What are you really selling with your marketing?
In last week’s article, I discussed why you need a real marketing plan in your coaching business. In that, I talked about a few different possible types of sales funnels. This is just marketing speak for how you get a person from the point of not knowing who you are to hiring you as a coach or buying one of your programs.
If you start following lots of the marketing gurus out there you will hear all about automated sales funnels and making money while you sleep, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. While I am a big fan of sales funnels and all things automation, in reality, most coaches I talk to are struggling to get more clients. This means that more than likely your email list is not big enough to really effectively pull off this kind of internet marketing funnel yet.
So let’s take a step back. What is your goal? More clients. If this is you, then the 3 things you should be focusing on are:
- Building Your Email List – Without a decent sized email list, it is hard to fill group programs and do the whole “automated” sales funnel thing.
- Have Enrollment Conversations – You will hear these called a lot of things, but the one thing you should not call them is a “health history”. Depending on your target market, come up with a sexy name for your complimentary consultations that provide real value to your ideal client.
- Start inviting people to your consultations.
Wait until you actually have some clients and an email list before you go spending 6 months setting up this amazing group program that you want to get 50 people to sign up for.
Does this mean you shouldn’t have any programs or low-priced offerings?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! The beauty of the free consultation is that you can serve your audience by actually HELPING them on your call and then you can choose what to invite them to. Maybe you invite them to participate in an upcoming 5 day cleanse you are running, maybe you invite them to become a 1:1 client. Sometimes you will get on the phone with someone and know within 5 minutes that there is no way you would ever want to take them on as a client, so you don’t have to even bring up working together.
This does not mean that the whole automated sales funnel concept is not for you, but the first thing to automate is the invitation piece of the puzzle.
The initial thing you are “selling” here is a conversation with you. This should not be the “free gift” on your website. When people first find out about you online, setting up a phone call right away is usually a step too far and will raise too much resistance. This can be further down the “funnel”, something you invite people to after they have gotten a chance to know you a bit and feel comfortable with you.
Just sending a link out in your newsletter that links to your schedule is what I see lots of coaches do. While this is a start, it is not really sufficient. You need to frame the conversation. What is the benefit to your ideal client in speaking with you. Sure, you might invite them to work with you but this can NOT just be a sales call or the results will be abysmal. This needs to be something that will really benefit your audience.
It took me awhile to understand this myself, but now I look at these calls as an amazing way to connect with your audience, provide value and serve them, and make a new friend. Who do you think is more likely to keep opening your emails over the upcoming weeks and months and years? Someone who downloaded a PDF from your website that they never got around to reading or someone who is your friend and sees you as the expert in whatever area they are seeking help with?
That was kind of a rhetorical question, but you see my point. It doesn’t matter if the call turns into a sale right then or not, this new friend is now 1,000% more likely to open your emails, check out any of your upcoming promotions, refer you to others and at some point possibly become a client.
In the long run, you will have a much more engaged audience. I really missed the boat on this one early in my business. I wanted to “automate” everything. Now, the highlight of my week is usually connecting with new coaches who are super excited about their new business but are in need of some direction on which way to go.
Here is how I setup a basic sequence to invite my audience to a Marketing Strategy Session with me.
Whether or not they are on my email list (and I spend almost no energy or marketing time doing this for people that are not already on my list), I send them to a landing page. Here is an example.
Something that my system does that is helpful is that I can tag people that click that link, regardless if they fill out the form on the page or not. This is helpful since in this day and age people are very busy with scattered focus. If someone opens my email on their cell phone and clicks the link, maybe they are in a rush and don’t get around to actually filling out the form, but I can follow up with them later automatically without pestering all the people that never bothered clicking the link.
This is called “behavior-based” marketing and is something everyone will need to pay more and more attention to in the future. Just blasting your whole email list with everything you do is not nearly as effective as figuring out what actions particular subscribers take and then walking them to the next step. This is all not that difficult to do in an email system like Drip. There are higher level programs that do this like Infusionsoft, but that is overkill for most new coaches.
Remember I said we needed to “sell” the consultation? This means that just sending your contact to your online scheduler will leave a lot of people that don’t actually sign up, but you won’t know who they are. From this page above, I then can send people to my online schedule, but I can also follow up with all the people that showed an interest but didn’t actually book a session. There are lot’s of reasons for this, one of the biggies being there wasn’t a time that worked for them. Now I can send a few follow-up emails to further explain the benefits of our call together and get them to actually book the session.
Here is another place in the funnel where some automation is helpful. Would you want to get 3 emails from me AFTER you had already booked a call with me trying to get you to schedule a call? Of course not, that would be annoying. So the only people that get any of these 3 emails are those that have not booked anything on my calendar yet…and as soon as the appointment is booked, they are pulled out of all the remaining emails.
This is what this very simple Drip Workflow looks like.
You can make this more involved if you want, but just these few tweaks increased the percentage of appointments booked by well over 100%. The best part is this whole thing took about 30 minutes to setup in Drip and it will automatically run for every marketing consultation request I get forever.