Coaching Websites: 8 Key Tips to Build a Successful Online Business
Is your coaching website not bringing the customers you’d like? Are you tired of wasting your time in marketing online actions that seem to be not working at all? Using social media, publishing posts regularly, using other marketing strategies… I know the feeling, and I have the solution for you.
I’m sure that you have sometime Googled something, right?
Do you know that Google uses a complex algorithm to bring you the results that best match your question and your localisation?
Your Coaching Site
If your coaching website doesn’t bring the traffic that you’d like, it’s only because you have organised and written your posts and pages in a way that Google simply doesn’t understand and therefore, they don’t know how to classify it. So, they don’t show your website in their SERPs (search engine results pages).
The above is probably due to the lack of knowledge about usability (user experience), website speed, design trends and technology, how to connect emotionally to the users so that they end up contacting you for a quote, information etc. But it is mainly due to the lack of knowledge that most people have about SEO (search engine optimisation) market niches (target audience) and keywords.
Just think about it.
If I’m a coach, a therapist, etc., who thinks – consciously or unconsciously – that my services are for everybody, I am not targeting anyone in particular, and therefore, my efforts are diluted in an endless sea of websites that is the internet (there are almost two billion websites in the world right now).
On the contrary, if I am capable of identifying a niche, a group of people who have similar needs or concerns, and I target them particularly, it will be easier to attract potential customers.
THAT is precisely what 99% of websites DON’T do. And this is why 99% of websites fail within one year or less. Most people think that funnelling their target audience in this way, will limit their possibilities, but in fact, it’s the other way around.
I’m a web coach for coaches, therapists and counsellors
I am a coach myself, but I’m also a web designer who specialises in building successful online coaching, therapy, psychology and counselling businesses. I have merged both of my passions to help coaches, therapists, psychologists and counsellors to better understand their own online businesses so that they can get more customers (targeting less!). This is what I have called Web Coaching. In the following post you’ll find detailed information about why Web Coaching just needed to be invented.
In this post I’m going to give you a few key tips to build a better online coaching business.
Will these tips help you build a successful coaching business online?
I certainly hope so!
However, I am totally aware that probably it will not be enough. That would be too pretentious from me, but I hope it helps.
(When I say “coach”, “coaching business”, etc., please bear in mind that I mean also those professional activities that are related to personal growth and wellbeing such as therapy of any kind, counselling, psychology, etc.).
So, let’s begin already with those tips to build a successful coaching business online, shall we? (Note: if you need the basics of what you need to build a website, like domain name etc. then I’d advise you to go to that post and come back afterwards).
Key tips to build a better coaching or therapy business online
Not long ago I came across an interesting Forbes post about this subject, particularly aimed at coaches. Although I don’t agree entirely with it (it’s too shallow and short-sighted), I think it might help you have a further understanding of what it means to build a successful business online. This post is going to be much more focussed and detailed.
Key Tip #1. Identify and get to know your niche
As I mentioned before, the most important thing is to identify your niche so that you can “speak” directly to your main audience: those people you feel that will bring out the best in you.
Be careful. A niche isn’t a group of people of similar demographic characteristics (age, race, sex, etc.). A niche is a homogeneous group of people in their needs, not necessarily in their demographic data. For instance, my niche includes people who have a similar professional background (coaches, therapists, psychologists, counsellors…), but most importantly, they have the same needs, fears, concerns and pains, such as “my coaching website doesn’t bring me clients”, “I need a special website to start a home based coaching business”, “I want to make a living with my coaching website business”, “why do other coaches and therapists have successful business and I don’t?” etc. You need to find the pains of your target customers.
Key Tip #2. Identify pains and needs of that niche
When you identify and get to know your niche, you are able to put yourself in their shoes and identify their needs, wants, worries, etc. Those are what I call “pains”. When you know your niche’s pains, you will use this knowledge to
- Identify your keywords, which are vital for your search engine optimisation;
- Establish an emotional link with your audience via your website. ‘
Key Tip #3. Identify your keywords
Your keywords are words or short phrases that help Google know what your online business is about. Those keywords must appear repeatedly throughout your coaching website. It’s the only way Google can classify and index it correctly in the subject you’re interested in (family therapy, coaching for parents, hypnotherapy, couples counselling, etc.).
If you don’t mention those keywords enough, and in the right places, Google will never position your counselling or therapy website near the first pages, which is your goal in order to get as many qualified visits* as possible (*qualified traffic refers to visits of users who are actively searching for something, as opposed to users who end up in your website for other reasons. In other words, they’re not actively wanting to buy your services).
You should find a couple of prominent or main keywords and then a few more that will be your secondary keywords, and a few more that will be tertiary keywords and so forth.
Key Tip #4. Learn how to use your keywords for SEO and build
The structure of your coaching website, the navigation menu, how the information is organised within the site, its usability (the user experience) etc. are key to the results you get (i.e.: getting potential customers to contact you).
You must take your main keywords and place them in strategic places such as
- Title of your website
- Description of your website
- The name of a page in the navigation menu
- Headers of the same page
- Content of the same page (text and images)
- Meta – title and meta – description of snippet
SEO is a very complex subject as you can see. The positioning of your pages and website depends on hundreds of factors apart from those mentioned above. Don’t worry, there’ll be posts to explain all those things in depth.
Key Tip #5. Include a blog in your site
Some people chose to have a business website and a separate blog. This is a big mistake. Having a blog (and of course, using it) provides your therapy, coaching or psychology website with dynamism, movement. That movement makes Google notice you more often and this is another factor that impacts your positioning in the SERPs.
Write posts for your blog regularly and frequently. Use different variables of some of your keywords.
Key Tip #6. Don’t talk about you in the Home page
Through my experience of many years designing websites for coaches, psychologists, etc., one big mistake they usually make doesn’t surprise me anymore.
Most of these business websites tend to place a detailed description (sometimes quite narcissistic, let me tell you) of the coach, therapist, counsellor or whatever, right on the first page, which is like the cover of a magazine.
If you think about it, does this make sense, is it a good idea? Of course not. People only realise it once the fact has been brought to their attention.
Placing information about how great a coach you are, how there is no one who can match your professionalism and results, how good, generous, efficient you are, does you no service, nor the effectiveness of your online business. That description of yourself is all very well in a separate page (about me/us, your coach…) which should be placed amongst the three last pages of your navigation menu.
If your prospect is interested in the product or services you sell, they are likely to visit your profile after they’ve seen other important pages of your site.
Key Tip #7. Add only one call to action throughout
When you see hundreds of coaching, therapy, counselling websites every week, you tend to pick up on their mistakes and analyse what would work better for them. Most websites of these online businesses fail to have clear calls to action, while some of them have far too many.
If there are no calls to action, the user will not act. If there are too many, the user won’t act either.
You must first identify only one goal for your websiteand stick to just that one call to action, although repeatedly throughout.
Some online businesses are concerned with obtaining subscribers to their newsletters. Others focus on getting lots of followers on social media. Most forget that the main goal of their business is to sell.
In the case of coaching, counselling, therapy online businesses, leading the users to places other than the contact page is just silly.
For example, a call to action to download a free book to obtain subscriptions etc. is just nonsense. Even a call to action to SELL a book you’ve written is silly. Or do you prefer that someone buys your book instead of hiring your services as a coach, therapist, psychologist? Those users will never become customers.
As we have agreed, if you have a coaching (psychology, etc.) website, your goal is gaining customers, boosting your sales. Therefore, your calls to action should be focused mainly on leading the potential customers to contact you (to clarify doubts about the process, request more information, a free consultation appointment, etc.). Once you have the (once in a lifetime) opportunity of talking to them, it’s your personal sales skills and arts of persuasion that will gain the potential customer.
Key Tip #8. Offer a 30 minutes free consultation
When I ask them if they will be offering a free session, most of my customers are reluctant to do so. However, when I finish explaining why this is their best opportunity to make a sale, they quickly concede that it is the best course of action.
I see the free coaching session (usually via Skype) as the perfect chance…
- Firstly, to determine whether your potential customer really needs your services or you will need to refer them to another kind of professional.
- Get a feel of how you might get along with them
- Demonstrate (not tell) your potential customer the benefits they will obtain
- Solve their questions and objections about the process
- Finally, use your skills to make the sale
A free counselling, coaching or therapy consultation should not exceed 40 minutes of your time. This is how I tell my customers to plan their free sessions (there will be a post exclusively dedicated to the free consultation call).
- You must go through a quick coaching process during the first 10 to 15 minutes (to show the benefits)
- Solve any questions the person has (5 to 10 minutes)
- Make your sales pitch during the last 10 minutes.
- Try to close the sale during the free session or at least get the potential customer to commit to give you a response within two or three days.
Have these tips helped you build a better coaching business online?
Naturally, it is my aim to do my best to help you build a successful coaching business. However, website design is a very complex matter that cannot be explained in a few pages. So is SEO, usability, finding your niche and many other things that I’ve tiptoed around.
What I am sure of is that if you try to apply these 8 tips, or some of them, there will be an improvement in the performance of your website, even if you don’t notice it. Trust me. I know.
I will soon be writing much more about all the subjects above, in much more detail. I hope you come back and learn with me. Yes?
In any case, I’d love it if you drop me a line in the comments if there is something that you would like me to clarify for you, don’t agree with, or just to say hello!