How to get clients without social media

Woman speaking at event with engaged and happy audience.

I know that many of you want to sell to organisations, or you may have a reluctance to use social media, so let’s look at five other ways you can grow your coaching business.

1. Leveraging your personal network


This was really successful for me when I started my business and I’ve seen it work for some of my clients, too.

People can be really resistant to leveraging their personal network; I think we fear what family and friends think more than we care about strangers’ opinions.

When I ask my clients whether they’ve clearly told their family and friends exactly what they do, the answer is always no.

That’s the first thing I encourage people to do when they start working with me.

Actually, it’s the second thing… What they first need to do is get clarity on their niche and their offer. Then, I give them a template to complete, to make it easy for them to take the scary step of explaining what they do to family and friends. 

It’s so worth it, because everything you want is usually on the other side of fear.

Every step you take builds courage, which builds your business

You will become so much stronger for taking steps that you are afraid of, which will encourage you to take even more steps, which is how you build your business. 

It’s those tiny, incremental steps that you think you can’t take and then, when you do, you can’t believe you’ve done it.

I didn’t expect it to be so challenging 

Two and a half years ago, to launch my Business of Coaching programme, I ran a 5 Day Challenge.

I had no idea how challenging a 5 Day Challenge would be to run, which is why it’s taken me two and a half years to commit to running another one. I’m in the middle of preparing for it now and, again, I completely underestimated how much work there is to do behind the scenes to get this up and running. 

But I am committed to it, and I’ve got two days to go. I am going for it and I’m excited to reach the other side. I know that I will look back and think, wow, I did that!

What are you afraid of?

Have a think about what you’re afraid of, that could have a big impact on growing your business.

Is there one person who once invited you to get in touch when you got your business set up, and you haven’t contacted them yet?

When you talk to people, remember that sharing your personal story is so much more powerful than just spelling out what your services are. People want to hear why you’re doing this; why it matters to you.

I love thinking about the fact that we all genuinely know 250 people so, by association, we can reach everyone in the world. It’s an amazing concept to think how much progress you can make through your own network. 

Be brave and go all in when you take this step.

Check in on your niche

This might sound like something only those starting out need to do, but it’s not. Everyone should regularly review their niche, as it can constantly evolve.

Invest in your relationships

Relationships grow your business. 

Put the other person at the heart of your message. Of course there’s going to be an element of you needing their help or support, but you need to think about how you can help them.

The most successful networkers I know are so thoughtful. 

I met someone several years ago who somehow got my number. He sends me WhatsApp messages with PDFs of ICF coaching studies and other relevant content. He must have a really good system in place for thinking about what each person in his network is interested in, and following up on it.

Because he’s often sending me useful information, he’s often in the front of my mind so, when someone said they needed a coach in India, I instantly thought of him because he lives there. 

I immediately put them in touch and got him an associate role set up. This is an example of how it can be really effective to think of strategic ways to keep in touch with people – you’ll be the person they think of when an opportunity comes up.

2. Speaking engagements and workshops


Nothing beats the power of face-to-face interaction, whether you are physically there in person or online. Speaking at an event is so much more powerful than social media. 

One of my clients, Sara, is a real inspiration. She has reached £100k in her business with no social media activity at all. 

She did it through BNI – Business Network International. It’s the world’s largest business networking and business referral organisation. Established 30 years ago, it now has over 7,000 chapters in 60 countries and more than 170,000 members worldwide.

Sara went all in, did a huge amount of networking, and she got really well known for what she is good at.

Talking at other people’s groups 

Something I’ve been doing recently, which I’m asking myself why I haven’t prioritised this before, is talking at other people’s groups. 

I’m about to talk at a coach training organisation about niching and how to get clients, and I recently talked to an NLP training organisation on a similar topic. 

At every single event I’ve been a speaker at, I’ve had around a 60% conversion rate from people who have contacted me afterwards, which is incredible.

So, compared to social media where you could have thousands of followers and you might only get one person message you or comment on your post, speaking at events really accelerates the ‘Know. Like. Trust’ journey, giving people an excellent opportunity to quickly get to know you.

Think about where you can go, ideally in person but online is also fine, to really get to know people more, because it will be so much more effective than social media posts. 


3. Strategic partnerships


How can you pair up with people whose network might include your ideal client? You could do a talk for their group, or agree a 10% referral fee if they send people your way, and vice versa.

The copywriter who wrote my website recently went full time self-employed, having previously done copywriting jobs on the side whilst being employed.

I invited him to do a talk to my group and what was a revelation is that he is also a magician. He included magic tricks in his talk which was amazing.

I was so impressed and excited by the experience I’d just had, that I immediately messaged the mastermind groups I’m in, telling them about him and his availability as a guest speaker.

He’s now got so many clients from his expert guest speaker spots; it’s been a brilliant return on his investment of his time.

Where can you get the opportunity to talk in front of your ideal client? 

4. Content marketing


You can create valuable content without social media. You can write blogs, articles, books. You can run a masterclass or host a podcast or publish YouTube and TikTok content.

All of these longform formats establish your thought leadership and attract clients who resonate with your message. They are all deep, nurturing relationship building activities that hit the spot more effectively than social media can. 

Social media can have its place, but it’s shortform ‘shallow’ content.

Go deep

You need to have a deep nurture strategy for people to really get to know you, and you do that through longform content. I really don’t think you can build a successful business without it. 

People often say to me that they can’t understand why they’re not getting any new client enquiries despite posting lots of regular content on social media.

They’re not seeing results because they’re not deepening the ‘Know. Like. Trust.’ relationship and leading people up the buying staircase. Social media activity is probably not even getting them one step up.

It’s also worth noting that social media content is quickly swallowed up by more recent content. It can feel like it disappears in 24 hours. Longform content like YouTube videos, podcast episodes and website blogs is easily accessible forever.

A lot of my clients are targeting organisations. So, they’re writing white papers and conducting interviews with their ideal clients. 

5. Email marketing


As I teach in my Business of Coaching programme, your email list is a direct line to your network and your audience.

When you are launching something, your email list is going to be a receptive, warm audience. I know that inviting my email list to join my 5 Day Challenge will get a great response. They have taken that bigger action. They’re more committed to what you’re doing. 

Unlike your social media relationship with people, your email list of people have put their hand up and chosen to be part of your network.

They’ve filled in a landing page. They’ve chosen to receive your content.

However, you do need to have a way of building your email list and, yes, social media is an effective way to do this. But so are other forms of networking, like attending or hosting events where people can get to know you – this will hopefully lead them to your website so make sure your lead magnet for people to sign up to your list is highly visible on your website home page.

And, in case you don’t know, a lead magnet is a valuable piece of free information, like a pdf packed with content targeted specifically towards a problem that they have, with a quick, easy way for you to help them to fix it. 

If you can help them solve that one small problem, they’ll be building their trust in you helping them to solve bigger problems going forward. 

Another option is to choose to pay to build your email list, either through Facebook ads, or through buying an email list. What you’ll be paying for with money, will save you paying for in time – your most valuable resource.

Although, currently, my two main ways of growing my audience are by posting regularly on LinkedIn and running Facebook ads, if you want to steer clear of social media then hosting events is an amazing way of growing your list and building that ‘Know. Like. Trust.’ relationship.

Throughout the week, I will be taking people through the steps they need to turn their expertise into a leveraged model by creating an online course or group coaching programme.

Holding events like this is a brilliant way to build your list. Mine has grown massively through advertising this 5 Day Challenge.


Let me know how you’re going to grow your business without social media!



Prefer Audio? You can also listen to all my new content on my podcast Women in the Coaching Arena


Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you grow your coaching business:


  1. Love coaching, but struggling to get clients? Download the 12 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Clients now.


  1. Interested to know more about the Business of Coaching programme? Click here.





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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.