Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Stuart Haden.
Many coaches are obsessed with gathering coaching content – tools, techniques, models, and theories, etc. All of which is well-meaning, read everything you can get your hands on – think about how you can integrate these findings into your practice, getting the roots of why you do what you do.
However, you also need to focus on how you market yourself as a coach and create a profitable business. By all means, consider yourself to be an expert coach, but you also need to be an amateur marketer. There is no avoiding the first role, but unless we bring marketing skills into the business from other sources we have to take on this challenge.
Of course, technology and marketing must be joined at the hip. Both of these factors need to be in place for any accessible marketing campaign, so if you lack the desire and/or skill, then you either need to acquire these yourself or outsource them. But, as this article will outline the following seven secrets of online marketing are relatively straightforward and within the grasp of us all.
Indeed, if it is your own business that is coming under the marketing microscope, then you cannot abdicate. You must play to your strengths and consider your role in each of the seven secrets.
What is your niche?
We have to present our unique position in the marketplace. I appreciate we tend to have a wide base of coaching philosophies, however, in order to be heard in a busy market presenting your niche is paramount. There is a bit of disguise involved, sometimes this reminds me of the Trojan horse story. Present one thing to the world, and then leap out with your other offers at an opportune moment. For example, you might specialize in optimal performance. However, sitting behind this there needs to be a raft of coaching values that can normally be skilfully applied when the time is right.
How can you create an integrated product suite?
Secret number two represents my biggest bugbear with coaches. Apart from the coaching skills that they possess, they have not created any products. Without a product, you have little to take to market that would separate you from anyone else. The products are also a great way to help your positioning from secret number one. For example, if you write a series of blogs focusing on resilience, then you can start to present yourself as an expert. With technology to hand, there is no excuse for not producing products that you can both offer and leave with clients. Marketing is all about timing, and if you leave your client with a product they will remember you when perhaps they need your services at a later date. A range of products is best so that you can meet the needs of the market, consider – books, ebooks (published and unpublished), events, online courses, programs, podcasts, magazines, subscriptions, webinars and blogs. Brendon Burchard offers wonderful guidance in this area.
How will you price your offer?
As soon as you have a product you have something to sell and therefore price. Think about offering products for free and at a low entry-level price. Then, with an integrated product suite in place, you can also begin to offer medium and high priced products. You can consider a one off payments, as well as subscriptions.
How can you build your list?
Whilst we are already at secret number 4, perhaps this should be in at number one representing your most crucial marketing activity. Every product needs a list of people whom you can contact. The retail example reminds us that you need a strong product, as well as footfall outside your shop. Social media is, of course, a fantastic way of building a group of followers. Equally, having a ‘conversion page’ on your website works well. Here you offer one of your products for free and register someone’s email address at the same time.
How can you create interest in your product?
With the other secrets in place, you are now ready to promote your unique position and product. One-off messages to your list is hit and miss, nowadays you must set up a marketing campaign. Using a combination of channels (email, blog, and video) I set up a series of messages. My first two messages are the pre-launch – letting my list know of what is coming their way soon. This is good for building excitement levels. In the main launch (4 messages) – I send out messages which present a common problem as well as the solution (that my product offers). Then the seventh message invites my list to formally buy the product on a nomination only basis. I normally send out a further six messages that answer questions, highlight which sectors have committed so far and thank contributions. Sometimes I also consider post-launch – a message reminding people in case they have missed out. I also run social media campaigns in alignment with these messages for at least a month. Jeff Walker is the undisputed king of this product launch formula.
Who can support your launch?
Your lone marketing activities are all well and good, however, if you can bring in partners to the promotion then your message will have a wider reach. Better still if someone picks up one of your messages and promotions from someone else, then the credibility of your work goes through the roof. I create a launch pack with details of my approach (following these 7 secrets) which gives potential partners full access to the messages and social media postings that you send out. Don’t forget another skillful marketing tactic is to be a partner for someone else’s product. If they find value from a product they will often remember who it was who introduced them to this new source.
How can you plan and organize your launch?
This last secret really spans the six previous ones that we have looked that. You need to be organized so that you can get your ducks in line. Your campaign is not based on luck, it is based on a system. The content that you need and expected dates are key. Once I have this mapped out and my campaigns prioritized I can be precise. For example, I use a lot of video content so this needs a lot of planning.
Once you break down online marketing into these 7 secrets, then your ability to prepare and launch a campaign is relatively straightforward. You can go as high or low tech as you want. Sure, multiple social media platforms, a blog, and YouTube channel, etc are all desirable. But, you can get an awful lot done via email. As far as products go a simple two page PDF article can be achieved in a matter of hours, emails can soon follow. So what are you waiting for?
Stuart Haden is a facilitator, coach, consultant, author, and speaker specializing in Optimal Performance and founder of Storm Beach based in Bath, UK. @StormBeach www.stormbeach.co.uk
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