The online coaching industry is worth more than $15 billion and is estimated to reach more than $20 billion by 2022. Executive coaching alone garners around $1 billion! With wide-ranging opportunities to choose from and the chance to corner a prime share in this profitable coaching pie, there has been an impressive upsurge in the number of professionals offering niche coaching services.
So, if you already are a coach or have a coaching business, how do you stand out and succeed (and not just survive) in the crowd of newcomers as well as established competitors and take your online business coaching program to the next level?
Here are 7 quick-to-scale online coaching business ideas that will help you reach out to a larger audience, acquire more clients, and finally scale coaching business and grow your revenue.
1. Identify the coaching model that suits you the most
Coaching can be immensely fulfilling work for you, but it probably is also your career and medium that helps you pay your bills. If this is your main source of income, you also need to look at it from a business angle and make your decisions that will maximize your revenue in the long term.
So, when you start out on building a coaching practice, getting your coaching model right is important for your business growth. For this you need to decide what type of coaching service you want to provide after weighing in their pros and cons.
Individual coaching – The great thing about individual coaching is that it involves direct interactions with the client, a customised roadmap that charts out clear processes & goals that are specific for the client, and enables the coach to charge a premium amount for one-on-one time. Where this model of coaching limits is in the capacity of clientele volume (as one can take only one client at a time) for the amount of time that you invest.
With technology at your fingertips, you can choose from a number of digital coaching software that provides a single platform to impart one-on-one online coaching sessions.
Group coaching – Group coaching can also be a beneficial coaching model, one that delivers good ROI against the time and resources you invest, as you can offer your services to a larger number of clients in the same duration.
As with individual coaching, for group coaching you can choose an integrated, user-friendly online coaching management platform that gives your clients the full coaching experience, with added resources and innovative tools such as customized e-courses, audio/visuals, tracking & reporting, assessments, etc.
Executive coaching – One of the most popular coaching segments in the market, executive or corporate coaching is where you provide customized coaching services to an organization’s employees, which can range from C-suite executives to junior level employees. Executive coaching can be in-person, on the company premises, or as online sessions with a set duration. In such an arrangement, the coaching fees are paid for by the organization for coaching their employees.
Mixed coaching – In addition to online coaching packages, you can also add in productized service – which is essentially an added feature that complements your existing business model. Packaged or productized services are off-the-shelf products that have set parameters and pricing and can be used by multiple clients with very minor modifications.
Productized services not only deliver added value to your clients but also help your business run independently of your presence. For example, as an executive coach you can offer a pre-recorded leadership development strategy session for a group of 10 executives at an attractive price with multiple timing options, wherein interested clients can book slots at their convenience and join.
By doing so, you can scale your coaching service, without it taking away your time and while still providing immense value.
2. Highlight your unique offerings
As you may already know, the online coaching industry is chock-a-block with professional (and some not so professional as well) coaches, and they are all jousting to create their own space. So, what do you bring to the table that will distinguish you from your competitors? An important online business coaching idea that you must incorporate is to make sure you have something unique to offer your clients; you can’t give them the same old coaching services that are easily available on the market.
You are the face of your business, so only you know what makes your online coaching business model special. Emphasize your credentials and testimonials which will convey transparency and trustworthiness.
You can include a short write up, or even a video, describing your coaching approach and how you connect with your customers with real-time client feedback.
If you have expertise in problem solving, focus on one area where you can offer a solution better than others. For instance, mention how you facilitating a group problem-solving session for executives helped them share their understanding of the multi-dimensional business problem, differing perspectives, aided creative, out-of-the-box thinking and arrived at an acceptable logical conclusion.
Highlight some of your success stories – for instance, an executive leadership coaching program that you may have conducted for the senior management of a company that gave transformative results. Support those claims with solid figures and statistics. Or a novel team building exercise that you conducted for employees of an organization that fostered a sense of bonding and uplifted morale, resulting in improved productivity.
3. Create a coaching schedule & stick to it
Now that you have identified your coaching model and your USP (unique selling point), the next online business coaching idea that you need to scale your business is having a structured coaching schedule. After all, coaching is much more than the time you spend coaching your clients. Discipline in thought, process & execution, is vital to any success.
First, identify your business goal. For example, are you looking at short-term goals (the next month) or long-term goals (say the next five years)?
Then focus on the area that you are looking to scale your business – establishing online brand identity, increasing client volume, higher revenue generation, larger market reach, controlling expenses, etc.
Once you have definitive answers to the above questions, classify tasks by priority and allot time slots accordingly to accomplish them. Assign weekly time to important tasks (updating your e-course materials, replying to clients via email/chats, managing your social media, etc.), whereas the lesser tasks can be taken up on a monthly basis.
Using technology such as Google calendar, instead of a manual worksheet, to create your coaching schedule, will save you time and avoid mismanagement.
4. Reduce manual tasks; switch to an all-in-one online coaching management software
How effective your online coaching platform is, will be an important factor that plays a major role in how successful you are in building an online coaching business and scaling the same. You are already aware of your individual/business coaching requirements and its challenges, so choose a coaching software that will reduce your manual tasks affords you time to concentrate on actual coaching, widens your market reach, helps increase your client volume and ultimately contributes to definitive business growth without compromising on the quality of coaching.
Your online coaching management software should ideally offer multiple features such as administrative tools (online admission/registration, payments etc.), content & finance management, regular monitoring, analysis & reporting, data security, dedicated client support (inquiry, landing pages for questionnaires which help with lead generation, automated emails, etc) and more under a single integrated platform.
And Simply.Coach has been built specifically for that purpose!
5. Establish your brand online
Having a recognizable name in the coaching business and branding your business accordingly definitely aids in long-term business scaling. From distinctly designed user-interface with logo, colours and tagline, to offering productized services, subscription services to external resources, certification programs – these are all tangible, quantifiable forms of branding you would need to look into.
On the other hand, as a coach, you are also the face of your business. So, intangible elements such as your credentials, experience, success stories, client testimonials reflect your brand voice & tonality in a big way, as do the characteristics you portray – such as transparency, generosity, honesty – all of which become key in helping you create your own unique brand.
Incorporating both tangible & intangible branding variables helps establish your unique identity and giving you a stronger brand recall in an overcrowded coaching segment.
Download our Brand Building Toolkit to get acquainted with the world of personal branding and receive actionable content on everything it takes to build brand experiences – whether you’re a newly certified coach or an experienced one!
6. Offer multiple packages with varied duration & pricing
Now that you have automated your work, the next essential online business coaching idea to incorporate is creating smart and varied pricing packages. Attractive pricing is the mantra of any business success. How, where and to whom you pitch your services to, will play a major role in ascertaining if you succeed in scaling your coaching business.
As a coach, know that you can’t club all your clients in the same pricing bracket. Different clients have different requirements and budgets. Offering coaching packages with varied pricing and duration will mean that you can reach a larger clientele and have a higher chance of gaining repeat customers.
Make sure to list out the benefits of each coaching package along with the prices & features.
7. Chart out a solid sales & marketing strategy
Now that you have assembled almost all the pieces of the online business coaching plan jigsaw, you need to add that crucial piece which will complete the picture – your sales & marketing strategy. The purpose of incorporating online business coaching ideas is to help you expand your clientele and subsequently your earnings.
Your sales & marketing approach will be the key in figuring out how much and how soon you can scale your coaching business.
Imagine a scenario – you’ve zeroed in on the best fit coaching model, switched to an efficient coaching management software, are offering your clients attractive packages and still your business is not scaling as you expected. You are having trouble converting the leads & inquiries into actual paying clients.
To avoid this scenario, what you need is a platform that will help you capture leads, engage with them and then convert them into paying clients.
Here are some vital factors that will help you build a successful sales & marketing strategy:
a. Create a top-class sales funnel
So, what exactly is a sales funnel? Well, a sales funnel is like a map that lists out all the stages where you interact with your potential client before they sign on to become paying clients. A solid sales funnel helps you move your clients on to the next stage of your sales strategy and reduces the chances of clients dropping out before the final deal. Essentially there are four stages to a sales funnel:
The first step is making a potential client aware of your coaching services. It can be through any medium – a print ad, social media, search engine, YouTube, etc.
The second step is when that prospective client shows interest in your services, while doing a comparative analysis of your offerings with other competitors.
The third step will be when the client is ready to make a decision after they do their due diligence of your products and solutions. This is the point where the client is almost on the verge of signing on and here, presenting them with your various coaching packages, pricing options, sales calls & follow ups, will steer them towards taking that final step.
The fourth & most vital step is action, wherein the potential client either signs up or not. The ideal scenario is where the client signs on and you close the deal. But if they don’t, do not think that the client is lost. You can always have follow-up sales campaigns to keep your services in their minds and convert these fence sitters into actual customers eventually, if not immediately.
In addition to adding new clients to your business, another important aspect of having a good sales funnel is to retain the existing ones. A happy customer is a staying customer and also a good source of word-of-mouth publicity. Keep your clients engaged on a regular basis via emails drips, external links to information, feedback collection via surveys/questionnaires or by offering special packages/discount coupons as a loyalty bonus, and such similar activities.
Webinars or web seminars are a great tool to connect & collaborate with a wider clientele base via the internet. You, as a coach, can host the event and impart information about your coaching services & packages via video presentations, slideshows or an actual talk. Including Q & A sessions with your clients is a great way to engage them in the meeting and also clear their doubts and queries in real time. A face-to-face interaction, although virtual, goes a long way in converting would-be clients into actual ones.
c. Harness the potential of social media
An active presence on social media is a must for any business, especially if you are a new one too. The sheer volume of potential leads that social media present is unmatched. Plus, it is affordable – can you imagine the bill if you opt for print or television media? With handheld devices becoming the go-to medium for all interactions, a great way to connect with your prospective clients is through mobile-friendly mediums such as LinkedIn and Instagram.
d. Email & affiliate marketing
Before webinars & social media advertising took over, the tried and tested method of online marketing was through emails. And even today, drip email marketing is a good hook to send regular updates to your prospective as well as active client base.
Along with email marketing, creating an affiliate program, say a webinar, with other coaches that offers similar services, is another means to develop your business brand.
e. Member’s community
Another good marketing option, although it requires an extensive set up initially & a long term one, is building a members’ community, where your clients can interact with other members, share their experiences, acquire new information, generate new ideas, discuss problems & solutions, offer feedback as well as support.
A members’ community helps you (by taking a bit of focus off you & giving you some breathing space) and your business (interconnected members are more likely to stay subscribed to your services) even when you are not present all the time.
f. Vlogs & online products
Create a bank of Vlogs (video blogs) that address various topics and are SEO compatible. Not only can you market these videos online to generate more leads, but they can also be used during webinars, online coaching sessions and workshops.
E-courses that include video lessons, virtual worksheets, extra resource material are a handy tool that can create a good impact for your coaching business. These online courses can be accessed by your clients, repetitively if needed, anywhere and anytime.
Building a business, any business, requires patience, knowledge, hard work and persistence. Begin with a simple approach, understand your USP & your target clientele, focus on your short term & long-term business goals, have a strong sales strategy in place and then work your way towards a scalable as well as a profitable coaching business.
We hope these online business coaching ideas have given you an in-depth knowledge on how to scale a coaching business in quick time. All the best!
1. How often does one need to implement online coaching business ideas?
The correct answer is as and when required. Building a coaching business is an ongoing process, one that requires a fluid approach. In the initial stages of establishing your business, you will of course implement all online business coaching ideas. Certain factors such as choosing your coaching model & a coaching management software can be a one-time deal (although as technology is constantly upgrading, you may need to switch to another software in the future).
But pricing, sales & marketing are concepts that need to be regularly monitored and adapted to the present situation. Keep a simple but flexible approach to scaling your business and use these online business coaching ideas to regularly upgrade yourself and your business.
2. After utilizing these ideas, how long does it take to scale the business?
The online business coaching ideas we’ve listed are a great starting point for coaching entrepreneurs to scale their business. Where you are in your business journey & how much initial costs you have incurred will determine profitability. If you are a start-up, in some cases the business may return a profit right away, but the general estimation is that it takes 2-3 years for a business to become profitable.
3. How do I market my online coaching business to attract clients?
Marketing your online coaching business could be either organic or paid. Some of the organic marketing strategies are:
- Identify the social media platform frequented by your target audience
- Create and share relevant social media content consistently. This helps you build a strong online presence and helps attract more clients for your coaching business
- Use relevant hashtag to link useful contents on your website
- Share useful content on other websites
- Invest in podcasting: your own show or as a guest speaker
- Keep your prospects updated with your latest offerings via email marketing
- Interact with your prospects in real time via relevant online communities
4. What platforms and tools do I need to start an online coaching business?
Your distinctive online coaching model determines what tools you would need:
- Administrative tools: contracts, payment & billing, scheduling, etc.
- Communication tools: conferencing, messaging, etc.
- Date collection tools
- Data analyzing tools
- Content delivery/ sharing tools
Depending on what tools you need the most for your business structure, you may choose an appropriate online coaching platform. Some of them are Simply.Coach, Nudge Coach, Quenza, CoachAccountable, Satori, Paperbell, etc.
5. What strategies can I use to build a community of loyal clients online?
When you receive recurring business from a client, you can safely say that the client is loyal to your services. Here’re some of the strategies that help you build a community of loyal clients online:
- Convey your brand values
- Offer outstanding customer service
- Acquire testimonials from your already existing loyal clients & share the same
- Offer incentives to your existing loyal clients
- Make sure you offer excellent client experience
Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.