When you’re looking for new coaching clients, the various marketing strategies out there can be a little overwhelming.
What works and what doesn’t?
How to get coaching clients fast when you really need them?
What should you start working on now to reap the results over time?
We’ve gathered the most effective ways to get coaching clients below.
Most of these marketing tactics can be as time-intensive as you want them to be, so choose the ones that make the most sense for your coaching business and experiment with them.
However, one thing is not optional: you should make sure that you’re finding prospective life coaching clients organically.
How to Get Coaching Clients by Being Authentically You
Let’s start at the beginning. Before you start building your strategy to find paying clients, you need to refine your offer and know exactly who you’re serving and what they’re looking for.
Identify what sets you and your life coaching business apart
Yes, you need to find a niche as a life coach! There are so many reasons to find your coaching niche, but the bottom line is that it’s really hard to market your work and attract coaching clients without a niche.
For example: Imagine if you were to say to someone “I help people find clarity and abundance in their lives! Where should I market?” The answer would be “I have no idea.”
Because “people” is literally everyone on the planet, and “clarity and abundance in their lives” is vague. What does that even mean? It’s hard to see who you are trying to help and what you are helping them achieve, and if you can’t see your ideal clients or their goal, how are you going to find them?
But, on the other hand: if you were to say, “I help baby boomers build wealth and confidence so that they can have a great retirement,” ….which, by the way, includes helping them find clarity and abundance in their lives, you’ve just made it clear who you serve. That makes it easy to say: “Awesome! I know exactly who that is, and I can help you find places to meet these clients.”
Be prepared to flout the rules
In her book: Founders, Freelancers & Rebels, Helen Jane Campbell features inspiring founders who have questioned convention and created their own versions of doing business.
Whether it’s Rich Leigh, who runs his thriving PR business on a 4-day working week across the company, or successful working mum and founder Fiona Chow, who took her young son on an overseas business trip to meet her ideal clients. Flying in the face of convention is an asset, not something to brush under the rug. If you go against the rule book, you’ll be much more likely to attract the coaching clients you deserve.
Take time to think creatively
Using all of your senses – not just words on a page – think about how you might wish to use sound, touch, taste, and smell in your work. Whether you choose to take your coaching outdoors, appear as a podcast guest, or send your clients a thoughtful gift from time to time…use your senses to wake up your business and delight your ideal customer with your approach to your messaging, too.
Embrace your diversity, and your clients’ diversity too
Being vulnerable requires coaches to create a really trusting and boundaried coaching container. But the more authentic you are in your attempts to attract new clients, the more likely the right people will connect with you. They will see you as honest, genuine, and trustworthy.
Keep your squad tight
When you are marketing yourself and building your business, having the support of others is so important, but trying to keep up with a huge group of people can be exhausting and may leave you feeling as if you’re not really keeping up with anyone. Being authentically you might involve saying no to some offers and forging stronger connections with those closest to you and those who resonate most with your brand and messaging.
When you choose to make your authenticity your USP, it’s not about splurging every single secret thing about yourself and unresolved trauma on the page and expecting clients to come rolling in. Nope.
It’s not a strategy, and it doesn’t keep you safe or do your brand any good, either. Instead, it’s about very gradually peeling away the layers when you are ready to reveal your true self in areas which you are comfortable about and confident speaking on.
You’re letting people in, allowing them to walk around in your world a bit more… opening up the conversation and dialogue. You are very interesting as you are. And when you talk and write about what you love, you will light people up, and you, yourself, will light up too.
15 Ways to find coaching clients organically
Finding coaching clients organically means that you’re not directly paying for them. You’re not paying for an ad that is shown to potential clients on social media or Google, but instead, you’re employing different online and offline strategies to make new clients come to you.
When done right, an organic marketing strategy builds your credibility as a coach, gets you in front of potential clients and keeps bringing in leads. Even when you stop working on a certain strategy. It’s what allows you to be free from having to spend money on advertising to generate an income.
Sound good? Let’s get started with growing your coaching business!
1. Optimize your site to rank
There is a reason businesses, small and large, have a blog. If you want to find coaching clients online, you will need a dedicated website for your brand. Your website is your Internet real estate, and you can use it to market your signature offer, which is central to your business message. Writing blog articles is the perfect tool to showcase your expertise, give people a feel for your personality, and draw in new leads.
However, the latter can only happen when people actually find your coaching services website when browsing search engines. That means you need to create content strategically. If you’ve been blogging for a while but are not generating a lot of organic traffic, you probably haven’t given much thought to what you write about and how. You want to attract life coaching clients with blog posts that educate, inspire, and answer all the questions they’re asking Google.
Your website should have a blog that is updated often, so you can get found online. Google loves fresh content ideas! Do not just post your articles to your own website. Take your top-performing posts, turn them into longer articles, pitch them to the media, make them into video content for your social channels. You can also use video editing tools to repurpose long videos and turn them into reels and shorts.
Show off your expertise and how it’s helped you build your coaching business. Repurpose existing content so you can get the most out of your work every time you write a new post.
Take the time to learn about SEO and content marketing to make sure your target audience finds your content on the first page of Google. Here are some good resources to look into:
- Backlinko’s Complete SEO Beginner’s Guide
- This Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz
- These Effective SEO Strategies to Optimize Your Coaching Business Blog
If you’re not blogging yet, today is the day to get started. Content marketing doesn’t return results overnight. It takes a while for articles to rank well in Google, and usually, the newer the website, the longer it takes.
2. Build your email list and promote your offer
Getting clients as a life coach is easier when you build an email list! When you read about online marketing, you regularly come across the phrase, “The money is in the list.” While you can’t control platforms like Facebook or what other website owners may do with the content you write for them, your email list is yours, so it’s worth it to invest in your email marketing.
Sure, you can use it to simply send newsletter updates to your subscribers, but it’s also a great channel to get your first paying coaching clients. After all, people who’ve given you their email address and have been following you for a while will be more likely to buy from you than from a stranger.
You should have an opt-in page on your website, so you can collect leads and create a waiting list for your offers. Your audience is unique, and if you want to attract quality leads, you need to know what your customers want from you.
If you don’t feel comfortable pushing your coaching services to your list, try setting up discovery calls instead. You can start by adding a quick call to action as a P.S. Here is an example phrase you can use and adapt:
“Wondering how this advice can help you achieve x? Book a free consultation today to discuss how I can help you.”
Link that to a page where your subscribers can book a discovery call with you, and you’ve incorporated your offer in an elegant way. Later, you can try sending more offer-centric sales emails about your current coaching program.
Getting people on your email list also offers an opportunity to get to know them. Once they’ve given you their email address, send them a welcome email asking them about their biggest struggle right now. Make a note of the things that come up, and reply to each response you get to keep the conversation going and potentially present them with your coaching offer.
Sharing valuable content with your subscribers that helps them in their day to day lives, will help you build trust with them.
You can also outsource this whole list building business to an email marketing agency that will help you with strategy and actually writing the copy.
3. Guest post on relevant sites
An efficient way to get in front of your ideal coaching clients and attract those potential clients to your website is by guest posting on blogs that cater to that same audience. That could be another coaching website, but it could also be a blog related to the services you offer.
Are you a lifestyle coach? Then you may want to write a post for productivity and financial blogs. Are you a fitness coach? Then you could pitch health and wellness publications. The more relevant the blogs you write for, the better.
If you’ve done a lot of guest posting already or if you’re having trouble getting your guest posts accepted, you can approach websites outside of your niche by giving a little twist to your article ideas.
A health coach could pitch a travel blog a post on how to maintain your weight while traveling, while a personal finance coach could pitch the same site a post on how to successfully save for a big trip.
The great thing about guest blog writing is that they keep on giving. A post published yesterday can still send you clients five years from now.
You’ll have the best chances of getting clients from blog posts on other people’s blogs if you post on blogs that target your ideal audience. However, you may also want to write for bigger and maybe less related blogs for the purpose of link-building and increasing the authority of your own website. Make blogging part of your marketing strategy!
4. Go on a podcast or host your own podcast show
If you prefer speaking over writing, getting interviewed on podcasts is a great way to get your name out there. Just like with guest blogging, you can start by targeting podcasts of other successful coaches and those in niches that are closely related to the services your business offers before casting your net a little wider.
While appearing on other podcasts puts you in front of different audiences, launching your own podcast show has its benefits as well:
- It allows you to build your own audience.
- It helps you establish yourself as an expert and showcase your coaching business.
- It offers the opportunity to invite and talk to big influencers in your niche, which elevates your credibility and potentially gives you access to their audience if they decide to promote the episode.
- It gives potential clients a feel for how you communicate.
Don’t forget to ask your host to link to your channels in their show notes and shout out during the show where they can find your online coaching business. Getting new followers this way is invaluable to growing your audience and attracting paying clients.
5. Establish yourself as a coach on social media
You don’t need to use every big social media platform, but you do want to make sure you secure your handles and fill out your profiles on all of them so people are guided to your website or email list should they find you there.
Share links on your social channels to free content or lead magnets you’ve created for your followers.
Use your channels to create a poll or online survey and provide an incentive for them to participate. Then, give them the educational resources they have asked for in exchange for subscribing to your emails.
For example, if they want an influence-building cheat sheet, create one for them as an email opt-in. This will give them a glimpse at your knowledge on a particular topic and allow you to sell your products or services to an interested audience. Mindful content creation on social media will help you attract the potential clients you want.
You could also hold an educational webinar or Instagram live to help you shareyour expertise with participants and start building a relationship with them. Hold the webinar live so you can give your audience the opportunity to ask questions and then make the replay available as an opt-in.
If you know your audience is on Facebook, for example, you’ll want to experiment with posting updates and advice on a Facebook page and growing a following there. However, this has gotten harder over the last few years as Facebook has been limiting organic reach for pages.
An easier way to engage with your audience on Facebook is to provide value where it’s already hanging out…
6. Provide value in Facebook groups
There are Facebook groups for just about every topic, so look for groups your customers are participating in, and set some time aside every day to answer questions and share valuable tips. The goal is to get a conversation going that makes it natural for someone to reach out to you privately or for you to suggest they can private message you if they want more help.
Make sure to only choose around 3 groups to interact in. There will probably be more that seem interesting, but you’ll never be able to provide a ton of value and get your day-to-day work done if you spread your time over 10 different groups.
If one Facebook group doesn’t get you any returns, you can still move on to another. Just realize that it takes time to build a reputation.
Lastly, you can also start your own Facebook group. It will take more time and effort than engaging in other Facebook groups, but it could become a great place to get insights into what your potential clients are struggling with and to test new coaching packages.
7. Dust off that Twitter account
Twitter may not come to mind as the platform to market your coaching services on, but if your ideal clients are entrepreneurs, techies, or maybe even journalists, it’s a great place to be. Because of the way Twitter works, it’s also much easier to connect with someone one-on-one by replying to a tweet of theirs than it is in a Facebook group.
Figure out if your ideal clients are on there, and if they are, set some time aside every week to interact with them there and share updates about your business.
8. Create Linkedin connections
If you are a business coach, Linkedin is the place to be. Leverage your business network! Not only can you showcase your expertise by sharing updates and tips, but you can also send connection requests directly to people who could make great business coaching clients.
Ask them what they’re working on, share useful content with them, and inquire about their struggles. Once you’ve built up a relationship with them, you can ask them to hop on a call to discuss how you can help them be a better version of themselves.
When a client tells you they are happy with your services, ask them to introduce you to selected potential clients on LinkedIn, and grow your network there. It’s a great platform for client acquisition after all.
Don’t forget to ask previous clients to write you a referral on Linkedin; this will give you social proof and help you generate referrals and attract more potential clients.
9. Be active on Quora
Quora can be a little overwhelming if you’ve never used it before because people ask questions about literally anything on there. However, with 300 million active monthly users, it’s a platform to look into.
The best way to figure out whether your target customers use Quora is to follow the topics those customers are interested in, have a look at their profiles, and see what kind of questions they ask.
If you offer productivity coaching for entrepreneurs, you’ll want to follow topics like “productivity” and “entrepreneurship”.
Once you’ve established that your potential clients are on Quora, make it a point to answer their questions as thoroughly as possible. If you’ve written a related blog post, make sure to add a link to it as well. Not only will you build your Quora reputation, but you’ll also get people curious enough to check out your profile and – if all goes well – reach out to you.
Two big benefits of Quora are:
- Quora answers rank in Google, so people who are actively searching for the help you can offer them can find you through your answers.
- Just like guest posts, Quora answers can be found and read years after they’ve been posted, so you never know when someone will reach out because they read your in-depth reply on the site.
10. Engage on Reddit
In May 2023, Reddit had 57 million daily users. That’s a lot.
Just like Quora has topics and spaces you can follow, Reddit has subreddits (like mini forums or topic categories) you can join. The big difference with Quora is that on Reddit, self-promotion is frowned upon, and if you start sharing links with every question you answer, your answers will get downvoted, and you’ll get banned pretty fast.
Instead, genuinely provide value and start building relationships, so you can tell people about your coaching business when the time is right.
11. Attend networking events
Networking events are often thought of as this sleazy way of rubbing shoulders to later get things done from people, but really what you’re doing is creating connections, growing your personal network, and finding your people. There is no better way to get to know your potential customers than by talking to them face-to-face.
Don’t make the mistake of staying in your own bubble and only attending events for and by coaches. While these can lead to valuable relationships, you’ll meet more new people and get more business from going where your target audience is.
General networking groups can be great, too, as a new connection may not be an ideal coaching client, but someone they know could be.
People more quickly buy from those they know, like, and trust, so make sure you get your name out there in a positive way, let your presence be noticed, and nourish the relationships you build. To build that, share your contact details with potential customers you meet at the event. A digital business card with two way contact sharing features can help you in this effort. Create one using the best virtual card software.
12. Get on stage (or screen)
When we see someone speak on stage, we automatically assume they’re ahead of us. But here’s the thing: we all know something someone else doesn’t. To an aspiring life coach, a coach with two years of experience is an expert.
No matter where you are in your coaching journey, you have unique experiences and skills that you can pass on to others. Getting on stage is not about knowing all there is to know but about sharing what you do know about life coaching.
Apply to be a guest speaker at recognized conferences, reach out to the organizers of virtual summits, and organize your own events. You don’t need to do anything big. Start with a workshop at your local coworking space or collaborate with a local business to give a talk about something their customers might be interested in. Your local Chamber of Commerce is another good place to reach out to.
When you’ve built a solid reputation, speaking can even be one of the ways to get paid for your coaching expertise, alongside working directly with clients.
13. Ask your friends and family
You’d be surprised at how many people within your existing network could be interested in your services. Even when they’re not the best fit as customers, they already know, like, and trust you, so they’re more likely to accept your help and become your biggest supporters.
And if nobody in your existing network seems to be needing your services, you can always tell them what kind of coaching you do and what kind of clients you’re looking for so they can drop your name and refer clients to you. You never know, they could become some of your first coaching clients.
Don’t just stick to friends and family, either. Make a list of all your acquaintances and even connections you have from previous careers that you could reach out to.
14. Actively ask clients for referrals
Aside from friends and family, there is another group of people that will be happy to help you grow: your satisfied clients. If you’ve already worked with your first coaching clients, ask them to give you feedback.
It’s super easy to ask your existing client for a referral, yet so many coaches leave this tactic on the table because they’re not sure how to go about it.
Here are some good moments to ask existing clients whether they know someone who could also benefit from your coaching:
- When they’ve paid their invoice, send them an email to confirm receipt, thank them again for working with you, and pop the question.
- When they let you know they’ve achieved results.
- When you follow up with them after you’ve stopped working together, to see how they’re doing.
If you keep forgetting to ask for referrals, make it a part of your offboarding process or set a calendar reminder for yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of generating referrals.
15. Have a clear brand and service/market fit
You don’t just want to get new clients; you want to get the right kind of clients. That’s where branding comes in. When done right, your branding is what makes the right client go, “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for,” while turning the wrong client away.
It entails everything from your website design to the tone of voice you write in, your content strategy, the type of content you share, and the way you set your prices. It’s what sets you apart from others in the eyes of your coaching client.
If you offer life coaching for high-level executives, your messaging should be different than when you’re targeting new moms, and it should be consistent across all your channels.
If you are coaching clients online, consider seeking expert advice on mobile app UX to ensure it meets your client’s needs. User experience plays a critical role in online coaching success.
Get super clear about who you’re targeting and what you have to offer them so potential coaching clients learn to recognize what you stand for no matter where they find you.
3 Ways to attract life coaching clients with paid marketing strategies
16. Launch an affiliate program
Running an affiliate program is a soft way of doing paid marketing. You’re not paying anything upfront, but instead, you pay a commission to those who send you new coaching clients.
It’s a strategy that works particularly well if you have a program people can sign up for directly on your website, as there is no doubt whether a lead has turned into a client or not.
While the people promoting your coaching business as affiliates will likely be the same people you can write blog content for, they’ll be more motivated to promote your services when they know they’ll get compensated for sending you coaching clients.
With PPC or pay-per-click advertising, you run ads for your coaching business based on a target audience and/or keyword that you only pay for when someone clicks the ad.
One clear example is the ads you often see at the top of Google’s search results.
If you know your clients are searching for your services, but your site isn’t quite strong enough yet to rank on the first page of Google, paying for an ad like that may be a good solution. Not only does it create visibility for your brand, but you can also design the ad in such a way that only the right type of clients will click it.
You can also use Google Adwords to run PPC ads to appear on websites where your next coaching client may be hanging out, or you can go directly through an ad network such as Mediavine or Adthrive.
18. Facebook ads
When you know your audience is on Facebook, running social media ads might be more effective than running more general PPC ads.
Facebook gives you very specific targeting options for your ads and also makes it possible to create lookalike audiences based on your email list. On top of that, you can retarget people who’ve already visited your website (and thus know about you) on Facebook.
Then there are the types of ads you can run on Facebook:
- poll ads
- lead ads
- story ads
- video ads
- image ads
- carousel ads
- playable ads
- dynamic ads
- collection ads
- video poll ads
- slideshow ads
- messenger ads
- instant experience ads
And we haven’t even mentioned the various goals you can choose for your ads.
This multitude of options means you’ll need to do a lot of testing and tweaking to get your money’s worth, especially if you don’t use social media much to run ads.
19. Use PR strategies
When you are first getting started with a publicity strategy, start small by creating a list of your top 12 media outlets, and do not worry about creating a massive list.
Take the time to identify who you want to pitch to, and go after the press that you really want to have for your brand. Ignore anything that is not relevant, and focus on the media outlets your ideal customers are reading.
When you have a newsworthy milestone in your coaching business, send out a press release. Press releases are great for search engine optimization, and you can use the press release for new content on your website and social media channels.
A word of caution about getting more clients through paid strategies
While paid forms of promotion can work well to get your first coaching clients, they can also be a huge money suck. If you’re not experienced in running Facebook ads or don’t know what to look for when deciding to place a sponsored blog post somewhere, it’s easy to get burned.
On top of that, there are plenty of agencies who’ll gladly take your money without delivering much of a result.
Use social media paid options with caution! If you decide to do your own paid marketing for your coaching practice, thoroughly research the best ways to go about it before linking your credit card to something.
If you opt to outsource your paid marketing, try to find someone who comes recommended by people you trust, has a proven track record, and can clearly explain what they’ll be doing, how they’ll be tracking results, and what their pricing structure looks like.
It’s also a good idea to research how paid marketing has worked for other coaches or businesses within your industry, so you have an idea of the success rate you can expect.
Lastly, be crystal clear about the action you want people to take once they’ve clicked your ad, whether that’s to sign up for your email list, book a discovery call, or buy your new course.
Nurture your current coaching clients
This post on how to find life coaching clients wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that it’s almost always easier to maintain current clients than it is to get new ones.
The excitement of signing up a new coaching client can be thrilling, but if you’re in this business for the right reasons, the true excitement will come from helping your clients achieve the results they’re looking for.
Always give them your best, overdeliver when it makes sense, and never let your hunt for new clients interfere with nurturing your current ones.
It may not be the case that you need to sign up more coaching clients, but rather nurture and upsell to the clients you already have.
Wrapping up: whatever you do, test and be consistent
There is no need to try all of these marketing strategies to get clients. Figure out where your strengths lie and start with one or two tactics that are a good fit for you and your coaching business. Be consistent with them, track your results, and change what isn’t working.
If you’re quite analytical, dive into SEO and content marketing. If you already have a big list, try to improve your email marketing. And if you’re great at giving quick tips, engage in social media groups and on forums.
It will take some trial and error, but when done right, you’ll walk away with a process that will continue to bring in clients for your life coaching business.
So please know that it’s a numbers game that you have to keep playing. You need to market and sell to a lot of people, to get just *some* of them to say yes!
So don’t give up. Instead reflect, what’s been working? What’s not working? Where do you have more to learn? How will you learn it?
Every single successful coach started out with zero clients, and then got more over time. So give yourself time, you can do this!
Do you have any tips for how to get coaching clients that we missed? Let us know in the comments.