There’s (yet another!) myth that surrounds the concept of marketing for coaches and that’s the idea that if you only want a few clients, you only need to market a little.

Here’s the thing – there’s no such thing as marketing a little. You either market, or you don’t.

Let me explain.

Marketing 101

The purpose of marketing your coaching business is to get you seen by people who can – and will – pay a professional rate for your marketing.

However, simply being seen isn’t enough. You need to be seen as an expert in whatever it is that your chosen kind of client is struggling with. In a world that doesn’t actually understand what coaching is, it’s no good positioning yourself as an expert in coaching. You need to become an expert in helping your particular kind of client live a better life. Let me add here that we only work with professionally qualified coaches. So I expect the people that I work with to be experts in coaching – that’s a given. I’m not talking about shoddy coaches and disingenuous marketing. I’m talking about professionally qualified coaches. Coaches who are delivering an excellent service.

The purpose of marketing in itself is to help your potential clients come to know you, like you and to trust that you can help them. Each of these three things – know, like and trust – is important, because, without them, there are no potential clients. If one of that trinity of elements is missing, people won’t buy your coaching.

Becoming Visible

The misunderstanding that those coaches who only want to coach a few people are labouring under is that they can somehow shortcut helping potential clients to know, like and trust them. Because they need fewer people to actually say yes to their coaching. If you’re aiming for a maximum of, say, 6 clients, surely you don’t need to market in the same way as if you’re aiming for a full-time marketing practice?

The truth is that yes, you do.

You still need a pool of people – people who look like the kind of client that you want to work with – to know, like and trust you. They also need to understand what it is that you can help them with. The difference between a coach who only wants to engage six clients and a coach who wants to engage many more, is that the first coach starts a waiting list. What they don’t do is stop marketing because they’ve reached their six. Actually, truth be known, I have known many coaches to fall into this trap.

Marketing 102 – the Trap

The marketing trap is when a coach stops what has been successful marketing because they have ‘enough’ clients.

The problem with this action – or lack of it I suppose – is that all the visibility the coach worked so hard to create disappears. Ceasing all marketing activity is akin to taking your hand out of a bucket of water – there’s no hole left where your hand was.

Marketing is an ongoing process, not an event. It’s not something you can turn on and off and think that it will work. Once you stop being visible, you take your hand out of that bucket of water and there is no hole left.

What that means in reality is that when those six clients finish their coaching programmes, there are no more clients to take their place. The coach has to go back to square one and create that visibility again, from scratch and it is soul destroying.

How To Market Wisely

Continue marketing for as long as you have a coaching business. Don’t stop marketing when you’re ‘full’. Become one of those coaches who are in the enviable position of having a waiting list of clients. Clients who are eager to work with you. Clients who have paid a deposit and know which month they will be starting a coaching programme with you.

Has any of this lit a lightbulb for you? Should we talk? This is my diary.