Updated: Jul 3, 2021
The results are in. A brief study has been conducted by a researcher at the Certified Life Coach Institute on how well coaches write for Social Media and Advertising.
The conclusion. Startling.
Coaches are UNAWARE of their potential clients "Awareness Level"
The problems that arise from a coach's unwitting writing can be found across the board; in a coaches ad space, their email lists, their landing pages, and their social media.
As it turns out, the messages and the copy coaches sent out into the world were just the same for someone who knows nothing about life coaching as it was for someone who knows everything about life coaching and about you.
This lack of consideration is a big problem and can lead to less traffic, shares, and clients for coaches.
The Remedy? Write for the "Awareness Level"
Last week on CLCI Live the team talked shop about Writing for Coaches and we summed up an enormous amount of information in the span of an hour. Knowing that there was so much more our audience wanted to know, we decided to follow up our discussion with a Part 2 on writing where Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Jerome LeDuff Jr (M.C.L.C.), and Anthony Lopez (M.C.L.C), talk about the "5 Levels of Customer Awareness" and how coaches can craft their writing to fit the awareness of their readers. We also include a bonus at the end where we briefly talk about the most successful headlines.
We hope you enjoy this lively discussion and be sure to comment on any future writing subjects you are interested in. Who knows...we may end up at a Part 100.
Eugene Schwartz's 5 Levels of Customer Awareness
There is no need for coaches to reinvent the wheel; the textbook on how to write incredible marketing and advertising has already existed for nearly 60 years. Eugene M. Schwartz was one of the most successful advertising copywriters in history and wrote an outstanding book called Breakthrough Advertising in 1966 that doesn't teach you how to write, but how to think like a marketing master.
We wouldn't and couldn't say this is the be-all end-all of marketing and, quite frankly, the book is a bit outdated. Luckily for you, CLCI can separate the wheat from the chaff with one of the most important takeaways from Mr. Schwartz.
What doesn't my audience know? What do they know?
The levels of customer awareness range from completely unaware to most aware and your writing must reflect the awareness of your intended audience and niche.
Level 1: Unaware
At this level, prospective clients have zero awareness that a problem or solution (coaching) exists. They may be completely content with their life or have just never thought to address potential problems in their life. This is simultaneously the most difficult level to write for but allows for the greatest amount of creativity.
We know that everyone has problems and goals that can be solved through coaching but many people's problems are not directly in their sight at any given moment.
At this level you can use social media to reach a large amount of people and generate interest in the problem you would then address when coaching your niche.
Target their emotion and address the problems they may be avoiding or not have addressed. What emotions or pain points will bring your audience together under a clear category of people you can coach. A sense of lightness and humor can go a long way when writing for the unaware and avoiding a direct sales pitch may be the best option.
On the flipside this is also a great realm for shock, surprise and tapping into their subconscious emotional state. Go straight for the heart strings, be direct, simple and specific.
Level 1 content often includes:
Big Eye-catching and Surprising Headlines and Banners
Secrets and inside knowledge
Hint: You aren't directly speaking directly about coaching but quickly moving prospective clients into the next level of awareness.
Level 2: Problem Aware
Your audience at this level may be vaguely aware of the problems they wish to address, but doesn't have the full picture just yet. Give them the full ugly picture.
Here is where you want to have a clear idea of who you are as a coach and what exactly it is you are helping people with through life coaching.
Say for example your niche is time management for creative business people. This is where you can write to better define the problem of poor time management and delve into the negative life-long effects of losing time.
Write to establish yourself as an expert in your field of life coaching. This is also a great space to share relevant and informative information. At this stage your client is researching, being a go to resource goes a long way in building trust...Write like you've been there and know the struggles your audience has been through.
Level 2 content often includes:
Empathetic Copy and Content
Speaking from a personal space
Addresses the pain and gives the solution
The benefits and the solutions
Demographics, psychographics, statistics, studies, articles that teach
Now we can seamlessly transition to the next level.
Level 3: Solution Aware
Think of this as the shop around or compare and contrast stage. In this space you want to introduce the reasons why you are the best choice for them.
Level 3 content often includes:
What makes you unique
How your process works and original
Your unique background and experience as it serves the purpose of your clientele
The proven benefits of your process
Awards and accolades
When coach's write for this level, they want to define the results the client wants clearly and concretely, and then distinguish themselves in comparison to other solutions.
Lets use time management as an example again...
A potential client feels like they barraged from all sides with obligations and wants to save enough time in the year to take 2 weeks on vacation without any interruption. What are some of the potential solutions? They could...
Download an app that helps organize their tasks
Hire an assistant to take care of the busywork
Hire a nanny to watch the kids more often
Go to therapy to work through boundary issues stemming from past trauma
Quit their job and be a hobo living from boxcar to boxcar
Give up on their goal and be content with a life of sadness and endless work.
they can find a life coach that will work with them and hold them accountable in reaching their goals.
You need to convince and help your prospective client understand that your solution is what could be best for them. Address what coaching can do for them, how its different from other solutions, and who you are as a life coach.
Here you can write to bring them to your landing page, write to explain what life coaching is, and how you offer solutions to your niche. Use testimony from those you've worked with and prove to your audience that life coaching is an excellent option for them.
When writing at this level, clearly define what are the benefits and features of working with you and only you.
Features vs. Benefits: Here's the Difference & Why It Matters by Dan Shewan is a great article that gives an in-depth look how to use both to advertise your service. Focus on the benefits of working with you and what the results of working with you look like, and also touch on the features.
So now that people are aware of the solution, what's next?
Level 4: Product [Service] Awareness
Here people are now aware of you and life coaching as a way to achieve their specific goals. They are also aware that there are other life coaches that may do similar things or address similar problems. At this stage they are also ready to be sold to. In fact they have likely already decided on you. Now they just need the motivation to buy.
Level 4 content often includes:
Sales, incencentives, coupons
Bonuses and add-ons
Creating Scarcity by limiting sales
Free Trials, free sessions, discovery calls
Step 5: Most Aware
You've made it, its all easy living and easy writing from here.
Okay, so you can't put in the bare minimum here but its an achievement nonetheless. Most likely these are the people that either hear about you from word of mouth and have seen the results of coaching or have worked with you firsthand. Maybe they have been following you on social media for quite sometime or have been continuously watching the content you consistently publish.
Level 5 content often includes:
Creating new offerings
Top-ups, upgrades, bonuses
Additional or different services
As coaches, we want to encourage our clients to become independent and free and that means we can't keep them codependent on our services. But this doesn't mean you can't offer alternatives to coaching. Maybe you want to write a book in the future or give discounts to friends and family of those you've previously work with. Perhaps hosting a coaching convention or an exotic retreat become viable business options and fun alternatives to one-on-one sessions.
Here is where writing seamlessly blends with your networking skills, confidence in your practice, and charisma. All of which take the time to develop but will lead to success in your practice that is not only fruitful but enjoyable,
Now That You're aware
In every piece of copy that you write. In every email, every ad, every landing page, every article, every social media post, ask yourself...
What doesn't my audience know? What do they know? What level of awareness are they at?
Nailing down these questions eliminates the confusion you may feel when writing copy and replaces it with the confidence that you know what you writing and for what purpose.
Now get out there coaches and spread some awareness.
Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr., and Anthony Lopez
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