If there’s one thing we know for sure around here, it’s that creating great coaching branding can be tricky. There are a lot of different sides to the word ‘brand’ and that makes it difficult to understand where you need to focus your attention on your, well, brand.
But regardless of what the terms are and what they mean, there are a ton of places where you can do a little bit of work to make your coaching brand stand out from your competition. And that’s what I’m sharing in this post today.
Creating a brand is a one-step-at-a-time process, and although it will likely take a few years to fully evolve your brand into its final version, you can start with the following twenty tips to get a jumpstart on having the brand you’ve always dreamed of.
Coaching Branding: 20 Actionable Tips That Will Help You Stand Out Right Now
If you’ve been struggling to create your coaching branding in a way that feels good and makes you proud, you definitely want to take the time to go through this list and see where you have room to improve.
Take what you need, leave what you don’t, and build a better brand.
1. Find clarity.
The most important thing you can do to create a great coaching brand is to clearly understand your coaching business. What do you do? Why are you doing it? What makes you a good choice for your ideal client?
Without clarity, your branding will end up all over the place. And as a coach, you need consistent branding that will support the messages you’re sending and attract the clients you want to work with.
This clarity will help you with every step of building your coaching business and brand in the future, so if you do nothing else from this list, let this step and the next one be the two you put all your time and energy into.
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2. Ideal coaching client research.
This has to be the most un-sexy phrase that ever existed in building a business. We know because we groan at it, too. But there’s no way around it: if you want to have an incredible coaching brand that people are lining up to work with, you have to understand who your ideal client is and what they’re struggling with.
Knowing your client affects everything in your business from how you price your services to how you market yourself.
Fear not, because we have a few resources to help you in our Resource Library for Coaches: the Marketing Research Workbook and Ideal Client Avatar Worksheet will help you put your ideal client on paper and show you whether that type of person is a good fit for your offers.
3. Define your coaching brand’s feelings.
After you have clarity on who you serve and with what, you need to understand the feeling you want your coaching branding to exude. Do you want your brand to be comforting? Cheerful? Inviting? No-nonsense? Quirky? Intense? Striking?
The emotions your branding evokes within your clients will do more on a subconscious level than the most perfectly crafted blog post ever will. So you need to understand (and use) those feelings to your advantage by constantly representing them.
If your brand should be comforting and inviting, you wouldn’t send out an intense email that’s going to make your ideal clients feel confronted by you. Little things like that can quickly break the trust you’ve built with your audience, so you need to know exactly what emotions your brand stands for and always act/write/be accordingly.
For example, when I created Alicia, our weight loss coaching template, I wanted the brand to be fun, light, and airy (as seen in the mood board below) to remove the negative stigma associated with the weight loss industry.
4. Do a brand audit.
Once you know who you serve and how your brand should feel, it’s time to look at your current coaching branding and ask yourself if it’s fulfilling the job it should be.
- Will others know what I do within 10 seconds of landing on my Instagram / Facebook / LinkedIn / Website?
- Is it clear who I work with and who should reach out to me?
- Does my branding design and copy all give off the same feelings? And are those feelings what I want to evoke?
- Do I feel like my branding is a good representation of the coaching business I want to grow into?
If your brand doesn’t feel cohesive, or there’s mixed messaging, or even if you’re not sure what your branding is saying about you as a coach, it might be time to consider some reworking.
5. Create a mission and vision statement.
It’s one thing to have an idea in your head about why you do what you do (and how you’ll do it), but it’s something else entirely to have the answers to those questions written down in a clear, concise way that you can share with other people. That’s why mission statements and vision statements are important for your coaching business.
Your mission statement is essentially what you hope to achieve with your business. It’s on a grander scale than simply making enough money to survive. More often, your mission statement relates to what you hope to do in a legacy sort of way.
Your vision statement is what you want your coaching business to grow into. How you want it to run, how it will fit into your schedule, how you’ll work, etc. It’s a commitment to yourself about what you’re focusing on to reach your goals. This statement is important because it keeps you on track, and doing the things that will actually help you reach your goals, rather than getting distracted by random offers or ideas that don’t serve your business.
6. Find your brand voice and tone.
The way you speak to your audience can have a huge impact on who’s going to work with you, and who’s going to walk away. Remember the feelings we talked about above? They’re coming into play here again. Your tone and the way you speak/write/present/communicate should align with your brand’s feelings.
Here’s an example: If I wanted to build a brand that was really inspiring, uplifting, and cheerful, I probably wouldn’t curse like a sailor in my marketing efforts. Or on social media. Or my website. Or anywhere, really. And I also wouldn’t make statements that could come across as trite or antagonistic.
The tone of voice you use in all of your communication efforts needs to match your branding. And it needs to be consistent. So identify how you’ll speak to people, and then stick to it.
Now, a lot of people say to me that they’re just going to speak the way they do in real life, but I want you to really take a look at that. Do you talk to your clients the exact same way as you do to your best friend? Probably not.
You have your public voice, and your private voice. Just clearly define what the public voice is, and you’re good to go.
7. Add a tagline or slogan.
A tagline or slogan is not a necessary element of your branding, but it can be super beneficial. Think about Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It.” Everyone knows that that’s Nike.
But really think about that slogan for a minute. It’s not random words, it’s more like a lifestyle for their ideal customers. The “Just Do It” slogan is a mantra for when they feel like it, and when they don’t.
Your tagline or slogan should have a deeper meaning than just what you do, or the results your clients get. It could be motivating, it could be life changing, or it could be a simple reminder to take action. Either way, it needs to be powerful and memorable, so that when people hear it, they associate it with you and your business.
Don’t rush to pick something just for the sake of having it. This is something you should take your time at, and think through completely before making a decision. And if nothing is jumping out at you or feels right, move on to something else.
8. Hire a branding coach.
As a coach, you know that coaching yourself (while super important) can also be really hard. You miss things. You believe your thoughts. You can’t see the forest for the trees. That kinda thing.
Well, same goes with building your brand. There will always be things you can’t see, or don’t realize, or skip over. Especially if you’re emotionally attached to it. And who of us isn’t emotionally attached to our businesses? Hellloooo.
That’s where a branding coach can be super beneficial.
A branding coach will walk you through all the things you need to identify internally and externally to create an effective brand. It’s their job.
So if you feel like you don’t know the first thing about your brand, maybe you should look into a branding coach.
9. Learn about branding design.
Unless you’ve already worked with a branding coach and/or professional designer, and they took you through all of these steps in the process, you’ve likely pieced together your branding in fits and starts, by looking at what others are doing and assuming you should be doing the same.
Good on you for taking the initiative.
But do you understand the purpose of branding, and how it plays into your business? Do you know what the components of a solid brand identity are? Do you really get how branding moves your business forward towards your goals?
Until you understand those deeper intentions of a brand identity, it’s easy to think of your brand in terms of “just a logo” or “the colors I use” or however you put it. Basically, it becomes easy to think of your branding as expendable or easily changeable.
But your branding is synonymous with your business success, especially when you reach a certain level. And that’s why it’s important to understand what branding is really doing for your business. On that note, here’s a book we recommend that will teach you what you need to know: How to Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone.
10. Change your brand colors.
The colors you use in your coaching branding will hugely impact the feelings your brand evokes in people. If you’ve done your brand audit and realized you’re not representing the vibe you want to be, you should start with learning a little bit about color theory.
Every color subconsciously represents certain emotions, and you should be picking colors that match the emotions you want your coaching brand to stand for. Once you’ve identified the colors you’ll use, you can play with tints and tones to help you create a cohesive color palette for your coaching branding.
11. Clean up your logo.
Here’s the bottom line on logos: they need to be simple enough that you can put them in a single color and they’re still recognizable. If your logo is overcomplicated, it’s not going to be memorable. And you want people to remember your logo.
If your logo doesn’t look like it could work in one color, or if there’s more than two fonts in it, it’s probably time for you to clean it up. Take a look and ask yourself how you can simplify it: do you need the illustration part of it? Can you decrease the number of fonts?
Be ruthless. It might seem like you’d be making your logo less memorable with these actions, but in fact, you’ll make it easier for people to recall after a single glance.
12. Elevate your coaching branding with icons, patterns, and illustrations.
Have you ever seen a brand that just seems to fall flat online? Like there’s no personality, no depth, no feeling? Sometimes that’s due to a lack of clarity, and sometimes it’s because there’s no texture to it.
Looking at something on a flat screen, with flat colors, and no tactile input can be boring. So in the design world, we use icons, patterns, textures, and illustrations to give a brand depth and trick the brain into thinking there’s a tactile experience happening, even though it’s still all just on a screen.
These added design elements make your coaching branding more visually interesting, and can keep people engaged in your content longer than if they were just looking at flat words on a white screen. But a word to the wise: don’t choose these things just for the sake of having them. Take your time and really make sure they add to your brand in an effective way, otherwise you’ll come across as chaotic, instead. And that’s no better than flat.
13. Embrace white space.
Text that runs up against a border or image is notoriously hard to read. Our brains would rather give up on reading it than struggle to keep going. That means your clients will leave a page on your website or stop looking at your social media accounts if they feel like everything is too cramped. Instead, leave plenty of white space around your text so it’s easy to absorb what you’re trying to teach them.
White space is literally ‘empty space’ around your photos, logos, and text. It gives your brain ‘visual space’ to process what’s going on.
If you’ve ever been to a nightclub or in a huge city with a lot of lights, noise, and people pushing you, and you’ve gotten overwhelmed, you can imagine what we’re talking about here. If you haven’t had that experience in life…well, your brain processes faster than mine.
A person’s brain can get overwhelmed at processing everything that’s going on in an image, on a web page, a brochure, whatever, if things are too cramped. And even if your brain doesn’t, you need to account for those of your clients’ brains that will.
14. Create a style guide.
We’re going to talk about consistency later in this list, but you can get a head start by creating a style guide for your coaching brand identity. A style guide is essentially a cheat sheet to help you (and anyone who works for or on your brand) make things look the same every time.
Your dream clients will struggle to recognize your brand if your branding always looks different, and that’s not a good thing. You want them to instantly know that it’s your post on social media, your video on YouTube that just popped up, your article they’re reading, etc. And a style guide helps you achieve that by making sure your design is consistent.
Here’s a sneak peak at ours:
Inside, pull together all of your approved logos, colors, fonts, and any design elements in one document. Include examples of how your social media graphics should look, what sizes your fonts should be, how your brand colors should be used, etc.
And then use that document to guide you every time you’re creating a new graphic, PDF, page on your website, or any other type of design work for your brand.
It creates a consistent look — one that your followers will come to recognize every time.
15. Hire a professional designer.
Sometimes you can’t get a firm grasp on what your coaching branding needs to look like, and there’s no shame in that. Unless you’re a coach with a design background, design can be super challenging. Especially because there are thousands of unspoken rules that you couldn’t possibly be aware of unless you study the concepts of design.
When your branding doesn’t feel right and you don’t have the time or inclination to research what might be going wrong, it’s probably time to hire a professional coaching branding designer. Make sure you’re not hiring just anyone — not all designers know how to design a full brand identity.
Check out the people you’re considering working with. Look at their portfolio, get on a consult with them, and interview them as hard as they’re interviewing you.
Here are a few questions to ask every designer you get on a consult with.
16. Update your about page to tell a story.
Your about page is arguably the most important page on your website. Yes, the other pages are important for lots of reasons, but the about page is where people go to get to know you.
We know (and have experienced first hand) that writing about yourself is one of the hardest things to do. The about page copy is so intimidating, and that means that most of them are written out like a professional bio or resume — and that’s the opposite of what your about page should sound like.
Instead, try to tell a story with this content.
The story doesn’t have to be major — and please don’t let it be the story of your life, because no one wants to read all that — but it does have to be about you, and your clients.
This is the page where you build a relationship with your website visitors. It’s where they figure out whether you’re really the person who can help them. So your story needs to show why you’re the coach they’ve been looking for.
Spend time on this. It’s not going to come together in a single setting (most likely). And if you need some help with where to get started, check out my YouTube video: Write Your Coaching Website About Page.
17. Rewrite your website headings.
In case you don’t already know, most people will read the headings on your website (the bigger, bolder text) first, and then decide whether or not they’ll keep reading all the rest of the copy. That’s why your headings are really important to do well.
There have been cases on our own website where we’ve written more than a dozen different versions of a heading (or a blog post title) before choosing the one most likely to encourage people to keep reading.
Even copywriters will tell you they spend more time on the headlines than they do on the rest of the content. They’re so incredibly important.
If you’ve got generic headings like “About Me” or “Learn About Transformational Coaching,” you probably want to consider rewriting them to something that’s going to get more attention. Just remember not to get too cute and clever with your headings, because if people don’t get what you’re saying, they won’t stick around for that content either.
18. Write your brand story.
You’re probably thinking “didn’t we just talk about telling a story on my about page?” Yep, we sure did. But your brand story is a little bit different.
You might include your brand story (or parts of it) on your about page, but there’s a good chance that not all of it will make it to that page. Instead, your brand story will be told in a series of communications: on the website, on social media, during consults, in person, and so many other places you probably can’t even imagine. In fact, I once told my brand story to a stranger at the airport, and he hired me to be his coach. Go figure!
The point is, you need to know what your brand story is, so you can tell it to people.
Start by outlining how your brand came to be, and what the purpose of it is. What drives you? What makes you so committed to building your business? What is your ultimate goal?
These things are all part of your story, and when you tell them to others (over and over again in lots of different ways), they’ll start to remember who you are.
19. Hire a copywriter.
If writing copy really isn’t your thing, consider hiring a copywriter. Sometimes, handing off the tasks that you’re struggling with is the best gift you can give yourself (and your coaching business). And writing copy, especially website copy, seems to be one of those things that stresses a lot of coaches out.
Here’s our best tip for hiring out your copy: whoever you work with, make sure that they’ve got experience doing what you need them to do. It’s one thing to ghostwrite a couple blog posts — it’s something entirely different to write conversion-ready website copy.
A really good website copywriter will probably run you a couple thousand dollars, so if you get a quote that seems much lower than that, get curious about that person and their experience.
And know this: if that copywriter doesn’t spend at least an hour on a call with you to learn about you and your business, they’re probably not going to be writing specifically for you, and you might end up with some generic content.
Don’t have a couple grand to drop on a copywriter? We get it. That’s why we’ve created a website copy guide for coaches — because we know exactly how much our clients struggle with this part of their business. In this copy guide, we walk you through everything that needs to be on every page of your website.
20. Be consistent.
If there’s one final thing I’d like to leave you with, it’s this one: always be consistent in your business and brand. Sure, rebrand if you need to. Sure, change things up and try new stuff and explore plenty of different opportunities.
By consistent, I mean show up and be the type of coach your clients want and expect you to be.
I bet if you asked yourself where you’re not being consistent right now, you could come up with a list of ways you could improve, without me having to give you examples. But I’ll give you a few anyway.
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you’ve set a schedule and shared it with people, stick to that schedule. If people expect something from you because you’ve trained them to, give it to them.
I’m not saying you can’t change things; change your schedules, change your marketing methods, whatever — just be sure you tell people that you have. Don’t surprise your audience by not doing what they’ve come to rely on. Because they’ll feel betrayed, or like you’ve broken their trust. And they’ll find someone else to rely on.
These are just some of the ways you can create better coaching branding. Our blog is a wealth of information and tips that can help you take your business even further. But I really do recommend starting here, first.
No matter what you decide to take from this list and work on, make sure you have fun doing it. While not everything is going to be your favorite task in the world, remind yourself that it’s all part of building a better coaching brand — and the growth that comes from these tasks should be satisfying to you as a business owner, even if they aren’t all fun.
About The Author
Hey! I’m Cass, a brand coach and the Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches elevate their businesses with beautiful branding and websites. Here on our blog, my content focuses on branding, web design, and storytelling.