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Building an Impactful Coaching Business with Funnel Marketing

Last updated on January 28, 2024

For many, including myself, starting a coaching career often marks a pivotal transition from a growth-centered mindset to one focused on building others up. As a young, obsessed wrestler, I was fortunate to have exceptional coaches guide me through my growth phase. 

As I’ve gotten older and started a family, I’ve found that my zeal as the impassioned dad coaching from the sidelines surpasses even the fulfillment I once received from wrestling. Why? Coaching represents a new phase in our lives, an avenue to channel our hard-won skills and empower others, helping them through their respective journeys.

Many professionals enter the coaching industry with a mountain of expertise and a passion for helping others. However, while plenty of resources will prepare coaches to share their knowledge in the most precise and engaging way, there’s not a lot of help for what comes after that. How do you turn all the blood, sweat and tears into a successful business? 

Even though a strong online presence is crucial for drumming up a customer base, relying solely on networking, referrals or a static website can result in stagnation in a world increasingly dominated by online interactions. When over 4 million new businesses spring up each year, all fighting over a limited audience, success in the digital landscape can seem impossible. 

What is the key to business growth in the highly competitive life coaching market? Let me introduce you to funnel marketing — an innovative approach to lead generation and conversion that could be a game-changer for your coaching practice.

Traditional Online Marketing vs. Funnel Marketing

Traditional online marketing methods include social media advertising, email marketing and search engine optimization. While these are valuable tools, they often require considerable time and financial investment for optimal results.

Networking and referrals have always been popular ways to gain new customers, but they have limitations. Relying solely on these methods can eventually lead to issues, as they require the involvement of others to grow your business. Additionally, referrals only sometimes target your ideal customers, as anyone can refer anyone else, regardless of whether they are genuinely interested in or need your services.

Having a website for people to visit is like a digital business card providing essential information about you and your services. However, static websites cannot engage visitors dynamically and quickly become outdated and less relevant to potential customers without regular updates or interactive features.

Funnel marketing, however, is a different beast altogether. The tactic takes the concept of a sales funnel — a series of steps designed to guide visitors toward a buying decision — and applies it directly to your online marketing strategy. With funnel marketing, you can automate the customer acquisition process and scale your coaching business more efficiently.

What is a Funnel? And How is it a Game-Changer for My Coaching Business?

A marketing funnel is a step-by-step process that allows you to bring your potential customer one step closer to your offer and a buying decision through a series of marketing actions. These actions might include videos, articles or even webinars.

In a well-structured funnel, each stage is designed to solve a particular problem or answer a specific question relevant to your prospective customer. Unlike a one-size-fits-all static website or generic social media ad, a funnel is personalized and targeted.

Funnels can be particularly effective in segmenting your audience, which is crucial in a field as personal as coaching. By providing a customized experience, funnels help convert interested individuals from leads to customers and into repeat customers. Once set up, funnels can be incredibly cost-effective because you’re targeting a more engaged audience, making the return on investment much higher than traditional marketing methods.

An often overlooked aspect of funnel marketing is the psychological journey it takes a prospective customer through. Understanding the thought process behind consumer choices can give you a considerable edge. Leveraging concepts like cognitive dissonance, where a potential customer’s existing beliefs are challenged, can guide them toward your services. Reciprocity is triggered when you offer something of value for free — like a webinar or a white paper — and makes the prospect more likely to engage further, moving them down the funnel toward paid offerings.

For example, let’s say you’re aiming your coaching services at executives — your funnel could start with a LinkedIn post about effective leadership strategies, followed by an invitation to an executive breakfast seminar. By knowing your audience’s needs, pain points and preferences, you can tailor your funnel content more easily.

But how do you know whether your funnel is working?

How to Measure Your Funnel’s Effectiveness

The answer lies in analytics. From tracking how many people clicked on your initial post to analyzing the demographics of the prospects who moved through to the end of the funnel, data is crucial. This information isn’t just numbers —  it provides actionable insights, such as a drop-off at a particular stage, so you know where to focus your attention for improvements.

Even a well-thought-out funnel will likely have room for improvement. A/B testing allows you to make data-driven decisions about what works best for your audience. By presenting two slightly different versions of a landing page, email or other components and measuring engagement, you can continuously refine your funnel for maximum efficacy. 

Still not convinced about the power of funnel marketing? Check out Brooke Castillo and Toni Barnett’s stories below, customers of ClickFunnels who used the platform to scale their business operations.

Case Study: Brooke Castillo 

Brooke Castillo - Best Life Coaches

Brooke Castillo, a world-renowned life coach, entrepreneur, and founder of The Life Coach School, found exponential business growth thanks to a recommendation from her coach, Frank Kern, to explore ClickFunnels. Embracing the philosophy that spending is crucial for growth, she leveraged the platform to ensure that each dollar spent contributed to her business’s development, avoiding debt and maximizing ROI.

Castillo’s strategy revolved around constant testing to identify and scale the most effective methods. While other popular sites presented a steeper learning curve, ClickFunnels offered a more streamlined approach to building and measuring funnel effectiveness, allowing her to experiment with different elements of her marketing campaigns, such as page layouts, offers and email content. 

Starting with modest ad investments, she quickly climbed to spending hundreds of thousands monthly, yielding substantial returns. The real-time feedback from the ClickFunnels platform enabled her to swiftly identify and amplify what worked, enhancing campaign effectiveness and skyrocketing her business revenue from 5 million to 17 million in just one year.

Case Study: Toni Barnett

Toni Barnett has over a decade of experience as a certified life coach and Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner, specializing in helping people over the age of 50 embrace the next stage of their lives. While Barnett’s one-on-one approach to coaching brought her great success, she realized she could reach more people by offering group coaching sessions online. Having never coached online before, Barnett lacked the technical skills and expertise to build an online business, so she searched online for resources and discovered ClickFunnels.

Barnett’s journey with ClickFunnels began after she graduated from the company’s Certified Funnel Builder program, where she mastered the skill of funnel building and could finally move her life coaching business online. Not only did Barnett expand her practice, she unlocked a new area of the industry, helping her clients start their own online businesses. ClickFunnels helped Barnett and her clients bridge the technology gap that often prevents entrepreneurs over 50 from reinventing their careers. 

Only a year after completing the Certified Funnel Builder program, Barnett is poised to present her first webinar in a Facebook group she established, Thrive Beyond Fifty Collective, through a funnel she built herself. ClickFunnels helped Barnett transform her business, her life and the lives of her clients, proving that you’re never too old to learn a new skill, embrace technology or pursue new passions. 

Leveraging Funnel Marketing for Success

Funnels offer coaches an excellent opportunity to grow their businesses in a scalable, targeted and efficient way. Beyond referrals and the constraints of conventional marketing, funnels unlock a data-driven approach that scales with your vision and holds the potential for a much higher ROI than traditional methods. Utilizing funnel analytics and optimization techniques like A/B testing, you can hone your strategy to meet the specific needs of your audience.

By combining your expertise as a coach with the mechanics of a well-built funnel, you’re not just setting yourself up for short-term gains — you’re building a sustainable business for the long term. So, if you’re committed to making a lasting impact in your coaching career, adopting funnel marketing is not just an option — it’s an imperative.

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Russell Brunson - Clickfunnels founder
Russell Brunson

Over the past 19 years, Russell has built a following of over a million entrepreneurs and become a New York Times best-selling author through selling hundreds of thousands of copies of his books. He popularized the concept of sales funnels and co-founded a software company called ClickFunnels that helps tens of thousands of entrepreneurs quickly get their message out to the marketplace.

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