How to Get More Coaching Clients - 16 Key Channels & Tactics that Work
One of the most common questions that coaches have is how to get more coaching clients. There are a variety of effective strategies to get coaching clients, but before exploring them, it’s important to point out that the choice depends on the stage of the coaching business (beginner or experienced) and the ideal coaching clients that coaches have in mind.
Beginners may want to help as many people as possible, but seasoned coaches understand that they have to narrow down their focus in order to succeed. For beginners, one of the most effective strategies to get clients is to provide their services for free for a limited time. Once the “free period” is over, coaches have to use different channels to expand their reach.
How to get more coaching clients? What are these client acquisition channels? Let’s dive in!
Understand who your ideal coaching client is
How to get your first coaching clients? The process of identifying your ideal client starts with a series of questions that you need to ask yourself. First and foremost, visualize the type of person you would like to work with. You need to feel at ease and enjoy working with this person, so you can be selfish when you answer this question. Then, you have to consider your prices and evaluate the type of person who can afford them. Examples of questions to narrow down your focus include demographics, values, and lifestyle.
How and where to find coaching clients
Once you identify your ideal client, it’s time to find ways to connect with these people. How to get coaching clients fast? Where can you find coaching clients? How do you approach them? And how do you develop a working relationship with them?
- Offline networking
Offline networking is the old-style way of connecting with clients, but it can still be effective. The reason why this method still works is because people love meeting new connections at events, in front of a drink.
If you live in a city, it shouldn’t be hard to find events and happy hours to join; you can use tools such as Eventbrite or Meetup to find interesting gatherings of your ideal clients. Offline networking is a time-consuming activity because you need to find time to travel to your destination and spend some time there to connect and chat with people.
Before joining offline networking events, make sure you check the guidance documents for coronavirus. Most gatherings are still prohibited or can occur under very strict circumstances.
If you want offline networking to be effective you should participate in a couple of events every month and spend a couple of hours there (for an average of 4 hours per month total). Regarding costs, you should consider transportation to get to the event (gas or Lyft/Uber), the cost of the event (if not free) and one or two drinks per event ($$$).
If you use offline networking as a way of getting paying coaching clients, you should expect results with time because you should focus on a few people at each event to make sure you’re memorable and they feel the need to reconnect with you once they get home. You can evaluate the success of your offline networking efforts after a couple of months.
When you’re at the event, you need to approach people in a natural and spontaneous way, without immediately mentioning your business. You should ask questions to people to try to understand their world better, and then slowly move the conversation in a way that allows you to mention your business and give out your business card. Vistaprint is an easy online tool that allows you to create business cards (if you don’t have them yet).
- Public speaking
Public speaking is an excellent way for coaches to establish themselves in the field. You can connect with companies that organize events related to your area of expertise, and you can offer your knowledge and availability to speak at their events. As you develop more confidence on stage and get discovered by your audience, more organizations will reach out and invite you to speak. This strategy may require an initial investment of time to look for companies that fit your areas of expertise and reach out to them. When it comes to public speaking engagements, you can always consider Profi. The founders of this all-in-one coaching management platform often organize offline and online events that feature coaches in their network.
- Online events
How to get coaching clients online? The main difference between offline networking events and online events is that online events can be joined from the comfort of your home or office. When it comes to online events, you don’t have to spend money on transportation or drinks, but you may have to pay a fee to join. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Eventbrite and Meetup transitioned towards online events, so you can still find great opportunities on these platforms. As you don’t have to travel to get to these events, you can attend more of them. It’s harder to have one-on-one conversations during an online event, but you can always intervene at the end of the presentation during the Q&A round, and introduce yourself and your business. If someone in the audience asks an interesting question that suggests they could be great clients, make sure you ask for their contact.
- Media coverage/Guest posting/guest podcasting
As a coach, you can use writing as a tool to share your knowledge. If you don’t feel confident in your writing skills, you can always collaborate with a professional writer for ideas and editing services, or even ask them to write the piece for you (ghostwriting). Once you have a piece you’re happy with, you can submit it to magazines, websites, or blogs, that publish content in line with your area of expertise. You can also look for podcasts in your field and offer your availability and knowledge. Podcasts are becoming popular and there are many who are looking for people to interview. Regardless of the channel you choose, this strategy will require some time to find the right fit and reach out to people. It may take a few months to find a good opportunity and see results.
If you are open to collaborating with other coaches, co-marketing strategies and partnerships allow you to save time and money. You can send cold emails to coaches who work in the same field and ask them if they want to partner with you and work together on marketing initiatives. As for other strategies we mentioned, it may take some time to find the right partners, reach out, and receive answers. That’s why joining a coaching network is an excellent way to save time and connect with other coaches fast. Profi has created a safe and loving community of coaches, who are eager to connect and open to collaborate. There is also a referral program: you can get referrals from the platform or other coaches and get paid for the referrals you give.
Quora is a question-and-answer website. You can sign up for free, create a profile that gives interesting and engaging information about you, and look for topics that are in line with your areas of expertise. You’ll find a variety of questions that you can reply to and use them to share your knowledge. Start by answering the question to engage readers, and then, towards the end, you can mention that you are a coach and are open to onboard new clients. Quora allows you to add your website link to answers, but don’t add it to all of them, to avoid being seen as spam. Instead, we recommend that you add the link to your profile. As you reply to more questions and engage with readers, they will be interested in knowing more and will check out your profile.
- Blog / Podcast / Vlog
As we mentioned in our previous article “Top 10 Coaching tools for Your Online Practice Management,” in order to create your own blog, you need to have a website. There are a lot of platforms available that you can use. Most of them offer a free trial and then charge monthly or yearly. You can also create your own podcast to share your knowledge and tips, but this option may be pricey because you’ll need some basic equipment such as a microphone and an audio editing software. If you feel comfortable in front of the camera, you can also create videos for your audience and post them on your blog (vlogging), and/or create a YouTube channel to expand your reach.
All these tools require different skills, and you should focus on one at a time, at least in the beginning. Ideally, you should start by creating written content for your blog. When you do that, focus on the needs of your ideal client, create a content plan, and commit to post engaging content regularly. Once you feel more comfortable with the process, you can think about expanding your reach by adding a YouTube channel and/or a podcast to your toolbox.
The blog is the easiest and cheapest option. You’ll need to pay a monthly or yearly fee to have a website with your chosen provider, and invest some time in creating a content plan ($). Profi offers coaches the possibility to save time and money by using the built-in blog feature. You can also use the Profi profile as a business card or free website.
You can purchase special tools to create and edit the videos that you want to share on your blog or YouTube channel, but you don’t have to, your phone is enough. The most time consuming and expensive option is the podcast because of the basic equipment that we previously mentioned and the time you need to record and edit ($$).
All these different platforms require a commitment to produce content regularly. If you publish written content, videos, or podcast episodes every now and then, it will be harder to keep your audience engaged. That’s why it’s important to create a calendar and try to be consistent, coming out, for example, every other Thursday, or every first day of the month. These tools work in the long run. Depending on how often you publish new content, it may take a few months before seeing results. This is normal, so don’t give up!
As we mentioned, blogs, vlogs, and podcasts require different tools, so you may have time and money to only focus on one of them for now. But if you’re looking for a platform that allows you to develop different channels to share your knowledge and acquire new paying coaching clients, Profi is the all-in-one business management platform that allows coaches to create blog posts, videos, and podcast episodes and upload them all in the same place. In this way, your audience doesn’t have to switch platforms to discover and enjoy the content that you put out.
- Social media
How to get new coaching clients using social media? As we live in a highly-technological world, having a social media presence is a must. You should have an account in all major social media outlets: Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (business page). Every platform is different and specifics may change depending on which outlet you use, but you can post the same content on all of them and use scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to help you manage your calendar and optimize the content for each platform. Social media outlets work in the long run, so don’t expect results right away. The most important thing when using these channels is being consistent, posting often, and using images (posts without images are not engaging).
How to get coaching clients from Instagram? Instagram is very much focused on the visual component of the post. Most people use Instagram to share pretty and curated photos. The best way to use Instagram to promote your practice is to share quotes from your blog or interviews, so people can get familiar with your way of thinking and mention your business in the caption. If you don’t know how to create images with quotes, and you can’t afford to hire a professional, you can use user-friendly platforms like Unsplash, Pablo, or Canva. The process is time-consuming because you have to select quotes, research the images, and decide which hashtags you want to use. Instagram is a free platform, but if you want to use scheduling help, you may need to pay a monthly or yearly fee ($). Profi offers coaches the possibility to add their personal booking links to their social media profiles to increase conversion rates.
How to get coaching clients from LinkedIn? LinkedIn is more professional compared with other social media outlets. People on LinkedIn look for connections in their work field and/or job opportunities. Here you can post links to your blog posts, videos, or podcast episodes, connect with other professionals, and join groups in your fields. You can also research potential new clients and send them a nice introductory message to connect with them and offer your help. In this case, try to personalize your introduction to avoid being considered spam. LinkedIn is a free tool, but it offers business plans that can help you grow your connections and business ($).
How to get coaching clients from facebook? A business Facebook page is a must to connect with your audience on social media. If you don’t have it yet, start by creating one, invite your friends and connections to like it, and post updates about your practice. Facebook is a free tool, but you can pay to promote your posts and connect with potential clients. Facebook offers a variety of options and budgets to promote your activity, and it helps you refine your audience, so your investment can target your ideal clients. Commit to posting new content regularly to engage your existing audience, and when you see a post that performs better than others, you can invest some money in promotion. Profi offers coaches the possibility to embed their booking widget or link to their Facebook business page to improve conversion and brand consistency by 33 percent.
How to get coaching clients from Twitter? If you want to make the most out of Twitter, you have to post regularly because tweets have a brief lifespan. The main thing to get noticed on Twitter is to use hashtags, so do your research on popular hashtags, like #WednesdayWisdom. One of the best ways to use the platform is creating lists to make sure you divide your audience in segments, for example “potential clients” or “fellow coaches.” Follow interesting people, and make sure you retweet and engage with them. If you only post your own content and don’t engage with others, your Twitter audience won’t grow. Twitter is a free tool, but you can invest money to promote your tweets ($).
Word of mouth is the old-style way of promoting a business. When the internet and social media didn’t exist, word-of-mouth was probably the most used strategy to get clients. Even though in modern times, we have many other tools available, word of mouth remains an effective way to increase your customer base. You can’t control what people will say about your services and if they decide to recommend them to a friend, but you can focus on giving your clients the best experience they can have, so they will feel compelled to talk about your business.
How to engage and convert coaching clients
Coaches use specific tools to engage and convert coaching clients. These include, but are not limited to intake forms, courses, quizzes. Each one of them requires different skills and ways to interact with clients. You don’t have to use them all, but if you use a variety of them you have more opportunities to connect with your clients, and with time, you can select the tools that work best for you.
- Client intake forms
Coaches use client intake forms to retrieve basic information about their clients and have a better idea of what their needs are. As the name suggests, coaches use this form at the beginning of the working relationships with their clients to establish goals. On Profi coaches can find great templates for intake forms.
Quizzes are fast, easy, and engaging. Clients can complete them in minutes, and coaches can get important information that can help them adjust their strategies along the way.
Quizzes and intake forms, and a variety of other tools, are available on Profi. Zahara of “The Truth Catalyst” has been using the platform for a while, and this is what she has to say about the tools that she uses and how they have helped her find coaching clients:
“Profi offers unique and accessible tools to help practitioners leverage client impressions and book recurring sessions. The blog, or stories, is a great starting point. From there, I've had potential clients reach out to me via live chat to ask questions about my offerings. This provides the perfect opportunity to build rapport and connect with a client one-on-one. Ideally, if you're able to close for an appointment, that's great. From there, sending an intake form pre-session, and a quiz to help wrap up post-session, are additional ways to make great impressions with your clients, get additional feedback on how they are doing, and prepare for the next session (which implies a next-session booking). Profi has almost set this up like a full-suite.
“Profi offers unique and accessible tools to help practitioners leverage client impressions and book recurring sessions. The blog, or stories, is a great starting point. From there, I've had potential clients reach out to me via live chat to ask questions about my offerings. This provides the perfect opportunity to build rapport and connect with a client one-on-one. Ideally, if you're able to close for an appointment, that's great. From there, sending an intake form pre-session, and a quiz to help wrap up post-session, are additional ways to make great impressions with your clients, get additional feedback on how they are doing, and prepare for the next session (which implies a next-session booking). Profi has almost set this up like a full-suite marketing platform so you don't really have to think about how to keep clients once you've captured their attention.”
Additional coaching tools include:
Coaches can create and publish courses to engage clients and give them the opportunity to get access to their knowledge and tips. In this way, clients can get familiar with the work of coaches, and maybe consider booking a one-on-one session later. Profi allows coaches to create and publish courses on the platform and include one-on-one sessions as part of their courses. Then, Profi promotes these programs in their network.
- Email marketing
Coaches can add a button on their website that allows clients to subscribe to a newsletter. Tools such as Mailchimp helps create engaging and effective campaigns. Mailchimp offers free plans and premium plans with advanced features.
Popups are exit-intent tools that businesses use on their websites to keep visitors engaged. When they click to leave the website, these little windows appear on the screen to offer a special deal, free material, or an invite to join the newsletter to get access to the latest updates. On Profi coaches can set up customized popups and use them to attract potential clients.
- Live chat
Live chats allow coaches to connect with clients in an informal way and get to know them. You can organize live chats also around a specific theme or topic. Profi offers a secure messaging area that allows coaches to keep the communication with their clients in one place and use the live chat to deliver coaching services.
A challenge is a great and creative way to develop a stronger relationship with clients. It allows them to explore their personalities and limits. Profi offers coaches the possibility of creating challenges and scheduling daily or weekly messages (SMS, email, messages via the platform) to engage clients and remind them of specific tasks or collect data on their habits and performances.
Profi can make the difference when it comes to getting more clients. On the platform coaches can find the tools that we listed, from intake forms to courses and quizzes. In addition, the team at a Profi also organizes offline and online events to promote coaches and connect them with their target audiences. Profi also offers marketing for coaches and collaborates with marketing and social media experts who can bring coaching businesses to the next level.
Try Profi for free!