As an entrepreneur, you know the importance of building a personal brand. It’s how you stand out in your industry, attract your ideal clients and grow your business into the future.
But while many of us understand the ‘why’, we struggle with the ‘how’. How do you build a brand for your online coaching program that makes you unforgettable, and enables you to charge premium prices at scale?
We talked to Dana Malstaff, CEO and founder of Boss Mom, to learn what strategies she used to build her own highly successful brand. In 2015, Dana launched Boss Mom, a community for women passionate about building businesses and families. In less than a year she grew the brand into a six-figure business. Since then she has authored books, now speaks internationally, and runs her online coaching business while raising her own family.
Watch this video to learn strategies for building brand visibility and growing a tribe for your online coaching program:
What is a brand and why is it so important?
It’s not just your logo, your website, or a moodboard on pinterest. It’s not even your values, or mission statement. While these elements play a role, they are just the beginning of your brand story.
Your brand is what people experience: how they experience you, how they perceive you, and what feelings you evoke when interacting with others.Your brand is what people experience: how they experience you, how they perceive you, and what feelings you incite when they interact with you. Click To Tweet
To build a strong brand as a coach in the online space, you need to create touchpoints that chart a cohesive experience. The more you increase those touch points, the more you will raise the ‘know, like and trust’ factors of your business.
“Your goal in building a brand is to create a magnetic space where people are drawn to you, and feel compelled to tell others about you.”
– Dana Malstaff
If you can cultivate a feeling for prospective clients that you are the perfect person to help them solve a problem, then your brand will stand the test of time.
How to build your coaching brand
Your first step is to spend some time developing your brand vision.
Dana calls this process setting your Movement Manifesto.
The idea behind this exercise is that every great brand is based on some kind of movement. Meaning, if you’re not out to solve a problem, or issue that other people care about, it will be hard to get others excited about what you do.
Creating a manifesto for your brand gives you direction on how you should communicate to your audience. This should then inform the design of your core brand elements, like your logo, website.
Create your personal brand statements: Your Movement Manifesto
The goal with this exercise is to get you thinking about the type of brand you want to cultivate. With each one below, challenge yourself to write at least five phrases to complete the statement.
- I believe…
- I want to live in a world where…
- This is what I know to be true…
Here are some examples to help you get started:
- I believe. On a personal level, think about statements that describe what you believe to be true in your everyday life. E.g. I believe I can work from anywhere, for six hours a week, and not feel guilty about how and when I work.
- I want to live in a world where. On an industry level, think about things you wish were true that are currently not. E.g. I want to live in a world where moms are not frowned upon for running home-based businesses while sending their children to daycare.
- This is what I know to be true. Think about your morals and write statements on how you want to communicate those to the world. E.g. All of us have amazing gifts. As coaches, there are more than enough clients to go around when we focus on collaboration and showcasing our unique capabilities.
Doing this exercise provides a couple of key benefits to building your brand.
One, it helps you decide what you care about most. So when you sit down to create content for your online course, emails, or social media, you’ll have clarity on what key messages to emphasize.
Second, it helps you decide what you want to be known for. This is the second phase of branding: choosing what language, specialty, and transformation you want your clients to associate with you.
After developing your Movement Manifesto, you’ll end up with some keywords that describe your brand. Take note of these words and phrases – you’ll want to see them permeate every conversation you have, online and off.
Next, we’ll dive into some strategies you can use to get your brand message out to your community.
Related article: Want more tips on how to build a personal brand? Check out our complete guide to How to Build a Personal Brand.
Three strategies to build your personal brand
With your brand manifesto in hand, it’s time to start putting yourself out there. Here are Dana’s top three strategies for building your brand as a coach.
Strategy #1: Become ‘micro-famous’ in related communities
Rather than trying to become the world most renowned coach right out of the gate, set a goal to become ‘micro-famous’ in someone else’s community first. Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Pick two to three existing groups in your space and start to hang out in the communities. Note, don’t pick groups that directly compete with your own business. Find ones that compliment your own.
- Start to engage with the community every day to test out how your message resonates with the group. Focus on adding value.
- With the keywords from your manifesto in hand, search for these terms in the group conversations, and only comment on the conversations that match the key brand messages you want to be known for.
Chances are, you’ll start to become known in that community for solving a particular problem. When this happens, people are more likely to start recommending you. From there, you can create your own space with your own ecosystem.
“Don’t try to start your own group and wonder why you are the only one hanging out there! Be consistent in adding value in other communities first, and your brand will start to grow naturally.”
– Dana Malstaff
Strategy #2: Get featured as an expert on other channels
As a coach, a big part of your strategy to build your brand should include being featured as an expert on other people platforms to build clout for your business.
Now, we’re not saying you need to aspire to a TED Talk right out of the gate. Focus on starting small – there are dozens of ways to get out there as an expert. Here are a few that work well for coaches:
- YouTube channels
- Facebook lives
- Guest blogs
- Live speaking events
To decide what works best for your business, think about where your audience hangs out. Do they spend a lot of time online, or do they like to go to events?
Whatever channel you choose, make it a priority to go out and get people talking about your brand!
To learn some of the specific strategies Dana used to build her own Boss Mom coaching brand, watch the video above!
Related article: want to know how to create a thriving Facebook group to sell your online course? Check out our complete guide on How to Create a Facebook Group For Your Business.
Strategy #3: Cultivate your tribe
As you start to build your community, be intentional about building your tribe. If you’re wondering how to create a band of highly engaged followers and clients like Dana, take this to heart: it’s not about you.
As the group facilitator, think of yourself as the host, rather than the leader. Why? Dana puts it well…
“If you tell everyone you’re a leader, no one cares. But if you lead by raising people up in your community, by pouring into their specific businesses and empowering them to shine as experts, that’s when the magic happens.”
– Dana Malstaff
This is the same concept Simon Sinek talks about in his book, Leaders Eat Last. Remove yourself from the centre of attention, create opportunities for people to contribute and feel valued, and you’ll have people stepping up as your ambassadors.
Here are some examples of ways you can do this.
- Ask your community for help. If you’re working on a new program or new launch, as your community for feedback. What do they think about your brand? Your price point? The value received? By including them in your process, you’re sending the message that you really care about their input and are dedicated to creating programs to help them.
- Assign roles. Wherever your community congregates – in-person, in a Facebook group, or a slack channel – pick three to four ambassadors in your group and assign them roles.For example, if you run a Facebook group, assign someone to moderate comments. Or, assign someone a day each week where they are in charge of facilitating conversations on a topic they’re excited about.
Continue to apply these tactics over time, and you will have an engaged group of ambassadors in your community.
A common pitfall, and what to do about it
As you build up your clientele and start to gain momentum, Dana sees many coaches run into the same challenge: keeping up with running the back end the business.
This is important for branding because without good systems, your customer service will tank, impacting your reputation. Between dealing with payments, client correspondence, and a litany of administrative tasks, many coaches are left scrambling and stretched too thin.
If you can relate, consider that it might be time to bring on a project manager to keep things running smoothly. Both your clients and future self will thank you for it!
Want to learn more about how to grow your coaching business through online courses? Download the Online Coach Blueprint below for a step by step roadmap to creating your first online coaching course.