Niche Marketing For Coaches by Hannah McNamara
Business Book Review - 4 Stars
Coaching is becoming a big business, if lots of small businesses can be combined in that way and I am seeing more marketing experts identifying the "marketing advice to coaches" as a flourishing niche to target.
In fact I wonder whether the marketing for coaches niche is already filled to capacity but probably not as Dan Bradbury (another marketing expert specialising in coaches) believes that the coaching schools are churning out novice coaches on false promises (see the Life Coaching Conspiracy on my Business Coaching blog))
Hannah McNamara has written "Niche Marketing For Coaches: A Practical Guide For Building A Life Coaching, Executive Coaching or Business Coaching Practice" to help coaches build a thriving business.
My only connection has been through Jonathan Jay because Hannah interviewed JJ for the lead generation CDs for SuccessTrack.
The Coaches Dilemma
In my experience coaches are nice people.
They are attracted to start a coaching business because they want to help people and make a genuine difference.
They also see it as a way to make a nice living - and of course, the best known coaches make an absolute fortune. I mean, do you know anyone who wouldn't swap pay cheques with Tony Robbins?
Coaches don't want to market themselves, they want to coach the people they want to help.
But the new coach quickly learns two things:
- Marketing isn't a "nice if", it is a MUST.
- The vast majority of people don't want to buy coaching.
Hence the big demand for help to answer the question "how do I find coaching clients".
Find Your Niche
The standard advice given is to find your niche.
You own special position in the market which you can call your own.
And when I ordered "Niche Marketing For Coaches" from Amazon, that's what I thought this book was all about.
There are a lot of issues in finding the courage to niche, selecting your niche and then establishing your pre-eminent position as the "go-to person" for anyone who needs those services.
This entire issue of how to choose your niche and indeed, whether you should be a generalist or specialist, is huge. See How to choose your niche on my coaching blog.
The idea that you need to find a niche is standard marketing advice although I noted that the big marketing gurus didn't focus on niches. The only exception I can think of is Dan Kennedy who concentrated on speakers, chiropractors and direct response copywriting.
His proteges have then gone on to build marketing coaching practices with dentists, financial advisers, restaurants, auto repair shops and many more.
Niche Marketing For Coaches Disappointed Me
Niche Marketing For Coaches is a very good marketing book but Hannah McNamara has not written the in-depth look at niche marketing and how it applies to coaching I was expecting.
It follows the standard advice of "find your niche" and doesn't go into the problems that niching can bring (e.g. a one-sale to customers with no where to go for a back end.)
I think part of the problem is that nicheing down to coaches gives the impression of being specific but it is still very general.
There is a huge difference between a life coach in a small market town, a relationship coach in a city and a "stop smoking in three weeks" coach before we even move into business coaching and executive coaching.
A Detailed Look At Niche Marketing For Coaches
Instead of concentrating on what "Niche Marketing For Coaches" is not, let's have a look at what is included in this book.
The chapter titles tell their own story and I will give start page numbers so you can get a feel for the depth of content in each area.
- Introduction - page 2
- Using coaching tools - page 12 - a quick look at the 7 Ps of marketing and then a suggestion to use the GROW coaching model for growing your business, SMART goals and NLP. I like this idea of taking improvement techniques the coaches will be familiar with and applying it.
- Choosing your niche - page 28 - I wanted more details here as I thought this was the main subject of the book. Nice practical advice for sure but I wanted more.
- Positioning - page 42 - it is easy to get confused between niche and positioning as marketers can either use the words inter-changeably or switch meanings. My advice is to think of them as connected but as refinements.
In my Guerrilla Marketing coaching and the 7 Step Marketing Plan we distinguish between target market, niche/positioning and identity in what I call the "who meets you" approach. The niche is where your target customers and your business meet up to make you the obvious person to choose.
Hannah McNamara chooses this chapter to cover your target market, your offering, the experience the clients receive, the competition, your business plan across the pre-launch, launch and maturity stages, your brand and the barriers to brand success.
- Pricing - page 56
- Your marketing message - page 76
- Networking - page 86
- Public relations - page 114
- Public speaking - page 130
- Getting started on the Internet - page 142
- Other marketing methods - page 172
- Asking for business - page 182
- Creating your marketing plan - page 200
- Making it happen - page 218
- The Coach Files - a look at successful coaches who have chosen their niche (although some are more niche than others) - internet marketing, dentists, media professionals, wealth coaching, small business owners. Only two of those I would argue were properly niched - the dentists and media professionals - since the other three are very wide.
It's not exciting reading the list of chapter headings and the page numbers but it does give you a sense of balance for the Niche Marketing For Coaches book and where it spends its attention.
Review Rating For Niche Marketing For Coaches by Hannah McNamara
I rate this book at the 4 star level which is a buy / read recommendation.
That may surprise you considering the criticism I have given the book but I have chosen to rate it as a "marketing book for coaches" rather than as a "how to find your niche book for coaches".
As a marketing book for coaches, it is packed with good, solid, practical advice covering many of the traditional ways to attract clients. It is well written and easy to read. The book also has exercises to help you to apply the concepts to your own coaching business.
If you are a new coach looking for marketing advice and you recognise the importance of marketing and you are happy to read three or four marketing books, then "Niche Marketing For Coaches" should be on the list.
The other marketing books I recommend you to consider are:
Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port - this excellent book has the sub-title "The Fastest, Easiest and Most Reliable System For Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even If You Hate Marketing and Selling" which sums up how many coaches feel. The book is written a wider audience than coaches as it is for those selling professional services including accountants, financial advisers etc.
The other books are general marketing books for small businesses so the scope is wider but both books are excellent.
Can you feel the lure of the focus on the niche?
Hannah McNamara's book is for coaches, Michael Port's for service professionals while these two are "one size fits all".
That is the power of having a clear niche and it is a lesson I have learnt with my own blogs. There is a place for general and for specialist services.
Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
Startup Guide To Guerrilla Marketing by Jay and Jeannie Levinson
These last three books all feature on my "best marketing books" list.
Buying "Niche Marketing For Coaches"
Have You Read "Niche Marketing For Coaches"?
If you have read this book, I would very much like to know what you think of it?
Do you agree with me that the book has a misleading titled or has it done enough to convince you that coaches need to find a niche and it's given you the powerful tools to build the niche successfully.
Find Your Niche Video
Hannah McNamara has recently issued this video on how to find your niche.