Store Cupboard Marketing and Daily Habits

store cupboard

Most of us have a cupboard in our kitchen with pantry essentials–perhaps a bag of flour, some sugar and spices. These may seem like basic ingredients, but when the occasion calls for it, they can be turned into a celebration cake or other fitting treat.

Marketing can be the same. With a few items in stock, you can easily take advantage of any opportunity to promote your business. Let me give you an example. During my PR days in London, I worked on a campaign that won multiple awards, fostered civic pride and has continued to evolve for over ten years. The campaign started with a box of button badges.

We got a tipoff our borough was to be named “Worst Place to Live” on national television. With 48 hours’ notice and no allocated budget, we had to act fast. We called on local journalists, turned local outrage into positive stories, created an e-card for people to respond directly to and handed out thousands of badges.

On the day of broadcast, every public building had a banner professing love for the borough. Bus drivers, shops, police, postal staff and many others wore badges with pride. The campaign became the story. In this case, our store cupboard ingredients were the badges and the relationships we had established with journalists and the local people.

What do you need in your marketing store cupboard?

Think through what “just in case” things you can have to help you whip up some magical marketing. This might be as simple as always having a snazzy jacket in your office for an impromptu TV appearance. It might be making sure your website is ready to cope with increased traffic should your coaching receive acclaim. For others, it might be having signage ready to attend a trade show or flyers for a short-notice networking event. Some of the best opportunities need a rapid response to maximize the opportunity they create.

What about your daily marketing habits?

So you spotted a survey about leadership burnout, and you offered a media interview on a coach’s perspective. Whipping out the snazzy jacket from your office, you head to the TV studio. Suddenly you are the go-to coach and all over the press. You are so busy trying to fit it all in that when the interest subsides, you realize you have neglected the marketing for your core business. This might be an extreme example, but when we get busy, many of us stop marketing.

No matter how busy you are, I bet most of you brush your teeth several times each day. You probably have a series of habits you do every single day, no matter what. To be successful with your marketing, you need to create systems and habits that allow that level of consistency.

If you use social media as a marketing tool, scheduling your posts is one great example. Building a series of auto-responders is another. But these daily habits don’t have to be high-tech. Every time you go out, be sure to have a handful of business cards. It’s a basic approach that nets results. Developing a value proposition that you are comfortable using when meeting new people is another.

Marketing can sometimes feel overwhelming. By breaking it down to basic simple approaches, it can become as ingrained a daily habit as brushing our teeth.

Mary Anna WrightMary Anna Wright Ph.D., PCC works with coaches from around the world, helping them develop their businesses and deepen their coaching skills. She runs regular mentor programs that support coaches applying for ICF Credentials, and she also does some coach supervision. Her coaching focuses on leadership development, particularly for communications managers in the nonprofit sector. Five years ago, Mary Anna left a successful PR career in London and moved to her family farm in Donegal, Ireland. She was welcomed by ICF Ireland and is a past President of the Chapter. Learn more at

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Why Nobody Reads Your Coaching e-Newsletter (and What to Do About It)


Staying in touch with your network is essential if you want to build a successful coaching business, and email marketing is still one of the best ways to do that. However, with an average person checking their phone 221 times per day and receiving over 1,500 irrelevant emails per year (U.K. data), it is becoming increasingly difficult for any coach to engage with their prospective clients.

Below are some typical mistakes that you as a coach are probably making when sending emails to your database and a few quick fixes. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to double your open rate.

1. Your Subject Line

If you have an open rate lower than average (below 22 percent according to MailChimp data for the Training and Education industry), it most likely means your email either isn’t getting delivered or your subject line is boring and sounds too commercial. The subject line is half of your success—if you don’t hook people with it, they won’t even bother opening your email.

To come up with a good subject line, you need to write at least 30 of them (yes, thirty) and then choose a couple to A/B test. A/B testing consists of sending an email with one subject line to a portion of your email list and sending the same email with a different subject line to another portion of your list. Then based on the open rate, you send the winning version to the remainder of your list. Any decent mailing program can do it for you. Don’t follow your intuition here—check the numbers.

2. Your Name

You may sound too “salesy” and not human if you have a company name instead of yours in your email. Remember, people HATE receiving emails from businesses. They are much more likely to open your email if you are sending it under your personal name and not your business name.

3. Email Length

People these days are overwhelmed and have too many distractions. It’s been proven that people don’t read online, but rather, they just scan through texts in an F-shaped pattern. Given this knowledge, think about keyword placement in your text/email to make scanning easier. DO NOT WRITE LONG TEXTS. Period.

4. Too Many Links or Other Distractions

If you include too many links, your email usually doesn’t make it through the spam filter and even if it does, your readers can get distracted. Our brain stops processing what we are reading when we see a link as we have to make a subconscious decision of whether to click on it. The fewer links, the better.

Try to avoid distracting elements in your emails or website (e.g., flashy ads, lots of different fonts), as they also put you at risk of getting flagged by the spam filter. And, please, please never ever put your email on a black background—it’s impossible to read. You won’t send a flashy email to your friend, will you? So why torture your readers? Keep the design simple.

5. One email—one idea—one call to action

If people open your emails and tell you that your content is awesome but there’s no action following, you are probably suggesting too many things for them to do (e.g., subscribe, share, buy, reply, etc.). Or, you have shared too much content, creating too much choice and distraction. Remember, one email—one idea—one call to action. It’s better to give less than more.

Bonus fix (the most important one for all new coaches): Make sure you are not talking about yourself and your product, but rather about your potential clients. First give them value, then even more value, and only then, ask for a deal.

Anastasia DedyukhinaAnastasia Dedyukhina is an entrepreneur, startup mentor, coach and Huffington Post blogger. In the middle of a successful international career in digital marketing, Anastasia gave up her smartphone to start a digital detox business Consciously Digital. She is a frequent public speaker and also consults companies and individuals on sustainable online marketing that doesn’t distract people. You can learn more about Anastasia at

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.