Fear of making marketing mistakes, or a bunch of them, is common when you’re starting out as a brand new life coach. Today, I want to spare you from getting tripped up with the marketing mistakes and missteps that even seasoned life coaches sometimes make.
Anyway, it’s not your fault. Coaching certification programs don’t teach you how to market your services and find the right clients. Not only that, it’s tough to try to piece together all of the ‘marketing training’ you’re flooded with when you do a google search.
To save yourself time, and move past any lingering self-doubt about whether you know *enough*, create your marketing around these 3 touchstones:
- Why you decided to become a life coach
- Who, exactly, are the women, men, families you feel called to serve
- The impact you’re committed to making with your coaching business
If you keep the answers to these 3 questions close to your heart (and your computer), the marketing decisions you make will align with your mission as a life or health coach.
I get that getting a new life coaching business off the ground can be overwhelming. As newbie self-employed coaches, solopreneurs, and consultants, we all go through it.
When I first became a marketing entrepreneur in 2001, it was after a massive downsizing. I was 100% unprepared to be my own boss.
After 20+ years in corporate marketing-and-communications, I thought no worries–I’ll for sure avoid the common marketing mistakes. (You know where this is going.) Initially, I was a colossal failure at getting the word out about my new done-for-you marketing services because I hadn’t learned this:
—–> There’s a massive difference between ‘marketing other people and products’ and ‘marketing myself’.
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The intentional way to introduce yourself as a coach
As you might be tempted to do, in the beginning of my entrepreneurial life, I introduced myself by saying, “I’m a marketing consultant for small business owners and startups,” and people’s eyes glazed over. It was painful. After all, I wanted to help *everyone* with a small business.
Even though you may want to coach *everyone* who has the problems you address, please don’t do what I did. This was one of the marketing mistakes I made, big time. My self-intro sounded bland and generic. It was scarily similar to a bunch of other folks’ elevator pitches. Just for the record, my website messaging was equally bland.
All because I hadn’t yet clearly defined my dream clients. It took me time and a few detours before I deeply understood my dream clients, and I want you to avoid that. It’s why I’m relentless about teaching life coaches like you how much marketing frustration you’ll save once you get a handle on your dream clients. Here’s why,
Honestly, both online and in the real world, it’s pretty crowded these days. And that’s another crucial reason we all need to be 100% clear about the specific clients we want to serve. Once you know precisely who your dream clients are—in the few seconds you have to connect—you can stand out to them.
Shall we dive in?
Standing out to your dream clients
First and foremost, to bypass making marketing mistakes—both on your website and on social media—you want to stand out to your ideal, dream clients. You want to be relatable to the clients you’re seeking to serve. How? For starters, by describing their situation in the same way they describe it.
Refer back to Touchstone #2 (above): Who are the women and men you feel called to serve? After you understand your specific clients and their dilemmas and pain points, you can reflect their situation authentically in your messaging.
Then, imagine this:
Your dream clients are delighted when they “see” themselves as you describe the people you coach.
Because you’ll speak directly to their pain + their dreams on your website,
in social posts, in 1:1 conversations, on Zoom networking calls.
Won’t that be fabulous?
Yes, it will because instead of introducing yourself this way, “I’m a life coach for women,” you’ll spark the interest of the right clients by saying:
- I’m a Women’s Mid-life Health Coach, helping you regain your health and energy after menopause.
- I’m a Dating Coach for divorced women over 40. I help you find a relationship that makes you happy.
- As a Women’s Transition Coach, I work with women who want to move on after a big setbacks like job loss or divorce.
Let’s get to those top marketing mistakes you want to avoid as a new life coach, shall we?
Top 7 marketing mistakes to avoid as a new life coach
Marketing Mistake #01: Not intentionally making this choice
We’re starting with my #1 must-have marketing strategy: focus on your specific clients.
Here’s the truth, if you avoid making this choice you’re going to feel stuck in the entrepreneurial hamster wheel. And not just in your marketing, in your entire coaching business.
Before you can find, attract, and connect with dream clients, you must first know who they are.
Because this is the queen of the marketing mistakes, let’s review what happens if you fail to focus on your dream client…
The unique content you create so you can connect with clients, will hover above the heads of your dream clients, like beautiful rolling clouds. Lovely to look at, but it’s so generic, your dream clients won’t even realize you’re talking to them.
Think of it this way, if you introduce yourself in a vanilla manner, your chances of connecting are slim. For example,
“I coach *people* who want to make a career change.”
Doesn’t that cover a lot of ground? Can the potential client you’re talking to picture who you serve? Can they visualize themselves coaching with you?
Now, heaven knows that career changers are a brave group of people. Truly, they likely all need practical guidance from an expert coach like you.
However, “People who want to make a career change” is wide-open.
Do you work with a particular age-group? Men or women? You can sound as focused as you are by saying something like, I coach…
- Mid-career women professionals who want to move into leadership positions
- Accounting professionals who want to raise fees so they can expand their businesses
- Divorced moms who need a job with flexible hours so they can take care of their kids
- Mid-career women returning to the workforce after raising their children
Do you see how these unique intros instantly communicate a clear image of a particular individual?
To make it easy for dream clients to recognize that you’re the coach for them, be crystal-clear about who you serve in your messaging, content and on your website.
Your dream client choice impacts everything
We’re not done yet, these marketing strategies, tactics, and actions will all be muddled, and you risk repeating these marketing mistakes if you don’t make this first impactful decision about your dream clients:
- Your elevator pitch / self-introduction
- Your website homepage
- Your website Coaching Services page
- Actually, every page on your website
- The weekly blog post, podcast, or video you craft so you can build your credibility
- Your one-on-one coaching program
And let’s not forget your invitations to website visitors to take the next step and join your world, like calls-to-action (CTA).
- Your calls-to-action: must-have, sincere steps you ask website visitors to take:
- Sign up for my weekly doses of inspiration
- Don’t miss my weekly parenting tips that will save your sanity
- Click here to get my latest secrets to paid speaking gigs delivered to your inbox
You see where we’re going here. There isn’t a single thing you create or do for your business that won’t be stronger, more focused, and more clear— after you settle on who you want as a dream client.
J. K. Rowling: a model to avoid the #1 of all marketing mistakes
Here’s why having a dream client’s so vital: once you choose a dream client, each time you write for your website, create a new blog, video, or podcast, you’ll follow in J. K. Rowling’s footsteps.
J. K. Rowling (creator of all things Harry Potter) entertains and enthralls multiple generations, genders, cultures, and countries.
How does this relate to you choosing One Dream Client to market to? Stay with me.
When she wrote the first Harry Potter story, J. K. Rowling focused on her “One Reader.”
She wrote Harry Potter, solely, to entertain a 13-year-old boy.
She packed all her creativity and passion into enthralling a 13-year-old boy. And yet, her appeal extends so much farther.
Back to you, because, like J. K. Rowling, you’ll pour your passion, expertise, and creativity into your content. Happily, you’ll attract lots of clients beyond your One Dream Client.
Do this instead: take a stand. Choose the kind of client who’s going to light you up. Describe the client you can’t wait to coach. The clients you’re thrilled to see on your calendar each day.
Write their story. Get down everything you know about them:
- What are their most excruciating problems?
- What frustrates them?
- What have they already tried to solve—that didn’t work?
- What are they ready for?
Want to know more about your dream clients? Excellent, set up ‘listening’ conversations with folks who could be your dream clients. You’ll learn a ton about them!
The truth is, your dream client story is not one-and-done. I’d love to tell you—do this exercise and you’ll be golden for the rest of your career as a coach. To be clear, your dream client changes and evolves as you grow as a coach. And, that’s a good thing!
Happily, nothing’s set in stone. So open a Google doc, give your dream client a name, and start telling their story. Don’t have clients yet? No worries, tell the story of the kind of clients you want to coach.
After that, look at your client story every time you:
- Write a blog with educational info to answer your clients’ urgent questions
- Develop a meaty PDF guide or min-training to encourage website visitors to join your email list
- Craft the content for your About page, Services page, well, all the pages on your website
- Compose snippets of your expertise to share in social media posts
Create Client-Attracting Content
Marketing Mistake #02: Stalling about completing your online presence
This mistake also applies to those of us who haven’t updated our website pages in months. Or longer. I’ve definitely been in this category when I started my business.
Sometimes, avoiding the work to stay on top of your online presence can be a marketing mindset issue. If that’s you, you’re not alone. Yet, mindset is where everything starts, right?
Once you’re ready to accept coaching clients, make it easy for everyone who’s looking for your business, to find you online.
That includes friends and family who’re happy to recommend you to potential clients who need a life coach like you.
Don’t forget about colleagues who come across clients that are better served by a life coach like you. They’ll want to refer potential coaching clients to you; make it easy by completing your website, and sharing the link with them.
The best way to do this?
Get your website up and running.
Keep it simple, by starting with the 5 basic website pages:
- Homepage (Summary of who you serve, your coaching philosophy)
- About page (Your story: why you decided to become a coach)
- Your Coaching Services Page (What clients can expect in your sessions)
- Contact me page (Way to set up a free discovery session with you)
- Your blog page (Valuable blog articles build your credibility)
If you’d like a marketing coach to help you avoid marketing mistakes, let’s talk. Find more here.
You can always add web pages as you go along, so keep it doable and start with these five.
Here’s the thing, you’re a giver. You take care of everyone else before you take care of yourself. And I’d be willing to guess, that includes your website.
In normal times or pandemic times,
Your online presence has been wildly important ever since your clients began *googling* everything and everybody on their smartphones.
What do you do you when a friend recommends someone to you?
You probably plug their name into a search engine, right? Sure you do.
We all do it because we’re human and nosy by nature, we want to know *everything there is to know*.
Especially about somebody we’re going to contact about possibly hiring them, don’t we?
Do this instead: open your planner right now—schedule time to create your website content. Or review and refresh it.
When you’re writing your webpages, keep your dream client story open and refer to it constantly.
If you want more tips about getting started with website content as a new life coach, you’ll love this post:
Marketing Mistake #03: Trying to create content for EVERYONE
Quickly, check back to mistake #01. Honestly you don’t want your beautiful content floating up in the clouds, above your clients’ heads—and not connecting with them, do you? No, you do not.
Here’s what you want: when potential dream clients find your website and click on your one-to-one coaching services page, you want them to think…
“It looks like this coach gets me.
I feel that she’s walked in my shoes.
I should have a conversation with her!”
Do this instead: After you’ve corrected mistake #01 above, review your recent (draft) webpages, blog posts, and ask yourself how you’d feel as your dream client when you land on each page.
What can you tweak, so she feels like you *get* her when she scans your website?
Write your web pages, so that your dream clients know you’re talking to them.
Thankfully, unlike when I started as a marketing consultant so many years ago, today’s website software makes revising your website content easy-peasy. You can tweak, rewrite, and revise your website pages whenever you want. After all, you’re the boss, it’s your website.
Marketing Mistake #04: Not committing to a regular schedule
Remember, we know you’re a giver. So this won’t come as a surprise—you must make and keep commitments to your coaching business. If you think about it, keeping commitments is what you’d do for your clients.
Promise me this, you’ll treat your coaching business and marketing your services, just as you would commitments to clients.
Do this instead: develop a schedule for creating, posting content.
Choose a day a week, or every two weeks, that you’ll commit to polishing your website content and creating fresh posts, articles to share with future clients.
Think of it this way:
Maintaining a regular schedule for creating, posting content is self-care for your coaching business.
Marketing Mistake #05: Trying to do it all
Let’s face it, marketing’s a giant, endless flood of platforms, apps, social media sites, social media scheduling systems, writing emails, creating content, and the list goes on.
The good news? You don’t have to “be everywhere online” with your marketing content.
The better news: You only have to be on the social media sites that you’re confident your dream clients actively visit.
Do this instead: In the beginning, don’t try to be everywhere online.
- Make a list of your dream clients, then become Nancy Drew
- Investigate where your dream clients hang out
- Which social media sites do they interact on?
- Give yourself a break, choose one social media site and go all in
That means, sharing your own original, credibility-building content and commenting on other folks’ posts, re-sharing posts made by your dream clients and other experts.
It all boils down to this, marketing is serving first; you can do that by sharing your knowledge and expertise.
- First you share by publishing your original information on your coaching website.
- Next, pull snippets of your content; share them on the 1 social site your dream clients use all the time.
Marketing Mistake #06: Not asking
This happens all the time, I know because when I ask new-ish coaches, “Have you let your network know about your new coaching business?” too many brand new coaches sheepishly say, “Um, no.”
As soon as you’ve chosen your initial services and your dream clients, don’t forget to tell your friends and family that you’re in business.
Do this instead: Send everyone you know a simple email.
Here’s an example for a career coach that you can adapt.
I’ve started a new business as a Women’s Transition Coach. I work with women who want to move on after major setbacks like job loss or divorce.
If you know a woman who’s looking for guidance, please let me know.
I’m excited to offer them a free discovery call so they can connect with me and see how I coach women to get the results they want so they can move forward.
If your friends want to work with me further, that’s awesome. If not, they’ll still receive great value.
Marketing Mistake #07: Not showing up and sharing your voice on the regular.
From both a marketing and a coaching standpoint, showing up everyday is huge.
In coaching school, they likely taught you to coach someone everyday, right?
If you don’t have a paying client today, you should coach a friend, family member, or someone else who is in need of guidance. That way, you can refine your listening skills and your coaching framework.
Truth is, best way to avoid marketing mistakes is no different. A big part of marketing is refining your voice, by going online each day and sharing snippets of your knowledge. Or, making calls to connect with potential clients.
Do this instead: Share your knowledge by creating content that answers your dream clients’ questions. Create at least one piece of fresh content each week or every two weeks.
If you’d like more ideas about how to create content, so you can show up on the regular, click here for the 17 Content Creation Tips post.
The benefits are rewarding:
- You’ll establish and grow your authority
- You’ll learn which messages resonate with your dream clients
- You’ll discover which kind of marketing content connects and attracts the specific clients you want
Final thoughts to avoid marketing mistakes
Fact is, your dream client story becomes the Swiss army knife for your business. You know, the one tool that comes in handy because it solves a bunch of problems.
I promise you, once you avoid marketing mistake #01 (above) and write down your dream client’s story, it will be easy to speak directly to her in your content.
Imagine, you’ll easily write to your dream client, as if she was sitting across the table from you.
What if you could finally create content consistently?
If creating your marketing content has felt like a chore, a time-suck, or a massive mystery, you may have given up on content entirely.
But the truth is:
Content is key to attracting ideal clients and filling your programs. So don’t give up!
If your content ideas are buried in your beautiful brain, you want a process to help your words flow.
You want specific actions to implement so that the content you create stands out to your dream clients.
When you schedule a free Clarity Call, together, we’ll uncover your personalized marketing content actions. That way you can impact more clients. Click below to set up your FREE Clarity Call.