9 Challenges Faced by Online Wellness Entrepreneurs (and How to Overcome Them)

9 Challenges Faced by Online Wellness Entrepreneurs (and How to Overcome Them)


Did you just add an online course, program, or membership to your menu of offerings? If you have, you are in good company! 

It makes sense, not because it’s the “thing to do” or a trend. It’s simply another (wonderful) choice for many of us in a certain stage in our business and in our lives. It also gives our clients and customers more options.

But is starting an online business driving you nuts?

Many of you have spoken up about feeling uninspired, irritated, resentful, or frustrated at the process of making it all work.

I definitely understand.  

My business went from a local, brick and mortar, to a combination/hybrid, to 100% digital/online in 2017.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’m grateful that I have more options than I had back in the early 2010’s. There are still some frustrations that even I have!

The main difference between selling time and selling a product (something that can be sold on demand, not necessarily a physical product) is that for the latter, we need to have a system set up in order to make it work.

I call it my “ecosystem.”

This blog is about some of the things that drive us nuts, and may even make us want to quit before we even get started…when choosing a platform or group of platforms (a system.) This can happen whether you consider yourself “tech savvy” or not.  I’m going to politely call them “challenges.”  

I want you to feel validated, and show you some ways I’ve found to make the shift from solely 1:1/time-slot based practice to selling a digital “thing” that can be sold at any time, from any place, while avoiding resentment, burnout, and frustration, starting with the digital platforms you are building your empire on.

Note: This is one of my more epic pieces of content, and it’s kind of like having 9 blogs within a blog. It’s skimmable, and I even included a downloadable version for you, which you can find at the end of this article.

Let’s get started with the 9 challenges!

Can you relate to any of the following? Because these are all things that I did, or felt, when I was first starting out. (and sometimes still do today)

Challenge #1:

The assumption that this is supposed to be EASY! Someone tells you that it’s all so easy, if you just _______. (fill in the blank for what they attribute their success to here)

What you’re really thinking is:

“Isn’t this shit supposed to be serving ME? I feel like it’s making MY life HARDER.”

And I think you have a VERY legit complaint here!

Let’s take a closer look at this one.

This isn’t necessarily about whether or not someone is good with “tech.” (although it could be) The real issue is that the thing that we thought would solve a problem may only partially solve that problem, leaving us to figure out how to fill in the gaps in our “spare” time.

In the case of a system that can handle hosting, selling, and promoting a digital product, there’s a lot going on. This isn’t about making the system more complicated, but about integration and a seamless experience for leads and customers.

This should be an intuitive process for you, and why software companies work hard to make sure that it is.

If you have ever been in a Facebook support group, you can get a pretty good idea of what is working, what still needs to be addressed, and what isn’t working and causing frustration for its users.

“How can I ______ so that I can _____? Help!”

I don’t like to blame the software developers. From what I see, most are doing their best to solve a specific problem for their customers, and they are paving the way to make this all easier.

However, some do continue to overpromise what they can deliver in their marketing, or don’t want to admit that their product isn’t right for everyone. These aren’t necessarily shady companies. In fact, some of them are the most recognized platforms in use today. (SquareSpace, Wix, MailChimp) The power of great marketing!

A few have almost nailed it, but there still is no perfect solution, yet. 

When an expert or coach sends a message that it’s “really pretty simple” or that if someone has questions or runs into a major roadblock, they are “just making it more difficult by overthinking it” I get irritated, because this happened to me, about 10 years ago. 

There IS work involved. There WILL be some trial and error, but a lot of it can be mitigated so that entrepreneurs actually have energy to carry on with the next steps.

Yes, some entrepreneurs do procrastinate and overthink to the point where they get in their own way. This also needs to be addressed. (I did, in this blog)

It’s also unnecessary to expect people to just figure it all out on their own or assume that they have ample time and money to spend on making mistakes that can be easily avoided and don’t really teach anything important about business.

We also need to be realistic about how much time or effort it will take to set up our ecosystems.

When we’re told that it’s supposed to be “easy” it sends a message that maybe there’s something wrong with us, that there is something that we’re not grasping, that we’re just not working hard enough, or that we’re “overthinking” it when the problem isn’t about a mindset shift, but a VERY REAL glitch or gap in the fabric of the system, which must be addressed.

I believe that the main reason why it’s not a slam-dunk easy-peasy process is because there still are very few subscription-based apps and platforms (SAAS for you nerd types) in existence, even today, that are complete. I recently did some extensive research and found that almost every single one had an important piece of the puzzle missing.

If you don’t even know what those puzzle pieces ARE in the first place, of course it’s not going to be easy!

This is something I go over in detail in the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit, and some of the a la carte workshops that I teach, but I’m going to give you some free tips in this blog, coming right up!

Sometimes, it’s not the learning part that’s hard, but making not-so-fun discoveries about the limitations of your system, especially during a critical time.

I would rather learn a system that is still elegant and intuitive but takes time to learn, rather than run into a brick wall when I discover I need to migrate my email list to another service or figure out a Zapier workaround or discover that I can’t follow up with post-webinar attendees the way I thought I could and end up losing a HUGE opportunity to earn some income because of it. 

These are not “fancy-schmancy” options. A holistic ecosystem needs to have some flexibility. A system that aggressively puts limits on your options is probably not worth it.

These are the kinds of things you’ll run into if you don’t have all the pieces you need. 

Solution: Look for experts who understand what it’s like to be in the trenches, without a support team. Look for those who offer a step by step process, so that everything required for the journey is considered, including what order the steps need to occur in.

Also look for those who don’t promise that ONE technique (SEO, manifestation, whatever) is THE key to success. This is hardly a strategic approach.

A little secret: marketing really isn’t about learning a few proprietary secrets. The principles and processes are remarkably similar among most experts, with maybe some differences in opinion about individual pieces like websites or social media.  Find someone you resonate with and that you can trust.

Challenge #2:

TIME! Resenting having to spend so much time researching a platform and all the other “tech pieces” that go into a system, and then learning how it all works.

This is somewhat related to the first challenge, but it’s a little bit different. This isn’t about it the process being perceived as difficult so much as how much of a timesuck it can be.

If you have ever thought to yourself: “Where DID my day go?” you know exactly what I mean.

I hear ya! I do this task as part of my job, and sometimes I feel like I’m spending so much TIME on sorting it all out. We have more choices now, and systems are less “clunky,” but not every new app or platform on the scene is the best choice for everyone.

Also, there is no such thing as the “perfect” system or platform. As I mentioned above, almost every single one I’ve checked out has some pieces missing, including a few major holes that will need to be filled in order to have a functioning ecosystem.

So what’s the solution?

Solution: 1. Save time right out of the gate by narrowing down your search. There are a few systems that DO have all the pieces, but because of their robustness and flexibility, there may be a learning curve. This is to be expected.

Although I can’t choose for you, I have a method for quickly determining if a system or platform is worth investigating further, or not: My 7 criteria for choosing a platform.

These are absolute essentials for building a system that includes any kind of “on demand” product, such as a course, membership, or program.

If something is missing, the platform MUST have a way to integrate with another “piece” of the puzzle so that the end result is a seamless ecosystem, for both you and your clients and customers.

For example, if it lacks adequate email automation functions, it has to connect with something that will fill in that gap, such as Active Campaign or ConvertKit. (Although ConvertKit does have some limitations.. it’s not my go-to)

I prefer to avoid “duct tape” solutions or having to rely too heavily on Zapier.

I can’t even tell you how much TIME you’ll save by making sure that you don’t have any major gaps in your system, right from the beginning.

Solution 2. Set a realistic time frame. Don’t expect to get it all done in a few hours. If you break it down into small chunks, it will seem more manageable.

My perception of time is different when I set aside productive learning time, as opposed to unexpected time running into problems and obstacles or even researching/decision making. These are entirely different functions, and I advise keeping them separated as much as possible.

I personally believe in keeping the problem solving, researching, and decision making process limited. Hopefully, I’m able to help either from free content, paid workshops, courses, or even consultations.

Challenge #3: Wasted money: Spending either too much, or too little on setting up a system

And now, you may be thinking:

“Oh, no, here it comes. In order to get what I need and not pull my hair out I’m gonna have to take out a big loan.”

You don’t need to spend a ton of money.

It DOES help to start to think about time and money and leveraging and ROI a little bit differently now, since the equation may not be a simple matter of 1 hour of work = _______. 

This is all about BALANCE.  I’ve seen how both overspending (while neglecting to spend any time) and underspending (which almost always results in more and more unbillable hours)  can undermine success.

Again, this is not anyone’s  fault. How the heck can we possibly know, without any experience, how much we need to spend in order to save time, attract more leads, make for a better experience for everyone interacting with us, and yes, of course, make more money? 

Aside from not being a cheapskate and not being in the habit of throwing money at every potential solution without thought, there is no ultimate formula. This is about something called profit clarity. I go into this in depth in the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit. 

But I want to give you something right now, for free, to make this easier for you:

The first thing is to get a general idea of what might provide the best VALUE for you. Generally speaking, somewhere between “cheap” and “premium” works best for those just starting out.

I love analogies, so I’ll use one here. Let’s say it’s a hot day and you are thirsty.

You can spend $1 on a small glass of lemonade that will probably leave you thirsty for more, and likely spending a LOT more.

You can spend $5 on a HUGE container of lemonade that you’ll have to carry around with 2 hands and which you probably won’t finish. It will turn into a big, wasted, warm, sloppy mess

You can spend $2 on a “best value” size and still get a lot more than the $1 option, without wasting an extra $3 you may not even need. (or can save for an ice cream or nachos later)

Guess what most people choose, and why there’s a middle option?

Yet many new entrepreneurs either spend too much on something they don’t need, or (more likely) cut corners on freemium or $8 solutions.. so much that they end up becoming more frustrated and having to spend more money in the long run.

For example, I’ve seen entrepreneurs ultimately spending MORE time and money trying to save $12 instead of focusing on earning more. 

Conversely, I’ve also seen some throw $500 at a solution and never use it.

I’ve even seen some go from one extreme to another.

Everyone is different, but if I had to throw out one “entry fee” that sounds appropriate today, it would be around the $50/month zone Here are some of the options in that range:

  • AttractWell
  • NewZenler
  • PracticeBetter

Note: The free versions aren’t worth it. There’s just too many gaps and missing parts. For example, with the free version of Practice Better, you don’t have the tools you need to send a welcome and onboarding email with a Zoom link to a new client or to customize an email. The calendar booking options also fall short.  It’s definitely not designed for selling on demand digital products, and certainly not for promoting them, which is important.

This entire process needs to be automated, period. In other words, free versions really don’t provide much value. It’s like getting a shotglass of lemonade on a hot day.

For those who have a pretty solid concept for a digital product, OR are already experiencing the “Freemium Nickel-and-Diming Effect” to the point where their total costs are starting to reach or exceed $60, the best value zone tends to hover around $100 per month, because it will probably save you time and make it easier for you to promote and sell your offering. 

That $100 or even $130 solution may cover everything you need (The 7 Criteria).. while that Frankensystem that started to look like a great value when you first started, may actually exceed the cost of the all-in-one solution. Not to mention that if an extra $20 per month saves you hours and frustration, it may be worth it. 

Remember, this is about designing or purchasing a system for booking time slots rather than selling a “thing.” 

Remember also, that as you begin to scale, you are creating something repeatable that someone can buy any time, from anywhere, on demand.. even at 3 am your time when you are asleep. Your ecosystem needs to be able to manage this.

After much research, I’ve found the best VALUE to be  in the classic systems that also focus on marketing the product you worked so hard to create.

  • Kartra (The best value option, in my opinion, as of this writing)
  • Kajabi
  • ClickFunnels
  • Setting up your entire system on WordPress. I like having an ecosystem that I own. Personally, I use a combination of WordPress/DIVI and Kartra. I like having a platform that I own and control the narrative of. I also like that it makes it easy for people to find me in a search. But I DO love Kartra as the home base for all my “transactional stuff.”

You CAN certainly also create a website on most of these platforms as well. As long as all 7 criteria are met, you’re good.

Note: These solutions only provide value if you have done the foundational work on your brand and offering. I do not recommend investing anything at all until this work is done. This doesn’t mean you need to have course material completed.. in fact, I don’t recommend waiting until you have a fully completed and perfect course ready in order to start selling your BETA version.  This is a different process altogether. Again, I go into more detail in my signature course that walks you through the process of creating an online offering in 30 days or less. 

The key: Finding your own “Goldilocks” system without wasting too much time on solutions that don’t provide what you’ll need.

Solution 1. I recommend starting with some of the platforms I mentioned above, and checking out some free trials. Allow yourself enough time to research and test each one.

Solution 2. More research that will save you time and money:

I wrote a blog that lists the 7 criteria I personally use when putting together a system for an online business. If any of these are missing, it’s likely you’ll need to patch something together, or get stuck in a “Freemium” trap, which means that ironically, you’ll end up paying more for less.

Again, expect to pay at least $50 for a complete solution, which needs to include not just a place to host a course, membership, or program, but a way to automate the entire process of promoting and selling it.

This is simply the price of admission, unless you don’t mind having obstructed row seating. 

Note: I’m creating a quiz that will help you choose where to begin as well!

Challenge #4: Making decisions about a business based on emotion.

Let’s switch gears.

I’m not talking about working “from your heart.” That I get. I’m talking about letting excitement, anxiety, self-doubt, and even depression or despair drive your decisions.

Again, no blame here. I’ve done this many, many times.

It’s important to analyze (without emotional attachment) what is and what isn’t working.

Making data-driven decisions doesn’t SOUND cool for a lot of creative entrepreneurs, but I’m going to go ahead and risk being uncool.. It’s essential to have not only subjective data to drive your next decision, but objective data as well.

Data is your friend, not the enemy.

This includes your KPI’s (key performance indicators) that give you insight about:

Traffic to your website: Are people finding you? If not, what’s the next step?

Clicks: Are people interested in your offer? If not, what’s the next step?

Course completions: Are students and enrollees engaged in, and completing your course? If not, what’s the next step?

..and more.

There are KPI’s for every stage in the journey you take leads and clients through. These numbers provide INSIGHT that your intuition alone can’t provide.

In other words, if you rely SOLELY on your intuition and emotions, in the absence of objective data, you may miss an opportunity to try something different. Your intuition and feelings simply won’t give you enough information about the next steps to take, including what to change and what NOT to change. (the principles of forming and testing a hypothesis, or troubleshooting)

You may also end up quitting because something “feels” bad, when all is needed is a minor tweak and some time to test it.

You may even want to quit, without realizing that the numbers are showing progress.

This is something I talk about in the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit in detail. I do my best to make this fun, and we do not skip subjective findings, which have equal value. (For example, client feedback is subjective but very valuable)

Challenge #5: Doing everything manually, assuming that this is how to deliver more personalized, high quality products and services, or show that you care (which turns into major resentment)

Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

The person who made your custom bookshelves or brews craft beers in your neighborhood may have a talent for creating something unique and high quality, but in order to make it work and earn a profit, they also need systems in place to take care of their businesses, their customers, their employees, and themselves.

In addition, having systems set up to “catch” or “handle” minor questions or issues, rather than risking someone having to wait or fall through the cracks, or making it easy to gather enough information to get the process started, is a way to show that you care.

Another example: A clothing store that makes it easy to browse, place an online order, have questions answered, try something on, get measured for alterations, return an item, get alerted when a new item arrives or goes on sale, is going to HAVE to have some of these systems automated, whether it’s via technology or a process/procedure/policy or even the way the merchandise is presented in the store. There are employees who are hired just to set up and maintain these systems, and for good reason.

Can you imagine if they didn’t have anything set up, and started from scratch every day? This would mean irritated customers, unhappy employees, and lost revenue.

Can you imagine trying to do this all YOURSELF?

Once you start offering products and services that are NOT based on selling time slots, this becomes important. Of course you don’t need to be as advanced as Amazon, or even close. You will need to have the basics set up.

It’s not “impersonal or robotic” to sell something that someone can access at any time, from anywhere, but this is still a major barrier I see with some entrepreneurs who are just beginning to create on-demand offers that compliment their 1:1 services.

Here’s another perspective:

If you own a business and make it HARD for people to interact with you during any step, this isn’t a great experience for them or for you. Booking, making a purchase, a basic welcome message/confirmation/receipt email, and a basic onboarding process can, and should be automated. This helps people feel cared for, shows you have your shit together, and means that you don’t have to be responding to emails 24/7.

Obviously, if people have questions, you can answer them personally, after having a way to get the most basic questions out of the way, so that people don’t feel completely lost.

It’s also about taking care of YOU: You also should not be obligated to respond to messages or emails in your inbox at every hour of the day.

Also, people almost NEVER take a particular action the first time they interact with you. They need reminders and processes that make it easy for them to take the next step. This is not something that people resent, but actually appreciate, when done well. Remember that built in touch points is a service.

It’s not just HOW something is bought and delivered that can be automated.. The product itself can also be something that is created once and repeated, without losing any value.

I STILL encounter some who think that creating something repeatable is somehow “impersonal.” So I’m going to use one more analogy to illustrate my point:

If you write a book and distribute printed or digital copies, is this also a “less than” experience for your audience? What about those who are unable to see you speak live, or like me, probably can’t get a physical copy of your book because I live on the other side of the planet?

I have one more point to really drive this concept home.. Because I am such a firm believer in automation.

The process of creating something repeatable, without our direct involvement of time in order to deliver the product, is what separates the “passionate hobbyist” or a freelancer from someone who has something that can be sold independent of their time and manual involvement. This isn’t a new concept that I came up with or made up, but a common benchmark for determining the difference between a freelancer or solo entrepreneurship and a “business” in the technical sense.

The same could apply to those who build a clinical practice and sell it, choose to open up more clinics, or rent out space to other practitioners. (Repeatable processes that earn income independent of hours spent) This business model is also NOT based on the limitations of selling time.

There is nothing wrong with being a freelancer or entrepreneur who sells their time, of course. This is just something to consider, if you desire something different at some point.

As many of my peers get older, the desire to create something that we don’t need to have “all hands on deck” for becomes stronger. There’s nothing weird about any of this.. it’s why people buy rental properties and sell stuff that they only have to create once, up front, and it’s basically done, and spend time thinking about things like initial investments, profit margins, and predicted ROI’s.

Again, this doesn’t mean that 1:1 services have less value. They do.. And it’s where we all need to start, so that we can gain the experience we need in order to build something repeatable. In other words, writing a book about a topic without actual, “in the trenches” experience is indeed putting the cart before the horse.

Remember: You’ll still need some automated systems in place, particularly when it comes to booking. Making it hard to book online is a problem that is easy to address, yet many still don’t have this set up properly. (Don’t let this be you!)

The more you begin to offer “on demand” products, the more automation you’ll need for every step.. from attracting leads ..to promotional cycles ..to purchase ..to onboarding ..to follow up ..to keeping current customers happy.. to easily getting testimonials and referrals and affiliates.

The solution is more of a mindset shift than about any other process. It’s not about what we typically think of when we think about mindset, such as confidence, abundance, etc. It’s more about how to make the mental shift from thinking locally to expanding into new possibilities, if that’s your choice.. Because it IS different.

Challenge #6: Trying to be like someone else, and using their success as your own personal measuring stick.

This isn’t exactly news to most of us, but I’m going to cover it anyway, because it keeps us trapped. This mindset is NOT liberating. I’m even going to say that the time we spend reading about or listening to the people we admire in Forbes or as guests on Oprah may need to be limited, for the sake of our businesses and our mental health.

There, I said it.

It’s great to be able to see what is possible without limits from time to time, but I believe that a steady dose of this only sets many of us up for failure. We need to have role models that are only a few steps ahead of us on the journey as well.

Seeing another entrepreneur out there who is doing the same thing you are, who is killing it (or at least it looks that way) can set off all kinds of internal messages to our subconscious. It isn’t a flip that can be switched on or off, in my opinion.

It can feel as if you aren’t cut out to sell your offerings online, or even an imposter. Yep, this one is something I still sometimes struggle with. I mean, who am I to compete against the likes of Amy Porterfield?

There is of course, the internal work that is super important. I also want to point out a few external reasons that have contributed to their success:

  • They aren’t, in fact, doing the same thing you are! Because of niching, (and doing the foundational work) no two businesses are ever going to be exactly the same. If this is true for a product like pizza or coffee, it’s most certainly true for your business. It’s not a platitude to say that you are unique.
  • They were able to make data-driven decisions. There’s nothing wrong with using your intuition, but I stand by the notion that making emotional decisions when it comes to our businesses isn’t a great idea. That’s why we hire coaches and consultants and look at the actual numbers to tell us what’s really going on, or make it a point to continue to learn on our own. Believe it or not, this is a liberating process. When I have wanted to give up, and it’s been many times, OR when I get sidetracked by distraction, excitement, or fear, it’s good to have a grounded source of objective data or experienced opinion to turn to.
  • They remained consistent. They didn’t constantly flit from one thing to the next, and didn’t quit 3 months into an endeavor. In other words, they gave it time to actually work. Even on days when they didn’t feel like doing the work, either by doing it anyway or setting up a process that allows them to take time off on those “off” days
  • They took quick and decisive action when it was called for. In other words, they didn’t take 3 months to write a blog or a year to get their website done. They were also able to connect to the “big picture” enough to be able to prioritize tasks and projects, so that they weren’t just focusing on busywork, but on “moving the needle” in their business. (This is a skill that can be developed)
  • They got help. The American tradition that says it’s your problem if you can’t make everything work out by “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is rather silly and needs to be retired or rethought. Again, I’m raising my hand.. I’ve bought into this notion as well, and it has NEVER helped me, especially as a single woman living abroad.
  • They did the foundational work, without cutting corners, without “bypassing” the important (but not urgently compelling) work.

Did all of this painlessly fall into place for them from the start? Not likely. That’s why we share stories about our own personal journeys, so that people can be inspired by someone who is “one of us.”

This could mean that you don’t necessarily need to work with the top experts. (Although you can, of course) Just the person who is in a perfect position to get you from point A to point B, because they have been there and understand what it’s like.

Challenge #7: Inconsistency (and feeling pressured to remain consistent)

This one is very common.

If you are not consistent, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are lazy. Let me stress this: It’s not part of the job description to become a slave to our work, and by sheer force of will make it all happen, without fail. In fact, almost all of us will need a way to remain consistent without having to be “on” every single day.

It’s extremely unrealistic to expect ourselves to show up every day, in every way. For example, as I write this, I have a cold. It’s the perfect time to write a few blogs. I’m actually doing this in bed, which feels fantastic right now. Later, when I feel like myself again, I’ll use the content I write here for live broadcasts, trainings, or podcasts.

(Can you see now why I’m a fan of automation, and what it really means? Making it EASY on yourself!)

There are 2 types of inconsistency: Short term and long term. Let’s break them down.

Short term inconsistency

Short term consistency is about showing up, in whatever way works for you,  consistently, without big gaps in which you ignore your business, your audience, your leads, and your customers.

An example of short term inconsistency:  Me.. not showing up for the real people on my email list on a weekly basis, and not providing real value in those emails.

I struggle sometimes with remaining consistent with my email list. Did you know that ignoring your list and sending out only sporadic emails is just as annoying as getting inundated with too many emails in your inbox?

The first thought is: What and who is this? Why now? What do they want?

But when people see an email from you once a week, they tend to expect them and yes, even look forward to them if you consistently show up to provide value.

What works for me isn’t about beating myself up each week to make sure that I send that email. I batch and schedule so that I don’t have to feel as if I’m constantly having to come up with new ideas and content to write, and how to make it fit into the entire campaign I’m trying to create.

Automation isn’t just about the technical automation, but processes that I repeat on a regular basis that make it SUPER easy to follow.

For me, this means that I get inspired and full of ideas on a particular day. During this time, I capture ideas and even write some of my emails, including subject lines, calls to action, and all the links that will be included in the email.

To do this, I have my own slide deck that I scroll through that shows me every step in the process. I don’t expect myself to remember it all!

Automation is also about templates. Yes, I write from the heart in all of my emails, but sometimes, yes, I get a head start with a template. There’s nothing wrong with this. It can help you remember to include key points and the primary goal of each email, while still speaking in an authentic way. It’s just that you may have thought of the perfect authentic thing to say a few months ago, and today you are drawing a blank. Leverage what you already started.

This is something I go into more depth with in my email marketing bundles and in the Future Proof your Business Toolkit.

Automation is also about reusing and recycling. This blog is one of my “epic” pieces. It can be broken down (splintered) into 9 or more smaller pieces of content, which in turn, can become a live broadcast, a podcast, or a YouTube video.

I’ve got so much more to say about this topic.. But I already did! (haha!) as a workshop called “Creating Content The Easy Way.”  It can be found in my Rebel Wellness Entrepreneur Membership.

Long term inconsistency

Long term inconsistency happens when you  lack clarity and end up “floating” without any direction. This often shows up as a website that lacks clear messaging, or social media posts, landing pages, and checkout pages that appear to be thrown together without much thought.

This happens when people show up every once in a while with offers that are free, underpriced, or just all over the place. We’ve all seen this, and the natural inclination is to not take those who show up this way seriously.

This hardly inspires trust. I know where this comes from: Lack of confidence. As an introvert who just likes to cut to the chase, I know how hard this can be.. to just keep going and to keep showing up, and to keep working on our own story and refining value in order to attract our ideal clients and customers.

We may need to remember that consistency is more important than perfection. (Perfection isn’t even possible.)

Consistency isn’t just about time, but forming a cohesive entity that not only LOOKS trustworthy, but IS. This is one major reason why I call BS on running a business SOLELY by “going with the flow.”

Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight.  I didn’t start out with much consistency either.  So don’t beat yourself up if you are not there yet. Give it time, but also take heart because the next thing I’m going to talk about will give this process a HUGE jump start. I mean HUGE. And honestly, STILL.. almost nobody in the health and wellness industry is doing this.

Another reason why the next challenge is so important to address, because the reason for this kind of “floating or lost” inconsistency has to do with:

Challenge #8: Skipping the Foundational work. This part isn’t about the “tech” pieces but about gaining clarity and refining a story, message, ideal client, offer, and branding

Note: What most people think of when they hear the word branding: Aesthetics, design, fonts, colors, and logos.

In fact, the logo part isn’t nearly as important as the rest of the foundational work.

When coaches see this foundational work they tend to bypass it, thinking of it as a “fun little exercise that may help.” They dismiss it as non-essential, or consider it homework/low priority busywork that business coaches and web designers give them so that they can charge more.

This is NON-NEGOTIABLE work.

In fact, it’s impossible for me to do ANY work for a client without this vital information. Otherwise I’m just creating another generic, digital brochure. I can’t guess what copy to include in a website, or guess what images and colors to use.

Yet the info and content I often get is a headshot, a dry bio, and a blurb about acupuncture, a standard hourly pricing guide, and if I’m lucky, a blog or two. Followed by expecting me to follow the “I’ll know what I like when I see it” approach. I make it abundantly clear that I do not work this way, and so should you! This is a terrible business model for someone who is creating a custom solution for a client. It means no boundaries, low pay, unsatisfied clients, and certainly not a product or service one would stand behind or put their name on. 

It’s my job to guide a client through the foundational work, so that this doesn’t happen. 

The same principle applies to health and wellness professionals and coaches. Your clients are paying you for solutions and strategies, not just to pull levers or dispense information.

Without doing the foundational work, what you are selling is a commodity: “I’ll take the 20 min 4 gates session and the aromatherapy for $40, please, thank you” 

Now, sometimes this model works.

But it’s not if:

What you deliver is a result, or a solution to a more complex problem. Chances are good that in order to achieve that result, you are going to need a strategy, not just a favorite tactic or tool.

Skipping foundational work results in frustration, false starts, lack of focus, a product that looks like a commodity to an ideal client, undercharging, working with less than ideal clients, lack of results, not meeting expectations, a brand that resonates with nobody, and constant hustling on social media. Ultimately yes, this leads to resentment and burnout.

And this is probably NOT what you went to school for. 

This foundational work is laid down FIRST, as an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process in both the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit and the Tell Your Story DIY Website Kit.

The good news is that this kind of work is the opposite of the “left brained” work, such as researching and learning new platforms. This work is mostly internal, and requires nothing more than a journal and a block of time set aside for reflection and creative thinking, doing some fun research, and setting up a few “coffee dates” with people that you would consider to be an ideal client. This does NOT make it any less important. In fact, it is one of the pillars of my approach: Systems, Strategies, and Foundations.

The even BETTER news is that this process can rapidly accelerate the awkward phase we all go through when we are still defining our message, brand, and offer.  The fact that so many blow this off (not the superstars, though, they have done this work, I guarantee) ..will probably put you automatically way ahead of most of your peers.

Challenge #9: Burnout, resentment, and despair

All the challenges can lead to this ultimate challenge, when not addressed:

Wanting to give up, thinking that there’s something wrong with you, when there isn’t.

I hope that this rather epic blog helps you avoid getting to this point!

Remember:

  • It’s NOT always easy, even if some say it is. Those people probably have assistants that do all the grunt work for them, anyway. But there ARE ways to make it easier, I promise.
  • It takes time, but you can avoid wasting time up front by narrowing your decisions about what platforms to use
  • Find your “sweet spot” when it comes to you monthly investment, knowing that it will likely be between $50 and $100/month when you total up ALL your costs of running your ecosystem (meeting the 7 criteria)
  • Data is your friend. Intuition + subjective and objective data + experience = insight. You may find that the data is telling you NOT to give up.
  • Do the foundational work to differentiate yourself from the crowd, and don’t even worry about competing with the superstars. Some would rather work with you, because they will be more inspired by YOUR story.
  • Find ways to remain consistent, even if you have to “cheat” a little. Nobody wants to spend hours each day on this stuff, and it’s unrealistic to expect it, but it is true that if we show up sporadically it can hurt our business.
  • Automation is also your friend, not the enemy, because it makes it all possible, prevents burnout, and yes, shows that you care (instead of dropping the ball when life gets crazy!) It also helps you remain consistent.Do this, and you’ll find your own “sweet spot” to work within, and have time for what really matters in life, like hanging out with little dudes like this:

  • I’ve also woven a lot of resources into this blog, some free, and some paid, for you to check out and enjoy.

    Cheers!

Marketing Trends for Wellness Practitioners 2022

Marketing Trends for Wellness Practitioners 2022

13 trends and predictions for the health, wellness, and coaching industries in  2022

I’ve been meaning to update this  blog about up and coming  marketing trends SPECIFICALLY for wellness professionals. Well, here it is, again, just in time for the Chinese New Year!

(Happy year of the Tiger!)

Sometimes, I’m not quite sure if I’m behind the times or ahead of them.

As an acupuncturist, I was already doing some of these things mentioned below, in the early 2010’s, which seems like a lifetime ago.   I was in a minority. Today, that which was previously more “marginal” is now becoming more mainstream, due to the pandemic, better technology, saturated markets, NEW markets, tech monopolies, health trends, and more…

Yeah, it can be enough to make your head spin!

I wrote a list of 13 trends and major changes that you may have already seen, or are likely to see happening this year.

Some of these trends simply reflect the most probable path that both I and “my tribe” (we think alike) are going to take.

Most of them are about how to market your business directly, but a few are health trends that will indirectly have an impact on how you run and market your practice.

Some of them are simple, and may feel natural to you. Others are more advanced, but don’t let that stop you from moving forward and creating more freedom for yourself this year. Don’t just go “outside the box.” Light that sucker on fire.

1. Establishing a niche is more important than ever. (and being SEARCHABLE within that niche) 

Big time.

The focus on being the village healer and treating 100 conditions was already dying, even before the pandemic.

Now, people are less concerned about finding “an acupuncturist near me” but finding the BEST person who can help them with ______________. (post-menopausal weight gain, the real root cause of their  headaches, fertility for women over 40, ski and snowboard athletes, you get the idea.

You can also focus on what TRULY makes you unique.

Hint: what makes you unique is NOT your patented method, your study in Japan,  or the 60k diagnostic machine you just invested in. It’s about the HOW and WHY you work.. in such a way that keeps people coming back.

It’s your brand, your positioning, and what people love about you.

Seriously, you could position yourself as the go-to acupuncturist in your area for cyclists and mountain bikers, if it made sense for you. You could even expand beyond your local area as the “go-to-acupuncturist for bike people.”

Trying to “help everyone” is great, but it’s a lousy marketing plan. This doesn’t mean that you can’t help other people. It just means that you want to become KNOWN for ________.

This means that making yourself SEARCHABLE is also very important. Social media channels like YouTube and Pinterest that are designed to attract the ideal clients or patients in your NICHE (people that are ready to BUY) are a better bet than “stumble upon” channels like Facebook and Instagram, especially if you tend to struggle with attracting the right people. 

2. Transformational experiences instead of transactional sessions

transformational healing

Oh, I have a LOT to say about this one!

Here’s reason #44 why selling your time isn’t really the best business model in the long run.

When you position yourself as someone who delivers an hour of service, or 90 minutes (or whatever) you become a commodity.

The patient or client perceives that the value they are getting from your services are based on how much time you put into it, instead of the results over time. The expectations of what happens in that hour can be a lot, for BOTH the patient and the practitioner.

This is especially the case in the absence of other ways that you can easily set patients up for success. (Which require only a bit of up-front work from you.)

I’m going to be brutally honest.. we all know how some people treat other people’s time. Like the doormat they wipe their feet on. Others do almost nothing outside of their hourly appointment, which usually results in them not really moving forward.

With the exception of those who don’t respect your time (avoid them or fire them) I don’t think that it’s necessarily their fault, or yours.

I think that the problem is about how the entire system has been set up, and i think that it’s about to be seriously challenged this year.

To illustrate:

How well does that patient do who never does her exercises and continues to eat a lousy diet?

When each appointment is a tactical approach, the result is something like this:

You are thinking, on a conscious level:

“I sure hope they keep their appointments for the next 8 weeks so it has a chance to work”

You are thinking, on a subconscious level:

“I sure hope they show up because I’m exhausted, giving a LOT to everyone, and need the income to pay my rent and overhead”

They are thinking, on a conscious level:

“I know there is a treatment plan and I trust it.. I’ll do my best on my end.”

And on a subconscious level they are thinking:

It seems kind of expensive. Since I only see them once a week, I’m relying on them to make sure I get the biggest bang for my buck in THAT HOUR. Because I really don’t want to do my exercises or change my diet.”

Know what? There is a better way, and this is one very positive trend that isn’t exactly new, but is gaining a lot of traction.

You are selling a plan, a process, or a strategy, and you are the guide.

When someone is really, truly, serious about a solution to a problem or the fulfillment of a desire, they are willing to pay a SET PRICE based on the overall value they get from the experience. They are paying you to take them from point A to point B. They may be paying you to give them the tools that THEY need to set them up for success, depending on their preferences and personality. 

And perhaps they are even paying for continuing support once they “graduate” from this process.

They will be willing to do the work, if you give them some resources other than “stop eating sugar.” That’s not motivating. What IS motivating is having an actual STRATEGY, or a plan to follow, along with resources, accountability, and support.

The old way is going the way of rushed, impersonal, traditional healthcare. The new way is about adding coaching to your toolbox.

Because there’s too much pressure to be a “healer” within a short time slot. That’s not a strategy. It’s a series of tactics.

What about all the time that the patient or client is NOT in your clinic, or on a call with you?

This is where I think that practitioners can benefit from putting on their coaching hat, or at least stop positioning themselves as “healers” who are responsible for a positive outcome by only having control of what happens inside of an hour.

Sure, you can base your model on the urgent care clinic down the street, or how insurance companies want you to practice.

If this isn’t you.. I’m right there with you.

I see this as a FANTASTIC opportunity, if WP’s can see it. This year is the year where many people will need to start taking  more responsibility for their own health.

Do you have other offerings besides just time slots?

If you have not already begun to position yourself as a practitioner who isn’t selling time slots, but an overall strategy, I urge you to start this year to start building an online course, group program, classes, or a membership in addition to your “time slots.”

Give people the tools they need and provide them with a fantastic overall experience that’s worth every penny, without grinding yourself into the ground with the hourly model of delivering care.

It’s a win/win for both the practitioner and the patient. The insurance companies? Ha. Do you care?

This sets the stage for the next few trends I’ll mention:

3. Memberships 

As people start taking the management of their health into their own hands (The DIY health movement) more people are looking for ways not only to get information, but to stay on track on a monthly basis, get support, and stay motivated.

Online and/or in-clinic memberships (or a combo of the 2) can provide support in between appointments.

It’s a LOT easier than it was when I first got started.

The first step: Create that first handout or that first video. Creating a library of great content takes TIME. We’re talking months or even years to get to the point where it makes sense to charge a monthly fee for access to your membership.

You can still benefit from day ONE by creating something tangible to give to  your patients or clients to help them succeed.. Even if it’s just a simple checklist for gut healing or a list of ideas for a perfect breakfast or lunch.

4. Combining automation and personalization with human interaction and networking

online wellness course

Many health and wellness practitioners I’ve talked to seem to think that automation or AI means LESS personalized attention and care. 

This is not true. It’s also not an “either or” proposition. 

There are buzzwords that may be difficult to explain, and tend to be ignored, such as personalization, dynamic content, AI generated content, and automation based on how the user interacts with our content or brand. 

So I’ll translate.

It means that you can set up systems so that depending on what someone does once they take a quiz, read a blog, click on a landing page, make a purchase, fill out a field or a survey, or otherwise indicate a PREFERENCE, that preference will be honored.

This means that those who got a certain quiz result or checked a box “beginner” or “advanced” will be on a different track than others who interacted differently.  

Those who already bought from you won’t get more emails about that product. Those who WANT to hear more from you about a certain topic will, and those who do not, won’t. 

This is why you carved out a niche.. so you can serve them on a deeper level, instantly, without having to do everything manually, OR send the same stuff to everyone, which is what is ACTUALLY annoying to your tribe! (spammy) If you take the time to segment (sort) your subscribes so that you can send only relevant content, it can make all the difference. 

This isn’t as hard to set up as you might think, and is based on a visual flow chart. (I teach classes on this very thing) IF you have an adequate email marketing service. As of 2022.. the chimp doesn’t cut it. 

On the other hand.. the value of a good human network isn’t’ going away any time soon. Cultivating a network is more important than ever as people emerge from several years of isolation. 

I would say that there are more creative ways to network and collaborate than ever. One of my favorite ways is via guest podcasting. It’s a great way to go deeper and have conversations with interesting, influential, and complimentary people. 

When you find a way to COMBINE the 2, it can be VERY powerful.

For example, as a guest on a podcast, (a human, nuanced, deeper experience) you can provide a link to just about anything. If your goal is to grow your email list, there are many ways to set up an automation (I LOVE quizzes and sorting based on results) so that you can focus on the preferences and needs of your subscribers. 

Your subscribers may then receive personalized and focused emails that tell them about future podcasts or other offerings they may be interested in, instead of just “blasting everyone” with the same content. See how this works? 

5. Content marketing is your “garden:” Higher quality, less pressure. (Natural, organic and holistic SEO)

Do a Google search on natural immunity or natural ways to boost immunity to see what I mean. It’s still getting  harder for individual clinic owners to compete with larger brands or big tech algorithms. 

Don’t let this get you down, but you will need to think a little more strategically than you may have in the past.

Content marketing and search are interconnected. In order to position yourself as an expert in your niche, and to be found, you’ll need to produce content with a few strategic keywords, on a consistent basis.

Good news: You can still carve out a niche for yourself, in this “year of the niche.”

Even better news: You can “cheat” and still produce high-quality content. You don’t need to write a blog every week. You can start building  a good library of your own intellectual property that you can:

• Re-use, by turning the blog into a podcast, a speech, modules in a course, chapters in a book, etc

• Re-cycle, by promoting the same blog at say, the same time every year. For example, let’s say that every March, you focus on the effects of sugar and sugar addiction. You don’t have to re-write it every time you want to use it. You can dust it off, update it as needed, use it, and put it back on the shelves again for later. That’s exactly what I do with this blog. I do some research and editing, instead of rewriting it from scratch. This blog can also be the topic of a podcast. 

Note: refreshing and updating old content has been shown to improve SEO just as much as creating brand-new content!

• Re-purpose. For example, you can create a weekly live stream that you can record and use the audio for your podcast, or an interview you can transcribe online (using AI tech, such as Otter.ai) and use for a blog. There are many more possibilities.

Is SEO just about good writing?

6. The (further) evolution of Search

Every year, some experts like to declare  that SEO is “dead.” (eyeroll) The truth is, as long as people are searching for stuff on the internet, there will be a need for SOME kind of SEO. Not just for big corporations (who will still need to invest in it) but for solo entrepreneurs as well, to an extent.

Especially for health and wellness practitioners:  80% of people online have searched for a health-related topic online. (1)

Your ideal patient or client is likely to do online research before choosing a healthcare provider or wellness professional.  You can be the “Dr. Google” in your niche. (just remember that Google isn’t the ONLY search engine out there.. YouTube, Pinterest, and Amazon are also search engines that you can leverage)

Not everyone is looking for the status quo when it comes to health information.  Many are tired of being told what to do or think. That’s why there’s more than one expert in any given profession, and why offering a fresh perspective can be a VERY good thing. 

One of the reasons why some may dismiss SEO is that SEO doesn’t provide an immediate payoff. SEO is a slow, steady process that pays off in the long run.

SEO is like a garden with crops that thrive on rainfall but grow slowly over time. It pays off in the “long game” with a diversity of crops that aren’t dependent on fancy irrigation systems and fertilizers. SEO is about getting traffic to your site organically, as opposed to paying for that traffic.

Another reason for the periodic “open season” on SEO: You can’t really put classic (Google) SEO and social media into separate categories anymore. Most social media channels are also search engines, especially YouTube and Pinterest, and social media is believed to be a Google ranking factor. They are interconnected.

But.. depending completely on getting traffic from Facebook or Instagram, or any social media channel.. in my opinion, is kind of risky. Optimizing for Google searches, even at the most basic level, is just plain smart.

In 2022, “findability” is going to be more important than ever. YOU can be “Dr. Google.”

Here are some some other reasons why some health and wellness marketing experts like to claim that SEO is either dead or irrelevant:

• The first page in a Google search is a finite resource, and is only getting more crowded and expensive.   Like beachfront property in the Bay Area.

This is why, as I mentioned above,  if you create a blog entitled “How to naturally boost your immunity” you’ll be outranked. Even if it’s a less charged topic like how to manage headaches naturally.. you may still be outranked by the big players like WebMD, even if their blog is shallow and outdated, and yours is innovative and based on the latest research in your field.

• What “big tech” considers to be “good” information vs. “misinformation” can be very subjective, which many wellness practitioners have discovered, the hard way.

Nor is this process entirely free of politics and conflicts of interest, or lack of rational thought. For example, there is solid evidence that shows that  zinc deficiencies are connected to a diminished immune response, but information like this gets bumped in favor of the great mask debate.

Whatever your take is on this, just know that you may need to adjust your game or think creatively and strategically if what you provide are ways to empower people when it comes to their health.

It’s unrealistic to spend hours and hours descending into the rabbit hole that SEO can become. Trying to predict what Google is going to do next can be like becoming a part-time stock trader.

I can relate.

You do NOT need to waste your energy fighting against any of this, but it does NOT mean that “SEO is dead” or isn’t worth your time. (or money)

And now for some GOOD news…

Content: The good news is that if you keep creating HIGH quality content that answers the questions that your very SPECIFIC ideal client or patient is looking for, you are already more than halfway there.

Keywords: “Long tail” (a longer, more specific and targeted phrase) keywords are great for answering specific queries. Although search volume is lower, they are much easier to rank for, making it more likely that visitors will land on your website instead of your competitors’s site.

For example, “Chiropractic” has a huge search volume, but it’s way too competitive to rank for. Even “chiropractors in Tucson” could be competitive. But “10 root causes for headache pain that can be helped with chiropractic I Chiropractic in Tucson” is a  phrase (keyword) that not as many people may be searching for, but is less competitive and may better answer the queries that your ideal patient may have.

But you’ve got that niche DOWN, right?

• You may NOT need to rank in the top 5 for every keyword.  People are not necessarily clicking on the first thing they see in a search anymore, because there’s more ads and Google features than ever before at the top.

For example,  if someone is looking for natural remedies for their headache, and they are a savvy ideal patient, they may be used to scrolling down a bit further to find what they are looking for.

There may still be a gap between what Google algorithms deem is most relevant to a search, and the keywords that business owners use so that they can be found.

 

Also, take voice search into consideration. What people type and what they say may be entirely different, when looking for a wellness professional.

Think of SEO as a fruit tree that  you plant in your garden that takes some work up front, and doesn’t seem to produce quick results. But then after a year or two, it starts to bear fruit with less and less effort.

Remember.. SEO isn’t just about Google: YouTube, Pinterest, and even Facebook and Instagram are/have search engines.

You can also think of it as the “bridge” that will help your ideal client or patient FIND you online!

7. The Decentralization of social media platforms

You may have noticed all the hoopla and drama on social media. Last year it was Twitter, Clubhouse, and Parler. This year it’s.. more Twitter drama, more Facebook drama, podcast drama, and Rumble. Next year? Who knows.  (I’m becoming more of a big fan of longer form podcasts, because I think that our culture desperately needs to have more nuanced discussions rather than just consuming more soundbites, which is dividing us)

There are a lot of people who for various reasons, are not happy with having one centralized place to interact with people online. For better or for worse, I think that checking out other options isn’t so much about “shiny objects’ anymore, but about hedging your bets.

I also think that the original purpose of social media is fundamentally about pleasure. (People avoid pain and seek pleasure) For some, including myself, deeper intellectual discourse falls under that category.  If you discover a platform that makes social media fun for you, (and worth your time, upon reflection) this will have a positive effect on how you do business on that platform.

I’m hoping that more choices won’t mean that being online becomes a chore, but becomes more liberating and maybe even exciting. We shall see…

8. Outcome-based group health programs in a new era of empowerment for patients

health empowerment and personal responsibility

In the past, a lot of group programs seemed to be based more on support, sometimes to the detriment of actual healing. You know what I mean, those groups full of people who would rather complain and identify with their condition than do anything about it, let alone spend any time or money getting the help they need.

Now, there is more emphasis on individuals having no other choice than to take responsibility for their own health. The focus is on EMPOWERMENT.

These types of groups work VERY well for chronic conditions that can be controlled or even resolved via lifestyle changes and methods previously considered more “marginal” than mainstream.

Think diabetes, post-menopausal weight gain, or hormone imbalances.

You don’t have to focus on a condition, either. An outcome can also be “anti-aging” or optimal aging, sports performance, or learning how to cook delicious AND healthy dishes in the post-COVID era.

I don’t think of this as a trend to adapt to, as a wellness professional. We are going to have to take the lead.

9. Clear, concise, and patient-centered websites 

I still see a lot of health and wellness websites that leave me wondering exactly what it is they do.

For example, a lot of functional medicine websites don’t focus on the patient, but the methodology. Even when it’s not confusing, it’s not always crystal clear how the service can help take a patient from A to B.

LIfe coaches and healers make a similar mistake by making weak and vague promises like “helping you step into your power” or “holding space.” These phrases mean almost nothing. The focus also tends to be on the healer, or coach, not the patient or client.

This year, websites will need to be CRYSTAL CLEAR and concisely explain the benefits to the visitor.

One of the more popular ways for achieving this goal is the Story Brand framework.

Storybranding isn’t a new concept but it’s not going away any time soon. (See #13) Websites that are confusing, make the practitioner or clinic the “hero” of the story, (instead of the patient or client) or that don’t make it VERY easy to book online, will likely not be very effective. Visitors will bounce off the site, never to return.

More than ever before, a health and wellness website needs to be patient-centered, not doctor-centered.

10. A diversity of offerings

This includes your 1:1 services, bundled, value-added hybrid packages, and some of the options I discussed above. Ideally, you want to have a combination of these so that:

• More people can have access to your expertise. This means that you can help MORE people. It’s not smart to do this by lowering your prices (yes, you heard that right) because it ultimately serves neither you, the industry, nor ultimately your patients or clients.

There are better ways to make your services and expertise accessible, and as I mentioned above, it’s not up to us to help everyone. An acupuncturist is not an emergency service provider.

• You meet people where they are at. If they are not yet aware of how you can help them, you can create free educational offerings. If they are more inclined to go the DIY route, they also have options. Your 1:1 service, much like seeing your favorite band live, is going to cost more than a “one to many” offering, (such as an album.) This also means that you have created a natural progression for them to move through, without having to sell.

• You benefit from not putting all your eggs in one basket. Many who have had to close their clinics, even temporarily, are now taking steps to make sure that slow periods, cancellations, emergencies, weather, and pandemics don’t put them in a vulnerable position. Diversification of income is also the best way to scale and earn more income than you possibly could if you were JUST selling your time, because the time limit that puts a cap on what you can earn doesn’t exist with other methods of earning income.

If you want a comprehensive solution for ways to diversify your income and offerings, check out the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit. 

11. Virtual and hybrid events 

virtual health and wellness events

Obviously, virtual events have made a lot of sense in 2020 and 2021. They are probably here to stay, even as live events start to make their way back. 

I’ve been teaching simple virtual classes on Zoom this year. You can get started with just a simple landing page, a calendar booking system, and a way to take payment online. 

Virtual events not only make your event accessible during unusual events in human history like we’ve witnessed in the past few years. They are a great solution for people that don’t live in your geographical area to gain access to your event, your ideas, and options to buy from you.

If you are wondering if this is legal, the answer is probably yes.. There are ways to do this, even in places with heavy regulations such as California and Ontario.

Many states allow practitioners to practice within their state. When you start thinking about adding a “coaching hat,” you can expand even further.

You can also combine live and online events in creative ways.

If you are feeling even more ambitious, you can create what is called a virtual summit. I’m not going to lie.. it’s a lot of work, especially when there are multiple speakers or presenters. The easiest way to set up the “tech” part is by using Kartra and purchasing a ready-made virtual summit funnel.

You’ll still have to do the outreach, interviewing, recording, editing, etc, but it’s entirely possible, and could really grow your email list quickly. You can also sell a VIP pass so that those who want access to all the recordings for a lifetime can pay for it.

This isn’t the ONLY way to leverage events that you host. I’m predicting that many innovative entrepreneurs will find interesting ways to create live, virtual, and hybrid events in the years to come.

You can also keep it simple, like I did.

Another option: The “hybrid” package.  You can bundle your services or any other offering you have: products, books, digital courses, access to talks and workshops you have already hosted, and whatever else you can dream up. You can then base your price on overall value. (See # 2, 8, and 10)

I created my own “hybrid” package simply by offering acupuncture services in my clinic along with a digital course and some other VIP benefits.  You can find out more about how this might work for you by taking this quiz. 

You have MANY options this year!

12. Email is still as strong as ever

Want to know what hasn’t changed?

The longevity winner for all things digital marketing goes to EMAIL marketing. It’s like that old pair of jeans that you turn to because they fit well.

Email also isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, even if “clickbait” headlines like to grab your attention by saying that it’s dead every year.

It’s not just me, either. Almost every single other digital marketing expert will tell you the same.

Email isn’t sexy, but it’s the best place to keep the conversation going and maintain a relationship with your list. It has a far more impressive ROI than any other channel, at around $37 per each dollar spent.

Statistically, email is by far the most likely place where someone will end up buying that high-ticket item from you, because they already let you into their inbox, and because of this, you will provide nothing less than a generous dose of high-quality info to earn their trust.

You also own it outright, which isn’t the case for social media platforms.

You can use email to promote and deliver your new program, event, membership or course as well!

13. Using Storytelling in your marketing

Storytelling isn’t actually a new concept. It’s been around for a few years, and has been a big buzzword in marketing for a reason.. it works. 

People connect to story more than straight information, bullet points, or explanations about what we do. Our brains, as humans, are wired this way.  Stories are one of the BEST ways to make sense of information and determine if the information will help us survive and/or thrive.

This concept can be applied to just about ANY aspect of our marketing. 

You can find out more in another blog I wrote on this very topic! 

The bottom line.. Pick even 1 or 2 strategies (besides email, which is an absolute essential) and start building some momentum. 

If you are a natural strategist.. you may have already started assembling your own strategy.

You could end up WAY ahead of the game.. in time for the year of the RABBIT! 

Need help coming up with a strategy for 2022?

You may be 100% ready to implement a strategy. There’s only one problem:

You need to get your first vision out into the  world FAST.

This is why I created the Future-Proof Your Practice Toolkit. It’s a step-by-step strategy, laid out for you in an easy-to-follow chronological format.

From mindset to tech, I’ve got you covered.

Learn more about the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit.

 

3 Things You Must Do To Help Your Ideal Client FIND You

3 Things You Must Do To Help Your Ideal Client FIND You

How can I avoid chasing after patients to fill my practice?  ( Or clients for my online offerings?)

Why do I keep getting “less than ideal” clients that drain me, and where can I find my ideal clients?

 

A better question to ask: How can you make it easy for your ideal clients to find YOU?

This is about more than simply establishing trust or getting clients, patients, or guests to “like” us.


Let’s talk about defining who your ideal client or patient is, building trust with them, and how to position yourself so that you get the kinds of patients and clients that energize you, and (yes) REPEL those that drain you and actually hurt your business.

Carefully considering these 3 things really helped me avoid a lot of stress in my practice.

I started doing all of this before I knew it was a “thing,” because quite frankly, I had no desire to participate in the competitive rat race or see a ton of people each week that were not a “good fit.”

I was tired of constantly hustling. only to  deal with price-shoppers, cancellations and no-shows, and  those who had no desire to follow my process and only wanted a cheap “quick fix.”  I was also tired of feeling pressured to do what my peers were doing.

The tourism industry also has its own unique challenges, and I’ll be giving some examples in this blog. You may see some interesting parallels between the two.

Who is YOUR ideal client, patient, or guest?

This is the step that almost everyone either skips or does in a “half-assed” way.  Just to clarify, we are not talking about MY ideal client, your competitors’s ideal client, and most certainly not a “universal” ideal client. 

This is something that you must sit down and figure out for yourself. Who are the people that you are a good match for? The ones that you LOVE working with, and leave you feeling energized instead of drained? Who are the clients and patients that you can help most? 

The truth is, it’s futile to proceed to the next steps without knowing who your service and message is FOR.

The ideal client/patient avatar will inform every single aspect of your marketing.. from your ABOUT page, to your blog, podcasts, or videos, landing pages, ads, emails.. ALL of it.

Without this info, I can’t even help my clients with their marketing or websites. 

The reason?  Despite what many holistic practitioners are taught, (or what they assume) building trust isn’t all about you showing how knowledgable you are or how many credentials you have.

It’s about values, messaging, what makes your avatar tick, what motivates them, what turns them off, and how to communicate that you understand EXACTLY what they are going through and how  you are in a position to help them in a way that likely nobody else can. 

Think about it this way: Would you put up a dating profile that says: “I’m a smart, attractive woman, I hope you pick me.”

You’ll either get ignored, or a lot of junk. What do you think the odds of finding a good match will be?

Now that we’ve established how important it is.. go ahead and dive into this exercise.

 

Building Trust: Marketing is REALLY just about relationships. That’s it.

By now you are probably familiar with relationship marketing and taking a potential client from a journey from prospect to buyer (client, patient, guest, etc)  I may refer to them as “buyers” in this blog, because obviously, a successful business isn’t just about giving, but in making actual business transactions. 

Or “energy exchange,” if you prefer.

The thing is, people don’t jump right in and buy from you, call you, or book an appointment the first time they hear about you or land on your website. The process takes time, and it’s quite normal, and even healthy. 

This is even more true for businesses with longer buying cycles, products and services that are not well understood by the general public, and higher ticket items.

That pretty much describes the industries I work with!

This is actually GOOD news, in my opinion. You are not selling socks or bananas or things that  you buy “when they are on sale.” You have something totally unique to sell.. and this actually makes things MUCH easier for you!

This doesn’t mean that you can just put up a website and write a few blogs every 3 months or so, when you “feel inspired” to write.

Too many blogs read more like a journal entry than a carefully researched crafted piece that will answer the questions and solve the problems of your ideal client or patient AND help search engines help them find exactly what they are looking for.

You’ll need to be mindful of the keywords and phrases they will be typing (or speaking) into a search query, and naturally weave them into your blogs.  This also means that writing for “the Google engine circa 2006” isn’t going to cut it either, as far as both your ideal client or patient and Google is concerned. Even though blatant keyword stuffing isn’t so much a thing anymore, I do notice a lot of blogs that look cheesy and unnatural because the content is short, generic, and full of phrases like “At Qi Acupuncture in Springfield we’re committed to.” …

I’m looking at you, chiropractors! Google is getting smarter every day. Don’t write like a machine!

The intent of the visitor when they are doing a search is also important. If you just ramble on without answering their questions and by intentionally creating a phrase or keyword for each article that focuses on that intention. your ICA/IPA will never find you.

For example, if someone is doing research to find an alternative treatment for headaches, focus on answering this question. It’s good to also have blogs  for people who are looking for other solutions, or may be ready to buy and are looking at comparisons (Q&A), pricing, or how to get to your clinic.

Have something available to research at EVERY stage of the buying cycle.. from introducing them to “your world” to giving them the info they need to take the next steps, to booking appointments and buying from you!

Awareness and Providing Useful Info

You can’t build the trust of those who don’t even know you exist!

First remember that the very people that are a perfect match for your business have to even know that you exist. This doesn’t happen by magic, but is an intentional process.

People need to be educated (and WANT to know about) about the SPECIFICS of what you do and who you are before they decide to move on to the next step and buy something from you. They may read a blog, listen to a podcast, or see an ad.

The goal in the beginning stages of this journey come naturally to a lot of holistic practitioners. It’s all about giving and providing value.

This is an important step for “de-commodifying” your services or products.

Let’s take something that seems like a commodity, like lavender essential oil. 

A few years ago, I had no idea about what makes a high-quality oil vs a low-quality oil. Now I’m thinking also of olive oil and wine.. my knowledge of these things has been taken to a whole new level from spending time in Dalmatia. I don’t buy whatever cheap crap I find in the drugstore anymore, because I don’t see the value in it.

Marketing online is important because not everyone will have a chance to experience a brick and mortar store, sample a product on the spot, or travel to a tourist destination. One can also discover these things via a Google search or on social media. 

You can show people about how the lavender or olives or grapes were harvested and how the end product was produced, and why it’s so special.. online.

Now let’s think about YOUR industry, and specifically how you can provide value, useful information, entertainment, or inspiration. 

Most people have no clue about:

• What functional medicine is.  (My favorite example: Why most self-dignoses of carpal tunnel are usually NOT carpal tunnel, and  why surgery is seldom required) You could write articles about:

1. Misconceptions about carpal tunnel syndrome and why trigger points in the forearm are often the cause of pain, and/or:

2. An article that helps your ICA/IPA solve a very specific problem. I did this for one of my avatars.. who is a performance-driven metal drummer who likes to “geek out” on how he sets up his kit, experiments with grip, and even biomechanics.

• Why your ICA/IPA’s muscle imbalances, (tight hamstrings, left piriformis, right QL) and bike setup are contributing to back pain and lack of pedal stroke power, and how correcting these imbalances can ease their pain AND their pedal stroke power, which may help them enjoy riding or get on the podium for the upcoming race in Crested Butte this summer.

Again.. see how SPECIFIC this is? You may have been told that people aren’t interested in the specifics of what  you do.. they just want their problem solved. I’m living proof that you should listen to your best clients or patients and what THEY want.. not what some teacher or guru thinks they want. I attracted nerds who wanted to learn as much as they could and how to be proactive so that they could do the things they love.

Other ways to get SUPER specific and “drill down” that niche:

• Why your ICA needs help with navigating through midlife or their money mindset, and why reading a pile of self-help books may not actually be of much help. I’m sure you can get even more specific with this.. it’s still too vague!

• Where the heck Croatia is (next to Italy? Mediterranean climate on the Adriatic coast?) Nope. Many still think “Somewhere in Eastern Europe in a place where there is conflict” We could tweak this to appeal to an avatar in NL, who is into culture, cooking, and healthy living, for example, and another who is hardcore into sailing.

People seek out experts to help them solve problems and make decisions every day.  They also buy stuff every day. 

With each of these examples,  you can educate and inform people about ideas, places, and solutions they may not have thought about before.

You can also inspire people with great stories or pictures,  or entertain. Think about what keeps you engaged with a video, blog, podcast, article, etc.. and what keeps you scrolling.

But that’s not the whole story. It’s not just about “getting people to “get”  your product or service.”

It’s about understanding THEM first. Give people what they want, even when they aren’t sure what they NEED yet, whether it’s SEO training for someone who has very little time, how to play 3 sets as a drummer in a metal band pain free, or a tourist destination that is the perfect “undiscovered” place that is both affordable and has the exact kind of mountain biking that an ideal guest is looking for.

Don’t be afraid to write something that speaks to THEM to the point that they feel like it’s “spooky” that you understand them so well. Get into THEIR story.

Can you see now why most acupuncture and chiropractic websites are snoozers?

Can you see why the first question from a new caller will probably be “How much does it cost to fix my back?”

Tip: Don’t worry about achieving ALL of this in ONE blog. Often it’s the collection of blogs that can win over that ideal client or patient.. this was definitely the case for me. People DO do their research! 

KLT: Know, Like, and Trust

People also want and need to “know, like, and trust” you when they buy. They want to know that you are using the highest quality lavender or grapes, and use the best techniques to create the end product, or that you are absolutely the best choice for a problem they need to solve. 

KLT in the tourism industry

People are likely to purchase airline tickets at a discount, and with minimal research.

When it comes to the destination, people want to know you first, actually like you, and trust you before they buy.  

If you make it easy for potential guests to find you by providing that “know, like, and trust” factor, you will attract those willing to pay full price for a positive, unique experience.

Even those who are not wealthy but who place a HIGH value on travel may choose to stay in budget hotels/hostels, take the bus, or even live on beer and crackers just so they can save their cash for the great experience only you  can offer. They will see the VALUE in what you have to offer and gladly pay for it, instead of feeling cheated.

They will keep coming back, give great reviews, and recommend you to their friends and on social media, and you won’t have to offer deep discounts or cut corners on your awesome food or hospitality.

Positioning in the tourism industry

People planning a trip also want to have a great EXPERIENCE, and this is where positioning comes in.

Let’s say you are renting cabins in Alaska. Are you selling adventure?  How would you set up your entire business, from the way you furnish and decorate, to your website, the tours you offer, to the language that you speak to attract customers?

What if you wanted to appeal to those looking for more of a luxury experience?

What’s in it for YOU?

I have a few friends in the tourism industry, and in some areas, it can be frustrating. Positioning a business the same as everyone else does.. let’s say a rental near a beach during peak season, isn’t a great idea. It only tends to attract price shoppers and tourists who don’t really care about the place you call home and are proud of.

In the long run, you will be helping your business and the tourism industry in your area by attracting ideal guests and tourists and yes, REPELLING less than ideal tourists who diminish the quality of your destination (and your home!) by partying, littering, being disrespectful, or taking up space without contributing much to the local economy. 

The best way to attract and gain the loyalty of your ideal guests is via a well-thought out marketing funnel, instead of just relying on random reviews and tourism trends, which is super stressful.  (Reviews and trends are only PART of an effective overall strategy!)

Everyone wins when your business is NOT a commodity! 

KLT in the Holistic Healing and Health Industry

If you are in the alternative healing or coaching profession, this is even more critical. 

People in general are becoming more educated about health, chronic conditions, as well as “alternative” healing methods like acupuncture and chiropractic. This trend, combined with some alarming statistics and facts about the declining quality and increasing prices of standard health care, means that they are going to be ACTIVELY LOOKING for solutions online.

Not just for research, but for actual delivery of services, thanks to the COVID-19 crisis.

People that do their research are no longer just price shopping or looking for the lowest insurance premiums or co-payments.

They want value in a market that is becoming less and less concerned about the quality of a human life (or human life in general.) Keep in mind, I’m not knocking doctors at ALL.. but the current system, which is not just screwing over patients, but healthcare providers as well. We are in this together!

I would also say that if you are a healer or coach, you probably don’t want to work with those who regard your services as a commodity and base their decisions ONLY on price. This is a recipe for a situation in which NOBODY wins.

It’s OK to refer them to someone else. It can feel weird the first time you do this. For me, practicing it till it both became second nature.. and till I no longer attracted the wrong people, was one of the best things I ever did for my practice.

Positioning in the health and wellness industry

Is EVERYONE going to know, like, and trust you? I hope not!

Wait.. wtf does that mean?

Take the statement above, and the use of the term wtf. I know my ideal client, and what my position is. Therefore, I use swear words from time to time. Combined with “knowing my shit,” those who I want to attract will actually trust me MORE, because I’ve taken time to communicate to a very specific person.

I’m not trying to attract a 74 year old man who doesn’t like dogs, never exercises outdoors, smokes, hates swearing, goes to church, votes for Trump, and already made up his mind that alternative medicine and the “internet” are no good. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy, and he’s probably the perfect fit for someone else.

Let’s call him Frank. He’s not my ideal client or patient, he’s probably not going to trust me, and that’s ok.

If I tried to appease him, one of my ideal clients (Donna) would resonate less with me and my message.  Even if I know my stuff, she’s probably going to find someone else who also knows her stuff, but also “gets” her, especially in a competitive market.  This doesn’t necessarily mean you are going out of your way to “piss people off” or start discussing politics, but who you are and your message will come through, even in subtle ways, when you start to get more precise about who you are and who your ideal client or patient is.

I can’t stress this enough.

The saying is true: When you try to make everyone happy, nobody is going to be happy.

Tip: You can have more than one! I had another, Don, who is very active and loves to learn more about how he can keep climbing or skiing.

Remember, this isn’t just about repelling your “anti ideal” client or patient.

Being to vague about your audience will also lead to less-than-ideal results. For example, marketing to a general demographic, such as “women over 50 who like Oprah” is still waaay to broad.  I’m a woman over 50 who sometimes follows Oprah.. but most of the marketing geared towards women my age (who probably also like Oprah) make me want to gag.

For example, if your ideal client is a GenXer who is a nerdy INTJ/INTP type, she’s going to be turned off by Boomer and Silent generation terms, cheesy pictures, and generic titles. If you use a touch of humor and irony and real, raw photos and acknowledge that she feels as if it was just yesterday that she was blasting Nirvana, you are more likely to capture the attention of some of your audience who happens to be around 50.

She will NOT want to be lumped into the same category as her mother or 90 year old aunt.

This sounds really weird to some.. but it makes a HUGE difference, especially when you start getting into paid ads. One image or word, along with careful targeting,  can make a big difference in the success of a campaign. This is why testing is so important.

And even though I may sound like a broken Nirvana record, you are NOT trying to appeal to everyone, so don’t ask everyone’s opinion about an image or title or whatever. As YOUR “Donna” or “Don!”

To use myself as an example, it took my a while to find the photo above, of the mountain biker. When I see most stock photos of people riding bikes, they look so fake and cheesy I’m immediately turned off, and so is Don and Donna.

Yet I still see site after site of generic stock photos.

Want a real-life example? 

Let’s say you practice acupuncture in a city which is already saturated with practitioners. I believe there is room for everyone, because of positioning.

I can position myself as a bit of a biomechanics nerd or as someone who is really into helping women enter and go through menopause in a way that isn’t really addressed well by most practitioners in my area.`

Here’s an example of how I was positioning myself about 8  years ago:

The goal: A VIP experience with lots of individualized treatments, coaching, education, and more. I go deep.  Today I would probably choose a different image and test a few different headlines, but it’s normal to adjust and tweak and do that avatar exercise every year!

Others position their practices as healing sanctuaries for those who are stressed and burnt out. There isn’t as much verbal interaction but LOTS of time to just relax with the needle treatment.

Others are fantastic at family medicine or autoimmune conditions. They may be laid back, approachable, ultra-professional, compassionate, nerdy like me, or a combination of these.

Again, positioning is presented in how you set up and decorate your clinic, deliver your services, how you communicate, your website, the whole enchilada.

Every detail is considered and researched, for a reason. Unless you are a classic price shopper, there’s probably a reason you chose the last book you read, coach you hired, vacation rental you stayed at, or online course you signed up for.  Things that you may have subconsciously attributed to “vibe,” but are created with intention.

This idea is similar to carving out a niche for your practice, which to many can feel scary.. as if they are excluding people that they could help.

In fact, the opposite is true. People need, and are happy to know that there are experts that can help them solve their SPECIFIC problems.

Note: When you write ANY kind of content, whether it’s your ABOUT page, a blog, landing page, etc.. be sure to make it about THEM and not YOU. Don’t go on about your credentials or “the medicine.”

When people are looking for (Googling) solutions online, they aren’t typing in “the highest qualified-on- paper chiropractor or acupuncturist near me with the most credentials who studied in China.” My ideal patients didn’t care about those things.

They likely are also not even looking for the first person they find that can help them with their back pain, deal with fatigue, or manage their thyroid condition. Unless you are the only game in town or don’t have a lot of competition, they are looking for THE person that can help them.

They will be searching for the one that totally understands them and the challenges they face, and delivers a solution in a way that nobody else could, even if they had 7 credentials after their name.

Focus on this, and THEIR story, using THEIR language.

So what does all this have to do with funnels? Everything!

That’s what I’ll be talking about in the next blog!

 

Need More?

I hope this blog will inspire you to start (or refine) your specific message and positioning so that the RIGHT people will begin to know, like, and trust you. 

It can be tricky, and sometimes it helps to get an outside perspective to help develop this messaging, and how it fits into the overall strategy and technical bits. 

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.

How To Map Out A Powerful Marketing Funnel For Your Wellness Practice

How To Map Out A Powerful Marketing Funnel For Your Wellness Practice

I’ve heard this many times: I’m a visual learner. Is there an EASIER way to learn how to put together a marketing funnel?

How do I connect the dots.. from when a potential client first discovers I exist, to the  point where they buy from me?

I heard that the “moving parts” and “tech” can be hard. I don’t even know where to start!

Glad you asked! If you have not had a chance to read my blog about the basics of marketing funnels..  and part 2,  9 Components of an Effective Marketing Funnel, do that now, and I’ll wait. You can’t skip these steps if you want to make this all work.

If you are ready to start putting all the pieces together, continue reading this blog!

Disclaimers: There may be a few affiliate links sprinkled throughout this blog. I don’t focus on affiliate income and only recommend what I use and believe in. 

Paid advertising makes up a large portion of many marketing funnels, but in this series, I’m sticking to an organic (non-paid) appoach. I’m a believer of adding paid ads only at a certain stage of growth and with the guidance of a dedicated professional. 

Got  your sticky notes, pens, whiteboard, or crayons? Cool! 

Let’s create a visual map or flowchart to help you see how all the components of a marketing funnel connect.

If you prefer, a map.

What we want to do here is map out what the process will be for the ideal client or patient avatar we chose.. from the moment they discover our business, till when they buy, and beyond, using a template called The Client/Patient Journey.

Let’s get started!

Have you seen photos of all those marketing gurus showing off their fancy flowcharts on a whiteboard? Those things are sometimes about impressing an audience, but oh my, they are going to be one of the best tools to add to your marketing toolbox.

I’m a software nerd.. I like using apps, but for this process, you can use ANY tool.. high tech or low tech, that helps you visualize in a “flow chart” or “connect the dots” way.

Creating a Funnel with sticky notes

Mapping out a plan is essential, even as things and change…like your mission and global events like COVID019. I don’t know about  you, but I can’t conceptualize an entire marketing plan without having a picture of it sitting right in front of me, but this is exactly what I think that some beginners think is expected of them.

No wonder so many never even begin!

Many business owners have no map or plan. It’s a “build it and they will come” approach. And of course, we know how well this works. It’s become a cliche, but it fits.

To give you an idea of what I mean, if I were to have a “whiteboard meeting” on the spot with  many wellness professionals, it would look like this: what many marketing funnels look like for creative business owners

If there is a website, often it isn’t connected to anything.. except for an occasional mention on a Facebook business page, which is an afterthought.

Email marketing is also functioning in isolation and consists of an occasional old-school “newsletter” with no automated sequences that help with getting the right message to the right person at the right time.

Social media is done inconsistently and contains little, if any, content that encourages engagement.

Nothing is really connected, and there is no logical progression that guides someone from one step of the client/patient journey to the next. 

Remember: A LOT of these connections are really just a matter of a simple link. For example, You can connect your email newsletter to your Facebook group or a landing page via a simple link.. and that’s it! 

Now let’s break this down a bit. 

Do you remember “connect the dots” when you were a kid?

You would start with an image that looked like nothing in particular, but by connecting dot-by-dot, you ended up with a picture of a unicorn jumping over a rainbow. You may have had no idea of how to draw this image without being guided dot-by-dot, but after connecting each dot, one by one, you got a picture you could color and hang on the fridge.

Let’s connect some dots!

Here’s what you will need:

1. A list of DOTS. In other words, all the sources of traffic, (things that attract visitors) and all the places you want visitors or leads to end up.

Here are some examples. You do NOT have to use all of these,  A handful of carefully selected elements that work for YOU is all you need. If you try to do TOO much, your strategy will lose effectiveness.

• Your home page on your website. For holistic practitioners and coaches, your website will be the “Hub” of your marketing plan/funnel.

• Individual sales/landing pages

• Individual blogs

• Email broadcasts and automations

• Your Facebook business page

• Your Facebook groups

• Instagram

• Pinterest

• YouTube

• LinkedIN

• A podcast

• Offline networking

• Online booking

…and more. I’m not going to list all these “dots” here..

Now, if you are a marketing newbie, how might they connect? Use the client/patient journey as a guide. If you are stuck, this guide will help you. 

Write these things down.  Many of the “lines” connecting the “dots” will be links or URLS. For example:

• A link in your blog to a landing page for a course you are offering.

• A pinterest graphic leading people to a page on your website (via a link)

• A live Facebook video every week with a verbal CTA (call to action) with a link, (often a button)  to a video presentation (webinar,  training, or masterclass)

If the above bullet points don’t quite make sense in  your mind  yet.. don’t worry. It probably means you are more of a visual learner. No problem!

Now that you have some “dots and lines” let’s start to build a funnel based on another type of “connect the dot” principle that we learned as we got older: Flow charts.

Flow charts can be SUPER simple:  (you don’t have to draw your funnel  as a classic vertical funnel)

Or very complex:

One way to start building a funnel if you are new to marketing funnels is with a tool called Funnelytics.  I created all the samples you see in this blog with this tool.

Another option is sketchfunnels.io. It has more features at a more entry level price. (currently $9 per mo)

Both options use specific icons for traffic sources (facebook, Google searches, etc) landing pages, order pages, and much more)  Both also have funnel templates  you can use as a starting point.

For some, this could be easier to visualize than a classic, generic flowchart with circles and squares and lines.

Lucid has some good products, including a flowchart builder. The cost: $11.95 (if you pay monthly.)

Or you might want to try Mindmeister, a mind-mapping app.

My current favorite, as of the 2021 update of this blog: StormBoard. I’ve used this to brainstorm with clients during Zoom meetings as well!

There are many other flowchart apps available online. Just get started with one.

I’m a flowchart app nerd, and you may not be.. so don’t get hung up on this. If you are.. comment below to tell me your favorite!

You can also use a whiteboard, chalkboard, sticky notes or index cards, a big sheet of paper and crayons, or whatever works for you so that you can best VISUALIZE and map out your own funnel.

Start Building!

You begin by placing some traffic sources on a blank canvas/work area.

For example, if you plan on generating traffic  from Pinterest, go ahead and place that in your work area.

Now let’s say you are creating a regular blog. Let’s add that to the work area.

Hmmm.

Email marketing is an essential for capturing leads, so let’s add that too.

Let’s say your main offering right now is 1:1 coaching, Let’s go ahead and assume, for this example, that this is the only offering for a coach who is planning on putting together some courses in the near future. There is no launch, meaning no limited time offering just yet. The coaching is an ongoing offer.

When you factor in each blog, the end result may end up looking something like this:

Don’t worry to much about where to place each one of these elements. There is a science to mapping this all out, but it’s also an art. Your funnel doesn’t have to look like mine.. as long as you understand the general process. There are PLENTY of templates online, but you will want and need to tweak and adjust your own.

If some of this still seems a bit advanced and you would rather have some guidance than try to figure this all out on your own, of course, that’s what I’m here for!

Now we can start to visualize how we can get eyeballs from Pinterest to clients signing up for coaching.

Remember the diagram of the funnel I showed you in Part One, about creating awareness and attracting “cold” leads at the top of the funnel, and gradually and naturally “warming up” leads so that a certain (small) percentage ends up at the bottom of the funnel? (Hot leads, purchases, new clients or patients)

funnel for wellness professionals

The top of the “funnel” (TOFU)  is where the wide net is cast. In this example the top end would include Pinterest and probably your blog.

The middle of the funnel, (MOFU) is where “cold” leads begin to turn into “warm” leads. Your email marketing strategy will be key a this stage.

Later on this could include low-cost, low-risk courses, books, or other offerings as you develop them and add them to your funnel.

The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) would include your core offers. (such as group or 1:1 coaching), of course, but this stage is also about helping people find the next step in their journey.

The cool thing about this stage is that you do NOT need to do any hard selling. With a good system in place, there is no need for that dreaded “discovery call” where you need a script to “counter objections” and “close” a deal.

This is because sales and marketing are 2 different things! This makes me grateful, because I’m lousy at “selling!”

So, how to we get from Pinterest pins to people signing up for coaching?

If you guessed “connecting the dots,” you would be correct!

1. Link Pinterest back to your website. Pinterest has no point if it exists in a vacuum. Let’s point some Pinterest graphics to a blog. As in each blog will have its own Pinterest graphic.

We can draw a line from Pinterest to BLOG.

2. Now that people have landed on your blog, what would you like to guide them to next? Don’t rely on people bookmarking your page for future reference.. it’s not 1999 anymore! Once people wander off  your site, the chances of them returning are pretty slim.

This is why I keep stressing the importance of creating a REASON for people to hang out on a website, and also use it to build an email list!

Today, if you have a blog (as opposed to video or a podcast) it needs to be high-quality. It should be packed with useful information, but ALSO easy to read. It should be SKIMMABLE to help those get what they need in as little time as possible. 

To accomplish this, let’s add a few things to the blog. First, of course, you want to have a solid blog in place that answers the questions Google users are typing in. A “thin” site or blog without much useful content that causes a visitor  (not just ANY viitor, but your ideal client) ..to have to exit your site and type in another search query in order to get their needs met.. isn’t going to do  much for your business.

Find out more about how to optimize a blog for SEO. 

Next, we’ll need an opt in form, which is a form where visitors can enter an email list to subscribe to one of your lists and receive either manual or automated emails from you on a regular basis. (The perfect way to communicate to a “warm” audience. I went into depth about this in the second blog in this series, so if you still didn’t read it, check it out!

Second, a CTA to invite readers to book a consultation or discovery call if they need more help.  This can be as simple as a paragraph at the end of each blog, but there are even more refined and effective ways to create CTA’s.

As you start to build your business,  you may want to add intermediary steps like low-cost courses or group coaching, but you don’t have to have those in place to start.

Let’s call it DONE for this simple funnel. It’s enough to “keep one busy” for a while.. creating blogs and posting pins!

Later,  using this funnel as an example, you could start to add ways to connect everything to your Facebook business page or group, create specific email campaigns, and much more. There are too many possibilities to list.. and the list does keep growing with the development of more social media channels, apps, etc.

I did not include other common elements here like SEO. SEO is a way to get eyeballs on your website via presenting a list of search results to people that are typing specific words in Google.

Don’t think that you need to constantly keep up with new trends. The “timeless” elements include a way for people to search for/discover you, a way to start and keep a conversation going and offer great content, a way to capture leads (on a platform you OWN, like your email list) a way to present offerings without having to “sell,” and a way to nurture those who have bought from  you.

The moving parts

You may be wondering about the actual mechanics of getting from one point to another, such as how to put an email opt in form on your blog.

This is the “tech” piece. If you went through the steps in Part 2 of this blog series, you will now have some experience with setting up these up on your website. (or you can outsource these tasks)

For example, creating Pinterest pins could include creating graphics in Canva. You can use photos and compelling questions, titles, or quotes you gathered for each blog to create visually compelling pins.  When you create a pin, you also provide link, or URL, that leads visitors to a specific blog.

You would need to know how to use Canva and how to use Pinterest. (which is beyond the scope of this blog) Having some design skills will also be a HUGE benefit. (Keep your target audience in mind.)

It can seem daunting at first, but it is do-able!

When you create your first pin for you first blog.. you have the first set of gears of your machine up and running!

The next step would involve creating an opt in form on your blog page to connect to your email account. I’m not going to get into details here of how to do this.. since it would be impossible to give step-by-step instructions for every email marketing service, website platform, or landing page service.

Setting up an email opt in is quite do-able. It is also the “moving part” that can be the most frustrating to set up, depending on apps and platforms used.

If you are starting from square one, and have no “pieces” of your system set up  yet, the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit will get you started, from the very first steps all the way to the launch of your first online offering. Including step-by-step instructions for setting up your Active Campaign or MailerLite account with popular WordPress builders like DIVI.

You can also have it done for you.

Once you get this set up, you can begin to connect the next dots. Now you have a way to “capture” visitors from Pinterest and guide them to your email list!

This is a HUGE step for many beginning digital marketers.

There will still be a lot of work ahead.. none of this is totally “set and forget,” but the more “infrastructure” you build, and the more you learn how to use this infrastructure, the more effective your marketing funnel will be.

Marketing funnels don’t have to be complex, but as  your business starts to grow and you add things like webinars, courses, and launches, your funnel will evolve into something more complex.

Start where you are

I cannot stress enough the mistake I made by diving right into clunky and expensive platforms and apps that were not right for me, just because a “guru” told me to “just get started” and “don’t make it too complicated.” And this was the same guy that recommended the clunky, confusing, and expensive software.

I had no way to visualize any of this stuff, and ended up spending waay too much time trying to figure out how to create a checkout process that actually worked and actually triggered the right emails when I needed them.

To be fair, this is where coaching really comes in handy, and I did end up hiring someone a few months later, which made a big difference.  I’m a big fan of coaching as opposed to fumbling in the dark, in most cases.

Although I really do try to give as much guidance in my blogs as I can, it’s nearly impossible to create step by step processes for EVERY type of person, business and business model, platform/apps, integrations, social media channels, and every possible combination.

You can’t see what you don’t know exists yet, and for sure you won’t even know what questions to ask.

What about tools like ClickFunnels?

Good question. This is one option that I’m exploring to see if it may be worth the price to have much of the setup and mapping of a marketing funnel automated via this kind of platform. (No affiliate links yet, but if I do use them, it’s because I actually use the product or will in the future)

What is ClickFunnels? 

The only issue I see so far is the barriers to entry, which includes a pretty steep cost for someone just starting out.

This platform has a lot of done-for-you templates and may be worth a try.. but it also does not address the specifics of YOUR business and  YOUR personality.

This may mean that in addition to the learning curve of learning how the platform works and paying a pretty steep monthly fee, there still may be some “hit or miss” as one adjust it to work for their own individual needs.

It’s much like the “diet plan du jour.” What works for many doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

My take is to go ahead and start a free trial when the following conditions are met:

• You have a SOLID understanding of your ideal client or patient, as well as your specific niche and USP (Unique Selling Proposition, or that which makes you unique)

• You have your “dots” lined up. If you are not even sure if you want to focus on Facebook ads, Podcasts, Instagram, or any other social media channels or combinations, do this first before paying $100 for expensive software.

However, you don’t necessarily need to have a $100 per month platform to get your marketing funnel going. If you already have a website, you can set up a funnel for less than $25 per month. (The main expense will be your email marketing service)

Update: If you want to have an “all under one roof” solution that includes ALL the “parts and pieces” you will need to create your own funnel.. Including email marketing, landing pages, a website builder, a calendar, and more.. AND templates for your landing pages and funnels, I prefer Kartra. I’ve done a lot of research and this one, as of now, is the clear winner.

The next steps

This isn’t the final step. There are 2 more important elements I’ll be discussing in upcoming blogs: timing and mindset.

So far we have talked about the WHY, (blog 1) the WHAT (blog 2) and the WHERE  an the HOW (this blog). The WHEN is also important, as is circling back to the WHY.

Be sure to stick around to find out more about timing and mindset when creating your marketing funnel!

Even after reading these blogs and implementing each stage, you may very well find that getting some help with setting up your funnel is the next logical step to take so that you can create this whole process in a much more efficient manner. It’s likely that you will save a lot of time, money, and energy by doing so, and avoid both “analysis paralysis” and burnout.

Below I’ve outlined 2 choices. 

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.

If  you need more help, The Future Proof Your Practice Tooklkit has everything you need, from A to Z, for getting your online offerings out QUICKLY. 

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 guidance, clarity, and accountability. You may find that even with the best systems you will get stuck from time to time.

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

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.

This blog is going to focus on primarily on foundations, systems, strategy, and technology. Much of this work will also be creative work, so it’s not all about “tech” stuff.
I’ve updated this blog to streamline the process for you. A good starting point is my new blog: 7 Criteria: Setting up a System for Your Online Course or Membership. This blog is about one of the hardest parts for many: Shopping for and choosing platforms and apps. No more spending countless hours poring over features and pricing options. I’ve got you covered!

I also 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.

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.

A few quick things: 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.  If you don’t, you no longer have to choose between getting a cheap website that doesn’t do what it needs to do to help your business grow, or paying thousands to have someone do it for you. Find out more here. 

I have also not included webinars as part of a basic marketing funnel in this blog. I’ve had success with webinars and go deeper into this concept in the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit (I’ll post some resources and links at the end of this article) and in a recent workshop I’ve taught.

Let’s get started!     

First I will address a few concerns or questions you may have.

How much do these “pieces” cost?

This will be covered in the blog I mentioned above, to make this blog a little easier for you.

Um, is THIS what you mean by a funnel? I’ve seen these.. they look NOTHING like a funnel. 

 

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.

This is the visual representation of the funnel I talked about in the last blog, which is closely tied to the client/customer journey:

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 (Foundational work)

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

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. ConvertKit is another option.

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?

This is where it can confusing. You can create these in several places.

The first is in your email marketing service. Active Campaign and ConvertKit include landing pages with forms like this. Some prefer to go this route.

I prefer to design my own, which I do in WordPress/DIVI.

You can also 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.  (Most of my 7 Criteria are missing from these platforms, and you’ll need to fill in the gaps, especially if you have an digital product to promote and sell) 

What this means: 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, ConvertKit, 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. Signing up for the Tell Your Story DIY website kit, which has everything you need to build your own StoryBrand-based website: Beautiful DIVI templates, copywriting prompts, step-by-step instructions, and guidance.

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 clients and customers with their website alone, even if they have a decent social media following.

Remember: 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.

 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.

Update: I teach a workshop that shows how to “cheat” when it comes to creating content. For example, I can break up or “splinter” this long blog into micro pieces, and expound on them in a live stream or training. I can make each of these pieces beginner friendly, or turn some of it into an advanced free training or workshop. You get the idea.

I also just updated about 3 blogs today.  That’s going to help my SEO: this updated blog counts as fresh content. Because it is. I come at this from the perspective of “How can I help someone who is searching for solutions that I can specifically offer, in one place?” ..along with keywords that fit naturally into the flow of my content, and that’s what search engines, and real people, want. 

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.

Also remember that Google isn’t the only search engine. YouTube, Pinterest, Amazon, and TikTok are also search engines. These tools can help you get FOUND if you take the time to learn how to optimize them, generally with keywords.

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: These are great tools for 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.

Video (YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook)

For me, Facebook and Pinterest 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 Media, 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.  Edit: as of this update, I still use Facebook but I’ve moved most of my content over to Mighty Networks, and am building a community/membership there.

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.

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!

Update: Some of the frustration has to do with constant algorithms and updates. I’m no longer focusing on this area in depth, simply because there are others at this point that have more time to keep up and do a fantastic job at keeping us informed about these rapidly changing platforms.

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 engagement portion 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.

Reels (whatever they are calling them as of the time you are reading this) or short videos 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.

Update: I’m back to being a big Pinterest fan! I love platforms that allow my ideal clients to find ME, instead of chasing after them. Pinterest is designed to do this. I like everything about it and am getting more engagements and clicks with my pins since I re-entered the game!

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

It was a shiny object. Yep.

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:

Update: You can post to your PAGE as well. I’m no longer including the steps in this blog because by the time I give detailed instructions, Facebook has changed it all yet again.

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.

Tailwind: Another great app for posting across many social media channels. 

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 

Stripe. It’s pretty much the industry standard in the US now. 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.

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.

Many other platforms integrate with Stripe, including calendar booking apps, membership platforms like Teachable, and more.

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 teaching 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 something I cover in more depth in the 7 Criteria blog.

• 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, I highly recommend reading my blog: 7 Criteria: Setting Up Your Online Course or Membership.

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:

Update: Since I’m focusing on working more with clients who are setting up on-demand, self-paced digital products, I’ve moved away from Practice Better, which is ok.  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.

However, I do NOT recommend the free plan, which is lacking almost all of the 7 Criteria. It’s just pretty much useless. I also think that today, if you ARE offering a digital product, you can get so much more for $49. 

My current pick: Kartra. 

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!

More resources for you

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.”

Here’s some resources for you:

The Future Proof Your Business Toolkit: The complete strategy for building and promoting your first online offering, so that you can create a sustainable, thriving wellness practice without selling your TIME.
..and without the overwhelm.

The Tell Your Story DIY Website Kit: Everything you need to build your own StoryBrand-based website: Beautiful DIVI templates, copywriting prompts, step-by-step instructions, and guidance

If you need assistance with any (or all of) the 8 pillars, I’m here to help.

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

Grow Your Wellness Business: The 6 Step Client Journey

Grow Your Wellness Business: The 6 Step Client Journey

How can I get the kinds of clients I want without being “salesy” or pushy?

Why do I keep attracting clients that drain me, and where can I find my ideal clients?

How can I keep my cash flow consistent without having to hustle?

Answer: You need a strategy or plan to guide clients, patients, and customers through a journey, with multiple “touch points.”

 Recognizing the stages in the journey will help you create the best experience for leads, buyers, and existing clients, patients, or students.

It will help you meet them where they are at, automatically so that you no longer need to play “chase and sell.”

This process also makes selling your offerings feel MUCH less “salesly” or “slimy.”

The reason: The stages  are very, very similar to the stages in a relationship.

The concept of this journey is similar to the sales funnel. A sales funnel is simply the steps that take your ideal client or patient through the stages of interacting with your brand, from the time they first discover you to the time they buy from you.. and beyond. 

Funnels are more specifically about how you set up your system on the backend in order to address each stage. 

Examples include:

  • Lead magnet funnels
  • Webinar funnels
  • Email funnels
  • Video marketing funnels

The funnel also includes any onboarding, follow up, offboarding,  and customer care.

This journey incorporates all 8 of the pillars I teach: 

Even though it contains all these elements, it doesn’t need to be complicated. It just needs to address all these facets. 

For those of us who have added an online course, membership, or program to our menu of offerings, this journey or experience is very important.

Many wellness professionals and coaches skip or are not aware of one or more of these elements, which means that the customer experience is less than optimal, leaving them frustrated and burnt out.

Creating a funnel that runs automatically behind the scenes, so that those taking a parallel journey on the FRONT end have a good experience is super important. 

This can be hard to grasp for those who are new to selling a digital, on-demand product, which is different than selling a 1:1 experience.

For example:

Can you imagine buying a service from someone and having to wait for them to email you the product or service  manually? Having to put up with clunky back-and-forth emailing to get to the next step in the journey?

Would you trust a business that didn’t deliver what you bought immediately after you clicked a BUY button, followed by an onboarding process, and an easy, seamless, welcoming experience?

If you are getting your clients from any other source than in-person contact in a local business, a funnel/strategy and a process is a MUST.

Even after you get a new client, the process continues in a seamless manner.

If you want to spend hours trying to figure out where each client is in the process, this is what it might look like:

When did they purchase the program? Which lesson did they finish?

Did they complete that exercise, or get their lab testing done yet?

What materials should I send.. oh shit, let me search for them on my hard drive.. oh.. wait, where IS there email.. damn.. what did she tell me she needed in that last email??

Where is that intake form survey I had her fill out..

Not to mention that you’ll annoy and confuse a client without a clear “next steps” process so that they know how to get blood labs done, what to include in their lifestyle journal, etc.. at their convenience, and when they are excited about diving in immediately.  

A funnel and a process not only keeps you from chasing new clients constantly, it is essential for working with existing clients and patients.

I’ll be using the terms funnel and client journey interchangeably in this article.

Remember, this blog is about general concepts. I’ll be talking about how to put together your actual “tech infrastructure” or systems in another blog. (part 2) I’ll also showing you how to visually map out your funnel in part 3 of this series. 

So now when you hear the word FUNNEL, I want you to understand that it’s not some weird thing that marketing gurus made up to confuse you. It’s there to help you succeed and keep you sane!

Let’s get started!

 

 The 6 LEVELS of a sales funnel for wellness professionals and coaches

funnel for wellness professionals

Level One: Creating General Awareness In Your Niche

The top end of the funnel (and the beginning of the customer or client journey) is all about letting your ideal customer avatar know you exist.

It’s about creating awareness for whatever it is you are offering.  It’s about casting a wide net. The “net” could  be your blog, which can be found via organic search (SEO), social media, or direct channels. It’s an easy way for most to get started.

Others may prefer Youtube or hosting a weekly podcast to create awareness. There are many ways to cast this wide net.. too many to list here.  Side note: You can definitely “cheat” when creating content: Reuse, Repurpose, and recycle! 

In order to do this most effectively, you DO need to start with really nailing down your niche and target audience. This is part of the foundational work, and the first of the 8 pillars.

First, let’s brainstorm and the “drill down” into what makes you unique. (your niche) Sure, you can START with talking about broader topics, particularly when it comes to things the general public may know very little about:

• CBD Oil 

• Acupuncture 

• Life coaching 

• Travel to Croatia 

• An online booking app

This is a good start, but these topics can get pretty competitive, especially when it comes to people finding you via a search, because they are so broad.

Let’s “niche it down” a bit more: 

• CBD Oil for fibromyalgia

• Acupuncture for autoimmune disorders 

• A coaching program for female digital nomads over 50 

• Travel to your guest house on a lesser known island in Croatia 

• An easy way to have patients book and pay online and automatically receive email reminders 

The top of the funnel would be all about raising awareness and reaching as many people as possible. This is done not just via introducing potential leads to broad topics like acupuncture, but about specific problems and how  to solve them.

There’s a lot more to this foundational work than getting specific about what you offer. It also includes storytelling, refining your message, positioning, and branding.

Pillar #4, Strategy, is also important. The goal is to help your ideal clients and customers find you, instead of chasing them down. If your current plan is about spending hours on social media.. well, let me just say that there are better ways to attract. (Pillar #6)

I go into more depth on all the pillars in the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit.

Then we can start to address how our business may be the best choice for those who have “resonated” with our message and have made some sort of decision on their own to take things to the next level. 

We are not trying to “get them to buy” at this stage. Instead, we may blog about our offerings, create a podcast, or a Youtube channel to help spread the word and earn their trust.  In fact, there’s never any pushing. Only attracting.

Level 2: KLT and Engagement

Great.. now you are beginning to attract an audience. Before, they may have had no idea that there were:

• Effective and non-invasive ways to deal with pain
• More effective, less mainstream ways to earn money after 50
• The perfect island getaway that isn’t yet on anyone’s radar
• A way to avoid the stress of late cancellations and no-shows. 

Your audience at this level starting to get a sense of who you are. Your brand, your vibe,  cool things that are unique to you and your business.  They are starting to know, like, and trust you. 

They are also engaging in the conversation you are starting.. which could be anything from a podcast about your fitness training to a blog about wine.. to checking out GoPro videos from snowboarders at your ski resort.

If you wanted to compare this to relationships or dating, this is the stage where people are “checking you out.” They aren’t necessarily researching (like they would on a dating site) but you’ve captured their attention, and they are engaged, perhaps liking, commenting, sharing, or downloading your content. 

So now you can repeat your message, while also creating more awareness about your brand and about what unique things you can offer that nobody else can. You will also be establishing yourself as an expert by being generous with information and guidance.

At this stage, I also like to pose questions to my audience: (Stop scrolling and take a screenshot of these!)

  • What do they need to know about what I do before they buy?
  • What do they need to know about themselves to know if it’s a good fit?
  • What are some reasons they might NOT buy? Can these be addressed? (Examples: Solve the problem of lack of time, doubt, not sure if they can focus, if it’s too advanced or too easy, etc)
  • What are some common myths and misconceptions about what I do?

These questions are a great way for your audience to learn more, find out if they want to keep interacting with you, talk about themselves, and make decisions about if, when, or how to continue on the journey.

It also means that you won’t have to engage in all those slimy sales tactics like “overcoming objections.”

Level 3: Subscribe

This is the level at which people give you permission to follow up and continue to hear from you. The equivalent in relationships would be getting contact info.. a phone number, email, or business card with the mutual intention that it’s cool to reach out.

At this stage, your “followers” become actual leads.

In digital marketing, this would include:

Creating an email opt-in to get people on your list and sending valuable and RELEVANT information to them on a regular basis. Consistency is a must.

Getting more subscribers to your YouTube channel or podcast or members in your Facebook group.

• A webinar: In order to attend or get a replay, someone will need to register for the event. This means subscribing to an email list. (Of course we need to make this clear)

• And of course, continuing to create more awesome content. 

At this stage, you can also get valuable feedback from your audience which will help you to keep your products, services, and customer experiences relevant, engaging, and profitable. Ask questions! Create polls! Involve your audience, have a conversation, buy them coffee.  It’s not a one way street anymore.

A brief Overview of the Mechanics

Great, so how do I capture those leads, you may be wondering?

At this stage, you will need a complete system. This is the second pillar that I teach. This covers the apps and platforms that you use, and how they all fit together, but also your workflow, or tasks that you do.

I cover this concept in depth in the next blog in this series and the final blog in this series which is all about how to put it all together and map out your funnel/strategy. 

The basics:

• A landing page

• An email marketing service, like  Active Campaign or ConvertKit

• A way to take payment online

• An email opt in form, which can be created on your landing page

• A Thank You page (optional but recommended.. there’s a lot of templates out there to help you get started)

• A “freebie” or lead magnet.  It can be as simple as a 3 page guide. Some prefer challenges or mini classes.. this is more advanced.

A course building platform, like Teachable, if you want to offer a course

A way to create and edit videos or audio files, a decent microphone, and other items such as lighting, tripods, etc.

There are many ways you can put all of this together into an integrated “ecosystem.”

Putting together these pieces is MUCH easier than it used to be even 5 years ago. Sometimes an email marketing service will cover most of it, but you will need to fill in a few gaps. There are also some great “all under one roof” options you can explore.

I wrote a new blog to help you decide which platforms and apps might work best for you, and will cover all the bases.  The focus is on creating and promoting a digital product.

Level 4: The small investment, or CONVERT stage 

This is when you introduce your lower cost paid offerings at a pace that makes the most sense and feels the most natural for you.

If at the moment you are reading this you are thinking “How the heck am I going to do that?” Don’t worry. This is a creative process. You start by creating one small offer, then perhaps another.

You can even start out with offering your time, although for the long term, I don’t recommend it. Your time should never be a low -cost or discounted resource.

The truth is, when you get into your content marketing groove, you will have a small library of free offerings that your audience will have access to. At a certain point it will make more sense  to introduce low-risk/low cost paid offers, generally between around $7 and $47.

These entry level offers are called “tripwires.”  For this, you will need to expand your “infrastructure” a bit.

The “Tripwire”

You can use the above tools to give people an opportunity to go to next level in the journey, or funnel, if they choose.

For example, your Thank You page can also include an offer to purchase a low-cost course, book, video, etc. This isn’t the place to offer a $10,000 coaching plan, but a way to offer something useful, and with low risk. 

Of course, because it took your time and expertise to create this product (or time to offer your services) you should charge for it. 

This is called an “upsell.”

At this stage, people will have read your blogs and listened to your podcast enough to know about how a proper diet can help with inflammation or pain, or that many European destinations are having problems with overtourism and cool alternative destinations and ways to travel DO exist.

Now they have enough of a clue about what you offer to make an educated decision about what to buy, regardless of whether they choose to buy from you or not. 

At some point, SOME your leads will desire MORE, and want to ascend to the next logical step.  Have you ever read someone’s blog or listened to a podcast. wondering if they had a book or workshop or course to offer? 

Chances are, if someone keeps reading your stuff, the odds of them buying from you in the future is significantly greater than if they just happened to find you on social media or even in a search. 

Studies show that people actually DO like to buy high quality information products and services that offer solutions to their specific problems.

This is the goal in this stage: To turn ” warm leads” or subscribers into “hot leads” that have chosen to make a small time or money commitment because they like what they have seen so far.

You can do this via: 

• A mini course that you might offer on a membership site or in a course platform like Teachable. 

• A book or video series going more into depth about your area of expertise, the product you offer, or how to get the most out of a tourist destination. 

• A low-cost membership site (paid subscription) that will give “converts” access to content that you may not want to offer for free, but still makes learning from you affordable.

(I’m liking Mighty Networks!)

You can get pretty creative with this, without ever having to offer your time for a discounted price. (We’re trying to get away from that!)

Cool examples:

• A  “ultimate” wine guide, “ultimate” travel by boat on the Adriatic Coast guide,  “Ultimate” preparation/checklist  for a mountain climbing expedition,  etc.

• A recipe book for those healing from Hashimotos 

• A mini course on how to market CBD products in an acupuncture or chiropractic business 

Level 5: Nurturing, Onboarding, and Building Excitement 

You don’t want to stop when someone makes a purchase and call it a day.  

There are 2 reasons:

1. You want to make sure that the client or customer is properly welcomed and “onboarded,” finds the introductory produce or service useful, and is excited about the results they are getting.

Email, I’ve found, is the best way to do this. This is done via email automations that you can easily set up to do the work for you. Email automations allow you to send a series of emails to those who have subscribed to a list, bought a product, and agreed to subscribe to get more high quality info and occasional offers.

Real automations also allow you to send the right email to the right people at the right time.  Not all platforms are able to do this.

This is an important part of customer care.

2. You want to involve the client or customer in the process of developing your product, service, program, etc.

I don’t even create courses without the input of my audience or clients.

I also create BETA versions of courses. Early adopters get a discounted rate (the only time I really discount) in exchange for helping me develop the course. It’s a win/win. It’s also FUN to create and inspire more interaction and respond to specific needs of the ideal client.

Again, don’t worry about the mechanics at this point. Find our more about how to build your system in this blog: I don’t tell you what to use, but I DO have 7 criteria that I use to determine whether or not I will invest in any app or platform.  (Spoiler alert: Email automations is one of them, but as scary as it sounds they can be very affordable and intuitive)

Now, let’s talk about pillar #3: Storytelling, and #7, putting it all on Autopilot:

The key is to build excitement and set your customers up for success in the most authentic way, from the heart. Storytelling is a natural way to market for most  creative business owners who care about the experiences that their customers or clients are having.

Remember, this is a super important and pivotal “touch point.” Everything that is happening, on the front end and backend, needs to be seamless so that every touchpoint in the journey happens, without you (your time) being involved at every step. (On Autopilot)

In a nutshell, you want to provide good onboarding, answer questions and offer support, set them up for success, keep them excited, and open the doors for a dialog and/or making more purchases in the future.  It all needs to happen automatically, so that nothing falls through the cracks, clients and customers have a great experience, and you keep your sanity!

One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made is lack of follow up, and this process is also on autopilot.  Follow up can include leads that haven’t taken a particular action yet, (such as watching a video, completing a course module, making a purchase, or filling out a survey)

At this stage, I like to think of my customers and clients at this point as being co-creators. 

This is why polls and challenges and open ended questions are so valuable for both the business owner and the audience. 

Examples:

• Send follow-up emails that help those that made their first commitment succeed. Even if it’s a book or a small course, it’s possible to follow up with an automated email (that you can always respond to) that offers support, suggestions, asks for feedback, offers a next step, or keeps them excited and engaged.

This helps everyone, especially for wellness entrepreneurs and coaches who are genuinely interested in creating products and services that help their clients and patients succeed.

This step is also useful for those in the tourism industry who are interested in far more than just renting rooms or booking tours. These days, it’s all about helping guests create an experience.

• Office hours. This means setting up a time that you are available say, every Wednesday for a few hours to answer questions. It’s easy to assume that your audience knows almost as much as you do about your area of expertise.. but usually they do not! We need to find out what they are not aware of yet,  ASK them about what specific problems they need solved, and offer a solution that fills in these gaps.   

The HOW part is easy:

1. Just include a link in an email. This is why you want to have an email service with flexible automations so that you can easily and automatically send emails to the right people at the right time. All you need to do is set this up so that those who have made this small purchase are tagged, and that your email only goes to those who made this purchase.

Active Campaign is excellent with their support when it comes to helping us set  up these processes.

You get the idea.

The takeaway: Make sure that if people have invested time or money in your low cost products or services, are set up for success, are supported, and are excited about the results they are getting and continuing on their journey, whether this means taking the next step with us or not.

Level 5: Make (and Deliver) Your Core Offer

 

This is the stage where some get a little shy. Myself included. What’s going to be the MAIN big ticket item you are offering? 

Notice that I used the word OFFERING here, instead of SELLING. By this stage you don’t need any old-school selling techniques. Those don’t really work anymore anyway.

Even some of the “closing” tactics taught today can feel unnatural and exhausting for people like me.. introverts who communicate effectively via writing and natural interaction. I’m terrible at memorizing scripts and responses or having to convince people from square one (as I would if I just met someone at a party) that what I do is not only valid, but often the best solution for a lot of people.

To me, this is not only NOT fun, but unnecessary, if I have the right strategy in place to do most of the work FOR me. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can bypass the art of the sales/discovery call, or writing great copy for a landing page, but it’s a HELL of a lot easier after these “touch points.”

At this stage of the journey or funnel, a certain percentage will be more than ready to buy from you. 

Examples:

• A  51 year old woman who is frustrated by weight gain and changes in her body is excited to work with you not only to figure out the root cause, but help you with confidence and self-love. She knows that YOU are an exact fit for her because she resonates with what you offered in previous stages.

• A new patient signs up for a package based on VALUE, not a discount, because they saw your cool webinar or read your book. 

• A new guest books a one week stay at your villa because they can’t resist the charm of your island, AND ALSO.. now they are now totally on board with sustainable tourism, are interested in the local wine and cusine, (enough to want to prepare some dishes back home!)  or want to learn how to sail. 

They can totally envision what a day would be like at your destination, and they are genuinely excited about creating a real experience, not just booking another vacation. 

At this stage, you also MUST have a way to automatically DELIVER your online offer.

Today, there are thankfully more choices than making a phone call to a clinic to book an appointment for a 1:1 service, driving to the appointment, sitting in a waiting room, receiving only PART of a comprehensive, strategic, and transformative solution, paying for this transactional model at the conclusion, and making a decision about whether or not it makes sense to continue.

This is true for other industries that are about helping people relax, feel good, or reach their highest potential.

In the health and wellness arena, now both patients/clients and practitioners have more choices. It’s a win/win. You can get off the hamster wheel, and clients can enjoy better results. Those who may not be able to afford your 1:1 services may be able to join a group program or even enjoy your free content. (stage 1)

As you grow into creating  more diverse offerings, you’ll likely outgrow your traditional online booking systems, which are set up for 1:1 appointments/time slots, NOT for your “one to many” services.  (Again, don’t panic, I’ve got you covered in this blog

As you begin to scale and make your offerings more accessible to a wider audience, you will need automated ways to deliver your courses, programs, memberships, and hybrid products.

Again, the funnel does NOT have to be complicated, but you will need a way to AUTOMATE the delivery of your offerings.

Stage 6: Taking Care of Your Buyers/Co-Creators/VIP’s.


This stage is earned. You can’t bring people here by using old school “closing” techniques, in my opinion. If you do your job in the previous steps, the “selling” process is a lot easier.  ( I for one find that to be a HUGE relief!) 

The benefits are pretty cool.

I’ll say it again: Statistically, only a small percentage of people that enter the funnel and embark on the journey will end up here. But once they do, the likelihood that they will buy from you in the future is MUCH higher.

Those you work with at this stage are likely to advocate and promote your business.

For me, this meant working smarter, not harder. It gave me a bigger ROI for the work I put in than some of the other tactics I have been taught.

I would rather set up a funnel (a system) and guide leads through a journey than spend hours hustling, selling, and I’ll be honest: be around too many people for too many hours.

I would also rather spend that time and energy spoiling my existing clients, not only because I enjoy it:

By treating buyers/people in like VIP’s and involving them with the development of new products or services, you are also benefitting your business. 

These are members of your “tribe…” the people that will “wear your T-shirt” and provide testimonials, give referrals, and write those positive reviews! 

This is also where you get to enjoy doing what it is that you do best.. treating patients in your acupuncture clinic, helping people navigate difficult parts of life via your unique way of coaching, or being a fantastic host and telling people all about the cool place you call your home. 

In my opinion, it is also entirely possible to develop friendships from a business relationship. It’s quite a rewarding place to be, even though it still takes work. 

How quickly do you “move leads” through the journey/funnel? 

I don’t think that it’s about pushing anyone through the process. It should be designed so that it is a natural and almost effortless process (aside from creating content and setting up the mechanics, but most of that work is on the front end) 

Sometimes people hang out in certain levels for months or even years. That’s ok! 

Those in the awareness stage should have continual access to free info to keep you on their radar. It’s totally fine if they only consume the free offerings. Statistically, this is what most do, and that is why its the wide end of the funnel. 

Those in the engage and subscribe stages should be not only kept informed, but in the loop. You want to ask them open-ended questions, create polls, and involve them in beta launches and even no-risk experiments. Some will hang out in these stages for a while, but there is no right or wrong as far as how long people remain.

Those in the later stages, or narrow end of the funnel are there for a reason, and your focus and attention should not stop there. 

The narrowest part of the funnel consists of your loyal customers. Treat them like gold.

What’s in in for YOU, and how can this help prevent burnout from overgiving?

This system is set up so that the “top of the funnel” requires a minimum investment of time and energy. Not ZERO energy, but certainly less energy than it takes to chase after clients, patients, and guests, or be at the utter mercy of review sites.

THIS is what it means to create a business on your OWN terms, and attract clients, patients, and guests who not only totally “get it,” but appreciate that you get THEM, and are happy that the perfect match was made.

Now that you have a basic idea of how a marketing funnel could work for your business, check out the next blog in this series: 9 Components of an Effective Marketing Funnel for Wellness Practitioners.

It will outline the “parts and pieces” you will need in order to build a simple funnel from scratch.. accounts to set up, and yeah.. some of the “tech stuff.”.. (I promise it’s not that bad!)  so that you can get started right away.

Need a visual representation of the client/patient journey?

 

 

Need More?

I hope this blog has helped you in some way.. whether it’s getting a better understanding of what a “funnel” really is, or some ideas and insights about how to build your own.

Be sure to check out the next blog in this series about how to gather the “parts and pieces” for your first funnel.

To be honest though, there IS a lot to it, and much depends on your specific niche or business, your strengths, weaknesses and preferences, and the resources you have available to you.  There is no ONE solution.

Not a DIYer? No problem!

I can help you set up your own marketing funnel. I offer BOTH 1:1 coaching and group coaching to help people just like you.

I also help those who are ready to take the next step with setting up the systems that will help them succeed, including some of the “tech bits.”

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