Building a Coaching Business — Getting Tons of Local Coaching Prospects Finding You

When I talk with new coaches I frequently hear that they don’t need to be on the internet . . . because they aren’t interested in nationwide, or worldwide business. They only want local people as clients.

Well, what they don’t know is likely to hurt them, or at least it’ll be a significant missing opportunity. There are anywhere from 50 to as many as several hundred people in most major cities looking for a coach on the internet.

Here are the number of people looking for business coaches, and life coaches in just a few cities. I include Kansas City because that’s where I am and I grab some of these for myself.

Business Coach Monthly searches   Life coach Monthly searches
  Los Angeles 318     Los Angeles 1,711
  Chicago 213     Chicago 1,611
  Dallas 131     Dallas 915
  Kansas City 73     Kansas City 320

A good rule of thumb is that 5% should be fairly easy to snag.

If your city isn’t here, search for Google Keyword tool on Google and type in the search words you believe that someone would use to find your type of coaching along with the city, state, or region you are in. 

I’ve discoverd that to get a search engine position for whatever type of coach you are along with the geographic location in the search phrase and you SHOULD easily get in one of the top 3 positions on Google for that. At the bottom of page 1 you should be getting anywhere from 1% to 5% of the searches to your website. At the top of the page you should be getting anywhere from 5% to 50% of all searches to your website. Basically, once you get the position, what you say and how you say it has a specific conversion rate. So it’s important to not only get the search engine position, but it’s extremely important that you say more than “I’m a coach.” It’s got to be a compelling message that pulls your target client in.

Actually there are three positions on Google that you SHOULD be grabbing for your website.

  1. The first is Google Adwords, or sponsored listings, or  another term is Pay Per click marketing. That’s the first thing anyone sees right at the top of the page, and down the right hand side. You can actually be on the top of Google within about 15 minutes with this one. You can also tell Google you only want people within a certain geographic region.
  2. The second is Google Local listings, or Google Maps — these are “for the asking.” Just sign up on Google Maps, put in the keyword you want to be found for and you’ll have a listing. However, getting in the first 10 is a bit more of a problem, but not hard.
  3. The third is the natural search engine position. Again we must define the keywords and actively go after it. We’ll how later.

Pay Per Click

After doing a search on Google Keyword Tool for your keywords, Google will come back with the number of people searching, and even give you some other keyword suggestions.

I know some people try to tell me that because they don’t pay any attention to the pay per click listings that they believe no one else does either. I can tell you THEY ARE WRONG. I have helped many clients get lots of traffic with pay per click ads. The statistics have been that even if they do have a position 1 on Google for natural search engine position, they tell me they get 60% of their total traffic from the pay per clicks, and 40% from the natural search engine position. That means that if you only have the natural search engine listing that they will get 120% more business by turning on the pay per click ads.

Another fear that I frequently hear is, “What would happen if I got several thousand clicks by in the morning?” They are looking at the wrong end of the marketing costs. They only see their “up front cost of marketing.” The most important part of marketing is in understanding what it “cost to acquire” a new client.

Let’s assume that you spend $1 for a click through, and your website conversion is 10% (which is possible, but that’s another story for another time. I actually have some pages getting 40% to 60%, but let’s stay down in a lower area for a bit). If it costs $1 to get a prospect looking at your website, and have a 10% conversion rate, that means that you’d have to have 10 people there before you got a call, a signup, or whatever other action you are after. That’s $10 for each lead. Now, frankly, most coaches would love to buy prospects for $10 each. Works for me.

Now, if you have a 50% close ratio, you are closing every other one. Then it costs you $20 to acquire a client. Instead of fearing that you might get a lot of those, it might be better to ask yourself, “How manyof those do you want to buy?” And set your pay per click campaign to turn off as soon as you’ve got as many as you can handle, or let them build up and then you can pick and choose the best type of coaching client, or the one that will be paying you the most.

But, if your website works about like most coaches who are out there saying “I am a coach, come check me out.” then the conversion rate is somewhere below 0.1%. Let’s look at those numbers. At 0.1% conversion rate for your website, than will mean about 1,000 people coming toyour website before someone calls. 1,000 x $1 click through cost =$1,000 for the lead, and if you close every other one than that’s $2,000 to acquire a client.

Although I would be working to improve that cost to acquire a client, it might be an acceptable amount (temporarily) or it might not. If that is a client that will be with me for a year that could generate $10,000 to $50,000 over the year $2,000 would work, but as I said I’d still be working to reduce that. But I’d still be buying as many clients as I could get.

However, if your figure you’ll make $1,000 to $2,000 on that client . . . that’s just not going to work is it?

In that case, we have to fix our website so that the marketing message converts at a much higher rate, 1% to 5% or better, and get back to “buying as many clients” as we can possibly buy.

I hope that changes how you look at your marketing. You should have it figured out what it costs to acquire a client and be out there buying as many as you can. Or you should fix your marketing until you can do it that way.

Far too many coaches aren’t in control of their marketing and just throw something against the wall and hope. They have no clue what it costs to acquire a client or how to fix it.

Search Engine Positions

I usually recommend that a coach turns on a pay per click and gets a Google local listing right off the bat. Within 15 minutes they will be at the top of Google.

The next thing to work on is getting that search engine position . . . on Google. Don’t let any of the search engine optimization so-called experts lead you to another search engine, or what they call ‘a low cost” approach because Google get’s 60% of all traffic, Yahoo less than 25%, MSN less than 10%, and if you total those up it’s pretty close to 100%. Nothing else really matters.

You are likely to have an SEO guru that wants to sell you “2,000 search engines listings” or even top of the page listings for thousands of search engines. It just won’t do you much good at all.  There are so few looking on any other search engine that the 1 person that searches on those search engines won’t help very much in comparison to going after the hundreds of thousands looking on Google.

But back to our original point, that getting a search engine position on Google for a local listing is quite achieveable.

Here’s the basic how-to steps. Search engines look at all websites to figure out what you want to be listed for on their directory. Do the following steps and you have a pretty good chance of getting that search engine position for your city.

1) Make sure that your keywords are in the title of your website. For instance if you are a business coach in Los Angeles, then you want “business coach — Los Angeles” in the title.

2) Put a first line that talks about “business coach — Los Angeles” right at the top of the page. That will be seen by both search engines, and your human prospect.

3) Count the total words on that page. It should be more than 250 words, and actually the more the better. Now make sure that you’ve mentioned “business coach” at a rate of 2% to 3% of all words on that page.

4) Make sure that your city is on that page IN THE TITLE, and at least one other place. Putting your contact information at the bottom of the page with your city in that address is a good way of doing that. If you are in a suburb, like I am and my address doesn’t show the metropolitan area, then add “Los Angeles area” just below your address. That’s it.

That’s likely to do it for your city listing. However, if you see that your search engine doesn’t quite make it to page one, it’s stuck just off page on at the top of page 2, or even further down. Then you MUST get some links back to your website from other websites. Writing articles on ezines with links back to your side using “business coach”

So, far we’ve talked about “getting the search engine position” so that you “get traffic.” How well that traffic converts into prospects calling you or reaching out to you in some other way. That all depends on how well  you develop that marketing message. People just don’t respond to “I am a coach” or even “I am a certified coach” or “20 years experience.” Those are 0.1% or less conversion words. If you want 5% to 10% conversion words you have to start mentioning things like

  • their pain
  • great solution
  • VALUE they will receive once they have that solution
  • Telling them what to do to get that solution . . . and wait for the call.

The percentage of people that start calling is dependent upon the number of people who get to see your website and the quality of the message you use on your website.

Check out “30 seconds to Prospects CHASING You” to fine tune your core marketing message. The first step usually increases the conversion rate 5 to 10 times. Going from 0.1% or less to 5% is a 50 times increase in business and that should be your target.

Of course, keep in mind that if you go from zero clients a month from your website to even 1, that’s an infinite growth rate. But going from 1 a month to dozens is only 12 times. But, you’d like to have 12 a month wouldn’t you?

Let me tell you a story about a recent client, a Mary Kay lady. She said she had gotten 1 or 2 calls in a whole year from the Mary Kay national website. I showed her that there were 1,000 people a month looking for a Mary Kay lady right here in Kansas City and that could result in about 5%, or 50 people a month. That sort of excited her. So, we turned on a pay per click to point at her personal page on the Mary Kay website. She had 72 people on that website in the next two weeks, and ended up with around 10 sales out of that. She’s been doing that every two weeks since Christmas last year. She is now the number one Mary Kay sales person around here. Just reached her first directorship (that’s the Mary Kay sales level of success), and her Mary Kay car.

This stuff does work.

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