There are so many coaches now. It was only a few years ago that it was a niche industry, you knew everyone and supported each other.
Now you have to fight to be heard through all the noise, much of made by people who aren’t even accredited coaches.
So what can you do to be heard online? Here are 5 tactics that can take your message to those who need it and lead to more coaching clients.
Do you know what an SSL is?
If you’re shaking your head, you actually do know what it is, but you just don’t know the acronym. See the padlock in your url bar? That’s from an SSL.
The number of websites I visit without a secure padlock…well, I couldn’t count them.
One day in the near future Chrome and other browsers are going to show the Red Screen of Death when someone tries to go to your insecure website. Chrome staff have been threatening it for 2 years and it’s happening to more and more sites. Right now, most users see a slightly less threatening screen, which is as much of a problem for you:
You can see what the problem is by going to a website like Why No Padlock?
But this is just one example of something on your website that can cause problems.
You need to regularly check your website to make sure it’s working correctly. Or you need a team that can do this for you.
You don’t just need a developer because most developers don’t know much about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and many of them don’t think they need to care about it either.
But the SEO rules change constantly and one day your site might not comply anymore. There won’t be any warning. (Unless, you know, you hang out in SEO forums, like I do.)
You know you need to do this, but are you really doing this?
I don’t just mean your demographic – i.e. millennials looking to change careers for the first time – I mean a truly definable niche. (Or more than one.)
Let’s say you’re based in Ottawa and you work with many clients in person. How much content do you have about Ottawa?
Especially if you meet a majority of clients in person you need content on your website about Ottawa. Even if you do everything virtually, you should have geographically focused content on the region(s) you serve.
And this is true about non-geographic niches as well. Want to attract millennials to your site? You need content attracting millennials, not boomers. (This may seem obvious, but it’s not. Millennials like different things than boomers.)
But you should drill-down further. Don’t just focus on millennials changing careers, devote content to specific changes of careers for millennials, such as moving from the corporate world into entrepreneurship.
This is just an example. What your website needs is content tailored to your niche(s). Lots of it. If your content is just about what you do and not tailored to who you serve and where, you will get less traffic than the competition. That means fewer clients.
Think about it: LinkedIn is where people go to try to improve their job and life opportunities. It is a social media network tailor-made for coaches.
But most people find it hard to use LinkedIn (and any social media) effectively. So how do you use it well?
Well, here are some basic rules:
Talk about what you do but also support what other people do. Treat people like you want to be treated. Behave as if you are talking to people in person. It’s just being a good social media citizen.
But it’s also how you establish real relationships. And it’s only through real relationships that you’ll get clients through LinkedIn. If you behave like a good LinkedIn citizen people will want to work with you. They will seek you out.
There are few things more effective for a coach than a newsletter. A newsletter gets in front of your current, past and future clients and shows them who you are, what you do and why they should work for you.
Just don’t call it a newsletter.
Nobody wants a newsletter. Nobody wants more email. People want help with problems. And they want human connection.
So your “newsletter” has to provide something of value for the reader, something they could use to make their life better. So it can’t be a (regular) pitch to hire you. It should have as few pitches as possible or, if you must pitch, you should only pitch occasionally.
But it also needs to be personal, it needs to feel like its from your heart. So it can’t be automated. You need to write it.
Frequency is a big issue, too, as everyone is overwhelmed by email. I’ve seen effective daily newsletters but they are very hard to do well. It’s much better to do it weekly, bimonthly or monthly. But the less frequently you send it, the more likely some subscribers will forget why they signed up. It’s a delicate balance.
And make sure that it is has a title that captures your value. Don’t call it Jane Smith’s Newsletter. Just don’t. The title needs to reflect you and what you help people with. It doesn’t need to include the fact that it’s a newsletter. They know that already.
Twitter is your friend.
I can’t tell you the number of coaches I’ve met who don’t use Twitter at all or don’t use it well. Most of them think it’s a waste of time.
It is absolutely not a waste of time if you use it properly. I would argue it can be more effective than a newsletter, if used properly.
Are you your own brand? Are you, Jane Smith the Coach, head of Jane Smith Coaching? If so, you should be active on Twitter.
And you shouldn’t just be active on Twitter, you should be what the kids call “a Twitter Hero”, someone who is willing to engage on Twitter and show the world a better path.
With Twitter you can show exactly what makes you a good coach; you can show off your empathy and your wisdom, you can reveal pieces of your soul, and expertly curate your message and your image as a great coach and human.
Just like with LinkedIn, you need to be a good citizen: always respond to responses unless its a troll. (There are ways of handling trolls well, too, but that’s for another time.)
In order for Twitter to be truly effective you need to be on it consistently, so this strategy is only for those who have the time. But if you dedicate the time and energy to it I promise you it will be worth it.
Riley Haas advises on internet marketing strategies and teaching internet marketing tactics. He lives in Toronto.