Guest Blogger: Pamela Wilson
One coach is pretty much like the other, right?
I mean, it doesn’t really matter which coach I work with. I can expect the same results, no matter who I talk to. You’ve seen one coach, you’ve seen them all!
If these statements are uncomfortable to read, it’s because you know how untrue they are.
Unfortunately, many of your potential customers think this way, and it’s your job to distinguish what your coaching offers in their minds. How can you do this?
Branding isn’t just for corporations or consumer products. Branding helps establish your unique offer in the minds of your prospects. Branding is for everyone.
“But I Can’t Afford to Hire a Branding Expert!”
Branding your business doesn’t have to be expensive. There are some simple things you can do, and for most of them, you don’t need to hire outside help.
Your branding efforts should start with one important exercise: you must understand who your ideal customer is. Ask yourself:
1. What type of person do I enjoy working with?
2. Who can I get the best results for?
3. What type of customer is the most profitable for my business?
Read more about understanding your ideal customer, or target market, here.
Once you have a clear picture of who you’re trying to attract with your brand, you can make decisions about how to present your coaching offer using the powerful combination of a carefully-developed verbal and visual brand.
Your Words Attract or Repel: Use Them Carefully
What do you call your business, and how do you speak about what you offer? It all starts with your business name and tagline, which form crucial first impressions. Your tagline sets the tone, so craft it carefully. Use this short sentence to let prospects know who you enjoy working with, and what you do for them. Your copy writing style is another way to help your prospects understand your offerings. Be sure to use similar words to describe your coaching services as they use to describe their problems. For example:
If your perfect customer says: “I know I can be more than I currently am if I just discover what I’m best at.”
Your copy could say: “My coaching will help you to reach your full potential by uncovering what you can be the best at.”
If your perfect customer says: “I work too many hours and have no balance in my life. I want to live a life with meaning, and fulfill my dreams both at work and with my family.”
Your copy could say: “Working with me will help you fulfill your dreams of a balanced work and family life.”
Listen carefully to how your perfect customers speak about their frustrations and challenges: they’ll demonstrate the exact words to use to build your verbal brand.
Appearances Count: Your Visual Brand
You can establish your visual brand by making some targeted decisions very carefully, and then applying them consistently over time. It starts with your logo or business identity. These days, the most prominent place your business name is displayed might be at the top of your website.
To save money, talk to a designer about developing a “multi-purpose image” that can be used as your website header and repurposed in your email template and on your business cards. Let them know ahead of time all the places you plan to use the image so they can resize accordingly.
As you develop your visual brand, use the power of color to communicate it. Pick two main colors to represent your business, and apply them consistently in everything you do. Follow the lead of major corporations who use a reduced color palette to convey their brand.
Another great way to communicate your brand visually is through the use of fonts. Fonts add personality to your words, and choosing them carefully will round out your visual brand. Choose formal, classic serif fonts (the kind with little “feet”) if that’s the personality you’d like to convey. Use streamlined, modern sans-serif fonts (the kind with no “feet”) if you’d like a more contemporary brand.
Branding in Baby Steps
You know your coaching is different than anyone else’s, and so do I. But do your prospects?
Take baby steps this year toward establishing your coaching brand with the techniques outlined here. Use your verbal and visual brands together to help your prospects understand your unique offer. You’ll attract those perfect customers you’re looking for, and end the year with a stronger, better business.
Pamela Wilson owns the Big Brand System, a site devoted to helping small businesses grow through strategic marketing and great design. Learn more about branding your coaching business with her free Marketing Toolkit.