A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Marketing Copywriting for Coaches

Copywriting 101: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Marketing Copywriting for Coaches (and Consultants)

TLDR: Running a biz is hard. Effective marketing is harder. Better copywriting is the easy answer. Follow this guide to write effective sales and marketing copy for your coaching or consulting business.

If you were to ask any coach or consultant what their biggest challenge is right now… they’d answer “finding clients” or “generating leads”.

Hands down. No contest. It’s the ONLY thing that matters.

But here’s the deal; reliable lead generation comes from good marketing.

And good marketing comes from good copy.

Sure, there’s a lot more that goes into marketing, but copy lives at the heart of effective marketing, no matter what you’re selling or who you’re serving.

These days, effective copywriting for coaches is about more than just stringing a few pretty or professional words together. It’s about creating an emotional connection with the reader. But that’s harder than it sounds, especially given what we’re taught in school.

Here’s exactly how to navigate effective sales and marketing copywriting for coaches—even if you have no idea where to start:

Why Writing Copy For Services Is Different from Products

When I’m writing copy for a coach or service provider, one of my favorite things to remind them is that we’re “not selling socks.” 

The fact is; selling a service, especially a high-ticket one, is infinitely harder than selling a product.

Copywriting is HARD.

Services require a different, more delicate approach. You can’t just smash them in the face with the features and call it a day.

Here’s why:

Products:

Selling a product is largely based on what a consumer feels about the product VISUALLY. Is it cute? Is it pretty? Is it macho AF?

I dunno about you, but I’m guilty of buying things based purely on how cool the label is. Wine especially. Sue me; I like pretty shit.

The point is many, many products are just commodities competing on price. Most of the features are the same, and it really just comes down to cost and how much you like the look.

Services:

On the other hand, selling a service is based on what a consumer feels about the perceived OUTCOME or RESULTS gained from using the service.

This means that accurately conveying those outcomes and results gets harder and harder the more sophisticated your buyer becomes.

Naturally, this puts you at a severe disadvantage when it comes to generating leads with a reliable marketing engine for your service-based business.

Listen to me if you want to learn copywriting for coaches.

But if you follow the basic steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to write or edit high-performing marketing copy for your coaching business. Or, you’ll know what to look for when hiring a copywriter to do it for you…if that’s your kind of thing.

What to Do Before You Start Writing

Now that you know how important customer feelings are to your copywriting, there are a few simple things you absolutely CANNOT SKIP before you start writing.

Think of it like fueling up your car and your snack stash before heading out on a big road trip. You wouldn’t skip it. Don’t skip these.

Let's not forget to do this before we start writing.

1. Conduct a Copy Audit

Unless you’re starting from scratch, start by taking stock of your current copy with an in-depth copy audit.

This will give you a good idea of:

➤ What’s working and what isn’t.
➤ How far off the mark you are.
➤ Which pieces are most in need of work.

Now, there are a lot of different metrics to look at, but a quick and dirty list looks like this:

Web Pages and ContentEmails + Ads
Total conversion rate.Click-through rate.
Conversion to sale rate.Total conversion rate.
Scroll depth.Conversion to sale rate.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

As the most important thing to know before diving in, nailing your target audience can be tricky. These are the people you want to be serving, not necessarily the people you’re currently serving.

Sit down and take a good, hard look at your customer roster, their behavior, and whether they’re a royal pain in the ass to work with or not. If working with your current clients drains you and makes you feel like crap, they’re not the right people.

Who are the people that are dream clients and make you feel alive every single time you work with them? What makes them unique?

Don’t just look at the demographics; those don’t mean shit.

Focus on:

➤ The core problems or challenges they’re experiencing.
➤ The feelings those problems are making them feel.
➤ How not solving these problems is affecting their lives.
➤ The ideal outcome they’re looking for by solving the problems.

Typically, your ideal customer will be a direct reflection of you at some point in your career. Usually, your ideal customer is who you were a few years ago when you hit a rough patch and solved it.

Example of a complete buyer persona worksheet.
Example of a complete buyer persona worksheet.

3. Define Your Brand Voice

When you speak, what part of your personality comes out?

➤ Are you sassy or buttoned up…
➤ Do you use slang or stick to the Thesaurus…
➤ Are you colorful or strictly black and white…

Your brand voice is a smooth combination of your own personality and the personality of your ideal customer. So think about how you would behave in a room full of your dream clients and what things you would or wouldn’t say.

Example of a complete brand voice definition.
Example of a complete brand voice definition.

4. Outline Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

After your persona, your USP is a cornerstone of your marketing and messaging strategy.

Your USP typically exists as a mission statement, tagline, or some combination of the two. It is also repurposed as social bios and hero headers on your website. It lives everywhere and drives everything, so don’t skip it.

Use this simple formula:

“I help [AUDIENCE] achieve [TRANSFORMATION] with [SERVICE], so they can [IDEAL OUTCOME] without [CORE FEAR].”

Example: I help overwhelmed coaches and consultants unf*ck their marketing funnel with NO BS copywriting and copy coaching, so they can get fully booked and help more people—without worrying whether they’re saying the right thing.

It can be as long or as short as it needs to be to hit the mark. Just make sure you’re answering all of the questions brought up when you did your customer persona research.

TIP: Use Voice of Customer to zhuzh up your USP after you’ve conducted the research.

5. Mine Voice Of Customer Data

Voice of Customer is a relatively new term that is being thrown around these days, but it is a POWERHOUSE for high-converting copy.

Essentially, it’s using your customer’s own words against them to make them FEEL the emotions that drive action.

Voice of Customer data is the words and phrases that your customer is actually using to describe their problems, goals, and the journey in between.

Example of Voice of Customer snippets in an Amazon review.
Example of Voice of Customer snippets in an Amazon review.

You can find these juicy snippets at:

➤ Amazon
➤ Review Sites
➤ Facebook Groups
➤ Customer Surveys
➤ Testimonials

Insert these juicy little nuggets into your copy everywhere that needs to pack a punch: headlines, subject lines, etc.

After you’ve covered your bases here, you should have all of the necessary pieces to begin assembling your sales or marketing copy.

Important Elements of Effective Copy

Depending on who you ask, the black-and-white rules of effective copywriting can change with the wind.

But, based on over a decade of experience, these are the 5 hard and fast rules that I stick to:

1. Make sure your headlines, subject lines, and hooks pack a punch.

It’s an absolute fact that most people don’t read anything but the headline.

According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people only read the headlines. That means only 20% of your audience is reading the actual content.

So you better make your headlines really f*cking GOOD.

This is where the Voice of Customer data comes in.

Pick the juiciest tidbits and/or any solid customer quotes that can be used verbatim and just drop them in as a leading headline.

2. Use short sentences.

If the first point was any indication, people have the attention span of a spacey goldfish.

The shorter your sentences, the better.

But don’t go cutting them short willy-nilly. Make sure they flow like a natural, candid conversation.

A good rule of thumb = instead of using a comma, use a period.

3. Use personalized calls-to-action.

Stop, stop, stop using the boring and generic calls-to-action.

When was the last time you said “hell yes” to the word “Submit”?

Use more unique and action-driven CTAs to push the reader into the click. 

It could be as simple as:

➤ Get My Framework
➤ I’m In!
➤ Schedule My Call

4. Use bullet points to break up long chunks of body copy.

No one likes to read a wall of text. Especially on a mobile device.

Break that shit up with bullet points.

The only real rule here is if you’re listing things in a paragraph…convert it to bullet points. Feature and benefit lists are made for this.

5. Avoid jargon and ultra-complex language.

Unless your audience is a Ph.D. and your service is super technical, don’t use jargon or $5 dollar words in your copy.

On the flip side, even if your audience is smart as hell, they don’t have the time or patience to try to figure out what you’re saying.

Make it as easy as possible for them by sticking to short sentences and simple language. They’ll thank you for it.

Using complex language and jargon can confuse your customer.

Simple Copywriting Formulas

When it comes to actually writing your copy, using a tried-and-true copywriting formula is a really solid way to knock it out quickly and correctly. You don’t end up overthinking it too much or overworking it. As long as it flows within the formula, you’re golden.

There are a metric ton of formulas out there; these are my favorites:

PASO(P)

This is my personal favorite, simply because it’s both mega versatile and easy to explain to newbies.

It goes a little something like this:

Problem – The core problem, challenge, or frustration your ideal customer is experiencing.
Agitation – The risks or consequences of not taking action to solve this problem.
Solution – The solution to the problem. This could be an overarching idea and/or your product or service.
Outcome – The ideal outcome or goal your customer is aiming for by solving the problem.
Problem – The second problem is optional and serves as a great way to end an email or script to set up the next piece in the series.

Example of PASO in action.

I find PASO super easy to integrate into any kind of copy, even if you’re a total beginner. It’s straightforward, versatile, and just plain easy to use.

AIDA

This one is a really popular copywriting formula that happens to be pre-loaded into a lot of the AI tools out there.

Attention – Grab their attention with a startling stat, bold claim, or a heavy-hitting quote.
Interest – Introduce the benefits or a unique perspective to generate interest and excitement.
Desire – Help them envision a future after working with you.
Action – Offer a high-value, but low-friction next step to motivate them.

Before–After–Bridge

This one is insanely simple:

Before – The core problem or challenge that the reader is facing. Or, their before-state.
After – The ideal outcome the reader is looking for from working with you. Or, their ideal after-state.
Bridge – How the reader transitions from the before state to their ideal after state.

No matter which formula you end up choosing, make sure to always incorporate powerful Voice of Customer snippets to up the ante. A good formula works on its own…but adding actual customer messaging will kick things into overdrive.

Common Copywriting Mistakes To Avoid

While there are a lot of common copywriting mistakes happening all over the place in marketing departments worldwide, these are the top 3 most dangerous:

➤ Letting your ego take control.
➤ Leading with features.
➤ Being too formal or ‘professional’.

This is just a taste of the easiest mistakes to make to keep you on your toes. The truth is, the list of copywriting blunders is LOOOOONG.

Recommended Copywriting Tools and Resources

Everyone and their mom use Google for writing. I do, too. But you need reliable tools and resources that are actually going to make your life easier and the copywriting process smoother.

So here are my top 3 surprising copywriting tools:

Airstory

This is super helpful for gathering your Voice of Customer snippets. It’s essentially a web browser scraper that lets you collect snapshots of highlighted text or imagery and sort them by category.

Amazon

Whether you’ve got an existing customer base to survey or not, Amazon is a deep well of useful Voice of Customer information. No matter your topic, you can find a bevy of real customer reviews voicing their concerns or delights.

Personal Inspiration

Honestly, this is a personal preference that I invite you to copy. Start keeping track of ads, emails, and web copy that inspire YOU to act. Keep them in a swipe file of your choosing…Airstory is a great option, as is a Google Doc.

Pay attention to the headlines, CTAs, and basic flow to get a feel for what will work for your audience… remember, your best customer is you just a few years ago.

Now, You’re Well On Your Way To $1 Million Copy…

If you’ve made it this far, you’re well on your way to writing kickass copy that tickles your customer’s pocketbook and sounds great while doing it.

But you and I both know that copywriting for coaches still isn’t easy, even if you have all of the pieces of the puzzle. Stick to the steps outlined above and make sure to keep the conversation focused squarely on your customer…and you’re golden.

If you’re still eager to learn, sign up to receive new blog articles directly to your inbox and stay up to date on all things copywriting. You’ll be a pro in no time.

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