9 Components Of An Effective Marketing Strategy: Wellness Professionals

9 Components Of An Effective Marketing Strategy: Wellness Professionals

Every business, no matter how small, needs some kind of direction, intention, plan, or system so that it can produce a profit in a way that isn’t random, but predictable.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, but if your entire plan consists of posting on social media when you have the time and energy, or “hoping” that word-of-mouth will be enough for promoting your online offerings,  trust me, you are going to end up disappointed, disillusioned, and exhausted.

Without having any direction or systems in place, it’s not a business, but a hobby. It may sound harsh, but if we really sit down to think about it, it’s true. The entire purpose of a business is to earn a profit. The only way to GROW a business is by creating a way to do this on a consistent basis.

We can call this an intentional plan, a roadmap, a system, a process, or whatever you prefer to call it.

In marketing, we call it a sales funnel or marketing funnel.

In a nutshell, all it is are the steps you take someone through from the time they first become aware of you, to the time they make a purchase.. and even beyond.

This includes not just getting new leads, clients, or patients, but ALSO onboarding, taking care of existing clients or patients, keeping them in the loop for future offerings, getting feedback, and making it easy for them to give you referrals, reviews, and testimonials.

Some of these steps can, (and should) happen automatically.. like delivering confirmation emails, receipts, and deliverables for digital products. (That online fertility course you’ve been thinking about will need a basic system in place!) Some is manual, like cultivating an online community, networking, and writing content. ALL of it is intentional and done in a very specific order. (A strategy, if  you will)

How do I start creating consistent and predictable income?

This blog is all about setting up your basic infrastructure. (or funnel.) It’s one of my more “epic” articles. I wrote this because I haven’t seen any blogs or articles that provide this information all in one place, so that you don’t have to spend hours Googling to find what you need.

You can get your .pdf version here.

To prevent overwhelm, we are not going to address the “moving parts” just yet. First, we need to get the “pieces of the machine” in place. 

I want you to have the confidence of knowing where to start and having an actual checklist of all the parts you will need to have in place BEFORE you worry about how the whole thing functions or try to visualize all the moving parts. I can’t even visualize or remember all the moving parts of my funnels.. that’s why I have my own cheat sheets, checklists, and documented processes!

The tools I chose “play well” together, so that in most cases all you need to do is press a few buttons or  copy and paste a link in the tool that leads to the next step. If you thought the only way to do this easily was in a platform like Wix or Squarespace, it’s because these platforms are very good at marketing and making you believe that this is so.

I’ll guide  you through the “moving parts” in the next blog.

Have you ever assembled a piece of Ikea furniture? If so, you probably know that the best way to go about it is to take inventory of each part, from the biggest piece of wood to the most minute hardware, and gather the tools you need before actual assembly.

Disclaimer: There may be a few affiliate links sprinkled throughout this blog. I may make some coffee or wine money from them. I only recommend products and services I use or have used or in the past, and I dislike B.S. affiliate sites as much as you do. Only my honest thoughts here. 

This guide is for those who already have a website in place, preferably a WordPress site.

I have also not included webinars as part of a basic marketing funnel in this blog. I’ve had success with webinars and want to address them, and will in a separate blog.

Let’s get started!     

First I will address a few concerns you may have.

How much do these “pieces” cost?

I’ve included options that are either free (for basic plans) or low cost. The good news is that there are more and more affordable options for those just starting out on a budget then ever before. Active Campaign, for example, (an email marketing service) has lowered its prices on its entry-level plan, which means that solo business owners have more options now than just Mailchimp.

You can put something together that will typically cost, at the time of this writing, less than $50 per month. 

Funnels seem too complicated.. do I have time to learn this?

Does this look scary? Maybe, maybe not. Some are flow chart nerds, some are spreadsheet geeks, and some.. none of the above.

This is a map of a quiz funnel I created. At first glance, it looks complicated and makes you want to reach for another round of coffee.  

If you look closely, it’s not that complicated. At the very top (not pictured) you might have people see the quiz, which lives on my client’s website, from a link on Facebook or Instagram.

Once they take the quiz, depending on their results, they will be sent a series of emails that leads them to check out other offerings.

Pretty cool! 

You’ll also be creating a process, flow chart, map, whatever you want to call it, of YOUR process. It will make perfect sense to you, (and your team if you have one) but maybe not to someone else.

Tip: If  you have a team, you will all want to make sure that you understand each other,  using naming conventions, etc. 

I’ll even include a few simple and effective funnel templates to get you going.. (look for it in the next blog)

At this point, you might be thinking: This doesn’t even look like a funnel! I thought they were supposed to look like this:  (Top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, bottom of the funnel)

To clear up any confusion, the process IS often visually represented as a funnel. It’s a conceptual tool. The reason for this is that there are more leads at the top, or the beginning stages, and fewer at the bottom.

When you create your own, it doesn’t need to be shaped like a funnel. You’ll likely be working more with a flowchart model, whether you use an app, sticky notes, a whiteboard, or even crayons and a big sheet of paper.

It can actually be this simple and elegant.

You will want to give some thought to what channels you want to use, and what format.

Don’t worry too much about mapping this out right now. I talk about this in the next blog in this series: Mapping out your funnel. For now, we are just gathering tools and resources.

The Creative Tools

Quiet time, coffee, wine, an occasional walk or bike ride, a big piece of paper, a whiteboard, a blank Penzu or Google Docs page, index cards, crayons, whatever.

• A thing you want to sell, and a date you want to sell it by. This could mean a physical product by the holiday season, a course in the fall or spring, or an ongoing course you want to sell. You may have more than one product to sell, as in a low-cost, low-risk product or service. (see previous blog about marketing funnels)

• A solid idea of your target market. If you haven’t done the classic ideal client avatar exercise yet, do this now.

Please don’t skip over this important task of REALLY defining your USP (unique selling proposition) or ideal client avatar. This will make the entire funnel.. from the mechanics of the funnel to the content you create to the copy in your landing pages, ineffective.

For more in-depth and step-by-step guidance, I recommend taking my signature course:  Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit. 

The 9 “Tech Pieces and Parts”

Pick one piece and devote a day to learning as much as you can about it.

1. The Email Piece

What it does: Despite the occasional marketer that likes to claim that email is dead, 95% of established marketers will tell you this:

Email is probably the most important aspect of your marketing funnel/machinery. Statistically it does a much better job of converting leads into paying clients than social media, even though it’s not nearly as “sexy.”

The open rate for email may not seem high at first glance, but it’s still much better than the random nature of social media and its algorithms. The only problem is that some wellness professionals and coaches still perceive all email as being “spammy,” a mindset that isn’t going to do much for your marketing.

Your emails are going to be not only respectful, but beneficial for the real, live people on your list. And yes, that does include making occasional offers.

I send emails about once a week, and I’m serious when I refer to subscribers as my “inner circle.” They get more info that social media followers do.

The “email piece” includes:

• An email marketing service. (Not to be confused with an ordinary email service like Gmail, or even the email connected to your website hosting.) You need a way to send mass and automated emails and collect emails easily, right from your website or landing page via an email marketing service like MailChimp or Drip or CovertKit.

Honestly, you can set this up in an hour.

I know everyone has their own personal preferences and the big default seems to be MailChimp, but I think that the best options are MailerLite for those looking for a free option or who are just starting out, and Active Campaign for those who are ready to take their business to the next level. The entry level price has come down significantly.

It will pay off to get an account and start to familiarize yourself with the terminology if you have not already done so.

Learn these terms and concepts:

• List (groups in MailerLite)

• Forms

• Automations (sequences in some systems)

• Subscribers (terminology varies depending on the service, but we are talking about the actual PEOPLE that are subscribed to your lists.

Get used to the concept of tracking data and analytics as well. Begin with the data you can find on the dashboard of your email marketing service. See what emails are getting opened as a start, and who is clicking on the links you include in your emails. 

2. The opt-in form piece

What it does: This is your main tool for converting social media audiences or visitors to your website into “warm leads” by offering something of value (like a free piece of information or “lead magnet.”) They are designed to connect to your email marketing service so that when someone signs up, they will automatically receive emails, which you set up in your email service behind the scenes.

An opt-in form (a regular, inline form or popup) is the EXACT place in  your funnel where someone goes from being a visitor to your website to a subscriber or warm lead.

There are examples of live opt in forms on this page. Go ahead and try one, so you can see a funnel in action!

The one pictured below is also an opt in, but it is just a screenshot:

How do these things magically appear on a page? You can do this via a plugin. There are plugins for popups, slide ins, and top bars HELLO bars. My picks:

• Hustle
• ZotaBox
• Divi Bars
• Thrive Leads
• Poptin (for popups)

My favorite way to create forms is by using the DIVI theme/builder to create a form, which is a fairly simple process. (You start with a template you can modify) I create all my websites using the DIVI theme/bulder.

Hustle is free. Zotabox has a low cost monthly option with a lot of cool features. Thrive Leads has what I think are the best-looking and highest converting (meaning that people are more likely to click on them) opt-ins. You can check it out via a membership or purchase a license for a one-time very reasonable fee.

Poptin also has good free and entry-level options for creating well-designed popups that convert.

Divi bars are also pretty cool.. You can sometimes see it in action at the top of the pages on my website. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but those top bars can be pretty effective!

Don’t think too much right now about what you will be linking these pieces to. Just investigate a few options and take the time to learn one or two to keep in your “toolbox.”

Here are a few tips/side notes to help you avoid some unnecessary headaches:

1: There are other things to consider, such as GDPR compliance. I won’t dive into that here. Just know that you don’t need a bazillion checkboxes like people were using a few years ago. That makes for a terrible user experience.

You will just need to be transparent about letting people know they will be receiving more emails from you (subscribing) by entering their email address, and that any “free gifts” that you offer are only a bonus for signing up.

2: If you are still using a service like Wix or Weebly or SquareSpace, as of this writing you will need to pay for a subscription to a 3rd party OR be limited to the email services provided by these platforms, which are not, in my opinion, sufficient enough for creating effective marketing funnels.

If you have already invested in building a list in another email marketing service, you won’t be able to use that service AND create attractive forms on these self-contained, closed platforms. Your hands will be somewhat tied unless you get super creative and/or pay extra fees.

If this all sounds complicated,  it CAN be!  My goal here is to be honest and tell you exactly what problems you may run into when using those “easy to  use” solutions for real-world marketing purposes. They often turn out to not be so easy after all!

Without getting into how to set up opt-in forms for each of the services I listed above, (this blog would get insanely long) just know that the goal is to connect the form to a specific list that you set up in your email marketing service (such as ActiveCampaign, MailerLite, MailChimp, etc) which isn’t as scary as it sounds.

Take some time to explore some of these options. The three basic choices:

1. Taking yourself through an intentional learning stage, by creating some mock opt-in forms, lists, and test email addresses. You can even “spy” on me by subscribing or opting in to one of my email lists using one of the forms you see on this page! Do this so that you aren’t in both learning and deadline mode at the same time.

Remember, it’s not just the “tech” part that counts. Design is also important. If it looks boring or shady/amateurish, your opt-in form probably won’t convert well.

2. Taking the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit course, which is designed to take you from point A to point B within 30 days. The entire process is presented, in order. Since time is money, this may be the most cost-effective solution for most.

3. Have someone do it for you. This is arguably the most complex piece of your entire marketing funnel. Instead of spending hours trying to put it together yourself, you may be better off outsourcing it. Click here to see if it makes sense for me to help you with this piece.

These are all valid choices. The only choice I don’t recommend is doing NOTHING, which is what many do because they don’t see the value in it. This is often why they struggle getting new patients with their website alone, even if they have a decent social media following.

A follower is NOT a lead! (Ok, maybe a COLD lead)

Email is not only a smart idea because its ROI is MUCH higher than social media. (Close to 400%!) It’s a smart move because YOU own and control your email list. Not Facebook, not Instagram, not any other platform that you pay a subscription for. Remember:

3. The Thank You page piece

Have you ever seen the pages you are taken to when you enter your name and email address and subscribe to a newsletter or download a freebie?

Here is a very basic example:

It looks like magic, but there is a little more to it.. not so much the tech, but the content of a Thank You page.

A Thank You page is simply a blank page you create on your website that contain one or more of the following elements:

• A genuine, heartfelt thank you.

• Information on what to do if they have trouble locating the email. (This is necessary because often gmail will assign emails to the promotions folder by default)

• The next steps to take.. Which could be to watch for cool things to come in their inbox, or:

• An opportunity to do something else, (in marketing speak, an upsell)  such as purchase a low-cost course (loosely defined as probably not your premium $10,000 coaching package just yet.. This would be like asking someone on a date and then asking them immediately to your apartment for a drink!)

When well done, a Thank You page can be a GREAT tool in your funnel. If you need inspiration, do some online research and yes, opt in to some lists!

4. The content piece

What it does: Written, audio, or video content is the “currency” of content marketing and marketing funnels. It’s what you offer to potential clients, patients, and guests freely. It also is a way of capturing leads, educating and nurturing them, and in many cases, is the actual product you will be offering, such as a course.

Notice that blogs, videos, courses, and emails are the equivalent of the slabs of wood that will make up the top and sides of your Ikea desk. Without content, there isn’t going to be much of a marketing funnel.

For example, the thank you page above appears when someone clicks on a button to schedule a website consultation. Would they do that out of the blue? Or because they just read a blog or heard a podcast or have been following me for a while on Instagram?

You guessed it. The reason for someone entering your funnel is because they are curious or have expressed interest in hearing more from you, because of your compelling content. 

If you already have some blogs or videos or a podcast in place, or if you already have some momentum going with an email “newsletter,” great!  If you don’t, you can still create your map or flowchart with working titles or idea sketches or outlines.

When you map out your funnel on your piece of paper, notecards, Google Docs, Penzu, or whatever medium works best for you to get your creative muse juice flowing, you want to actually write down what strategic pieces of content you will use to attract leads, nurture them,  or guide them to the next logical step for THEM. 

You may naturally come up with a list of things to write about that will naturally take your client/patient/guest through a journey.

Seriously. Even a notepad to jot down that idea for your next blog or how your entire funnel may fit together may be one of your best tools ever.

I also want you to know 3 things about your funnel and your content:

1. You can start with a VERY basic funnel. It does not have to be complicated to be successful.

Example: Start/Top of funnel: Live Event (A talk on the effects of sugar on hormones) on Facebook as a guest –> End/Bottom of funnel: Lead signs up for Group Program (Hormone balancing program for perimenopausal women)  The steps you may write down may include: 

• Post links for the event (sugar) in FB group and Instagram account to promote a week in advance

• Send emails with a quick story that shows why the event will be helpful/transformative.. with link to event to my list(s)

• Offer free gift (10 ways to beat a sugar addiction)  at end of live event (URL to a page where there will be an opt-in form)

• Subscribers who opt in get a download gift/welcome email, and a sequence of 4 more emails sent a few days apart, leading them to a link that will take them to a landing page for my new group coaching program

• To nurture these leads, there will be a link to a blog in email 2 that is relevant to the group program, (my blog about Cortisol and insulin resistance?) and a podcast episode in email 4 that is also relevant.. (how sugar ages you?) leading them up to the grand finale in email 5.. the paid offer: A landing page with compelling sales copy for the group hormone balancing program. (Which I hope will have a more compelling title!)

If this is hard to visualize, don’t worry.

I go more into depth, with more visual references and flow charts and ways to map out a funnel in part 3 of this series.

Can you see why content is so important, and integral to your funnel? They go together like coffee and donuts!

2. Your funnel will be fluid. That’s why we like to use sticky notes and erasable white boards!

3. It takes TIME to build the library of content that you will be plugging into your funnel.

Please give yourself time, and just begin. Create a system for yourself that supports creating content, whether that means writing or making videos, posting on Instagram,  creating a podcast. or jotting down recipes and taking photos of your healthy dishes you want to share.

Set aside a specific day when you create content, but don’t let it take over your whole day. Challenge yourself to create it in as little time as possible, without sacrificing quality.

Content should also be original. If your content currently consists of sharing other people’s memes, well, let’s change that!

Part of this piece includes the technical side of creating content. If you are creating videos and webinars, you will need additional software.

My favorite content creation tools:

• Camtasia for recording videos. It can work well for all types of recordings, but I use it mainly for trainings as I can record both my voice and what is happening on my screen.

• Google slides, PowerPoint, or similar apps. Slideshows are perfect for creating courses, webinars, and more. Even an industry giant like Amy Porterfield makes extensive use of slides.

• StreamYard, for streaming live to one or multiple social media channels. I use it to broadcast live streams to my Freedom-Based Wellness Entrepreneur Facebook group. It allows me to easily share my screen, invite multiple guests, use branded overlays, and more. I am using the free version for now.

Podcasting is also an advanced form of content, which I really am drawn to, but again, I will save this topic for another blog!

More content creation tools

These are what one might consider the fun part of this whole process.. The “toys,” (apps and gadgets) that you can use to create the types of content you enjoy the most.

• Canva is an app that allows you to easily design everything from book covers to social media graphics. It’s a must-have. There is a free version but the pro version allows you to do things like re-size images and save images with transparent backgrounds. Trust me, these features will come in handy. (currently the plan is $12.95 per month)

• Google Docs This is how I create 90% of my ebooks, lead magnets, and .pdf guides. Then I just create a cover in Canva, add it to the document, and save the file as a .pdf

• Adobe Creative Suite is my choice for creating more advanced content. This is a great choice if you have graphic design skills and are already used to Adobe’s products, which I will list here:

-InDesign, which in my opinion is much more powerful than Canva for creating ebooks, (probably because I’m used to advanced page layout software and find Canva too limited for the purpose of creating books)

-Illustrator for creating vector images

-Photoshop

-Adobe Premiere for advanced video editing. If it is worth it to you you can bundle it with other products listed above to save money.

Other great investments:

• A microphone. For little over $100, you can get a very decent entry level microphone. My pick: Blue Yeti.

• Podcasting software: I’m currently investigating options.

I’ll keep adding to this list!

5. The SEO piece

What it does: Most people think of ranking in Google when they think of SEO. The real purpose of SEO, when you really think about it, is getting more traffic to your site via organic searches. It doesn’t matter if you are on the first page if nobody is inspired to click on the result to get to your site.

And this of course, leads to the goal of capturing leads that will buy from you.

If nobody can find you, getting sales is going to be very difficult.

If you are a beginner or JUST getting started.. don’t get too caught up on SEO just yet.  Even experts could devote their whole life to it and not even come close to knowing everything. Not to mention that the big gurus have money to spend to hire other experts and do intensive research.

For the purpose of creating your first marketing funnel (or refining an old one) your goal here is just to put aside an hour or so a week learning about SEO, in particular KEYWORDS, and how they can be woven into your content (blogs.)

This is the ONE area where I want my clients to take in info slowly, and implement action steps one at a time, in order to fully grasp each concept.

Soon, you start to get the hang of it.

Without descending too far into the SEO rabbit hole, this means doing some detective work to discover what your potential clients are actually typing into Google or other search engines to find your stuff. (Keywords)

THIS is why you need to complete the Ideal Client Avatar exercise FIRST!

The next step: The SEO guide for beginners:

6. The social media/podcasting piece

What it does: It is a great tool for casting your “wide net” (TOP of the funnel) and building an audience. This piece will also help promote your blogs and other content, which lead people through your funnel.

Social media can also be a HUGE time suck. Be sure to use social media platforms that make the most sense for YOU.

Keep in mind that this is where “shiny object” syndrome can take over, with the pressure to use the “latest, most cutting-edge and sexy” tools available to “keep up.” For this reason, I have not really fully explored chatbots at this time.  This doesn’t mean that it’s not a great tool, but that I too, have had to prioritize.

Honestly, you can do fine and thrive with the options I’ve listed here.

Video (YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook)

For me, Facebook and Instagram have been my primary channels, but I also love YouTube. This is because I also have another project/business called The Balkan Nomad, which relies on images and video and highly visual information, which I want to be searchable. For those who want to monetize their video content, YouTube has traditionally been a good choice.

With Tech and Wine, I create a lot of technical and training videos, so it simply makes sense to invest my time in video rather than a platform like Pinterest, or even IG, if my time is limited and I don’t have extra help. I chose Facebook because I’m focusing on building a community.

Facebook and YouTube are in heavy competition when it comes to video domination.  The BIG difference: Facebook in some ways does act as a search engine, but it’s not very robust.

It’s more about “discovery” via it’s algorithms. Facebook is primarily for social purposes or getting distracted by cute dog videos.  You can still get distracted on YouTube, but it’s a much more powerful search engine. People often go to YouTube when they are looking for something specific.

An example: One of the most popular searches in 2021 was about the status of stimulus checks. YouTube is still the best place to create this type of content and optimize it for search.

Facebook, on the other hand, is better designed for building communities via Groups.

Both can be quite useful for a business, depending on what product or service you are offering,  your audience, how people buy/browse/research, etc.

Like short videos? It’s an art form to communicate with a 15 second video or message. TikTok might be a good choice for you. I disagree wholeheartedly with the narrative that “women over 50 are bad at tech and don’t hang out on Instagram.”  It’s not about a demographic, but about the preferences of your IDEAL CLIENT/PATIENT AVATAR.  Does she like to watch short videos? Do you like making them? There you go!

A word of caution: I think that it is best to master one social media platform before diving into another to avoid overwhelm.  Being present on every channel may work for a big company that has a marketing team or is able to hire an agency. For a solepreneur, it can easily turn into unfocused busywork that doesn’t get results (because we are neglecting the later stages.. the middle or the bottom of the funnel.

Live Streaming

Streaming live to Facebook is one of my primary tools that I use for the top of my funnel.  It’s powerful, and you can do this for FREE. (Can’t use expense as an excuse!)

Currently I’m using StreamYard’s free version. So far, so good. Facebook is slowly making it easier and more attractive to do live broadcasts, including some of the features that 3rd party apps like BeLive and StreamYard offer.

To be honest, I’m doing well right now with the free version StreamYard, but I’ll keep  you updated.

It’s easy to use, even for the “non-techy.” I recommend creating a “test group” in Facebook and playing with the app and creating a few test broadcasts, so that you can feel confident when you broadcast to your actual group.

Note: Don’t confuse this with your PAGE. I’m talking GROUPS here. You can broadcast to your page, which has some benefits (like extra editing features and other tools like pre-recording a “live” broadcast) Some like to broadcast to their PAGE first, then share to their GROUP.

You can create as many GROUPS as you want. I recommend creating an “empty room” group for testing purposes, rather than experimenting with your page.

StreamYard will walk you through the whole process of creating your broadcasts.

Instagram

IG was something I dropped for a while, until I discovered that I can do a lot more than just direct people to a “link in the bio” and collect followers. (I was inactive for a long time!) Now it is also possible to crosspost on Facebook and Instagram from a facebook page.

Stories are definitely still worth exploring and tapping into.  You can use stickers to ask questions, create polls, and more. This is a great way to get input from your target audience.

It seems like almost every day there are new developments to keep track of, and I’m not going to explore that in this blog.

Pinterest

Pinterest works beautifully for many businesses that focus on visual and inspirational information, such as recipes or design ideas. It’s “partner” is Canva, which allows you to easily create posts for any channel or media, and resize it for other purposes with the click of a button.

This doesn’t sound like a big deal.. but it’s one of the most time-saving features I’ve come across for those who are building a content library based on visual media. If you are good at design and enjoy it, go for it!

When I was an acupuncturist.. Wow.. Pinterest was the BOMB for me. Recipes, infographics.. And more. I love Pinterest! I may start using it again, now that I’ve got more infographics I’ve created.

LinkedIN

Linked in is great for B2B and focusing on “thought leadership.”  Previously it was a place where you could post a resume, but today, it is so much more.

I won’t discuss that in depth here, since most of my clients focus on B2C.

Twitter

Twitter lends itself well to breaking news and keeping up with celebrities. It’s arguably the best way to gain direct contact to celebs and “influencers.”

I don’t use it much, to be honest, at the moment. It’s not my favorite SM channel, but it may be perfect for you.

Clubhouse

As of this writing I have not had time to fully explore and evaluate Clubhouse. I may practice what I preach and not add another “shiny object” right now. I’ll keep his blog updated.

What about you? What makes the most sense for you, given the time you have, the nature of your business, your target audience, and how you like to present your ideas to the world?

Pick one to focus on to start. Once you master even one social media channel, you are well on your way to building a powerful and effective marketing funnel for your holistic practice or coaching business.

Scheduling your posts

I highly recommend scheduling at least some of your posts, or you’ll be living on social media.

I schedule my Facebook group posts right within the group. It’s VERY easy to use this feature, and you don’t need to learn or purchase any 3rd party apps:

If you are posting to primarily Facebook and Instagram, you can now do both from your Facebook business page.  This part can be confusing, but you have your PAGE, and then yet another area or dashboard where you can manage your page more easily. (Facebook can be a noisy, cluttered place that changes all the time)

Look on the left hand side of your PAGE:

As of this writing,  on your PAGE, Publishing Tools will re-direct you there.

If you are posting to multiple social media channels, you may want to use a scheduling/social media posting app. My picks:

Buffer: Their plans change frequently, so check to see if there is a still a free version and how many channels you can post to.. and how many posts per month you are allowed in any given plan. You can post to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIN, and Pinterest. 

Podcasting

Podcasting is something I also would love, as I’m an audio geek and don’t really care much for appearing on video, but I’m practicing what I preach and focusing primarily on just a few channels, so that I don’t spread myself too thin. Later this year, I will take my growing library of blogs and re-purpose the material, at least as a starting point, for podcasts.

Podcasting can involve some work setting up, and requires a commitment. The good news is that these can be “batched.”

I’m not offering any insight about podcasting until I’ve experienced it directly. (Since I’m not making money primarily from affiliate info, I only talk about the stuff I use, have direct experience with, and would actually recommend to others)

7. The online payment piece

When you build your funnel, you will need to create a way for people to sign up and pay for your offering.

This means:

• A payment Gateway. Again, don’t try to think about how this big piece is going to fit into the big machine. Just get it set up. A payment gateway is not the same as the apps like MoonClerk or Teachable that have ways you can set up online payments. Those apps will still need for you to have your payment gateway set up. (Generally, in the U.S., this is going to be STRIPE)

“A payment gateway is the service that sends all of your credit card transactions to your credit card processors. It authorizes and processes transactions.

In other words, a payment gateway is simply a software application. It’s basically a conduit between an eCommerce website and the bank that authorizes (or declines) a customer’s credit card payment.

Credit and debit cards, eCheck (ACH), and even cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are all processed through payment gateways.

This is NOT a “tech thing.” It’s about filling out an application, since it’s about your bank account and taking credit cards.

It takes about 30 min max, and the approval process is generally less than a few business days. 

My picks: Stripe and DirectPayInc.

Stripe. DO set this up first. I’m so glad I set up a Stripe account before I moved overseas. SO many systems use Stripe as their main payment gateway.

DirectpayInc: This is a great service for those who have both brick-and-mortar and online services to offer. They make it easy for those who have various income sources and diverse or fluctuating income without raising red flags for fraudulent activity. If you are selling $47 mini courses for 6 months and then finally make a sale for your $3,000 coaching program you will know what I mean!

Very “coach friendly” in a way that most credit card processing companies are not.

Payment Management

Payment Gateways are different from Payment Management and Invoicing software. Payment management software typically includes:

• Invoicing

• Recurring payments (great for memberships)

• Integration with landing pages

• Integration with your email marketing service (so that when someone checks out, they get a confirmation email, or trigger an automatic email or automation sequence)

• Checkout embedding (code you can embed on your website or landing page to get a fully functional and sometimes custom branded checkout)

• Custom buttons

It can be confusing because some platforms, like PayPal, offer BOTH payment gateways and payment management systems.

Take some time with this. Taking payment online looks like magic, but there is a lot to consider, besides even the moving parts, such as:

• What currencies you accept

• Currency conversion rates

• Transaction fees

• Whether or not you want to set up recurring payments (memberships, payment plans, etc)

• Integration with your email marketing service

And more. My picks:

MoonClerk: This is a simple, VERY intuitive option for those who are just starting out. Once you understand the basics of taking payment and the terminology, this app really is easy to set up.

Kartra: I’ve had more people sign up for my online offerings because of the streamlined shopping cart experience. This is VERY important.. because the shopping cart abandonment rate is a shocking 70%!

PayPal: It’s been an option for me because it is versatile. However, it does have its downsides, such as transaction fees, clunky looking buttons and checkout, and limitations for accepting recurring payments.

This guide is not a comprehensive guide on taking online payments. I recommend spending some time doing homework to find out what works best for you.

8. The coaching/course platform /CRM/membership piece

What it does: When someone signs up for a course, how will you deliver it to them? Where will your course be “housed” and displayed in an easy-to-navigate and professionally laid out manner?

You will likely have a link in the first email your new customer gets after they check out. (Don’t worry about those moving parts involved with this process till you get there!)

Some of your choices include:

• Sending them a link where they can simply download your entire course material (I don’t recommend this method)

A platform like Teachable, Thinkific, Podia or Udemy I don’t recommend Udemy, as it gives you so little control over marketing and pricing. It’s like the Groupon of online courses. The others are all decent choices. I don’t have any recommendations because your choice will be based on your own needs and preferences, and you’ll need to take some time to compare plans or even do a free trial period.

• A membership area. You can create these with WordPress plugins. Right now, I’m using Mighty Networks for my Rebel Wellness Entrepreneur membership.

You can also try platforms like Kajabi or Kartra, which are pretty cool, and have a free trial period. They are more expensive, but VERY comprehensive: Meaning that if you add up the costs of what you are paying right now for email marketing, membership or course platforms like Podia, calendar systems like Acuity, Landing page services like LeadPages, payment management services like MoonClerk and monthly subscriptions for platforms like SquareSpace, Kartra will end up costing about the same (or less) while offering a far superior product that will likely result in getting more people to buy your online offerings.

This is how we need to be thinking about the money we spend as business owners and what separates us from the hobbyists.

Would you rather spend $64 total, to “save money” but make no sales, or spend $100 and make sales for your $297 course?

It’s all about ROI and creating the predictable profitability I talked about earlier.

• A Private Facebook Group, using Guides (Formerly known as Units) This is a totally FREE option. However, this option isn’t nearly as sophisticated when it comes to managing larger groups of people that each need individualized coaching or assistance. It won’t connect to your email marketing service, and you will still need a way to take payments, track metrics, etc.

Another thing to consider is that Facebook is a noisy place. It’s designed to keep you distracted on FACEBOOK. Meaning that someone watching your video won’t get shown more of YOUR videos.. but more likely cute dog videos.

I like to keep my wares on another platform

• Other platforms, such as CoachAccountable or PracticeBetter which give you “rooms” to take your clients to that give you all kinds of great tools to make online coaching easier. This is a great option if you are offering a combo/package of group, 1:1 and digital products and services.

If you are already familiar with patient or client management software which allows you to track where each client or patient is at in your process, you probably understand how important this is. (Jane, Acusimple, etc)

Bottom line: If  you have more than a handful of clients, or if you are building a time and location independent wellness practice that can be run from anywhere in the world, you do NOT want to be managing the entire process, from the time a lead subscribes to when they become a client and and beyond.. manually.

This is something that can be hard to conceptualize for those who have local practices and interact only via phone or email. If you are planning on scaling your business so that you don’t have to be physically present to manage every single aspect of your business, start with a CRM like PracticeBetter, and make it your “hub.”

About cost..

The cost to get the full potential for any CRM is going to run around at least $50 per month, but it’s always been worth it for me.. I’ve made back this amount several times over each month in avoiding cancellations and no-shows with the email and text reminders alone.

You get a LOT more with these platforms.

Set aside an entire day to explore these options.

My pick for those just beginning to scale or are interested in adding group coaching as a service: PracticeBetter. Since the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve done some research to help clients make a transition to telehealth. A few months before the crisis, I pivoted to focus on helping clients transition to time and location independent practices or businesses. This platform is PERFECT for those who need a HIPPA compliant and secure telehealth option and/or who want to scale their practice to include digital programs and packages.

All the other “pieces” I recommended in this blog “play well” with PracticeBetter.

My pick for those who are ready to scale their practice (one-to-many courses and memberships) is Kartra.

9. The calendar and online booking piece

Part of your funnel may include a way for people to book a call with you to find out more about your offerings or to book their first appointment.

My picks:

Practice Better . I was previously using a separate booking/calendar system, but I’m paying the same ($19 per month) for a system that is a lot more robust and at the $49 level has everything you would need for a location-independent practice. It’s geared more towards health coaching, but can work for any kind of service. Use it if  you want to grow more into telehealth or add coaching and group coaching to your existing practice.

I use Practice Better and so far, so good!

Kartra also has a calendar/booking system. It’s recently been greatly improved. As I mentioned before, when one starts adding up the costs of all the other services they are paying for that don’t integrate or don’t focus on marketing, Kartra may start to make more sense.

Acuity: A favorite for many coaches and healers for good reason. It’s powerful, easy to use, and does what it says. I’ve tried using it for non local, remote services and investigated it for growth potential (programs, packages, bundles, etc) and it falls short.

Use it if you have a local practice and don’t plan on scaling.

Calendly is an entry-level option. I used to use it, but the free option doesn’t cover what I need, and the next price tier puts Practice Better in a position of better value.. you get a lot more for that $7 extra per month ($19)

At the moment, I do not have a booking system I can recommend for those in the hospitality and tourism industry, but I’m researching this.

A final note:

Setting up this infrastructure does take time, so don’t compare yourself to someone who has been in business for 5 years and has had time to create a beautiful website with multiple products and landing pages, a library of content, a membership site, and has 10,000 email subscribers. This process is BOTH about acting quickly and getting your “stuff” out there, and taking the time to build something you can be proud of.

Be sure to check out the next blog in this series, which is all about mapping out a funnel and the moving parts involved in creating a powerful marketing funnel for a holistic or coaching practice, or for any solo entrepreneur!

Need More?

I hope this blog has helped you in some way.. If even taking some of the first steps involved in creating a marketing funnel.

This blog is pretty intense: It’s all about facing the “tech stuff” that many wellness professionals are intimidated by. 

I intentionally put it all in one place so that you could see everything at once. Often getting a “big picture” of the “scary stuff” can be very helpful. 

Start with learning about and building each of the pieces and parts of your funnel infrastructure so you can get a clearer idea about how they may all fit together before focusing on the moving parts.

There’s still a LOT more to this, though. Every business and every marketing journey is different, and you may very well find that you need some help setting up the “tech.” 

That’s what I’m here for! I’ve set up funnels before both as an acupuncturist and a digital marketer

And yes, I can help you with all of that!  I offer BOTH 1:1 coaching and group coaching to help people just like you.

Just click on the burgundy button below for a free 30 minute consultation.

The BEST Way To Get New Patients Or Clients Over Time Part 2

The BEST Way To Get New Patients Or Clients Over Time Part 2

Why email marketing is still relevant and EFFECTIVE in 2021 and Beyond

Be sure to read part one of this blog, which explains why email isn’t anywhere NEAR the point of taking its last dying breath.

Email may still be old school, but that’s no reason why you have to use it in an old school way, such as boring, corporate newsletters and “in-your-face” promotions.

Today, email marketing is essential for holistic healers, coaches, and small businesses.

If you at all interested in growing a holistic practice or creating a time and location independent business based on your holistic practice, don’t ignore email!

In this blog, I’m going to go into more detail about the purpose and a little bit into the mechanics of email marketing. This is intended to be an overview, not a step-by-step how to from start to finish. For even more detail, see the big black box below about more resources that will help you take the next logical step.

Let’s start exploring the different types and purposes of your email campaigns:

LEAD GENERATION

This is exactly what it sounds like: a way to generate leads, or prospective paying clients, patients, customers, or guests.

By leads in this context I mean people who voluntarily subscribed to your newsletter, “inner circle,” or whatever you want to call it. How does this happen? Via something called an “opt-in form.”  You may have seen these before. In order to download a free gift, you provide an email address.

Note: This is a screenshot of one of my lead magnets. For the real functioning form, click here.

When they subscribe (opt in),  your email service takes it from there, automatically. Your email service, (I recommend MailerLite or ActiveCampaign) assigns them to something called a LIST.

If you have not already done so, you can see how this works on your end. If you do, you will be on one of my lists, unless you wish to unsubscribe, which is a matter of clicking a button.

Lists are not what they used to be.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, lists were a commodity that was bought and sold so that corporations could inundate you with emails you didn’t want or ask for. The targeting for these types of lists tends to be terrible, which makes the experience even MORE irritating for the recipient.

Today, things are different.

Email lists are carefully created, attended to, and pruned. It’s more of a human, organic process than it used to be back in the days when people bought and sold lists like candy. It’s done respectfully by any smart business owner.

Legal Considerations

But just in case, there are data privacy laws in the EU and in CA that make SURE that this is what is happening, and that leads are treated with respect, like real human beings, not just as “data” or “revenue sources.”

First, I think that many are still unaware that opting OUT is an option, via UN subscribing. This is something that is a “built in” feature with every email marketing service I can think of.

Every email sent will have an “unsubscribe” option that is easy to access.

Second, there is more transparency now than ever when it comes to “opting in.”

Let’s see what that looks like. 

Here is an example of one of my lead generation tools. First, a “landing page.”

Landing pages are simply the page people land on and see a CTA (call to action) button. So the “landing page” could be a standalone page, but also a blog or  your home page.

If it has a button that takes them to another page to perform an action (such as an opt in, purchase, signing up for a webinar, etc) it’s a landing page!

They click on the button (no boring “subscribe or submit” buttons here!) and it takes them to an “opt in” form:

example of email opt in form

This opt-in form has a checkbox indicating, basically.. that “hey it’s cool.. I enjoy your stuff so go ahead and send me your best. I’m in.. lets have fun with it! Many email services provide an easy way to add these checkboxes for easy GDPR compliance.

Update 2020: Upon further research, I discovered that checkboxes are not mandatory. In fact, overdoing it can create a less-than-ideal user experience. Who wants to have to make all those decisions and check all those boxes? 

Not me!

As long as you explain CLEARLY what people are opting in for, you may not even need a checkbox. Click here to see how I worded one of my opt-ins, what a lead magnet might look like, and to see how the whole process works on the front end.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer nor do I claim to be, so if you are unsure of the law in your area, please consult a lawyer who specializes in data privacy laws.

Raise Your Vibe With Email

Sharing your “Free stuff”  (content) is a great way to build trust and rapport with your new leads.

Anyone with a service based business.. which is about being an expert in your specific niche.. will probably be happy to share with the world the important and transformational work they do.

If you love your work, it should be easy to come up with things to talk about in your emails. In some ways, I think email is one of the easier channels of communication because:

• They  don’t need to be long.

You don’t have to worry about optimizing anything for SEO: word count, keywords, etc. Just write from the heart.

However, you DO want to take the time to write a good subject line. I love this tool, which makes it easier to come up with a subject line that will get opened.

• You can make your message short and sweet, and let your other content do the work for you. Include links to your blog, video replays, latest podcast.. whatever reinforces your message. It’s about sharing.

• You can re-cycle your content! This is NOT cheating. I keep a spreadsheet of all the content I can share. (I’ve got 100s!) which means that I can cycle through monthly themes. I do update, (my industry is constantly changing) but I never had to start from scratch.

Your audience will appreciate this.. it’s too easy to miss something these days. “Have you ever thought:  Oh, damn, that sounds perfect, but I can’t right now! Will it be offered again, ever?”

Having a great offer or challenge that will come around next year seems to be the “sweet spot” of creating a sense of “urgency” so that people don’t put off taking action indefinitely AND knowing that the offering will be available again next year.

• Did I mention that unlike with social media.. you OWN and have control over your list? Ah.. I did! 

Your emails are not  just a weekly “love letter” to send to your inner circle.

They are also a fantastic way to share all that great content you’ve worked so hard on. Don’t let them just collect dust on your hard drive or cloud storage.. include a link to your latest blog or video.

Keep updating and sharing your content. BONUS: You’ll help your SEO and give traffic to your website a boost!

Sharing and giving like this raises the vibe for the  entire transaction process.. if and when it gets to that stage. It’s really just all about relationship marketing.

email marketing for holistic healers is about giving

NURTURING your leads

I like this word.. for some, it feels more natural than the phrase “leading someone through a sales funnel.”

I call it “Being Santa Claus” or at least a generous elf depositing goodies on a regular basis.

When your unique offerings are a good  match for your ideal patient or client, and you provide exactly what people are looking for.. of course they will want to read what you have.!

You are treating your audience like real people, not just as “your list” when you look at it this way.

If not, it’s simply not a good match, and this is quite normal.  That’s the foundation of permission based marketing.

Think about some of your favorite online experts.. and how they make it fun and interesting. I enjoy Marie Forleo and Amy Porterfield, for example. Even when life gets chaotic and I don’t have time to keep up, at least I know that I can count on a new email or video or podcast, like clockwork every Thursday and Tuesday. And sometimes I’ll even “binge” on their new podcast or video.

CREATING REAL VALUE

I touched on this in the last blog, but I want to really drive home that email isn’t just about putting a “50% discount on gift certificates for Mother’s Day” sort of thing, when you “get around to it” tactic.

It’s a strategy.

THE SALES FUNNEL ..and where email fits in

funnel for wellness professionals

A funnel has a wide top an a narrow bottom, which is why it makes a great model for creating a time an location independent business. 

I wrote a whole blog about marketing funnels. 

Before anyone can opt in to your email list, they first have to know you even EXIST.

Ways you can be found:

• Someone Googles a question and they end up on your blog

• You regularly post on social media AND know how to leverage it

• You have a published book

• You have appeared on a podcast or TV show

• You gave a talk about acupuncture at your local health food store

• You are establishing connections with other experts and leveraging their networks

These are activities that are at the TOP of your funnel. You are casting a wide net at this point, and offering free information to help people and raise awareness about what you do.. and so that the right people know that you exist.

You can do this online or offline.

The problem is.. Do you have way of keeping in touch with those who discover you, or do any kind of online follow up? 

A way that doesn’t require you to spend a ton of time on social media and be subject to its whims and rules? 

Attracting subscribers to your list generally is  in the middle part of the funnel. You can think of it as the online equivalent of “following up” but NOT by “bothering” anyone, but giving something of value on a consistent basis. (a subscription)

Taking care of your current clients and customers (active and inactive)

The top of the funnel is the WIDE part, for a reason: More people ENTER at the top, but at the bottom, you have a smaller number of leads that actually make a purchase.

In marketing speak, this is called a “conversion” because the lead  “converts” from a lead into a customer or client.

Having an email marketing system in place is also essential for taking care of those VIP’s at the bottom of the funnel.

The email journey

After an initial welcome email, the next step is to lead them through this process, which is pretty much everything I have been talking about up to this point, but now you are making strategic and well-timed offers that happen automatically in the whole email marketing process.

And this is never, ever, “slimy,” because subscribers always have a choice.

Some will keep reading your emails but never buy.
Some will never open your emails.
Some will unsubscribe.

And some will buy from you.

This is ALL normal. The only thing you don’t really want are either TOO many unsubscribes, or inactive subscribers, so culling the list regularly is a good idea.

Funnels are more of a conceptual tool, but they don’t always reflect all the EXACT processes that are going on.

Flowcharts

It’s easier to visualize a flow chart when it comes to the actual pieces and processes, like that opt-in form you saw above, thank you pages, automatic emails, and more.  Flow charts are a great way to conceptualize all the pieces and “moving parts.”  Here’s an example:

sales funnel for email marketing

When you set up something like this, it makes the process of selling your awesome products and services online much more natural and easy. It takes the burden off having to “hustle” for every. single. new. client. Plus, we get the ones that are a PERFECT FIT for our business.

This is the OPPOSITE of making awkward pitches that feel “slimy and icky.” It doesn’t mean that you never, ever have to know anything about sales or discovery calls, but it does mean that you don’t need to do the equivalent of asking someone on your first date together to marry you.

I think that many holistic entrepreneurs are still stuck on the notion that “pitching” a product we are selling is slimy. We need to get over it.  We are in business for a reason, and I think that most people understand this. I expect to see offers from the people I follow. Something feels weird if I don’t see them!  (I have been “guilty” of not making offers for LONG periods of time)

Think about someone you might enjoy hearing from, say a favorite author. Is it considered “icky” to hear about their latest book?

Probably not, because you’ve already been introduced to the author via a funnel of some sort.

Promotions, Events, and Re-activation campaigns

If you have a local, brick-and-mortar business, you may be asking yourself: “I get lots of new people coming through the door, but I want them to stick around longer: How can i get inactive patients to return?”

Although considered separately from a classic sales funnel, you can still send a different kind of email for those who have already bought from you.

These are generally those “one off” emails you send to your list with time-sensitive info or incentives to get inactive patients or previous clients to come back.  Tell them how much you miss them!

These also should feel as if you are giving. It’s not “slimy” to encourage people to come back to see you. You may simply have slipped off their radar, and may very much WANT to hear from you again!

Are you slow in January? Do you offer a detox or hormone balancing program? Put that in your next email broadcast.

If you sell any kind of products or services online, you can offer special promotions. (i.e. the ever-popular Black Friday deals)

People actually  WANT to buy things and experiences or have a problem solved. Make it easy for them!

Building Trust Over Time

I covered this extensively in the first blog in this series. In a nutshell: Email is the perfect way to strategically build/earn trust over time. It’s also not manipulative.. because regardless of whether or not someone buys, they can still get a pretty good idea of what you do and what you are about.

STILL NOT CONVINCED THAT EMAIL MARKETING IS EFFECTIVE?

Remember, your odds of getting paid clients from leads (conversions) are much better via email, and if you don’t let your tribe know you are offering something cool.. you are cheating them out of the choice they could make for themselves. If you think about it.. THAT is kind of egotistical and maybe even slimy.

Your audience is capable of making their own decisions.. and GDPR has made the whole process much more transparent, which is a good thing. Honor and trust the way it works: unsubscribes and unopens also serve a purpose. Repeat after me: Nobody is being manipulated.

Time and Location Independence and Creative Packaging

What if you want to stop “trading time for dollars” and open up to the possibility of offering products or services globally, or offer a digital course or group coaching as part of a “bundled” program in addition to the wonderful healing work  you already do?

You can’t deliver your product via your personal email, so having an email marketing account (such as MailerLite or ActiveCampaign) is no longer optional, but a requirement, so that you can deliver your products and services immediately when someone orders them.

By now, we all know how this works. If you routinely order from Amazon or purchase SasS (software as a service) subscriptions online, email is a part of the transaction process.

Say you are selling a digital course on hormone balancing for perimenopausal women. How will you deliver your course if someone buys online? One solid way is via a link in your welcome email. So if you are going to use email to deliver a product or service anyway.. why not use it to promote and market it?

One more thing.. Email is the perfect way to let your loyal patients and clients know that you love them, by giving an occasional gift. (I prefer the kind that don’t involve more of my TIME) You can also use it to encourage them to leave reviews, create surveys, or even schedule a “Starbucks” meeting so that you can do your own market research over coffee with some of your ideal patients or clients.

As you can see, email is a great way to guide someone on the journey.. from the first moment of being exposed to what you have to offer,  to buying something from you, if they choose. Email is pivotal point in their journey. 

 

Need help with your lead generation and email 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.

There are 2 ways I can help:

1. Enroll in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit.  This course will take you from start to finish, from mindset to “tech” setup, so that you can get your first online offering out to the world QUICKLY, even if you are starting from scratch.

I’ve devoted several lessons to email.

2. I offer “done for you” solutions so that you can spend more time doing what you love, and less time setting up the “moving parts” of your email system. I can also advise which systems might work best for you, your time, your budget, your goals, and your preferences. (Generally WordPress or Kartra)

Just click on the burgundy button below for a free 30 minute consultation, or click here. 

The BEST Way To Get New Patients Or Clients Over Time Part 2

The BEST Way To Get New Patients Or Clients Over Time

Have  you ever asked yourself why your website isn’t getting you any new patients or clients?

If so, a simple lead generation tool is probably missing.

Translation: A way to get your ideal patient or client on your email list so that you can turn cooler leads into warm and even HOT leads. This happens from the heart, and slowly, over time, so that you can earn trust.

 This is all about heartfelt notes or even letters.

I’m talking good old fashioned email marketing, because statistically, it WORKS. STILL.. in the 2020’s.

But there is still a lingering negative connotation among wellness professionals and even a handful of marketing “experts” that insist that social media is the ONLY way to communicate with our tribe. Just because something is more “old school” doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

I’m not the only one that knows that email is pretty dang solid. I’m in good company.. most marketing professionals worth their salt.. including the ones who specialize in SEO or social media, still recognize the value of building an asset that you actually own..  your email list.

With social media.. or even other forms of marketing, this is much more difficult (or expensive) to achieve.

The chances of someone opening your email are still much greater than the odds of having your content seen on social media.

Anyone who uses Facebook to market their business knows what I mean.. even when you do everything “right” it can sometimes be a little depressing when your post reach drops to almost nothing due to algorithm changes.

Of course, this isn’t about email vs. social media. They are both important, and they compliment each other. Social media is very, very important for the very beginning stages of the journey that you and your ideal patient or client experience together.

I’m also aware that Facebook is “morphing” even as I write this, and more people are using it not just to discover or “stumble upon” stuff, but actively use it to find people that can help them achieve their goals. Absolutely I’m on board.

Still, I don’t own my platform on Facebook, and I don’t want to put all my eggs in that basket.

Let me put it this way: If your account is suspended or your platform of choice disappears tomorrow, your network will disappear right along with it. Your email list is something you own and control.

Email may still be old school, but that’s no reason why you have to use it in an old school way, such as newsletters and in-your-face promotions.

The Automation factor

Building an email list for your holistic practice is just plain smart. And if you are at the stage in  your business where you don’t want to “trade time for dollars” anymore, email is a non-negotiable.

Why? It’s neither legal, possible, nor desireable to promote and deliver an on-demand product (like a course or program) manually by using your personal email or even via messaging. (In some ways messenger automation can be similar to email, but some say it really has not caught on)

If this is your goal, you are going to need a modern and elegant email marketing strategy.

Some of this will be automated. This means that a series of emails that you already wrote will automatically get sent to someone who is interested in what you have to offer (or has bought something from you)

In your email marketing service, it will look like a flowchart, and you set this up yourself, or have someone else do it for you. I’ll be showing you more of what this looks like in the next blog in this two part series.

This makes sense.. and is the “set and forget” part of your email marketing/delivery system. I’m not going to talk about that in this article, so that it doesn’t get crazy long, but I DO want you to know that I’ve got some resources for you.. whether you decide to do it yourself or outsource it.

Let’s focus on those “Letters to a Friend” and why it will help you get more clients and patients.

Some of your emails will need to be sent either manually or scheduled manually, not automatically triggered by an event like an opt-in or purchase. This is ideally done on a consistent basis, like letters from a friend. These are still called Newsletters by most of us.

The term “newsletter” is still used to describe those single emails sent to your tribe on a regular basis. (much like neon-colored gelatin desserts have become known in the U.S. as Jello)

However, those old newsletters.. the dry, boring “updates” about your business that are SO 2005, those clunky things that offer nothing educational, entertaining, or enlightening.. as in VALUE, are officially dead.

I’m not as interested in why a handful of marketing “experts” want to declare that email marketing is dead. This is just clickbait nonsense.

What I’m far more interested in is.. Why are health and wellness practitioners still so resistant to email marketing, including myself?  Because we think it’s THIS:

emails that end up in the trash

1. People tend to associate email marketing with either spam, or useless junk they don’t  have time to read. These are rejected, and they don’t want to be rejected either, or “bother” anyone. So they send a nice, once a month, bland, newsletter.

Think about it.. are you compelled to open a an email with the subject line: September Newsletter? Neither am I. On the other hand, I DO open emails from business owners who have something of value to offer, and I’m not talking about Black Friday deals.

2. Lack of exposure to a more “open” economy. Younger people are used to doing business this way: Think freemium apps, access to tons of free info, being able to make phone calls anywhere in the world for free.. you get the idea.

They/we? (GenXer’s and before) are used to interacting with, and being part of the development of a brand. Think Netflix, or Starbucks. There is more interaction. Trust is built over time. It’s no longer about a company talking “at” you till you give in.

Before that, people were used to either being bombarded by ads, or paying for everything, including information. Today, it makes sense to offer some information for free, without worrying that you’ll be giving away the farm. What comes to mind for me today (in 2020) is a financial advisor who provides free and VERY timely information on the status of stimulus checks.. a VERY hot button issue.  He did this in a very classy way, via YouTube, without resorting to clickbait. He is positioning himself wisely, with an ideal client in mind.

This is ONE way you can accomplish almost the same thing.. via a YouTube subscription.

But let’s just say that you don’t have the time or inclination to have to show up this way on a daily basis. Too much work! 

Health and wellness professionals can do very well by leveraging email. But sadly, I’m surprised that many still don’t. 

Even if times HAVE changed.. there is still some old mindset blocks that may be affecting us that have DEEP roots:

3. Fear, skepticism, and apathy due to old-school ideas about business, and getting burned by it.

If what you were exposed to since childhood was:

• Everything having a price tag. Every tiny little thing. Pay to read this blog, pay to start an email list, pay dearly to make an international call. Pay for the cup your coffee came in.

• Anything given away for free must have a “catch” or strings attached. 

• In- your -face, talking -at- you advertising.

• Trading a service for a flat fee, placing an ad in the Yellow Pages, and hoping for the best.

• If things get desperate, resorting to deception and ripping off the customer. (as in the dishonest auto mechanic)

• Cutthroat competition instead of finding a specific niche to serve

• Email lists that are sold to companies that engage in high volume, untargeted (spam) campaigns.

• Junk Mail and telemarketers

• Price markups followed by 50% sales. Every day. (this last one is still a biggie in retail)

In other words, transactional, one way communication. Buyer vs. Seller. Sales closing tactics. Advertising trickery. I’m not a fan of those things either.

Fortunately, this is just not the way it’s done anymore, at least for service industries. Business transactions shouldn’t SUCK, after all.

I believe that our integrity as business owners is an asset too valuable to (yes) fuck with, and I think we respect our audience and customers too much to engage in some of those old school ways. It’s just plain smarter.

But If this is what you are exposed to all your life, not to mention being targeted for scams if you are a senior (scamming seniors is about as low as you can go as a human being) no wonder many people are not exactly excited about jumping into this whole “email marketing thing.”

It’s so ingrained that many who grew up before the advent of relationship marketing find that the “safest” way to dip our toes into email marketing is by the half-assed monthly newsletter.

And it’s a waste of time. Better to spend it scrolling mindlessly on Facebook. Yep, I’m serious. Here’s some stats for the left side of your brain:

Email is pretty old school. So why is it such a big deal?

Email marketing has an impressive ROI, compared to other methods of marketing. Social media can be random. Paid advertising.. can be a money pit unless you know what you are doing and can invest the right amount. Print advertising and direct mail campaigns can be expensive and since they are often not well targeted, the ROI can be low.

But email? Studies show that for every dollar spent, the return is about $38-42. If you do it right.

Despite these numbers, many small business owners still hold on to negative feelings about email marketing. I get it.  But it’s preventing us from taking advantage of one of the cheapest and most effective ways to not only market our businesses, but give people what they need and desire.

Just because we may not like getting certain types of emails doesn’t make email marketing any less effective. There could be a lot of baggage to dump about how we feel about email marketing, if you grew up in the era I described above.

Email, in fact, is  a selective process on BOTH ends. Done right, it’s a respectful and interactive process, and is becoming even more so.

Your job is to make it feel like every email is like Christmas or one of those events where you get a COOL goodie bag.

your emails are like a gift to your patients

It’s ALSO your job, as “Santa,” to deliver the RIGHT goodies to the right place.

Let’s say for example, your subscribers opt in because you gave them a cool lead magnet (incentive) about mountain bike training for female athletes or tools for starting an online business as a woman. She downloads her checklist, guide, mini training, or attends a webinar, and so far, is on board.

If you then deliver makeup tips and lipstick offers, or the usual un-targeted “female gender fluff,” your stuff is going right into the “irrelevant and annoying email dumpster” faster than you can say “unsubscribe.”

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that it is “Bad” to talk about makeup. There is a HUGE market for it, but women comprise 51% of the human population. That’s pretty big number. In todays’ marketing climate, making assumptions doesn’t work, and targeting is very important.

This is why so many women’s magazines seem to die off. Women are tired of the same old crap. Same goes for some of the dumb and patronizing info out there targeted to the “over 50” crowd.. which includes  GenXers, Boomers, and the “Silent” generation.. people well into their 80’s and 90’s!

Want to know a quick way to alienate people by being TOO general?  Lump a 52 year old in the “over 50”  trash bin category without giving it much thought, and make blind assumptions. It shows a lack of respect for both the 52 year old and the 92 year old when marketers do this. 

Some make almost NO effort: They “target” a large demographic, like “Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 who like Amy Porterfield.” (a real life example of what I discovered when I clicked on a “why am I seeing this” for a Facebook ad that totally missed the mark for me)

This shotgun approach leads to annoying ads that people don’t want to see, and the advertiser ends up wasting money. Enough about ads.. getting back to email. There are still consequences for not taking the time to be intentional about your message and who it is for.

Let’s say you are a chiropractor or acupuncturist specializing in sports medicine and you like working with athletes.  You serve anyone who you can help because you are a great practitioner.   You are going to offer tips on cross country mountain bike racing for beginner female athletes over 50, because you heard that being this specific is a good thing.

But you aren’t done yet. 

If you patronize, start making assumptions about cycling, women, and people over 50, and not make any effort to really “nail” the culture, you will miss the mark and irritate people.  Because you didn’t bother to ask THEM what THEY think, or show that you are interested in THEIR reality.

Remember, it doesn’t matter what every woman over 50 thinks. That’s a demographic, and it’s too broad. I leads to “filling in the blanks” with assumptions and outdated attitudes, or even outdated science. 

I’ve seen a LOT of young male personal trainers make this mistake with women over 50.

What you WANT to do is have ONLY your ideal avatar thinking: “Wow, they REALLY get me. I feel like someone is reading my MIND (in a good way )” Because they will be so glad that FINALLY someone is listening.

The more  you can really nail that person you are speaking to each time you write an email, the less the message will be perceived as spam and the more effective it will be.

The best way to do this “market research? ASK them. Use this as a guide.

This image is a good example of the hundreds of ways that a human being can express themselves on a bicycle. It can be hardcore, carefree, precise, artistic, mellow, funky, competitive, practical, urban fashionable, family-oriented/kid-friendly, adventurous, nerdy, or even a part of everyday life.. hell, I’ve lived in the Netherlands for a few months, and miss the bike culture there, as well as the downhill scene in Colorado. The road cycling culture? I’ll pass. 

My point: 

This image obviously doesn’t represent everyone, of course. And that’s good. Unlike like every “Mature Couple Smiling At Each Other On Bicycles” stock photo I see on wellness and insurance sites ALL the time, there IS something happening her that is vibrant, not fake. I could have just as easily demonstrated with a photo of a woman in a dress meeting a friend for lunch at a cafe with her bicycle parked next to her, with genuine look of vibrancy and relaxation on her face, for a different avatar. 

Instead, health and wellness professionals reach for stock photos and get stuck, either because they are trying to speak to EVERYONE, because they have a hard time finding the right images, or because they are well, kind of lazy to be honest. 

In case you are still thinking “Yeah, but.. I don’t want to turn anyone away or offend anyone. You won’t.

You may think that you are playing it safe by “not offending anyone” and “including EVERYONE,” but generic doesn’t work.  Soulless stock photography and messaging turns everyone off.  Like I mentioned above, most people are going to be irritated by a generic message or being lumped into one category.

We all like to feel we are unique. Showing that you “See” your ideal client or patient could make the difference between that lead becoming a paying customer or going to that place that “just feels right for me.”

I’ve created an avatar exercise that will help you create that “vibe” for your ideal client/patient avatar.

Now let’s talk about diving into that ideal client or patient’s headspace. What’s on their mind? What makes it light up? What can you offer (not just products or services, but solutions, tips, hacks, etc..) that will help HER? (or him?)

Let’s say your “avatar” is, well, me, and you really did  your ideal client/patient/customer avatar homework.

“I don’t want my “swag” to be the equivalent of an offer for pink water bottles and sweatbands and cheesy pop music or watered down advice for “girls” or “seniors.” 

I want edgy stuff. Real content. Bring it on. 

I want to feel encouraged if I’ve been out of the game for a while, (I used to race downhill mtn bikes) and I want realistic advice (I’m not in the market for a 4k bike)

You had better know the difference between mountain biking and cycling culture.  If I see a stock photo with an “older” person pretending to ride a bike, I won’t give your stuff the time of day. Show me REAL.

Anything with the word “Girl” in it is passed over, but I love being a woman.

It’s ok to talk to me about where to find shorts that fit right and how to deal with patronizing male riders and bike shop owners, but I also want to hear about all the geeky things.

I want to know where I can ride alone and not be watched by others if I need time to ride through a challenging section of the trail, because I’m kinda self conscious.

I love psychology.

In secret, am kind of scared on some days, and still want to look good. I had a few bad crashes that I was affected by, but nobody seems to talk about that, especially to women. I would love to hear more about that. 

If you have a dry and intelligent sense of humor and are not afraid of the occasional f-bomb and have a a thesaurus full of synonyms for badass,  you will win my heart.

If you love the band Tool let me know where I can sign up to be one of your biggest fans.. and if I’m looking for a coach, you will be the first person I’ll think of to hire.”

See how this can REALLY get “niched down? This is a GOOD thing!

You want to feel as if someone is speaking directly to you.. who just GETS you. If you just read that above paragraph, chances are you felt that way. If you skipped it, it wasn’t speaking to you, and there would be no reason to clutter your brain with more info designed to serve someone with goals and desires THIS specific.

If you wrote with someone like me in mind, would you potentially scare away many other women my age? Oh, my, YES. And I am repelled by certain things too. Things that many other women LOVE, as a matter of fact.

But isn’t the idea of scaring some people off bad for business? NO. No!

I repeat: “If you try to make everyone happy, NOBODY will be happy. Your stuff will be boring, irrelevant, and miss the mark.”

This is also the most natural and aligned way to communicate with your audience. If you niche down this far, chances are you know your shit and are turned off by the same things your audience is. How cool is that?

So if you are still writing monthly newsletters with generic articles, take the time to define who your ideal client, patient, guest, or customer is. Building an email list for your holistic practice can actually feel easy and natural when you do this.

Also, You CAN have several “avatars.”  I know every once in a while someone comes along that likes to claim that you don’t need to do define your ideal client or patient, and again, it’s usually mostly clickbait. After making their attention-grabbing statement, they circle back to why your message can’t be watered down.

The Starbucks Test

Even though email is generally more of a “one-way” channel than social media, it’s still considered to be a more intimate way of keeping in touch.

The reason: We need to be invited into someone’s inbox, or it’s spam. End of story. (If  you are wondering how that magical invitation takes place, I’ll show you in part 2 of this article.)

Because of these 2 factors, the concept of the “Starbucks test” came about (I can’t take credit for it, besides, I live in an area of Europe that has no Starbucks.. we do cafes, with ceramic cups.. but it’s the same general idea.)

How it works: Pretend that you are about to meet a friend for coffee in the place pictured above. You are just shooting the shit, talking about life in general, maybe telling a story, supporting each other, maybe asking for or giving advice. The tone will be conversational, not formal.

This is the best tone to have in email communications. These are NOT corporate emails. (Who would want to read those?)

It’s also important to be consistent about your message. Once a week is a good starting point.  It’s like a first date: It’s not about trying SO hard to impress that people won’t recognize you without a ton of makeup and nice clothes and being “on” all the time.

It’s about showing them some of your best stuff, but in an approachable, conversational manner, like a letter to a friend, or a meeting over coffee.  More great things will flow if they hang out with you, trust that.

And don’t promise to be there, and then not show up! This is almost as inconsiderate as spam.

Eventually, after building a relationship, yes, then of COURSE you want to present your offer. This is also where the Starbucks Test comes in handy. Likely, if we wanted to offer something to a friend or group of friends over coffee, we would confidently say: “I’ve got this thing that I think would be perfect for you and solve _________ that you mentioned earlier. It seems like the next logical step. I can tell you more, if you like.” This IS a good time to ask for an action: Click on a button to learn more, or to book a discovery call so that you can get something on the calendar.  That sort of thing.

One would likely not walk up to the table of strangers,  throw a card on the table that screams “50% off my thing” and then walk away, or start speaking like a stiff or spammy, yucky email message.

How to make it even EASIER on yourself

Still stuck? There’s nothing wrong with getting a little bit of help when it comes to our email messages, using what has already been created as a guide.

• Get inspired. Do you have a favorite podcast you like to listen to? A TV show? Books from your favorite author? A blog? Do you go on Pinterest to find new recipes and craft ideas?

Take notes!

Your own life experiences are also PERFECT material for your emails. Pay attention to those moments and thoughts. 

• Start with a subject line that draws people in, based on the research you just did. In the above example, maybe that could be “I FINALLY found a sports bra I like!” or for wellness professionals: “How often should you train for an XC race in your 50’s?” or “How this one postural tweak helped me improve my cycling performance without ANY extra training.”  More about this in part 2.

Write a list of “conversation openers” or just start typing at the conversation plays in your head.  Once again, you can imagine yourself sitting with a friend over coffee. You might say, in real life, “I never thought I would say this, but…” or “I had this interesting thought today about_______.  or maybe a question, like “Do you ever feel that __________?

For me, what works is imagining myself in this scenario, and just let the “conversational” words flow.

I DO include some content which is definitely copywriting, which is a great skill to develop. I won’t get into that here.. I’ll be writing a blog about writing very shortly!

Tip: You CAN borrow ideas from other emails you receive. Of course you don’t want to copy word for word.. but a lot of opening phrases aren’t copyrighted any more than a conversational sentence would be. 

• Your emails don’t have to be long. Some even type a short and sweet note, with a link to a blog or podcast or video that does the talking.

In other words, It’s not always the email itself that is usually offering entertainment, education, or enlightenment, but what is IN the email itself. A link to something nice and juicy. .

Think of it as the intersection where your great content.. and what your ideal client or patient wants to hear about.. meet.

The Take-Home

When you subscribe to something, you make a conscious decision to hear more. When you think of it this way, you are delivering gifts to the door of your ideal client or patient. This shift alone will raise your vibe when it comes to email. 

And be CONSISTENT! 

So there you have it.. Boring Newsletters may be dead, but email marketing is thriving and will continue to for years to come, even with all the fancy schmantzy new trends that marketing gurus like to mention to showcase their knowledge.

Next Steps

Want to know more about email marketing, with visual aids? 

Level 1: Go to the next blog to learn more

Level 2: Join the Rebel Wellness Entrepreneur Membership. Not only will you find an entire “vault” of info and trainings specifically about lead generation and email makreting… 

Included in the low-cost monthly membership is a monthly group coaching call, where by request, I can help with WordPress/Divi, Active Campaign, MailerLite, and Kartra questions you might have. 

This would be a great way to learn how to do the cool things I show you in part 2 of this blog (and a  way, for now, to get some free coaching!) 

Level 3: Ready to dive in and build your first online offering? Enroll in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit.  This course will take you from start to finish, from mindset to “tech” setup, so that you can get your first online offering out to the world QUICKY, even if you are starting from scratch.

Or..  

You can click here or on the burgundy button below for a free 30 minute consultation, or check out the courses I offer.