9 Essential Technologies for Your Online Coaching Business
If you want a coaching business that attracts customers from all over the world, sells your coaching products online, and manages all your clients online…you need a plan! You are going to need a handful of different technologies.
There is so much to consider when you get started, the job can seem complex, convoluted and totally overwhelming!
Fortunately, each technology is easy enough to use, in it’s own right. And when you step back and break it down into it’s component parts, you can see that there are about nine basic ingredients or building blocks that you really need to get started.
Here is a little information about each one…
1. Domain Name
Your domain name is your website address. Basically, you need a web address to direct people to before you can do very much online activity (like promoting and selling your products). 🙂
I happen to have several domain names for my coaching business but this is only because I’ve been around for a while and seem to collect domain names like some women collect shoes!
All you really need to get started is just one domain name. Find something simple and buy it. A domain name should cost around $15 each year.
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: Your store’s physical address.
2. Hosting Provider
Your hosting provider is the company that stores your website on their server. Most hosting providers also can also set you up with an email address with your domain name (mentioned above), so be sure to have that done. A professional looking email address beats a Gmail address any day!
Be prepared to spend about $5 a month for a basic hosting package.
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: Your utilities (like electricity and water!)
3. Website Content Management System (CMS)
Your website content management system is a framework that sits behind your website that enables you to easily manage your web pages and blog articles by yourself. You may want a technical person to help you set everything up but once it’s up, you can take over on the basic content update stuff.
Most content management systems come with few free themes that you can use straight away. Themes are basically templates for the graphic design of your website with a few options you can tweak to make it uniquely yours e.g. colors, images and layout options.
Free themes can be a good low cost option for coaches who want a website but are starting out on a small budget. FYI – I’ve used the basic themes that come free with WordPress for lots of my websites in the past and they work great!
If you have more money to invest in your website you can:
- Buy a more advanced theme for your content management system (I’ll be doing this soon for my websites– check out these cool themes!)
- Hire a graphic designer to create a custom design that sits on top of your content management system
The good news is that when you have a content management system running your website, changing the design is a relatively simple job. It’s like changing your outfit while the content underneath the clothes remains the same.
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: Your store front
TIP – The person who sets up your CMS can usually set up your Domain Name, Hosting Provider and possibly even the next component (Your Online Marketing Service).
4. Online Marketing Service
In it’s most basic form your online marketing service enables you to capture people’s names and email addresses from your website and then send out emails to all of your subscribers.
As a coach on a tight budget, you may be tempted to skip this component but I strongly recommend that you resist the urge and get your online marketing service set up ASAP!
For around $10-$30 a month you can start building your email list and start getting your head around the concept of online marketing. If you want to reach a global market and sell products online, this is an essential learning curve you absolutely must go through. The sooner you get through it the better and you get the added benefit of collecting email subscribers as you learn – BONUS!
The investment will be well worth it because your email list will enable you to build lasting relationships with people you would never otherwise have had the opportunity to connect with. It’s pure awesomeness!
Plus, when you treat your subscribers well, in a way that is congruent with you, some of your subscribers will grow to become your biggest fans and supporters. They will genuinely want to know about your new products and services and will look forward to hearing from you.
Here’s all you need to do to get started:
- Subscribe to one of the email marketing services listed below
- Add an email subscription box to your website
- Start collecting email addresses!
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: Your shop attendant/Sales person
5. Digital Product Delivery Service
Now it’s time to add your information products to your new website. To do this you simply create a new page in your website for each product and add in a BUY NOW button that you get from your digital product download service. This service stores all of your information products, let’s you set your prices, and links purchases to your PayPal account.
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: The back room where you store everything that’s not on display and your delivery truck
6. Client Management System
I use Life Coach Office to manage my clients online. The system keeps all of my client files in one place (that travels with me) and also helps me organize and deliver my online coaching programs. It’s easy to use and affordable. A great enabler for small to medium sized coaching businesses.
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: Your coaching office where you meet clinets including your filing cabinet and book shelf
Check out: Life Coach Office
To sell online you need a way to collect money online. The quickest and easiest way to collect money online is through PayPal. Set up your account and start selling.
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: Your cash register
Check out: PayPal
8. Paid Online Advertising
Paid online advertising is a great way to drive new traffic to your website and hopefully get people to join your email list (see #4). Paid advertising often gets poo-pooed, because it costs money, but I’ve found it highly effective in my coaching business.
In fact, when I recently surveyed my buyers, 90% of them found me from a Google Ad!
Sure, there are free things that I can do to promote my business online but those things cost me time – my number one most valued asset. For me, paid advertising costs a few dollars, little time and my return on investment has been fantastic. I’m a convert – I love it.
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: Targeted mail-out campaign
9. Social Media
You are probably familiar with social media – sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pintrest, etc.? Well, here is my take on social media…
When done in a way that genuinely adds value to people’s lives and that is congruent with you, social media is a great way to connect with people and drive new traffic to your website. BUT, if you are doing it just because everyone else is, then STOP!
If you can, focus on doing one area of social media well. When you’ve got the first one down then, and only then, is it worth adding in another one and that’s only if you want to AND have capacity to do an amazing job of it.
This approach will help you stay focused on delivering value to your prospects and customers (the best promotion you can do). And hopefully avoid getting tangled in the web of the latest and greatest social media craze.
Bricks and Mortar Analogy: Fan club
These Ingredients Can Take You a Long Way
With these essential ingredients you can go quite far with your coaching business. But, like all things, you have to get started! 🙂
If you are looking for a proven, guided approach to creating your own coaching products and getting them online, check out my Next Generation Product Development (for Coaches) program. I run it twice a year with a handful of coaches in each intake.
It is my hope and intention that this list helps remove some of the overwhelm that you may have been feeling about how to sell your own coaching products online, and instead, inspires you to take the right first steps.
My advice is this – just focus on one step at a time. When you’ve finished or mostly finished the first step, move on to the second. Once you’ve finished the second, move on to the third and so on.
Everything is easy when you take it in the right order at the right chunk size.
NOTE: Universal Coaching Systems is only affiliated with products that we use ourselves. In this article we have given examples of systems that we use as well as systems that have been used by our clients. Please do your due diligence and find what works for you, your clients and your coaching business. There are most certainly more options out there.