The Two Types of Lead Generation for Coaches

Apr 14, 2022

When it comes to generating leads and getting coaching clients, there are two primary types of lead generation and client attraction: inbound lead generation and outbound lead generation.

Each has its pros and cons, but the best client attraction process is the one that takes the best of each and leverages them both to get coaching clients.

In this episode, I talk through the similarities and differences of the two main types of lead generation, and share tips for integrating them to implement an effective client attraction process.

Hello, and welcome to the Client Attractor Show, where we talk about concrete tactics and strategies that you can use to attract your dream clients. I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, client attraction coach and author of the new book Client Attractor. If you've not gotten your copy yet, you can pick that up today at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or

In today's episode, I am going to be talking about the two main types of lead generation, the two main types of client attraction, how they're different, and how you should be using them. When it comes to getting more coaching clients, the first type of lead generation is inbound, and the second type is outbound. If those are unfamiliar terms, don't worry, because we are going to go ahead and start digging into them right now. 

We're going to start with inbound, and this is what a lot of us think of when we think of marketing strategy or of lead generation strategy. Things like this include blogging, posting on social media, having media appearances—interviewing on someone else's podcast, being featured in someone's blog article, something like that. The goal of inbound lead generation is quite simple. It's to get prospective clients to come to you. It’s for prospective clients to see your blog article, or your social media post, or listen to you talking on a podcast, and then take the next step to work with you. That's what we mean by inbound, that the leads are incoming. 

From a high level, there are three primary components to an effective inbound lead generation strategy. The first is content. That's your blog article, those are your social media posts, that's what you're talking about on a podcast or on a YouTube video. There are a lot of different ways that content can look, but the first component that you absolutely need is content. That's the something you have to say, something that you're talking about, that your ideal clients care about. 

The second component is visibility. Creating content and putting it out into the world isn’t quite enough. In addition to that, you need to have visibility, which is a way for people to actually see it, a way for it to get in front of your ideal clients. This could look like anything from running paid ads, to your blog posts, to getting into Facebook groups and sharing your content in there. This is the mechanism wherein the goal is to get your ideal clients’ eyeballs on your content, and by virtue of that, getting your ideal clients’ eyes on you. 

The third component of an effective inbound marketing strategy or lead generation strategy is it has to have a call to action. You have to have a call to action on your content, which is basically something that says, “Hey, here's an action that you should take. Here's the next step that you should take.” Now, this could be a variety of things. It could be a call to action to opt into an email list in exchange for a lead magnet or a free resource. It could be a prompt to book a call with you. It could be to join in on a webinar. There are a lot of possibilities for what the call to action could be. 

When it comes to your content, one of the biggest mistakes I see over and over again is that people put out content but don't have that call to action. What that call to action does is serve as a prompt for your ideal clients to literally, like I said, take the next step. It's the opportunity for them to move in the direction of becoming an email subscriber or a warm lead or a client. And we like to think that our warmest leads will not need a call to action; they'll go over to your website and find a link to book a call with you. That is true to some extent, but that is the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself. The rule itself is that, honestly, most people need some sort of prompting, and that's what this call to action serves to do. 

This takes us to the second type of lead generation, which, now that you understand what inbound lead generation is—getting clients to come to you—you might guess, and you'd be correct, that outbound lead generation is the process of reaching out to prospective clients and starting conversations with them. This is the type of lead generation that, in all honesty, gets a really bad rap, and it kind of deserves it to some extent, that this is the approach that those spammy telemarketers are doing, the people who are cold DMing you their pitches on Facebook and LinkedIn. That is outbound sales. Now, it's not outbound sales done well, but it's outbound sales nonetheless. 

What we're going to be talking about today is outbound sales in the context of a really ethical, effective lead generation process, because there is a good way to do it, believe it or not, and there is a way to do it without being spammy or manipulative or sleazy. So, to give you some examples of what outbound lead generation could look like, we talked about those cold pitches and the DMs and the cold phone calls. Those are both examples, but also starting conversations with prospective clients or with ideal clients on social media, or doing some sort of cold email campaign. 

Now, I tend to like to focus on the social media piece of outbound lead generation because that's what I see works best, so that's what we're going to be focusing on, as we work through what outbound sales is. There are really just two things you need for an outbound lead generation approach. It's a way to find ideal clients—that's the first thing—which could be a million different things. This could be in Facebook groups; this could be using LinkedIn Sales Navigator; LinkedIn groups…just a way to find people who are very likely going to be your ideal clients. 

The second thing you need is an avenue, or a way, to connect with them, to start a conversation. In a Facebook group, this could be the comments thread on a post. It could be the DMs—done in a not-spammy way, of course. It could be a lot of different things. Really, when it comes to outbound lead generation, those are the only two things you need: a way to find the people you want to find, and a way to connect with those people. The question, then, is which is better? Which should you be using? The answer is not that you should be using one of them and not the other; the answer is that, especially when you're just getting started, it's really, really smart to use a blend of both, and I want to break that down, talk a little bit about what that actually looks like. 

On the inbound side of things, this means leveraging content; this means, for example, posting in Facebook groups or getting your content in front of people—that's the content and visibility piece—and, of course, that call to action. That serves as the inbound part of your strategy. Oftentimes, that is not enough alone, especially if you're just getting started, and you don't have that high visibility that you need to depend on inbound lead generation. That's where we bring elements of outbound lead generation into the mix. 

Say you are in a Facebook group, for example, and you're posting content in there so that you've gotten the content and visibility piece taken care of there well, reliably. If you're posting in a Facebook group, it's also a Facebook group that has your ideal clients, so you've already checked the first thing off the box  with outbound, which is that you need to be able to find your ideal clients. 

The next piece that we want to bring in from the outbound side of things is starting to connect and have conversations, generate conversations with people who are engaging on the posts you're making. Being in a group, or engaging in the comments of other people's posts, just starting those conversations, initiating those conversations. 

That's the piece where a lot of people tend to fall flat, as they're scared of doing that, maybe because they don't want to come across as spammy, for example. But if you can shift the focus…really, you're not selling in these Facebook groups, because if you're selling in a Facebook group, you're going to get kicked out pretty quickly, nine times out of 10, unless the group explicitly allows promotion. If you shift the focus of initiating those conversations to just starting relationships and connecting with people, then you're actually going to be a whole lot more successful. 

That is actually a really holistic approach to lead generation. It's not just inbound, and it's not just outbound; it's 100% a blend of the two. When you're getting started, you do need that holistic approach, because if you're just relying on outbound, it's hard to avoid just spamming people, and if you're only relying on inbound, you're not going to get the same results that you would with just relying on outbound. There's a give and take here. Inbound helps you get results over a longer period of time, whereas outbound helps you get more immediate results. That's why with blending the two together, you can have the best of both worlds, building long-term results while also getting more immediate results at the same time. 

As always, thank you so much for joining me for today's episode of the Client Attractor Show. I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow for our next episode. Take care.

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