When you’re in business for yourself, it’s easy to forget about improvements and keep doing the same thing even if it’s not working. But improvements don’t have to take a lot of time or money. It’s almost always a series of small shifts that creates a big difference in results.
For example, take your website… most people pop up a coaching website and forget about it except to feel frustrated that they invested all that time and money for nothing. It’s not doing what they wish it would do – building a robust list of fans and enrolling new clients. Rather than waste it and regret it, leverage it! Make specific small tweaks that bring you big results.
Target. Connect. Convert
Every website’s goal is to target an audience, connect with them through relevance and trust, and then “convert” them into fans and clients. But that process has to be planned into the site. A simple online brochure can’t convert unless you personally point people to the site yourself.
These 3 little tips will tip the scales in your favor:
#1 Make sure your website feels like home to your target audience.
Instead of making your website be all about you and coaching, focus in on the tangible outcomes your target audience knows they urgently want, and the specific challenges they face while trying to get there. Show them that your services are the bridge that will take them where they most want to go.
Your tagline, benefit statement, title of your freebie, articles, marketing copy… even your About page should be highly relevant to the people you serve. Relevance is how they decide whether to stick on your site, opt-in, and engage with you or… never come back.
As you know, I’m a big fan of blogs, especially when they are on the home page of your website, because they help you build your list faster and establish credibility while creating a relationship with your tribe. Ezines also create an ongoing connection.
But I know that writing a weekly article (or posting a video) can start to drag. And if you keep procrastinating, you’ll eventually lose the benefit of publishing a regular article out to your list – continuous presence and building trust. And it adds stress!
So how can you keep fresh ideas flowing to your blog or ezine? Shake it up! And, if you want to really de-stess, plan most of your posts!
Both you and your readers will enjoy your articles or videos more if you vary the TYPE of post you publish. Here are 12 types posts that won’t fail to entertain and inform your readers:
1. How To /Educational
If you’re good at simplifying complex concepts and processes, this may be your ACE in the hole. And it’s easy to re-purpose these types of posts into freebies, bonuses or entire products.
By the time I created my third coaching website, I realized that a website should be more than an online brochure. It should do a lot of my marketing and enrolling work for me. And then I had a paradigm shift – my website should feel like home to my target market rather than just be all about me and what I do.
Whoosh! As soon as I aligned my website so that it spoke to the people I was serving, my list built exponentially and so did my income.
I often hear from coaches that their website’s just sitting there, doing nothing for them and they don’t know why. Many say they don’t really know what’s on their site without looking.
Sound familiar? If that’s you, I understand because once upon a time I put my website in the hands of my web designer, let go and hoped for the best. I truly thought that I could set it and forget it. Wrong. A website is a living thing.
If you get clients primarily from the Internet, as I do – or if you’d like to, it’s critical that your website is the HUB of your business.
Now, I have a blog for my main website. With all the fresh content and social network plug-ins, it’s a happy command center for my business. Most everything I do, plus all the clients and joint venture offers I attract, come and go from that hub. It’s like a busy airport and I’m really proud of it. (My site won the Best Coaching Blogs contest in 2010 and received Runner-Up honors this year, as well.)
There are three “secret” ingredients every website must have going for it to be a client winning site, one that:
When was the last time you wrote something truly vulnerable and shared it with the folks on your list?
I hope it was within the last week. You may think I’m crazy for saying this (or you may think it’s a no-brainer), but –
Your blog is the perfect place to show a bit of your humanity… to let your tribe in on some of your mistakes, as well as how you overcame them.
There are two BIG reasons why you want to be vulnerable with your tribe:
- Showing that you’re vulnerable builds trust and understanding. People will like you better and want to connect if they get a sense of who you are under all that “expertise” or skill.
- Being real is more fun and… well, more real!
When I started writing for coaches in 2001, I had this idea that I needed know more, seem perfect, and be the “wise one”. I wrote a lot of how-to articles full of good stuff, but I missed the opportunity to show more of myself and relate to my audience.
So when I hear coaches say they don’t know enough to serve their niche market, it reminds me of me back then. But that’s just a lie we tell ourselves.
Of course, some of your blog posts will educate the people in your niche market. Some will correct mistakes or take them step-by-step through how to do something. But your tips will land more deeply if you also share how you got there — which is almost always about fumbling into competency, right?
I’m getting the chance to read lots of other coaching blogs lately. One reason is, my blog is competing in the Best Coaching Blogs contest hosted by Julia Stewart of the School of Coaching Mastery. There are some great blogs being showcased there! If you haven’t already, check it out. There’s a link below this post. (And of course, I’d love your vote and comments, if you are so inclined.)
Plus, I’m working on a new learning system called Client Winning Websites & Blogs. It’s a step-by-step blueprint (with lots of examples) to launch well, get known and attract fans fast. (Coming soon.)
If you’re using a blog to attract clients, or you would like to be, what exactly do you want your blog to accomplish? For a moment, think about this from an outsider’s perspective.
Every new visitor to your site is deciding, within seconds, whether it’s something they value or not. So if you want your audience to grow, you must captivate them as soon as they arrive on your site.
Are you making sure that when your ideal prospects visit your site, they immediately feel seen, heard and understood by you?
Here are the five most important ways to captivate your audience on your blog:
# 1 Resonate Quickly with Your Target Market
There is a set of cues that in seconds tells your web visitors whether they want to stay on the site or bounce off. As a website owner, your job is to optimize those cues so your ideal clients are attracted to engage with what you’re offering. Blogs have the potential to do this best, because fresh relevant content builds connections with your audience.
These 3 critical cues determine whether visitors stay or bounce. They need to be immediately evident without scrolling when someone arrives on your blog (or any website):
I’ve been blogging since 2009. Of all the tools I’ve used to grow my coaching and mentoring business, blogging shines the brightest.
Admittedly, it’s a slow build strategy. So if you’re looking for a one hit wonder, this isn’t it. But you can’t be in “big splash” campaign mode all the time. That has a high cumulative cost in time, energy, and losing folks off your list If they’re not ready yet. It’s exhausting for you as well as your tribe. And big launches suck up lots of hours for your team too.
I’m not saying not to do big launches. They rock! But… everything in balance. You need a “steady-drip” strategy to continually touch the lives of your tribe in a way that is highly effective at building trust.
The same point applies to joint ventures. You can get a big boost to your list from a joint venture, but the connection is deeper and more resilient when people have a reason to follow you over time. A blog provides that touch point with people in ways that ezines cannot.
Before launching my blog, I put out an ezine for 10 years. It created some fans, but didn’t allow for much two-way communication. I often felt like I was talking to a wall.
In just a few months of blogging, I felt a huge shift in my business. My list was expanding with every post, and that translated to my income as well.
But the biggest advantage of blogging comes with more satisfying and long-term relationships. Readers can share comments and tweet out my posts to their friends. That brings me in deeper connection with them, as well as drawing people to my website that I would have never found if I wasn’t blogging.
When I announced last week that I was going to stop publishing an ezine, the response was strong, and mixed. It led to some juicy conversation in the comments on that post, and a lot of personal emails that really touched me.
I know many of you will miss getting the ezine or the full blog post with your email. I feel badly about that. And I know that if you read your email on a mobile device, that makes clicking through and reading the blog online more of a hassle.
But here’s the thing. I want more from you. You all are my tribe. I want to do what I can to encourage you to join the conversation on this blog, because that will make the blog a richer resource for everyone.
I’m also hoping that for most of you, the new way will be more respectful of your time, because there is less coming into your inbox.
Tribes Need Connection
All this has got me thinking about how coaches connect with their markets. What kind of relationship do coaches want with the people we serve?
It’s become fashionable to talk about business in terms of tribes, but if you haven’t checked out the source of that trend – Seth Godin’s brilliant book Tribes – I recommend it. The message is: business leadership is not about building factories anymore, and it’s not about using advertising to push an idea on people. It’s about connecting like-minded people and leading them to a place they want to go.
By Godin’s definition, a group of people needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. So the lesson is, if you want to strengthen your tribe, help them communicate.
David Risley, one of my favorite bloggers, has put up a thoughtful post asking whether blogging is “broken” as a business model.
He notes the saturation level of information online, and wonders if it is creating a “community of tire kickers” who will never pay for high-value information products. He asks whether Apple and Google – both of which have just launched systems to charge small micro-payments for information – have seen the future of content marketing. Many of the top Internet marketers seldom post to their blogs any more, and some have quit blogging altogether.
It is true, as David says, that people who pay for content also pay more attention to that content. And it’s true that once an audience is “trained” to expect everything for free, it can be tough to overcome that training and sell them an information product.
But does that mean that blogging has outlived its usefulness for a service-based entrepreneurial business like coaching?
Blogging Builds Relationships and Trust
People have predicted the demise of blogging ever since the advent of blogging. So far that shows no sign of coming true. As for charging micro-payments for information, that may become a viable business model, but it remains to be proven, even for global giants like Apple and Google.
Here’s my bottom line for coaches.