Many coaches fail to market their practice online.
Here’s what happens:
They put up a web site, but don’t get much traffic.
Their web site doesn’t convince visitors to contact them about becoming a client
They try Google Ads, but fail to generate clients.
They try to get links, but aren’t sure where to go, and other sites aren’t very interested in linking back.
They try to optimize their site for search engines, but don’t get very good rankings.
They try to network in forums and discussions, but those efforts only provide minimal results.
Why do they get minimal results?
There are many reasons, but a major, underlying culprit is due to lack of a focus – not having a niche.
Having a niche focus means providing very specific services for a very specific target audience. This can be done in many ways, including selecting a specific industry to serve, targeting a geographical location, and choosing specific demographics.
For example, Kathy Malone is a career coach for people transitioning from military to civilian life. You can see that her niche is defined by people in the military. She gets even more specific by focusing on those who are transitioning into civilian life.
When you don’t have a niche focus, your online marketing efforts suffer in the following ways:
It’s tough to know the right keywords to focus on to increase the chances of being found by searchers.
It’s hard to find an audience who will be interested in your services.
It will be difficult to get links from other web sites because your general coaching practice isn’t as interesting or unique.
You will have a lot more competitors and substitutions (products or services that indirectly compete with you) -especially online where anyone can compete.
When people come across your business online – through articles, postings, or searching – they won’t connect with your message.
Taking your practice to the Web is like taking a big fish from a little pond to the ocean.
There is a lot more water you can swim around in, but there are also a lot more big fish.
The good news is you don’t have to become a bigger fish. You can find the right pool of water where your business can thrive.
How a niche focus helps you online:
It’s easier to find the right keywords which lead to higher rankings on search engines.
Your web site is more attractive and engaging.
Getting links is easier because your web site will appear to be more unique -which is attractive.
You will close more sales that come through your site because you are perceived as a specialist instead of a generalist.
Your case studies & testimonials are stronger because they are more specific and relevant.
If you advertise, like using Google AdWords, you will have more success because your ads will get more attention from qualified prospects and less attention from sub-ideal prospects.
Some Examples of Successful Coaches with A Niche
Juliet Austin of JulietAustin.com assists “helping and healing” professionals who are struggling to attract clients.
She says, “About 50% of my clients come through search engines. Usually, they begin by signing up for my newsletter and then hire me within 1-24 months. My site comes up on the first page of Google for most of my keywords partly because I have a focused niche. In general, having a niche helps bring qualified prospects to my site, so they are more likely to become clients.”
Deborah Brown-Volkman of SurpassYourDreams.com helps senior executives, vice presidents, and managers who are overworked and are looking for a new job or career.
She tells us, “A focus on career coaching helped me optimize my site so I can get top position for searches in my field. Even though I do use speaking and networking to grow my practice, 65% of new clients come from the Web, 25% from referrals, 10% from talks and people I meet at meetings.”
Mentioned earlier, Kathy Malone of FrontLineCoaching helps people who are transitioning from military to civilian life.
She explains, “… my niche focus helped me research and discover good keywords, military transition coaching. I built my site around them and now I have #1 ranking on Google, Yahoo and MSN. The inquiries I get from the site are already qualified as my ideal clients, so I enjoy a 100% conversion rate. Because my site is niche focused, people know what I do, what service I offer, and what it costs. I never have the stress of ‘selling’ anything.”
For advice, she says, “… to develop your niche, it’s best to start very narrow and deep – you can then expand from there.”
While this article doesn’t go into how to niche, here are two tips to get you thinking:
Focus on something that you are passionate about. For example if you love working with high school kids who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives, then you may want to focus on them.
Look at your existing clients for some hints. Which ones do you enjoy working with the most? Which ones can you help the most?
Establishing a niche focus is a great way to increase your appeal to prospective clients in your offline marketing, and it’s almost essential if you want to make a big splash online.