11 Ways to Keep Your Wellness Website Competitive in 2021

11 Ways to Keep Your Wellness Website Competitive in 2021

SEO for acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, and wellness professionals has never been more critical.

Even though the last few years have not been kind to health and wellness practitioners, there is a tremendous opportunity for us to transform how we deliver care and support our patients and clients.

 

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

I can’t stress enough how important this is.

In order to do this, we’re going to dive into SEO, 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 (Hint: It’s not just COVID-19!)  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.

But this statement is misleading and uniformed. The truth is, if you are a wellness professional and ignoring SEO, you are probably missing the boat.

The reason:

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 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 recently (and why it’s not your fault)

You may have also noticed in the last year or so that information about alternative health and wellness  is not turning up on the first page of Google search results.

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 has 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 COVID and 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 our 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 show you understand how science works, including qualifying phrases such as “may help in ________.” or “studies show that _________  is effective for_______.

Most wellness professionals worth their salt 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, H1 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.

Here’s an example of a keyword I used in the H1 tag below:

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

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 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.

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,” but 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.

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

• 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 (with an H1 tag) are in alignment. (I’ll show you want 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’s a lot of changes taking place, but with that, also a lot of opportunity. It may sound dramatic, but this past year has 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. 

I offer “Done for you” solutions with my content marketing/SEO packages.  1:1 coaching, and courses to help people just like you.  I love creating websites for wellness practitioners, but even more, I love showing you how to make it a true marketing machine. 

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 Funnel For Holistic And Coaching Practices

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

Does the thought of marketing funnels freak you out?

How do I create a marketing funnel from scratch?

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

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

What the hell IS a marketing funnel, anyway?

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

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

Where do I start?

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

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

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

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

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

The goal today is to get you started!      

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

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

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

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

No B.S. Just real info.

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

Let’s address a few concerns you may have.

How much do these “pieces” cost?

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

Funnel Fear: Does this look scary?

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

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

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

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

Pretty cool! 

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

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

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

Then what? 

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

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

Ready?

The TOOLS

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

Take your time!

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

The Creative Tools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Email Piece

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

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

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

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

This includes:

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

Honestly, you can set this up in an hour.

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

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

Learn these terms and concepts:

• List (groups in MailerLite)

• Forms

• Automations (sequences in some systems)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think of it as hiring employees.

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

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

You are also a real business.

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

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

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

And they are not always cheap.

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

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

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

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

A word about Kartra and Kajabi

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

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

Definitely worth investigating!

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

2. The opt-in form piece

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

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

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

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

• Hustle
• ZotoBox
• Divi Bars
• Thrive Leads

Again, referring to our “Ikea” approach, take some time to explore some of these options. Hustle is free. Zotobox has a low cost monthly option with a lot of cool features. Thrive Leads has what I think are the best-looking and highest converting (meaning that people are more likely to click on them) opt-ins. You can check it out via a membership or purchase a license for a one-time very reasonable fee. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The Thank You page piece

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

Here is a very basic example:

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

All it is is a blank page you create on your website that contain one or more of the following elements:

• A genuine, heartfelt thank you.

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

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

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

When well done, a Thank You page can be a GREAT tool in your funnel. I often overlook this one too, when I get “busy” and need to go back and make myself some nice TY pages!

If you need inspiration, do some online research and yes, opt in to some lists!

4. The content piece

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

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

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

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

When you map out your funnel on your piece of paper, notecards, Google Docs, Penzu, or whatever medium works best for you to get your creative muse juice flowing, you may naturally come up with a list of things to write about that will naturally take your client/patient/guest through a journey.

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

I also want you to know that it takes TIME to build a library of content. Please give yourself time, and just begin. Create a system for yourself that supports creating content, whether that means writing or making videos, jamming on Instagram, or jotting down recipes and taking photos of your healthy dishes you want to share.

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

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

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

My picks:

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

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

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

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

Content creation tools

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

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

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

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

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

-Illustrator for creating vector images

-Photoshop

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

Other great investments:

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

• Podcasting software: I’m currently investigating options.

I’ll keep adding to this list!

5. The SEO piece

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

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

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

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

Soon, you start to get the hang of it.

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

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

The next step: The SEO guide for beginners:

6. The social media piece

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

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

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

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

Video (YouTube and Facebook)

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

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

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

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

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

Live Streaming

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

To be honest, I’m fine right now with StreamYard, but I’ll keep  you updated.

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

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

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

Instagram

IG was something I dropped for a while, until I discovered that I can do a lot more than just direct people to a “link in the bio” and collect followers. (I was inactive for a long time!) I also discovered a HUGE timesaver: FaceBook Creator Studio. 

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

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

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

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

Podcasting

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

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

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

Pinterest

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

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

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

LinkedIN

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

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

Twitter

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

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

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

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

Scheduling your posts

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

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

My picks:

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

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

7. The online payment piece

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

This means:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My picks: Stripe and DirectPayInc.

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

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

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

Payment Management

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

• Invoicing

• Recurring payments (great for memberships)

• Integration with landing pages

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

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

• Custom buttons

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

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

• What currencies you accept

• Currency conversion rates

• Transaction fees

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

• Integration with your email marketing service

And more. My picks:

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

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

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

8. The coaching/course platform piece/CRM

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

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

Some of your choices include:

• Sending them a link where they can simply download your entire course material (I used to use SendOwl for this, which worked fairly well. I think they have since made the product even better)

A platform like Teachable, Thinkific, or Udemy (I don’t recommend Udemy, as it gives you so little control over marketing and pricing. It’s like the Groupon of online courses)

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

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

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

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

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

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

About cost.. 

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

You get a LOT more with these platforms.

Set aside an entire day to explore these options.

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

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

9. The calendar and online booking piece

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

My picks:

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

I use Practice Better and so far, so good!

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

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

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

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

A final note:

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

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

Need More?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Start A Blog For Your Wellness Business

How to Start A Blog For Your Wellness Business

It isn’t enough in the 2020’s to simply have a website.

You want your wellness website to function like one of your best employees. A blog is much like your first line of customer service and a potential patient’s first encounter with you.

 

This blog is for you 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 is something called content marketing. 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. 

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, 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.

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?

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 is probably going to be your primary method of attracting an audience and generating leads if you deliver services only online to a global market.

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. (more about how to do this in this blog)

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.

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.

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 burgundy 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 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. 

You have a real health and wellness website.. but it’s not really done.

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!

This is obviously important for coaches and acupuncturists, but it’s also important for the hospitality and tourism industry. What makes a place worth booking or a tour memorable? The vibe. The hosts. The guide. The experience. The uniqueness of the place. It’s about more than the latest remodeling project or whether or not you have a swimming pool.

PUT THIS ON YOUR WEBSITE! Tell your story and how it relates to your avatar on your ABOUT page. Show your photo. In your own natural habitat. Skip the Linked in Corporate Headshots. People want to connect to other real people nowadays.

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

This also applies to the hospitality and tourism industry. A good website for your guest house or Bed and Breakfast will include a sharp focus on your ideal guest and how to attract him or her!

For example, a hostel appealing to a younger audience should design their site to appeal to a younger audience via the same principles.. and yes.. by default, repel an older audience. Not via ageism, but by making it clear that you offer basic accommodations and a party atmosphere, if that’s what you want to create.

Another guest house or even hostel would want to do the OPPOSITE. For example, I use hostels. I’m 52 years old, and I prefer a quiet space where I can relax or get work done. Show me an accurate but attractive room photo, a good “vibe,” good wifi, no stairs to haul luggage up, NO partying.. and proximity to a train or bus station and I’ll book!

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 patients, customers, or guests

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.

Do you want them to sign up for a consultation? To book a room? To subscribe to your email list? Download something? Make a purchase?

This of course, helps your business. But it also improves your Google rankings!

Think about it. Google wants users to have a good experience. It’s just like Facebook.. nobody is interested in a cascade of worthless clickbait.

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’ photos of a room with a bed for your vacation rental, you need to make some changes.

You want to do this NOT just to stay up to date and relevant. It’s also 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.*

If you are not sure what this all means, check out some of my courses. My Future-Proof Your Practice Course will show you how to get a basic funnel up and running in a few weeks or less.

3. Data can give you some powerful insights about your wellness or hospitality 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 rooms, 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, bounce rate, user flow behavior, Google rankings, links, and even how “trustworthy” your site is.

This will help you “tweak” your site. I’m a fan of regular website audits.

I do know that many build a site and then just let it sit for years. 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 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 qualtity 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 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, 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.

For the tourism  and hospitality industry, this could be regular photos, a gallery with alt tags, and links to an IG or Youtube account.

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 Future Proof Your Practice Course so that you can take your website to the next level and get your wisdom out into the world on the FAST track.  Learn the basics of the client/patient journey and build your first sales funnel.. plus more!