How NOT to get 10,000 followers… intentionally!
As a coach, how many clients would you say you need? Or, to put it another way, how many can you work with in any depth?
You certainly don’t need 10,000 clients (and couldn’t manage that many anyway) so why does so much marketing advice push to get so many followers or ‘fans’ for your online content?
Of course, if you’re just doing what you love, putting it out there, and happen to gain a huge following — like the incredible Francis Bourgeois who has 1.4million Instagram and 2.3million TikTok followers watching him trainspotting every day! — then that’s fantastic.
For the rest of us with tens or hundreds of followers, the real question is — why do you need any more? For a coach it’s unnecessary (and possibly verging on the ego-driven!)
Having an audience is important, so how many followers do you need?
You only need 100 ‘true fans’. What’s a true fan? Someone who is genuinely interested and engages with all of your content. Your total audience may well be bigger. Maybe you have 1,000 followers. But realistically, they won’t all become clients. Even if half of them wanted to work with you, could you cope? The reality of most coaching businesses is that they don’t need, and can’t effectively serve, so many clients.
Just like your online content, it’s all about quality over quantity.
So, your ideal is a smaller following of engaged loyal fans rather than a huge number of inactive or lurking “followers”.
Social media can be a great filter
Your social media channels are a great way to show people whether your services are a good fit for them, or not. Yep, that’s right, you can use your social channels to put people off.
The sooner people realise that, as a coach, you’re not for them the more time and energy it saves you. Clarity online around where you’re coming from means fewer calls with potential clients who aren’t a good fit or want to haggle on the price because they don’t understand your value.
Even more importantly, the right content will highlight those who do get it — the people who resonate with your message, ideas and insights know that they are in the right place.
It’s all about the journey
In practice, this takes us to the journey of consciousness that your clients take before they become clients.
Most people aren’t ready to jump straight into coaching with you because there’s a level of awareness required before they can take that step. Many aren’t aware they have a problem that coaching can help with, before realising that they have an opportunity for change, that coaching can facilitate that change, and finally that your coaching offer is the one best-suited for them.
By focusing your online content on the various stages of this journey of consciousness, you’re not only supporting potential clients to get to the point of readiness for coaching, you’re also filtering out those for whom your services are not right (and by extension, the ‘clients’ that aren’t right for you!)
Each stage of the journey, each piece of online content, is a filter that benefits both you and your followers. After all, a poor fit between you and a client isn’t good for either of you.
As Seth Godin says: your business isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.
But… “I need to have a huge audience to convert enough clients.”
When your marketing strategy and tactics focus on conversions, you’re chasing numbers not people. And yes, that means you need to be feeding large quantities of possible leads into your sales funnel. Maybe the quantity approach works if you’re flogging an off-the-shelf, online $97 coaching course, but assuming you’re offering a more personalised, one-to-one service people who are ready to do the work, feel that coaching is the right fit for them and really see the value in what you do… then it’s quality not quantity you;re really after.
You don’t need conversions, you need conversations.
Don’t chase the numbers
You’re a coach, not an influencer, or an entertainer. Audience size isn’t an indicator of success and you’re not in competition for the most followers or fans. Success is about working with people genuinely ready to change who will benefit from your specific offer.
Focus on being clear with your message, ideas, and insights. Put your energy and attention into attracting those who really get it and are ready to work with you. That way, your online content and messaging acts as an automatic filter, encouraging those who aren’t ready or want something else to look elsewhere.
Create your own journey
If you want to know how to set up a journey that attracts more of the clients you want to work with — clients who are a perfect fit for your coaching niche — then check out our guide to the journey of consciousness (and our new video version). If you’re looking for further support with putting it all into practice, you can download our Coach’s 1-Page Marketing Plan which will guide you through the process, step by step.