The complete step-by-step guide
When I got my first coaching client, I had only 600 followers on Medium and a humble email list of 100 people.
I had many things to share from six-plus years working in tech startups. And so I wrote my heart out on Medium. I wrote article after article about how to start a business, find a co-founder, and be more productive as an entrepreneur. And before I knew it, a post I wrote about taking your business idea from thought to reality brought me my first coaching client.
The client needed help with creating a business plan, pitch deck for investors, and a solid go-to-market strategy. It was a perfect fit.
Now, two years later, my Medium blog has turned into a lead machine for my coaching business. In fact, I really only have two ways I acquire clients:
- Referrals from previous clients.
The reason why Medium works so well for getting coaching clients is because great content pre-sells your services by building trust and credibility.
I know countless Medium writers who have become coaches because their readers asked for it. The people that regularly read their content wanted to take the next step and so they reached out for private coaching.
But if you have a growing Medium blog, you don’t need to wait until people ask you to coach them! With a few simple steps, you can turn your blog into a thriving coaching business.
Here is how:
1. Find Your Niche
If you are regularly writing on Medium, chances are you already have some kind of niche. It’s the thing that most of your readers come to you for. It’s the thing that feels easiest to write about, even if you’ve done barely any research. And it’s the thing that your friends, readers, and colleagues come to you for advice.
Coaching is a lot like writing a good how-to article. It is about taking your audience from Point A to Point B. At Point A, the audience has a problem, challenge, or desire and at Point B that desire is fulfilled, the problem solved, the challenged overcome. You can think of your article as the bridge that takes your readers from Point A to Point B.
Here are some great examples:
- How To Walk Into Any Room With Confidence and Poise
- Three Common Bedtime Habits Destroying Your Sleep
- 8 Insider Tips to Help You Start Your Own Mastermind Group
All of the examples above are about helping the reader achieve a specific result: get more confident, sleep better, and start a mastermind group. That result is Point B and the article is the bridge that takes them there.
Now your niche is more than just one article. It’s the sum of your best ones. It’s what your readers know you for.
To define your niche, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- What can I help people with? What are my unique strengths, knowledge, and experience and how can I use them to help people achieve a certain result?
- Who can I help? Who do I love working with? Who benefits the most from my strengths, knowledge, and experience?
From there, you can create your one-phrase elevator coaching pitch:
“I help ___(the WHO)___(the WHAT: solve a problem or get a result).”
Here are some examples:
- I help small business owners save 20 hrs per week by helping them to optimize, automate, and outsource their work.
- I help fresh graduates find a career they love.
- I help startups find investors.
- I help writers make money on Medium.
To make sure your niche is actually going to be profitable, it is always a great idea to do some customer research (aka asking your audience about their actual problems and desires).
The most effective way to do this is to interview 10 to 15 people from your target group and do a 45–60 min qualitative interview with them. Simply send an email to your list or ask the people that comment on your articles.
Here are a few questions you should ask to get clear on how you can help your audience:
- What is their biggest challenge about your niche (e.g. productivity)? Get a detailed description of their problems and challenges!
- What have they tried to solve their problems?
- How is the problem negatively impacting their life and business (or what will happen if they don’t solve the problem)? What is the problem costing them?
- How does the problem make them feel?
- What alternatives are they looking at to solve their problem (e.g. reading books, joining an online course)?
- How do they imagine their life and business to be better after having the problem solved? How do they want to feel?
2. Create Your Coaching Package
Once you are clear on your target group, their problems, and the result you can help them achieve, it’s time to define exactly how you will help them get there.
Truly transformational coaching packages get your client from Point A (where their problems are) to Point B (where their desires are). Or in other words, great coaching packages are an effective bridge from A to B — just like your articles but even more effective!
Here are a few questions to help you define your coaching method and package:
- What is the best format to help my clients get from A to B (e.g. private calls, group calls, email coaching, etc.)?
- Which additional tools can I use to help them get to Point B (e.g. a training plan, worksheets, exercises, pre-recorded meditations, daily check-ins, unlimited email support, feedback on their work)?
- How long will it take to get my clients from A to B? And based on that, what is the best way to package my service (e.g. a VIP Coaching Day, a single session, a 4-session package, a 3-month program)?
3. Test Your Coaching Package & Methodology
Whenever you create a new coaching program, it’s imperative that you test whether it actually creates the results you are promising. That way, you will build confidence and get a chance to collect valuable testimonials before your program launch.
The easiest way to do this is to find two or three friends that fit into the target group and coach them for free. Another option is to email a selected part of your list and offer them a spot in your beta-run for a smaller fee or for free (you don’t want to ruin your program launch by emailing your entire list!). If you have done market research calls, you can also work with the people you interviewed.
What you should test for:
- the ideal pace and duration of the program
- the key elements that drive results
- the format that is best (1-on-1 calls, a group program, length of calls, etc.)
- your methods and tools
Experiment, adapt based on the feedback (remove the unnecessary parts, make parts more effective, and add what is missing) and then try again!
4. Build Your Sales Funnel
Once you are clear on what you can offer and that it actually works, it’s time to build your sales funnel so you can get coaching clients from Medium on auto-pilot.
Here is what my simple sales funnel looks like:
- Attract new people through high-quality and niche-relevant Medium articles.
- Engage Medium readers through an attractive freebie to get them on my email list. Engage them further by consistently sending out value to my subscribers.
- Convert e-mail subscribers to coaching leads by inviting them for a first free taster session.
- Close the deal in the taster session.
Let’s go through it step-by-step:
Step 1: Attract new people through high-quality and niche-relevant Medium articles
Since you are already writing on Medium, this step should be the easiest for you. But to make sure you are attracting relevant leads to your funnel, follow these tips:
- Create an ideal client avatar by asking yourself questions like: How old is my ideal client? What is their job? What do they worry about? What are their desires? If you’ve done market research calls, it should be easy for you to create your avatar.
- Whenever you are writing something, think of your avatar: What problem can I help my avatar with today? How can I write this article in a way that appeals to my avatar?
Think of your Medium articles as a way to get your readers closer to the bridge (which is your coaching program). What do they need to read to be ready to get a step closer to working with you? Can you write about what it is like at Point B? Can you write about the problems at Point A? Can you give them a hint about how to solve the problems at Point A?
For example, with my coaching business Refined Life, I help my clients achieve their goals with clarity, confidence, and focus. Thus, I wrote a lot of articles about productivity and mindset. One of them, How to Plan your Week the Right Way, was especially successful in getting my readers interested in working with me. I had several clients tell me in the sales call that they were looking for advice on how to organize themselves better and plan their week so they could achieve their goals — and that’s how they got interested in working with me and applied for a first free session.
Another example is my article Why You Need a Coach, Not a Mentor. This article alone got me over 15 new leads for my coaching business. The reason for this is that the article content is extremely close to the bridge. It gave people the final push they needed to take the decision to work with a coach (aka get on the bridge). And since I happened to have written the article, many of the readers reached out to me directly.
2. Engage Medium readers through an attractive freebie to get them on your email list
This step is extremely crucial in getting coaching clients from your Medium blog. I know too many successful writers on Medium who focus solely on the writing and fail to collect e-mail signups from their articles — don’t make that mistake! Because when you are smart about growing your email list and keeping your readers engaged by sending them your newest articles, you can eventually offer them your products and services. This can be your coaching programs but also courses, ebooks, etc.
The most effective way to get people on your list is to offer them an attractive freebie. This can be a short ebook, checklist, cheatsheet, email course, blueprint, etc. The key is to create something that is highly relevant for your audience and provides MORE value than your articles.
Once you’ve created your freebie, you can use these two strategies to get subscribers from your Medium posts:
Strategy 1: Include the Link to your Main Freebie in your Medium Bio.
Strategy 2: Include a CTA at the bottom of your articles. Here is an example:
As far as I know, Medium does not mind subtle CTA’s at the bottom of posts anymore, even if they are published in the MPP. However, make sure that they are subtle! Also, if you are submitting your posts to a publication, the editors might remove your CTA’s.
3. Convert e-mail subscribers to coaching leads by inviting them for a first free taster session
Once you have your readers on your email list, make sure to engage them further by consistently sending out more value. The easiest way to do this is to simply send out your latest blog posts.
After you’ve warmed up your list (don’t send them sales emails right away!), you can start pitching your services to your audience.
Here are two effective ways to do that:
Strategy 1: Mention your products and services at the bottom of each email. This way, your subscribers know what you offer but you are not constantly pitching them. It’s more like saying: When you are ready to buy, here are the links.
Strategy 2: Send out a stand-alone email pitching your coaching program and mentioning specifically who you are looking for and what kind of results clients can expect (basically, describe Point A, Point B, the target group, and the bridge). That way, you will get highly qualified leads.
The best way to sell your coaching services is with a free consultation. People want to talk to you and experience your coaching before they commit to anything! Also, you want to filter out people that aren’t a good fit.
When you are just starting out, I recommend taking any call that you can get because it’s an amazing chance to practice your coaching and sales skills. But as you grow your list and master your sales calls, it’s best to implement one more step before people can book a call: a client application. This is a simple form that interested people have to fill out before they can book a call with you. That way, you can weed out anyone who is not serious or not a good fit before wasting your time on the call
4. Close the deal in the taster session
The golden rule for the taster session is: Serve First! Don’t make the call all about selling. People want to experience your coaching and get a few breakthroughs in the first call. If you focus on serving them the best way you can, they will want to come back for more. To make sure you are serving them the best way you can but also do the necessary selling, work with a proven taster session script.
5. Analyze and Fine-Tune your Funnel
Setting up your funnel is one thing but turning it into a lead machine is another. Chances are your funnel won’t work right away and you need some data analysis and tweaking to make it successful.
Here is what you should track and analyze:
- How many new people you attract each month (Medium views)
- How many people click on your sign-up CTA’s (track with a tool like Bit.ly)
- How many new subscribers you get every month (track in your email tool)
- How many people open and click your pitch emails (track in your email tool)
- How many people apply for a coaching session
- How many people you close in the taster session
When you have the data, you know exactly at which funnel step you need to get better. This might be writing more, better and more relevant Medium articles, tweaking the copy on your freebie landing page and your pitching emails, improving your lead screening process, or improving your sales skills.
Start with improving the steps with the highest impact on the overall funnel: Don’t try to get more leads if you fail to close them — work on your sales skills first. And don’t bother working on your sales skills if you can’t get email subscribers. Analyze your funnel and focus on tweaking the steps with the highest impact first.
Many successful Medium writers have already used their blog to get coaching clients and so can you if you follow these steps:
- Find your niche by analyzing your strengths, skills, and knowledge as well as the problems and desires of your target group.
- Create your coaching package by finding the most effective way to get your clients from Point A (where their problems are) to Point B (where their desires are).
- Test your coaching program with friends or a selected group of beta testers from your email list.
- Build your sales funnel by writing relevant Medium articles, collecting signups with a freebie, and inviting email subscribers to a first free taster session with you.
- Consistently analyze your sales funnel data and keep tweaking each step until you’ve built a highly effective client lead machine out of your Medium blog.
Liz Huber is a Mindset & Productivity Coach and Founder of refinedlife.io. With her books, courses, and 1-on-1 work, she helps entrepreneurs overcome overwhelm, lack of focus, fear, and self-doubt. As a result, her clients are able to confidently achieve their goals by prioritizing what is truly important and streamlining everything else.