I asked a question about marketing in our community Facebook group, Coaching Republic (you’re not in the group? You’ll find it here and you’re welcome).
The question I asked was this: How consistent are you in your marketing?
One coach, who is prolific in posting his thoughts, views and memes (ie his marketing) in a number of groups I belong to, as well as on Facebook and LinkedIn generally, was the first to answer and he said this: Is marketing necessary?
I have to confess that of all people to reply with that answer, he was the last one I would have thought of!
The thread (which you can see in the group) continued with this coach objecting to my referring to what he does as marketing. I don’t market, I coach he said.
That response has sat with me overnight and I’ve got this question; why do some coaches intensely dislike the idea of marketing?
I think that the reason that this particular chap wants to think of himself as ‘coaching’ – even though he plainly is marketing – is because he thinks of coaching as noble, high minded and an intellectual pursuit. Conversely, he thinks that marketing is distasteful.
I have spoken to thousands of coaches about their businesses, both 1:1 and in groups and there is a subset of coaches who (just like this chap) believe that using anything to actively seek clients is somehow grubby, underhanded and sneaky. That using marketing somehow tricks a client into working with you.
In short, they think it’s is a dirty word.
What Is Marketing?
Marketing could be defined as any activity or item that is used to showcase your product or service. So, websites, business cards, brochures, adverts, blogs/articles, presentations, networking… I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
For a coach, an example of this is a website that talks endlessly about the coach’s qualifications and experience. It’s a website that is littered with the multiple ways in which the coach works and what they do. One website I’ve seen says this:
- help you lose weight,
- help you to be successful in business,
- show you how to be a coach too
- coach you to become healthier
- support you with strategic planning, improving focus, mastering your mindset, emotional resilience…..
I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point.
Bad websites talk about how important the coach is. For example “through working with me, people achieve more than they ever have before” yes, this is a quote from a good-looking, but poor website.
Bad marketing for a coach is them talking about how working with them will help the client ‘reach their goals and overcome limiting beliefs’.
Bad marketing is all about the focus being in the wrong place; on the coach and not on the client.
Another form of a poor approach is the aspirational meme. They are nothing but hopeful noise in a world full of hopeful noise. Sadly, the coach who creates them feels that they are significant and meaningful, but the people that the coach hopes will think the same never seem to do so.
The reason that I say that these things are bad is incredibly simple; it’s because this kind of marketing doesn’t result in paying clients.
What’s Good Then?
Good marketing can be defined as any activity or item, which defines in detail the benefit to the potential client of using a particular product or service. Good marketing will describe the sub-optimal situation the potential client finds themselves in at the moment and how using this product or service will improve that situation.
Done well, the focus is on the potential client and not on the coach.
For coaches, this done well results in the potential client realising that you offer what they need. It results in them coming to you and asking for your help. It results in them actually paying you. This is important, because the world needs more coaches.
Good marketing is not tricksy, it’s not underhanded, it’s clear, honest and straightforward.
(Just so you know, The Coaching Revolution isn’t just about marketing or sales!)