Research Paper By Ashley Silva
(Transformational Coach, UNITED STATES)
The International Coaching Academy encourages students to discover their coaching niche by organically seeing their niche unfold through the program. When I first started at ICA, I was drawn to spiritual and career coaching. During my first year in the program I struggled to choose just one. I felt as though I would be missing out if I went down one path versus the other. From my professional work experience I thought career coaching was right up my alley although I was drawn to spiritual coaching as I started to experience a spiritual awakening in my personal life. I had two coaches in the beginning of the program with two different perspectives on how to discover your coaching niche. One coach suggested I wait until I started taking clients to see who the people were coming to me and what was I coaching them on. The other coach suggested I take a mixture of my professional and personal experience and blend the two. Both coaches were right in their approach to discovering the niche because the experience is unique to everyone. I tried both approaches to discover my niche along with learning consumer psychology and marketing research in school and would like to share my experience with you.
How Marketing Research Can Be Used In Your Coaching Business
Narrowing down the group of clients you will be working with is important, so you can develop strategies to appeal to this group of people. Marketing research helps coaches narrow down the specific demographics of their clientele. Demographics include age range, location, gender, and annual income. Learning the psychographics of the clients is important to understand their lifestyle, motivations, attitudes, and beliefs. Both the demographics and psychographics create a story of who your potential clients will be and how you can maximize your marketing strategy to appeal to this group of people. In my own business, the demographics are included in the chart below.
|Location||Local clients||Global clients|
|Annual Income||50-70k household income||70-90k household income|
The psychographics researches deeper into the lifestyles of these two primary and secondary groups. If we look at the marital status of the primary group it may be divided up between single, unmarried couples living together, and married couples without children. The secondary group may be married couples with children, and single family households. The interests of these clients would vary, so it would be ideal to list the lifestyle, motivations, attitudes, and beliefs separately between the two groups. The primary group may be interested in travel, building their careers, buying their first home, relocating, or advancing their education. This group may be influenced more by social media, and would be motivated towards saving money. A marketing strategy to appeal to the primary group would be to advertise on social media about a promotion of 25% off new clients or offer a workshop where clients would need to travel to attend. The secondary group may be interested in family planning, investing, improving their physical health, starting a business, or changing careers. This group may be influenced by word of mouth, reviews from other people’s experience, and buying something of value. A marketing strategy to appeal to this group would be to have other coaches advertise your business with their following of clients in exchange for them to advertise their business with your following of clients using social media, newsletters, or blogs.
Steps To Discover Your Marketing Niche
Identifying the demographics and psychographics of your clientele is important, but the coach will need to know what kind of service they will be providing to others. The three steps I discovered for my own marketing niche was becoming self-aware, a process of self-discovery, and turning my personal journey into a mission. At the beginning of the ICA program I was already aware of my professional work history, qualifications, and life experiences. What I needed to understand was how I could use this to coach others through similar situations. Becoming self-aware of all I had to offer a client was the first step. Next I needed to have a bit of a transformation and actually start using the tools and techniques I learned in the coaching classes. Classes like self-management, creating structure, and self-development gave me tools I could use in my everyday life to create a balance. This transformation was not a quick 1, 2, 3 step process, but rather a yearlong transformation of staying committed, having self-discipline, and overcoming more than one failure. The last step of turning my personal journey into a mission happened during a session with a client. At this time, I still was indecisive about going into career coaching or spiritual coaching. The session helped clarify I was looking to help people gain an insight about them through coaching. Intuitively, I was looking to help people balance their mind, body, and spirit through spiritual coaching. Once you do the internal work of becoming self-aware and discovering your uniqueness as a coach all it takes is stepping out and honing in on what you were called to do.
Ask yourself these questions to follow the steps in discovering your marketing niche.
|Self-Awareness||What do I already know about myself?|
|Self-Discovery||What do I want to learn about myself?|
|Mission Statement||What is the purpose of my life coaching business?|
The mission statement will describe what the client will expect from your services. You would need a mission statement to affirm what your purpose is as a coach. Larger businesses know the value of creating a mission statement and vision for their companies. For example, Microsoft’s mission statement is “We work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential”. (Sloan, 2012). My life coaching mission would read “To empower others to achieve their life purpose by balancing their mind, body, and spirit with life coaching and nutrition.” Now that you have researched the demographics and psychographics of your clients, determined your marketing niche, and transcribed a mission statement the next step is to take action with your marketing strategy.
Putting Your Marketing Strategy Into Action
There are several ways to market your life coaching business which direct and indirect marketing. Direct marketing is a form of advertising that directly targets your clientele. The channels used for direct marketing are going to be through a website, email, fliers, promotional letters, catalog advertisements, and social media. For website marketing, there are services specifically designed to build life coaching websites such as The Coaching Console (2014), and this company offers services to market your website. Otherwise, an interactive website could include widgets for social media to help you with the marketing strategy. The top five social media sites according to eBizMBA (2014) are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google Plus. Also, two more social media sites to mention are Tumblr for creating blogs and Instagram for creating digital photos. Print advertising in a local magazine is a low cost way to market your business, and such ads average around $100 dollars per ad depending on the location and how many magazines are in circulation. Promotional letters and fliers are an inexpensive way to promote yourself locally in various retail stores, offices, or recreational centers. Building a mailing list distribution is a quick and effective way to reach many of the clients or potential clients to directly send marketing messages. Email or newsletters are a great way to use direct marketing to reach out to clients.
Indirect marketing is building your life coaching business through word of mouth, blogging, social media, and referrals. Social media again can be used in an indirect way to market your business, and blogging is a great way to build a following of potential clients. Word of mouth and referrals can be a more sincere way to build a client base because one disadvantage of direct marketing is the approach may seem too pushy for potential clients.
Primary Marketing Strategy
The demographics for the primary group are people between the ages of 24-29, located in the local community who are female, and have an average annual income of 50-70k a year. The psychographics of the primary group are people wanting to save money, use social media, travel to new locations, build their careers, buy their first home, relocate, change lifestyle habits, or advance their education. The main point the primary marketing strategy needs to focus on is building a local presence through retail, print ads, and social media. Since the primary group is interested in saving money then the best strategy is to use direct marketing to showcase specific deals for new clients or existing clients.
An example of how life coach Gabrielle Bernstein advertises coaching is through lectures and workshops hosted in various locations such as Sydney, Australia or New York, NY (Gabrielle Bernstein, Inc., 2010). This coach advertises discounts on workshops, lectures, and coaching on a weekly newsletter as a marketing strategy to get new clients. From looking at the demographics and psychographics in this primary group the people would respond more positively to this marketing strategy because the group is interested in travelling, using social media, saving money, and changing their lifestyle habits. Also, this coach sends a free video blog to watch on a weekly newsletter to all subscribed members, and on the website there is a list of past audio or video lectures to purchase. Providing a free video blog is a great way to get people interested in buying a full lecture like a try before you buy method of marketing.
Secondary Marketing Strategy
The demographics for the secondary group are people between the ages of 30-35, located in the global community who are female or couples, and have an annual income of 70-90k a year. The psychographics of the secondary group are people wanting to purchase items of value, research reviews, plan a family, look for investment opportunities, improve their physical health, start a business, or change careers. The main focus for the secondary marketing strategy is to build a local and global presence through a website, blogs, and reviews. Since this group is interested in buying an item of value then indirect marketing will have more appeal to influence new clients. A website may be the only way a new client could see your services, so listing testimonials or having reviews available would be the best method to encourage potential clients to contact you.
An example of how life coach Tony Robbins advertises his business is through a website by providing a free coaching session (Robbins Research International, Inc., 2014). Also, there are many testimonials listed on the website to show reviews and past experiences with the coaching program. Other great marketing strategies on this website are having a coordinator or scheduling service for potential clients, advertising free shipping on domestic orders, and free gifts on orders with a specific purchase. These are all ways to show the value of joining this coaching program. The marketing strategy of offering a free coaching session is also to show the value of how coaching can improve a client’s life by using tools, and a specialized curriculum developed by Tony Robbins. The website and marketing strategy would appeal more positively to the secondary group because this group is interested in making a purchase of value, researching reviews, making an investment, and starting a business. The programs and products on this website make coaching appear to be an investment for a potential client by offering several products, services, discounts, and tools in one package.
Researching the demographics and psychographics of potential clients is the first step in developing a marketing strategy. Next would be to discover exactly what you will be offering to potential clients as a life coach. Defining a coaching niche and a mission statement is the next step in the marketing strategy. Finally, putting your marketing plan into action by strategizing ways to indirectly or directly reach potential clients is going to be the last step.
eBiz MBA website. (2014). Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites. Retrieved from http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites
Gabrielle Bernstein, Inc. (2010). Lectures, Coaching & Events. Retrieved from http://gabbyb.tv/speaking
Robbins Research International, Inc. (2014). The Power of Results Coaching. Retrieved from http://www.tonyrobbins.com/coaching/
Sloan, N. (2012). 10 Famous Company Mission Statements. Retrieved from http://www.internetmarketingtofreedom.com/marketing-101/10-famous-company-mission-statements/
The Coaching Console website. (2014). Retrieved from http://coachesconsole.com/