Running a coaching business comes with its fair share of unique marketing challenges. For one, you're selling a service that's based largely on trust – people need to believe that you can help them before they invest in your services. Your marketing efforts need to reflect this and instill confidence in potential clients that you're the right coach for them.
And, on top of that, you may have a lot of tasks on your plate, from offering time-consuming one-on-one coaching sessions to onboarding new clients – all of which can make marketing feel like an afterthought.
But marketing needs to be a priority if you want to build a sustainable and successful coaching business.
Note: if you want access to tools to help you manage, organize and streamline your coaching business, try Bonsai. Bonsai is the best tool for coaches to run their businesses. We offer invoices, proposals, contract templates, and task management to time tracking. Claim your 14-day free trial here.
When writing your coaching business plan, here are some of our top tips, strategies, and tactics for marketing your services:
While one-on-one coaching will always be the bread and butter of your business, developing a signature program or course can help you attract new coaching clients and scale your business.
A signature program is a comprehensive coaching solution that you offer to clients, typically in the form of an online course or an intensive program that meets regularly over weeks or months.
Creating a signature program allows you to package your unique coaching methods and expertise into an easily digestible format that can be marketed to a wider audience. And because you can sell these programs again and again, they provide a great way to generate passive income and scale your business.
If you’re not sure where to start, think about the areas of coaching you specialize in or the problems your clients often come to you for help. These are usually the topics that you’re most passionate about and have the most expertise in, making them the perfect foundation for a signature program.
For instance, if you’re a dating coach, your signature program could be an online course on how to find love after 40. Or if you help people overcome career burnout, your program could be an intensive email course on how to find your dream job.
By developing a signature coaching package or program, you’ll be able to attract clients, provide more value to the ones you already have, and scale your business in a profitable and sustainable way.
The key to creating a successful Facebook group is to make it irresistible – somewhere people will want to hang out because they know they’ll get value from doing so. This means regular posting, engagement with members, and providing truly useful, interesting, and relevant content to your target audience.
You can also use your Facebook group to run promotional campaigns and drive traffic to your website or other online platforms.
For example, you could run a contest or giveaway, with the prize being a free coaching session or a free consultation. Or you could offer a discount on your services to members of the group.
Whatever promotional activities you choose to run, make sure they’re in line with the overall tone and purpose of the group, and that they add value for members rather than feeling like a hard sell.
Note: Try Bonsai's invoice, contract and coaching proposal templates to easily create these business documents. Our pre-made templates are easy to customize and send to potential clients. Claim a 14-day free trial here.
Social proof can be a powerful marketing tool for coaches, and one of the best ways to generate it is through referrals. It can be a major selling point when potential clients see that you have happy, satisfied clients who are willing to vouch for your services.
One way to encourage referrals is to offer existing clients a discount or other incentive for referring new clients to you. This could be a percentage off their next coaching session or a freebie like an e-book or mini-course.
You could also offer a referral program to your network of colleagues, friends, and family. For example, you could offer them a commission for every new client they refer to you. This is a great way to get the word out about your business to people who already know and trust you.
For coaches, LinkedIn is probably the most valuable social network for making powerful connections and winning new coaching clients.
This is because LinkedIn is full of potential clients who are already interested in the services you offer. And, since LinkedIn is a professional network, people are more likely to be open to being approached about coaching than they would be on other social media platforms, like Instagram or Twitter.
To make the most of LinkedIn, start by optimizing your profile so that it’s clear what you do and how you can help potential clients.
For instance, if you're a fitness coach who helps people get in shape, ensure this is reflected in your headline and summary. Ensure you include some relevant keywords so that people can find you when they’re searching for a coach.
Then, start connecting with people in your target market, and look for opportunities to engage with them – for example, by leaving thoughtful comments on their posts or sharing articles that you think they’ll find interesting.
Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out and invite ideal clients to have a conversation with you. You could end up with a whole new roster of clients by simply taking the initiative and making the first move.
To many coaches who are getting their businesses off the ground, paid ads can seem like a big expense. The cost of advertising can quickly add up, and it’s not always clear whether or not it’s worth the investment.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to give paid ads a try, here are a few things to keep in mind:
The key to succeeding in paid advertising is to target the right audience. This may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised by the number of coaches who shell out money for ads without taking the time to understand what makes their ideal client tick.
You can use demographic information like location, age, and job title to narrow down your target audience, and you can also use interests and behaviors to refine further who sees your ads.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, the next step is to create ad copy that resonates with them. Again, this is where having a clear understanding of your target market comes in handy, as you’ll be able to tailor your message to their specific needs and pain points.
When done well, podcasts allow you to share your knowledge and expertise in a way that’s both engaging and convenient for listeners. They can help you reach potential coaching clients who might not have the time or attention span for other types of content, like blog posts or videos.
And, since people tend to build relationships with the hosts of their favorite podcasts, a successful podcast can help you establish a strong personal connection with your target audience – something that’s essential for building trust and winning new clients.
A great idea for coaches is to interview other successful coaches and industry experts and share their insights with your listeners. This can help you achieve two things:
With email marketing, you can reach a wider audience with your message, cultivate relationships with potential and current clients, and generate leads for your online coaching business. And best of all, it’s relatively inexpensive to get started.
To get the most out of email marketing, start by building a list of potential and current clients. You can do this by offering a freebie in exchange for people’s email addresses, using pop-ups on your website, or running a contest or giveaway.
Once you have a list of people to market to, it’s time to start creating email content. Your emails should be personal, informative, and actionable for the best results.
And finally, don’t forget to measure your results so you can fine-tune your email marketing strategy over time. By tracking things like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t -- and make changes accordingly.
Working as a coach often means wearing a lot of hats, which can make it difficult to find time for things like marketing your business.
Bonsai offers you the tools to help you work smarter, not harder. With our all-in-one product suite, you can streamline your work and free up more time to focus on your marketing efforts.
Our platform allows you to close deals faster, onboard new clients more easily, and manage your projects more efficiently. And when the tax season arrives, you can save more money thanks to Bonsai Tax which allows you to track expenses, maximize tax write-offs, and estimate quarterly taxes.
If you’re ready to take your coaching business to the next level, sign up for Bonsai today. We offer a free trial so you can try our product suite and see how it can benefit your coaching business.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?