(This is a guest post by Nathalie Lussier).
You’re an amazing coach. You get results for your clients, and you’re clear that having an email list is going to help you fill your roster. It’s also going to help you shift gears into group coaching programs or digital products.
Having an ever growing list of subscribers who raised their hand and want to know more about your offerings is the closest thing to ice cream sundaes for breakfast.
But the missing piece for many coaches who are diving into the content marketing and digital strategy realm is this: how to turn visitors into fans and subscribers, and then customers?
Here’s where the 5 steps come in.
1. Getting Traffic In The First Place
There is no shortage of options where getting traffic is concerned. You may have heard about guest blogging, optimizing your website for the search engines, joint ventures, conventional press and media, webinars, advertising, and a ton of other tactics along the way.
You want to know what works best? It really comes down to testing different ideas out for your market, brand, and skill set. Some people love to write and becoming a guest contributor on someone else’s blog is going to lead to a slew of hot new visitors.
Another person might prefer to talk and decide to create a podcast that drives people back to their website. Or if starting a podcast sounds daunting, maybe it’s just asking to be interviewed on someone else’s podcast instead.
I recommend getting good at generating traffic by testing out just one or two methods, mastering it, and only then moving onto the next shiny object of traffic generation. If you want to master SEO, then just focus on SEO for a few months. If you want to master Facebook ads or Pinterest, then just focus on that and get really good at it before you move on.
2. Having An Opt-in Offer That Converts
Now that you have a strategy for getting good at generating traffic to your website, it’s time to make sure that people have something worth visiting. That means putting together an irresistible opt-in offer, and giving something valuable away in exchange for someone’s name and email.
I like to recommend people get a little creative with this one, because no one is going to give you their email if you just ask them to join your newsletter.
You need to make it worth their while, and their attention. So think about what your ideal coaching clients could really benefit from, or want resolved, before they were to work with you.
It could be something as simple as “10 things you need to know before you hire a life coach”, which is super specific and will bring in all the people who are considering hiring a coach. You could also focus in on a specific problem that many of your clients have, or answer some of the most common questions people ask before they work with you.
Package these ideas up into an audio, video, or PDF and you’ve got an opt-in offer that people will want to say yes to!
3. Tracking Your Results
One of the biggest mistakes I see coaches make when they’re first getting online is that they don’t track their metrics. It’s so easy to set up Google Analytics (and free!) but I often find that it ends up last on the to-do list.
I get it! But if you don’t have Google Analytics installed to track where your visitors or coming from, and what they’re doing once they get to your website, then you’re missing out on a ton of useful and profitable information.
One super important tip is to set up what’s called a “goal” in Google Analytics. A goal can be anything from someone filling out your contact form to ask about your coaching, to opting into your email list, or buying something directly from your site.
You definitely want to set up a goal for your email opt-in, to start tracking how many visitors turn into subscribers.
Now you might be thinking that you already know how many new subscribers you have by looking at the stats inside your email marketing service dashboard, but what Google Analytics tells you is where the people who signed up came from… and it allows you to compare different sources of traffic.
Can you imagine knowing that 10% of your new subscribers came from LinkedIn, and 70% came from Facebook… and in this hypothetical scenario you’re currently spending 80% of your time on LinkedIn? Would that make you re-evaluate where you spend your efforts? I think so!
4. Having A Follow-Up Sequence Via Email
Now that people are joining your list, it’s time to follow up with them on a regular basis with your newsletter. But you can also use the first few days and weeks after someone joins your list to educate them about your services and products.
I highly recommend writing out a few emails, that you can set up to go out automatically a few days apart, that explain your philosophy, the story of how you got started as a coach, and also how they can start to work with you.
Which leads me to…
5. Asking For The Sale & Repeating The Process
In those last few emails of your auto responder sequence, it’s really smart to include a strong call to action that asks people to get in touch about working together.
Depending on your client intake process you could send people directly to a sales or scheduling page. When you do this type of automated marketing, you’ll start to see that you can get new client inquiries on a regular basis. Then to fill your roster you just need to send more traffic to your website… and the rest takes care of itself.
One bonus tip is to ask people who just joined your list to share your website or opt-in offer on social media, either right after they opt-in or in your email sequence after they’ve enjoyed some of your content.
Nathalie Lussier is an award-winning entrepreneur and expert who specializes in smart digital strategy with heart. She’s the creator of the popular free 30 Day List Building Challenges, which will walk you through how to grow your list more in the next 30 days than you have in the last 3 months… click here to sign up, it’s free!
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 11th, at noon PST for the next Blueprint Workshop: Refining Your New Client Process
You might feel like you do a ton of free sessions with clients, and nothing pans out to paying clients.
You might feel like people aren’t really seeing the value of what you offer, in those initial sessions.
You might kinda-sorta wonder if the reason why you’re doing all these intro sessions, without getting more clients, has to do with you being a…bad coach, or you might think that you’re not really ready to be working with people.
Truth? While it’s always possible that not-so-great coaching is reaping not-so-great results, the more likely scenario is that something about your new client processes could use some refining.
People might not be seeing the true value of what you offer. They might be leaving sessions thinking, “That was great, and she was nice, and all–but if I invest in this, is it really going to pan out to serious changes in my life?”
Make sure you’ve opted-in
The only way to receive call-in instructions for this workshop? Become a Blueprint e-letter subscriber. I’ll send out dial-in instructions 24 hours in advance of our Workshop, with two small reminders the day of the workshop.
Can’t make the workshop? The recording will be made available afterwards, exclusively for users of the Coaching Blueprint digital program.
This is a guest post by Nicole Antoinette
One of the best things about owning your own business is that you have complete control over your time. But, let’s face it, that’s also one of the most challenging things, right?
Being able to choose how you spend every minute of every hour of every day means that you actually have to choose how to spend every minute of every hour of every day. Technically, you “can” hang out on Twitter all morning and you “can” spend 5 hours in your inbox – but put things like that together day after day and you probably don’t have a very successful or fulfilling business. You’d be busy, sure, but being busy and accomplishing meaningful work aren’t always the same thing. In fact, they’re rarely the same thing. Which is why the common productivity goal of getting more done in less time doesn’t work for me. The goal shouldn’t be to simply get more done, it should be to get more of what matters done. And that’s exactly where these strategies come in.
Click to Tweet: The goal isn’t to get more done; it’s to get more of the things that matter done. @NicoleLessBS : http://ctt.ec/TEoeO+
4 Unconventional Time-Saving Strategies
1. Use a timer
Just because you “can” spend all day doing something, doesn’t mean you should. Email needs to get answered, but that doesn’t mean you have to toil over every message. For tasks like email, there’s huge value in putting yourself on a micro-deadline – say 30 minutes – and then stepping up to meet that self-imposed challenge. For me, that means setting a timer for 30 minutes, opening my inbox, starting at the bottom (with the message that’s been there the longest) and answering one message at a time, quickly and efficiently, working my way up until the timer goes off.
When the timer goes off, I close my inbox and get back to other work, distraction-free, knowing I’ll have more 30-minute bursts throughout the day. Doing this pushes me to make my responses concise and to the point – thereby getting me through my inbox faster while also cutting down on the recipient’s email management hell. Win, win.
2. Identify your energy leaks (and plug ‘em)
One of the biggest problems with productivity tips is that they almost always focus on time management, even though time isn’t the issue. It’s not about how much time something takes, but about how much energy it takes, which is why our main focus should be on energy management. Think about it: if you love coaching, then the hour you spend on the phone with a client feels great, because it’s an activity that gives you energy. But spending that same hour trying to figure out how to change some code on your website (assuming that’s not your thing) will leave you feeling drained and frustrated.
All hour-long time chunks are not created equal.
So, let’s shift the conversation and stop looking at how to maximize time and instead take a deeper look at how to optimize energy. The best place to start is to go through your schedule for the week and put a little star next to everything you’re feeling resistance toward. What are you dreading? What makes your body contract, instead of expand?
Do this for actual plans (meetings, parties, interviews, etc.) as well as for the different types of work/tasks you do on a regular basis (email, client calls, social media, writing, billing, etc.) Then, once you have an honest picture of how much of your time is being spent on things that deplete your energy, you can start to make some changes. That doesn’t mean you never have to do anything you dislike, but there are plenty of ways to either condense and batch those energy-draining things together, or even to outsource them. Either way, try to make decisions based on how much energy something takes, instead of just how much time. Because, truly, the 1-hour meeting you agonize over for two days is actually 48-hours long.
3. Plan your day around a single question
The best days in my business are the ones where I start work with a short, solid action plan that was made the previous day. I feel grounded, calm, and clear on what to focus on – which helps me keep my mind on the important things instead of just spending the day reacting to whatever “urgent” things pop up.
Which is why, at the end of each work day, I ask myself a single question: “What’s the next best thing I can do to move my business forward?” Then, I make that the very first thing I do the following day, before email, before social media, before anything. That way, no matter what else happens throughout the day, I feel great knowing that I already accomplished my top priority item.
4. Stop trying to “catch up”
Guess what? There will always be more work to do. There will always be more emails to answer. There will always be additional things you can add to your to-do list. So get over it already. Seriously, the sooner you stop trying to “catch up” (whatever the hell that means), the better. Because – and this is one of the most empowering things I ever learned – you will never be caught up, but that’s okay!
The purpose of life isn’t “inbox zero,” you know? So, try it. Try making the conscious shift from always feeling behind to instead owning the fact that you’re prioritizing the things that matter and not letting yourself be ruled by a seemingly endless to-do list of other people’s priorities. Repeat after me: I am not a slave to my to-do list/inbox/social media/anything else.
Because if you cut through all of those tasks, and if you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll be able to identify the heart of your business – the true work that you and only you are meant to do – and then you can shift to spending the majority of your time and energy doing exactly that, and serving your clients and the world in a much more powerful way as a result.
Click to tweet: The purpose of life isn’t ‘inbox zero.’ – @NicoleLessBS http://ctt.ec/d42fF+
Nicole Antoinette wants to live in a world with less bullshit. She helps people change their stories – the ones they tell about themselves, to themselves – so that they feel safe about changing their habits and, ultimately, their lives. She’s the founder of A Life Less Bullshit, an online powerhouse that provides simple, actionable, and powerful strategies for ditching what you think should want in favor of what you actually do want – so that you can take whatever you’re obsessed with and make it a delicious reality.
In the 2014 Blueprint Business Planner (which will only be available to subscribers until the end of January 2014), I share this fun little graphic to illustrate how different aspects of your business are interconnected. I call it the Blueprint Business Web:
If you look at these various parts that are interconnected to comprise the whole, you’ll see that missing even one element means that your business isn’t as strong. For instance, try to have a business that has all of these elements, except for “Fulfillment + Ease”? Good luck–you’ll burn out.
Here’s what each of these interconnected pieces mean, and why they’re so important to your business’s daily and long-term functionality.
Money & Receiving :: Naturally, of course. Your business needs money, or some other mode of receiving the goods/services that it needs, in order to function. I’ve always loved the pragmatic wisdom of Danielle LaPorte, when someone asks her where they should focus their efforts: “Get the money in the door.”
I’ll add to that–have a way of generating reliable income. If you examine the numbers you really need in order to generate reliable income via a business then you’ll see why it takes most businesses some time to get off the ground. If you’ve been doing the “getting my business going” dance with a bit of the “9-5 hustle,” you’re not selling out on yourself. You’re actually putting yourself in a position for long-term success.
Collaboration & Support :: “I’m too shy to reach out!” someone says, bemoaning their single status as a new coach trying to get the word out about their offerings. But, reach out you must, because forming connections with others is a huge part of doing business.
Or perhaps you have reached out to several people, suggesting that they might review your product, do a link exchange, or interview you on their website, and you have been roundly ignored or heard a stream of “no” responses.
Why did that happen? Because more than likely, that coach sees your email to take time out of their day to review your product, or promote you to their people, or interview you, as more work for them to wade through.
Collaboration must be truly collaborative. There must be benefits for all parties involved. If the promotion or work is one-sided, it’s hard to get those initial “yes” responses.
Instead, flip things around. Offer to interview them–I’ve made some great friendships through hitting it off in what initially started as a purely business-oriented interview. If you own their products, do a review and send them the link. The reciprocity here is that you might gain a friendship, or they might send their people to your website to check out your interview or review.
And, of course, let’s not forget masterminds, informal groups of coaches where you’re getting together for the camaraderie, swapping business strategy, and wearing pirate eye patches on Google Hangouts (hat tip to Kira Sabin, who brings that particular gem to our mastermind group).
Vision & Offerings :: Here are two questions for you:
1.) What’s your vision for your business?
2.) What offerings feed into that vision?
When I held the December 2013 Blueprint Workshop (the recording will be available for all who have purchased the Coaching Blueprint digital program), one of the things I talked about was how to create content in 2014 that could feed multiple streams of your business, and that would also look to address one issue from multiple angles.
I’ll use a yoga example, since a bit of distance from the prototypical coaching topics might make this a bit easier to see: If I’m a yoga teacher, and I want people to take up yoga because I believe that it relieves anxiety, and if I’m using the content-based model that we’re all using on the internet, then I need to speak to some of the issues that my yoga students face.
My vision (for this example): bring yoga to more people because that relieves anxiety, and anxiety helps the world become a better place.
Perhaps they have trouble getting to class (and when they don’t get to class, their anxiety goes up). Thus, I could talk about easy, home-based yoga exercises–that’s an offering.
Perhaps they have trouble with comparisons (and when those voices get too loud, they don’t go to yoga, and then their anxiety goes up). Thus, I could talk about how to work through comparisons to those pretty yoga models who can contort themselves into any picture in a yoga magazine–that’s an offering.
I’m keeping this simple, on purpose, but in essence: if the combination is yoga + relieving anxiety, then I need to speak to what stops people from getting to the yoga, and how yoga relieves the anxiety. That’s what people will keep coming back to me for, and this is the start of what differentiates me from the gazillions of other yoga teachers out there.
Fulfillment & Ease :: If you don’t have a plan for fulfillment and ease, it just won’t happen. You’ve got to determine your non-negotiables. Whether that’s “I absolutely, positively, must stop working and make it to dance class to decompress from my day” or “I refuse to take on more than X number of clients” or “I will no longer check email more than once a day,” you’ve got to set up a parameter that creates clear ease for you.
More ease = more fulfillment, regardless of your bank statements.
And fulfillment, by the way? That’s got to be a non-negotiable, as well. If you’re doing work that doesn’t light you up, you’ve got to find a way to make it more fun or get it off of your plate. Period.
Promotion & Growth :: In the Coaching Blueprint program, I talk about re-framing marketing as “creating resonance.” It’s not about trying to get anyone to do something that they don’t want to do (which is probably why marketing feels “bad” to you). It’s about creating resonance with the people who are right for the product.
Example: Every New Year, there is a rash of diet products that hit the marketplace, promising me that if I just take a pill or use a cream or work out 10 minutes a day, I’ll be a size two. I never buy into them. They can’t “manipulate” me into anything, because there’s no resonance for me. I don’t desire to take pills, or be a size two.
You know what does hook me? Ads in Triathlete magazine–the ones that promise that I can use a product that would injury-proof me, make me stronger, or up my PR.
When it comes to coaching, leading with honesty about what you truly, sincerely want for your clients–speaking in terms of outcomes–is marketing. There’s nothing manipulative about it. If you sincerely want your clients to feel closer to their husbands, speak into that, and with passion. Only the people who really want to feel closer to their husbands are going to contact you. You’re not “selling to” someone so much as you’re “creating resonance.”
Speaking of promotion, the question becomes: what channels would be used for bringing those offerings? Some channels need to build your platform (social media, email, and otherwise). Other channels need to be low-paid offerings so that people have a low barrier to entry in working with you. Other channels need to be higher-paid, more intensive offerings.
This concept gets a touch more refined in the Coaching Blueprint program, but in essence–your offerings need to connect to your vision, and need to go out to your people through several channels. As a “for instance,” within my own coaching practice, there are free offerings through my e-letters, slightly more expensive offerings through my downloadable e-programs, and the most expensive offerings are also the most high-value: one-on-one time with targeted, strategic plans for what someone can do to grow their business.
A word about free offerings: Vary them throughout the year. I change up what I offer subscribers to the Blueprint e-letter, at various points in time. And every time I offer those subscribers some new freebie, I don’t only give it to the ‘new’ subscribers. I give it to even long-term subscribers who might have already purchased my products.
Why? Because it’s just the right thing to do. My vision for the Coaching Blueprint community and all of the offerings that come out of it, is to help life coaches build their practices faster and easier than I did, creating profitable and fulfilling practices, so that they can do the important work of helping clients–which, in my humble opinion, benefits the world-at-large.
Now that I’ve outlined each of these aspects of the Blueprint Business Web, I hope you’ll take some time to sign up for the Blueprint e-letter and download the 2014 planner, which is a.) free, and b.) gets into more of the nitty-gritty of each aspect of these interconnected parts. You’ll love it (you’ll also see a “click to tweet” prompt that will allow you to connect with others who are using the planner, on Twitter, using this year’s unique hashtag).