How to Start Selling Your Coaching Products Online
This is a guest post written by Jessica Thiefels. Want to contribute? Check out the 2017 publishing calendar.
Every professional coach experiences lulls during the year, when business slows and you’re able to catch your breath. However, fewer (and sometimes no) clients means there is also less income coming in, if any. Instead of simply riding it out, treat this “downtime” as an opportunity to generate revenue by selling digital coaching products online.
Selling digital products allows you to generate revenue using the knowledge you already have. Not to mention, it helps boost your overall brand awareness and establish thought leadership in your respective industry.
While there are many benefits to selling products online, it can also be overwhelming for coaches who’ve yet to take the digital plunge.
Chances are you have a lot of questions, such as:
What type of products should I sell?
How do I promote them?
And how do I measure success?
Below are some tips and tricks for successfully launching digital coaching products to supplement your coaching business. If your products are successful, you’ll likely see a boost during busy times of year as well—win-win.
Set achievable goals
You already know the importance of goal setting, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that setting goals for your online product offerings is the first step in the process. Here are a few goals you could consider:
Increase income during the slow months of [insert month] through [insert month] by 15%
Earn x% of sales from new customers
Upsell x% of current clients with new digital products
To determine your goals, consider your overall business needs and priorities—how can these products help you achieve those, in addition to simply supplementing your annual business lull?
In addition to setting goals, consider the best metrics for measuring success. For example, higher net promoter score, increased income YOY by X percentage, website traffic increase by X percent, etc. Then set up a tracking sheet, where you add all of this data when you check it each month or quarter.
Decide what to sell
The good news is you likely already have a wide variety of valuable resources you use to coach your existing clients, meaning it won’t cost a lot to prepare.
“Digital products like ebooks, online courses, audio products, downloadable templates, software, etc., are increasingly attractive because of their low creation costs (your primary investment being your time and expertise) and inherently scalable nature,” according to Ryan Robinson, entrepreneur and marketer.
All you have to do is package those resources into products you can sell online. Here are a few coaching products to consider:
Email video series
Note, you don’t need to—and probably shouldn’t—develop all of these. Start with just one or two, test their success and try others as you learn more about what your audience and current clients want. Better yet, run a customer survey, polling current clients about what products they’d find most helpful and be willing to pay for. Use that data to determine what products you start with.
Choose the right platform
Now comes the hard part, choosing the right selling platform. Thanks to the rapid growth of ecommerce, there are a wide variety of options available to you. This is both good and bad. You have your pick of brands and products, but deciding between them all can be overwhelming, especially if this is new for you.
But don’t choose one in haste because you’re unsure. The ecommerce guide, How to Start Selling Online, suggests that the right platform can make or break your online store. As you peruse your options, remember:
"Not all ecommerce platforms are created equal, after all, and your ecommerce platform is the structure around which you will build your entire business. Make sure you choose one that will give you everything you need to make your online store a success."
What should you look for? The guide’s authors explain that a great ecommerce platform has all of the following:
Great customer service from the company
Aesthetically pleasing, so it looks attractive to the customer
Helpful tools and features
Good user interface
Create your product marketing strategy
After you’ve created a killer product, the next step is developing a marketing strategy to promote it. No matter how good your new product, it won't drive sales unless people know it exists and your strategy should include your existing marketing channels, including your website, social media, email and paid advertising. Here are a few ideas to try:
Pre-launch contest: A fun way to generate excitement and sales is to launch a contest, like: the first 20 customers who purchase the product will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a free coaching consultation. You can host this on Facebook or take all submissions through your website or ecommerce platform and promote on social media and via email marketing.
Pre-launch buzz: Use your existing database to tease the new product offering to the people who would care about it the most: current coaching clients or people who signed up as subscribers from your site. Offer a sample of the product if possible, and consider creating a pre-launch sign up page for people to get an email when the product is ready.
Automated campaign: Create a drip campaign—you can do this with most email and ecommerce platforms—that automatically delivers a series of emails to anyone who purchases your product. This allows you to upsell them on your services and other products, and stay top of mind.
New product Q&A: The rise of video on social allows you to engage with your audience while promoting your new product. Host a Q&A or a post-launch discussion on Facebook Live. Download the video and post to your Instagram and YouTube channel as well.
Note that your marketing strategy should also include:
Link building/thought leadership through guest posting.
On-site marketing for your own website, like a landing page, site ads, and blog posts.
Influencer outreach. Find influencers who may want to try it for free in exchange for a link and review.
Social media posting assets and schedule.
Start supplementing now
Selling coaching products online makes it easy to supplement your business during slow times of the year. If it goes well, your online product line may even become your most lucrative sales-driver. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of the product creation process, use the tips and tricks above as a guide for navigating your first digital product launch.
About Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time writer, content marketing consultant and business owner. She’s been featured in Forbes and Business Insider and has written for Manta, StartupNation, LeadPages Salesforce and more. Follow her on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.
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