Do You Really Need Social Media To Market Your Wellness Business?

Do You Really Need Social Media To Market Your Wellness Business?

 Answer: It depends.

Social media is often misunderstood among solo entrepreneurs.

Even marketing experts tend to oversimplify social media, turning it into a binary, “this camp or that camp”  choice.

This article is part one of a 3 part series where I really want to go into more depth and answer some of your burning questions about social media for your wellness or coaching business.

First, let’s take a closer look at our collective love/hate relationship with social media.

What I like about social media:

1. I enjoy building a community, sharing, and taking in other interesting content from other entrepreneurs.

2. I like using social media, mainly Facebook, (yes, I know, I’m working on that) to make new friends and stay in touch with old friends because I live in a very isolated area where English is seldom spoken.

3. I can get some clients from social media in a way that feels organic and natural.

4. I use other channels that are labeled as “social media” but are really not social channels, but search engines.

For the record, I’m not against social media as a marketing tool at ALL.


Sometimes I resent the algorithms, distractions, fluff, and most of all, the amount of time I spend on it on some days. Although I am getting better at managing it all.

I also don’t think that social media alone is the most efficient or sustainable way to acquire high quality leads over the long haul.

Many entrepreneurs don’t really understand how social media can fit into their own marketing strategy.

Using it successfully, to me, is all about how to make it serve us instead of putting in endless hours that only end up serving the platform.

But how?

I started writing a listicle, and then decided that it’s not enough. To kick this whole series off.. I want to briefly address mindset and some deeply held beliefs about social media (regardless of age, experience, or frequency of use) that may also be getting in the way.

I want to emphasize that the first thing to address is the mindset of the business owner, because social media can get complex and even a little weird.

I’m not talking about who someone is as a person, but how they show up in their business. Their business acumen, development, and yes, maturity. This is a concept that the book The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber  explains very well, and I will take neither credit nor blame for it.

If you are a beginner at marketing, it’s normal to go through an infancy, chilhood, and adolescent stage in your business, but they can be accelerated by learning.

If you are already treating your business like a real (mature) business, you can skip ahead to part two of this series: 11 reasons why social media should not be the only tool in your toolbox.

If not (be honest) continue reading.

The first thing is to stop thinking ONLY as the technician in your business (working in your business) and spend time looking at this from the perspective of a CEO (working ON your business)

I’m going to go ahead and say it… many wellness entrepreneurs are not only not great at business.. they are proud of it and will defend it, even as they continue to struggle. They ONLY want to act as the technician or employee in their business. They don’t want to have to deal with any of the managerial or CEO duties.

This includes setting up systems so that you eventually move away from doing all the manual work in your business, because this is how to achieve a profitable and sustainable business over time.

I’ve even seen entrepreneurs who do work that may not seem to be conducive to repeatable systems.. such massage therapy, make it work, and brilliantly, I might add.

Mindset affects the way that the business owner thinks about and uses social media, whether it is:

  • As a visionary business owner
  • As primarily from the perspective of a consumer
  • As a distraction
  • As a cool “super tool” that takes the place of another process or tool that actually may be more effective for generating leads
  • As something to avoid altogether.

Once you are willing to be the visionary leader and gain some clarity about how you choose to use social meda, you’ll probably be ahead of the pack.

Here are three common examples of entrepreneurs who aren’t quite yet at the “mature business stage”and how they perceive the role of social media in their business:

Example 1.

A young female massage therapist posts in a Facebook group wondering why she’s not getting any clients from her Instagram account and is asking random laypeople to “share ideas” about how to solve this problem.

She might not even know where to begin, and is a newbie on social media.

Her business is in the infancy stage.

She is looking for some kind of direction, and it appears that by asking this question, she’s assuming that simply by posting, clients will decide to book with her immediately, but only if she learns the “secret sauce.”

She wonders if someone has some “tips” she can try out to “get more clients from her IG account.”

And the tips certainly do start rolling in.

The problem here is that she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know, but she doesn’t know that she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know.

Often in this scenario, when someone who IS qualified chimes in with free and unpressured advice or specific questions about her overall strategy, it’s usually ignored. Since every business is different, the real experts that show up know that in order to help her, they are going to need more information, even to dispense free advice in a comment.

But guess who gets thanked for their advice? If you guessed the one that gave video tips, you would be correct.

The first step is all about acknowledging that you don’t know what you don’t know, and seeking out some good beginner sources of information to get started.

We all need to start somewhere, and even I don’t know a lot of stuff that I’m not even aware of yet!

Sometimes it’s a little trickier:

Example 2.

A 60 year old life coach who is a self-described “technophobe” dislikes anything to do with using social media to market her business. She tries it once, without fully understanding how it can work within the context of her own unique business and preferences, and “fails” because she simply hasn’t bought into it or given it a chance to actually work.

So she uses this temporary “failure” as a reason not to take a close look at what’s working and what isn’t. Because she doesn’t like making data-driven decisions and prefers to rely only on her “gut” or emotions.

The resulting emotions “prove” that it doesn’t work and give her justification to quit. And in some ways, I don’t blame her. I’ve felt discouraged before, and this feeling sucks.

A good mentor  wouldn’t say “yeah, you just aren’t cut out for this.” They would listen, but still look at what’s happening objectively, and make suggestions about what can be tweaked, or teach her what metrics to look for and what they mean so that she is in a more empowered place.

She needs to know that this is normal and no reflection on her competence.

There are times when social media throws even the experts curve balls that have them wondering what the hell they got into this for.

This is where she might benefit from a coach that understands where she’s at and help her take small steps with social media, using channels she feels comfortable with, integrate it with what she already has, and to find ways to make it easier on herself.

Let’s say that she also avoids the foundational work of establishing her niche, ideal client, story, message, positioning, and making data-driven decisions (a scientific approach) just as our younger entrepreneur has done, because she’s only concerned about being in the present moment, and not about creating a system to handle many more clients in the future with ease and grace.

This mindset is very common in some industries, and it’s not really great for growth and sustainability, to be honest.

Example 3:

A 55 year old woman who is fairly savvy with technology and learning new systems is spending so much time on what’s new, that she neglects thinking about tried-and true ways to begin marketing her business.

She has a Facebook group and a neglected Instagram account and that’s about it, and she’s not getting the kind of traffic she would like to see on her website. Because she’s overwhelmed with distractions and the present moment, she missed some opportunities to grow her business without having to hustle quite so much.

She still doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. In fact, the more she learns, the more she’s convinced of it, and this is also causing some self-doubt and overwhelm. She spends too much time trying to make sense of conflicting perspectives about marketing, doesn’t trust her own judgement at times, and isn’t always focused on the right next steps.

She’s in the painful adolescent stage of her business.

She also needs to let go of some of the manual work and perfectionism that’s causing her to spend too much time on social media, and find ways to deal effectively with distractions.

She is a perfect example of a coach who needs a coach.

This woman was/is me.

As you can see, social media is often misunderstood both by young, frequent users and older business owners that don’t see the benefit of it and even resent it. It’s misunderstood by even those who some might consider an expert.

I can’t, and won’t talk about it without putting it in some kind of context.

If you are reading this, I’m going to guess that you aren’t interested in oversimplifying the complexities of social media today, and are willing to take on the role of the leader of your business.

There are many ways to make it work for you, even though it changes rapidly.

It’s also important, in my opinion, not to rely SOLELY on social media. I’ll even go ahead and say that it’s risky.

Find out more in Part Two of this series: 11 Reasons Why Social Media Should Not Be the Only Tool in Your Toolbox.

Wellness Professionals: Why you need to say NO to some patients and clients: A story

Wellness Professionals: Why you need to say NO to some patients and clients: A story

“I’m feeling burnt out and overwhelmed as a wellness practitioner.” Sound familiar?

Here’s why wellness professionals need to stop trying to help EVERYONE, honor their niche, and create a sustainable practice.

This is a story about deciding what kind of unique “cookies” (the kind you eat) you want to offer as a business owner. I’ll explain in a moment.

Note: not everyone is going to like this blog, and that’s ok. (I’m going to practice what I preach)

If you believe in your bones that it is your job and your mission to help everyone who asks for it, regardless of whether or not it makes sense for your business, your financial health, or your own well-being, don’t continue reading. I’m not going to try to convince you of anything, and that’s fine.

If you already understand that perhaps there are better and more creative ways to serve so that anyone can have access to what you do, ranging from:

• Free information: blogs, free talks, virtual events
• Intentional volunteer work
• Scholarships
• Books
• Group offerings, courses, and memberships
• Paid 1:1 services
• Bundled, premium VIP packages

AND If you believe that your TIME isn’t something that should be discounted.. ever.. (No more volume-based packages or sliding scales) are probably more likely to thrive in a new era, create a sustainable practice, and contribute to the sustainability of the entire wellness industry.  You have some solid boundaries in place.

Many wellness practitioners are somewhere in between. As a result, they feel resentment and burnout.

They may have a desire to create something on their own terms, but still feel pressure.. from patients, peers, teachers, mentors, and the general public, to help EVERYONE. For a discount.

If you are feeling a nagging and justifiable sense of resentment and burnout, this article is for YOU.

Because first and foremost, just like a retailer or restaurant or financial advisor, your practice is a business, not a hobby, and you don’t OWE any favors to anyone. Period. Let that sink in.

Your business, your offerings, and your prices are YOUR business. Not a duty. Not a “moral” obligation to serve in any way.. that anyone.. at any time.. demands.

Let me tell you a story.

Before I left for Europe in 2017, I had an acupuncture practice in the Denver area.

I remember once telling a colleague that I was implementing a pre-qualification system in order to attract only the kinds of patients I was equipped to and WANTED to serve. OK, I also bitched about a “less than ideal” patient and wanted to get some validation from peers I respected.


*Her reply: “Well, I don’t agree. I’m a service provider. It’s my job to help people.”

It was implied that somehow, my services were not to be taken seriously since I was interested in positioning my clinic and services in a very specific way, and that her ethics were superior to mine.

Unless you are providing essential (emergency) services, imo.. this seems a tad.. egotistical.

My truth that I want to share: You don’t have to put up with shit, AND this will help you be of MORE service.

Here’s why:

I firmly believe that you will best help your patients, clients, yourself and your entire industry by clearly defining ALL the criteria you work with:

Not just the “What..”but the “Who, When, Where, Why, and How…”

But also the “NOT who, when, where why and how.” In other words, the stuff you don’t want to deal with so that you can focus on delivering the “thing” you are known for. Your unique “cookie.”

Neglecting to define your unique “who when where why and how”  makes you a commodity and will bite you and eventually the entire health and wellness industry in the arse by de-valuing our services.

This also keeps you invisible, which will in turn deprives your potential patients and clients of your uniquely qualified services.

My colleague, who I still very much respect, has a lot of foot traffic in a visible area, and this is definitely an asset. She can provide much-needed services, including walk-ins, to her community. She devoted her “infrasructure” to serving her local area.

I applaud her.. AND..

What if you are gifted with working with hormone balancing for perimenopausal women, or are the go-to expert for thyroid conditions, but work in a building where there is NO foot traffic, in a city FULL of acupuncturists?

What if you would rather not have to depend on a full staff and insurance billing? You can certainly transform people’s lives and make a good living without all the overhead. In order to do this, you must be selective about your who, when, where, why, and how.

What if your services are offered only online? (I would never have proposed this question even a few years ago.. you can probably imagine why.)

Today, it is essential to define your Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How online. (YOUR cookie!)

Think about it this way:  Who do you want to find you on a Google search? If it’s just anyone that searches for “acupuncturist near me” you are going to get some prospects that you may want to screen out.

Let’s say it’s a 70 year old man who walks in, historically has not taken responsibility for his own health, is skeptical, takes up 2 hours of your time, and wants you to fix his back in one treatment for a discount. If you don’t “cure” him, it will confirm in his mind that “acupuncture doesn’t work.”

You know.. the ones that need an engine overhaul, but think they only need an oil change, and will demand the oil change and get mad at you and put your reputation at risk when their car still doesn’t run.

If this sounds far-fetched, this is the exact scenario I ran into. Patients who just walk in with their own expectations without any kind of introduction to my services, pre-qualification, or education.

Because we, as “alternative” health care providers often fail to provide those things and end up with writing a few blogs here and there about qi or liver stagnation, it’s ultimately our fault, even when we do everything else “perfectly” in our clinics.

This above scenario ended up wasting my time, money, and energy, as well as his, despite the fact that I was doing “all the right things” during our appointment:

  • I gave him my best effort, including giving him a lot of insight and information he could use whether he worked with me or not.
  • I was also clear that in his current condition he would need to see someone at least a few times per week for a while.
  • I took (compassionate) steps to refer him to a low-cost or student clinic for follow-up care, which he refused, being that they were more than 5 miles from his home.
  • He was happy when he left, but unsurprisingly, the pain came back a few hours later and he cancelled the next appointment, saying that “it didn’t work.”

Seriously, I was exhausted after this guy left. I promised myself “never again.”

By saying “yes” to some patients, I was stealing resources from myself and the patients I loved working with, and potentially putting my reputation at risk.

Looking back, I could have insisted that he look at my website (a new patient area/is our clinic right for you page, etc..) watch a video, or answer some pre-qualifying questions beforehand.

It’s ok to say: “I don’t want you to waste your time or mine by having you come in without taking 10 min, from home, to do X, Y, or Z. Since many already download their intake forms from home, it makes sense to put some pre-qual info on the same page.

My best patients were not only willing to do this, they appreciated it because it helped them figure out if I was the right choice before they spent any time visiting my clinic. I was helping them by respecting THEIR time.

After the COVID-19 crisis, this will make even MORE sense.

Pre-qualifying doesn’t mean you are “rejecting” care. It means you make it clear about whether or not you are a good match from the START, so that everyone can save time and make better decisions about a match and that unrealistic expectations are mitigated. (kind of like dating.)

You are also protecting your business, especially if you don’t have the staff and resources to work with anyone and everyone with a pulse. This doesn’t make you any less than a big “service provider.” In fact, because you don’t have a big clinic with a lot of overhead and because you are focused, you may very well be in a better position to serve YOUR patients and clients. (Target vs. a boutique)

It’s our JOB to pre-qualify and refer out when needed.. to define our work, expectations, and to educate.

This also helped me ATTRACT my ideal patients.

My favorite patients (which was almost ALL of them) actually read my website.

Again, I want to emphasize.. always request that new patients visit your website.. whether it’s for a video or intake forms or a blog or FAQ page. You’ll be able to tell how committed they are if they take these steps, and you will have an easy way to complete your screening process by asking the right questions.

The primary content (blogs, videos, podcasts) you write or produce is for THEIR benefit, not to tell them how great acupuncture is or to showcase all your qualifications.

My ideal patients sought me out because I took the time to create a LOT of content that they could use to research NOT only about my clinic and services, but general, qualified, and researched information about back and hip pain, shoulder pain and other conditions.

I put myself in their shoes. If I were doing research to find out what to do about chronic shoulder pain, or back and hip pain, what would I want to know? Especially if I was an athlete, or considering surgery? (and you bet I spoke to my ideal patient avatar directly)

I generously gave all the useful info I could (within my scope of practice, of course..) to help people more easily make a choice, whether or not they chose to work with me.

The content itself and the way it is written is also a good way of both attracting those I wanted to work with and filtering out those that I didn’t want to work with.

Actually, I’m doing this now.. by making a bold statement that defines what I’m about. The ones who are more in alignment with my colleague will probably self-select out of my “tribe”.. which is totally fine.

The ones who are in alignment with me will be glad that I didn’t water down my message. In the end, everyone will appreciate that I was clear, which allows them to make their own choice. 

This is what modern marketing is about. It’s about introducing people to your world, giving great information, and YES.. choosing and defining your ideal patient or client and focusing on THEM.

This applies to any wellness business, regardless of  your business model. Even if you have figured out how to deliver your services at a high volume without sacrificing quality, income, ur sustainability, these principles of marketing in a new era will still apply.

So what does this all have to do with cookies?

I also had a friend, who happened to be a successful business owner. He was also a patient from time to time.

One day, we were talking about business in general over coffee. I told him about the mindset of some of my colleagues and the pressure I was feeling at the time to say YES to everyone.

He told me: *”Wow, would I walk into a vegan pizza restaurant and ask for a burger? Would I walk into a bar and demand that they play the music I want to hear and stock the wine I want to drink? Would I ask for ice cream if you sold cookies?  Why would I walk into your clinic and tell you what or how or where or when you should do your job? That’s just weird.

He told me that “my clinic was “MY cookie,” and that I could do whatever I wanted with it. I was a business owner, not a state-employed medical service provider for the masses.

And that’s why he chose me.

I’ll never forget his words. Acupuncture is a service, but first and foremost, it’s a business.

I’m also not getting any younger, so I’m more selective and discerning about how I spend my precious time and energy.

For example, let’s say I choose to work with veterans for free a few times per month. If I were burnt out from spending time with “less than ideal” patients, I wouldn’t have had the time or energy or resources to even consider offering my services for free.

Now my free stuff is in the  form of blogs, podcasts, or video trainings. Should I one day I have the resources and inclination,  I can CHOOSE to mentor or offer a scholarship to someone who meets certain criteria. Again, I can’t do this if I continually discount my time to everyone and trap myself in a place where I can’t effectively help anyone.

Some of my colleagues and people I knew from school might disagree, and this is because they perceive themselves as healers with both the power and responsibility to take care of everyone, all the time.

Their “What” is THE MEDICINE, (or their credentials) Their “Who” is EVERYONE. (or sick people) Their “When” is ALL THE TIME. Their “HOW” is some kind of puritanical or esoteric technique to Rule Them All.

Their “Why,” it seems to me, is about serving their ego as a healer, not about providing something unique, relevant, sustainable, and very much needed to a specific type of patient who is hoping to find the perfect match for THEM.

YOUR services are not a commodity. Just like those that took a basic concept like pizza and made it their own, in my opinion, that’s our job too, as health care providers. We can provide more choices and higher quality. We can create something that our ideal patient or client has been SEARCHING for, instead of having to settle for a generalist with discounted prices. 

The income we earn from that can be used to help even MORE people on a DEEPER, more transformational level. The choice is yours.

You CAN say NO, so that you can say YES to the things that matter most, for you and your patients and clients. 

It’s YOUR Cookie.

Are you a “rebel” wellness practitioner?

If you’ve read this far.. I’m guessing that you would LOVE the Rebel Wellness Entrepreneurs membership.

What’s in it for you?

• It’s a low-cost, low-risk way to find out more about everything from mindset to “tech stuff.” It’s perfect  if you are tired of doing things the same way that everyone else is doing (or if it’s no longer working for you)

• You can participate at any level: From exploring new videos, blogs (and soon, a podcast) to being a contributor and promoting YOUR stuff (I have a list of expertise that I’m seeking)

• There’s unique, useful, relevant, up-to-date and “rebel friendly” content.. plus fresh content each month

Check out Rebel Wellness Entrepreneurs and get a 7 day free trial!

Growing Your Wellness Practice With Holistic Marketing

Growing Your Wellness Practice With Holistic Marketing

Is the ecosystem of your wellness practice healthy and thriving?

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the formal definition of holistic: 

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

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

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

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

The results are the same.

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

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

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

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

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

This can be tricky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is why content marketing is still a good idea. 

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

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

Some examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to start expanding your awareness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This connection can flow in the other direction as well:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benefits of creating a holistic marketing plan

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

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

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

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

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

How to get started.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Likely, nobody. Ever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.  Social media: Choose your platform 

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

Do you want to:

• Create a community in a Facebook group?

• Leverage YouTube and Pinterest for their search functions? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They also see your case studies and 5 star reviews.

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

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

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

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

Then the magic happens:

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

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

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

We’ve come full circle!

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

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

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

Holistic marketing: Everything is connected

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

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

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

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

It gets even better..

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

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

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

Which reminds me..

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

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

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

virtual health and wellness events

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

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

Now go have fun with this.. Seriously!

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

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

I get it.. time IS MONEY!

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

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

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

This course is also updated every year. 

If you prefer to get some in-depth guidance for your business, simply apply to get started.  

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…)

A Year End Review to Make 2021 a Success

A Year End Review to Make 2021 a Success

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

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

Here we go: 

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

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

Some surprising things come up from this exercise.

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

Do You Have a Mental Block With Technology?

Do You Have a Mental Block With Technology?

First all, I totally get it. I have a mental block when it comes to TV remotes.

I don’t mind if something is engineered in a way that makes logical sense.. but often TV remotes don’t. At least not to me. Why is it that it’s like having to break the lock system of a high security bank? Why do I have to ask some  teenager to do it for me when I can figure out plenty of other “tech-y” things? (more…)