If you’re reading this, it’s for two reasons: 1) you’re an online coach—maybe you’ve been in the business for years, or maybe you’ve just started, and 2) you understand that online marketing is the way of the future, and while you may understand some of its core principles, you want to learn how to take your online marketing strategy to the next level.
If that’s the case, I have good news for you on both fronts: I’m a marketing expert, and I’ve used my knowledge to help TONS of coaches find the success they’ve spent their entire lives looking for. In fact, there’s so much I can tell you about online marketing for coaches that I’ve assembled a list of some of its most important points to help you out. If you want to take your coaching business to the next level, have a look at these 12 things you need to know about online marketing for coaches!
Online Marketing for Coaches: Finding Your Footing
1. Set Up Your Landing Page
The inaugural step for all businesses. If you don’t have a website, you need to set one up ASAP, either by doing it yourself or hiring a professional to make one for you. Aside from the importance of having an online base of operations, you’ll need to direct potential clients somewhere once your marketing efforts reel them in. What’s the point if they have nowhere to go?
Your website should include your professional bio, information about your coaching services, your contact information (or, at the very least, get a Calendly account to set up calls), a professional bio, social media links, and links to all of your other content (more on that later).
Marketing for coaches can’t be optimized without a website, so once you have yours set up, it’s time to get to work!
2. Find Your Niche
As you begin to layout your strategy for marketing your online coaching business, there’s one important question you need to ask yourself before you get started: What’s my niche? If you’re not quite sure of the answer, that doesn’t mean you don’t have one. In fact, I can promise you that you absolutely, 100% DO have one, and it’s all a matter of figuring it out.
Your niche goes beyond what you do. Maybe you’re a business coach, maybe you’re a life coach, or a parenting coach, or a relationship coach. The kind of coach you are, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t necessarily matter—you need to find what makes you stand out from everyone else in your field. Sure, you’re an amazing business coach, but why should clients come to you over the dozens of other amazing business coaches they’ve heard about?
You may already know what your niche is, or you may think you know what your niche is. Either way, I’m going to give you some questions to consider, and with any luck, you’ll be that much closer to fully embracing your niche as a coach. At the same time, we’re going to focus on one of the most important pillars of marketing: Building your brand.
3. Your Niche is in Your Brand
It’s on the foundation of your niche that you need to build your brand, and in the early stages of marketing for coaches, this is where a lot of the hard work begins. There are three major questions you need to ask yourself before you start building your brand. Once you have clear answers, you can get right to work, and with a much stronger guarantee of success.
1. What Makes Me Different?
The most obvious of questions to ask yourself, but perhaps the most important. As a coach, you’re teaching a specific thing, but there are probably a TON of others teaching that same specific thing. While you may share a subject, no two people are the same, and you can jump on these differences to market yourself.
Do you have a particularly large amount of experience in the field? Did you start your career later in life after switching from another one? Do you have a uniquely personal connection to what you do? There are no “generic” ways to reach our respective destinations, and it’s because of this that you can offer a unique perspective that nobody else can. Once you’re able to isolate the strengths of that perspective, you can push it in your marketing strategy as a draw for clients.
2. What Kind of Audience am I Looking for?
As much as you need to know yourself, you also need to know your audience. After all, specific businesses attract specific customers, especially when it comes to coaching. As a coach, your job is to help people solve problems.
What kind of problems do you solve, and who’s most likely to have those kinds of problems? Once you find the answer, you can begin to isolate the kind of clientele for which you’re best-suited, and vice-versa. As a general principle of marketing, you can’t sell any product or service effectively without knowing your audience, and marketing for coaches is no exception.
3. How do my Values Affect What I Do?
Let’s take a step back for a moment. We talked about finding your niche by asking yourself what makes you different, and the answers likely come from your experiences. Take a moment to go a little bit deeper into those experiences. From them, you developed values, usually from passion, and it’s those values that drive how you do your business.
Off the top of your head, do you know what they are? Take a while to mull it over, and when you’re done, think about how you can implement these values into your brand and show people what really makes you stand out.
Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you’re ready to start building your brand. From there, the sky’s the limit!
4. Use the Media
There’s a cardinal rule when it comes to marketing: the media is your best friend. You’d be crazy to not make the most of it at every opportunity.
Thankfully, there’s no end to the ways you can get media attention. One extremely common and effective way is to put together press releases. When it comes to marketing for coaches, you can use press releases to market your coaching business itself, AND you can use them to raise awareness of special promotions you have going on. Doing so will draw attention to your coaching services from new potential clients while also influencing the decisions of people who are considering hiring you but aren’t quite ready to make the jump.
Plus, as you put yourself out there, you can develop relationships with journalists, and having media connections in your network is never a bad idea. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out services like Help a Reporter Out (HARO), which has done wonders for businesses everywhere.
5. Free Coaching Call
When it comes to practical steps, this is one of the first you can take, and it’s also one of the most effective! If you don’t already, you should strongly consider offering potential clients a free coaching call to get them started. This opens up a number of huge benefits for you by offering your prospect a considerable level of value.
Your free coaching call is your opportunity to pitch yourself. While it’s certainly tempting to do the whole song and dance in the span of a short call to get them on board, I suggest taking it a step further: have them explain their situation and what they’re looking to get out of you. At the end of the day, your clients are coming to you because they have problems they need to solve, and if you offer a concrete solution to even one of those problems, that’s going to go farther than any elevator pitch out there! In the span of one thirty-minute coaching call, you were able to establish a personal connection with them, demonstrate your knowledge, and offer them a solution—all for FREE. They’ll know that you’re worth their time, so when you discuss the prospect of working together again in the future, there’s a high chance that they won’t hesitate to hire you. If you win them over this early, you’re guaranteed to find success!
Online Marketing for Coaches: Diving into Social Media
6. Master Social Media
Everyone will tell you the same thing about social media, going on and on about how important it is in the 21st century. They do it because they’re 100% right! That being said, I can’t distill how critical social media is to marketing your coaching services in just a paragraph or two, so I’m going to break down the following points into smaller bits of information going over some of the best platforms at your disposal, and how to make the most of them. So, without any further delay, let’s take a dive:
With nearly 3 billion active users a month, there’s no social media platform that can increase your reach the way Facebook can. Facebook has been an internet staple for over fifteen years, and when it comes to having an online presence of any kind, it’s one of the most essential tools in your marketing arsenal—not just because of its size, but because of its versatility as well. It’s simply amazing how many different ways you can use Facebook marketing to your advantage.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: investing in Facebook ads. Again, nearly three BILLION active monthly users, all subject to Facebook’s special algorithm that shows them relevant ads. If you buy ad space directly, you’re reaching out to a massive audience that’s actually more likely to hire you than anyone else. What could be better?
Additionally, having a Facebook page, in conjunction with your landing page/website, is a great opportunity to interact directly with your community. Potential clients who may have heard about your services and want to know more can find more information on Facebook, and from there, if you manage the page well, they’ll be much more likely to hire you for your services.
There’s one more element of Facebook, and it’s also the most important: Facebook groups. Serving as hubs for specific interests where like-minded professionals can interact, these are goldmines for networking. You can mingle in different groups, share relevant posts (including some self-promotion!), and make connections with others to market your online coaching business.
Better yet, you also have the opportunity to create your very own Facebook group, creating a fun, exciting way to draw in prospects. You can also use them as an extension of your coaching services—you can create one as publicly available space for sharing information and getting your foot in the door, and another as an exclusive group for clients, where you can share extra resources. All in all, Facebook is one of the best tools at your disposal, and you should make the most of it!
Do you know a single person who doesn’t use YouTube every day? I’d bet good money that you’d be hard-pressed to think of even one, and since it’s the biggest video platform in the world, that totally makes sense. With that said, YouTube is another platform that you simply can’t go without in this day and age.
While virtually every social media platform has space for ads, it’s especially prevalent on YouTube, and their algorithm is just as effective as Facebook’s in targeting your ideal clients. If you start buying ads on YouTube, you’re guaranteed to increase your reach and bring in more clients, but there’s something important you should do first.
You’ve probably guessed it already, but just in case: you need to make your own YouTube Channel. Yes, to some, this may seem like a scary prospect. Videography is a big field all on its own. Where does one even begin? Don’t worry—there’s a million ways to go about it, and you can find the ones that suit you best. On a pure business front, you can use your channel to host livestreams, post some of the aforementioned “mini-courses,” and host Q+A sessions. You can also mix things up by using YouTube to host your podcast videos (you DO have a podcast, right?), work on collaborations, and even post some testimonials from satisfied clients! Like most other platforms, the potential for creativity is endless, so don’t hesitate to make the most of it.
While perhaps not as versatile or widespread as Facebook, LinkedIn is an astoundingly reliable resource for marketing your online coaching business. Where other social media platforms focus mostly on the general public, LinkedIn’s specialty is professional spaces—as a coach, this is exactly what you want.
Just as much as you need clients, you need people who can provide you with the resources to find them. Whether it’s through mutual connections or the wisdom of other marketing specialists, it never ever hurts to expand your professional network. Not to mention that professionals need coaches, too!
By connecting you to other professions in your field, LinkedIn also provides the opportunity for collaborations with others. By making the most of overlapping audiences, collaborations are exciting, fun, and effective ways to market your online coaching business—but we’ll talk about that a little bit later.
There’s never a dull day on Twitter, and when it comes to marketing your online coaching business (and business in general), that’s exactly the kind of environment you want.
Twitter provides many of the same opportunities that its peers do, but with a greater focus on trends. By making the most of hashtags, you can make big waves in your field by following trends, leaning into them, or (ideally) starting them. People use hashtags to search for what they’re looking for, and if you remain active on Twitter, get creative with your Hashtags, learn to stay current, and maintain a strong network of peers and professionals, Twitter is one of the best tools at your disposal.
Much like Twitter, Instagram is all about hashtags. However, with its stronger focus on visuals, you have extra room to get creative with your advertising.
Yes, you can buy ads directly on Instagram (it never hurts), but giving your posts that extra visual “pop” can draw in a bigger audience than normal. Even if you manage to bring in one extra client because one of your posts randomly caught their eye while scrolling through their feed, isn’t that all worth it? Plus, there’s the added benefit of being able to easily search different communities. Depending on what your online coaching business is about, you can do your own research to see what kind of hashtags other professionals in your field are using and make them your own. You’ll also have the opportunity to put your own creative spin on them, allowing yourself to stand out in what could be a crowded field—beyond marketing, that’s HUGE for your brand!
Sporting one of the largest audiences of any social news site, Reddit gets shockingly overlooked by most entrepreneurs looking to make it big, focusing primarily on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and others. While getting involved in those other sites is a great strategy (as discussed above), Reddit has some amazing untapped potential. For any topic you can possibly imagine, there are subreddits dedicated to them, filled with highly engaged people.
Depending on your niche as an online coach, you can dive into any number of subreddits to give advice, make connections, and plug your business where you feel it would be appropriate. On Reddit, there’s no reliance on an algorithm, and there’s no element of random chance like there is with ads on other social media sites. Instead, Reddit provides ample opportunities to find the kinds of people you’re looking for directly, and in conjunction with the other social media platforms you’re using, you’re guaranteed to bring in new clients left and right.
Online Marketing for Coaches: Keep Making Content
Livestreams are an increasingly popular method of connecting with audiences around the world, and it’s easy to see why. The convenience of an online locale increases your reach dramatically (compared to something like a live event), massive social media platforms like Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube make hosting them easy, and many sites allow you to archive your live streams, giving you the option to post them as videos for people to watch later.
In archived form, live streams are yet another great method of producing brand-building content, but more importantly, it’s one of the quickest and most effective ways to build a relationship with your audience. It’s easy to get lost in professional personas, especially as remote work becomes increasingly relevant, so live streams can add an extra touch of humanity, putting a face and voice to the business powerhouse you are and reminding your clients that you’re a person, too—and you really want to help. As a coach, establishing connections is extremely important, and live streams are one of the best ways to make them happen.
8. Start a Blog/Start a Podcast
If you visit the website of any successful online coach, you’ll consistently find two sections at the top: “Podcast” and “Blog.” Why? They’re multifaceted, incredible tools that can make a huge difference when it comes to marketing for coaches. Blog posts and podcasts are incredible opportunities to create content that engages your audience, demonstrates your knowledge of your field, and builds your brand.
You can tailor your posts and episodes to cover a wide range of topics, bringing in a wider audience and filling niches that many others may be ignoring. You can also have fun by running with certain themes every month, dedicating shows or posts to different elements of one topic. Your audience will have fun with it, and newcomers will have access to boatloads of information all at once!
Blog posts give you free rein to talk about anything you want related to your area of expertise, and if you take reader suggestions, there’s yet another opportunity to foster connections. Podcasts are all the rage right now and show no signs of slowing down. If you start your own, you can accomplish many similar goals as blog posts, but with opportunities to collaborate with other professionals in your field (you can even go on THEIR podcasts!) and providing your followers the opportunity to listen to you while multitasking—what more could anyone ask for?
The key to both is having them on a consistent schedule. This will not only show that you’re reliable, but it will keep your audience coming back to you every week. As an added bonus, both blog posts and podcasts are shareable media, so that’s yet another opportunity to increase your reach!
9. Be a Featured Guest Speaker at Events
Have you ever spoken at an event in your area of expertise? If you’re trying to market your online coaching business, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better opportunity than big events like meet-ups and conferences. Unlike traditional marketing tactics, during events, your target audience comes to YOU, not the other way around.
Being a guest speaker at an event will not only put you in contact with a multitude of potential clients, but it will also provide you the opportunity to network with other professionals in your field, and there’s no limit to the possibilities that an expanded network can provide you.
Don’t just sign up for any event, though. Take a calculated approach and contact people who can book you at events relevant to your coaching business. On top of that, if you can, you’ll want to attend the same events that many of your clients do. You’ll have a huge number of networking opportunities, and you can build up your existing relationships even further.
Aside from living events, you could apply these principles to webinars as well. This opens the door for more collaborative efforts as well, and an online venue is great for expanding your audience!
10. Get Yourself Some Referrals
You can throw all the money in the world at advertising, and with good reason—advertising works! But at the end of the day, there are some people who don’t quite trust ads. This is an understandable sentiment, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. One of the most effective means of marketing for online coaches is the oldest trick in the book: Referrals!
When you see a commercial on TV where a company tells you how great their product is, it’s easy to shrug it off. Of course, they’re telling you it’s great—they have sales quotas to meet! Now, what if a friend or relative of yours bought that product and personally told you how great it was. Now that has your attention, doesn’t it? It’s so much easier to trust real people than it is to trust ads, and that’s what makes referrals such a powerful tool.
With each satisfied client, you can ask them to pass your name along to anyone else who might need you, whether it’s a friend, relative, coworker, associate, or anything else, for that matter! Chances are that when someone hears about how great you are from someone in their network rather than an ad they saw online, their chances of reaching out to you is much higher. Personal connections make a huge difference, and there’s no exception when it comes to marketing for online coaches!
Online Marketing for Coaches: Think Outside the Box
11. Get Analytical
When it comes to marketing for coaches, there’s the stark reality that not everything works. If something doesn’t work, don’t be discouraged. However, when it doesn’t feel like anything is working, don’t give up! Take a deep breath, step back, and take a long, analytical look at your marketing strategy. Ask yourself why it isn’t working, but don’t immediately jump to conclusions and make rash decisions. There’s always a logical explanation for what’s going on, and if you’re struggling to find it, don’t be afraid to seek out a marketing consultant to help you. They can assist you in isolating the weak points in your strategy, focusing on your strengths, and ultimately pushing you in the right direction. Sometimes all you need is a slight adjustment, and sometimes all you need is a new approach entirely. Either way, you won’t know for sure until you step back and get analytical.
12. The Marketing Funnel: Your Ultimate Weapon
Earlier, in the section about blog posts and podcasts, I spoke about consistency. Across all aspects of business, consistency is absolutely essential. Perhaps the most important element of all, however, is keeping repeat customers. Marketing for online coaching is no different—you’ll want to keep bringing people back, over and over. The key to making this happen is a concept that every entrepreneur needs to know about: The Marketing Funnel.
The marketing funnel outlines the stages of a customer’s marketing journey, from awareness of the product or service to their initial purchase. It’s here that you can determine what your marketing strategy is working and what isn’t. Through surveys and interviews with your clients, you can determine the elements of your marketing funnel that need to be adjusted, and from there, refine it as needed. A solid marketing funnel guarantees repeat purchases in any respect, but when it comes to marketing for online coaches, a smooth process for the funnel means a higher likelihood of new clients, plus old clients coming back to you for more.
Marketing for online coaches may seem like a highly specialized skill, and while there are definitely unique elements to it, it actually shares many of the same principles as marketing anything else. With that in mind, if you’ve been searching for the best ways to market your online coaching business, I hope these twelve tips have given you the inspiration you need to find the success you’ve been looking for. As always, take care, best of luck, and go show the world what you’re made of!