We have heard of confidence in context to the self far too often, but how does it apply to a coaching brand? Or any brand for that matter?
Let’s talk about this.
The phrase “brand confidence” or “customer confidence” is widely accepted in marketing circles as the cornerstone to strong and loyal relationships.
As it happens, customers treat brands in the same way that they treat people — they hold them to a perceived standard and only engage with the ones they trust. Even when it comes to shelling out dollars, they actively seek brands that won’t let them down.
That’s where confidence comes into play — the ten-letter word single-handedly secures trust, loyalty, and proclivity for a brand. It’s what makes customers pick you over and over because they are convinced of your ability and believe you have their best interests in mind.
You see it’s not enough to tell them you’ll deliver; you need to have them buy into it as well.
As American motivational speaker Zig Ziglar puts it: “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”
But how do online coaches attain customer trust and confidence? How do they demonstrate that they are trustworthy and reliable?
Here’s walking you through 8 watertight tactics to generate that goodwill and brand fandom, and build customer confidence once and for all. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
1. Let them know they’re talking to a human and not a bot
Imagine sitting in a classroom while a robot drones on about the oppression of women across history. Any chance it will strike the right notes of passion and empathy, and inspire you to dedicate your life’s work to women empowerment? Or even motivate you to sign up for an upcoming Women’s March?
We think not.
There’s a reason why robots can’t replace humans as teachers. They can’t inspire or push students to excellence; nor can they mentor or support them through personalized attention.
Take it from Steve Jobs, the powerhouse of technology; these are his views on education, “the most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.”
Despite that, plenty of animated and impassioned coaches teach their classes in a sterile, non-humorous monotone stating concepts in a matter-of-fact manner <ugh!> — practically boring their audience to sleep!
Well, news flash: There’s no way you are securing their trust in you or your methods like that.
You’ve got to move beyond the traditional methods to make them feel, you know, at home. They should always be wanting to keep coming back for more.
One legendary example of making a customer feel on the top of the world while they’re in crisis is Amazon’s epic customer service experience from back in the day.
The chat of a customer service agent pretending to be Thor from Norse Mythology pretty much went viral because of the epic experience he gave to the customer.
Go on, read it:
If the brief for the agent were to stick to conventional, boring customer service, would the world ever find out about this interaction?
Suffices to say, trust and confidence in Amazon’s service were restored – and how!
Think back to a time where you just HAD to contact customer support but were greeted by a machine that kept insisting you couldn’t have an issue beyond the five or so it was designed to address. Frustrating AF, right?
Whether it’s in your courses, on your site, or your support, move beyond the usual run-of-the-mill methods, and try to make the customer feel like they made the right decision by choosing you. And, memorable experiences are just the way to go about it!
2. Anticipate their needs before they’ve stated them
Wish to find out the secret on how to impress your target audience? Know what they need even before they do.
How? By paying attention to:
- Their buying habits,
- The problems that plague them,
- What stage in the buying journey they are in;
For instance, we know that a 25 to 40 year-old professional in the tech industry is constantly looking for opportunities to upskill himself (awareness). So, if say a data scientist comes across an ad for an advanced data science course, he/she is guaranteed to stop and take notice.
Or let’s say they are already considering enrolling in a course (consideration) and what’s keeping them is the myriad of options before them. At this point, you can supplement them with insightful testimonials and reviews to tip them in your favour.
Once they’ve enrolled into your course (decision and beyond), your next goal should be to deliver top-class customer experience with a focus on retention.
For example, sites like Amazon do that “Recommended For You” thing where they suggest related products based on your past purchases.
Maybe you recently bought a pair of high-waist, ripped Levi’s from them. Not long after, Amazon will have curated a list of Levi’s items, high-waist and/or ripped jeans that you might like.
Maybe you were looking for a certain remote control toy on Amazon. Soon enough, Amazon will go “couldn’t find what you were looking for?” and BAM! there’s that toy you were looking for in front of you.
Mighty impressive, innit? And you’ve got to give it to high-performing sites like Amazon, their recommendations are BANG ON!
Plenty of other brands leverage similar expectations-exceeding tactics to stay on top of their customer’s priority lists.
Isn’t it curious how the moment you search for something on Google, you start seeing ads for it on every app and social media platform? That’s what it is.
Whether it is through feedback, customer support, or direct surveys, brands keep gathering intelligence on their customers to optimize their marketing campaigns for top-notch experience.
This has plenty to do with mapping a customer journey and meeting them where they are in their purchase process: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, or Retention. We’ve discussed all about this in another blog — Customer journey map: Why you need to create one before selling your online courses.
Simply put, at every touchpoint, your aim should be to stand out and show your audience that you are their best bet. Make them feel like they’re understood and accounted for.
Always stay one step ahead of them and keep wowing them with thoughtful efforts — only then will they stick with you.
Oh and, anticipating needs and staying two steps ahead is not some one-off deal — coaches should consistently invest in such value-adding measures to be acknowledged as a pioneer and thought-leader in their industry.
Just as well, here are some quick, easy-peasy tips to help you out:
- Send free course samples,
- Hold customer satisfaction surveys,
- Include them in your product announcements,
- Let them be a part of beta/validation tests for new products,
- Offer attractive discounts or loyalty points.
3. Build relationships, not customer lists
We are all too familiar with coaching brands that take a churn-and-burn approach to attracting students. To them, if it works out, it works out. If not, there’s always other fish in the sea.
Such a reckless approach makes no sense whatsoever. Which is probably why most coaches’ success is short-lived.
Too many brands fail to recognize that with every customer, there is an opportunity to build a relationship so meaningful that they become your loyal fans and continue to advocate for your brand long after they’ve completed your course.
It’s a rookie mistake, if anything.
We are saying this in all seriousness — if you continue to view your customer as merely a source of monetary success, you’ll close shop eventually.
The only winning formula for long-term success is to develop and nurture personalized relationships grounded in transparency, ones that inspire loyalty and trust in your abilities.
Find ways to add value to their learning experience so when they win, you win.
This could simply mean putting out high-quality content that addresses their pain points, answering their questions, having 1:1s, organizing meetups outside your coaching program — anything that encourages the kind of trust and affinity, and makes way for two-way relationships.
That’s how you can ensure they’ll choose you over others time and again.
Make sure you celebrate your students by acknowledging their successes, big or small.
Pro-Tip: Provide exemplary customer service; it goes a long way in securing trust since customers feel like you value and care for them beyond their initial purchase.
4. Make the buying process effortless
Bringing potential customers to your sales page is no child’s play, what with the months of marketing effort it takes to hit the right nail.
ALL that labour, and for what? Only to have them walk away at the last moment because your sales page was too complex? That doesn’t sound right.
But it happens.
What’s surprising is how few coaching brands take this seriously. That’s one of the primary reasons why their coaching programs don’t sell as swiftly as they’d like.
The gold standard for any successful brand is quick and efficient selling.
Your customers have numerous options before them and they’ll gravitate towards the brands that make the buying process effortless.
It’s really that simple.
The checkout process is a crucial touch point between you and your customers.
Don’t disregard their time by making them search for critical information on your clunky website. The more time they spend locating course details, the more frustrated they’ll get.
According to a Gartner survey, 77% of B2B buyers lack confidence in a company because finding information was too difficult.
Instead of complicating your checkout page needlessly, pack it with as much helpful information as possible.
Follow these tips for a customer-friendly checkout experience:
- Avoid too many options; don’t keep them guessing
- Avoid too much content; cut the BS and get to the point
- Have a clear-cut design, none of those painfully contracting colors and stylized fonts (you might as well flash a neon light in their eyes -_-)
- Have customer support at the ready.
5. Their goals > Your profit
If you want your coaching business to reach heights, you CAN’T look at your customers as revenue streams.
That, friend, is a fast-track to doom.
Here’s the harsh truth: As far as the credibility of your course is concerned, if it is not helping your customers achieve their goals, it’s not worth buying.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to prioritize their goals over your profits.
If you promised them mastery in digital marketing, it is mastery in digital marketing you should deliver. If you guaranteed they would become trained Salsa dancers by the end of the course, that’s EXACTLY where they should be on completing your course.
Take inspiration from the strong-willed Coach Ulo who pushes his clients to achieve their goals come what may:
What happens when your customers meet their goals? They feel satisfied with their investment. They begin associating positive results with your brand which helps build confidence in your brand.
What’s more, a happy customer is highly likely to recommend you to their connections. Whereas, an unhappy customer whose expectations you did not meet will regret his investment. And nothing spells more trouble than a customer feeling like they lost hard-earned money to a BS brand!
- Stay focused on the skills they need to learn and plan goal-oriented lessons to help them get there faster.
- Go above and beyond in providing value,
- Be reachable so students can address their doubts and queries,
- Assign work that elicits critical thinking, organize brainstorming sessions, debates, 1:1 interactions to push the boundaries of their thinking.
If you aren’t doing any of the above, your customers will leave you for your competitors in a heartbeat.
And there goes all your hard work to waste.
Think about it, the majority of your customers will visit your business just one time. All the money and time you’ve invested in perfecting a marketing strategy to drive traffic to your pages gives you ONE shot with your customers.
Imagine messing it up because you were too busy rejoicing the quick buck, especially since nearly 57% of customers spend on brands they feel loyal to. And it takes nearly 5x more the cost and marketing efforts to acquire new customers than to retain an existing one!
6. Acknowledge their feedback and work on it
We’ve said this before and we are saying it again — a valued customer is a loyal customer.
Let’s say one of your customers submits a genuine concern about your course and you brush it aside, do you think they’ll bother ever contacting you again? Unlikely.
On the other hand, you hear them out and show you appreciate their feedback by actually FIXING the issue they are facing, what happens then? You win their respect and loyalty forever! (Until you commit a crime of course)
Take an example of JetBlue Airways that is known to go the extra mile for their customers. Check out their empathetic response to a customer who complained about their unresponsive website.
Tackled that like a boss, didn’t they?
If your customers feel like their opinions are heard and valued, they will keep coming back for more. Why? It makes them feel like they’ve had a hand in improving your brand and so, they will stick around to see you get better.
What’s more, they will inevitably become your brand advocates and start recommending your course to anyone who might be interested. And we all know why a killer student referral program is a must-have for your course, don’t we?
So, keep channels open for feedback and constructive criticism. In fact, begin as soon as your sale goes through. Take cue from AJIO:
Thereafter, keep encouraging your students to leave reviews throughout their learning process.
Pro tip: Add clear bylines under every lesson requesting genuine and insightful reviews.
Let your customers know they can contact you via email, social media, or any other channel you are accessible through.
We bet you it pays off!
7. Ask them to join you on social media and make sure to interact with them on a daily basis
Does this even need to be said?
More than half (50.64%) of the world’s population is on social media (3.96 billion people, to be precise). And that’s including your target audience, AND their family and friends.
Any social sharing, referral/word-of-mouth publicity goals you wish to achieve, this is where it will happen.
It’s also your best bet to reach millions of people within the wee seconds of posting an ad.
Not only can you improve engagement and keep your audience updated through social media, you also stand to build a rock-hard brand presence and attract lasting customer loyalty by taking thoughtful steps to interact with them on a daily basis.
So, it goes without saying that your audience should be following you on all your active social media platforms.
It needn’t be as a favour — “Hey, if you liked our content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!”
Instead, give them reason to follow you. How? By providing value. By engaging with them regularly. By showing them what they’re missing out on by not following you.
Once you onboard them to your accounts, KEEP them!
- Share quality content
- Be human; speak to your follows like you would with your friends
- Answer questions people ask you
- Respond to people who mention you
- Encourage your clients to leave reviews
Oh and make sure your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles are optimized with HD profile pictures, crisp descriptions, and relevant keywords. It signals your authority and boosts visibility.
With social media, what you have is an effective, low-cost strategy to build confidence in your brand. Leverage it!
8. Follow through on your promises
This one may seem obvious so we’ll keep it short.
It begins with your value proposition. Those learning goals you promised at the beginning of your course? Deliver them.
Those ads you ran advertising personalized attention? Deliver it. Hold in-person classes, weekly doubt resolution sessions, and provide regular updates through emails, newsletters, or your social media handles.
That promise of top-class customer experience? Exceed expectations! Make sure the buying process is simple and clutter-free. Meet them where they are in their buying journey. Surprise them, keep winning their trust with your consistent efforts.
Deliver. Deliver. Deliver.
Because that’s what trusted brands do; they follow through on their promises, and in the process, win customer confidence.
Don’t at any point dupe or mislead them. If you promised them a free ebook or course sample, that’s exactly what they should get. Don’t crush their excitement by including hidden charges along the way.
Similarly, if you plan to bump up your course prices, be upfront about it. Customers appreciate honesty and transparency.
If you are seen as someone who treats their customers like VIPs and puts in solid efforts to deliver results, you will cement your position as a leading authority in your industry.
While we are at it, here’s an excellent way to build authority: If you pledged to donate a portion of your earnings to a social cause, honor it. Did you know that nearly 56% of customers are of the opinion that brands capitalize on societal issues simply to attract customers and don’t follow through?
There’s your chance to stand out by holding true to your promise.
Looking for ideas on how to showcase your commitment to morally-responsible causes? Take inspiration from Arata, the Vegan & Cruelty-free beauty brand that provides updates on their sustainable activities on a month-to-month basis.
Not making good on your promises is staggeringly reputation-crushing! There’s no sugar coating this: it can destroy your coaching business beyond resurrection.
So reader, you’ve been warned!
8 things online coaches should NEVER do
You’ve read about what needs to be done. Now, read about what needs to be NOT done.
Don’t #1: Abandon them after their purchase
Online coaches make the mistake of believing that once they’ve got hold of a student, their job’s done. They make no effort in retaining them, and end up losing customers right and left.
As a matter of fact, acquiring a customer is the beginning of your long-term relationship with them. Don’t mess it up!
Send them a welcome mail and explain what’s going to happen next. Encourage them to join your newsletter to stay updated.
You’ve got to support them throughout the learning process, shower them with freebies/incentives to keep them motivated, and continue fine-tuning your product offerings based on their feedback.
Don’t #2: Treat them like transactions
A high-value customer is as important as a low value customer. Both trusted you with their money. If either of them leaves a negative review on your course, it’s bound to damage your reputation.
So, make sure you dedicate honest efforts to educate every student under your care. Value your students’ goals as much as you value your profits.
Don’t #3: Use stale, irrelevant data
For instance, Data Scientist was considered to be the #1 Best Job in America between 2016 to 2019. Most recently, it’s been replaced by the likes of Java Developers and Front-End Developers. So, if you have a software and technology course you’d created before 2020, chances are your data is outdated.
Time to update? Absolutely! And that applies to every course creator. Whether it is numbers, figures, trends, or course material, make sure you update your content regularly to maximize its impact.
Don’t #4: Leave customers unattended/unheard for too long
Whether it’s a suggestion, your support, or something they generally asked for you to do or make happen, try to be as prompt as possible. This will make your students trust you and rely on you. The next time they are struggling with a problem, it’s you they’ll turn to for answers.
Also, it’s best to avoid automation where actual customers are involved. Check out Bank of America’s swift and personalized customer care approach on Twitter:
Don’t #5: Overpromise and underdeliver
Don’t give your students false expectations. You might succeed in securing them, but the negative publicity that will follow is not worth the short-term success.
In fact, underdelivering can lead to potentially perilous outcomes, the most dangerous being depleted credibility.
The moment one or two of your students come up and bad-mouth your course, your entire reputation will come tumbling down.
So, if anything, exceed your customer’s expectations by overdelivering. That will bode perfectly with winning their confidence in your brand.
Don’t #6: Dwell on the negative feedback for too long
We know it’s hard to ignore negative feedback, especially when you are operating on a public platform. That’s where the meanest of trolls reside. One comment about your voice or body language, and it’s enough to make you want to crawl under a rock.
It’s important to understand though negative feedback is part of running a business — best to be thick-skinned and not take it to heart.
As Dumbledore would say, “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
So, don’t let it keep you awake at nights. Acknowledge it and move on.
Don’t #7: Stick your head in the sand
Keep tabs on what your competitors are doing and why they’re doing it better. Your customers know it, you should too.
The prices they are charging, courses they are offering, their marketing campaigns, USPs — basically, anything that might be making them stand out and win over your potential customers.
- Do students stand a better chance to achieve their learning goals through their course? If so, why?
- Are they addressing queries better than you are? Are they more reliable?
- Are they more active and engaging on social media?
- What are their weaknesses? How can you capitalize on them and stand out?
- Which of their failed strategies should you eliminate from your marketing campaigns?
In this manner, you might just learn one or two things and gain that much-needed competitive edge in the market.
Don’t #8: Be a miser
Reward your customers for their loyalty. Whether it is discounts on their next purchase, free ebooks, PDFs, or gift vouchers, make sure your students feel valued and appreciated.
Over to you!
So, these were some tips on securing customer confidence. Start implementing them right away; serve and delight your customers thoughtfully at every touchpoint to get them to notice. Eventually, your brand name will stick and find its place on the top of their priority lists.