I’ve seen many coaches succeed, both specialists (have a niche) and generalists (no niche).
But it is true, the ones who get specific about their ideal type of clients do better, faster.
Niching is good.
But there’s a lot of confusion about niches and how to find one and many coaches get stuck and hung up on this.
I want you to embrace the notion of the persona.
A persona is a description of a single, very specific “person” that you are going to target with your website.
It’s even more detailed than a niche.
It’s an individual. Not a grouping nor a population.
And it’s not only defined by the typical traits like age, sex, family status, and income bracket – like what marketers do.
It goes deeper than this.
A persona includes things like behaviors, attitudes, goals, pains, needs, habits, personalities, views of life, and motivators.
When creating a persona, you actually give this description a fun name like Go-Getter Gary (a type-A executive who has big goals but struggles to stay focused) or Balancing Betty (an overwhelmed working mom who needs better life balance).
Meet Smiling Simon
Here are some traits that define Smiling Simon, a single geeky guy who wants somebody to love.
When you take a look at the simple persona above, can you see how easily you can tie your coaching to things he cares about?
For example, instead of saying, “I will coach you to set goals, stay accountable and succeed in life” you can say to him, “I’ll coach you to get around shyness, to meet a special, smart geeky gal.”
Learn how to create a website that appeals to your PERSONA and turn them into a paying client in The Coaching Website Guide.
When you create a PERSONA, it becomes much easier to do things like …
- Decide on what content to write about
- Choose blog topics that WILL be interesting
- Title your coaching programs
- Decide on how professional or casual your voice can be
- Determine how to deliver content: more videos? checklists? technical writing?
- Figure out where to share your website: Facebook? LinkedIn? Other blogs?
- Structure, price, and present your coaching services
Also, your website becomes much easier to understand when it’s focused on the needs, wants, and desires of a SINGLE person.
Here Are a Few Questions to Help
Let’s define a persona so that you can write better, make your site appealing, and generate more leads.
My favorite way to help coaches quickly find new, great clients is to leverage proven success instead of chasing the latest fad.
Look at your past clients (paid or not, even those who weren’t formal coaching arrangements) and ask yourself these questions …
1. Which 1 or 2 did I absolutely LOVE working with? Which were the best?
2. If I could have 10 of these “best past clients” which ones would I choose?
3. What were the big challenges facing these top 1 or 2 clients?
4. What about these best past clients did I like most?
5. Why did I look forward to being on the phone with them?
6. What about them was so great? What qualities, traits, or behaviors?
7. Were they deep thinkers? Simple minds? Bubbly folks? Diligent homework doers?
8. Were they similar to YOU in any way? If so, how? The same professional circles? Same beliefs about life?
9. Who did I do my best coaching with?
Here’s a Little Story About Jan’s Persona
Earlier today, I got off a call with a client, Jan.
We were discussing ways to get bring her more leads – not just any new clients, but more of some of the recent awesome ones she’s worked with.
We used the questions above to create a persona to target.
After some good old brainstorming, we found these traits for the new persona:
- she is a female in her 40s or 50s.
- she is a well-educated professional, often having post graduate degrees.
- Wants to grow her career, handle relationships better, managing heavy workloads, and find meaning and joy outside of work.
- Works in rural, science, or research initiatives.
- Struggles to say no and ends up overwhelmed, and unhappy.
Some possible names for this person could be: Say-No Susan or Susan Serves Others.
Jan told me that she would jump for joy if she could fill her practice fully with more of these kinds of clients. Jan has great calls with them, the clients have big breakthroughs, and they pay for coaching easily. It’s fun and rewarding for Jan.
From that outline, we started seeking ideas to make her website speak to their challenges and we brainstormed ways to get her visible in front of more of those kinds of folks.
Ideas started flowing quickly.
Jan also told me how much easier it would be to blog and write about the challenges this PERSONA faced.
I could feel on my side of the phone how happy and excited Jan was.
And so onward we went to implement some website changes and new outreach efforts.
Are you stuck on your niche? Can’t seem to settle on your ideal client?
Let’s see where you’re at. How about taking 20 minutes to answer the questions above to see if you can zone in on a possible persona? Just post your findings below.