How To Use Storytelling to Attract Ideal Clients, Establish Empathy, and Build Trust

How To Use Storytelling to Attract Ideal Clients, Establish Empathy, and Build Trust

The art of storytelling is an ancient one, but it’s also the future of marketing.

Storytelling isn’t a fad or trend. It’s been around for a while in the world of marketing and has earned a spot as one of the most effective tools in a business owner’s toolbox.

Using storytelling in your marketing strategy helps you make human connections in order to grow your online wellness business. 

Storytelling is the perfect way to get more clients and patients.

So let me tell you a story.

Pam, an acupuncturist client, had a typical health and wellness website. She had home page featuring her services, the benefits of acupuncture, and the conditions she treated.

Her about page was a long, detailed story about how she overcame her anxiety and depression and how it led her to acupuncture, and why acupuncture is so wonderful.

The only way to contact her was via a phone number. There was no easy way to book online.

Not only did she get very few visitors (and SEO issue) but those that did land there didn’t stick around for very long.

Her ideal patients simply were not connecting to her website or her message, because it looked like many other websites.

Her website also failed to draw her ideal patients in, or to see themselves in the message. To them, there was no compelling character or conflict, no plot, no call to action, no guidance, and no visualized resolution.

To put it another way, Storytelling works because it keeps eyeballs on your website. It drives the CLICKS to your landing or checkout pages. It keeps people interested in your message, engaging in your social media channels or groups, and opening your emails.

Stories work at every level of your marketing, whether you are attracting your ideal client or patient, keeping them interested and engaged, persuading them why your offer is a perfect fit, or showing how your services or products have worked for others.

Why, and how?

It has everything to do with the human brain.

Our brains organize concepts into stories. Not just the cognitive, rational part. Not just the emotional part (amygdala) but the ENTIRE brain is on board when a good story is being told.

This phenomenon is based on thousands of years of storytelling, but also on modern brain science.

The reason you are captivated by a good scifi or romantic comedy is due to a concept called Neurocoupling.

To use an example, when watching Harry Potter or Star Wars or LOTR, you begin to lose yourself in the story and identify with the Hero. You can feel the tension, sense of loss or hopelessness, (and hope) and the anticipation of a resolution. Even though you know that Harry will live, that Luke will succeed, and that the Ring will be destroyed and life will go on in peace after a long epic struggle.. We wouldn’t want to watch it if we didn’t experience this phenomenon.

Stories also need certain elements, like character development and empathy, a plot, a basic structure, and a conflict. The best stories have an external, internal, and philosophical conflict. Without it, there would be no story.

Imagine if..

Frodo wakes up in the Shire, has tea with Bilbo, attends a party later, lives many more years because of his anti-aging secret, and all is well. The End.  There’s no conflict. How boring.

The message is more powerful when your ICA/ICP is the hero of the “story” and embarks on a version of the classic Hero’s journey. Let’s talk about the journey. But first, I want to point out that many practitioners don’t fully grasp the concept of storytelling.

The 3 biggest mistakes wellness practitioners make when telling the story of their brand

1. They leave out their own story, as the guide who has been through a similar ordeal.

2. They go on and on about their own epic tale, making themselves the hero of the story, instead of the reader.

3. They use vague, generic, and meaningless language, jargon, new-agey word salads, and life-coach speak instead of speaking DIRECTLY to the hero. 

I see a lot of marketing content, and in particular,  websites…  that are STILL NOT focused on the patient or client.

I still see advice given to newbies to “tell your story. ” The result often translates into the equivalent of Dumbledore or Gandalf or Yoda taking over the entire plot. The story of your Harry, Frodo, or Luke becomes lost as the guide takes center stage. Don’t do this. Step back and make the story primarily about the hero/potential client, not you.

The ideal client or patient as the main character

The hero of your story is NOT a demographic like “women between 25 and 45 who love yoga.”

This is the equivalent of a movie “extra.” You want to give as much thought to your main character as a casting director.

Take your time when developing your ICA/IPA. (Ideal client avatar or ideal patient avatar) Even though often we attract those like us, it’s not a given that their preferences and needs mirror yours exactly. The WHY that drives them, on a deep, subconscious, and ancient level will reveal itself when you take the time to really dive into this exercise.

It’s not always what it seems to be on the surface. There may be some baggage to drop, demons to slay, business to finish, or something to atone for.

Let’s use an example, for fun, outside the sphere of health and wellness, and explore a the story behind someone who wants to learn to play the guitar. Seriously, deeply, and passionately.

Lets start with some deeper layers of the person’s desire, aside from passion about the music itself: Gaining a sense of mastery. Going a little deeper, it could be about  overcoming self-doubt.  Where did this come from? And why does it matter?  If you think about one of the many possible meanings behind the pursuit of learning music, the process can take the shape of a Quest, a “Monster Slaying” or other transformational narrative.

If you can dig into the WHY part, what drives the hero, half the battle is won. It’s about how they FEEL about themselves before, during, and after the journey.

Developing your ideal client or patient avatar is much like developing a character arc in a story. If you want dive even further into this concept, there is a cool video based on the character arc in  Star Wars  Episode IV: A New Hope.

Storytelling, Connection, and Authenticity

When we structure information as a story, rather than a laundry list of information, the message feels more authentic and “real.”

This builds trust.

When the message isn’t about how great your product or services are, or how qualified you are, or an explanation of your process or modality, but about what DEEPLY motivates the protagonist, you are far more likely to capture the attention of your true fans.

An actual and true story resonates with the reader and inspires them to take action (whether it’s working with you or not) so that they can experience their version of a “happy ending.” (no, not THAT happy ending)

By now, you may be nodding your head about the WHY. But HOW does this work, exactly?

Let’s dive into the PLOT of your story.  Your website is the perfect place to showcase this.

The anatomy of  story flow (or StoryBrand) website

My websites are now all based on telling a story on each page. The framework is  similar to StoryBranding, but adapted to health and wellness professionals and coaches.

The “flow” on each page draws the visitor in and inspires them to take action, even as they scroll deeper.

This flow can be compared the the 5 parts of a good story, whether it’s a novel, a movie, a play, a poem, a song, or story told around a campfire:

  • Exposition
  • Rising Action
  • Climax
  • Falling Action
  • Resolution

The very first thing you see when landing on a website is usually an image and a title/subtitle that captures the essence of the brand. It’s like a movie trailer or book cover and clearly lets the ICA/ICP know what you do (and what you don’t do!):

Just like a movie trailer, its job is to let the viewer know exactly what the story is about and whether it’s worth sticking around to find out more. In 3 seconds or less.

The is also similar to the Exposition of a story.

The next section establishes the conflict of the story. There NEEDS to be a conflict in a story, or it will be BORING.

This can be compared to the rising action of a story.

The middle section: You introduce yourself as the GUIDE who can help the hero solve their problem:

The next section: Show them the “stakes:”

This is much like the CLIMAX of a story.

The ending: Isn’t just about a happy ever after ending. It’s about the beginning of a new journey:

And this would be the Resolution of a story.

Don’t forget the Call to Action.  For a website, this usually means a button (more than 1!) for booking an appointment, call, learning more, enrolling in a course, subscribing to an email list, or making a purchase.

A common mistake is not including any call to action other than a phone number. Trust me, this is outdated. If you don’t have a way for people to take immediate action, they probably won’t, especially in the post-pandemic era. 

Other elements play a supporting role. They allow you to spell out who your services are for and who they are not for, to add some kind of pre-qualification process like a quiz, application, pre-requisite download, etc.

These help you manage expectations so that you can keep delivering your awesome services without having to deal with unrealistic expectations, people who are a poor fit or not ready for your services, having to explain or justify your process or prices, or burnout.

Bottom line: It’s even easier to establish your “vibe” when it’s presented as a story. You have more creative elements to play with.

Tips for crafting you own story-based website and marketing content

1. If you have not already completed a THOROUGH analysis of your ideal client or patient, this is a non-negotiable. It’s like trying to produce a movie without a lead character.

2. Read Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller.

3. Explore other StoryBrand websites for inspiration and to get a general idea of the flow.

4. Don’t make the “plot” too complicated. Think of a basic action movie or rom com. We all love a good plot twist, but for your website, we want to keep it simple.

5. Start your journey on mastering copywriting. This is VERY important. Copy can make or break a website. You can practice with social media posts, which are more ephemeral, and then move on to creating content (like a blog, a podcast, or video series)

6. If you don’t like writing, you may want to outsource (which isn’t cheap, for good reason) or at least invest in a course or class.

What’s in this for you?

  • It helps you attract ONLY ideal clients and patients so that you don’t end up getting burnt out dealing with those who aren’t a great fit
  • It does the “heavy lifting” for you so that you don’t have to explain EXACTLY that thing you do that nobody else can. This means no more phone calls or messages from tire-kickers and price shoppers who have NO clue what you actually do, but want solve a problem at THEIR level of thinking for the cheapest rate possible. This means that unless you proclaim the title of your story “we fix backs for cheap in one visit” you won’t attract that anymore.
  • It’s the perfect framework for service providers who are able to transform lives
  • It positions you well in a changing landscape in the health and wellness/coaching industry. The old school method of listing the 80 conditions acupuncture can treat (the village healer model) is DONE.
  • It focuses less on jargon, rambling, and random bullet points and MORE on what people need in a society that is thoroughly overwhelmed. It gets them from pain to pleasure in simple steps you actually put on your website.

Another benefit is that by seeing the story through the eyes of your “hero,” you may just find that the story of you and your business will find an even deeper meaning than the one you had when you first began your entrepreneurial journey.  It keeps the fire of passion lit, and quite possibly, prevents you from burning out.

Of course, there IS more to this story.  Start out taking small steps.

 

Need help creating your Story-Based website?

And now, it’s time for me to call YOU to action.  If you’ve been making do with a mediocre or outdated website, the good news is that StoryBrand based websites for service-based businesses are actually pretty simple.

You can create your own using the platform of your choice.

Even though they aren’t complex, if you would rather not spend extra time trying to figure it all out on your own, let’s have a virtual coffee and talk about your website.

Growing Your Wellness Practice With Holistic Marketing

Growing Your Wellness Practice With Holistic Marketing

Is the ecosystem of your wellness practice healthy and thriving?

Holistic marketing means happy patients and clients, a healthy business, and a healthy business owner. 

Are you willing to take a close look at how ALL the pieces fit together? 

Whether you are an acupuncturist, chiropractor, naturopath, coach, or any kind of holistic practitioner you probably are already familiar with what the word holistic really means, despite any connotations or associations the word might have or how you identify with it.

(To be honest, I don’t much care for the way the word is used and almost never use it in my marketing)

Today, I’m going to use the term in its true sense. 

Here is the formal definition of holistic: 

Holistic: Dealing with or treating the whole of something or someone and not just a part: My doctor takes a holistic approach to disease, Ecological problems usually require holistic solutions.

It doesn’t mean “fringy” or even “alternative.” It means that focusing on only ONE thing that manifests, whether it’s positive, negative, or neutral, doesn’t tell us the whole story.

You have to look at the entire SYSTEM. Isn’t this just common sense?

Just like it can be tempting to treat something off balance with a pill that throws everything even further off balance, it can be tempting to treat marketing as a laundry list of isolated activities.

The results are the same.

One problem I’ve been witnessing lately is about how allopathic the general approach to health and wellness marketing has been over the years. The tendency is to get advice from experts that only know their area of expertise.

This tends to create a lot of confusion as wellness entrepreneurs, who out of frustration tend to bury their heads in the sand, ignoring the lifeblood of their business: getting new patients in a consistent and predictable manner instead of just praying that they “walk in their door.”

The truth is, if you want to build your OWN empire, based on your OWN vision, leveraging your OWN intellectual property and assets built on your OWN platform.. you are going to have to learn the basics of marketing. Our brains are wired to think in terms of holistic systems. 

While sometimes  it’s good to more or less “stay in your lane” (I made a conscious decision to focus on organic traffic and form partnerships with experts in paid traffic) or to delegate some of the things we don’t have the time or inclination to deal with, I think that it’s important to have a broad knowledge so that we can see how each “piece” of our business fits together. 

Again, I can’t stress this enough. This isn’t just for me, who does marketing for a living. This is important for anyone that has their own business.

This can be tricky.

Marketing experts range from excellent to truly awful. This can make it confusing for a lot of health and wellness professionals, so it pays to be aware.

First, they must understand what our industry is about. I’ve had a successful acupuncture practice, so I understand the frustrations and concerns that we have.

Let me give you an example of what I’ve been seeing from some marketing experts who can only seem to grasp one piece of what it means to be a wellness entrepreneur.



Recently I saw an article from a local SEO expert. I did learn a few tips from this article. But it was so obvious that it was written from a single, myopic and now outdated perspective

Here’s a list of things that were not taken into consideration, which are absolutely foundational to creating a healthy business ecosystem in our industry, in 2021:

1. There is more than one way to run a practice.  Marketing isn’t just about being the “#1 coffee shop that shows up on Google.”

Today, it’s equally important to consider how a local business wants to position itself and who its ideal (and less than ideal) patients are. For example, “doing all the SEO” in order to be seen ONLY as the “best acupuncture clinic in Denver” seems silly in today’s market in which it makes more sense to be known for something other than being conveniently located. The best at WHAT?

Even a coffee shop that sells a commodity.. (coffee) knows this by now.

2. Not everyone is ready to buy from us at any given moment. When considering how you want to be found in a Google search, it is important to consider something called search intent.

There is a huge difference between someone searching for “chiropractor near me” and “can chiropractic help me with my persistent headaches.” 

The first person is ready to buy. This can be a good thing, but it can also mean that you might get a lot of people that treat your practice like a commodity. This can actually put a lot of strain on a business if the business model isn’t set up as a volume-based service. (Yep, a patient mill)

I know from personal experience as an acupuncturist that my practice only thrived after I discovered that I didn’t need to serve EVERYONE and that seeing 100’s of patients per week wasn’t what I wanted to do.

I was already thinking about location independence, for one thing, and I wanted to leverage my TIME. I also preferred to deliver transformational care than transactional care.

This meant that I had to screen out the kinds of patients that were actually hurting my business and draining my energy.

I knew the EXACT kinds of patients that were only interested in “acupuncture in Littleton, CO” and they were not the kinds of patients I wanted to work with. I attracted my best and most loyal patients using entirely different tactics that didn’t position me as a commodity.

The second searcher is in the research stage. People in this stage should NOT be ignored!  The reason: It takes on average over 10 points of contact before someone actually buys from you. That’s more than it was even a few  years ago.

To me, this is perfectly fine. I WANT people to come in who are more informed, so that the time we spend together is more focused and deep.

For more about how this journey looks like for both you and your clients or patients, I have something really cool for you. 

3. Most people do research online before making any decisions about healthcare. They don’t choose our services like they would choose a restaurant, and they don’t even rely completely on online reviews. They want to know what sets you apart from every other acupuncturist, chiropractor, naturopath, or coach. This applies whether you are marketing to a local area only, or are starting to discover that you can diversify your income by reaching a global audience. 

This is why content marketing is still a good idea. 

Having a blog or video is a way to establish yourself, solidly in your niche, and to meet people where they are at in their journey. It’s  a smart way to position yourself in a sea of competitors all doing the same thing. 

Holistic practitioners also have a tendency to be aware of only one “part of the elephant.”

Some examples:

1. Putting up a website ONLY because everyone else is doing it, and only if it’s cheap, and it’s easy. This is like taking a low-quality drugstore supplement because you heard that it’s good for you, but you don’t want to do any research or spend any money. Yet you still think you are getting a good bargain even if all you accomplished was wasting $8.99.

2. Focusing on the “tactic” du jour. Maybe it’s Instagram reels this month. And last month it was Clubhouse. Before that you were told to do a Facebook live every other day. Before that, writing a blog for the sake of writing a blog was the thing that would get you more clients or patients.  Before that, you wasted a few hundred dollars on poorly targeted Facebook ads. And even before that, you asked a web developer to make sure that your website “had good SEO.” (That’s not how SEO works!!)

The GOOD news is, if you have done some of these things and didn’t see any results, or even “failed,” you learned a lot about marketing.. And that it’s a LOT like learning a system of medicine.. Whether it’s TCM or functional medicine, there is no “magic pill.”

There are some protocols that get fast results. There are some that are more about the “long game.” Others are dependent on other parts of the system. Much is about customization, and if we are honest, a bit of trial-and-error.

The bottom line isn’t about any one tactic. It’s about a basic strategic framework that you can plug these tactics into. I’ll be honest, there is no “big secret proven formula” at work here. Something that a guru tells you is “proven” to work, may not work for  YOU.. but the basic framework is pretty much the same no matter which source you refer to.

Your basic strategy can start out pretty simple, but like many types of holistic medicine, isn’t entirely linear.

I think most of you will be ok with that! We’ll start with the basics.

How to start expanding your awareness

Before you learned to diagnose based on the data you were given and come up with a treatment plan, you had to learn all the vocabulary and “Pieces” of your system. Acupuncture points, normal  hormone ranges, herbs and supplements, basic surface anatomy, and more.

The same is true for marketing. I talk about this in depth in my blog about the 9 components of an effective marketing strategy. 

If  you are completely new to the world of digital marketing, start here with my glossary of marketing terms. 

Briefly, here are some of your “building blocks” you can use in 2021. Keep in mind you do NOT have to use all of these. The point is to build something and use it CONSISTENTLY, based on what works for you and your ideal client or patient.

1. A social media channel you can devote an hour to each week. For some, video might make the most sense. (You can cross-post) for others, building a community (Facebook excels at this)

Others may choose to start a podcast, because they want to start collaborating with peers, because they speak well but don’t want to show up on video, and because their ideal client loves to consume information while doing something else, like driving, walking, or cleaning the house.

2. Content or as I prefer to call it.. intellectual property. This includes everything you create, even posts on your chosen channel, as I mentioned above. It’s also a good idea to consider that a large percentage of people are actively searching for health care online. This includes people in the research stage.

That’s why blogging is still a classic way to “get found” online. SEO is mostly about WORDS. The more you talk about what you do and how you do it in a way that is different or better than everyone else, AND use the phrases that your ideal client or patient will actually be typing into a search, the more likely it is that  your website will rank (show up in a search near the top) for that keyword (phrase)

This is also why I HIGHLY discourage practitioners from using a service that writes low-quality, generic and syndicated content. This won’t help you and can even hurt your SEO, your business, and your branding and reputation.

Remember, posting on social media is also considered content and yes, your intellectual property. Even though social media has traditionally been more about discovery than intentional search, there is still some element of search on social media, so when creating your posts, keep this in mind. 

Think YouTube.. Do you use it to search for something specific, like how to do something.. anything from how to install tile to how to stop a dog from barking to how to make gluten-free brownies? (or special brownies)

You can leverage video this way, by using keywords and tags in your video description and settings.

It also works for visual information. Pinterest is also a search engine. It works very well for recipes, “infographics” for health and wellness tips, and a lot more.

3. Email marketing. An email list is also an ASSET  you own. It means you have been given permission to contact/reach out to those who opted in to receive emails from you. This is a CORE piece, and it is also “connected” to your other assets and channels.

For example, you can send a broadcast or campaign (a single email) to everyone on your list letting them know about a live online event, a new podcast, or strategically timed offers.

This connection can flow in the other direction as well:

You can post a link in your Facebook group or even in Instagram (I use Linktree)  that takes people to a page on your website with an opt-in form.

Once this form gets them on your list, then they can receive a series of automated  emails that “warms them up” for something juicy you are offering. (You only have to do this once.. It’s a “set and forget” thing) Hooray!!

This, of course, is no different, and an extension of who you are and what you do already to help people.

You are using tools to help people discover and find you, in a way that takes them through a natural cycle, or journey. 

A real-life example of how you can start making connections:

One of my clients is a coach who prefers to communicate with video over writing. Every week or so she does a livestream to her Facebook group. She offers a free gift at the end of each live broadcast by sharing a link to an opt in form. (she speaks it and posts it in the comments, but you can also post in in your streaming software if you are using something like StreamYard, which I recommend)

This way she can get people on her email list, which is a vital part of her funnel or “lead pipeline.”

She is starting out with 1 or 2 of these. They are fairly easy to create (she outsources this to me)

After the live broadcast, she uses otter.ai to transcribe the video into writing. A little editing, a photo or visual, and an intentional but natural addition of keywords, and she has a blog ready to go.

It sounds like a lot, but once you break it down, and do it the first time, the system becomes a repeatable process that makes it easier on you. No more figuring out stuff each time. It becomes more about plugging your content into the “machine.” This saves a LOT of time. 

She can get a lot of mileage from these videos and blogs later. The videos can go into a course or membership area, or turn into a podcast. The blogs can be repurposed as a live speaking event or a mini course, or eventually even a book.  She’s not at this point yet, but she’s building a system she can leverage.

I am doing something similar. Let me tell you.. This process took a few years in order for me to get where I am right now. And now I have a membership, a course, and a few other assets/offerings I can sell so that I can diversify my income and no longer depend on selling my time. I can  also raise my 1:1 prices.

Now, it’s YOUR turn. Let’s brainstorm a few more examples or possibilities.

Think about how you could leverage YouTube as a yoga teacher, and then connect it to the other “pieces” of your holistic marketing plan. (Also known as a funnel, when you draw it out like a flowchart or process to make it easy to track)

Or how you could leverage Pinterest if you had a hormone balancing program and integrate email or any other channels of communication you have.. both online and offline. into your flow. 

Benefits of creating a holistic marketing plan

• You can capitalize on the synergy of these systems. As you start to implement in an intentional manner, the momentum and energy increases. For example, your blog or your Facebook group posts can get more people on your email list. Your email list can boost your blog and send more people to your Facebook group. An upward spiral! 

• You can tailor your plan according to your unique communication style, preferences, and brand.

I happen to love podcasting, and have plans to make this one of my main marketing tools, but having a blog in place makes it much easier. I already have a library of ideas to draw from as well as new ones, and as my business grows my content will evolve and need updates.

You may LOVE video or have a genius for Instagram or Pinterest or teaching others via webinars/masterclasses.

• Diversification: If one component isn’t performing well, you have other platforms and assets that you own.. Including your email list, your website, and  your own intellectual property to fall back on. This is one reason why I think it’s smart to have a solid email list and build a library of blogs and podcasts that you own and can use anywhere. If Facebook disappears tomorrow, everything you created there, including your contacts, will also disappear.

How to get started.

Think about each of these items as a wheel with a hub and spokes.

1. A platform. Where is the “library” or “vault” where you will store/host your intellectual property? Where will you capture leads? The place that will serve as the hub of your ecosystem will be your website, even if it’s a simple site or landing page. 

your website is the hub of your marketing Now for the spokes. (This illustration is just an example, you can chose just a few spokes to begin with that work for you) 

2. Decide on your primary content type. Do you like to write? Blog consistently, and leverage the hell out of it. It doesn’t matter if your blogs are longer or shorter, as long as you answer the questions your ideal client or patient is looking for in a search.

Google no longer favors superficial content. For example, if you write a blog about 10 tips for wellness, let’s say a 300 word listicle about obvious things like “get more sleep” or “drink more water,” how likely is the visitor going to stick around? If  you guessed that the searcher will bounce off to find an article that provides a new perspective or goes a little deeper, they will, contrary to what you may have heard, prefer this. Even if they have the attention span of a gnat. 

Attention spans are not necessarily fatigued by longer articles, when done right or when appropriate. They are fatigued by being bombarded by a lot of “noise” and “fluff,” as well as having to spend extra time sifting through junk to find what we are looking for.

Even if people DO want super generic and basic health and wellness information, they are more likely to end up on a site like WebMD or LiveStrong. What we offer as wellness professionals today goes beyond that..

We are selling a process, a strategy, and results. Who has ever successfully lost weight because of a blog that told them to exercise more or drink more water?

Likely, nobody. Ever.

You can certainly write short blogs, if they provide useful and relevant information. One of my clients, a coach, can deliver a concise and powerful statement in about 300 to 500 words, including her “call to action.”

This approach doesn’t work for me and the kind of information I deliver, which can be complex and layered, involve multiple steps, require research, and keeping track of trends.

(My style isn’t for everyone, but that’s also ok!)

I prefer to write longer, epic articles/blogs that thoroughly answer questions that my ideal client may be searching for. I then “splinter” each epic blog into “snack sized” content for a live broadcast or podcast.

Instead of writing a new blog each week, I honestly write a new one every month or even two, and focus on updating the epic blogs I’ve already written, keeping the core message more or less the same, and maybe refining the keywords. (Tip I don’t mess with the permalink/URL.. This can mess up your SEO.. you have to know what you are doing!)

I have a yearly cycle with monthly themes. I repeat (recycle) the same content once per year. This is not cheating.. It makes SENSE. People don’t catch everything  you put out.. and often wait for something cool you created to “cycle back around” again.

This is just one way you can leverage your writing, but certainly not the only way. You can find your OWN voice, groove, and way to repurpose.



Prefer to speak? Consider video or podcasting. You can transcribe VERY easily using an app like Otter.ai. Now you will have show notes, a blog, text for slide decks, a course or program, or whatever you want to use your written content for.

3.  Social media: Choose your platform 

Think about how you want to deliver your content on social media.

Do you want to:

• Create a community in a Facebook group?

• Leverage YouTube and Pinterest for their search functions? 

• Focus on Twitter and Clubhouse which might give you access to some “big players” in your field?

• Capitalize on LinkedIN to position yourself as a thought leader?

• Tell a story with TikTok or Instagram using short videos? 

Note” Don’t rule out any of these because you heard TikTok was only for kids or that LinkedIN was only for B2B.. there are older audiences that LOVE short videos, and opportunities for wellness professionals to form collaborations on LinkedIN. You might also even have an advantage of not having so much competition.

In other words, do what makes sense for you, and what YOUR ideal client or patient prefers. It’s not about demographics, but about your niche.

Also, don’t assume you “need” to be on a particular platform because some guru said that it is the best place to be. I don’t like Twitter. So I don’t use it, at least for now. And that’s fine. I focus more on Facebook and soon, podcasting.

I do NOT think that wellness entrepreneurs need to take the “omni channel” approach that some marketing gurus recommend. This only leads to ineffective overwhelm. Pick one or 2.

Don’t worry about being perfect. Your message, communication style, experience, and skill will evolve. The only way to get there is to put it out there!

4. Take the time to get  your basic email marketing infrastructure set up. If you are stuck on ths piece, DO get some help. Here is one affordable option. 

5. Link it up! Literally. In most cases, the “glue” that holds everything together for your online and even in person..is a shared link. 

Look for ways you can share your blog on Facebook or Instagram. I like to use LinkTree so that I can easily share links on Instagram.

Or perhaps how you can share a quick insight along with your latest podcast episode in your email. You can get people on your email list from YouTube or your Facebook live, via a link.

You might need to actually SEE how this works by diving into your platforms and starting to play.

You may want to keep a spreadsheet or some kind of document around with a list of links (URLS) for all the assets (content, intellectual property)  you can direct people to or share. You can include the link, the date, the purpose, how well it performed (open rates, comments, page visitors, etc) or any other data you want to track. (I talk about data and key performance indicators and other concepts I mention in this blog in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit)



A calendar will help you visually capture each task or element chronologically.. such as “Friday: Facebook LIVE” or “Wednesday: re-post the holistic marketing article link.”

A mind map, which I get into more in depth with in this blog, will help you visualize how the pieces of your funnel interact and flow. 

This may seem like “geeky overkill” right now, but as you start to grow, documenting all of this will make life easier for you. I just used my list of lead magnets, blogs, quizzes and trainings to refer to for all the links in this blog. (I have close to 100)  If you outsource any of this, it will make it so much easier to hand off your process to someone else. 

6. Get even MORE holistic: What is the overall experience you are creating for patients or clients? 

From your waiting room to the payment experience online, from your website branding to the way you communicate and deliver services in person, yep, it’s all connected. If your online experience is clunky or you don’t show up, people will be able to tell. Likewise, if you are exhausted from working with patients and clients that drain you, this will show up EVERYWHERE you and your business show up. 

Now, write down all the ways that one piece flows into or integrates with another. There will very likely be places where there are bumps that can be smoothed out in your own practice.

A classic example: Many practitioners don’t make it EASY to book an appointment. Strange, or even shocking, but true. (Read Marketing Made Simple or Creating a StoryBrand for more)

I’ve had several clients that relied on one phone number posted at the top of their page. Every CTA was “give me a call so we can talk.” There was no way to book online. I hate making phone calls, but when I did, there was a voice message.

This kind of thing SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the chances of someone choosing you over another practitioner. I certainly would move on to the next on the list, unless the website blew me away.

Another example is how you handle re-schedules, cancellations, payments, reminders, and follow-up emails, and how you pre-qualify patients or clients. If the only place this communication takes place is on a piece of paper attached to your intake forms, you are missing out on MANY subtle ways you can make things smooth, pleasant and effective, all while establishing and enforcing any boundaries you choose to set.

You can use subtle and automated ways to do the work for you. Seriously..

Your home page can send a message of: I’m going to get to the point and let you know how I can help you solve that problem (in their own words) Click here to book. I’ve got this. You’ve got this.

They then find that you know your shit via checking out your blogs and podcasts.

They also see your case studies and 5 star reviews.

With just these 3 or 4 things, they are much more likely to commit.

After they book they  get a nice welcoming sequence of emails sent to their inbox, which can replace or support your existing welcome packet. (I’m a BIG fan of onboarding, welcome packets, and welcome goodies for new clients and patients) Everything is spelled out. You clearly explain your policies and your process.

You set up a way that eliminates any awkward conversations or transactional disputes. It’s done, it’s automatic. It makes you look like you know what you are doing, more professional, and able to focus on being the doctor or the coach.

This will take a HUGE load off your shoulders, and make your patients and clients feel at ease too.

Then the magic happens:

They begin love you so much that they sign up for a group program for continuing support and guidance after they “graduate” from your 1:1 services in your clinic.

The group program is contained in a Facebook group with newbies that hear about how cool your services are.

Some of the new members of your tribe will then click on a shared link in the group to get a free recipe book and a series of nurturing emails, leading to an invitation to check out your 1:1 services.

We’ve come full circle!

Start to keep track of these things, because this example is just the tip of the iceberg.

You may also discover, bit by bit, how you can create even more “connections” in your holistic marketing that will have you thinking “Oh, why didn’t I think of that sooner!”

Over time, this will be the natural result. Don’t let the arrows freak you out, the idea here is simply to show how everything eventually connects to everything else.

Holistic marketing: Everything is connected

An example for me in my business: Having a separate calendar with a link I can share to people I might be interested in collaborating with who might want to be a guest for an event or podcast.

Included in the automatic confirmation email is a link for a .pdf document that briefly explains what I’m up to, the interview process, and a also link to my Zoom meeting room for a pre-interview.

This has smoothed out a major “bump” for me: Feeling awkward about approaching potential interview or podcast guests. It also helps my SEO by getting backlinks.

Now, if I meet someone interesting on Facebook or LinkedIN, I can just message them with: ” Hey, I love what you are doing. Would you like to get together to have a conversation about this, or be a guest on an upcoming podcast? I’ll send you a link. Cool! 

It gets even better..

If they end up on a live Facebook group event as my guest, it brings in new members. If it requires a registration (one of those nifty opt-in forms) I can BOTH grow my list AND my Facebook group, because I included a link to join my group on the Thank You page that they see when they enter their name and email and click the YES! button. 

Obviously, as a guest, they get to promote their products and services. This could lead to being guest for an event or podcast, which would allow me to leverage other people’s networks. Everyone wins!

Don’t worry about the mechanics of all this. Just know that once it is set up, it’s done, automatic, synergystic, and holistic!

Which reminds me..

7. Take your holistic marketing to the next level with speaking events (live or virtual) and collaborating with peers and colleagues.

I firmly believe that instead of trying to force our way up to the #1 position for “acupuncturist near me,”we can think more strategically and holistically by carving out a niche for ourselves and referring the rest out to those who may have previously been strictly our competitors.

One of the best ways to do this is via collaborations, guest appearances, summits, podcasts, and affiliate or joint venture partnerships.

virtual health and wellness events

So reach out to that person who really LOVES working with the kinds of patients you don’t enjoy working with, whether they are in the same city as you or not. 

So there you have it. Like a good holistic practitioner, you will learn by experience, experimentation, and observing the masters you admire.

Now go have fun with this.. Seriously!

Visual person? I’ve got an infographic just for you, at the bottom of this page.  But first..

Need a more linear, step-by-step guidance?

I get it.. time IS MONEY!

You can, of course, start out with 1 thing and then gradually add more. You can keep experimenting, which is normal. 

This blog is pretty epic and can probably get you far, if you are motivated to take the action steps. 

Or you can enroll in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit and get the ENTIRE process, in chronological order. From mindset to tech, I’ve got you covered. 

This course is also updated every year. 

If you prefer to get some in-depth guidance for your business, just click here or on the gold button below. 

A Year End Review to Make 2021 a Success

A Year End Review to Make 2021 a Success

Every year, I have one ritual. This year is no exception. I would like to share it with you. 

You can read this blog for inspiration in creating your own year-end ritual.. or you can skim and follow what I wrote in gold to get a quick start. 

Here we go: 

I start by slowing down, taking time to clear my mind. I’ll then sit down with a cup of coffee that leads to another walk or similar relaxing activity that lets clarity and creativity bubble up.  I get in the “zone.” I light a candle and pour a glass of wine.. and thoroughly enjoy this process.

I take time to write down all my accomplishments. I also write down things I had intended to do, but didn’t. I then determine whether to put those things back on my list, or demote them to the “back burner” or take them off the list entirely. This is just a start.

Some surprising things come up from this exercise.

I find that not only do I have a pretty good list of accomplishments, but I’ve “leveled up” in most years. (more…)

How Your Acupuncture Blog Can Help Your SEO

How Your Acupuncture Blog Can Help Your SEO

SEO for health and wellness professionals  is more important than ever, because the majority of your patients will be doing their research before booking an appointment with you.

Let’s talk about how your acupuncture blog is actually critical for SEO.

 

Or more specifically.. Why your  blog is such a valuable asset, how blogging actually works, and how it can actually save you time and yes, make you money.  For more advanced and specific information on what’s happening in the world of SEO for wellness professionals, check out this blog.

Blogging is one of those tasks that business owners say they will “get around to” but seldom do, at least not on a regular basis. (more…)

5 Reasons Why Wellness Professionals Need to Create Consistent Content in 2021

5 Reasons Why Wellness Professionals Need to Create Consistent Content in 2021

Content Marketing is very important for wellness professionals. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to help your ideal patient or client find you when they do their research. (And they will!)

But if you are still not convinced…

This article is mostly about what’s in it for YOU as a wellness practitioner and expert in your niche when you take the time to create content consistently. The focus will be about blogging, even though video, podcasting, and other types of content are also very useful.

Acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, health coaches, fitness professionals.. all need to create content consistently. They need  active and dynamic websites in order to compete in today’s market.. both locally and online. 

This means that the content of your site, (and social media channels) needs to stay current, educational, useful, interesting, and relevant. Adding fresh content or updating old content on a regular basis is key. For many, this is done via blogging.  Your blog is a powerful tool for getting not just more traffic, but more of the RIGHT patients for YOU. (more…)

How to Start A Blog For Your Wellness Business

How to Start A Blog For Your Wellness Business

A blog is still often a potential patient’s first opportunity to engage with you and your wellness business, as well as a way for you to establish yourself as an expert and build trust. Whether you are creating a blog, videos, or a podcast, the same principles will apply. 

 

Read on if:

• You don’t have a website, or don’t have a great website just yet

• You haven’t updated your “online brochure” website since 2012 or before

• You are not familiar with SEO or the concept of content marketing, or why you may want to have a blog (Hint: Not because “everyone else has one”)

• You hired an “SEO guy” (or gal) in the past who used “tricks and hacks” to get you quick rankings, but either got no results or their “black hat” techniques ended up tanking your rankings due to Google updates and penalties

• You are only beginning to understand the concept of digital marketing because you had to “go virtual” with at least a portion of your practice in 2020

• You don’t know where to start, and frankly, are kind of afraid to ask

• You are genuinely passionate about what you do and are willing to do further research, documentation, exploration, and writing about your chosen area of expertise to share with the world

Go grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) and let’s get you started!

You’ve probably heard about SEO, and have a basic understanding about Google searches. You may also be aware that a large majority of your patients are probably doing some kind of research online before they book an appointment with you. (80 percent, according to a recent study!)

You may also be vaguely familiar with terms like keywords, backlinks, and meta descriptions, but don’t really want to dive into that rabbit hole right now. 

I actually DO recommend taking it slow when it comes to learning the basics of SEO, because it CAN be a rabbit hole!

Maybe you even thought about paying someone to magically “fix” your SEO or “make” your page skyrocket to the top of Google rankings.

Today, the approach of “quick fixes” and “gaming the system” don’t work. That’s the bad news.

I don’t recommend hiring anyone that makes promises about quick gains when it comes to Google rankings and traffic, as this will backfire.

Today, what makes a wellness practice successful has a lot to do something called content marketing.

There are some SEO experts that sadly, may know every trick for getting  your local keywords to rank #1 in Google and will tell you that “you don’t need to write content.”

But what they don’t understand is that if this is ALL you do, you are positioning you and your services as a commodity.

How can you stand out without content, or as I prefer to call it, your own intellectual property?
For sure, you’ll be hustling and burnt out from trying to work with anyone and everyone, continuing to sell your time at a “competitive” rate, just because of geographic convenience and a few SEO tricks.

Now for the GOOD news.. Most of SEO and content marketing really boils down to just creating high-quality content that is useful to your potential patients and clients. This content will establish you as an expert, not just a pin on a map, and will decrease your dependence on reviews. 

Your content can also be repurposed, reused, and recycled. 

The days of the non-functional, “glorified brochure” websites are over. 

This means that you can no longer put up a website with just a brief description of what you do with a few specific keywords, put your phone number at the top, link to a booking or consultation, and call it a day.

This is still done certain industries, like plumbing and construction. Since these businesses are generally more or less commodities, playing the keyword ranking game and getting backlinks was enough for Joe’s plumbing service in Anytown, NE, to be seen in the first page of Google listings for a particular search.

This is basically using Google as nothing more than glorified Yellow pages, which is fine if you are say, a cab company.

As a matter of fact, this IS how it was done in almost every industry about 10 years ago, (and apparently this mindset still exists!) but even for commodities, it’s harder to compete in the online space without adopting to modern marketing.

This means that your message,  your content, your brand, how you tell your story, and how you solve a specific problem for a specific type of patient or client is crucial.

Hoping that people visit our websites that have a handful of blogs and rely on old-school “tricks and hacks” SEO (or no SEO) no longer works well for highly personalized experiences like acupuncture, chiropractic, or coaching.

“Old School” SEO doesn’t work anymore

A blog that sounds like it’s written more for a Google bot than a regular person is not only annoying, but is now being penalized by Google. (and has been for a while now)

I’m still shocked by how many chiropractic sites I see that are written like this. Don’t write for a machine. Write for real people.

People want to interact with real people, find helpful information, and feel as if they found a person, place, or service that really “resonates” with them.   They are seeking a a good vibe, and a site with a lot of good, relevant information, which is organized in a clean, uncluttered way.

What’s one of the bests way to do this? Blogging.

Here’s why:

1. You don’t want to clutter up your homepage with too much information. This is confusing to a reader. Readers want to know briefly what your business is about, and what makes YOU or your place unique. This is why clean, elegant sites are so popular. (I create websites based on the Story Brand concept, which is all about a clear, concise narrative flow on the HOME and ABOUT pages)

Your potential patient or client will use the blog to dive a little deeper on something more specific. Almost everyone knows what a blog is and what it’s used for nowadays, and if they are intrigued, they will go there to find more info.

Note: Having a blog page with a search function or “latest or relevant posts” on your website will greatly increase the odds that those that navigate to your home page first, will check out your blog.

It also helps to “see at a glance” that your site is a wealth of information, or even “binge-worthy.”

2. If your business is online with a global audience, you obviously can’t rely on Joe the plumber’s technique. People simply don’t type “How I can live my best life”  or “Business coach” into a Google search. They have specific questions that begin with “Why, How, What, When, Who, and Where, or  Can..such as:

“How can I get rid of my acne?”

“Why is my dog so anxious lately?”

“What are some good recipes for a Paleo breakfast?

“When should I use ice to treat an injury?”

“Can acupuncture help me with my sugar addiction?”

The right keywords may also lead potential clients to read blogs about how they can improve their lives:

“Why motivation won’t work for long-term success”

“How to make sure you are heard when nobody seems to be listening”

You get the idea.

What questions and what problems is YOUR ideal client looking to solve with a Google search? How can you write blogs based on the intent of the searcher? Are they researching? (how can chiropractic help with headaches) or are they looking to buy NOW? (Chiropractor near me who can help me with headaches)

I advise mixing it up a little so that you address buyers in ALL stages: awareness, interest/research, consideration, and ready to buy.

Your blog will help guide your ideal clients to you by using keywords that strike a chord with them.. and have them coming back for more. 

For example, if your focus is on working with gifted and creative people…(which is still a pretty broad focus) you can really niche this down further via blogging and sharing info about the unique challenges your ideal client has, and how to solve THEIR specific problems, which you will define in your blogs.

Blogging also integrates beautifully with social media, which could be your primary method of attracting an audience and generating leads. (Others may prefer podcasting, which in some ways, serves a similar function as a blog, especially if you are optimizing your show notes for search)

3. You will be a resource they will come back to again and again by providing honestly helpful information on a regular basis. For example, you could blog about how you treat shoulder pain or how to have glowing skin after 50.

You can then optimize each blog with keywords that people will be searching for.

What’s cool is that next time when they are looking for information about how you treat back pain or natural treatments for reducing the appearance of cellulite, they are likely to come back to your site because now they perceive you as an expert in your niche.

If you impressed them this first time, why would they go elsewhere, or to a “flimsy” site that only has a phone number and says basically the same thing as everyone else’s?

4. Here’s the reason why you actually have an ADVANTAGE: Because you are not a cab company, an airline, a breakfast cereal, or just another plumber.

What you have, even in a saturated or competitive market, is something nobody else has or will ever have. You are not a commodity.

You get to express yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I think it kind of sucks to have to compete as a commodity. When you are a commodity, you are forced to focus on discount pricing or feel pressure to do what everyone else is doing.

Blogging is like someone  handing you a mike and giving you a stage to tell your audience what you are really all about, without having to sound like a cheesy commercial.

Content marketing will do that for you. Really! I got my favorite patients that were a joy to work with, because of my blog and all the info I offered.

5. It will help you attract the right people for you, and yes, repel those you don’t want to work with. In other words, it will SAVE you time and energy in the long run.

But I was told that “nobody wants to read anything anymore, it’s too much work, so why should I write?”

This simply isn’t true. If you want to attract patients who can’t be bothered to do a little research and be genuinely interested in being proactive about their health.. it’s not beneficial for anyone.. you, the client or patient, and your industry as a whole.  I think that this is particularly true for healthcare sites. The more you can answer the questions that your ideal patient (or client) is typing into a search, the BETTER the user experience.

This means that if you are thorough and comprehensive in  your blog, the searcher doesn’t have to bounce off your site to Google again in order to get the answers they need. (THIS is what can be frustrating!) 

Don’t worry about length. Whether or not you can answer the question the person who came to your blog for in 300 words or 3,000 isn’t the point. It all depends on what you do, your style,  and what makes the most sense.

I do NOT recommend writing a half-assed listicle with generic advice that anyone can find anywhere. (Drink more water, get more sleep) just so that you have a blog with some of your local keywords stuffed into it. This is the kind of thing Google is trying to discourage. As a user, would  YOU want to sift through this much junk in order to find what you really need?

If you are good at what you do (and I know you are) I would bet that you will never run out of things to talk about. As long as you are doing your due diligence in finding out who your ideal patient or client is, what their specific problems are, and taking time to answer them in THEIR language,  you’ll be fine! 

Note: If you are MUCH better at video than with blogging.. go for it! Statistics show that more people watch videos than read blogs.. especially on mobile devices. But many are still a bit shy about videos, and blogging isnt’ going away any time soon.  Good news: You can now easily turn your videos into blogs, if  you like, with AI tools like Otter.ai, which does a good job of transcribing audio files or live recordings into words.

For now, we’ll focus on blogging.

You will be in a better position to serve

What about those who are not ready for your 1:1 services?  The temptation is to lower your prices, which I think is a big mistake. Your time and the strategic solutions you offer should be priced appropriately.

Blogs are a great way to provide more people with access to your expertise. It’s the gateway to entry point to offering solutions for those who are just beginning to learn about how they can benefit from your services but aren’t ready for the next step.

From there you can continue to offer solutions that help them at the next level, if they choose, such as group programs, courses, or webinars.

How to start blogging

1. If you don’t already have a WordPress website, I highly recommend it. Another reason I love WordPress so much is that blogging is built right in to the site from the start. Other platforms like Kartra, which I also love, are a good choice for online businesses with more advanced needs, but they are not great platforms for building a blog. I won’t get into that right now.

WordPress manages all your content easily.. including images, blog posts, and pages. All you need to do is add a post, a title, a description, and a featured image and you are basically set.

As you go, you will find optimal ways of formatting, using images, and refining SEO. Just start, and feel that sense of satisfaction when your library starts to build.

You are now on your way to becoming the go-to person in your industry!

Note: Finding a niche and defining your target audience is also key. If you are writing to the wrong audience, you will be writing for your own entertainment only. 

Do NOT try to “make sure that anyone and everyone” is going to be interested. When you do this, NOBODY will be interested, (meh) and you are now basically a commodity.

Those with online coaching businesses need to be even MORE specific about their audience.

I can help you define and refine if you are stuck. This is not uncommon when it comes to “putting yourself out there” and wanting to attract everyone, which is a mistake.

2. Don’t worry if you only have 2 blogs (or NO blogs!) right now, or allow it to overwhelm you. This is about consistent and inspired action. What’s the perfect number? To get some momentum going, I recommend at least a few times per month. After a while, you can update and refresh your old posts, which is what I do to keep getting more traffic to my website.

You will find a rhythm that works for you and keeps you competitive in the SEO game. This will take some observation and tweaking.

When you think of a blog idea, write it down. These ideas often come up in conversations, or at random moments.

You can also ask your patients or guests what their burning questions are and answer them.

3. Don’t just blog. Pair your efforts with metrics. You want to get into the habit of measuring how well the blog is performing via driving more traffic to your site or some other goal or metric, such as online bookings, opt-ins, viewings of your pricing page, how long visitors stick around on your site, how “trustworthy” your site is, insights about links.. and more.

Start by setting up a Google Analytics and Google Console account. It’s easier than ever to get started. (Granted, it will take you some time to master Google Analytics) These are the 2 standard tools SEO’s use to measure the performance of a website. (And your blog will play a HUGE role in its performance)

With these tools, you will find a gold mine of info that will help direct you on what to blog about, how to optimize your blogs for SEO, or how to best integrate them with social media.

4. Have someone do it for you. If you TRULY don’t have time because you are busy with your business.. congratulations! Your business is growing, and it may be time to outsource.

For some, it may make MUCH more sense to hire someone who knows their business to do their blogging, posting, and analysis.

Remember, the GOOD NEWS is that blogging isn’t dead. Not even close. It’s just a statement that circulates from time to time that makes for good clickbait.

High quality information is being rewarded by Google.. because clearly, this is what people WANT.

So think of it as fun, not a chore. Let it be a way to inspire you and your business, and get others jazzed about what your unique offering is.  For more advanced info about blogging and SEO in 2021 and beyond, this is a must read. 

Need help with your content marketing?

Whether you are a newbie, DIYer, or even seasoned marketer.. sometimes we all need a little help so that we can focus on what really matters and get the results we want from our digital marketing efforts.

For you DIYers.. I have some brand new courses that take you through the entire process step-by-step.

No time?  The “Done for you” SEO and content marketing packages may be perfect for you. (They go together!)

I also offer 1:1 coaching for those who need some guidance.  Got questions? Just click on the gold button below for a free 30 minute consultation.