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.
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.
If you’re following my advice, you may have decided that the online home for your coaching business will be a blog. Perhaps you’ve already launched your new blog, or you’re getting ready to. Now the question is how to build your audience.
There are dozens of ways to drive traffic to your blog, including search engine optimization (SEO), affiliates and joint ventures, advertising, press releases and more. SEO is a must, but that’s for another post.
But to produce results, many traffic building techniques require long lead times and significant investments of time and money. Here I’m going to focus on the first of three ways to publicize your blog that you can easily do yourself and that may get you some quick traction. Two more ways coming.
First, a word about the essential preliminary step.