Successful Coaching Websites are Designed to Do Three Things. Is Yours?

Client Repellent: The First-Date Proposal

On a sunny Sunday afternoon at a festival in town, two of my closest friends–a single guy and a single girl–met, connected, and proceeded to break a cardinal rule of enrolling clients. It wasn’t “their” fault as much as it was his, but he couldn’t help himself. I’d seen it happen many times before and the moment I heard those words I knew it was happening again.

While they chatted about their pasts and futures (she was about to start a new life in California), I relaxed and listened to the live music. All was well. But then, by chance, the music got quiet and I overheard him say it:

“I’d love to visit you on the West Coast.” Oh, boy. My friend was caught up in the moment, yet again, and jumping ten steps ahead and he, like every coach who follows his strategy, would pay the price.

While he was ready to propose to the girl he just met, she was soon running for the hills. But his story does have a happy ending. It simply took a new strategy, one that every coach should copy.

Dating Your Customer

“Dating your customer” is an old marketing adage, but it’s as true today as it was a hundred years ago. If you want to consistently enroll new clients, you must nurture the relationship and develop trust before making your pitch. In other words, you must date your client.

You can’t propose the first time you meet. Just like two people coming together at a festival, more often than not they’re not ready mentally or emotionally to make that kind of commitment. That takes time. Yes, you can get lucky when a new website visitor is ready to go from day one, but 99 times out of a 100, asking for the sale on that first interaction will end in rejection.

You can’t propose on the first date.

In fact, it can take six to eight interactions with a prospect before they’re ready to invest, which brings us to the all-important question: how do you get those future interactions?

If your website is like most of the coaching websites I see, you make a strong offer to sign up for a free session or to enroll in your program. For someone just coming into contact with your brand, that’s the equivalent of meeting the parents and popping the question–too much, too soon.

Most visitors aren’t ready for that level of commitment, so unless you have something lower-risk to offer, they’re gone. Often within three seconds. What this means is that most coach’s websites are turning away nearly every one of their potential clients. Tens of thousands of dollars–not to mention all those people they could have helped–swept right off the table.

If this is the state of your website, you need to make a change. You need a way to keep in touch with your visitors until they are ready to make a commitment, until they’re ready to meet the parents and say yes to the proposal.

And while there are many ways to connect with your prospects, from social media and content marketing to public speaking and paid ads, the most effective way to get those six to eight interactions and to build that trust, is email.

Email is still the best way to connect and develop a relationship with your prospects. Unlike every other option, it’s affordable, it’s convenient, it’s direct, and it’s yours.

In fact, it can take six to eight interactions with a prospect before they’re ready to invest…

3 Steps to a Great Date

At SavvyHippo, we create websites for certified coaches with all of the coach-specific elements you’d expect like a way for visitors to request a free session or apply to join a paid program, but a lot of our time is actually spent putting in place everything they’d need to build an email list.

So this isn’t just theory for us–it’s the core of what we do for clients, and while there are many pieces to the email puzzle, I want to cover the 10,000-foot view to help you get started if you’re not already there.

First things first, you need something of value to offer a visitor in exchange for their name and email. Gone are the days of slapping an optin form on your site for newsletter updates. That just doesn’t work. Given the limitless options and the divided attention of our audiences, you need to offer something truly valuable to entice a visitor to hand over access to their inbox.

As you probably already know, these offers are called lead magnets–because, when done right, they attract your ideal lead like a magnet–and come in many forms: cheat sheets, checklists, tools and tutorials, ebooks, audios, videos…anything that your audience finds valuable.

At SavvyHippo, we usually create a short guide, a cheat sheet, or a checklist for our clients, something that’s quick and easy to consume, to use, and to benefit from.

Second, you want to write a series of emails to welcome your new subscriber into the fold. Just as you shouldn’t propose to new visitors the first time they land on your site, you also shouldn’t propose in the first email they ever receive from you. Build the trust, build the relationship, date your prospect.

Welcome them to your community, share a bit of your story, tell them what to expect, and deliver value, which includes, of course, your free session offer.

Third, you’ll need a service to bring everything together and deliver the goods. We use and recommend ConverKit with our clients, but if you’re looking to test the waters of email marketing, MailChimp is a great backup. Though it doesn’t come with as many options or as much control, its free version (up to 2,000 subscribers) makes for a great place to start if you’re not yet ready to commit to a permanent solution.

Given the limitless options and the divided attention of our audiences, you need to offer something truly valuable to entice a visitor to hand over access to their inbox.

A Happy Ending

Date your prospects. Get to know them, let them get to know you, and build the trust necessary for a long-term commitment. That’s the key to consistently enrolling clients. And it’s the key to a successful proposal.

Just last week, my over eager friend with a history of asking for too much, too soon, learned to slow things down, to develop a real relationship, and to pop the question at just the right time.

And she said yes.

If you know you need to update your website (or launch your first) with the pieces we talked about today, but are overwhelmed by the idea of doing it all yourself, we can help. At SavvyHippo, we create client-generating websites for certified coaches that come with everything you need to attract, serve, and enroll paying clients.

If you’re interested in learning more, we invite you to request a free website audit. We’ll review your website and return with a full report on the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll also create a complimentary home page mockup to show you the potential of what your site has to offer.

To learn more and request your audit, click here.

Free Certified Coach Website Audit

Want us to tell you exactly how to generate more leads and clients? If you’re a certified coach, you’re eligible for our free website audit, an in-depth critique of what your site is doing right and what it could be doing better.


REPORT: A custom audit report detailing what your site is going right and what it could be doing better


LIVE CALL: A live, one-on-one call to review your report and outline a plan to enroll more clients


MOCKUPS: Complimentary home page design mockups to reveal the potential of your website

The SavvyHippo Service™

Ready for a website that not only impresses your peers but also generates leads, prospects, and clients every day? Click below to learn more and apply to become a client.


BRAND: A cohesive, compelling brand message and brand image to communicate your true value


STRATEGY: A three-stage client funnel to seamlessly guide new visitors from leads to prospects to clients


BUILD: A state-of-the-art, mobile-friendly website built with client-generating architecture


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