What Do Coach Marketing, Dating and Trashy Novels Have in Common?

Taking the time to outline a coach marketing funnel for your coaching business can pay huge dividends.  It’s a step that most coaches skip and as a result, they unfortunately struggle to find clients.

In this post I’m going to show you how to create a marketing funnel that takes the struggle out of getting clients.

A marketing funnel is just a series of small steps that guide people closer to becoming coaching clients.  To use the dating analogy, you wouldn’t just ask someone to marry you on the first date.  That strategy wouldn’t be effective because it skips too many steps. A more effective approach may look something like this…

Traditional Dating

Your gazes meet and maybe you exchange a smile or two. Next you each start thinking about how you’ll open the conversation.  One of you finally says something and next thing you know, you’re fully engaged in a conversation about the weather and what you each do for a living.

After one or more of these conversations, phone numbers are exchanged.  Eventually the conversations get deeper and you start sharing more about yourselves.  You start going on dates to places that at first have a high TV to candle ratio and eventually the venues start to have higher candle to TV ratios.  Without going into “50 shades” of detail, I’ll just say each step gradually increases in commitment and investment until eventually, you’re both standing in front of all your family and friends putting rings on each other’s fingers.

Marketing follows a very similar process.  You have to add value and rapport at each gradual step. If you map out your marketing funnel effectively, you’ll be able to gradually guide prospects through the steps you’ve outlined by giving them great value and eventually they’ll ask you how they can become one of your coaching clients.  You’ll never have to “sell” your services again.  Here’s how…

Coach Marketing – Step 1

First identify the start and end points on this map that you’ll guide your prospects through.  This map will take people from the point of not even knowing you (point A), to the grand destination of being a happy customer enrolled in one of your high-end coaching programs (point B).

Now it’s time to fill the gap in between with a series of gradual steps. First start with an option that doesn’t cost the prospect any time or money.  Too many coaches start by offering a free coaching session but this isn’t effective because it requires the other person to invest their valuable time and they’re also perceived as more of a sales pitch than a coaching session.  Very few coaches are successful at relying on free coaching sessions as their only step between point A and point B.  Free sessions can be effective component of your marketing funnel, but just not as the first step.

A great starting point is to give away free valuable information in exchange for their email address. I’ll write a future post about creating your free offer but for now just identify one of your potential coaching clients’  biggest challenges and offer valuable information that helps them solve that challenge.  There are tons of options but here are a few suggestions:

  • a free report
  • checklist
  • video
  • worksheets
  • self assessments
  • ebook

Step 2 – Communicate Valuable Information

Up to this point you’ve just been glancing at each other from across the room but once you’ve exchanged your free offer for an email address, it’s time to start the conversation!  Do NOT invite your new acquaintance back to your room (or place of business) just yet.  You have to take some time to build rapport and give them a chance to get to know you as the perfect life coach for them.

How will you do this?  By sending them valuable information regularly (at least every week).

Depending on the study you refer to, it takes between 7 and 14 “touches” before a potential client buys from you. A “touch” can be any sort of contact where the recipient is reading your material listening to you.  So our goal from this point on is to increase the number of touches. (after writing that I couldn’t help but notice the tie-in to our dating analogy but I assure you, it wasn’t intentional here!)

The goal at this stage is to build TOMA (top of mind awareness).  You want your potential coaching clients to think of you as the expert in a certain area and this can be achieved by sending out valuable information regularly.

Kenn Schroder, founder of Coaching Sites That Work does this well.  He’s a web designer for new coaches and he’s very active in several online coaching groups.  He doesn’t push or sell his web design services in these groups though.  Instead, he adds valuable comments and posts tons of free information that’s relevant to coach marketing. Whenever I think about coaching website design, he’s the guy I think of.  You want to have the same effect in your niche!

Step 2 – Now You’re Dating

Ok, so lets say you’ve been “dating” the potential coaching client for a while and you’re really itching to take it to the next step.  How are you going to do this?  You can’t go for a home run and try to sell you multi-month, mega life transformation coaching package just yet. You first have to go on a few dates!

Since you picked up the first tab with your free offer, it’s their turn to pick up the next check. But you can’t go from TGI Fridays right on up to Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse just yet.  Remember the TV to candle ratio?  At this point you’re at about the Outback Steakhouse level – a place with a few TV’s at the bar and maybe some battery operated tea light candles on the table. The next step in your coach marketing funnel should be a very low cost, high value item.  $10-20 is ideal here.  Why?

People who buy from you are 14X more likely to buy from you again.  In other words, a previous purchaser is 14 X more valuable than a prospect so helping them make that step from prospect to buyer through a very low cost/high value offering is your objective here.  And the key here is, the low cost item has to absolutely WOW them!

This is just like the beginning stages of dating where the guy always shows the gal how amazing he is by taking her to really nice places, buying her gifts and being really thoughtful all the time.

A good rule of thumb here is to sell something worth $100 for $10.  A four week email coaching program, a video coaching program or a step-by-step guide for achieving _______(main problem in your niche)____

Step 3 – Marriage????

So when are you going to pop the big question?

NEVER… in coach marketing, the prospect is the gentleman and they need to propose joining your coaching program.  It’s your job to nudge them to the next level of commitment.  At this point, your best strategy is with an offer in the $37- $99 range.   This is still perceived as a relatively low investment and if you over-deliver like you did with your $10 item, the prospect will soon be pricing diamond rings.  Some suggestions at this level include an online coaching program, a video series, workbook and maybe even a live coaching session.

Now for your next steps…

  1. Brainstorm ideas for your free offer.
  2. Draft an email sequence you can send to people who opt-in to your free offer
  3. Think of things you can create that would provide $100+ worth of value for $10
  4. Come up with some ideas for something you can offer in the $37 – $99 range
  5. Post your ideas for your free offer below to get instant feedback from me and other coaches


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