And it’s easy to understand why.
They seem an easy, quick solution to the problem of getting clients.
After all, it’s hard building a loyal social media following of people who trust you and want to engage with you.
And even when you do all those things, it’s still hard to get people to want to part with thousands of dollars for your coaching services.
Not only is it all that hard, but it takes time and requires determination and patience.
It also requires money, something that, unlike enthusiasm, is often in short supply for new life coaches.
But what if there was a virtual Yellow Pages, a life coaching directory where people can browse and choose the best coach to meet their needs – wouldn’t that be awesome?
No, probably not.
Note: I am focussing on the paid versions of life coaching directories in this post. I definitely am in favour of you grabbing any free listings you can. I discuss why in my post on the new search generative experience that is coming from Google.
Is Using A Life Coach Directory A Good Idea?
This question was posted in the Facebook group a few months ago.
‘Hi life coaches! I’m quite new and slowly building my coaching practice and, I’d like to know which life coaches’ directory would you recommend joining?
I started looking and it got a bit confusing about which are the most effective in terms of gaining visibility. Thank you!’
Questions similar to that come up on an almost monthly basis and have been doing so for as long as the group has been going.
In all that time, I only remember one coach who had had a positive experience and her position was somewhat unique.
She was a full-time therapist and would choose which coaching clients she wanted to work with without the pressure of filling open calendar slots, or putting food on her table.
In other words, she used a directory to supplement what she was already doing successfully rather than needing it.
But dozens have said they tried it and failed, with the responses about Noomii and Bark being the ones most frequently complained about.
Are life coach directories worth it? Here’s what coaches think.
And here are a bunch more I found just by searching Bark in the Fully Booked Coacg Facebook Group.
Cost per lead is around £13 but with up to 5 competitors, difficult to see it working for me – Michael Bessant
I tried it too. Got lucky enough to actually land one client but the leads in general seem to be duds! – Shiv Kumar
It is a definite race to the bottom in pricing. Not worth having your name there since any leads you do get will try to negotiate on price comparing you to the other names listed – Christine Errico
Hi everyone! I’m new to life coaching and I’ve been struggling to figure out how to get clients. I’ve spent some time (and money) on websites like bark.com and thumbtack.com, but they haven’t yielded much – Heidi Bernhart
I initially spent a lot of money to buy Bark leads when I first started out. To be fair, it has some value. My first three paying clients were off of Bark. But I had to go through about 100 leads to get those three. And keep this in mind: those leads are not resonating with you and weren’t drawn to you because of what you have to offer; they found you on the same website people go to look for plumbers and electricians. They threw a line in the water and waited for the coaches to start swarming.
So, they’re often going to ask you for a quote before they even hop on a call with you. And you’re going to spend money just to reach out to the person in the first place. That money would be much better spent working with a marketing coach or paying someone to optimize your website copy – Dr Justin Tilghman
I have tried them. In my view, they are low-value leads with poor commitment. The handful that converted did not have their full commitment or were therapy junkies – Robert Sanders
Never landed a client with Bark – Laura Adair
I’m really unsure about the quality of the requests – I’ve only managed to actually get three people to even get back in touch with me (and usually I’m pretty good at that part). The rest have gone into the ether. It doesn’t seem like a very good way to look for a life coach to be honest – Jo Lee
I just unsubscribed bc you really have to pay to get clients and it’s not going to be clients that will be a good fit. Jen Argue
I tried it, and Bidvine too. Ended up being quite expensive. I think you can deactivate your account and unsubscribe from emails. – Sarika Malvi
I had zero luck with Bark, absolute waste of my time and money – Nicola Cooper
I tried it, and Bidvine too. Ended up being quite expensive. I think you can deactivate your account and unsubscribe from emails.
But, is it possible to make coaching directories work?
I’m not saying no coach has ever acquired a decent client from services like Noomii, Thumbtack, Bark, Life Coach Spotter, Life Coach Directory or The Coaching Connector.
Of course, they have.
I spent a number of years working for Yellow Pages and a lot of people earned a lot of money from that publication.
Overall though, they were tradespeople, attorneys, insurance companies and other assorted businesses that sold on price and/or availability.
Coaches should never be selling based on price and/or availability.
However, life coaching directories promise a lot more than they can deliver.
As such, they’re probably not the wisest decision for any coach who wants to build a long-term sustainable online life coaching practice.
There are tens of thousands of all types of life coaches out there with way more slots available than there are clients looking to fill them.
We are in an industry where supply far outweighs demand – which is why most life coaches are struggling.
You need to stand out to succeed as a life coach
You need to stand out from the crowd.
Directories are the antithesis of standing out from the crowd – they are the crowd.
You may or may not care for me, but the one thing you cannot reasonably accuse me of is being bland and blending into the pack.
Yet, that is exactly what coaching directories encourage.
For the most part, everybody has the same space, the same size photo and the same opportunity to pitch their coaching.
Standing out in any meaningful way is almost impossible.
So guess what happens?
You become a commodity.
You cannot effectively communicate what working with you in such an environment is like.
You cannot convey your personality.
And, you most definitely cannot convey the value you can bring to your coaching clients.
You’re just another life coach on a page full of coaches.
Therefore, you get into a race to the bottom on price.
Largely speaking, people who are scouring coaching directories aren’t looking for the best coach; they’re looking for the cheapest coach.
Unless your name is Walmart or Aldi, cheap is not a marketing strategy.
Selling on price means you’re not in control of your own destiny because, at any point in the client’s buying process, another coach can step in and say, ‘I’ll do that cheaper.’
All coaches should be selling solutions and the value those solutions will deliver.
I understand the temptation of using a life coach directory, especially if you have little money and/or little time.
Because they don’t require a large upfront financial investment like hiring me or a great website designer.
But they’re a temporary fix (and not a cheap one) to what, for most coaches, is a permanent problem – finding clients
If you’re in coaching for the long haul, I’d strongly advise you to resist that temptation.
Learn how to market yourself in a way that will continue to bring you clients, even when you’re not paying for leads or buying space in a directory.
What’s your take on coaching directories?
I’d love you to share your own experience/thoughts in the comments on coaching directories whether you’re in favour or not.