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,  Funnel Breakdown: The Pieces to Gather to Set Yourself Up For Success , 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.

If you are not sure what those stages are, or who your ideal client or patient IS.. please stop right now and start from the first blog in this series: How to Build A Business On YOUR Terms: With Funnels.

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 them as vertical funnels)

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.

Update: Another option is sketchfunnels.io. I’m actually switching to this software as it seems to have 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.

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)

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.

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)

Scroll down to see one right here in this blog!

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. (also  waay beyond the scope of this blog, but you CAN find out more with my email guide for beginners:

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. This is also the case even for experienced digital marketers.

But once you figure this out, 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)

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.

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. 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 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!  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.

9 Components Of An Effective marketing Funnel For Holistic And Coaching Practices

9 Components Of An Effective marketing Funnel For Holistic And Coaching Practices

Does the thought of marketing funnels freak you out?

How do I create a marketing funnel from scratch?

Where do I start with creating a marketing funnel for a holistic practice, coaching business, or my own creative startup business?

How much does it cost to set up a basic marketing funnel for an entrepreneur just starting out?

What the hell IS a marketing funnel, anyway?

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

This includes onboarding, taking care of existing clients or patients, keeping them in the loop for future offerings, getting feedback, and making it easy for them to give you referrals, reviews, and testimonials.

Where do I start?

This blog is all about 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.

If you actually use this blog, and use it as an “actionable checklist,”  I think you will get a LOT out of it.  It’s designed to be an overview and let you see, all in one sitting, at what you will need to gather.

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

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

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

The goal today is to get you started!      

Even if you are pretty good at tech, trying to picture it all without some time spent learning, seeing, and experiencing the individual components is very difficult.

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

When it comes to funnels, there IS some front-end work to be done, but the good news is that this time spent IS a good investment. The machinery you create will automate your marketing and free up your time to focus on the things that best leverage your time.. and the things you are good at and most enjoy doing.

Does this guarantee that you will make $1,000’s in your sleep? No. But just like with health and fitness, creating a plan will GREATLY improve your chances of success.

No B.S. Just real info.

Also, if you are an introvert  (like me) and don’t want to hustle for each and every client and deal with time-wasters, you want to have an online funnel or a pipeline in place.

Let’s address a few concerns you may have.

How much do these “pieces” cost?

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

Funnel Fear: Does this look scary?

Maybe, maybe not. Some are flow chart nerds, some are spreadsheet geeks, and some.. none of the above.

This is a map of a quiz funnel I created. At first glance, just like a whiteboard or a bunch of sticky notes that someone else created, it looks complicated and makes you want to reach for another round of coffee. 

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

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

Pretty cool! 

You’ll also be creating a process, flow chart, map, whatever you want to call it, of YOUR process. It will make perfect sense to you, but maybe not to someone else.

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

For each step, you are going to need one or more of the tools I’m going to walk you through.

Then what? 

Don’t worry yet about the moving parts. To reassure you.. the tools I chose “play well” together. Sometimes, all you need is a link to copy and paste in the tool that leads to the next step. (Breadcrumbs?) I’ll guide  you through the “moving parts in the next blog.

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

Ready?

The TOOLS

You will need time to familiarize yourself with each “piece” before you begin to assemble the “machinery” and test the “moving parts.”

Take your time!

Here is the list/inventory of “parts and pieces” that you will need to create your marketing funnel. I purposely chose the resources that will work best for a small, service based business.

The Creative Tools

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

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

• A solid idea of your target market. If you haven’t done the classic ideal client avatar exercise yet, I highly recommend doing this. I have an abridged version I offer for free, and a very comprehensive version for my coaching clients.

When clients work with me or take my courses, I really go into detail in providing guidance, tools, and workbooks to get this part up and running.

Please don’t skip over this important task of REALLY defining you 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.

The 9 Components of an Effective Marketing Funnel: a.k.a.  Tech “Pieces and Parts”

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

DIYers: it may take more time than this, but still don’t spend TOO much time struggling. Get help if you need it!

You can choose to learn the tech first, before building your funnel.

1. The Email Piece

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

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

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

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

This includes:

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

Honestly, you can set this up in an hour.

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

It will pay off to get an account and start to familiarize yourself with the terminology if you have not already done so. You can also “opt in” and get my email guide for beginners.

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.

You can find out what these terms are in my Email Markeing Guide.

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. 

I’m not going to go into that here in this blog, but once you understand these concepts, you have taken a HUGE step in understanding marketing funnels.

• An opt in form linked to your email marketing service. By now you probably are familiar with these things. Popups, slide ins, top bars, pages with those nifty forms where you can enter your name and email and Poof! You are taken to another page where you are thanked for signing up and guided to the next step in the process.

It looks like magic, but there are a few moving parts involved. The part that many may find daunting is researching a service or plugin from all the choices available, if you are using WordPress. Some plugins are fantastic, others are mediocre, and some, quite frankly suck. Read on to find out more about how to get started with opt-in forms.

A word about WordPress and the “moving parts” of marketing funnels

Your website is one of the pieces of your email marketing machine. This is often missing in most of the sites I’ve seen built by fully hosted platforms like Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace.

I’m going to be honest: If you are trying to save money and aggravation and make full use of email marketing and marketing funnels, these platforms may not be the best choice. They work great for getting a pretty site up and running, (and under certain conditions which I list below)  but if your goal is to have it act as your best employee, your site is going to have to do MUCH more.

Yes, you can create an opt in form  on a page using SquareSpace. If you are not sure what an opt in form is or how it works.. I’ll be talking about that in a moment. Just know you will use them a lot. 

It  can work, but there are also some very real limitations as far as getting everything you need: A powerful email system, professional-looking forms, flexibility, value, and integrations with other apps and platforms you want to use, all at the SAME TIME.

Many times, there are some serious compromises, workarounds, and extra costs involved that are not discovered until one has fully invested in a website on one of these platforms.

You also want these opt in forms to “play nice” with ANY email service you want to use. As of this writing (and I do make sure to keep up with new developments)  if you want to use the most powerful AND lowest cost (or free) options that will actually work with the rest of your system, I recommend using a WordPress site and plugins to do the job for you.

It’s NOT just about how ONE of the “parts and pieces” work, but how they all work together.

Think of it as hiring employees.

Maybe you have one prospect who is good at answering the phone, scheduling, and insurance billing, but isn’t great when it comes to marketing and social media. If he or she is great at the first three things, it could be a no-brainer to train them about marketing.

Or not.. If you have a candidate who rocks ALL of these things. If you have a business, it is imperative that you have platforms, processes, and a team that allows you to create seamless systems for everything from production to marketing.

You are also a real business.

That’s why I recommend WordPress. Sooner or later, with the “shortcut” options, you are going to run into a technical or integration glitch.

One solution that a platform will offer will do ALMOST everything you want it too.. Except for that ONE thing. The reason is that these closed systems that are designed to KEEP you within the “walled garden.”

When you settle for less than a platform like WordPress, you may not be able to see what you are missing at first, but these obstacles that prevent you from creating the systems you need can potentially cause you to want to bang your head against the wall.

And they are not always cheap.

Having said all this I DO recommend other platforms under the following circumstances:

• You are already a celebrity who uses podcasting or video as a primary way to get the message out: Think Joe Rogan.

• On the opposite end of the spectrum, you are just starting out and don’t yet have a solid USP, ideal client avatar, or branding. (knowing that you could be wasting a lot of money paying monthly fees if you spend months or years by putting off making any decisions)

I like for clients to know all this BEFORE they make a decision about which platform to use.  If you have a real business, it is not a great idea to make choices based on ONLY ease of use and the illusion of low cost at first glance.

A word about Kartra and Kajabi

I have some clients who are using Kartra, and know the backend fairly well. I think it’s a great system that works well for capturing leads, email marketing, creating landing pages, and creating courses and memberships. It does have a few drawbacks.. It’s not the best platform for blogging, creating a tailored brand, and other customizations like quizzes.

For some, it can be totally worth it to use these platforms and can actually save time and money. In my opinion though, I prefer to hang on to my WordPress site as well, since I like to have a site I own and maximum options for customizing my brand, blog, and other functions.

Definitely worth investigating!

Got WordPress? Cool! If not, these next sections will still help you really understand what makes up a marketing funnel so that you can decide what system to implement for yourself.

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.

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 an illustration:

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

• Hustle
• ZotoBox
• Divi Bars
• Thrive Leads

Again, referring to our “Ikea” approach, take some time to explore some of these options. Hustle is free. Zotobox 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. 

Divi bars are also pretty cool.. You can 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.”

Note: There are other things to consider, such as GDPR compliance. I introduce this concept in my email marketing guide for beginners.

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

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

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

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.

All it is is 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, 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. I often overlook this one too, when I get “busy” and need to go back and make myself some nice TY pages!

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 the actual product you will be offering, such as a course.

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

This is the most time-consuming aspect of creating a marketing funnel.

If you have all this in place, great. If you don’t, you can still create your map or flowchart.

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 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 you next blog or how your entire funnel may fit together may be one of your best tools ever.

I also want you to know that it takes TIME to build a library of content. Please give yourself time, and just begin. Create a system for yourself that supports creating content, whether that means writing or making videos, jamming on Instagram, 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 picks:

• 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.

There are a lot of other advanced options for streaming and video editing, but for our purposes here I’m not going to dive into those.

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

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 Premeire 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.

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 piece

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

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

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

Honestly, you can do fine and thrive with the options I’ve listed here. (Updated for 2020)

Video (YouTube and Facebook)

For me, Facebook and Instagram have been my primary channels, but I also love YouTube. This is because I also have another project/business called The Balkan Nomad, which relies on images and video and highly visual information.

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

Update: You could choose to stick with Facebook for your video content, if that is your preference.

It seems like each month FB is getting to be a viable alternative to YouTube.  The BIG difference: Facebook is all about “discovery” and is primarily for social purposes, and YouTube is a search engine. Both can be quite useful, depending on what product or service you are offering,  your audience, how people buy/browse/research, etc.

I think that it is best to master one social media platform before diving into another to avoid overwhelm.

Live Streaming

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 fine right now with 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.

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

Facebook also makes sense because that’s where my target audience hangs out, and I tend to deliver information that goes a bit more into depth. I actually like the “permanence” of FB and the ability to archive and store more info, which is different from the current trend of info that is more ephemeral. I personally like a combination.

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!) I also discovered a HUGE timesaver: FaceBook Creator Studio. 

I can now save a lot of time by posting FB and IG posts from the same place, instead of using a 3rd party app. IG works VERY well for the tourism industry, especially hostels, cafes, and places where a younger (but not necessarily teens) hang out.

You can do a lot more than you could even a year ago, especially with Stories. You can even make some of your Stories “permanent” with the Highlight feature.

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

There’s even more potential for actually gathering LEADS rather than just followers.. I’ll save an in-depth exploration of this for another blog.

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. In the future, I could 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)

Pinterest

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

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

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

LinkedIN

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

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

Twitter

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

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

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.

For this, you will need a scheduling/social media posting app. Make sure to keep up with what is happening in social media, such as changes in algorithms, posting rules, etc, so that your efforts are not wasted on posts that never get seen, or worse, a suspended account. (it’s rare, but does happen)

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. 

FaceBook Creator Studio: Perfect if your primary channels are Facebook and Instagram.

7. The online payment piece

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

This means:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My picks: Stripe and DirectPayInc.

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

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

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

Payment Management

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

• Invoicing

• Recurring payments (great for memberships)

• Integration with landing pages

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

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

• Custom buttons

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

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

• What currencies you accept

• Currency conversion rates

• Transaction fees

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

• Integration with your email marketing service

And more. My picks:

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

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

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

8. The coaching/course platform piece/CRM

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 used to use SendOwl for this, which worked fairly well. I think they have since made the product even better)

A platform like Teachable, Thinkific, 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)

• A membership area. You can create these with WordPress plugins. I’m currenly investigating options I can use and recommend. You can also try platforms like Kajabi or Kartra, which are pretty cool, and have a free trial period.

• A Private Facebook Group, using 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. 

• Other platforms, such as CoachAccountable or PracticeBetter which give you “rooms” to take you 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 the become a client and and beyond.. manually.

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

About cost.. 

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

You get a LOT more with these platforms.

Set aside an entire day to explore these options.

My pick: 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. 

9. The calendar and online booking piece

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

My picks:

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

I use Practice Better and so far, so good!

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 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 with taking the time to build something you can be proud of.

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

Need More?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing Funnels For Holistic Practitioners, Coaches, and Innkeepers

Marketing Funnels For Holistic Practitioners, Coaches, and Innkeepers

How can I avoid chasing after patients to fill my practice?

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

What if I don’t want to keep hustling to fill my practice every month? Or even skip the brick-and-mortar and do everything virtually.. or see FEWER, but high-quality patients and clients? 

Why do I keep attracting clients that drain me, and where can I find my ideal clients? (or patients, customers, or guests)

How can I keep my cash flow consistent?

Answer: You need a strategy. You need something called a “sales funnel.”

In order to create more consistent and predictable cash flow, you will need a sales funnel so that you no longer need to play “chase and sell.”

A sales funnel is simply the steps that take your ideal client or patient through the stages of awareness, interest, engagement, subscribing, and making a decision to buy. It’s not a magical “blueprint” that some dude can sell you for 3k so that you can make “6 figures.”

It’s a standard thing. Let’s de-mystify it!

This blog is intended to be a comprehensive guide for DIYers, in order to give you an overview of what  your strategy might look like. I invite you to check out this entire blog at your own pace. (I’m considering adding an downloadable version of this blog in the future)

You can also refer to the GLOSSARY if  you are unfamiliar with any of the marketing terms I mention. I try to communicate without the jargon, but I also don’t like to treat my clients like they aren’t intelligent enough to grasp some of the terms we use, in order to be more precise.

If you are NOT a DIYer.. no worries! You can still get a LOT out of this blog.

If you are already familiar with how important a funnel is and want to skip to the next section, click here.

If you are not convinced that a funnel, strategy, or plan is something that you need, and you think that automation is not for you, please humor me and read this next section. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you are wanting to create income diversification for your wellness practice.

The stages of a funnel, which I’ll show you, are very, very similar to the stages in a relationship.

The whole process is really about building relationships, not about “how to make money online.” It also has NOTHING to do with “closing,” “pitching” or “manipulating” unless you CHOOSE to include a heavy-handed pitch as one of the steps in your own funnel.

A funnel isn’t a template. But it is an individual process that you want to build for yourself.

Without a process, a strategy, and ways to make it all run smoothly for both you and your clients or patients.. you won’t have a successful time and location independent practice.

I still come across some in the wellness industry that think that these processes are the “antithesis” of building relationships, but the opposite is true.

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 expereience?

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.

Call it a Funnel. Call it whatever you want. Know that it’s essential.

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!

To make sure that this is clear.. and it’s THAT important.. today, you need a step-by-step process for delivering your services, and some tools.

I’m going to list the “parts and pieces” you will need to get started in the next blog.  I’ve included tools I use myself which are easy-to use, robust, offer good value, and are affordable for those on a shoestring budget.

For now, keep reading to find out more about each stage.

But first..

If  you have not already done so, I invite you to check out my previous blog about building trust and how to position yourself so that you get the kinds of patients, clients, and guests that energize you, and (yes) REPEL those that drain you and actually hurt your business.

It will help you get a foundational perspective about this whole “funnel” concept.

Funnels take the “slime” out of marketing 

In this blog, I’m going to focus on getting NEW clients, rather than onboarding and backend administration for existing clients, (CRM or customer relationship manager) even though they kind of flow together.

Funnels could be compared to the “back end” of the client/patient/customer journey. The part YOU see and experience.

Tip: At the very bottom of this blog you will find a nifty infographic that will show the same concept as a map of the client/patient experience.

Why is it called a funnel? Why can’t I call it a map? It’s called a funnel, because there are more people at the “top” of the funnel (TOFU) and as people move through the process, there are fewer. (Bottom of the funnel, or BOFU)

This is a natural process, and what is REALLY meant by having 7-9 “touch points” for the client.

So this isn’t about “bothering” people until they “give in.”

Please don’t think of this journey as something slimy, as a way to “capture” a lead in the negative sense. That isn’t what this is all about. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. A good sales funnel is a way to naturally attract the RIGHT potential buyers. The ones who are a perfect match based on your conscious choices about positioning.

Once this is established, THEN you can start to build (earn) trust.

There IS some work ahead of you, I’ll be honest.

For each stage, your audience, lead, prospect, or client should have a smooth and pleasant experience that helps them in some way.

It takes some work to set this up, especially at the beginning, but to me, is the most automated, natural, and stress-free way to generate leads and sell products or services.

You can read about funnels from many sources, but here I’m focusing on the types of businesses I typically work with: Alternative health practices, wellness coaching, and the tourism industry.

Keep in mind that this is an overview. To create a funnel, you will need time to map it all out so that you can see the big picture, the “pieces and parts” of your unique funnel, and how each piece flows into the next.

I’m going to give you a lot of visual information to break it all up, along with some tips.

 

The 6 LEVELS of a Sales Funnel 

Level One: Creating General Awareness In Your Niche

The top end of the funnel 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” will most likely be your blog, which can be found via organic search (SEO), social media, or direct channels. 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.

In order to do this most effectively, you DO need to start with really nailing down your niche and target audience.

First, let’s brainstorm and the “drill down” into what makes you unique. 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 teaching  broad topics like acupuncture, but about specific problems and how  to solve them.

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.

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.

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,  (more on this a bit later in this blog) and sending valuable and RELEVANT information to them on a regular basis. No more monthly newsletters about happenings in your office.. those are outdated and ineffective.  It has to be about THEM. We’re talking at LEAST 2x per month, preferably weekly.  

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

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

You can also do a lot with chatbots that will help you turn cold leads into warm leads. 

At this stage, you can also get valuable feedback from your audience which will help you to keep your products, services, and funnel 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 with all the moving parts. I’m going to list a few of them, but if it all sounds like a foreign language, don’t worry, I’ll be breaking it all down in other blogs, freebies, free trainings, and paid courses.  You can also check out the New Glossary.

Please note that this is an overview to introduce you to the “parts,” which I cover in depth in the next blog in this series.

• A landing page. This can be created as a page on your website. what makes it different from a regular page is that it has a CTA, or call to action, and does NOT have a menu or navigation bar. The reason for this is that you want those who land on the page to take some sort of ACTION.

• An email marketing service, like Mailchimp or Active Campaign 

• A way to take payment online, starting with payment gateways such as Stripe or Paypal. I personally like Moonclerk, which is both very affordable at $15 per month, and super easy to use.  If you have a brick-and-mortar business Square may be a good option.

• An email opt in form, which can be created on your landing page. You can create one in Divi (which is a theme and drag-and-drop builder for WordPress, and what I use.

You can also use a plugin like Thrive Leads. It is also possible to create forms and landing pages in a 3rd party service like LeadPages, which can be less overwhelming to start.

• A Thank You page. This is the page where people that enter their name and email to subscribe to a list are taken to. Its purpose is to thank them and give further instructions or information. This lets them know that the process is complete and doesn’t leave them hanging. You can also use this page to “upsell” products or services.  (The tripwire) but they don’t have to be fancy or complicated:

You can find templates for these also in LeadPages.

• A “freebie” or lead magnet.  It can be as simple as a 3 page guide to how to love  and care for your body after 50, a few recipes (for health, or for foodies, or both!) .. or a quick guide on navigating boat travel on the Dalmatian coast. I create mine in both Google docs (text) and Canva (the cover) and export them as .pdf files. 

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.

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 in a Google search on the day they want to make a purchase.

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. 

You can get pretty creative with this.

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 and do the work for you.

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’m writing this blog based on questions about funnels, and I still need to gather more information about my niche, my target audience, and what they want before a launch a new full blown course.

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.

This stage also includes something called an EMAIL AUTOMATION that allows 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. This is an important part of customer care.

Again, don’t worry about the mechanics at this point. The important thing is to make sure that the email marketing service provider you choose has this option available. My choice: ActiveCampaign. It’s clearly the best value at $15 per month, is easy to use. (Although to use it at its full potential, there is a learning curve)

Active Campaign has great customer support, and is VERY robust.

Oddly enough, there are low-cost and even free services that offer an easy way to do do this, and some of the services that are limited are actually more expensive. Go figure. I stick with ActiveCampaign and also recommend MailerLite for some who are just starting out.

The key is to do this in the most authentic way, from the heart. This is a natural way to market for most holistic practitioners and creative business owners who care about the experiences that their customers or clients are having.

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. They are now 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 holistic entrepreneurs 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 be able to “segment” your audience 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 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, not by 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 the work FOR me.

At this stage of the 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. 

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 rest more or less falls into place.  ( 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 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 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 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.

Once the foundation has been laid, by all means, these stages SHOULD be as automated as possible. Save your precious time for those at the bottom of the funnel who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

It’s not about lack of concern for those in the top of the funnel, it’s about what your TIME is worth once your funnel is in place.

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: Funnel Breakdown: The Pieces to Gather to Set Yourself Up For Success.

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 burgundy button below for a free 30 minute consultation.

Growing Your Wellness Practice With Holistic Marketing

Growing Your Wellness Practice With Holistic Marketing

More and more practitioners realize that in order to stay in business, marketing online is essential.

Holistic Marketing is more than just a hot trend.  As of this writing, it’s the summer of 2020 and things have changed a bit. Many brick-and-mortar clinic owners are future-proofing their wellness practices via telehealth, which is a good start towards diversifying income streams for acupuncturists, chiropractors, coaches, and any holistic entrepreneur.

Marketing online is a natural extension of this process.

Growing your holistic business with holistic marketing makes sense, and it’s what we have been doing all along!

Many holistic healers and creative entrepreneurs have a tendency to avoid it because it’s presented as something enigmatic and difficult to grasp for those who are not “technically gifted.”

I’m going to keep working on dispelling this myth by saying:

Marketing is about creating systems. Creating these systems is JUST as much of a creative process as a technical or logical one.

Marketing HAS to be, by nature, holistic and individualized in order to work. Just like holistic medicine!

In this blog I’ll talk about:

• What holistic marketing REALLY is
• How it is evolving quickly
• Why you need a holistic marketing plan
• How to get started (even from scratch, with Zero funds or knowledge)

What Holistic Marketing Really Is

Some of you that know me may know that I’m not a fan of the way the term “holistic” is used.

I like it just about as much as the term “alternative” to describe any form or modality of healthcare, music, or whatever.

It implies that something is always going to be “fringe,” for better or for worse.

It’s seldom a very accurate term. It doesn’t even come close to describing what I do or what you do.. or what anyone else with a small service based healing practice does.

As for holistic, its true meaning means “embracing the whole system”  As in: Looking at the big picture.  Honoring how the pieces fit together. Acknowledging the forest, not just a few trees. Putting puzzle pieces together.  The sum is greater than its parts. Synergy.

Holistic marketing isn’t just about making a pretty website for your health coaching, acupuncture practice, or herbal medicine shop. It’s not even about a checklist of “all the things” that should be in place on your site.

It’s about finding a plan that involves ALL the pieces and parts that will make sense for you and fit together seamlessly.

As early as 5-10 years ago, you could probably get by with some well-thought out SEO keywords, doing a few local talks, and building a basic website with an address, phone number, and ABOUT page.

For a boost, you could go to some networking meetings and hand out business cards with your URL.  If you were SUPER savvy, you would play the Google keyword game or find a “guru” who could help you magically climb the ranks of search engine pages.

This is still how some market today!

Today, SEO doesn’t stand on its own. Everything you do and create is connected to everything else.

The thought process is much like the interconnectedness that many of us are taught in school. You can’t simply isolate ONE thing (a branch) and ascribe magic to it. You have to look at the BIG picture. The roots. The forest. The weather. The entire ecosystem.

For example, say you are a a practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine (OM).  You have a solid grasp of nutrition and extra training in functional medicine.

How would you market your practice?

If you are simply relying on just a website and HOPING it will draw in traffic, you are missing out on the opportunities that will help with growing your holistic practice. (and no, I don’t have ONE Weird Trick for you, that’s not how it works!)

Suppose you are very visual. You can create pins for Pinterest and really get to know that platform well. You can play with recipes, pictures of your product, nutritional guidelines, and lifestyle tips in a visual format.

You might fall into a nice “groove” that feels enjoyable. You might “batch” your Pinterest posts and schedule them on a weekly or monthly basis. You might also outsource this task.

Your pins are also linked to or associated with your website, email marketing, and other social media channels. Almost everything is cross-linked and has a purpose and flow that can be mapped out.

Let’s say you prefer writing. Your blog doesn’t just sit in your website archives. It’s a living, evolving part of your SEO!  SEO functions because of WORDS.

Your blogs can also be shared on social media, in various groups. It can be used in your email marketing to prepare your audience for the next stage or event in your business.. or even a launch.

Blogs can also be re-purposed and used as “lead magnets” to capture leads, as Facebook live broadcasts, podcasts, webinars/trainings. paid courses, or live speaking events.

Let’s say that you specialize in sports medicine, and YouTube is your jam.

A holistic marketing plan wouldn’t involve simply JUST posting on YouTube, although it’s a great start! Your channel will also likely be linked to other social media channels, such as FB lives. (You can upload your live videos to YouTube after converting it)

You can use your videos as part of an email marketing campaign geared towards say, runners. This campaign can also branch out and link to local events, PR, media, getting links on other sites. You can use messenger funnels as well to help people prepare for race season.

These are just ideas I’m “riffing” on. As you can see, this isn’t necessarily about “scary tech things” but a very CREATIVE process as well.

This chart doesn’t even include paid ads, which is a good idea to introduce once you get some organic momentum built.

Another bonus: 

Once a content library is built, you have even MORE value to add to leads, patients, and clients. At this point you can create a paid Facebook group or membership area. The vision for a funnel will also start to form.

Why You Need a Holistic Marketing Plan

• People do their research before they buy. Especially in healthcare. This is a trend that is continuing to gain traction. Having a presence online just makes sense. You want to be the one that people find when searching for information!

• People also DO like to “binge” on information that “hits the spot” or resonates for them. There’s plenty of room out there and plenty of clients who will appreciate the unique things that you offer, and the way you present it.

• You can capitalize on the synergy of these systems. As you start to implement in an intentional manner, the momentum and energy increases.

In other words, for example, your blog will start to “feed” your SEO. Your blog will also be the creative basis for your podcast. Your podcast directs traffic to your website. This increased traffic leads to better SEO, which of course helps your blog. Your blog is loaded with calls to action (CTA’s) which leads to more phone calls, conversions, and sales.  Now we have created a nice circle of momentum!

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

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

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

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

How to Start A Holistic Marketing Plan

I don’t want you to think that you must have ALL of these components in place at once!

It’s easy to look at the websites of colleagues that have been practicing for a while and feel inadequate.

Even though you can, and should implement your plan and your offerings quickly (successful people don’t take 6 months to write a lead magnet or define their target audience, they act quickly) having a stable and effective system in place still takes time.

Here’s where I recommend starting. I promise it doesn’t have to be painful or expensive or have you feeling defeated right out of the gate!

1. Check in with your mindset. First, in the spirit of creating a holistic system, I think that it is important to get your own mindset in a good place, and make sure that you are actually in “alignment” with your services and message.

This may sound like “coach speak” but it’s true. You can force yourself to implement an elaborate system, but if you have deep-seated and subconscious doubts that conflict with your plans, you will end up doing a lot of work for nothing. This can cause you to feel even more defeated.

Worse yet, you may never even begin due to subconscious mindset blocks.

I’m not going to go too deeply into alignment in this blog. I don’t want to leave you hanging, either, but I will be writing more about this in the near future.

In the meantime, there are some wonderful spaces on Facebook to get you started not only in finding support, but getting help if you need it when you feel as if all of this is just one big uphill battle.

In a nutshell, it will take more than just “motivation,” which as they say, is one of the most temporary substances on earth!  A holistic marketing plan is for the LONG haul.

2. Just blog.  You may not have any fancy ideas yet, but those blogs can be used in the future. They may be worth far more than you think. If you did step 1, you won’t run out of things to talk about for years! Hate to write? Record videos!  They can also be put to work.

3. Start Learning. Get acquainted with some of the basics so that it seems less daunting. Set aside a certain amount of time each week and study the basics of websites, SEO, and email marketing. I like Neil Patel for all things SEO.

I have a lot of free, low cost and personalized options for learning about WordPress and email marketing.

Note: It’s SUPER easy to get “into the weeds” with SEO. Take your time. I may create a list of good articles to start with.

3. Sign up. Start learning and experimenting and “poking around.” All you need is some time, no money is usually required.

Get started with email by signing up for a free service. I recommend Mailerlite rather than the “monkey” service, as it is easier to use, is set up better for automations, and has a better deliverability rate.

Take time to learn about the basics of email marketing by exploring this app. Set up a few mock automations. Create some test gmail accounts and practice writing great marketing emails and subject lines.

Other email services are somewhat similar. Before long, you will be a pro at it! Remember, you don’t need to learn it all in a day.

You can do the same with ManyChat or Chatfuel for chatbots. The concept is similar to email marketing.

This step will also help you begin to get a sense of what your first sales funnel may look like.

Note: I don’t recommend investing in most of the expensive SEO platforms until you have the other areas in place. However, I DO recommend checking out some free 30 day trials. I like Moz and SEOProfiler. Ahrefs is powerful but not beginner-friendly.

4. Familarize yourself with marketing terms. The online space has plenty of sites that speak in marketing jargon, which can be annoying even for those who are familiar with digital marketing. Many resources are geared towards large companies or e-commerce. It’s best to stick with what is relevant to your small, service-based business so that you don’t waste your time and get overwhelmed.

4. Do something FUN. Buy a $120 microphone (I like Blue Yeti) and start recording and learning about podcasting. There are plenty of great resources available for getting started with podcasting, and soon, I hope to one one of them!

..Or start learning how to use Canva and start creating your own pins. Create a slide deck using PowerPoint, KeyNote, or GoogleSlides for your next talk and master public presentations, and then take your talks online with webinars and trainings!

If video sounds the most interesting to you, you can experiment with basic editing with Camtasia (a one time fee of about $200) ScreenFlow, or Audacity, which is free. If you are REALLY into it, Final Cut Pro is also a great choice.

You can also dive into the world of WordPress for a small monthly investment: Usually from $5 -10 per month plus a domain name purchase, (typically around $15) I personally use and am happy with SiteGround, which has great customer service, no matter what level you are at.

This is a good way to learn in a controlled environment until you are ready to take your business site live. You might find that you actually enjoy building websites!

This is only a start.. there are SO many creative ways to create your message and communicate it to your audience.

If not, or you have other things to do with your time, knowing a bit about WordPress will still help you when you decide to outsource to a designer/developer.

You will also get an idea of how and why a site built on this platform is the most powerful, flexible, and not-so-difficult “home base” for a solid holistic marketing system.

A caveat: Don’t spend TOO much time with small things and let it eat up time that could be spent doing more “high leveraging” activities. Don’t think that you MUST do all these things. Pick one to start. If however, you have just as much fun playing with video editing software or building websites as you do watching movies, then go for it!

Which brings us to the last point:

5. Prioritize. If your business is at a certain stage where you are starting to build momentum, it’s not going to make sense for you to be playing with Canva to do a $8 an hour job when you will be better off acting as the CEO of your business ($100 or $1000 an hour jobs)

You will also need to build a real system if you want to grow a real business. It’s easy to get started with these techniques, but spending too much time in one area isn’t a great business strategy. Nor is spending too much time in the “passive zone” and not producing anything.

Know when it makes sense to outsource.

Need help with growing your holistic business with holistic marketing?   I would be glad to help. You can click on the burgundy button below for a free 30 min consultation.  I have also introduced coaching plans.. as of this writing, I have a 6 week one-on-one coaching option.

In the near future, I’ll be adding on group coaching and courses!

Visual learner? Here you go:

The holistic healer, digital marketer, and nomad: Business Lessons for 2019

The holistic healer, digital marketer, and nomad: Business Lessons for 2019

I’ve learned a lot in the past 6 years or so, but from 3 different things that seem to have nothing to do with each other. But they do.. they do!

How do I possibly explain what I do to people in a damn elevator speech?

I want to do more than just give people bullet points.. I  want to find the common thread in these 3 things and apply them in a way that makes sense and helps me make the world a better place.  I want to share not just my own experiences, but actual up and coming trends to watch for which will help you navigate your own path. (more…)