We are living in unprecedented times. You don’t need me to tell you how crazy life and business seems right now. I have worked in the change industry as a coach/consultant for over three decades now, for 23 years I have been running my own business, which means I have survived many market transitions, and if I’m honest, I had something of an intuitive sense of what was coming.
Did I know the catalyst would be a pandemic? No, I didn’t, and I didn’t know it would happen right now. The truth is, like so many of us, when the pandemic hit, I wasn’t ready.
What you must realize is that the virus acted as a catalyst, bringing forward changes that were inevitable, and already happening at a much slower pace, and it has simply increased the momentum of that timeline.
If you’re like most coaches, you will feel the need to be cautious, and yet at the same time, as a conscious individual, you know that living from a place of fear and scarcity doesn’t usually resonate with clients and that if you could just find the opportunity hidden here, you would be able to recalibrate your business to inspire, serve and help others, at this unique inflection point in time.
Much of the business advice circulating these days fails to acknowledge that different businesses are experiencing radically different realities right now, contrary to popular belief not everyone is suffering.
Many businesses are in all-out SURVIVAL MODE, fighting to stay afloat. Others are in ADAPTATION MODE, rapidly adjusting to the new reality. While cost containment and risk mitigation may be the first steps, these businesses are also shifting their operating models and client experiences to ensure their continuity. And some businesses are in OPPORTUNITY MODE evolving to fill an unmet need that’s opening up. These evolutionary businesses are looking at changing the world and seeing new ways they can be of service, transforming their businesses to pursue unexpected opportunities. This is a possibility for you as a coach.
We will re-emerge from this unfathomable moment in time, but not as we were before. Despite our instincts to endure this crisis and return to ‘normal’, history has shown us that tragic events (war, famine, disease) alter us in fundamental, irrevocable ways. Perspectives shift. New beliefs and mindsets take shape. Behaviors and customs evolve. This is true of human beings, and businesses, and it will be true for the coaching industry.
We’re entering a time of global business transformation, and it’s happening quickly. Many businesses (and coaches) will tragically be lost to the economic fallout of the pandemic, those who are unable to keep their cash flowing won’t survive, and those that do will exist in a different form and will be far more adaptable and resilient.
In large organizations, virtual teams currently thriving in their home offices will crave that same autonomy going forward. Employees will expect their business leaders to continue leading with transparency, authenticity, and humanity, which will put increasing pressure on leaders to change, do their own inner work so they can show up with empathy and compassion. They are going to need help with this, guides they can trust, coaches who can lead the way.
All business leaders realize that change is inevitable, but great leaders are being intentional about the changes, harnessing the pressure and conflicting tensions of this moment to forge new ways of working, new experiences, and new business models.
They are not waiting for quieter days when things will have settled down, as that will prove too late. They know the economy isn’t going to bounce back in 3, 6, or 12 months. Like it or not, this is a longer-term transition that is evolving not only what it means to be human, but also HOW we do business.
Previously, as a coach, you may have been marketing a longer-term vision of what your clients want, however in this landscape your message needs to be more short-term focused, to include positioning yourself as the Trusted Authority.
Today, more than ever, it’s about helping others to stabilize their life/business, giving them back their ground to feel more resilient in these uncertain times. Succeeding in this time is very different from being successful in the previous “GROWTH’ years.
The truth is your current clients are going to evaluate the importance of your coaching to decide if they need it right now. You need to be prepared for your coaching clients who will fail to renew, and you need to provide even more value for what someone is paying you. You’re no longer competing with other coaches in your industry, you’re competing with what someone needs their expenses to be.
Your potential clients are likely to be spending more time researching what they want and need. If you’re using content marketing to guide people towards your products and services this is good, because gaining the attention of people you would like to work with will cost less, as people spend more time researching you, and the bigger brands reduce their ad spend, making more space for smaller business owners to get their content seen at much lower levels of investment.
What your clients want and need is likely to be different today than it was pre-pandemic. They aren’t looking for coaches, they’re searching for the person who understands them, who is aware of their challenges, and can help them to breakthrough.
But what does this mean for you as a coach?
How do you shift from the identity of a coach to become more of a Trusted Authority in your field?
It means for many of you, that your marketing and sales strategies will have to change completely, including distributing more value upfront, which means developing more content so you are in a good position to earn the sale.
My best advice: If you’re a coach who wants to survive, you need to double down on your content marketing. Most coaches will need to rethink and improve how they do content marketing to make sure they resonate with clients and can monetize their efforts.
It boils down to 3 things:
- Better Content Marketing
- Better Messaging
- Better Quality of Content
And here’s why this is so important. The highest-earning coaches in our industry are NOT the best coaches, some of the best coaches I know who get their clients' amazing transformations, are also the most financially challenged, and usually the best-kept secret in their industry. If this is you, you’re not alone.
The highest-earning coaches are also the most impactful, they have the biggest reach and they’re not the best coaches, they are the best marketers, which means we can’t rely on our coaching skills to grow our business. We need to understand the fundamentals of content marketing that give our clients a great coaching and business experience including the transformation or solutions they are paying us for.
One of your primary goals as a coaching business needs to be making a profit, and you can’t do that without marketing. Even if you’re an internal coach, or maybe you run a non-profit coaching organization, which means profit isn’t your primary aim, you still have to get your message out there if you want to find new internal clients, donors, sponsors, and volunteers which makes marketing an essential skill for business.
Here are some of the benefits of content marketing for you as a coach:
- Generate leads
- Build your authority brand
- Announce a product launch
- Drive more sales
- Educate the market on what you offer
- Increase visibility
- Develop stronger relationships
- Build a community around your brand
Content is the lifeblood of marketing. It’s the way you get your message out to the world about your coaching, spread awareness of your brand, and build a public face for your business. You can use content to build trust, deeper relationships, and position yourself as a valuable authority. Whatever your marketing goals are, in today’s highly competitive marketplace, the content will play a crucial part in achieving them.
Coaching clients love relevant content, they want to be informed, educated, and inspired by the types of transformations you can get for your clients. And in many cases they don’t just want to work with a coach, they want to work with the best coach they can afford, which means you need to show up as a Trusted Authority, someone who is at the cutting edge of thought leadership, who understands where their clients are now, where they’ve been and where they’re headed.
Your potential clients want you to add value to their lives before they will consider becoming a paying client which is why content is so important to your coaching business going forward.
One of the things that made a huge difference to my business was when I started implementing content marketing in my business. One of the most impactful things I did was to create a lead nurturing campaign, to help turn strangers into paying coaching clients. These are simple yet highly relevant pieces of content I create as touch-points for my clients that can be delivered via email, social media, telephone voicemails, texts, chatbots, and multiple different ways to get your content in front of your potential clients.
It helps to keep you top of mind, gives your potential clients a high-value experience with you before they ever consider working with you, and gets them interested in what you do as a coach before anything promotional ever comes along. It builds relationships and trust, so your clients begin to look in your free content for solutions to their problems. They begin to see you as more than a coach, you become someone they can turn to for support, someone who can help them reach their goals quicker, who is more likely to be able to help them with the bigger challenges that they’re willing to pay money for.
You become the Trusted Authority they will turn to when they start thinking about increasing their commitment and getting a coach. Content marketing is so important in today’s coaching marketplace, this alone has the potential to differentiate you from the competition as most coaches are not doing this in any effective way yet, they are stuck in “random acts of marketing”.
Let’s take a look at the big picture and four factors based on the questions I get asked about most about content marketing…
1. What types of content should I use?
Don’t just rely on writing blog posts. There are many different content mediums out there to experiment with. Think about reports, slideshows, webinars, videos coaching/self-help resources, audio examples of you coaching (with permission from clients) infographics, and so on. You can create new content from scratch and repurpose your existing content. Remember that you can share a variety of content on multiple platforms, such as your blog, social media channels, video sites, podcast platforms, webinars, and more.
2. How much content will I need?
This will depend on the aim of your content, and your goal will drive the amount. But as a general rule, aim to put out at least one piece of content a day. Don’t worry this doesn’t have to take you too much time, short social posts also count, we’re not talking 7 blogs or articles here. This can be in various formats too, e.g. video or audio clips, and can be based on the same core content. For example, if you have a blog, you can extract a shorter post from that to create tweets.
3. How will I track success?
These days you can track pretty much anything online, but you need to choose exactly what works for you. Otherwise, you’ll end up overwhelmed by data. You need a few metrics to track for each goal that will tell you how you're doing and measure your results in an objective, quantitative way. For example, if your goal is to increase visits to your website, you’ll want to measure traffic. Use Google Analytics, which is well-known for measuring website visitor rates and bounce rates. If your number one goal is to increase your lead magnet sign-ups by 10%, then you’ll need to track the click-through rate from your content, as well as the actual number of people who opt-in. Opt-in page providers like ClickFunnels and LeadPages show lead generation and conversion rates.
If you want to track increased engagement on social media, then ‘likes’, shares, and comments are the easiest metrics to track but they don’t tell you much really, they’re just vanity metrics. You can also track audience growth and your followers/following ratio. Each social platform provides their own analytics which can help you see trends in the right direction but unless this is leading to sales for your coaching business it doesn’t mean much
4. Which channels should I use?
Your clients are likely on social media. Find out where your audience spends their time, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Linked In, or Twitter. Then, you can grow your presence and communicate with your followers on their preferred platforms.
We coaches are the ones who can really help to create a better world and first, we need to get better at marketing and business. So this is very exciting for me, to be able to share some of what I know with you because over the years, and the last one particular, I have learned so much.
I believe that business can be a force for good in the world and I know that coaches have the influence to create impact and a better world through coaching, to facilitate changes that support leaders, parents, families, businesses, organizations, and humans around the world.
We are the ones who hold the sacred space for people to achieve their unique definition of success in so many different aspects of life and business. Together we coaches have the skills to help move people and the world in the right direction, we can help with the changes needed now. And when we do that we get to create a lifestyle and a business experience that will achieve our very own unique definition of success and do it in ways that are honest, ethical, and keep everyone inspired and feeling good.
Article first published on LinkedIn by Jayne Warrilow
Founder of Coaches Business School and Sacred Changemakers Podcast