Quite a while back, I had a consultation with Teresa, a delightful new coach who wanted to do some marketing. She’d finished coach training. She joined a high-end mentoring program. Now she wanted a website.
Teresa wasn’t sure who her target market would be. She had picked up a few clients.
What stood out was something Teresa mentioned almost as an after-thought. “I invited a group of women to come to my house for a presentation. We had refreshments and we all had a good time. A couple of them might become clients.”
Now you have to understand that website copy coaching is one of my favorite things to do as a copywriter. So I was itching to get my hands on Teresa’s website, which existed as a very rough draft.
But because we dug into Teresa’s business model during the consultation, the truth was pretty obvious. Teresa wasn’t ready for a website.
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In fact, her own highly-paid high-end mentor was probably advising her, “Before you get a website, go out and talk to prospects. Make sure you’ve got a market.”
The really tough mentors would say, “Sign at least 3 to 10 paid clients before you build your website.” (If you want to save about $10K on mentoring programs, skip the preliminaries and go out and do this.)
I understood exactly where Teresa was coming from.
A website feels like a security blanket. If someone asks, “What do you do?” you send them to your website. If you want to post on social media and even buy ads, you send them to your website.
Unfortunately, you can build a beautiful website for a non-existent market. When I first started on the Internet, I had just published a book on relocation. So it seemed natural to build a website on moving and become a relocation coach.
I soon discovered that people who move do need lots of help and could benefit hugely from working with me. … but they wouldn’t. As one industry expert pointed out, “The last thing people want during a move is more phone calls.” When I expanded my site to deal with careers, and specifically focused on midlife career change, my business grew dramatically.
Amazingly, none of the coaches I consulted encouraged me to do some research. It never occurred to me to work with a copywriter, who would have asked pointed questions about what the market wanted and what benefits would be delivered.
So what could Teresa – or anyone starting out – do instead?
(1) Interview 6 to 10 people who resemble your ideal clients. If you’ve been in business a while but are considering a new niche, you can interview some of your current and past ideal clients. Discover their backstories: why they’ve got a problem, why it’s so tough to solve, and what they’re tried already.
After you’ve completed the interviews, you’ll know if you’ve got a market that resonates with your offer. You’ll know if they’re willing and able to buy and how to reach this market effectively. You’ll know the exact words and phrases. For instance, if they’re laid-off from a job, do they talk about “getting back on the horse” or “back in the saddle again?”
A lot of people have trouble with this step, so I’ve created a short program to help: The Client Advantage.
(2) Based on those results, set up a simple landing page to collect leads, offering a lead magnet that’s 3 to 5 pages.
Creating a lead magnet will force you to identify a critical topic that’s top of mind for your audience. You’ll need to get past their resistance to get them to sign up for your giveaway — and they know they’re also committing to getting emails from you on a regular basis.
You’ll easily discover whether you’ve got a responsive audience. When your topic resonates strongly, you’ll get lots of sign-ups.
(3) Don’t wait till you get a website to “figure out how to explain what you offer.” Be able to explain your services in a sentence or two – the infamous elevator speech. Consider creating a story speech instead of an elevator speech. Test your explanation at networking events and prospects you encounter.
One powerful example of a money coach:
“Here’s an example of what I do. When Beryl called me, she had six maxed-out credit cards and no savings. I helped her reorganize her finances and find surprising ways to save. Last week she bought the home she’d always dreamed of – and her new credit rating helped her get a good mortgage.”
(4) Send out a “warm prospect letter” to anyone who might have contacts with your ideal clients. This letter shares the news of your new service, spells out the type of referrals you’re seeking, and briefly explains the benefits. You can get a template for this letter when you buy either Quick Start Guide To Marketing Yourself As A Coach or Becoming A Copywriter.
(5) Once you’ve established that there IS a market for your offer, you’ve clarified your message, and you’ve demonstrated that people WILL pay you, it’s time to set up a website. You can DIY or hire resources.
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