I see you, my coaching friend. I know you’re hard at work changing the world one person (or group) at a time. You’re busy helping your clients set big goals and work towards crushing them in their work life, love life, and life life. I also know you can’t do any of this important work if those clients can’t find you. 🤷♀️
That’s why successfully marketing yourself is key to building a thriving coaching business. And if part of your marketing strategy is creating an email marketing funnel for your coaching business, I’d love to teach you how!
If you see most of your coaching clients online — or you want to shift to seeing clients online — an email marketing funnel is one of the BEST methods for getting more eyeballs on your offer and converting curious browsers into excited-to-invest new prospects. Read to the end of this article and I’ll explain exactly how an email funnel works and why it will help you to sell your coaching packages without in-person speaking or traditional media PR.
(Sidenote: if you’re just getting started as a coach, big congrats. If you’re thinking a marketing funnel is a few steps ahead of your humble beginnings right now and you just need to know the basics for structuring your new business, you can snag my guide on how to start an online coaching business here.)
Let’s get started and learn how to build your first email funnel!
Email marketing is truly the most reliable and effective way to reach potential customers. While social media is a wonderful tool, you don’t have any control over the platforms at the end of the day. Plus, the algorithms are constantly changing, and sometimes infuriatingly mysterious. (And don’t even get me started about the times I’ve had my account impersonated on Instagram by hackers who used alllll of my photos and captions. Love you IG, don’t love the sleepless nights I’ve been through over you! 😘) When you build an email list, you can communicate directly with each and every subscriber through an automated email, straight to their inbox. Plus, click-through-rates are significantly higher in emails than in Facebook ads.
In your emails, you’ll provide meaningful content that sounds like you—not some weird marketing robot. (Trust me, nobody cares what the marketing robot has to say, but people really want to hear from Y-O-U.) A great email marketing strategy will earn you loyal fans who can’t wait to read/watch/scroll everything you do, including nab your latest group offer, one-on-one online coaching session, or mastermind. In other words, you’ll turn potential customers into paying customers.
A sales funnel is marketing lingo for the journey a customer goes on when making a purchase. A funnel is a great analogy because a large number of potential customers usually start out at the beginning of the sales process. This group narrows, and only a fraction of these people—your tried-and-true, ideal and eventually, loyal customers—actually end up making a purchase. The goal is to turn interested followers into paying, satisfied coaching customers.
The four stages of a sales funnel are:
- Action (working with you!)
People don’t sign up to work with coaches that they don’t know and trust, and your welcome sequence is your chance to help establish an actual relationship. When someone raises their hand and says they want to opt into your emails and learn about you, or maybe they signed up for a freebie you offer, the welcome sequence comes next. It moves the needle along the stages above, serving your customers so that signing up for your coaching services becomes a true no-brainer. They get great service, you get more customers, and everyone lives happily ever after.
How To Create An Email Marketing Funnel For Your Coaching Business
If you’re panicking, take a deep breath. I’ve got you! Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a marketing funnel that works serious magic:
Step One: Create a freebie that aligns with your business
The best way to grow your email list is by offering something of value to your audience that they’re already interested in. Maybe it’s a virtual self-coaching course, a step-by-step action planner, or a template. A lead magnet builds your credibility, drives people to your website, nurtures trust, touches upon paint points and a great first stage of the funnel.
Make sure that at the end of your freebie, you give your potential customer a logical next baby step: getting another more in-depth freebie / free trial, joining your Facebook group, engaging with you somehow, etc.
Step Two: Set up an opt-in form or a landing page
Next, you’re ready to start building your list of email addresses from the exact people who are hungry to learn more about you. Opt-in forms are an awesome way to lead traffic to your marketing funnels because you can embed them just about anywhere on your website.
You want to make sure you’re legally adding people to your email list, too. You didn’t think I’d let you forget this crucial step, did you? To make sure you’re only adding the people you’re legally allowed to to your email list, learn how to legally build your email marketing funnel.
Another option is to build a dedicated landing page, also sometimes called a sales page, that leads to your coaching sales funnel. You’ll have room there to include additional copy and a preview of your offer. Don’t forget a call to action…best practice is one clear call to action for each landing page.
I use ConvertKit (affiliate link) for all of my opt-in forms, landing pages and freebie delivery. ConvertKit allows you to do all that AND it’s an awesome email marketing tool. That’s what I use to send out my weekly emails to my email list, automatically send sequences after someone opts in to my freebies or watches my free legal workshop, and communicate with my Ultimate Bundle members.
Step Three: Write those emails…gently
“BUY RIGHT NOW! DON’T DELAY!”
Don’t do that in the very first email!
These hard sales are total turn-offs, especially for new subscribers. It’s like proposing on the first date: too much, too soon. Like dating, your subscribers want to get to know you a bit. Woo them and charm their socks off with your special sauce, whether it’s your wacky sense of humor, your nerdy fan fiction references, your wonderfully inspiring energy, your encyclopedic knowledge about gardening…whatever it is that you do to charm people irl.
You’ll want to “edu-tain” your readers by combining personal connection points with valuable educational content on the subject matter that you’re an expert in and the benefits of your products. In my case, this would be legal training. In your case, that might be spinal alignment or career coaching. Whatever it is you do, make sure you bring a ton of free value into your email content so that the reader feels no friction when you share the link to invest in your package or session because it feels like they’ve already received something valuable from you for free.
Of course, as they get more emails deeper into the funnel, you’ll likely want to add some urgency with a countdown to the end of a special discount or bonus offer that’s expiring, and that means you’ll need to let them know it’s expiring. That’s ok! The reality is without letting them know their opportunity is going away you’re doing them a disservice, so make sure you send a series of emails at the very end of the funnel, particularly on the final day of the special offer.
Another idea is to include a message in your footer about how to join, register, or get more engaged.
This isn’t pressure to sign up, it is just another way of gaining interest with free information that people can come back to later when they are ready to commit.
By the time you are ready to sell your products or services, the readers who really jive with you will be super eager to schedule a call and dive in. A bonus is that these customers are highly likely to be a great fit, as they’re already psyched about your unique point-of-view, philosophy, and coaching awesomeness. (Or weird jokes, or mad gardening skills…)
Step four: Intro call or webinar, and signing up!
Invite your prospects into a sales presentation like a webinar (like this one) or one-on-one conversation. You’ll deliver plenty of value. You’ll also share more information about your coaching program and the even bigger transformation your customers get when they decide to work with you. Then go ahead and sell. Answer any questions and make sure you are a good fit and vice versa.
Woo hoo! Now you can do a happy dance.
Step five: Be consistent
Don’t go radio silent on your existing customers between launches, only to pop in when you’re ready to sell. The best email marketers have readers who are genuinely excited to see their inbox ping, because the emails are truly insightful and useful (or just silly and fun works, too!).
Don’t have time to write emails constantly? I get that. Think about repurposing old content, like past blog posts or case studies, by giving them a little TLC. Good as new! If you have the means, hiring a copywriter who specializes in emails is a great bet and gives you more time to focus on what people are lining up to pay you to do: coach!
Phew! I know that was a lot, but I hope this helps you learn how to create an email marketing funnel for your online coaching business.
Of course we want to make sure that your email marketing funnel is legally legit, too! (DUH) Good thing I taught you how to legally build your email marketing list right here.
PS: ConvertKit (affiliate link) is my go-to tool for all things email marketing and funnels. I’ve been a customer since 2016 and there’s a reason I’ve stayed with them as my business has grown. (In fact, ConvertKit has helped my business grow!).
Got questions? I’m ready to answer! Just drop it in the comments below! 👇