Looking for creative ways to attract new clients? We’re here to help!
In this guide, we're offering up 10 strategies to help build your coaching business. Let's identify some tactics that you can begin implementing today.
How To Get Life Coaching Clients
1. Know who you want to serve
Here’s what you need to know first and foremost: most people aren't looking to hire a coach.
What they want is a solution to a specific issue or problem that they're facing. So when it comes to marketing your coaching business, it’s important that you can connect into that need in a way that’s clear, practical, and compelling.
Define what you offer, and keep it simple for messaging purposes.
If you haven’t already done so, narrow your messaging down to 1-3 coaching solutions. Your aim is not to connect with ALL people, just the right ones for your business.
Want some help to define your value proposition? Listen in as branding expert and Lumia instructor Joyce Chen breaks it down in our podcast series Purposeful Branding & Niche for Life Coaches.
2. Be really clear about what you do (and how to hire you)
If someone wants to learn more, where can they find information about your services? And what will they discover when they get there?
The truth is that you can have a gorgeous website and active social media presence, but still not connect with potential clients. Many coaching sites don’t actually say very much about the coach’s background, services, or results they can deliver.
If you want to stand out, do the up-front work of laying out your value proposition in terms that potential clients can understand and relate to.
Here are some questions to consider as you evaluate your messaging:
- What problems or challenges do your ideal clients have?
- What are they hoping to change or achieve?
- What skills, background, and personal experiences qualify you to coach in those areas?
- What makes you want to serve people in this particular way? Did you face a similar challenge in your own life and overcome it?
- What is your personal style - what makes you unique?
- Does your content sound like something you would say in real life?
- Do you make compelling Calls To Action?
3. Implement a visibility strategy
One of the most common mistakes we see new coaches make is to set themselves up across all conceivable marketing channels. Be forewarned! In an effort to build an audience, you can easily end up spreading yourself too thin.
That’s why we recommend choosing 1-3 primary strategies and sticking to them.
There are many ways to position yourself and your services. Some approaches to consider include:
- Word of mouth
- Testimonials and referrals
- Social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.)
- Publishing (blogs, articles, books)
- Presentations and guest speaking engagements
- Networking and relationship building via affinity groups, small business associations, chamber of commerce, rotary clubs, etc.
- Submitting proposals to businesses and organizations
Think carefully about what you can maintain over the long haul.
If that’s just one platform, perfect. Commit to doing that one thing exceptionally well, and you’re likely to see better results than someone who single-handedly attempts to maintain an active YouTube channel, blog posts, Facebook page, Instagram account, and weekly podcast.
Want an example of how one of our life coaches has successfully done this? See Lumia alumni Miki Abraham's article How To Build A Social Media Presence That Gets Results.
4. Be consistent
Whether it’s posting 4 times a week on Instagram, writing 3 personal emails to your professional contacts every Monday, or sending out one enewsletter a month… the key to a successful marketing strategy is consistency.
Life coaching is centered on human connection. This isn’t a business that you set up and then wait for the clients to come walking in. To build a robust client roster, you need to be out there actively delivering your message week after week... whether you feel like it or not.
Marketing research has shown that it can take 7-10 touches before a sale happens.
When it comes to hiring a coach, it often takes even more than that. Some people might follow you for a year before they reach out to schedule a session.
You want to be top of mind when someone in your audience decides they are ready to take action. So keep putting out your message… even if you think nobody’s listening. Trust us, the odds are good that someone IS!
5. Take care of your email list
With so much emphasis on social media, many online businesses are skipping out on email lists entirely. While this might be a viable approach, we encourage you to have a clear philosophy about what doing so might mean for your coaching business in the future.
Consider this: as you develop an Instagram or Facebook following… who actually "owns" your audience?
- Do you have any direct contact information for the people who follow your work?
- If Facebook were to suddenly close down, would your followers know how to find you? Would you have the ability to contact them?
If you’re using social media as your primary marketing strategy, remember that it’s only one leg of a sturdy stool. Building an email list on a platform that you can control remains a smart business move for many life coaches.
Whether your current email list has 5 people or 500, approach it as an opportunity to cultivate those relationships over time. Provide value in each email that you send, and communicate consistently if you'd like to generate sales from your subscriber list.
6. Share your expertise... no strings attached
Want to really take it to the next level? Consider giving prospective clients a taste of what it's like to work with you by providing a free resource.
Some possibilities for delivering stand-alone value:
- An educational YouTube video that shares a technique, coaching tool, or exercise
- Short e-book
- Informational webinar
- Guided meditation recording
What to go even deeper? Consider offering a free class or boot camp that delivers real value to participants, with a next step/offer to work with you at the end for those who would like to take it further.
You never know how your freebie or short program might reverberate down the line in terms of referrals and future bookings!
7. Engage with your audience
We all know there’s a huge difference between someone who is talking TO you and when they’re talking AT you. Nevertheless, this is the #1 rookie mistake many of us make when we’re starting out.
Want a real-world example? Many people will share an announcement when they’ve recently earned a new credential or certification. That's talking "at" your audience. Now here's how you might talk "to" them. Instead of just “telling,” consider sharing something you learned from the training that relates directly to what your audience cares about, and following that with a provocative question.
Think about what comes across your own social media feed on the daily.
- What’s most likely to make you pause?
- Of content you DO stop to look at, what motivates you to actually make a comment?
Craft posts that intrigue, stimulate, and draw people in. Then engage, respond, and communicate.
Remember: rapport is what moves people from passively following your content, to booking a session.
8. Be proactive
We’ve already talked about the importance of connecting with your followers, and building relationships through stimulating a back and forth conversation in the comments. If you’re ready to take it a step further, it's time to think about how you can initiate contact with prospective coaching clients in a way that’s authentic and meaningful.
Social Media Marketing: Reach out with a direct message to someone who has been engaging with your content for a while. Let them know you’ve noticed their participation in your community. Ask them a question about themselves, draw them in deeper so you can learn more about this person in particular, and your audience more broadly.
Email Marketing: When someone signs up for your newsletter, send a personal message to welcome them. If you know a little something about the person already, you could include a resource, article link, or back issue of your newsletter on a topic that would be useful to them. If you’re not sure what brought them to you, ask about their interests!
And don’t just stay within the borders of your own business - venture out into the world! Follow some accounts of other people in your field. Join professional networking groups and communities. Connect with like-minded people.
Networking leads to engagement.
Developing a presence and improving the visibility of your coaching business takes time and effort. As you offer help to others, ask good questions, and bring value to the groups you are participating in… don’t be surprised when you pick up new followers and coaching clients along the way!
9. Run a special offer
Wondering how to get life coaching clients fast? Make it easy for people to try out your services by promoting limited-time deals!
What could this look like? Some ideas:
- A laser focused decision-making session for someone who’s trying to choose between several options
- An assessment and interpretation of how the results can apply to their career (examples: Enneagram, VIA Character Strengths, Human Design, or another method you use in your coaching practice)
- A communication session for couples
Think about your areas of expertise, and where you can deliver satisfying results in a short period of time (60-90 minutes).
Identify one discreet thing that you can help people with in a single session. Create an offer that highlights the benefits and what they will gain in your time together. Package it and promote it as a stand alone special.
If you want to gain practice, build new skills, or just get in front of prospective coaching clients, consider offering it for free or at a reduced price for a short period of time.
10. Ask for referrals
The most consistent way most life coaches attract their ideal clients is through word of mouth. Why is that? Because most folks believe in other people more than advertising.
According to Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising report, recommendations from friends and family remain the most trusted sources of information when it comes to making buying decisions. A whopping 83% of survey respondents take action on word of mouth referrals “at least some of the time,” compared to only 46% being inclined to action based on social media ads.
If you haven’t put the word out to your network that you’re a life coach, now’s the time to put those connections to work on behalf of your business.
Post on social media, share what you’re up to with friends, family, and former colleagues. Talk about what you do, demonstrate the value you offer, and make it easy for them to send potential coaching clients your way.
Sharing your vision with your circles of influence is likely to surface some new possibilities. And once you have a lead - ask for an introduction!
For tips on how to generate more word of mouth buzz for your coaching business, check out: The Power of Client Testimonials (And How to Get Them!)
Throw Out The Rulebook
At the end of the day, there’s no "right" way to do this!
Some life coaches have virtually NO online presence, building their business instead through local connections and word of mouth referrals. Some create massive followings on Instagram. Others host popular podcasts. There’s a pathway that’s right for everyone, and no two coaches look quite the same.
If someone else’s recommendation, technique, or approach doesn’t feel like “you,” trust your intuition. It’s critical to approach marketing your coaching services in a way that feels authentic to you.
Turn Your Dial Toward Service
Let's circle back now to where we started, with the question "How can I get new coaching clients?"
When it comes to building your business, we've found that it can be useful to reframe the question. Instead of wondering how to "get" coaching clients, consider how you can provide value to others.
When we show up in service, without expectation, we begin to crack the code of authentic delivery. And when it comes to attracting clients, authenticity is magnetic.
The common thread between all the strategies we've shared above is that you are not selling - you are sensing. You're absorbed in the task of listening, leaning in, and showing up in order to be of service.
This works. At Lumia Coaching, we’ve trained more than a thousand life coaches, and have observed it over and over again.
Like any new business, building a coaching practice from the ground up requires stamina, grit, and self-confidence. Have as many conversations as you can, and you will learn the many ways you shine in service to others. Over time, the intersection of intention and service will bring you the best possible outcomes for your business.
Want To Be A Coach?
Grab your copy of our guide: 6 Steps To Start Coaching Today!
This free publication, written by Lumia Coaching co-founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, will give you the tools to discover your niche, find clients, and get started on your path to becoming a successful coach. Just jump on our email list below to get yours.
Plus, when you sign up -- we'll keep you up to date weekly with coaching techniques, and the occasional much-needed kick in the pants to keep you motivated on your coaching journey.
So, what're you waitin' for? Let's get started!