Using Technology to Manage Your Coaching Business
I recently had the pleasure of delivering a session for the International Coaching Federation (ICF) on ‘Using Technology to Manage Your Coaching Business’.
The session was part of ICF's technology series ‘Thriving in the Age of Disruption’ and covered the following key discussion points:
- Why marketing, technology and mindset are important in a coaching practice
- How the GROWTH model can help you think strategically about your marketing
- Technology to help you find, win, serve and keep clients
- How Jude puts the GROWTH model into practice for her own business
Here is a summary of the key pieces of advice I shared in the webinar which I hope fellow coaches will find useful.
Why marketing, technology and mindset are important
Everyone who has a business and who talks about their businesses is marketing their offer. Like it or not, that makes us, as coaches, marketeers. And the quality of our marketing determines if and by how much our business grows.
That’s why it is important to have a structure that guides your marketing efforts. Doing so will give you confidence and clarity on who your ideal clients are, how to find them, how you can deliver your products to them and how to keep them.
Thinking strategically about your marketing
Many coaches struggle with the idea of marketing and worry about getting it wrong. But fear not, marketing is not an exact science. Marketing can be fun, it should be experimental, it should be creative, and it should be something that you are consistent with.
It’s never going to be without fault and it’s never going to be ‘done’. No one is asking for perfection but taking small steps and being consistent WILL help to build your brand, build awareness and generate customer interest.
As a starting point, it can be helpful to use the GROWTH model (an extension of the GROW model) to think more strategically about your marketing. These are the key points:
You need to know where you want your marketing to take you. Think about your vision for the future, near and long-term business goals and your ideal client persona. The more specific you can be, the better.
Any good marketing strategy considers your start point. What’s your USP? How is your brand and business perceived right now? What marketing are you currently doing and what is working and what is not? What are your weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and threats to consider?
Next, you need to look at the options available to you for growing your business. Here are two frameworks you can use to help you do this.
First, the 4 Product Pyramid. This involves developing a range of products in your portfolio, increasing in cost and level of engagement. You can start with free, entry level content that prospects can sample and then build up to your core coaching services and ‘VIP’ products.
Second, the 7 Growth Levers (courtesy of www.themarketingcentre.com). Each of these is a way you can attract and retain your customers.
- Lead Generation
- Marketing & Sales Efficiency
Having looked at your growth options, you can then decide what you’re willing to do to drive growth. Use the basic 4Ps framework of Product, Price, Place & Promotion and experiment, test and refine your strategy as time goes on. The most important element is to be SEEN consistently and be authentic.
Using technology can help you to be more effective and more efficient. It can help automate business processes which frees up your time to focus on what you do best – being a coach. Research shows us that customers need the following touch points to move from being a prospect to a qualified lead: 7 hours of content, 11 interactions, and 4 locations (ie. Website, Social Media, Podcast, Book, Webinar etc.).
On average, a customer also needs to experience you and your brand at least 7 times to feel confident enough to buy. All of this content and these interactions can be a lot to manage if you’re trying to do it manually. Technology can help you automate as much as possible.
Finally, identify who and what do you need to achieve your goals. This might take the form of an assistant to help you manage your coaching workshop signups, or it might be in the form of technology to help you schedule your social media content and send out your newsletters.
Marketing Technology to help you find, win and keep clients
There are many tools on the market that can help you automate your marketing, run campaigns, run your coaching business and monitor the impact of your efforts. Below are a few areas where you can turn to technology to help you.
How Jude puts the GROWTH model into practice
My co-speaker Jude uses many of the GROWTH model principles in marketing her own coaching business and shared how she does it.
Many others will identify with Jude when she said that she used to be terrified of marketing. And while no longer terrified of it, Jude admitted that it is still a challenge for her and is something she has to work at.
While I won’t go into detail about Jude’s GROWTH model planning, I have picked out a couple of things she said that I think might help others.
First, Jude said that when she first developed her business and marketing plan, she did so because she thought she should. And then she put it in a draw and forgot about it. Now, she regularly updates and re-reads her marketing strategy, using it to drive her business. Every day she said she thinks about what she’s trying to achieve and takes small steps towards achieving it. As a result, she said she has accomplished more than she ever thought she could.
Second, on the subject of technology, Jude only uses two platforms to help her with her automation. A social media scheduling tool, and Kajabi which she uses to send her weekly emails and share her white papers and free resources. The message here is that you don’t need to over complicate things by using lots of different platforms. Having defined your goals and means of achieving them, you can choose the appropriate tools and forget about the rest.
Finally, Jude said that she likes to follow Daniel Priestley’s motto: ‘done is better than perfect’. This is an attitude I think all coaches would do well to adopt. It can be uncomfortable to put yourself out there but if you focus on following your strategy and creating content that aims to support your clients with their key challenges, it might begin to feel more natural.
About Mark Harris
Mark is a marketing and growth coach. He works with people and owners across all business sizes and specialises in helping people who are helping others to live their lives more fully, including Coaches and Therapists.
He is also a part-time Marketing Director for US and UK-based clients, so his marketing insights come from current and active best practice. Mark only offers his clients solutions that he has tried, tested, and trusts to deliver the desired results for their business.