Why Coaches Need an Advertising Strategy (+ Example Strategy to Swipe)

advertising strategy

Have you ever tried running paid ads to get coaching clients, only to find yourself dumping money in the garbage?

This is what running an online coaching business without an advertising strategy feels like.

Ads can feel complicated. And that’s even worse when you don’t know where you’re headed.

So, if you want to master paid advertising, you need a plan. A strategy.

Keep reading to learn everything you need about:

  • What is an advertising strategy?
  • The importance of having an advertising strategy
  • How to develop your advertising strategy

What Is an Advertising Strategy?

In its simplest form, an advertising strategy is a blueprint to get your coaching business seen and heard by the right people using a paid advertising campaign. Think of it as the game plan that lets you connect with potential clients online.

This differs from a marketing strategy, like content or social media marketing. An advertising strategy is designed to help you leverage paid channels like Facebook or Google ads.

advertising strategy

It’s not just about splashing your coaching brand all over the internet. A successful advertising strategy involves understanding who needs what you offer, where they hang out digitally, and how to engage them effectively.

The ingredients of an advertising strategy

A good advertising strategy has several key ingredients:

  • Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): This sets you apart from other coaches. It could be your unique approach or even a specific demographic you cater to.
  • Your Target Audience: You need to know who can benefit most from your coaching services. The more detailed this picture is, the easier it will be for you to find these people online and speak their language fluently.
  • The Right Channels: Not all advertising platforms are created equal when it comes to reaching certain audiences or achieving particular goals. You have options like Facebook ads or Google AdWords, each with pros and cons depending on your situation.

Lastly, an effective advertising strategy also outlines your goals for your coaching business. For instance, is your goal to build awareness to get booked on more podcasts, or do you want to generate more leads?

Not all strategies work for all goals, so this is a must, no matter what type of coaching business you have.

Digital vs traditional advertising strategies

I’ll be blunt – now that everything can happen online – including coaching sessions – traditional advertising strategies often fall short compared to digital ones.

Why? Because digital strategies let us reach more people at less cost while also providing valuable data insights into our efforts.

For example, Facebook advertising is a great choice for online coaches as it offers highly precise targeting options based on demographics, interests, and browsing habits. It’s a popular choice among online coaches because it targets specific options.

And even though it isn’t as cheap as it used to be, this platform allows you to spend as little as $1 a day. Your results will happen more slowly, but you’re allowed to do it!

Compare this to booking an ad on television ads, print media, or the radio. You’ll need to invest thousands, at least, without the ability to pinpoint exactly who you’re targeting. You also won’t get the data insights digital marketing can give you.

The Importance of Having an Advertising Strategy

advertising strategy

If you’re going to start using paid advertising to increase sales and grow your coaching business, you need an advertising strategy. Period.

But why are advertising strategies so important? Let’s talk about it.

1. Maximizing ad spend

Optimizing ad spend can help ensure that each dollar spent is used to reach potential clients interested in your services.

No one likes to waste money, especially not hard-working coaches like yourself!

An effective advertising plan can ensure every dollar goes toward reaching potential clients who are genuinely interested in what you offer. But it also makes sure you’re testing the right ad placements, messages, and creativity to achieve your business objectives.

Without a strategy, you’re essentially throwing spaghetti at the wall. You may end up with something that sticks… but who knows how much you’ll have to waste before you get there?

I once spent over a thousand dollars on a Facebook advertising campaign without getting anything in return because I didn’t properly plan ahead of time. That was nearly five years ago; I’ve learned my lesson since then. Learn from my mistakes and take the time to strategize.

2. Finding your target audience

Finding your target audience is another key component of any successful advertising strategy.

Knowing exactly who needs your coaching services and how best to reach them leads to higher conversion rates.

On the other hand, if you approach your advertising campaigns without a clear idea of how you will test audiences (or which audiences are already validated to resonate with you)…

Then your message may very well be falling on deaf ears.

3. Know when to scale (or call it quits)

Your campaign objectives guide all decision-making processes within the scope of each project.

You set up metrics to measure success (or failure) and adjust accordingly. Then, you create a roadmap of your customer’s journey, from awareness to conversion.

When you’ve got all these pieces in place, it’s easier to predict where the ship is headed.

If something isn’t working out as planned? At least you’ll know, and you can turn off losing advertising media.

On the other hand, if one of your campaigns performs well according to the strategy you set up… then you’ll know you’ve got a winning ad that you can scale!

Knowing which ads to turn off and which ones to double down with is a huge factor in scaling a coaching business successfully.

How To Develop Your Advertising Strategy

Okay, so you know you need an advertising strategy if you want to start running paid ads. Here’s how to come up with your own strategy to grow your coaching business.

1. Clarify your target audience

First, map out a precise illustration of who you are targeting. This means knowing your audience inside and out – their needs, goals, challenges, and what they value most!

For example, let’s say you’re a parenting coach. But there are so many types of parents out there. Who specifically do you help? Are they:

  • Parents of neurodivergent toddlers who feel ill-equipped to help their children thrive?
  • Single moms with teenagers who are getting out of hand?
  • Career-driven parents, who struggle to balance it all?

These are just three examples from one coaching niche. If I were a career-driven parent struggling to balance it all, I wouldn’t resonate with an ad speaking about the struggles of parenting teenagers as a single mother. 

Great ads polarize. They attract your dream audience and repel everyone else.

But first, you need to figure out who that is!

2. Determine what makes you unique

Next up is differentiating yourself from other coaches in your space. You can do this by calling out your ideal audience, sure… but you can also use a unique mechanism.

A unique mechanism is a part of your coaching program that stands out from other ways of doing things. For example, Dan Henry uses the Perfect Lead Magnet script to grow his email list, and he showcases how this works in a book that he advertises on Facebook.

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The Perfect Lead Magnet is a specific mechanism. Other people may also use lead magnets or books, but their mechanism doesn’t quite work similarly. And they’re not called the Perfect Lead Magnet.

Keep in mind that your unique mechanism doesn’t have to be 100% unique. Most of what we know was inspired by something – whether our childhood experiences, something we saw on TV one day, our education, or anything else.

But what makes it unique is how you deliver it. 

3. Choose the right advertising platform

Your chosen platforms for advertisement can make or break your strategy. Not all advertising channels yield equal results depending on your type of goals – some may be more effective depending on target demographics.

For example, you can choose to advertise on social media platforms… or you may want to go the pay-per-click (PPC) route with search advertising!

Social Media Examiner’s industry report for 2023 suggests Facebook as a leading platform for marketers, with Instagram gaining fast traction too. But if you believe your coaching business would benefit from another platform, don’t let that stop you!

While there’s no blanket answer for every coach, here is what I recommend for MOST coaches who are new at creating advertising strategies:

  1. Start on Facebook and/or Instagram ads – this is where you can start with the lowest budget
  2. Set up your retargeting code right away – I suggest checking out this video to see how to set up Google Tag Manager to manage all your pixels
  3. Once you’ve built up an audience of people who have seen your ads and you’re ready to scale, start retargeting people using other ad platforms!

Don’t feel obligated to add multiple platforms to your advertising strategy. But if you want to try, it’s a great way to start showing up everywhere online!

4. Map out your advertising funnel

Ads rarely work alone. To nurture your audience from cold strangers to hot buyers, you’ll need to map out a buyer’s journey – in other words, a sales funnel.

Figuring out your sales funnel as part of your advertising strategy will help you know which ads to launch and when. 

You’ll also know what advertising media to create.

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out what your first touchpoint will be. Do you want to test an ad that books people straight to your calendar? Or do you want to advertise a lead magnet or informative video?

You’ll also need to decide your end goal for this strategy. Are you trying to get more one-on-one coaching clients for your signature program? Or are you trying to fill out a coaching membership?

Finally, you can fill in the gaps in the middle. If people don’t take you up on your first offer, what will they see next? If they do, will they see another ad later?

Let’s put all of this into practice with an advertising strategy example.

For this example, I want more one-on-one coaching clients for my email marketing program. Here is what I would do:

Phase 1 (Facebook ads): Build brand awareness

  • Helpful video about email marketing #1 – $5 per day
  • Helpful video about email marketing #2 – $5 per day
  • Helpful video about email marketing #3 – $5 per day

I would remain in Phase 1 until I have at least 1,000 people who have watched 25% of at least one of the videos above. If a video doesn’t perform well, I would change it for a new one.

My goal would be to get 25% views for under a dollar. Anything more expensive, and I turn the ad off.

Phase 2 (Facebook ads): Attract interest

  • Lead magnet ad – $5 a day
  • Book a call ad – $10 a day

Now, I would start retargeting everyone who has watched my videos in Phase 1 towards a Lead Magnet ad and a Book a Call ad. If my budget were limited, I would decrease my video ads to $1-$2 daily instead of $5 each.

I would also target brand new (cold) audiences for Phase 2, in addition to the warm audiences. So now, people have three ways to meet my brand: videos, lead magnet ads, or book-a-call ads.

Phase 3: Retargeting

  • Testimonial ad – $2 a day
  • Video reminder to book a call – $2 a day

At this point, everyone who has seen one of my ads would get retargeted with a Book a Call ad. I would use testimonials of happy clients in one variation and a selfie video of myself telling them why they should book the call in the other.

Now, this is a very high-level view of an advertising strategy. But it gives you an idea of:

  • How people first come across the brand
  • What offers do they get, and when
  • How much to spend at what stages
  • When to move from one stage to another

Feel free to take this example of an advertising strategy and adjust it for your own coaching business!

Create a Winning Advertising Strategy and Scale Your Coaching Business

Using paid ads is already overwhelming. So do yourself a favor and plan ahead if you’re going to venture into these waters.

This is why I recommend advertising strategies for any coach who wants to try paid ads!Need help streamlining the admin side of your coaching business so you have time for your advertising strategy? With Paperbell, running a coaching business online has never been easier! Try it for yourself by claiming your free account.

advertising strategy

By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
November 24, 2023

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