) Which is why having proof that you have built the skills is so compelling – so many are “faking it till they make it”

      3) Probably not the first 10 but yes some of your experiments will not get the desired results :)

      The solution is to help people consume a small piece, like when you go to whole foods and they have the sample tables :)

  2. Hi Chris – excellent article.

    It’s funny, the “gurus” always used to tell us consultants and coaches we were fools for “exchanging time for money” and we should focus on info products to make money while we sleep. But it’s notieable that pretty much all the gurus are building coaching businesses these days. Exchanging time for money is fine if you charge enough for your time!

    I think your point about not just looking at the endpoint (the sales letter) is critical. If people are going to hire you for coaching, two things are true:

    1) It’s probably going to be expensive
    2) The success of the coaching is very much dependent on your personal capabilities and how you get on with them

    So it’s going to take time to build that relationship with them before they’ll be ready to buy. The sales letter, as you say, is the endpoint only.

    One thing I’d add to your point about trust and proof is that sometimes the very best form of proof comes from the “I’ve done it, so can you” model.

    A number of successful coaches subtly market themselves as role models for their students. they teach them how to do what they’ve done. I guess you’d fit into this category too. You write an authority blog and you teach others how to.

    Cheers,

    Ian

    • Very true.

      There is something to the selling time for money problem, it doesn’t scale if you sell 1:1 only, but with group coaching, pricing your 1:1 at the correct level (I need to raise my prices!) and by not relying only on selling your hours, it can be a very profitable and enjoyable business :)

      • Good article Chris. Just one proviso about the ‘selling time for money’ thought. You don’t sell time for money. You sell value. Which is the problem with most ‘coaches’. They don’t understand how to identify or package their own value. Besides, hourly fees are unethical and a sure sign of an amateur.

        • I have 1 hr consulting calls in my services. Does that make me an unethical amateur?

          Most of my friends in the business also have hourly options for consulting. My lawyer charges by the hour.

          Why would you say we are unethical amateurs?

  3. Hi Chris.

    Your coaching info has provided awesome value for me here. This is great stuff. Just what I needed.

    I am learning the principles, and finding great mentors to model.

    I think it was on Social Media Examiner you said ‘Audience is King’ – so have to find new unique ways to fulfill their wants and needs.

    Thanks for sharing this info.

    Cheers.. Are

    • As a writer it is so tempting to think we only have to work on our own writing to get better results, but really it always comes down to audience – the best copywriters are often amateur or professional psychologists :)

  4. Chris, Hi!

    “People care less about what you do than what you do for them. Don’t sell what you do, sell the outcome or result! ” Excellent point! We need to sell the benefit, the “thing” the customer will achieve after the product is used.

    A long time ago I learned “features tell, benefits sell” (old school pharmaceutical sales).

    Your thoughts on Trust and Proof are great too. And the beauty is that if you re-purpose your content you only need to make a few tweaks and there you go – new ebook, whitepaper, etc.

    Thank you – Theresa

    • Indeed – in fact I have been working with my wife to edit the Make More Progress transcripts and they are almost ebooks now which gives me all kinds of ideas ;)

  5. What a breath of fresh air this post is! (And that’s coming from a copywriter who gets paid for the “perfect sales copy.”)

    As outsiders looking in we tend to focus on the optics more than what actually went into the relationship building that’s been going on long before folks land on that sales page.

    Sales copy matters – bad sales copy can blow the whole thing – but if the rest of the “campaign” is terrible (or non-existent) then no copywriter can save you.

    FABULOUS post!
    Karri

    • Thanks Karri :)

      As you well know from critiquing my sales copy, it’s not always the sales page that does the heavy lifting – a lot of work goes into preparing the sale before you ask for it :)

  6. Chris,
    As a ten year veteran of the coaching profession, this post really speaks to the challenge of distinguishing yourself from the pack! Coaches are so often caught up in explaining and selling coaching vs. focusing on the outcomes and results produced – what will make a difference to the people they want to work with!

  7. This post was very timely for me as I am just launching my business. As I begin this journey I am mindful that I need to build credibility though working with people who then can share how they benefited. I am keeping the point about a low ticket offer front and center now as I take the next step. Thank you!

  8. Execellent coaching Chris. This is useful to me as I want to setup a membership site on How To Blog!

  9. Chris,
    One thing I have noticed is that the sales process for one-one coaching can be fairly long. In most cases, clients are on my list, reading my newsletter and blog for a long time (years, even!) before they are ready to spend thousands of dollars with me. Countless clients have said, ‘I’ve been reading you for years.’ It does seem, for me, that that cycle is shortening, but the point I want to make is that all that writing really adds up over time.

    I’m working now on using my testimonials and case studies more effectively to more easily share the impact of my work.

    • Some people just take a while before they are ready, but also some people have to exhaust all other options :)

      For me, being introverted, it took me a while before I would accept coaching myself for my own needs so I can empathize with people who need to warm up to it :)

      • Chris,
        It’s so true – one of our biggest Achilles’ Heels is not seeking and accepting help! We need training in it for sure.

        It’s an objection to consider when writing copy or articles – how to ask for help in a way that’s empowering to you and your goals.

  10. Chris I really enjoyed this article.
    I am currently following a prominent trainer in a program to learn how to consult based upon these very ideas.
    You may know him, Robert Middleton.

    So thanks for your article, I read your newsletter and enjoy the simple and straightforward content.
    billy

  11. Thanks for sharing! It’s really cool how blogging has moved into the professional world and has helped so many people and businesses!

  12. Hey Chris,
    I like the point of being known for something.
    You may be good at several things, but it is better to share more knowledge after the initial project when trust has been built. If you offer personal coaching for 20 different things, a person may be a bit skeptical.
    Live it LOUD!