branding for coaches

Branding for coaches: The secret to better clients and more profit

If you think of coaches like Jay Shetty, Tony Robbins, and other well-known coaches, they probably turn your dream clients away daily.

These celebrity coaches might have more experience than the average coach, though there are plenty of other professional coaches out there that could probably deliver the same (or better) results. 

So why do these coaches have your ideal clients flooding their coaching website when you can’t get a steady stream of coaching clients?

It’s because they have a strong brand identity. 

They consistently produce decent results for their target market and have a strong online presence.

For example, Jay Shetty got his break when several of his videos posted on the Huffington Post went viral. Tony Robbins also has an outstanding omnichannel brand strategy that reaches millions of people per year.

So instead of constantly chasing prospective clients, here’s a branding strategy specifically designed for coaches.

1.) Consistently Deliver Transformational Results 

If you consistently deliver transformational results to every single client, they will organically tell their friends about your services, and you’ll earn referrals without asking. 

The main problem is that most coaches think they are delivering transformational results – but they’re really just delivering good results.

Let me define the difference.

Good results improve the client’s quality of life by 10% or 20%, but transformational results dramatically change their quality of life.

So even if your clients are leaving positive reviews saying that you helped them achieve success, don’t assume that you delivered transformational results. 

The reason why it’s critical to produce transformational results is because people don’t organically tell their friends about minor incremental improvements. However, they will tell their friends about drastic improvements (or their friends notice and ask what the difference is).

So how do you create a truly outstanding service?

While knowledge of your specific niche is essential, some frameworks can set you (and your clients) up for success.

Here are a few key elements of a well-structured coaching program:

  • Track your client’s habits: Beginner coaches set goals, but the top 1% of coaches obsess over what their clients do on a daily basis to achieve those goals. So work backward from the client’s goal and identify key habits that will lead to achieving the goal. 
  • Weekly assignments: In addition to building the right habits, there will also be some one-off tasks that clients need to complete to achieve the end goal. For example, they might need to email an important person one week or fill out an important worksheet from your resource library.
  • Weekly accountability calls: Most clients fail to achieve their goals simply because they didn’t execute the habits or complete the weekly assignments. To solve this problem, schedule weekly accountability calls to ensure the client stays on track. If you don’t want to attend the calls yourself, you can place clients into accountability pods, and they schedule weekly calls on their own time. 

Accountability pods are a significant value add to your service as they allow clients to connect with others with similar goals and challenges.   

  • A proven, documented blueprint: You’re much more likely to deliver transformational results if you use the same blueprint for every client (rather than constantly reinventing the wheel). You can test, optimize, and improve the blueprint, but having a system in place that consistently produces solid results will enable you to scale your coaching business. A solid blueprint with a library of material is also valuable to clients as they can spend coaching calls discussing advanced questions rather than covering information you could convey in a video. 

In the past, creating a coaching program using the structure above required coaches to tie together a project management platform, course platform, and various other tools (like habit trackers, Google Docs, worksheet creators, etc.). 

To solve this issue, we built upcoach, which is an all-in-one coaching platform that enables coaches to:

  • House courses and additional materials (videos, handouts, etc.)
  • Add and track key habits 
  • Create and store worksheets (and track completion rates)
  • Create private accountability pods (with a private discussion forum for members of that pod)
  • Schedule coaching calls and include a pre-call questionnaire 
  • Communicate through chat or a general discussion forum
  • Track client engagement in a detailed client CRM

If you’d like to try upcoach for yourself, schedule a demo today. 

2.) Niche Down and Become The Best in Your Space

Once you’re consistently producing transformational results, analyze who you’re able to help the most and niche down to solve that specific problem.

While this may seem counterintuitive, narrowing your focus and selecting a specific coaching niche makes it easier to scale and build a brand. This is because you’ll become known as the best in that particular space. 

For example, there are thousands of business coaches available. There are hundreds of business coaches for early startup founders. However, there are only a handful of business coaches (if any) for early startup founders who need help making their first few hires.

branding for coaches

So if you’re a startup founder struggling to make your first few hires, you’d probably prefer to hire a coach with a proven framework for people struggling to make their first few hires. 

In fact, you’d probably be willing to pay that coach more than a generic business coach.

So while niching down may seem like it would limit your growth, it actually makes your program more valuable because you’re one of few that offers that service. 

From a branding perspective, this is helpful as you’ll become known as the expert in that field. So when someone struggling with hiring is searching for a coach, they are much more likely to call you than a generic business coach.

An excellent example of a consultant that has built a powerful brand by niching down is April Dunford. Rather than labeling herself as a generic business consultant, she calls herself a positioning consultant for startups. 

Today she’s one of the most in-demand startup consultants simply because she’s an expert on one very particular pain point within the startup community (positioning).

To figure out how to niche down, look at the most common pain points you’ve already helped people solve within your coaching program. Then, create a coaching program designed specifically to solve that pain point.  

3.) Create Free, High-Quality Content 

Up until this point, I haven’t discussed any marketing strategies. 

That was intentional.

Excellent brands are built on outstanding services, so everything mentioned beyond this point will only help if you’ve done the first two points.

Assuming that you now have an excellent service and are one of the very best in your category, the next step is to create content.

Content is powerful because:

  1. It extends your impact as a coach (which is the end goal of any professional coach)
  2. It’s a predictable lead generation channel

If you think of any established coach (like Jay Shetty, Tony Robbins, Esther Perel), virtually all of them create content. So content is definitely a cornerstone of creating a strong brand.

There are just two caveats with content creation. 

First, your target audience has to find the content valuable. If it doesn’t help (or at least resonate) with them, it’s unlikely that the audience will reach out to work with you. Assuming you’ve already mastered the first two steps, creating valuable content probably won’t be an issue for you.

The second caveat is that content marketing takes a long time to produce an ROI. Sure, you can use tactics to speed up the process (like partnerships and collaborations), though content marketing doesn’t produce an ROI nearly as quickly as running ads or other marketing tactics.

The good news is that once you have an established following, content typically requires limited maintenance and continues to produce a strong ROI.

So how do you create valuable content?

While there isn’t one set way to create excellent content, here are three frameworks you can use to help you get started:

  1. Create an actionable, step-by-step approach to solve a problem
  2. Offer a unique or contrarian idea on a popular topic
  3. Share your experience solving a particular pain point

While most content doesn’t hit all three of the above questions, content with elements of these three questions tends to perform very well.

Here’s an example of an actionable piece of content. Notice that someone could add this advice to their calendar and watch it drive results:

branding for coaches

Below is an example of a contrarian piece of content. However, notice that it also has a valuable takeaway (keeping customers happy is more important than getting new customers):

branding for coaches

Finally, here’s an example of content that shares a lesson through a personal experience. This kind of content tends to do well as people naturally engage with stories:

branding for coaches

Finally, you can create content through a variety of different mediums, including:

  • Social media (Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
  • Email
  • Blog Posts
  • Books
  • Podcasts

While all of the examples above are from social media posts, that isn’t the only medium that works well (the screenshots just happened to fit well on this page). 

The key is to find one medium and consistently create content for that medium. If you spread your resources across too many different channels, getting any single channel working will be difficult.

4.) Develop Industry Relationships

The final step to creating a strong brand in your industry is to develop relationships with other industry experts. Winning the respect of just a few key influencers can open doors to other opportunities like speaking at conferences and virtual event collaborations.

Participating in these events positions you as an expert, which is an excellent opportunity to build trust and boost your personal brand.

In addition, word-of-mouth marketing is powerful, and as your potential clients hear other influencers talking about you, it won’t be long before your personal brand takes off.

So how can you develop more industry relationships?

By now, you’re probably already growing a following through your content marketing efforts, so it will be easier to initiate relationships with other industry influencers. 

First, start by engaging with industry influencers on social media. You can block out 20-30 minutes per day and write thoughtful comments on their posts consistently.    

Eventually, they will start to notice (as will their other followers), and you can develop an offline relationship.

Another great way to build industry relationships is attending conferences and hosting dinners/cocktail parties.

By inviting a handful of people to dinners, people will begin looking up to you as a key connector, which will help you grow your brand as a coach.

This is a key tactic that Jayson Gaignard used to grow his business, and he even wrote a book on how to execute these dinners called Mastermind Dinners.

Start Building Your Brand Today

Great coach branding isn’t just about having excellent website design, a cool logo design, or nice testimonials.

It’s about mastering these four pillars. While success won’t happen overnight, steady progress on each of these pillars will eventually help you establish a strong personal brand as a leading coach in your industry. 

If you’re still working on the first pillar, consistently delivering transformational results, consider using an all-in-one coaching platform like upcoach. It can help you deliver a better client experience as they will be able to watch your videos, track habits, and complete to-dos from a single dashboard.

You can also hold your clients accountable as their progress is visible to both you and your client.

If you want to see upcoach for yourself, consider scheduling a demo or jumping into the platform today.

Picture of Megan Mahoney
Megan Mahoney
Megan writes content for SaaS companies and digital marketing agencies to increase traffic and conversions. She's worked with brands like Chatfuel, Single Grain, Copyblogger, and others and have also been featured in leading publications like the Content Marketing Institute.
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