The Worst Mistakes Coaches Make in Marketing (#1 of 7)

I can’t tell you how many coaches I see that fail to connect with their customers on even a very basic level with their marketing. As a big believer in coaching, it’s disheartening to see so many talented coaches struggle to convey the value that they offer. And that is the very essence of marketing – conveying value! What’s worse, I know their businesses are suffering because of it.

I want to share with you the worst marketing mistakes I see coaches making. These are very common across the industry. I see two main reasons for this…

First, it’s due to the poor business and marketing advice coaching schools are giving their students. Coaching schools are GREAT at teaching the craft of coaching. However, I have yet to find one that teaches up-to-date, viable business models and real-world marketing practices for coaches.

So please take the business advice your coaching school offers you with a mountain of salt. For that matter, take marketing advice in general with a grain of salt unless it’s coming from a source you trust, and most importantly, from someone who isn’t trying to sell you an easy button for getting clients.

Second, many coaches who are new to business are simply falling into some common mistakes that are true for every entrepreneur who is on a learning curve with marketing. It takes time to learn and implement core marketing concepts in your business. The good news is, sometimes it only takes a small change to have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your marketing.

Let’s take a look at the worst mistakes coaches are making and how they might be impacting your own marketing outcomes. I’ll be sharing one mistake at a time so we can really dive into each one. Ready for the first one?

Mistake #1: Stop talking about “coaching” in your marketing!

Yes, you heard me. I know you’re selling coaching, but you shouldn’t be focusing on it in your marketing. Sound counter-intuitive? I get that. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate my point.

Imagine you’re in the market for a new dining room table. So you go online to check out some styles. But when you go on the furniture websites, you can’t find dining tables anywhere, or any actual furniture for that matter. The sites talk endlessly about hammers, stain finishes, the factory and workshop, and the variety of microplanes and other tools they use to create their furniture. You learn way more than you ever wanted to know about how dining room tables are made. But nowhere do they tell you about or show you the actual furniture. Sound like the shopping experience from hell?

Or say you go to the pharmacy for some allergy medicine during hayfever season. You are feeling absolutely miserable, and you’re desperate for relief from your symptoms. But all they have are endless descriptions of how medicine works. I’m talking medical terminology that’s way over your head, the names of the molecules in each type of medicine (with diagrams that give you flashbacks to high school chemistry class), and long, hard-to-understand scientific explanations of how each medicine works with your body cells to relieve allergies. Yada, yada, yada. But no actual allergy medicine. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty ticked off if that was my shopping experience. Not to mentioned bored. (Reading medical journals isn’t my thing.)

Many coaches make the same exact mistake. On their websites, at networking events, and elsewhere in their marketing, they are talking about the HOW. They are fixated on the tools and the process of what they offer, but not ever really conveying the value of what they do. You with me so far?

Coaching is the HOW. It’s the hammer, nails and microplane. It’s the special molecules in your allergy medicine. Coaching is the PROCESS used to assist clients on their path of learning, growth, and performance. It’s the set of tools that creates the desired outcome.

Too many coaches talk about the process ad nauseum in their marketing. But nowhere do they talk about the actual learning, growth and performance (desired outcomes!) – which is all that your clients really care about. It’s exactly like a furniture company talking about the tools used to make their furniture without showing you what the furniture looks like, or giving you the opportunity to test whether it’s functional or even comfortable.

Clients are not going to work with you because of the process. They’re going to work with you because they want your help to achieve a desired outcome. So stop talking about the process and start talking about the desired outcome.

Conveying VALUE is the heart of marketing. In the coaching industry, your client’s desired outcome is the ultimate value… You know, that elusive thing that your clients are having so much trouble doing on their own? The whole reason they need your help?

Process, on the other hand, should not be the leading lady of your marketing. It doesn’t mean you can’t talk about it at all, but it should never have more than a minor supporting role. (Home page of your website? Don’t do it. A small section of your services page about why your process gets your clients such great results? Totally appropriate.) The more you focus on the process of coaching in your marketing, the more people WON’T read your message. But when shift your focus to talking about desired outcomes (value!) – that is marketing GOLD.

So please, PLEASE, stop talking so much about coaching on your website, and in your marketing. You can’t sell coaching. Because people don’t buy the process, they buy the desired result, outcome or change they want as a result of that process. Reorient your message around the problem you help your clients solve and the desired outcomes they want, and that will point your marketing in right direction.

Pro Tip:

If you’re having trouble talking about something other than coaching in your marketing, then you’re not yet clear on who you serve, how you serve them, and the value you offer them. If this is the case, you may need to go back to basics before you can move forward. If this sounds like you and you’d like some help with that, let’s chat and get you the clarity you need to move your business forward.