School of Coaching Mastery

Coaching Blog

3 Reasons to Not Participate in Affiliate Marketing Programs

Posted by Julia Stewart

Affiliate marketing programs

This Spring I made a conscious choice not to participate in an affiliate marketing program that made School of Coaching Mastery some money last year. In fact, I've decided to avoid future telesummits and most marketing partnerships that come my way and...maybe it's none of my business, but I think you should, too. Here's why...

Actually first, let me answer the question, "What is an affiliate marketing program?" Affiliate marketing programs are strategic partnerships which "leverage the power of the list", meaning they leverage the combined power of mailing lists when two or more coaches/internet marketers/gurus team up to promote products. A key example of this is the coaching telesummit, which usually offers free teleclasses or webinars, that upsell to paid information products. 

Number 1 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: The program may benefit you financially in the short run, but be a disservice to your clients and members of your mailing list...and that could be a financial disservice to you in the long run. 

Here's an example: Recently, a client of mine mentioned something that he could use that a coaching colleague of mine does very well, so I mentioned her to him, not for an affiliate fee, but because I know she could help in this area. My colleague happens to be involved in a lot of telesummits. My client was already familiar with her and said, "No thanks. I used to be on her list, but I got bombarded by email marketing messages from her and from a lot of other people, as well, so I unsubscribed from all of them." He was tired of getting several marketing come-ons everyday. They were confusing and annoying and turned him off from potentially working with this talented coach. Now, I've decided not to recommend her anymore. That's what I mean about affiliate marketing being a disservice to your potential clients and ultimately to you, as well.

Number 2 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: Unless you know all the people involved in the program, you may inadvertently be recommending low-quality products and services that reflect poorly on you. In my case, if a fellow coach, who has a track record for only recommending the best, recommends someone to me, I follow up on that recommendation and if it turns out well, I think even more highly of them. But if a colleague recommends a coach who disappoints, I think a little less of both of them and I make a mental note to ignore future recommendations.

For example: Last year, I signed up School of Coaching Mastery as an affiliate of a large coaching summit, because some good people were involved. I emailed my list to try out the free teleclasses and I tried out some of them, myself. With only one exception, I thought the teleclasses were just the usual cr*p. Several of my students mentioned being disappointed by them, as well. 

Here's something you need to know: once you decide to become a professional coach, you are ripe for the picking by untold numbers of coaches, consultants, marketers, webmasters, trainers and more, who know you're going to need products and services to build your business. There are a handful of folks who do extraordinary work...and there are thousands of me-too folks who want a piece of the action, even if they have nothing of real value to offer. Too often, telesummits are larded with the latter.

The telesummit in my example was well designed and they paid promptly. It was just enough money for me to consider doing it again, but it didn't pass my personal test for whether I should market something: Does it offer genuine value to my clients and potential clients? Or will it likely confuse them, waste their time, or talk them into buying services that aren't useful?

Number 3 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: You may waste your own time and never get paid. Last year I was contacted by a coach I knew via social networking who pitched a product to me that she said would help my students. Normally, I would have ignored an email like that, but a student of mine had just ask me if something of that sort was available, so I checked it out. It was business-management software for coaches that included a coaching website. It looked pretty slick, so I agreed to talk to her about it.

Long story short: she offered me a free membership and what seemed like a great affiliate opportunity and it really looked like it would be helpful to my students. I spent six months promo-ing what I called a coaching-business-in-a-box to my mailing list. Quite a few people signed up, although a few of them told me they didn't like it, because it was too clunky and they could do the same tasks more easily without it. I eventually dropped it for the same reasons and...the company never paid me. I emailed the owners about it a couple of times and they never even replied to my emails! In my book that is: Really. Bad. Business. So now they're on my sh*t list and maybe, just maybe, I'm on someone else's list because I recommended them. I can say I'm sorry, but it might be too late.

So there you have 3 reasons to think twice before participating in affiliate marketing programs. Because they may be a disservice to your clients, or reflect poorly on you, or simply give you a lot of unpaid work to do.

It may surprise you (or maybe it won't) that School of Coaching Mastery has its own affiliate marketing program. Why?

Well here's an example: recently, a former member asked me if he could join my affiliate marketing program for Coach 100, because, as he said in his message to me, “Coach 100 was the best thing I ever did to get off to a fast start in my coaching business!” He knows me, knows the program and has seen the results and wants to share it. That's the kind of referral that works well for everyone involved and I'm happy to pay a fee to members who recommend us.

But here's the thing: you can make more money and experience more fulfillment by coaching your own clients. Recommend others based on value and supplement your coaching income by serving instead of leveraging a marketing scheme.

If you'd like to know more about Coach 100...

Download Your Free Coach 100 eBook

 

Topics: coaching business, School of Coaching Mastery, Coaches, Coach 100, coaching clients, webinar, testimonials, teleclass, Marketing for life coaches, marketing, internet

Marketing for Coaches: It's Not About Being Popular

Posted by Julia Stewart

Oddly, when you market your coaching, you really don't want to attract everybody. You only want to attract those who are right for you and your business. Erika Napoletano at TEDxBoulder 2012, explains in hilarious fashion, with a few swear words. Love her or hate her, hear her message.

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, marketing and sales, Attraction Principles, TED, Marketing for life coaches, marketing

How Do You Brand a Coaching Business When It's Not All About You?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Your coaching business is all about your clients, not you. So how do you market and sell Brand YOU? Below is an info graphic with some of the secrets of branding in today's world.

At the bottom is a link to register for the new Q&A class called, "What Adele Can Teach You About Marketing". Learn the subtleties of branding when it's about you, but it really isn't. We'll look at some of the ways the singer, Adele, has mastered this for mega-success. And if you'd like to attend this one-time-only class for free, help us promote the class on Facebook or Twitter and we'll thank you with a guest pass!

infographic Branding 02 resized 600 resized 600

Branding a coaching business is subtle. The success of mega-star, Adele, can teach you some lessions about branding. If you'd like to join the upcoming class, click below. To get it for free, join School of Coaching Mastery on Facebook or @MasteryCoach on Twitter and share or RT our announcements about this one-time-only class. We'll give you a guest pass to say, "Thanks!"

Join What Adele Can Teach You About Marketing

Topics: coaching business, coach training, School of Coaching Mastery, coaching class, marketing and sales, coach marketing, marketing

Marketing for Life Coaches: Why Facebook Events Are For Losers

Posted by Julia Stewart

Marketing for Life CoachesPost by Julia Stewart, MCC.

Okay, life coaches, including me, don't usually call people, 'Losers.' I admit, I said it to be provocative. My apologies. I'm having a little fun. But if you use Facebook Events to market your coaching business, you're losing. It's that simple.

You're losing fans, friends, credibility and even interest in your events. And that's no fun.

Let me explain. As we all know, Facebook is approaching the Big B: one billion users. That means soon, one in every seven people will be on Facebook. So that makes it the perfect place to advertise your events, yes? Probably not.

Anyone with a Facebook account can create a Facebook Event and invite all their Facebook Friends to it via email. They can also send frequent email updates to everyone who has been invited, even if nobody has agreed to come to the event.

This is a nice little tool if you're planning a school fund raiser. The trouble is that SPAMMERS, those folks we've all hated since long before international laws were passed to make SPAM a criminal offense, think Facebook Events is a nifty tool, too. After all, it's not illegal, yet.

And unfortunately, less savvy marketers also use Facebook Events and when you do, the folks who used to be your Facebook Friends start thinking of you as one of those SPAMMERS.

Yes, there you are, sharing space in their minds right along side the guy from Russia who wants to sell them penis-enlargement pills, cheap Viagra and fake Rolex watches. Or the prince from Nigeria who constantly needs help cashing a check.

Do you really want your coaching business to be regarded that way?

No doubt, some well-meaning social-media 'guru', or 'coach', or virtual assistant told you about this slick little tool that lets you SPAM...er email, all your friends on Facebook for free whenever you have an event to announce ~ or even when you don't (Some really un-slick marketers use Facebook Events to SPAM their Friends any ol' time).

An important rule of thumb in marketing, especially with social-media: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

So far, using Facebook Events is legal, so you can. And Facebook, not exactly a paragon of privacy, puts the onus of removing oneself from an Event list on the recipient, not the sender. So you're technically not doing anything wrong by inviting all your Friends, even if you know they won't be interested or they are too far away to attend.

However, in the rest of the Universe that is not already controlled by Facebook, people know they have a right to avoid SPAM and they usually have the ability to choose which messages  reach them via email. So it makes them incredibly mad when you violate that.

This is a complete reverse of the marketing world 20 years ago, when advertisers could shoot their messages at potential customers via TV, junk mail, etc. just as if we were sitting ducks. Nobody likes being a sitting duck. And we don't like being reminded what it's like.

By using Facebook Events, you're using 2012 social media to market like it's 1992.

So how are you losing? Let me count the ways:

  1. People don't hire coaches they don't trust and nobody trusts a SPAMMER.
  2. Your RSVP list on your Event Page will look something like: 'Yes: 2, Maybe: 5, Un-responded: 993', which makes your event look like the party nobody wants to attend.
  3. Lucky for you, those 'Un-responded' numbers include all the 'No's', because Facebook doesn't publish those. What's not so lucky for you is that when your annoyed Friends go to the trouble of visiting your Event Page to decline your invitation and thus turn off the irritating messages they're getting from you, Facebook gives them the instant opportunity to check a box to ignore all future communications from you, or block you completely, un-friend you, or report you to Facebook for SPAM; all with a simple click and yes, some folks get mad enough to do all that.
  4. Your constant email 'updates' about the Event may be so irksome that even the people who thought they might attend may very well change their minds.
  5. You're now associated with the penis-enlargement guy.
  6. Increasingly, nobody pays attention to Facebook Events, so you might as well announce your event via telegraph.
  7. And you're still associated with that guy.

For anyone who would like to know how to stop getting invitations to Facebook Events, here are a couple or routes. Sign in to Facebook and click the little downward arrow in the upper right corner (I know, it's really tiny.) Then choose Privacy Settings, then Manage Blocking. You can write in the names of people you want to block from Event Invites. See below:

Marketing for life coaches

 

 

But an easier way to block all events before they reach your inbox is to go to Account Settings, choose Notifications, then Events and un-click everything:

 

Marketing for life coaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you tempted to keep receiving invites in case that really cool life coach that you love wants to invite you to something? Don't be. If they are that cool, they already don't use Facebook Events. And if you really love them, you probably are already on their mailing list, which means they will be emailing you directly.

And if you're a life coach who is tempted to market with Facebook Events, just don't. There are so many better ways to connect online in ways that people welcome, that you never need to annoy them or  look like a loser, by using Facebook Events.

If you're new to social media marketing or just want to brush up:

Free Social Media Marketing eBook

 

Free Social Media Marketing eBook

Topics: Facebook, Social Media Marketing, Marketing for life coaches, marketing, Free eBook Social Networking

How to Kill Your Coaching Business with Social Media

Posted by Julia Stewart

Find us on FacebookI love social media for my coaching business.

 

I've been attracting coaching clients and students with online social tools for the past five years. Some of my favorite clients, ever, have come from web 2.0. Many of my Coach 100 students have had extraordinary success building their businesses with online tools. School of Coaching Mastery has had a strong social presence since its launch in 2007. Heck, we even have our own social networking site!

So I'm not the coach you'd expect to say that social media could kill your business. And no, I don't mean that your Facebook addiction might keep you from working on your business as you should (although it could). And I don't mean that you should be out shaking hands at live networking events instead of using online social networking (although some coaches really should be networking live instead of online).

I mean that the actual tools of social networking, if used poorly, can cost you coaching clients. And given how time consuming a good marketing plan can be to implement, tools that actually work against you can indeed kill your business.

What kinds of social networking tools could hurt a coaching business? Anything (and I mean anything) that annoys people. And let's face it, that covers a lot of territory.

Most new (and some veteran) business and life coaches have poor marketing and sales skills to begin with, so opportunities to do it poorly are abundant. But if you screw up your elevator speech at a live networking event, you only risk annoying a few people (and if you can laugh at yourself, you'll probably make a few friends, instead). But tools that allow you to contact everybody in your network in ways or at times that they don't want, can help you annoy thousands of people with one innocent little click. Ouch!

Repeat that innocent action again and again and your coaching business will be dead in the water before you know it.

Why is annoying people such a big deal when it comes to marketing your coaching business? Well, remember that cliche: 'Long after people have forgotten what you said, they'll remember how you made them feel'? You don't want to be remembered as the annoying coach.

Question: If you were looking to hire a business or life coach and you had narrowed it down to two coaches who both seemed to meet your criteria perfectly, would you hire the one who annoyed you are the one who didn't?

Sales decisions come down to subtleties. Sometimes a client doesn't even know why they chose to hire one coach over another. You don't have to annoy someone very much to tip the scales away from you.

What do you need to avoid in order to not kill your business with social networking tools? 

Well here are a few items that will help you to not annoy me. But get feedback from your own networks to find out what really bugs them.

1. Social SPAM. Any social app that's designed to spread itself automatically at the expense of annoying your network is social SPAM. The inspiration for this post is an innocuous little tool called, Boxbe, that's spreading around School of Coaching Mastery. Everytime someone I know joins it, I automatically get an invitation to join, too. I don't want to join. And I don't want to get email invitations to it several times per day. It's social SPAM and it's annoying. Plaxo is also annoying. Some poorly designed Twitter apps do this sort of thing. (And don't get me started on SpamArrest. I consider SpamArrest SPAM.)

2. Social Temptation. How often do you get invitations from Facebook or any social networking site to invite or notify everyone in your Outlook,Yahoo, Google, or other address book? How often do you do it? In my book, you get to do it once. One time. Resist the temptation to tell everybody you know about something unless they followed you or joined your group or fan page. Otherwise social temptation becomes social SPAM.

3. Social Scams.  @UnMarketing just posted a link on Twitter to this blog post about scam apps on Facebook. It's easy to get tricked by these because they look like so many other apps on Facebook. Maybe you should avoid temptation and not allow every app out there to connect to your account. (While I was researching this, I came accross Scott Stratten's - A.K.A. UnMarketing - blog post on how to lose friends and tick people off on Facebook.)

4. Social Abbrev. There's nothing wrong with LOL, WTF, Ouch! and KEWL unless you use them constantly. Remember you annoying uncle, cousin, spouse who said the same things over and over until you wanted to stuff mashed potatoes in your ears? Don't be that coach.

5. Social Games. As well as gifts, etc., ad nauseum. You can have fun at work but please stay focused so the rest of us can. Sorority Life, Mafia Games, Farmville, etc., I tolerate these from my relatives (barely), but not from you (unless you find a way to combine all three, which might be interesting). Don't you feel silly posting your latest livestock aquisition on Facebook? I don't think this would persuade even Old MacDonald to hire you to be his coach.

6. Social Pics and Tags. Not all of them. Most are great. You probably don't need me to tell you not to post the pics of you throwing up at that college binge party (the real sorority life). If not, stop reading this post and get thee to a 12-step program, fast. But consider your headshot. If you coach kids, then a shot of you with your kids is appropriate, but if you coach Fortune 100 execs, maybe not. And if somebody else posts or tags you in an unflattering shot, quietly request that they take it down. If you haven't annoyed them, they probably will. If not, be prepared for radical transparency. You have no more secrets.

7. Social Compulsion. Please don't fill people's Twitter streams with constant inane tweets. They will unfollow you. Direct messages are even worse. And you're not kidding anybody by tweeting nothing but Twitter names in the hope of getting noticed. Don't tweet or post unless you have something to say and definitely don't tweet constantly.

Well that's it for now. I could annoy you with a bunch of links to friend/join/follow us, like the 'Find us on Facebook' link above, but probably more valuable to you will be for you to get some training on how to attract clients effectively, which we do in our Coach 100 classes. They start again in February and they teach what actually works.

WARNING: You'll have less time for social networking when your coaching practice is full.

Check out coaching classes

 Check out Coach 100 classes here.

Topics: business coach, Coaching, School of Coaching Mastery, coaching clients, Facebook, Life Coaches, twitter, social networking, marketing, web 2.0

To Coach or Not to Coach: Tw00tie-weet

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tw00tie Pat00tie

What if marketing was just fun? What if you and your followers/customers/coaching clients knew each other enough and trusted each other enough to just play and have fun? Would your clients be happy with you? Would they come back? Could you make a living?

What if you offered a lot of value while you were having fun? What if you offered a lot of value for free? And then you charged for some of it, some of the time? Would your followers/customers/coaching clients regard you well? Would they come back? Would they bring their friends?

What if you stuck your neck out once and a while? What if your marketing was not only your playground but also your laboratory? Would you be a lot more creative? Would you create more valuable products and services?

What if marketing wasn't manipulative? What if it was just good communication? What if it was about making friends? And occasionally making really good friends by exchanging lots of value? Would business be more fun?

Would business work better? Would money flow more easily? Would you be coaching more?

How can we find out if we don't try? How can you find out? What do you have to lose, anyway? 

We've been experiencing a game called, Tw00t. Some people like it. Some people don't. We're even breaking some of our own rules. If you think you might like to play, click on Tw00tie's face. 

Topics: coaching clients, coach, marketing, business, play

Twitter Peeve

Posted by Julia Stewart

twitter logoI have a pet peeve about Twitter. Actually no, it's not a peeve about Twitter, it's a peeve about some Twitter users.

Pardon me, If I sound a bit cranky, but here goes:

My peeve is with Twitter users who DM (direct message) me to thank me for following them and then try to sell me something in the same message. Geeze!

Have they stopped to think how low the barrier is to following others on Twitter? This is not something most of us consider too carefully, because the truth is, if you follow someone on Twitter who turns out to be a pain, it's soooo easy to UNfollow them.

So if somebody follows you, that's great, but it doesn't mean they are your fan - yet. If you manage to entertain, inform, assist, or somehow endear yourself to your followers, they might become fans, but give 'em a chance, puhleeze! 

The truth is, these days, many folks are pinching pennies like never before, so the odds that we want to buy from you are pretty low, anyway. And the DM pitch is particularly annoying, because most cell phone packages charge per message, so I'm paying a whopping 10 cents for each of those little ads!

I got several of them just yesterday and I'm making a public declaration:

Any future twits who DM me with a sales pitch are going to get UNfollowed pronto!

Of course, most tweeple who make these sorts of faux pas are just clumsy newbies. They've probably heard that Twitter is a great marketing tool and have no clue how it works, so maybe I should be more forgiving.

As Twitter power user, Guy Kawasakie once tweeted:

@guykawasaki Nobody gets Twitter for the first 2 months.

So I won't hold a grudge, but I'm standing firm on my declaration.

If you're new to Twitter, I have advice: Spend the first two months listening to what others say and observing how they respond to you. Once you get it, then you can use it gracefully to build relationships and do some occasional marketing, without annoying your followers.

Oh, and for a less peevish post on this topic: How to Get Me to Follow You On Twitter (And keep my follow).

What's your pet Twitter peeve? Share it in the comments, below. 

By the way, if you choose to follow me, I promise I won't DM you with ads. I'm at http://twitter.com/MasteryCoach

Topics: marketing

What Does Coaching Excellence Mean to You?

Posted by Julia Stewart

For me,
Excellence = Success.
 
Maybe it's not quite that simple, but when you take all the skills a successful coach has, from coaching skills to marketing skills, you find that the more excellent the skills, the more success the coach is likely to enjoy.
 
Yes, I know, even a mediocre coach with great marketing skills can be successful. But an excellent coach with great marketing skills will trump the mediocre coach in the long haul.
 
Too many coaches mistake getting clients with coaching success. That's only half the equation. Keeping clients is what gives us sustainable success. When a good percentage of your clients stay for years, rather than months, the time and money you need to spend on marketing is hugely reduced. And if you've got a reputation as an excellent coach, referrals will come effortlessly.
 
Getting Clients + Keeping Clients = Sustainable Success
Effortless Referrals + Keeping Clients = Less Marketing
 
See how excellence is the key to having sustainable success AND the freedom to live the great life that coaches love to talk about (even though they're working seven days a week at marketing)? Without excellence, you're stuck on that marketing merry-go-round of having to sell, Sell, SELL.
 
Phew! Wears me out to think about it!
 
Coaching excellence lives at the leading edge; the developing edge that's constantly transcending and including what has gone before, while creating what's needed now. Coaches who possess excellence are willing to move out of their comfort zones regularly in order evolve ahead of the masses. It's our job to lead.
 
That's why I'm asking what coaching excellence means to you. We're constantly creating it, so no one ever completely knows what it is. We need to keep asking.
When you think about it, every bit of information that exists in the world begins with a question.
 
Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2005

Topics: Coaching, coaching success, marketing, getting clients, coaching excellence

Coaching Business: Not As Easy As It Looks

Posted by Julia Stewart

I think one of the toughest businesses in the would to build is a coaching business. I know this flies in the face of what your coach training school may have told you, before you signed up. I know that the story that I was told was that coaching businesses are easy to start and inexpensive to maintain, that you can name your own hours and make a six-figure income while working part-time. That you get to model "life balance" for your clients and you can fill your practice in as little as three months. ("Cool!" I thought.)

Actually, all of the leading coaches that I currently know about are working 12-16 hours per day, sometimes, seven days a week! Is that crazy, or what?

Why is it so hard to build a successful coaching business? Well, first you have to master your own personal development, so you can be a step or two ahead of your clients. Most of us haven't perfected this, in fact, it's a life-long project. Second, you have to master your coaching skills. Clients will gladly pay your fees if you can change their lives in a matter of minutes, but this requires a sophisticated level of skill. If you could learn it overnight, everyone would be doing it! Then you have to master marketing. If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you know how confused coaches are about this one. Finally, you have to master your business skills. Most coaches haven't owned a business, before, and this is a whole new ballgame! 

Anyone of the above masteries might take a person a few years to fully master, so why do new coaches commonly give themselves a year or two to "make it"? In addition to this enormous learning curve you still have a life, a family, income to earn, perhaps even a full time job. Any surprise that it feels so difficult?

In the real world, it tends to take about three to five years for a coach to be successful. Although, you idea of success may be very different from mine. (more on that in a future post)

If we could flatten the learning curve on any of the four masteries, that might shorten the time it takes to build a coaching business. Thomas tried to do that with the Certified Coach Proficiencies. They were supposed to give new coaches the skills they need to do great coaching in six months. Great idea! Now that we're finally certifying coaches, we're truly seeing that mastering the proficiencies means becoming a great coach. Six months isn't enough for everyone, but still, the learning curve is flatter than it used to be.

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2005 

Topics: coaching business, Coaching, coaching skills, marketing, business skills, personal development

    Subscribe for FREE: Learn About Coaching

    Follow Us

    The Coaching Blog

    If you're a professional Business or Life Coach or you're interested in becoming one, the SCM Coaching Blog covers topics you may want to know about: How to Become a Business or Life Coach, Grow a Successful Coaching Business, Get Coach Training and/or Business and Life Coach Certification, Become a Coaching Master and Evolve Your Life and Business. 

    Subscribe above and/or explore by tag, month or article popularity, below.

    Latest Posts

    Most Popular Posts

    Browse by Tag

    Top Career-Jobs Sites Living-Well blog