11 Ways to Keep Your Wellness Website Competitive in 2022

11 Ways to Keep Your Wellness Website Competitive in 2022

A successful website in 2022 is one that is FOUND.

The first step: Making sure that you understand the role of SEO in your wellness or coaching practice so that the very people you are meant to help can actually FIND you when they do their research.

Spoiler alert: This article is just as much about how to boost your credibility online as it is about SEO. It may seem kind of boring, but this will all help you with both website traffic, and ultimately conversions (booking more patients) because you will be a trusted expert in your niche. 

There is a LOT to SEO, and it changes rapidly. There’s “technical” SEO, which covers ranking factors like site speed, loading time, and a lot more.. too many to list here.

Then there’s “on page” SEO, which helps Google understand what each piece of content on your website is about. The better Google understands your content, the higher you’ll rank in search, which means more organic traffic. This is about things like title tags and keywords. 

And then there is something called “off page” SEO, which is all about external sites linking to yours.

Some of these factors overlap. For example, faster loading speeds will improve user engagement, and the more high quality content on your site, the more likely other reputable websites will link back to yours.

Here’s a nice visual of the different types of SEO ranking factors.

You will notice that a HUGE percentage is dedicated to niche expertise and writing consistent high quality content. As in 38%. So although things like loading speed is super important, and many SEO’s will have you think that technical SEO is the ONLY thing to focus on, but the truth is that there’s a lot you can do that is already woven into how you are showing up in the world: Writing and sharing your great content.

This does put some of the responsibility back you YOU.  Let’s level it up a notch this year!

Another point I want to bring up: Search isn’t even just about Google. Did you know that YouTube, Pinterest, and even TikTok are also search engines?

Did you also know that:

1. People research before they buy, especially for health services

2. People using search tools are generally more ready to make a purchase

There’s a lot to unpack on this topic. This article will focus on Google, the health industry as a whole, ethics, and how to position yourself so that you will come out ahead despite the setbacks that have affected the health and wellness industry in the past few years.   I’ll do my best to put this all in plain English,  and throw in a little bit of lightness and humor, because I know it’s not the most sexy topic. 

Grab some coffee..

First of all, I want to say something very important,. I really want you to hear this and take it in.: You can’t rely ONLY on social media to grow your business.  Any digital marketer worth their salt will tell you this. 

Social media gets a lot of attention these days. It’s a “sexier” topic, for one. Some would even say that social media is the “new SEO.” There is some truth to this, since SEO and social media are more interconnected than ever before, and because of the many search tools that are available today.

Remember:

People don’t generally DISCOVER acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, and other wellness professionals on social media.. they SEARCH for them, based on their own set of criteria. Usually, this is still via “Dr. Google.”

YOU are Dr. Google.

80% of Internet users have searched for a health-related topic online. (1)

This is why creating good content and optimizing it for SEO is absolutely critical.

Before I get to the “good news,” it’s my ethical duty to make sure you are aware of the “bad news” when it comes to your website’s Google ranking and traffic numbers.

Why your rankings or traffic may have dropped in the past few years (and why it’s not your fault)

If you have been doing this for a while already as a practitioner, you may have noticed  that information about alternative health and wellness  is not turning up on the first page of Google search results like it was when you first started. (Ah, the good old days when we weren’t pushed below everything WebMD and LiveStrong ever wrote about everything, including our own area of expertise)

There is an old SEO joke: “Where is the best place to hide a body? A: On the second page of a SERP (Google search result) Yikes! I’m here to help you do something about that.

So what’s turning up on page one for health-related search queries?

You’ve probably seen search results that show you a handful of large, institutional health websites, even when your intention was to find solutions from “alternative” health sources.

Some well-known examples of “institutional” sites include:

WebMD (which openly partners with pharmaceutical companies)
Healthline (originally launched in 1999, it owns Drugs.com, Livestrong, Greatist, MedicalNewsToday)
VerywellHealth (partners with the Cleveland Clinic, started as an About.com company)
Many Hospital websites (such as UMMC, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Sloan-Kettering, NYU, etc.)
Governmental institutions (NIH/Pubmed, CDC, ODS, FDA, etc.)

This is because of several core updates released by Google in the past few years:

• MEDIC (August 1, 2018) This update negatively affected a lot of health websites, especially those in the natural or “alternative” realm.

• E.A.T. (Not a core update, but a theory that algorithms are based on) It stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthyness.

• BERT. BERT is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. … In short, BERT can help computers understand language a bit more like humans do.

Generally, these changes resulted in some high-quality sites losing traffic overnight. Some sites also saw an INCREASE in traffic and rankings.

This created quite a stir. To this day, health and wellness website rankings and traffic can be volatile.

Here is a list of sites that have taken a big hit:

Dr. Mercola
Dr. Axe
Wellness Mama
SelfHacked
MindBodyGreen
Dr. Weil
Chris Kresser
Bulletproof
Mark’s Daily Apple
PaleoHacks

To make matters even more challenging for many wellness professionals, the pandemic put many in a tough spot.

Here’s why:

• The general trend seems to be heading in the direction of cracking down on fake news, hate speech, and false information.

This makes sense at times.

Unfortunately, your business, your message, and the way you help your patients and clients may have been lumped into this category, almost overnight, even if you fit the E.A.T. criteria. Whether this is intentional or the result of algorithms that aren’t yet sophisticated enough to detect the difference between “non mainstream” and fake news isn’t really clear.

To be fair, this is also happening with news and financial websites, so it’s not a matter of Google picking on the alternative health industry.

Regardless, these changes still can make it challenging for conscientious wellness practitioners. Let me illustrate this for you:

Let’s say you are a doctor of oriental medicine with some functional medical training. You do your research and have published a number of articles, making you an authority. You are trusted and reviewed by your peers, and have a long list of happy patients that you’ve helped.

Let’s say that you’ve always focused on optimizing immunity each fall so that cold and flu season is less impactful on your patients. I’m also assuming that:

  • You genuinely have helped hundreds of patients get well and feel great. People actively seek you out.
  • You are taking all the necessary precautions and are responsible about how you see patients in the post COVID era.
  • You aren’t selling snake oil or anything potentially dangerous. You stick to your ethical duty to “first, do no harm.” You sell herbal products and supplements that deliver good results for your patients.
  • You don’t have any conflicts of interest about the information you provide or the services or products you sell, nor do you make any claims that you can “cure” a serious illness

This may not be good enough in today’s climate.

It’s complicated, but stick with me, because this is important.

Because of all the changes in the world, the Google updates, and even the pandemic, there’s a  chance that your intentions may be taken out of context, even though you never presented your protocols or methods or therapies as a “cure.”

You may not be “fact checked” or censored, but you will likely find that your rankings have fallen for broad keywords like “alternative treatments for migraines” or that your website is losing a lot of traffic if  you are relying on competitive keywords, which are very difficult to rank for regardless of the new changes.

And you wouldn’t be the first or the last website that has taken a serious hit this year.

 • The pandemic along with these algorithm changes have accelerated the obsolescence of the “village healer” and the “acupuncture treats these 80 conditions” concepts. (which were already on their way out) 

Now, in order to succeed and gain the status of an expert,  it’s more important to have a solid niche. Being vague won’t help more people find you.. In fact, the opposite is true.(2)

This has to do with both positioning and SEO:

The local markets  are saturated with “village healers” who claim to heal every condition. If you are a consumer looking for someone to help with thyroid issues and weight gain, who would you pick:

Acupuncturist A: The village healer who can treat 80 conditions who loves to talk about acupuncture but only gives a few short blurbs with generic info that you could probably easily find from one of the big health websites..

…but doesn’t answer any of your burning questions about your condition, what you seek in an acupuncturist, the results you want to achieve, and WHY you want to achieve them…

OR

Acupuncturist  B: The go-to expert on thyroid health, who answers all your burning questions in detail, and makes the process enjoyable. You just resonate with them, and know that they are the ONE. At this point, you may not even care where they are located.

Today, more and more people are going with acupuncturist B, because the shift towards virtual care and the need to address very specific problems. Location and convenience are far from the only factors taken into consideration when people choose a wellness practitioner (3)

As of this writing, it’s likely that location will become even less important of a deciding factor, especially since people have more options, such as telehealth, group programs, DIY courses, weekly-check ins, and more.

Acupuncturist B is positioning himself or herself as an expert in a specific niche not just to compete in today’s changing market, but to build trust and establish authority. The E.A.T factor.

Because of this, wellness professionals  have to come up with content that positions them as experts, often to an audience that may extend beyond their local area. At the same time, they are less likely to rank for those coveted, “non-local” keywords like “5 alternative treatments for migraines.”

It’s putting practitioners in a tough spot. Even before all these changes, it was still VERY hard to complete with the Wellness Mamas and the Dr. Mercolas out there, but now it’s almost impossible to compete for the keywords that have the most search volume.

Yikes!

There is another reason why the “village healer” model is on its way out: Search engines favor laser-focused, specific, thorough, and authoritative content. This is how wellness practitioners will need to show up online in order to compete not just with their peers, but with their websites in the SERPs. 

Many businesses have had to change their content marketing and SEO strategy.  Please keep reading.. Because there IS hope and a silver lining to all of these changes!

These changes have also affected your potential patients or clients. 

It isn’t just businesses that have been impacted.

Search engine result pages (SERPS) are becoming less and less diverse, and in my opinion, it doesn’t make it easier for the user to find exactly what they are looking for if the SERPS are dominated by the “big health institutions.”

I’m confident that many people are still interested in solutions that lie outside the mainstream.

I firmly believe that individuals can and should make up their own minds about what to do with this information. They can’t do this if they don’t have access to the information that they intend to find and are actively looking for.

One example would be “natural treatments for cancer.” This is getting into complex territory, so I’m going to use a less controversial and loaded example to illustrate my point:

Exact words typed into a Google search query:

What is the best way to treat an ankle injury?

Intent: Your average person who recently sprained their ankle. They aren’t savvy about sports medicine or performance. They don’t know enough to know about the ice vs. no-ice controversy. Their search results will probably look something like this:

Let’s look at another example. The exact words typed into a Google search query:

Does ice really work for treating an acute injury? 

The intent: An athlete heard from his acupuncturist and coach and from some other respected sources that ice isn’t the best option for healing an injury. He wants to find out as much as he can, and obviously has some previous knowledge. He’s a bit savvier than the person who would type in “What to do for an ankle injury.”

He wants to review the research and make his OWN decision about his health.

Wow.. look what came up! This is an even more controversial topic than I thought.

Here’s the thing.

If someone doesn’t know what they don’t know..  that they may have more choices than the typical R.I.C.E. protocol, they will never see these results.

As we can see from our first example above.. any dissenting perspectives that veer from the “scientific consensus” even though they may also solidly rooted in evidence-based research, will be pushed  far down in the search results. There is also the question of whether this consensus is based on science, or whether these sites are simply copying each other.

I respect evidence-based medicine. I also respect innovation, hard work, and continued testing and do NOT trust sources that lead with lazy thinking. The jury’s not in yet about this ethical dilemma, but it’s something we can’t just ignore.

Regardless of what your views are on this controversial topic, you will need to start paying more attention to how to get your message out there in a new climate that isn’t easy for those practicing healthcare outside the mainstream.

Remember, at least for now, Google’s algorithms favor WebMD, Healthline, the Mayo Clinic, and similar sites.

You are NOT Powerless, nor do I think we need to resign ourselves to a Matrix-like doom and gloom scenario.

Here’s what you CAN Do to make sure your website gets noticed and gets traffic

There’s not much we can do about Googles core updates or algorithms. They happen. But I don’t want you to freak out about them. Sometimes they even benefit a website. There are also experts that actually help businesses recover from core updates.

There are things you can do right now that will empower you and increase the odds of your website ranking in Google (and other search engines)

1. Embrace science 

Science can work just as much in  your favor as for big health corporations and big Pharm.

More than ever, wellness professionals  need to be meticulous about where they get their information. They must cite their sources, issue disclaimers, and play the game.. but in their own way.

Going back to the E.A.T. theory. As a wellness professional, it is absolutely, positively essential for you to hold yourself to this standard, and more. You can acknowledge the mainstream but still offer a broader perspective and more choices for those who are serious about doing their research.

Do your research.  Don’t just cherry-pick your data. Do a deep-dive. Look for conflicting information, patterns, and possible biases or conflict of interest. Use the scientific method to ask questions, propose a hypothesis, conduct experiments, and test theories.

Be honest about your findings, the quality of the studies you cite, and the actual conclusions.

Many wellness professionals were trained how to find and interpret good studies that back up their claims. Many studies, including those for mainstream treatments and protocols, often conclude with “more studies need to be done” or “results are still inconclusive.”

Use clear language that shows you understand how science works, including qualifying phrases such as “may help in ________.” or “studies show that _________  is effective for_______.

Competent and informed wellness professionals  won’t speak in absolutes when talking about science by saying “The science” “proves” that ______ is more effective for say, treating injuries. Rather, a respectable scientist would say “More studies are showing that _______ is counterproductive for treating both acute and chronic injuries and that ______ is more effective”

Use the disclaimers you were taught to use in your ethics class, especially when speaking out potentially serious issues like cancer or depression.

Cite your sources

Present objective facts, and aim to be as unbiased as you can.

Don’t discredit mainstream or traditional medicine in general. You can state your case, but present all sides.

List the pros and cons of each choice you present to the reader. Let them decide from there.

Offer integrative solutions, and link to doctors and other professionals you are currently partnering with.

Keep looking for studies and put more of them on your website! It’s amazing how few practitioners actually do this. In the eyes of both Google and real humans, this will make you a real pro.. and a quotable, sharable, and “linkable” authority in your field and niche.

Show that you respect the current research, but have an open mind.

Remember this: It wasn’t long ago that patients were advised bed rest and immobilization after many types of orthopedic surgery, or that an ACL repair procedure that was considered fringe even 10 years ago is now common.

There has to be room for voices outside the conservative mainstream, or there’s no room for science, which is all about asking questions, forming hypotheses, testing them, and making new discoveries.

Some still insist on calling this type of information “dangerous” or “conspiracy.” I don’t think that blanket statements like this, applied to all theories and practices regarding alternative medicine, is appropriate.

• Be cautious and intentional about how you present your case based on observational studies.

Here’s the definition I found for empirical evidence:

Under this definition, we could include thousands of years of observation as empirical evidence of the efficacy of say, Chinese herbal medicine.

To me, this is valid. As you know, practicing medicine isn’t the same thing as conducting a study.. In particular, the “gold standard” of double-blind studies. Medicine is both a science and an art, with a big dose of ethics thrown into the mix.

But this doesn’t mean that we can, or should be, complacent.

Studies are a GOOD thing. I believe that TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a treasure trove of brilliant healing concepts and practices. Studies won’t necessarily make or break our careers as acupuncturists, but they play an important role in advancing the medicine and giving it context in the modern world.

Going back to the E.A.T. theory and SEO, it’s probably a good idea to present your case primarily  via published studies rather than data based purely on observation.

This does NOT mean that you can’t give your own professional opinion based on your own experience as a practitioner or even as a patient. Just be clear about what is objective fact and what is subjective.

(I did my best to do just that in this article)

What if my practice  is pretty much 100% “woo?”

I’m going to write another blog on this topic. Many of my clients are, in fact, on the “woo” end of the spectrum.  It’s a good question, because there is a very good market for “woo.”

2. Include your modality in your keywords and use long-tail keywords

Keywords are phrases that are included in your title, HTML title tags, or in the body of your web page or blog that reflect what you consider your ideal patient or client would be typing into a Google search query.

For example: “can emotions cause headaches?” or “chiropractor near me who specializes in headaches” Remember to use THEIR language, not yours!

Don’t worry, this doesn’t involve code. You’ll see options when you format your blog or pages on your website for H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6. Use H1 for the title only. I use H2 tags for the introduction (The large type you see below)

Here’s an example of a keyword I used in the H1 tag (title) and for the H2 tags in the intro, below:

This will help the people that really want to find you.. find you.

Remember, your ideal patient or client avatar may not be satisfied with yet another mainstream health search result. They may keep scrolling, just so they can find what they are looking for.

Or, more likely, they may end up typing in words like “acupuncture” or “alternatives to drugs for migraines” when they do a Google search.

There are plenty of people out there who are looking specifically for information about how acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, or chiropractic can help them. Alternative medicine isn’t going away any time soon.

The downside: You may not be able to attract those who haven’t the first clue that acupuncture or chiropractic could solve their problem. This means that you’ll be reaching more people that already understand the value of these modalities and less people that are less educated and will land on the more mainstream options.

This isn’t necessarily a BAD thing.. Especially if your ideal patients (the people you work best with) happen to be more savvy.

How do we educate those who don’t know what they don’t know.. who are interested in viable and long-lasting health solutions, but don’t even know that your awesome services exist?

By using keywords/phrases that contain the words your ideal patient or client is looking for based on their intent and stage in the buying cycle or customer journey.  

If someone isn’t ready to buy yet but is exploring options, consider writing a blog just for people in this stage. I wouldn’t bother writing a blog for people who are not open to non-traditional options or what you offer.  Focus on phrases that will pique interest for those who are more open, curious, and looking for a different solution. 

You also want to use something called long-tail keywords. They are super specific phrases that may not get as much search volume as a broad keyword like “acupuncture” or “acupuncture for headaches,” which are very, very difficult to rank for.

It is possible to rank for keywords like “auricular acupuncture for hormone-related migraines” or “7 remedies for hangovers from traditional Chinese medicine.”

Remember, people who are doing their research but aren’t ready to book an appointment with you probably aren’t going to be searching for “acupuncturist in Littleton” just yet. Give them information they can actually use when doing general research!

There are other ways, such as using social media and podcasts to get the word out, but you want to help those who are actively searching for a healthcare provider using Google.

3. Focus on wellness

One of the main things that alternative health has going for it is its focus on wellness.

Some of us may do well by shifting our message by focusing not so much on pathology, but wellness. This shift has the potential to reach a bigger audience. This is especially true on social media channels like Facebook, which won’t approve paid advertising unless the message is a positive one.

I know that there are many practitioners that focus on specific conditions. They are highly trained in their niche.

There’s no doubt that the same people who are required to undergo vigorous training for 3-4 years and invest a lot of time, money and energy into their work, and who are bound by the same ethics, laws, and regulations that other health care providers are, deserve their title as health care professionals or “Dr.”

It could also be worth it to tweak your focus away from being the “healer” to wellness and transformation. This is what I did in my acupuncture practice. I fared well when I focused on both functional medicine that could be backed up with good studies, in combination with a focus on wellness.

This is a win/win because it helps you set your patients and clients up for long-term success by showing them a clear path they can take to achieve transformation.

This shift will be reflected in your message, the language you use, in your branding, and even the way you work with patients and clients. In my opinion, this can be a very positive thing.

It may also give you some more leeway when it comes to the criteria Google is now using to rank heath and wellness sites. (and of course, as I mentioned earlier, with Facebook)

Granted, some may say that it’s harder to “sell” wellness than a solution to an actual problem. Keep in mind that the “problem” can be a desire for increased athletic performance, to look younger and more vibrant, to have great skin, to feel good about ourselves, to avoid burnout, and to do the things we love.

make your wellness website competitive in a changing market

You can make a list of problems and desires focusing on optimizing health.

This approach isn’t going to be right for everyone, but it could be just the thing for some practitioners.

4. Include social proof: anecdotal statements and the “human factor” still count

Make sure to encourage happy patients to leave a review. Make sure to stay on top of your “reputation management” strategy by addressing any negative reviews quickly and professionally.

Testimonials still count. People still have a right to make healthcare decisions based not only on what Google thinks they need to know, but on all the criteria that is available to them.

Testimonials are not the ONLY way to to add the “human factor” into your message so that your ideal client or patient feels as though they’ve found “the one” who is a perfect fit.

Put yourself in their shoes. If all they see is mainstream information and generic acupuncture sites, and you wanted to do some thorough research online about balancing your hormones, let’s say because of recent weight gain) what would you be thinking, at your laptop or phone? What would you type into Google?

What would you scroll past?

This includes:

• Reviews and testimonials..

• Images

• Verbal communication: blogs, podcasts, how phone calls are answered, language, etc.

• Bedside manner (a “vibe” you get from their online presence or a review)

• Office decor and comfort

• Humor

• A general “vibe” or more intuitive ways to determine who is the “best fit.”

Especially when there is a large number of candidates to choose from with similar levels of expertise and authority.

I’ll give you a personal example. About 20 years ago, I had a choice between working with 2 orthopedic surgeons who were both likely equally capable, at least in the eyes of Google.

 I made my final decision based on the the fact that surgeon #1 was more on the leading edge of his profession. He worked with professional athletes and amateur athletes like me. He seemed to genuinely care about whether or not I could “get back into the game” or not. The clinic had a better vibe for me than surgeon #2’s clinic.

Surgeon #2:  The clinic  was conservative, dimly lit, filled with people twice my age, and didn’t serve my needs.

Their “bedside manner” wasn’t great either: The X-ray tech yanked on my arm to position me for an Xray to rule out a shoulder dislocation.. Ouch. Yeah.

You can still highlight these “human” factors into your messaging and even into your keywords:

“Get treated like the athlete you are and get back in your game fast.” Then make sure you deliver on that promise.

5. Optimize your local SEO

Because of the recent pandemic, people may not be quite as focused on location anymore. There are more options available because of telehealth visits, courses, group programs, and Zoom check-ins. Expanding some of your search efforts to include the entire state you are licensed in, or if you are getting into coaching, potentially the entire world, is a good strategy.

Disclaimer: The laws regarding your scope of practice and how you can promote your practice vary from region to region, and can be a bit gray. Of course, you’ll need to do your own investigation and/or get legal advice to find out what works for you.

Even if you expand your practice and become more location-independent, don’t neglect local SEO. If you have a brick-and-mortar practice, don’t stop focusing on local search terms like “chiropractor in Tucson.” Those keywords are still valuable, and you’ll want to aim for #1 for most of them.

Of course, you also want to optimize your Google My Business profile.

You may also want to do a site audit to determine the health of your local SEO. I recommend BrightLocal for this task.

This tool will help you with making sure that all your citations and directory listings are up to date

6. EAT and NAP

No, I don’t mean eat and then take a nap.  Then again, the nature of this blog may require another cup of coffee before we go on.. I’ll wait! (and yes, I couldn’t resist sneaking in a pic of one of my favorite doggos, because after researching all of this SEO stuff.. I’m craving some time with them!)

I already introduced you to the concept of E.A.T.

In a nutshell, this means that websites that contain information that could be a matter of life or death.. (Or other consequences, such as financial gain or ruin) must be held up to a higher standard than other websites in other industries. (YMYL/Your money or your life)  (4)

Keep developing your Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and make connections to others who do the same.

You may want to avoid associating your website and brand with sites that look sketchy or that do not meet certain standards based on E.A.T.

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. When there is outdated or conflicting NAP information floating around on the internet, it will also undermine your website authority, and in turn, your rankings and traffic.

Make sure that your information is kept up to date. Again, BrightLocal is a good tool for this.

7. Make sure that your content matches your headline, that your headline delivers what it promises, and that you blog answers the questions your ideal patient is looking for.

First, don’t use clickbait.

I know that this probably isn’t your style or that of most wellness professionals, but don’t make fantastic claims like “Lose your bellyfat in a week” or _______can cure________.

This won’t make you look great in the eyes of Google, or likely your ideal patient or client.

Make sure that  your title and the first line of your blog are in alignment. (I’ll show you what this looks like in a moment)

Your title can still be intriguing without being clickbait or using any cutesy or clever titles:

.

When they do land on your page, make sure it is SUPER clear how their question will be answered or resolved, right away, without having to scan through a paragraph of text to find out if the page you are on is useful and relevant.

Make sure the visitor isn’t inundated by ads or irrelevant information.

Be sure that you blog isn’t just a philosophical rambling or  a long talk about how great you are. Put yourself in the head of your ideal patient avatar (You must do this exercise!) and answer their questions as thoroughly as you can. Google favors these types of blogs over “shallow content.”

8. Always keep in mind the intent of your ideal patient or client avatar, so that you can help them find you. 

If you’ve been following me long enough, or any other digital marketer for that matter, you already know how important it is to take the time to create a DETAILED ideal patient or client avatar. 

Do NOT skip this step. When you have your avatar, use it to inform EVERY piece of content you write or produce, and for keyword research.

Remember, you aren’t writing for yourself. That’s what your personal journal is for. You are writing for THEM.  You may think you know what motivates them, but if you keep talking about how great acupuncture or chiropractic or whatever your modality is, you are missing the mark. People don’t care about these things. They want to know how these things can help them solve a problem or fulfill a desire.

This is a continual process.. I’m also still working on refining my message!

9.  Start using other search engines

I’m a forward-thinking kind of person. I’m all for exploring other options besides Google, which in my opinion, is teetering on the verge of having too much power. (arguably, this has already happened)

It may be worth it to check out other search engines like Bing or DuckDuckGo and see what kinds of search results you come up with. Go ahead and check them out, and compare your results to Google.

• Do you see more diversity in the results?

• Was it easier or harder to find what you are looking for?

• Do you think that potential visitors may have an easier time finding you on other search engines?

• Might you possibly want to optimize for other search engines? (That’s another blog for another day)

• Could it be that giving other search engines a chance is a way to vote against a monopoly?

Your choice.

10. Author your own content and create an author profile

Remember, Google wants to know that the content on your site is coming from a qualified professional and not some underpaid employee who writes low-quality or syndicated, regurgitated blogs. Don’t waste your money on the latter.

If your primary method of delivering your content is via your blog, either take the time to write your own content or pay someone who is a qualified expert to write your content and then review it.

My take: You spent a lot of time doing research and writing papers while you were in school. In my opinion, this is part of the job of a medical or  health professional.. To keep learning, researching, and documenting cases. This can be carried over into your marketing efforts in some ways, but you’ll still want to write in a way that makes the patient or client the center of the story, not the medicine, and not you.

With practice, you’ll be a pro and knock out a blog in a few hours at your favorite coffee shop (or cafe, as we call them here in Europe) You’ll learn a lot too, and this will help you help your patients even more.

I don’t think that you need to do this every week, especially if you have a library of articles that you keep refreshed and updated consistently. (Good news, right?)

You can certainly outsource to an expert (I consider myself to be qualified to write articles for health and wellness professionals) You can then review it and/or use your own author byline, if that’s part of the agreement.

You may also want to include an author box to send a signal to Google and readers that the content is coming from a real expert.

At the very least, you still want to have a bio with your credentials posted somewhere on your website, to give Google a clear signal that you know what you’re talking about.

Note: Don’t forget to include all the other “boring stuff”  like your privacy policy, terms of service, and your contact info on your website.

11. Do NOT give up on content marketing and SEO

Content marketing is the price of admission in today’s modern marketing world. If you don’t have published work, a blog, a video channel, or a podcast, it’s going to be very hard to establish yourself as an expert in the expanded role of wellness professionals, or even get found online.

Like it or not, your online presence is more important than ever, and the bar for health care professionals has been set higher than ever.  Today, it’s not enough to outsource your health blog to a 3rd party who isn’t an expert in your field.

This means that those who have been relying on syndicated blogs written by an underpaid content writing team likely took a bit hit in their rankings this year.

SEO, although many still perceive it as a “technical thing,”  is also closely connected to content.

SEO, when you get down to it, is mostly about the written word and providing high quality information for people at all stages in the customer journey.

The content itself should be informative, relevant, and even entertaining to your audience. Most importantly, it should answer their questions about what you do in a thorough manner.

Don’t listen to the old advice about “keeping it short and sweet” because of short attention spans. What people DON’T have patience for is having to go to multiple sites with skimpy content in order to get the complete information they are seeking in order to solve their problem. This is especially true for those doing research about their health.

The days of the 400 word blog stuffed with keywords are over, although I still find some chiropractic websites that write “for the machine” rather than for the humans the serve. (I see this less on acupuncture and other wellness websites, but acu’s have a tendency to make different mistakes)

SEO is also about “teaching the machine” (AI) what your blog is about, using keywords, title tags, H1 tags,  (as I showed you in the example above) and organizing your information so that Google can provide the most accurate and relevant results to the person typing in the query.

My personal thoughts as a wellness professional and SEO:

I never imagined that I would be writing an SEO article that touches on ethics, the politics of the medical industry, pandemics, and the future of alternative medicine.

I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but I DO think that it is important to take some of the issues I brought up into consideration when you position and promote your practice, and especially if you rely on organic traffic and SEO to attract new patients as opposed to paid traffic.

I believe that Google is getting into territory that goes beyond being a platform that allows people to find what they are looking for and into “publisher” territory. In my opinion, it is supposed to be the messenger, not control what content gets seen.

Some say that Google’s algorithms inhibit people from finding what they are looking for. Others say that Google is protecting the consumer.

I lean more towards the former camp, but realize that it’s also a continuum. I  firmly believe in making it easy for consumers to make educated and informed choices about their healthcare.

I also believe in rewarding experts that have put years of hard work into research, development, and delivering high-quality products and services, and on marketing those products and services. If it doesn’t match what the mainstream or “consensus” provides, that doesn’t make other ideas less valid.

The main objective should be about matching the intent of the searcher with the information that is best able to satisfy their search intent, so that the consumer is free to make their own informed choices.

Whatever your opinion is about Google or speculations about what “could” happen, I want you to know that the world still needs people just like you, not just the big health websites that are dominating the SERPS.

I want to end this blog on a note of optimism. There are a lot of changes taking place, but with that, also a lot of opportunity. It may sound dramatic, but these past few years have been a HUGE turning point for the health and wellness industry. We have a unique opportunity to step up, armed with knowledge, and really make a difference.

Or we can sit back, because getting our wisdom out in the world was too overwhelming, scary, boring, or whatever other reasons or excuses we come up with to avoid taking positive action.

I firmly believe that YOU can be the one that people find when they are searching for the perfect expert for them who can solve their unique problem.

The bigger sites can’t possibly be the ONLY solution for EVERYONE.

Even though such matches made in heaven may seem difficult.. When that perfect patient or client DOES find you.. The odds that you’ll have a loyal, 100% on board patient or client ready to work with you NOW is pretty damn good.

If you made it this far in this blog, I believe that you will be one of the leaders in the health and wellness field. I salute you!

Need help with your SEO strategy?

SEO isn’t about applying random tactics now and then. It’s about your overall strategy.  Without this, you’ll be frustrated.

You’ll be wasting your time AND losing out on opportunities to attract more of your ideal patients and clients, make a bigger impact, and create more income.

Let me help you!  I love creating StoryBrand based websites for wellness practitioners, but even more, I love showing you how to make it a true marketing machine.  SEO and content that supports search are ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS.

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

9 Components Of An Effective Marketing Strategy: Wellness Professionals

9 Components Of An Effective Marketing Strategy: Wellness Professionals

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

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

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

I also want you to have the confidence of knowing where to start and having an actual checklist of all the parts you will need to have in place BEFORE you worry about how the whole thing functions or try to visualize all the moving parts.

The tools I chose “play well” together, so that in most cases all you need to do is press a few buttons or  copy and paste a link in the tool that leads to the next step.

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

This guide is for those who already have a website in place, preferably a WordPress site.  If you don’t, you no longer have to choose between getting a cheap website that doesn’t do what it needs to do to help your business grow, or paying thousands to have someone do it for you. Find out more here. 

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

Let’s get started!     

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

How much do these “pieces” cost?

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

It can actually be this simple and elegant.

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

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

The Creative Tools (Foundational work)

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

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

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

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

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

The 9 “Tech Pieces and Parts”

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

1. The Email Piece

The “email piece” includes:

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

Honestly, you can set this up in an hour.

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

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

Learn these terms and concepts:

• List (groups in MailerLite)

• Forms

• Automations (sequences in some systems)

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

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

2. The opt-in form piece

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

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

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

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

How do these things magically appear on a page?

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

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

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

You can also do this via a plugin. There are plugins for popups, slide ins, and top bars HELLO bars. My picks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2: If you are still using a service like Wix or Weebly or SquareSpace, as of this writing you will need to pay for a subscription to a 3rd party OR be limited to the email services provided by these platforms, which are not, in my opinion, sufficient enough for creating effective marketing funnels.  (Most of my 7 Criteria are missing from these platforms, and you’ll need to fill in the gaps, especially if you have an digital product to promote and sell) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Since time is money, this may be the most cost-effective solution for most.

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

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

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

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

3. The Thank You page piece

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

Here is a very basic example:

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

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

• A genuine, heartfelt thank you.

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

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

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

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

4. The content piece

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

 Without content, there isn’t going to be much of a marketing funnel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite content creation tools:

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

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

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

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

More content creation tools

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

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

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

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

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

-Illustrator for creating vector images

-Photoshop

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

Other great investments:

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

• Podcasting software: I’m currently investigating options.

I’ll keep adding to this list!

5. The SEO piece

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soon, you start to get the hang of it.

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

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

The next step: The SEO guide for beginners:


6. The social media/podcasting piece

What it does: These are great tools for building an audience. This piece will also help promote your blogs and other content, which lead people through your funnel.

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

Video (YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook)

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

With Tech and Wine Media, I create a lot of technical and training videos, so it simply makes sense to invest my time in video rather than a platform like Pinterest, or even IG, if my time is limited and I don’t have extra help. I chose Facebook because I’m focusing on building a community.  Edit: as of this update, I still use Facebook but I’ve moved most of my content over to Mighty Networks, and am building a community/membership there.

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

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

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

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

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

Live Streaming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram

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

Reels (whatever they are calling them as of the time you are reading this) or short videos are definitely still worth exploring and tapping into.  You can use stickers to ask questions, create polls, and more. This is a great way to get input from your target audience.

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

Pinterest

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

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

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

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

LinkedIN

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

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

Twitter

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

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

Clubhouse

It was a shiny object. Yep.

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

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

Scheduling your posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Podcasting

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

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

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

7. The online payment piece

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

This means:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My picks: Stripe 

Stripe. It’s pretty much the industry standard in the US now. DO set this up first. I’m so glad I set up a Stripe account before I moved overseas. SO many systems use Stripe as their main payment gateway.

Payment Management

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

• Invoicing

• Recurring payments (great for memberships)

• Integration with landing pages

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

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

• Custom buttons

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

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

• What currencies you accept

• Currency conversion rates

• Transaction fees

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

• Integration with your email marketing service

And more. My picks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of your choices include:

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

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

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

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

This is something I cover in more depth in the 7 Criteria blog.

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

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

I like to keep my wares on another platform.

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

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

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

This is something that can be hard to conceptualize for those who have local practices and interact only via phone or email. If you are planning on scaling your business so that you don’t have to be physically present to manage every single aspect of your business, I highly recommend reading my blog: 7 Criteria: Setting Up Your Online Course or Membership.

About cost..

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

You get a LOT more with these platforms.

Set aside an entire day to explore these options.

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

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

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

9. The calendar and online booking piece

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

My picks:

Update: Since I’m focusing on working more with clients who are setting up on-demand, self-paced digital products, I’ve moved away from Practice Better, which is ok.  It’s geared more towards health coaching, but can work for any kind of service. Use it if  you want to grow more into telehealth or add coaching and group coaching to your existing practice.

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

My current pick: Kartra. 

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

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

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

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

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

A final note:

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

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

More resources for you

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s some resources for you:

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

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

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

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

How to Start A Blog For Your Wellness Business

How to Start A Blog For Your Wellness Business

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

 

Read on if:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Old School” SEO doesn’t work anymore

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

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

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

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

Here’s why:

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

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

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

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

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

“How can I get rid of my acne?”

“Why is my dog so anxious lately?”

“What are some good recipes for a Paleo breakfast?

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

“Can acupuncture help me with my sugar addiction?”

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

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

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

You get the idea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You get to express yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For now, we’ll focus on blogging.

You will be in a better position to serve

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

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

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

How to start blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need help with your content marketing?

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

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

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

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

Why Your Website Still Isn’t Finished Yet: Part 3

Why Your Website Still Isn’t Finished Yet: Part 3

If your wellness website or coaching website is not quite finished yet.. no need to worry.

Let’s say you’ve made it through all the mental roadblocks (see part 1 and part 2) and that you have a real health and wellness website.. but it’s not “really” done. Some perspective:

First.. Congratulations.. you have a live site!  This is NO small thing!  But something still doesn’t seem “right” just yet. Why?

The short answer is:

A website isn’t supposed to ever be done!

What? That doesn’t make sense, you say. Why am I paying for a website if it never gets done?

A website is what some would call a “living entity.” It is designed to be an evolving and dynamic process, rather than a digital thing that sits on a server somewhere while you hope it attracts clients.

Paradoxically, your site can save you a lot of work, but it also requires some work as well.

Fortunately, its the kind of work that feels productive, like creating a new video to educate your audience, or researching the keywords your new target audience is most likely to type in a Google search.

Nurturing your website also saves you from the work that feels unproductive and draining, such as dealing with answering the same old questions, “price shoppers and tire kickers,” and the wrong types of patients, guests, customers, or clients for you.

It puts a large chunk of your marketing on autopilot, even if much of your marketing is done offline.

A website is something you (and your clients, patients, customers, and guests) interact with.

A website should reflect your current story and philosophy. I’m not the same person I was a few years ago, and this reflects in my site.(s)

People don’t JUST buy “acupuncture” or “chiropractic services” or other services anymore unless it’s a super cheap commodity. Good luck with that. They are interested in YOU and what YOU have to offer, and how it benefits them, of course!

Which leads me into..

How to finally finish your website (kind of)

1.  Attract only your ideal client or patient to your wellness website 

This can also change, as you and your business evolves. For example. Perhaps previously you were seeing patients who were only interested in pain relief.

Including some patients who found you (or rather your generic acupuncture website that tells them only that acupuncture helps with pain, that you have been practicing for 10 years, and what your hourly rate is)  on Google. They walked through your door seeking a fast, cheap, and effective solution for the pain that is a result of years of bad habits or neglect.

(and this made you tired and frustrated..I get it!)

So you decided to change your focus to functional medicine to manage chronic pain, autoimmune conditions, and and hormone balancing. You are slowly creating great blogs and articles about all of this.

But that’s not the ONLY change you may need to make.

It’s not enough to make just the obvious changes in your services tab or blogs.

You will want to update your site to focus on making the entire site appeal to your ideal patient “avatar” and repel (yes, repel) those who are NOT your ideal patient.

Let’s say for you it looks like this:

Jenny is 45 years old, affluent, proactive about her health, educated, loves cycling, hiking, is into metaphyiscal concepts, lives in the mountains of Colorado etc.

You will want to make sure your entire site will attract the Jennys out there..

… and yes, via branding and content, actually REPEL 75 year old Joe who is grumpy and wants to know how much it will cost to “fix” his back today. (this isn’t age-ism, but about making specific decisions about the demographic you want to work with.. some may prefer working with older patients) I don’t know too many who want to work with grumpy patients who want a quick fix, though. This is draining. 

Another clinic may want to do the complete opposite and focus on being a high-volume low-cost pain clinic that doesn’t have time for lab testing, postural assessments, nutritional and lifestyle counseling, or individualized treatment plans. Perhaps with a specific focus on seniors.

It’s your choice. Yes, you want to be THAT specific. Of course, it is possible to have a few “avatars,” but … remember.

A generic website that appeals to everyone, attracts nobody.

The concept of attracting your ideal client should be built into every function of your site. (For most, the most functional thing about their site is their contact form and phone number!)

This means the way you come across, your writing and communication style, the images you choose, your branding. EVERYTHING.

It includes how you educate and screen out the kinds of people you don’t want to waste time with.. and have your ideal patient, guest, customer, or client say YES! This is the one I want to work with! She’s talking directly to ME, and it’s uncanny!

This work will inform just about every part of your marketing, from positioning to messaging to branding to the copy and content you create. (You can be guided through this journey by enrolling in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit, which is designed to get your first online offering out QUICKLY, even if you are starting from scratch.

This is what I did in my practice, and it works for acupuncturists, chiropractors, coaches, and holistic entrepreneurs.

What does your new “avatar” look like?

If you need some help, you can download my free version of the ideal client or patient avatar exercise. It’s a fun way to finally get some clarity on WHO it is that you are serving!

Finish Your Website

2. Add some new marketing tools to your website to get a steady and predictable stream of new clients or patients

So let’s say you start out with a basic site for your new practice or business. This is great! You have 8 pages, links to online booking, an about page, a blog, and a contact form.

This is just the beginning. A website is a powerful tool that can be used to build your email list, link to social media, house online courses or a membership site, and more.

Don’t just use your site as a “glorified brochure,” Which is what many, many business owners do.

Let’s take this a step further and talk about something called Conversions.

You want people to do DO something with your site once they get there, or to convert from a visitor to a subscriber, lead, or customer/client. 

Do you want them to book a consultation or discovery call?

To book an appointment?

To subscribe to your email list?

Download something? Make a purchase?

When you get to a site, you want something that is worth your time and offers something of benefit that only you can offer.

So if you are still using your old 2009 site with just your phone number and address and a list of conditions that acupuncture can treat, or the same ol’ same ol’ stock photos, you need to make some changes. “Give me a call” placed in one place on your site, even with a phone number at the top, isn’t very compelling. The odds of someone taking action are actually quite small in these circumstances. 

The content of your site needs to be relevant, of course. But it’s not enough. It’s absolutely essential these days to take advantage of a website’s ability to inspire a CALL TO ACTION.

You want to make it easy and compelling for visitors to your site to take the next step in your process (or sales funnel, in marketing-speak).. via many tools and plugins available today.

The first step? I always have my clients read the book “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller. It explains everything in layman’s terms, including where to place these tools on your website. 

The second step is creating your first opt-in form (the lavender form above is an example) which is not as hard as it looks. I use the DIVI theme in WordPress and Active Campaign (email marketing service) to accomplish this. Once you get the hang of it, you may want to create several “lead magnets,” which are freebies you offer in exchange for an email address. They WORK.

Again, all tutorials on this can be found in the Tell Your Story DIY Website kit.

3. Data can give you some powerful insights about your wellness website. Start using analytic tools!

I wish I could tell you that you don’t have to pay attention to numbers and data. 

I wish I could tell you that branding and picking pretty colors, investing in professional photos of your clinic, and writing an article about how great acupuncture is will be all you ever need.

This is a great start! BUT..

How will you KNOW if all this stuff is paying off? Is it ALL just about bookings and sales calls? Is this the only “metric” one can use to know how much progress is being made?

Of course not.

Real marketing is also about defining objective goals, but also metrics, or data that can be tracked so that you can know if you are heading in the right direction, and what your next strategy for the next few months will be.

Analytics and data to track the performance of your website

Enter the left brain.

Analytics (Google is the most well known, but there is more) can give you insights about your site, what needs improvement such as traffic, where it’s coming from, and what people do once they land on your website.  You can also gain insights such as Google rankings, links, and even how “trustworthy” your site is.

Social media channels also have their own metrics you can begin to track. All this data will start to reveal patterns that allow you to stay on course and to take the steps you need to thrive.

This data will also help you “tweak” your site. I’m a fan of regular website audits, and we don’t just audit the look and function of your site. We dive into DATA.

I do know that many build a site and then just let it sit for years, without ever taking a peek at its performance. They are definitely missing out on an opportunity to use their website to build their business.

4. ADD some juicy content to your website! 

You MUST keep adding content and/or refreshing old content. 

This is one of the cornerstones of a good SEO strategy. SEO is a complex art and science. It’s quite involved. But when explaining it to laypeople in a nutshell, it comes down to starting with these basics:

1. Basic SEO setup: Your URL, title, keywords, website navigation, image alt tags, load speed, etc (There is a checklist)

2. Backlinks. This means having high quality sites link back to yours. This is also a bit tricky, but do-able. I always do this the same way I practiced acupuncture.. ethically and with no “quick fixes.”

3. Content. It’s not about all those great keywords.. it’s how they are USED in your content: Blogs, videos, articles, etc. Today, it’s all about focusing on the user experience, not about Google or algorithms or bots. Google is getting smarter and wants websites to be high quality and “human friendly.” No more of those junky 300 word blogs stuffed with keywords. Those sites were awful. Nobody misses them.

For acupuncturists, chiropractors, and other wellness professionals, case studies can be a great way to add high-quality, real human-friendly SEO content to your site. It highlights you as an expert.

5. SUBTRACT outdated content

Anything that is no longer relevant, is outdated, or clutters up your site needs to go.

Sites are becoming more streamlined as attention spans go down. There’s a lot of generic-looking sites out there with nothing new as far as content, especially with acupuncture and apartment rentals.

It’s more and more challenging to present the benefits you offer in a clear, easy to read, and uncluttered manner.

The trend of sites in the US built more than 8 years ago tends to be cluttered with too much info on the front page.

Which leads me to..

6. Check your website’s SPEED

This is often overlooked, but loading speed does make a difference.  More than a few seconds and visitors tend to bounce off the site.

There are ways to improve speed. Sometimes it’s a matter of bloated coding, images, too many plugins, or other page content. (hosting videos on your own site, for example) I’ve also had to audit my own site a few times due to slow page loading.. it’s a common issue.

I hope these tips will help you.

Remember that just like everything else on your business “to do” list.. your website is a work in progress.

If this is the main “takeaway” you get from this blog.. that’s a huge energy saver right there! 

If you have not read all the blogs in my series about Why Your Website Still Isn’t Done Yet make sure to check them out!

Need More?

Want to see where you stand so that you can start getting more traffic and more of your ideal clients and patients booking through your website?

Schedule a free consultation for a “quick audit” of your website by clicking the button below.

DIYers: Check out the Tell Your Story DIY Website Kit so that you can build a high-performing website that you OWN (no more monthly subscriptions for those “cheap and easy” platforms.) 

It will take you through every single step of the way, from zero to scaling with online offerings. All in one affordable, one-stop shop. It even comes with support. (It’s really a no brainer)