More and more practitioners realize that in order to stay in business, marketing online is essential.
Holistic Marketing is more than just a hot trend. As of this writing, it’s the summer of 2020 and things have changed a bit. Many brick-and-mortar clinic owners are future-proofing their wellness practices via telehealth, which is a good start towards diversifying income streams for acupuncturists, chiropractors, coaches, and any holistic entrepreneur.
Marketing online is a natural extension of this process.
Growing your holistic business with holistic marketing makes sense, and it’s what we have been doing all along!
Many holistic healers and creative entrepreneurs have a tendency to avoid it because it’s presented as something enigmatic and difficult to grasp for those who are not “technically gifted.”
I’m going to keep working on dispelling this myth by saying:
Marketing is about creating systems. Creating these systems is JUST as much of a creative process as a technical or logical one.
Marketing HAS to be, by nature, holistic and individualized in order to work. Just like holistic medicine!
In this blog I’ll talk about:
• What holistic marketing REALLY is
• How it is evolving quickly
• Why you need a holistic marketing plan
• How to get started (even from scratch, with Zero funds or knowledge)
What Holistic Marketing Really Is
Some of you that know me may know that I’m not a fan of the way the term “holistic” is used.
I like it just about as much as the term “alternative” to describe any form or modality of healthcare, music, or whatever.
It implies that something is always going to be “fringe,” for better or for worse.
It’s seldom a very accurate term. It doesn’t even come close to describing what I do or what you do.. or what anyone else with a small service based healing practice does.
As for holistic, its true meaning means “embracing the whole system” As in: Looking at the big picture. Honoring how the pieces fit together. Acknowledging the forest, not just a few trees. Putting puzzle pieces together. The sum is greater than its parts. Synergy.
Holistic marketing isn’t just about making a pretty website for your health coaching, acupuncture practice, or herbal medicine shop. It’s not even about a checklist of “all the things” that should be in place on your site.
It’s about finding a plan that involves ALL the pieces and parts that will make sense for you and fit together seamlessly.
As early as 5-10 years ago, you could probably get by with some well-thought out SEO keywords, doing a few local talks, and building a basic website with an address, phone number, and ABOUT page.
For a boost, you could go to some networking meetings and hand out business cards with your URL. If you were SUPER savvy, you would play the Google keyword game or find a “guru” who could help you magically climb the ranks of search engine pages.
This is still how some market today!
Today, SEO doesn’t stand on its own. Everything you do and create is connected to everything else.
The thought process is much like the interconnectedness that many of us are taught in school. You can’t simply isolate ONE thing (a branch) and ascribe magic to it. You have to look at the BIG picture. The roots. The forest. The weather. The entire ecosystem.
For example, say you are a a practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine (OM). You have a solid grasp of nutrition and extra training in functional medicine.
How would you market your practice?
If you are simply relying on just a website and HOPING it will draw in traffic, you are missing out on the opportunities that will help with growing your holistic practice. (and no, I don’t have ONE Weird Trick for you, that’s not how it works!)
Suppose you are very visual. You can create pins for Pinterest and really get to know that platform well. You can play with recipes, pictures of your product, nutritional guidelines, and lifestyle tips in a visual format.
You might fall into a nice “groove” that feels enjoyable. You might “batch” your Pinterest posts and schedule them on a weekly or monthly basis. You might also outsource this task.
Your pins are also linked to or associated with your website, email marketing, and other social media channels. Almost everything is cross-linked and has a purpose and flow that can be mapped out.
Let’s say you prefer writing. Your blog doesn’t just sit in your website archives. It’s a living, evolving part of your SEO! SEO functions because of WORDS.
Your blogs can also be shared on social media, in various groups. It can be used in your email marketing to prepare your audience for the next stage or event in your business.. or even a launch.
Blogs can also be re-purposed and used as “lead magnets” to capture leads, as Facebook live broadcasts, podcasts, webinars/trainings. paid courses, or live speaking events.
Let’s say that you specialize in sports medicine, and YouTube is your jam.
A holistic marketing plan wouldn’t involve simply JUST posting on YouTube, although it’s a great start! Your channel will also likely be linked to other social media channels, such as FB lives. (You can upload your live videos to YouTube after converting it)
You can use your videos as part of an email marketing campaign geared towards say, runners. This campaign can also branch out and link to local events, PR, media, getting links on other sites. You can use messenger funnels as well to help people prepare for race season.
These are just ideas I’m “riffing” on. As you can see, this isn’t necessarily about “scary tech things” but a very CREATIVE process as well.
This chart doesn’t even include paid ads, which is a good idea to introduce once you get some organic momentum built.
Once a content library is built, you have even MORE value to add to leads, patients, and clients. At this point you can create a paid Facebook group or membership area. The vision for a funnel will also start to form.
Why You Need a Holistic Marketing Plan
• People do their research before they buy. Especially in healthcare. This is a trend that is continuing to gain traction. Having a presence online just makes sense. You want to be the one that people find when searching for information!
• People also DO like to “binge” on information that “hits the spot” or resonates for them. There’s plenty of room out there and plenty of clients who will appreciate the unique things that you offer, and the way you present it.
• You can capitalize on the synergy of these systems. As you start to implement in an intentional manner, the momentum and energy increases.
In other words, for example, your blog will start to “feed” your SEO. Your blog will also be the creative basis for your podcast. Your podcast directs traffic to your website. This increased traffic leads to better SEO, which of course helps your blog. Your blog is loaded with calls to action (CTA’s) which leads to more phone calls, conversions, and sales. Now we have created a nice circle of momentum!
• You can tailor your plan according to your unique communication style, preferences, and brand.
I happen to love podcasting, and have plans to make this one of my main marketing tools, but having a blog in place makes it much easier. I already have a library of ideas to draw from as well as new ones, and as my business grows my content will evolve and need updates.
You may LOVE video or have a genius for Instagram or Pinterest or teaching others via webinars/masterclasses.
• Diversification: If one component isn’t performing well, you have other channels to fall back on. This is one reason why I think it’s smart to have a solid email list and build a library of blogs and podcasts that you own and can use anywhere. If Facebook disappears tomorrow, everything you created there, including your contacts, will also disappear.
How to Start A Holistic Marketing Plan
I don’t want you to think that you must have ALL of these components in place at once!
It’s easy to look at the websites of colleagues that have been practicing for a while and feel inadequate.
Even though you can, and should implement your plan and your offerings quickly (successful people don’t take 6 months to write a lead magnet or define their target audience, they act quickly) having a stable and effective system in place still takes time.
Here’s where I recommend starting. I promise it doesn’t have to be painful or expensive or have you feeling defeated right out of the gate!
1. Check in with your mindset. First, in the spirit of creating a holistic system, I think that it is important to get your own mindset in a good place, and make sure that you are actually in “alignment” with your services and message.
This may sound like “coach speak” but it’s true. You can force yourself to implement an elaborate system, but if you have deep-seated and subconscious doubts that conflict with your plans, you will end up doing a lot of work for nothing. This can cause you to feel even more defeated.
Worse yet, you may never even begin due to subconscious mindset blocks.
I’m not going to go too deeply into alignment in this blog. I don’t want to leave you hanging, either, but I will be writing more about this in the near future.
In the meantime, there are some wonderful spaces on Facebook to get you started not only in finding support, but getting help if you need it when you feel as if all of this is just one big uphill battle.
In a nutshell, it will take more than just “motivation,” which as they say, is one of the most temporary substances on earth! A holistic marketing plan is for the LONG haul.
2. Just blog. You may not have any fancy ideas yet, but those blogs can be used in the future. They may be worth far more than you think. If you did step 1, you won’t run out of things to talk about for years! Hate to write? Record videos! They can also be put to work.
3. Start Learning. Get acquainted with some of the basics so that it seems less daunting. Set aside a certain amount of time each week and study the basics of websites, SEO, and email marketing. I like Neil Patel for all things SEO.
I have a lot of free, low cost and personalized options for learning about WordPress and email marketing.
Note: It’s SUPER easy to get “into the weeds” with SEO. Take your time. I may create a list of good articles to start with.
3. Sign up. Start learning and experimenting and “poking around.” All you need is some time, no money is usually required.
Get started with email by signing up for a free service. I recommend Mailerlite rather than the “monkey” service, as it is easier to use, is set up better for automations, and has a better deliverability rate.
Take time to learn about the basics of email marketing by exploring this app. Set up a few mock automations. Create some test gmail accounts and practice writing great marketing emails and subject lines.
Other email services are somewhat similar. Before long, you will be a pro at it! Remember, you don’t need to learn it all in a day.
You can do the same with ManyChat or Chatfuel for chatbots. The concept is similar to email marketing.
This step will also help you begin to get a sense of what your first sales funnel may look like.
Note: I don’t recommend investing in most of the expensive SEO platforms until you have the other areas in place. However, I DO recommend checking out some free 30 day trials. I like Moz and SEOProfiler. Ahrefs is powerful but not beginner-friendly.
4. Familarize yourself with marketing terms. The online space has plenty of sites that speak in marketing jargon, which can be annoying even for those who are familiar with digital marketing. Many resources are geared towards large companies or e-commerce. It’s best to stick with what is relevant to your small, service-based business so that you don’t waste your time and get overwhelmed.
4. Do something FUN. Buy a $120 microphone (I like Blue Yeti) and start recording and learning about podcasting. There are plenty of great resources available for getting started with podcasting, and soon, I hope to one one of them!
..Or start learning how to use Canva and start creating your own pins. Create a slide deck using PowerPoint, KeyNote, or GoogleSlides for your next talk and master public presentations, and then take your talks online with webinars and trainings!
If video sounds the most interesting to you, you can experiment with basic editing with Camtasia (a one time fee of about $200) ScreenFlow, or Audacity, which is free. If you are REALLY into it, Final Cut Pro is also a great choice.
You can also dive into the world of WordPress for a small monthly investment: Usually from $5 -10 per month plus a domain name purchase, (typically around $15) I personally use and am happy with SiteGround, which has great customer service, no matter what level you are at.
This is a good way to learn in a controlled environment until you are ready to take your business site live. You might find that you actually enjoy building websites!
This is only a start.. there are SO many creative ways to create your message and communicate it to your audience.
If not, or you have other things to do with your time, knowing a bit about WordPress will still help you when you decide to outsource to a designer/developer.
You will also get an idea of how and why a site built on this platform is the most powerful, flexible, and not-so-difficult “home base” for a solid holistic marketing system.
A caveat: Don’t spend TOO much time with small things and let it eat up time that could be spent doing more “high leveraging” activities. Don’t think that you MUST do all these things. Pick one to start. If however, you have just as much fun playing with video editing software or building websites as you do watching movies, then go for it!
Which brings us to the last point:
5. Prioritize. If your business is at a certain stage where you are starting to build momentum, it’s not going to make sense for you to be playing with Canva to do a $8 an hour job when you will be better off acting as the CEO of your business ($100 or $1000 an hour jobs)
You will also need to build a real system if you want to grow a real business. It’s easy to get started with these techniques, but spending too much time in one area isn’t a great business strategy. Nor is spending too much time in the “passive zone” and not producing anything.
Know when it makes sense to outsource.
Need help with growing your holistic business with holistic marketing? I would be glad to help. You can click on the burgundy button below for a free 30 min consultation. I have also introduced coaching plans.. as of this writing, I have a 6 week one-on-one coaching option.
In the near future, I’ll be adding on group coaching and courses!
Visual learner? Here you go: