If you’re a coach that hates marketing your business, this podcast might just blow your mind.
I’m going to get real with you, I hate the word “hack” or “secret” or “trick” when it comes to helping you signing more clients, but alas, I really do think this perspective might completely shift the way you view marketing and sales.
Because I believe that good marketing is just like good coaching, and if you use coaching as the lens for your marketing, you will naturally sign more coaching clients, without so much struggle.
In this podcast, I break down:
Read this over on the blog! How to get life coaching clients online: My fav marketing “hack”
And don’t miss this free resource!: Steal my best market research questions to ask, a short video tutorial for how to conduct this research without ever getting on a call, as well as a template to compile this research and easily spot the patterns. Grab it at staciemitchell.com/research.
Read this over on the blog! How to get life coaching clients online: My fav marketing “hack”
Hello lovely listeners and welcome back!
I had this idea for the podcast while driving to Yellowstone a few weeks ago. Like I always have said, my very best ideas always come when I’m not trying to have them! As some of you might remember, I’m really into studying Taoism and part of that philosophy is going with the flow and the path of least resistance. I’ll admit that it’s not always an easy thing for me, but every time I just let go, I get so much back in return.
But I digress!
How to get life coaching clients online: My fav marketing "hack"
If you’re a coach that HATES marketing but you also really want to know how to get more life coaching clients online, this podcast just might make marketing your new BFF!
The real “secret” for how to get life coaching clients online
I’m going to get real with you, I hate the word “hack” or “secret” or “trick” when it comes to helping you get more life coaching clients online, but alas, I really do think this might blow some of your minds out there.
My real hope with this podcast is to make you completely rethink your approach to marketing and selling to your potential clients.
Because contrary to popular belief, and to those of you who claim to hate marketing with the fire of a thousand suns, really good marketing is just like really good coaching.
I’m going to say that again: Really good marketing is just like really good coaching.
And really good marketing is the best way to get coaching clients.
I encourage all of you coaches out there who really, really want to get more coaching clients to listen closely and think about how to apply these concepts to your business ASAP.
The mindset shift required to more easily get life coaching clients online
Instead of thinking of marketing like some foreign, scary, maybe even sleazy part of business, I want you instead to think about marketing and signing coaching clients through the lens of coaching.
If we look at the International Coaching Federation’s core competencies as the basis for really good coaching, we know that one of the number one most important rules of coaching is to let the client guide the coaching session and choose the topic to be coached on.
Now you might be thinking, “But what does that have to do with signing clients?”
And the answer is: Pretty much everything.
One of the biggest mistakes I see coaches make in their marketing is to “make up” what their potential clients want for their lives. In fact, if you’ve been in business long enough, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve completed some type of ideal client avatar exercise where you’ve created a fictionalized ideal client.
For example, if you look at some of the most common language of life coaches, you see a lot of, “Live your most aligned and authentic life” and other coach language, meanwhile your REAL ideal clients just want to stop yelling at their kids or find a more flexible, interesting job. Living an aligned and authentic life doesn’t enter their heads at all.
In the same way that you wouldn't walk into a coaching session and say "This is what you want coaching on today....", you have to take the same approach with your marketing.
If you want to get more life coaching clients online, you have to do this first:
Ask questions and listen closely.
A lot of people skip a really, really important piece to marketing their business that keeps them from signing more life coaching clients: Market research.
Now before you let that phrase scare you away, market research is in many ways just a form of structured coaching. And in fact, I’m going to share a free resource at the end of this podcast, so stay tuned!
You ask powerful questions, you listen, and you take detailed notes. You do this with as many ideal clients as you can, and then you look for patterns.
You look for patterns in the words and phrases they use, the problems they describe, and what they most want for their lives.
Isn’t all that different from coaching one client over several sessions.
If you’re a really good coach, you already know how to spot these kinds of patterns.
Asking powerful questions, listening, and spotting patterns are already your superpowers, so this is easy!
And once you know what your ideal clients want, you’re meeting them where they’re at. You’re no longer the bad coach coming to the session trying to force your client in a direction they don’t want to go.
And when you market your coaching services using this knowledge as your foundation, you more easily connect with your clients. An example of this in my own business: Even though SEO is foundational to how I help clients, I focus LESS on SEO, and more on how it helps coaches sign clients without feeling glued to their phones – because that’s what they really care about, right?
Now let’s talk about how to use this research to get life coaching clients online:
The other skill we have as coaches that we can use in our marketing: Reflecting back what we’ve heard.
Once you know for sure what your potential coaching clients really want and how they talk about what they want, you use their language and reflect that back to them in your marketing through your content, your website, and your sales pages.
You might think this isn’t that important, but this one small tweak – using their language – is the cornerstone of effective copywriting and content marketing. And I’m not kidding here. I’ve been taking courses on copywriting these last few months and the number one, can’t-skip step to copy that converts to more clients is to conduct market research.
What your real-life potential clients want is more important than anything else to the success of your business. If you’re making this up, you will unnecessarily struggle to sign coaching clients.
Just imagine you’re in a coaching session and your clients say, “I’m really struggling to keep on top of my to-do list at work.” And you reply back, “It sounds like you need to reconnect with your authentic joy.”
You wouldn’t do that, right? Because your client would be confused and feel unheard, and honestly, they might decide that coaching really isn’t for them. And it’s the exact same with your marketing.
Marketing is just like coaching in that the foundation is about listening for true understanding and reflecting back their beliefs and desires in your content. All good marketing starts with listening, not assuming.
And once you’ve done market research and have that foundation, it’s time to move onto higher-level coaching skills in your marketing.
How to get coaching clients online using higher-level coaching skills in your marketing
We know that asking powerful questions, listening, and reflecting back are foundational for both coaching and business, but now what?
Now it’s time to use direct communication, create awareness, and design actions in your marketing.
And my guess is that you’re already doing this in your content; it’s fairly easy to copy this approach from other coaches. The key difference here is that all of these actions will now come from the foundation of knowing your real-life ideal client like they’re your BFF.
When you use direct communication with your coaching clients, you’re still using their language, but you also paint a clearer picture for them by using metaphors or analogies. And you can do the same in your marketing through storytelling, metaphors, or analogies. The best marketers tend to be the best storytellers because people connect with and remember stories.
Why do you think the Bible is filled with stories? Because they’re easy to remember and tell, and they help drive home the lessons harder than just saying “Don’t do this” or “Make sure you do that.” It’s the same with marketing – get creative in how you talk about your client’s journey and the issues they most commonly struggle with.
And because I know examples are helpful, one of my favorite emails when I was a burnout coach was about a “ghost” in the kitchen when we were on vacation – which ended up being a mouse. I won’t read the entire email, but this little excerpt will make it clearer:
Burnout is that little mouse that snuck into the cabin and into the trashcan. He was so quiet, he almost didn't make any sound at all. We didn't expect it at all, and we were surprised to find him there.
My dog's growls are the symptoms of burnout -- sometimes so low we ignore them for months (sometimes years) until they become so "menacing" we have to pay attention and do something about it.
And my husband was me -- the coach -- looking past the symptoms to the root of the problem. And shining a light so your burnout can be "released" and you can go back to normal life again.
You can see how this would be far more memorable than an email about how burnout sneaks up on us, right?
The next coaching skill to apply to your marketing is creating awareness.This skill is about trying to open your clients’ eyes to new possibilities.
It’s about exploration and digging in deeper in your marketing. This kind of marketing is about tying together patterns you see in your ideal clients, finding the connections to research or other, unrelated subjects, and/or showing them how they can begin to change their approach to these patterns.
An example of creating awareness is this podcast you’re listening to right now! I took the subject of marketing and how to get life coaching clients and looked at it through a new lens: coaching. I’m creating awareness and potentially changing your perspective on marketing right now! This is also a great approach to creating thought leadership content that sets you apart from all the other coaches online!
And finally, the last coaching skill to apply to your marketing is designing actions. The definition of this from ICF is “to create with the client opportunities for ongoing learning, during coaching and in work/life situations.”
I like to think of this as your opportunity to showcase tangible real-world examples of how to solve your ideal client’s biggest problems.
Example: If your market research shows you that your ideal clients really struggle with setting boundaries or saying no, you provide a framework, tips, or suggestions for how to say no. And in doing so, you can show your ideal client that you know WHY they struggle to say no (the root) and then HOW to say no (tangible actions they can take).
And while you’d want to partner with your clients to come up with these actions during a coaching session, you’re still the one helping them see new possibilities with your marketing. But instead of through questioning, reflecting, and direct communication, you’re helping them design these actions through your content.
The point is that marketing doesn’t have to feel icky or hard or complicated. You can use the skills you already have and love using as a coach to serve your potential clients.
And when you take this perspective of serving, sharing, and helping from the foundation of truly understanding your ideal client – it will inevitably lead to signing more clients.
Quick recap: My best tips for how to get life coaching clients online
Use your coaching skills to guide your marketing:
I really hope this has changed your perspective on how to market and get coaching clients lined up to work with you!
And if you take away only one thing from this podcast, let it be this:
Understanding your ideal client – their problems, their desires, what language they use, who they really are – is the foundation of a successful coaching business.
This is why when I create your custom marketing plan in my messaging and marketing intensive, I ask you to submit your ideal clients’ real-life language in the pre-work by giving me their testimonials and language from their applications or intake forms. That’s a little tip to help with your own market research: use what you already have from previous clients!
And then I add to that by doing more market research of my own if needed. Because creating a marketing plan without this information is like trying to go on a vacation, showing up at the airport, and not even knowing where you’re going. It just doesn’t work! Note that the next available spot for my marketing intensive is open for late July or early August, and that it’s the last spot until November, so if you want in, go apply ASAP at staciemitchell.com/marketing.
And because I know many of you are now ready to do this market research for your businesses, I created a free resource for you to steal my best market research questions to ask, a short video tutorial for how to conduct this research without ever getting on a call, as well as a template to compile this research and easily spot the patterns. You can get this resource at staciemitchell.com/research.
And if you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend and rate and review the podcast on iTunes – sharing is caring and reviewing helps more folks find the podcast! Thanks again for listening!