Point of View Marketing: Informed Consent

27915570 - a doctor in his office showing an informed consent document and pointing with a pen where the patient must to sign

I just spoke at the annual Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Conference in Edmonton as one of their opening day keynotes about marketing.

After my talk, I moved to the back of the room to organize a few things while the next speaker went up to speak about the ethical issue of ‘consent’ in the world of natural health.

It kept striking me how much this overlapped with the work I’ve been doing on point of view marketing.

Consent means that people are giving permission or agreement to an experience.

Informed consent means they have as full an understanding as they can have about what it is they are consenting to.

Every customer complaint ultimately comes down to a gap in expectations. They expected one thing and got another.

They came in for a massage but got craniosacral instead.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with craniosacral work. It’s that they didn’t sign up for it.

They went for a massage but ended up being touched in places and in ways they did not consent too.

Now, this doesn’t mean the intent of the touch was sexual. But, perhaps it’s a male massage therapist who is working some muscles around the breast the female lying on the table is receiving this as unwanted contact and feels powerless to say anything. She didn’t consent to this.

It would have been important for the massage therapist to discuss this and the kinds of touch and places he might touch her and to explain why. Then, before she was lying down on the bed and in a compromised position, she could have said ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

I’ve known people who got a bill from their contractor and were shocked to see additional expenses added in that they’d never consented to. A good contractor will always say, “Ok. We can do that extra bit and it will cost $4000. Is that okay?” They will always establish consent before moving forward.

There are two kinds of consent: there’s the consent you can give before an experience starts and then there’s the ongoing checking in during the experience to make sure everything is still feeling okay.

While the latter is vital, this post is focused 100% on the former.

I recall a colleague of mine, a naturopath, telling me how she’d had a couple of her clients left appointments part way through very upset because she had gone so hard for the energetic jugular on the issue they’d brought to her.

“Sarah,” I told her. “You’ve got to be gentle with people. You’ve got to let them know that this is your style before they show up.”

She nodded. She kept seeing this. She was realizing that her clients were coming in with no knowledge of her take on things and so were getting blindsided.

“Maybe you could host a monthly live workshop and insist they attend one before booking an appointment with you or maybe record it and ask that they watch it before your first session.” I suggested.

Another colleague of mine, a financial advisor, is incredibly blunt and brash in her workshops. She swears like a trucker. I sent a client of mine who was immensely sensitive to the workshop but without the forewarning. My client was mildly traumatized by the experience. She would never have consented to go if she’d known.

If you were a hardcore, raw-vegan, you likely would be upset to find out the naturopath you’d been recommended to go see was a hardcore paleo. You’d not have consented to go if you knew.

If you were a fundamentalist Christian, you wouldn’t consent to see a pagan healer etc.

These might seem obvious but it happens all the time: surprise.

Surprise is another way of saying, “I didn’t give me consent for this.”

Now, sometimes we are delighted by the surprise and sometimes… we aren’t.

If you do an intro workshop, my belief is that your goal must be to give them the information that they need to give (or not give) their informed consent about the next step in working with you.

How do you do this? You lay out your point of view.

You lay out your philosophy, perspective, take on things.

You tell them the generic process that you use.

You tell them the assumptions and principles upon which you’ve based that process.

You show them the overall map of the elements with which they’ll be contending in dealing with their issue and how that all relates to your core principles and your process.

You make your best case for this approach to the issue.

And then you make them your best offer.

It’s that simple.

I want to emphasize how much of this can and should be handled before you ever meet with them one on one.

A few years ago, I went to see a therapist who was specializing in a particular modality. I was paying about $185 for the hour.

She spent the entire hour going over everything I’m describing here. She told me the ethics of therapy. She gave me a flyer. She did everything but therapy with me. I was growing more and more agitated sitting there and listening to her go on and on.

Finally she picked up on it and asked me what was going on.

“I am paying $185 for something you could have emailed me and asked me to read over before I came here. You can have recorded this all in a video and sent it to me. Why am I paying for this?”

I did not consent to that experience. If she’d told me that this is how we’d be spending the first session I would never have booked a session with her.

Did I want to hear her point of view? Yes.

Did I want it in that format? No.

If you want your new clients to be delighted with your work, then give them the information they need to make the best choice for themselves.

The best marketing lets people know, “This is who I am. This is what I do. This is how I do it.” and then let’s them decide if that’s a fit for them or not.

They need to know your honest, considered take on the risks and benefits before they give you permission to do anything.

This means slowing down the marketing process even when you’re scared it will annoy them or that you might lose the sale.

It gives them the information they need to give you informed consent.

The challenge is this: what is that information?

Most entrepreneurs I work with have never articulated this clearly.

Want help crafting your unique own point of view?

OPTION #1: Join my next POV Lab. It’s a 30-day program for twelve people where you will be guided to dig deep into your own unique perspective and be asked over and over again why you do what you do the way you do it. This includes a lot of handholding and feedback. You can learn more here: marketingforhippies.com/povlab

OPTION #2: Get my Point of View eBook. This is my treatise on the subject and includes an incredibly useful workbook. You can get your copy here: marketingforhippies.com/povbook

OPTION #3: Get my workbook Don’t Market Yourself, Market Your Message. This is a sister piece to my POV eBook. You can get your copy here: marketingforhippies.com/messageebook

Point of View Marketing: Five Case Studies

52590817 - happy kid playing outdoors. travel and adventure concept

As I get ready for my next Point of View Lab, I’ve been reflecting on some recent examples I’ve been uncovering with clients.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working with a lot of people around their point of view and I keep being amazed at the power that this has in our marketing.

Whereas niche helps to immediately establish relevance, point of view establishes credibility.

Niche gets them in the door but point of view convinces them to stay.

The pay for the niche. They stay for the point of view.

I see it all the time. People figure out what they want to do but then realize how much competition there is.

They become a life coach, yoga teacher, permaculture practitioner etc. and then they realize how many other people there are offering the same things. They decide to sell Spanish galleons and then go down to the harbour and see hundreds of other people selling the same thing.

One of the things that can differentiate you from others doing what you do is your approach to it; your take on it.

It took me over a decade but I finally realized that my core message was that “Marketing can feel good.”

So simple and yet my entire daylong workshop is based on it. 

We’ve been diving into this a lot in my Mentorship Program.

One of my clients in that program, Alysa, helps people with chronic pain. Her particular angle is the emotional aspects of chronic pain and how to live a full life in spite of it. During one of the calls she shared her idea for a URL: www.PainIsNotTheProblem.com. I loved it. The website isn’t ready yet, but the core POV here is very strong. She’s offering a whole other approach to dealing with pain by suggesting that, in terms of your quality of life, pain is not the core issue.

Another participant, Pamela runs her Brave Love programs and, while working with her on her POV, this gem emerged: “you must be willing to risk every relationship if you want truth and real intimacy.” What a mind bomb. In order to have a real relationship you have to be willing to risk it? Every time? That, without the willingness to risk it it will never become what it could be? More than anything she wrote, this grabbed me.

When I asked Pamela about the impact of doing this POV work she said, “It grounds me in something I know for sure. Between the risking and the not jumping ship, I find that everything I do revolves around these core beliefs. It is empowering and exciting to uncover what I’m all about.”

18342682_10155165607550586_8481781063627981696_nAnother participant Karen uncovered the overlap between Sex, Love, Genius and represented it in this venn diagram. She’s written more about it in this article.

When I asked her about the impact, she said, “For me I’m surprised at how it makes people connect with me. I’ve had a close colleague contact me to want to know more about what I do…and then the new client yesterday who just easily invested in a 6 month 1-1 commitment because I’d spent so much time articulating a POV that resonated with her. That it has a shocking effect of really drawing people closer.

Outside of my Mentorship Program, I worked with a fellow Michael Talbott-Kelly whose work is built on the foundation of this idea: your problems have a purpose. This idea that every symptom we have in our life carries with it a message for it, that our symptoms are purpose-driven not random happenings to us. Looked at in this way, our symptoms happen for us not to us.

And then there’s Brad and Andy of The Great eCourse Adventure who I spent a day with delving into their point of view around helping people develop home study courses. We talked about a lot of things but, the strongest thread I saw was in their realization that most people never complete the home study courses they sign up for. As a result of this, they don’t get the results they paid for. As a result of that they don’t rave about it to their friends. Word of mouth is the dominant force in marketing and when people have a mediocre experience with something they don’t talk about it. Brad and Andy realized that the best way to make your home study course profitable was to make sure your course was worth sharing. And so they created an entire site dedicated to making their case around that point of view called coursesworthsharing.com 

On the surface, these phrases and ideas might not seem like much and, the truth is that, on their own they aren’t but they can open the door to a fresh perspective that they’d never considered before. Each of these people would be able to stand up in front of a crowd and unpack and articulate these simple ideas for hours revealing layer upon layer like Russian stacking dolls.

I believe that an intro workshop can and should be based around simple and clear ideas like this. A distinct, clear and compelling point of view. Something provocative.

You can read more examples of people with a clear point of view here.

Want help crafting your unique own point of view?

Here are three options:

OPTION #1: Join my next POV Lab. It’s a 30-day program for twelve people where you will be guided to dig deep into your own unique perspective and be asked over and over again why you do what you do the way you do it. This includes a lot of handholding and feedback. You can learn more here: marketingforhippies.com/povlab 

OPTION #2: Get my Point of View eBook. This is my treatise on the subject and includes an incredibly useful workbook. You can get your copy here: marketingforhippies.com/povbook

OPTION #3: Get my workbook Don’t Market Yourself, Market Your Message. This is a sister piece to my POV eBook. You can get your copy here: marketingforhippies.com/messageebook

Helping The Helper

11324542 - senior and young holding hands outside

Sometimes you’ve got to ask yourself, “Who is it that’s helping the one I want to help?”

Sometimes your target market isn’t who you think it is.

Famously, FedEx made the mistake of thinking that their clients were the CEO’s of companies when, of course, it was actually the secretaries and executive assistants who would be using their services. Marketing to the CEO’s failed. Marketing to the administrative staff succeeded. The most brilliant ad directed to the wrong person is doomed to fail.

A colleague of mine, a copy-writer, ran into a problem one day. His wife had come up with a relaxation CD for stressed out brides. He’d written the copy himself. It didn’t sell. He asked high-priced colleagues of his to help him out. It didn’t sell. He was flummoxed. When I looked at the situation, it seemed to me that he had his ladder leaned against the wrong wall to begin with. What bride is so self aware to realize she’s becoming a ‘bridezilla’? How likely is it that, in the midst of the madness that is modern wedding planning, that she would look for a relaxation CD rather than downing a bottle of wine or getting a massage. 

Does that mean it’s a terrible idea? Not necessarily. It might just mean that the bride’s mother or the bride’s maids might have been better target markets.

Sometimes you’ve got to ask yourself, “Who is it that’s helping the one I want to help?”

A client of mine works for a mental health organization in a major city in Canada. They would do talks at Universities about mental illness. I suggested that he might get a stronger response if he did a talk about, “How To Help Your Friends Who Are Struggling With Mental Illness,” because those struggling are unlikely to show up at a talk when they could just watch a youtube at home. 

Sometimes you’ve got to ask yourself, “Who is it that’s helping the one I want to help?”

Another client of mine is a death doula in Toronto with a background in Non-Violent Communication (NVC). She wanted to work with the dying but those dying are unlikely, in the turmoil they are in, to reach out and hire themselves a death doula. And, how would you market to them without it seeming crass? 

I suggested she create a workshop about, “How To Be With Your Loved Ones As They’re Dying,” in which she could tie together her background in NVC, empathic listening, healing and her death doula work. 

“If you do that,” I suggested. “You might find that these people want to hire you to support their families in helping them out as death begins its courteous but unwanted approach to their loved ones.”

A client who helps people with chronic pain realized that a target market for her might be caregivers to those who are in pain. If you help people with cancer, surely you could create a workshop on “How To Support Loved Ones Struggling With Cancer”.

Sometimes you’ve got to ask yourself, “Who is it that’s helping the one I want to help?”

And then sometimes those people will connect you with the ones you really want to help.

Be a Flower, Not a Butterfly Net

 

46755661 - monarch and a bee on a sunflower

I hosted a men’s circle earlier this year and a young man said something brilliant: be a flower, not a butterfly net.

It reminds me of something I heard colleagues say for years: be a lighthouse, not a searchlight.

Butterflies run away from nets. People run away from searchlights.

Of course, it’s dangerous to get into dogma about any of this but it’s worth noticing how much energy we often put into a strategy that is fundamentally about chasing potential clients (who might never be a fit in the first place).

I recall a successful life coach being asked, “What’s your niche?”

And he replied, “People who like me?”

On one level, it’s a shit answer. On another level, that’s absolutely where it’s at.

At the end of the day, you only want to work with people who are a good fit for you. They’ve got to like you.

And, if your strategy is to run around chasing everything that moves with your butterfly net, or swinging your searchlight around and capturing everyone you see, you might just find that most of them have no interest in what you’re offering at all.

It’s so much effort for so little reward.

What if you were to out your effort into being a more beautiful flower or a more known and trusted lighthouse instead?

What if you were to work on honing your niche and point of view so that they were clear and well-known?

What if you were to really focus on bringing your own vibe, quirk, personality and aesthetic into your business (instead of going for the generic look)?

You might find that this is what really wins the long-game and that you win, with less effort, in such a way that no one else has to lose.

Don’t be a butterfly net, be a flower.

Other Blog Posts You Might Enjoy On This Theme:

Get Rejected Faster

Polarize

The Real Reason To Do Intro Workshops

Products On This Theme:

The Niching Nest

Point of View Marketing

Marketing for Hippies 101

“What are your favourite books and authors?”

20343649 - old books on a wooden shelf. no labels, blank spine.

This is a simple question that I’ve asked more times than I can count of clients to help them clarify their point of view on an issue: “What are your favourite books and authors?”

Now, when I ask this question, I’m not asking generically. I’m asking it in the context of the work they do. I’m asking them, “Look, you help _____ kinds of people get ______ kinds of results. Who are the authors, what are the books you’ve read, that have most formed your opinions around this all? What are the books that you wish your clients would read because they best express your take on things?”

What I’m trying to get at with this question is a more clear understanding of how they see things.

I’ve had so many clients tell me that their ideal clients would be ‘spiritual’. And I have no idea what they mean by that. I could ask them to tell me their entire cosmology but that’s often a convoluted and nebulous affair. So, instead, I ask them,

“What are your favourite books or authors on this spirituality?”

And you can tell a lot about how a person sees and defines spirituality by their answers:

  • “The Celestine Prophecy, Conversations With God and The Four Agreements.”
  • “Loving What Is, Feeding Your Demons and Debbie Ford.”
  • “The Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson and The Disappearance of the Universe.”
  • “Doreen Virtue and Louise Hay.”
  • “Iyanla Van Zandt, Oprah Winfrey and Rev. Michael Beckwith.”
  • “The Secret, Greg Braden and Deepak Chopra”
  • “Black Elk Speaks, Vine Deloria and Leanne Simpson.”
  • “The Bible, Thomas Merton and Jim Rohr.”
  • “The Tao the Ching.”
  • “Rudolph Steiner, White Eagle and books on Theosophy.”

Each of these compilations gives us a very different picture of what they mean by ‘spirituality’.

What can you do with this list?:

  • Put Them In Your Bio: This list of influences (and, of course, we could ask the same question and have it be about documentaries, websites, blogs, podcasts etc.) could be shared on the About Me page of your website to help people get a sense of where you’re coming from (this is surprisingly effective at helping people figure out if you’re a fit or not). This gives people a sort of mosaic, at-a-glance view of your perspective. They can connect the dots. And, if they’re also into those particular influences, they will be leaning towards working with you.
  • Use Them To Find Hubs: You could also look at each and ask yourself, “Where might I find people who share my interests in these kinds of books?” This could reveal some hubs you’d not thought of before. Perhaps there are book clubs, MeetUp groups, or bookstores that focus on those particular themes.
  • Reach out to them directly: You might be surprised at how accessible certain influencers are. You might be able to foster a relationship with them. Perhaps you could interview them or they might interview you.
  • Use This List to Hone Your Point of View: Sit with this list and ask yourself, “What’s the perspective that these all share? What are the points of overlap? How do all of these authors see _____ issue that I agree with?”

Additional Resources:

Point of View Marketing – Tad Hargrave

Guest Post: How to Raise Your Rates Naturally AND Feel Good About It

By Julie Wolk 

Warning: Long, detailed and very useful blog post ahead.

Do you cringe and shake your head at even the thought of raising your rates? And yet you secretly wish you could do it? But then don’t feel like you can? Or should? And so you give up on it, or keep postponing it ’til later?

You are not alone. So let’s talk about it.

Pricing is a complex subject, and one that we could tackle from many angles, but today I’ll focus on how communicating the true value and results of your work is one of the best ways I know to raise your rates and feel GOOD about it.

But before I dive in, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

There’s a good chance (especially if you’re a woman) that you at least sometimes doubt the value of your work. You may even feel like an imposter:

“Who am I to charge this kind of money?! There are so many people who are better than me at this.

You may find reasons even after you’re already earning good money, for why you’re work still isn’t that valuable:

“Oh, they would have done that on their own, they’re so awesome, it wasn’t me, I just encouraged them a bit.”

I’m calling bull*%#@.

Now let’s be clear . . . I am NOT a fan of that whole “charge what you’re worth” thing. I don’t think we should even joke about putting a dollar amount on our self-worth (ugh, how damaging).

But, we do need to charge people for what our services are worth, and more specifically, we need to charge for the results we provide to our clients.

And I have a feeling you are providing some amazing results. Yes?

Now, if you are just starting out, and you truly don’t have a lot of experience, I am NOT saying to start charging “premium prices” right off the bat. You need to do this with integrity, and charging less when you’re just starting off in order to gain experience and testimonials is A-OK.

But let’s say you’ve been at this for a while, and frankly, the clients you have (even if they’re not as many as you want) LOVE the results they’re getting.

But you’re not charging enough, and you know it. Or people have even told you you’re not charging enough, but you’re still scared to pull the trigger.

Ok, so here’s my advice:

Stop Selling Your Time (and Your Modalities) . . . and Start Selling Results

It’s typical for a coach, consultant or healer to charge by the hour for their specific modality or area of expertise (coaching, massage, leadership training, etc).

But there’s an inherent problem with this: you can only charge so much for an hour of work, and there’s only so many hours in a day.

But even more important than that, how much transformation can you actually create in an hour?

Here’s the thing: Along with their full participation, you’re creating change for your clients through your work. It’s not about how much time they spend with you, it’s about the results that happen through your work together.

I heard somebody say once that she was charging by the “a-ha,” not by the hour. Love that.

Everyone comes to you with some desire to change something, am I right?

You help them change it in the process of working with them. Right? And usually, it happens over the course of some time, not in one session. Right? (Not that you can’t do great stuff in a session, but longer-term challenges usually require longer-term solutions).

So when you can clarify your target audience’s problem and the specific results that they can expect when working with you, potential clients are way more likely to dive in and work with you.

Because they did not come to you for your time, they came to you to help them change something in their life.

But the problem is that you’re probably not communicating all that well about how you’re going to help them make that change, and thus you end up feeling timid about charging a higher rate for your work.

BIG TIP #1: Talk About Results

In your marketing copy and in your sales conversations, speak FIRST about your work in terms of the transformations, results, or benefits that people get from your work. Talk less(or later) about how you do things (all your 10 different modalities or whatever), or how many minutes you do them for, and instead address their problems, and speak to how you help them solve them.

For example, you don’t go to a career coach to be deeply heard and held in a safe spacefor 50 minutes (although that is lovely stuff, and you may let them know about that lateron in your marketing copy), you go there to figure out what you want to do with your life.

And, I don’t go to acupuncture to get needles and moxa for 75 minutes, I go there to heal my shoulder pain – it honestly doesn’t matter to me whether he uses moxa or not (what the heck is moxa anyways?). And frankly, I’d be psyched if it took less than 75 minutes!

So especially if your current marketing copy is oriented around your modalities or HOW you deliver your work (“I offer 60 and 90 minute sessions of coaching or consulting”),when you start to orient around results and transformation (I help you find a new career!), people can finally see what your work is really worth to them . . . they can see the VALUE (finally!). And they will pay for it if it’s what they need.


BIG TIP #2: Package Up Your Work and Take Them on a Journey of Change

Since it’s pretty hard to get the aforementioned results in one session, package up your work into a program specifically designed to help your target audience solve a specific problem they come to you for.

And when I say package, I’m not talking about 10 sessions for the price of 8.

I’m talking about designing a robust offering with a set price that includes:

  • A certain amount of sessions over a fixed amount of time, perhaps including an extended/in-depth introductory session,
  • Your availability in between via email or text,
  • Additional guides, trainings, or resources to help them on their journey,
  • And any number of extras that will help them achieve the result they came to you for.

This type of package costs more than the individual sessions, because it provides better results. You are taking them on a journey of change.

When you package up your work into a program that focuses on getting a particular result for a client, you can raise your prices and feel good about it. Why?

Bottom line, you will get more and better results for your clients.

As you know, real change takes time. Imagine having three or six months to work your magic. You think you would feel more confident about getting results for people? You think you would get more done? Plus, packages support you to offer your best because they allow you to relax into your craft, instead of worrying that each session be a total revolution for your client (so much pressure!).

Not to mention all the other benefits of offering packages including the fact that you have to do less marketing because you need way fewer clients to make a good living.

How To Set Your Initial Fee

Ok, so let’s say you’ve got this shiny new package now (and if you don’t already have one, you can start super simply, just as I outlined above).

And, you may be afraid to put a big price tag on it. I hear you. It’s very important to be able to get the words out of your mouth without choking when you’re talking to a potential client.

It has to feel good in your gut.

So we’ll do a gut check.

But first . . . find the number that equals the cost of the sessions you are offering added together (based on your current rate), plus about 20-25%. So if you usually charge $125/session, and your package is 8 sessions over two months, your minimum charge for the package would be $1200.

Now for the gut check. You can do this as a guided visualization:

Imagine someone handing you a check for the package they are about to begin with you. There’s a number written on that check . . . what is it? Does that number resonate with you? How does it feel as you accept the check? If it feels right, great! But see if you can make the number a little higher and still feel good. Visualize another $100 or $500 added to that number. If it feels uncomfortable, try to notice whether it’s a good edge . . . bold, but right-on, or if it truly feels too high for where you’re currently at in your business journey. Do you need to lower it a bit? Add a little more? Breathe into each number you try until you find the one that feels just right (kind of like Goldilocks). What’s your number?

A Fun and Organic Way to Raise Your Fee

If you know me at all, you know that I am all about an evolutionary, natural approach to business.

We are constantly learning, adapting, growing, changing, and putting something new out there and going ‘round the cycle again. Business (and life) is not linear!

But most of us have gotten stuck at least once because we think that if we decide that something is a particular way, then it’s that way forever.

The reality is that there’s always room for evolution and change. Nothing’s permanent.

You can change your price every single time you offer your package if you want. Really?!

Yes, really. That’s what I did when I first started my business, I swear.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Do another gut check. Dream into the price you ultimately would LOVE to receive for your package, even if it’s a ways off until you believe you can actually charge that much. Let’s call it $1800.
  2. Settle on your first price (using the method above). Let’s call it $1200.
  3. On your next consultation call, offer your new package at $1200 (remember, this is a number that feels good in your gut NOW so it should not get stuck in your throat).
  4. As soon as you get a new client at the initial rate, commit to raising your rate a little bit. Maybe it’s $100 more for the next client. It gets easier after someone says YES, trust me.
  5. Or, depending on how much experience you have, you may also decide to do three (or whatever number) packages at the $1200 rate, and then up your price by $100.
  6. Eventually, you’ll get to $1800, and it will feel awesome.
  7. And of course, you can always offer payment plans.

It’s that simple.

It might take a year to get there, but you’ll slowly get more and more comfortable asking for a higher rate . . .

  • As people say YES to your package,
  • As you work with more people and gain experience and get better at what you do,
  • When you’ve tweaked your package and added more cool stuff to make it even more effective,
  • As you witness the results that more and more of your clients are getting,
  • And as they write the testimonials to prove it.

You can do this. Start small and go for it.

Just remember, your expertise at helping people solve their problems is VALUABLE.

JulieWolk_Hollyhock15Julie Wolk is a business coach who helps hard-working  consultants, coaches and healers slow down and build super-streamlined, burnout-free businesses by modelling them after the way nature works.  For 15 years she’s guided talented visionaries to manifest the success and impact they desire. People love her down-to-earth approach and that she takes into account the uniqueness of each person she works with. juliewolkcoaching.com

Five Homepage Case Studies: Directing Them Where They Need To Go

The best guide I’ve ever seen for writing your homepage is Carrie Klassen’s eBook How To Write a Loveable Homepage

And, over the years, one of the biggest questions I’ve gotten about websites and homepages is, “What if I offer three different things? How do I represent this on my site?”

The first thing is that, sometimes, the truth is that you actually need three different websites. If you’re a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker? You need three sites. People would be so confused if they saw those three things being sold on one site.

But if those three things are fairly in line with each other, “I run men’s groups, sell men’s health products and lead men’s adventure weekends,” well then… there’s a clear thread of ‘men’. So, those can all fit on the same site easily and it will make sense to people. 

Remember the old adage, “The confused mind says ‘no’.” 

We don’t want to confuse them.

We want them to hit our site and know not only exactly what it’s about but also if it’s for them. 

Now, that’s a larger question of niche which I won’t get into here, but it’s important.

Assuming you’ve got a clearish niche, you might still have a number of different things you do.

Case Study #1: JenniferSummerfeldt.com

Jennifer Summerfeldt is a dear friend of mine who dove into the business world and started creating websites. But, soon, she had so many websites. She didn’t know what to do with them all or how they connected. She felt overwhelmed with what to tell people when she met them or where to direct them. As she described the different websites she had – women’s counselling, birth coaching and postpartum counselling, there was a clear thread of ‘women’s empowerment’. 

I suggested she book JenniferSummerfeldt.com and put her three websites onto it in a clear way so that people could land on her site and quickly find the resources that were relevant to them, as if she had a virtual concierge standing there, directing them to whatever was most relevant in the area. Three buttons they could click. Three options.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 10.22.30 AM

Case Study #2: TheUncagedLife.com

My colleague Rebecca Tracey did a similar thing on her site by naming four particular situations her clients might be in and inviting them to click that box. This is simple and genius.

What this means is that people won’t land on her site and spend three minutes trying to figure out if there’s anything relevant for them there and then leave. If one of those four pieces is relevant to them, they’ll take a next step. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 10.00.57 AM

Case Study #3: ThriveWithAutism.ca

My colleague Jackie McMillan helps those who are struggling with autism and lays out four very clear options for people to choose on her homepage by naming the four major groups of people with whom she works: parents of autistic children, educators, professionals and spectrum adults.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 10.00.34 AM

Case Study #4: The League of Adventurous Singles

Kira Sabin who runs The League of Adventurous Singles has this on her homepage.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 10.32.47 AM

If you hover your cursor over the three buttons you see these…

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 10.33.01 AM Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 10.33.24 AM Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 10.33.35 AM

Case Study #5: Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes is a relationship coach and her homepage is a gem of clarity.

Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 9.59.58 PM

Again, this seems so simple but I see so few websites do this.

Consider your own homepage and how you might make it, visually, more clear.

How could you lay out the main options or pathways they might take in an unmistakably clear way?

If you do this your clients will…

  • Know if your website is for them much more quickly and waste less time.
  • You’ll start getting clients who are pre-filtered and a much better fit for you and waste less of your time.
  • Feel much better about sending people to you site.

Additional Reading About Filtering in Marketing:

The Three Roles of Marketing – There are three roles in marketing: 1) Getting their attention 2) Filtering & Establishing if it’s a fit 3) Lowering the risk of their taking the first step. I see so few businesses doing that second role well.

The Are You Sure Page – This is another example of how you can actually interrupt the purchasing moment to make sure that the only people who buy from you are those for whom your offering will be a good match. This means less refunds, less shitty clients and better word of mouth.

The Niching Nest – This is the basis of any filtering. Do you have a clear niche? If not, start with this.

What if you’re not offering your clients enough?

41324096 - hand drawing less is more scale concept with black marker on transparent wipe board isolated on white.

Less.

This is what most of my clients feel like they should be offering.

Most of the people I cross paths with are terrified of being too pushy.

They’re terrified of “over-selling.”

They blanch at the thought of ever pushing someone to buy more than they need.

And there’s a deep sort of integrity there. But it’s only a half integrity. It’s coming out of collapse.

Those same people would never consider that being too passive, under-selling or selling someone less than they need might be out of integrity in any way.

It’s a strange sort of thing.

And so, most of them go about their business lives playing very, very small and offering very small things.

Imagine you sell supplies for crossing the Sahara desert and your friend visits you, excited to tell you about their trip but they only have a small flask of water.

Is it really kind to say, “Sure. You’ll probably be fine.”

And so it is.

They offer single sessions to clients knowing full well it won’t even come close to delivering them the real result they want, but have rarely considered created a beautiful, bespoke, larger package.

They do the occasional talk but have never thought of leading a workshop.

Or they lead workshops but they’ve never thought of hosting a retreat.

Or they have led retreats but have never considered starting a school or higher level mentorship program.

You get the idea.

Most of them have never considered that their clients might actually want more from them, not less.

And sometimes that ‘more’ might be less.

Some entrepreneurs offer a lot of high level things but have never considered creating more affordable eBooks or online, homestudy versions of their work.

Your clients might actually want to hear from you more frequently. That’s possible.

They might want to access your content in different ways. They might want more shallow or deeper versions of your work.

I’ll never forget when I first ran my Marketing for Hippies 101 program online. I had forty people sign up and pay me $200. They’d been waiting for me to offer something like this since I was never going to tour my workshops to where they lived. That money had been sitting there on the table the whole time.

And then I led my Niching Spiral program and, on my third go at it, made $24,000 from a thirty-day, online program. My clients were wanting help with this and, when I offered them something more than the blog posts and free videos I’d put out about it, they lept.

In November of 2016, I decided to launch my Marketing Mentorship program for twelve entrepreneurs. I was surprised and delighted by how quickly it filled, generating a solid $5000/month for me. It wasn’t for everyone, but there were clients of mine who’d been waiting, though even they hadn’t known it, for such a thing.

Most entrepreneurs have a poorly thought out, spindly little business model. Your business model could likely afford to be more robust. As you build it out, two things happen. As you build out the free and cheap levels of your work (e.g. blog posts, podcasts, online video, eBooks etc.) your business becomes safer to approach and check out. As you build up the higher priced levels of it, your business becomes more sustainable for you.

What do your clients want from you?

I’d wager a hefty amount of money on this answer . . .

More.

10 Min Video: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Planning Your First Retreat

Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life is one of my dearest friends and colleagues. She’s offering up a new program called Your First Retreat which is designed to help people in the personal growth, coaching, and healing fields nail their first retreat so that it’s fulfilling and profitable.

I asked her if she’d be willing to record a video and do an interview to give people some ideas they could use right away. And she agreed to doing both. I hope they help you out in figuring out how to make your first retreat (or maybe your next one if your first one or two didn’t go so well) a success.

What’s the story of this program/product? What did you notice was missing that had you create it?

After running successful retreats for 4 years in my business, I had people asking me all the time how to do it – and I remember being at that stage, having no idea where to start, being nervous about whether or not I could pull it off, and wasting a lot of time and money learning. I wanted to create an all in one resource for people who want to run retreats and want to save themselves the overwhelm, the lost $$, and the uncertainty, and help them plan transformational retreats without a hitch.

Who, specifically, is this program designed for? 

Anyone who wants to run boutique style retreats with 8-20 people – life coaches, creatives, health coaches and wellness professionals, energy workers etc

They already have a business (even if it’s new-ish!) and want to incorporate retreats into their business model as a new way to connect with clients. They need to already know their niche and have a few paying clients in order to get the most from this course.

Your First Retreat is specifically for people who want to create an amazing experience for their clients while turning a profit, not who are out to make 6 figures form retreats (because that’s not how it works!)

Why is this program relevant to those people? 

Your First Retreat will help alleviate the fear and overwhelm that comes with starting to think about retreat planning, and will help them make sure they create amazing experiences that also turn a profit.

There is SO much to know, and you don’t know what you don’t know when you’re starting the planning process. The course takes the guesswork out of retreats and helps makes sure you don’t make some of the common mistakes that can lead to lost $ and crappy client experiences.

What are the top three blunders you see people making in running retreats?

1- Not planning far enough in advance – this will leave you scrambling to find a venue that still has space, rushing to market and fill your retreat, and making the whole process way more stressful than it needs to be. Give yourself 6 months for a local retreat and 12 months for an international retreat to start the planning process

2 – paying too much out of pocket (and then losing money) – You do NOT need to take on the risk of losing money you’ve put down for your retreat. Don’t pay anything yourself – pre-sell your retreat and use that money to lay down any deposits, and be clear about the refund and cancellation policies of your venue before paying anything

3- Packing the itinerary either too tight, or leaving it too loose – how much group + workshop time you include depends on what kind of retreat you are running and what you have promised your participants. For example, a business-focused retreat will have more time together working and coaching, and a more experiential adventure style retreat won’t have as much. Too much packed in will leave people overwhelmed and not able to integrate what they are learning, and too little and people are left wondering why they paid such a premium for this retreat when they could have just gone on any other vacation. Nailing the retreat itinerary is important!

What are your three big ideas around making your first retreat a big success?

1 – Give yourself LOTS of time to market – it’s the hardest part!

2- Don’t plan a retreat too early in your business. You need to have people to market it to in order to fill it! if you can’t think of 5 people who would say YES to it right now, take some time to build your network and/or your email list, and wait before you start planning anything.

3 – Have a clear focus for the retreat – people need to know what this retreat is all about and whether it’s a fit for them, and if you’re not clear on that, they won’t be either. Knowing who the retreat is for, what the purpose is, and having a string mission statement will help make sure you get the right people there with you – and having the right group is what will take your retreat from good to incredible for your participants (and for you!)

Can you share a couple stories of retreats that have gone well and what can be learned from them?

1. My first retreat in Belize was amazing! We had been telling people for a while that we were going to start planning a retreat, so both my and my co-leader’s audience were primed and ready when we launched. This made it easy to sell and we sold out fairly quickly! This taught me that having an audience to sell to is hugely important to make sure you sell out and don’t lose money! This could mean an email list, a super engaged FB group, a local network, or just a lot of colleagues friends, and peers that you can sell to who you KNOW would be interested.

2. My friend Kira ran a retreat in Italy that I attended and it went off without a hitch. It was a life-coaching retreat focused on single women/relationship coaching, but it also had a strong focus on just having FUN on a cool vacation with like minded people (it was called the “Let’s F*cking go to Italy Retreat”). We’d have casual but smart conversations about love and dating after breakfast in the morning (while sipping teas in a beautiful villa in the mountains), and then head out adventuring for the rest of the day. The balance of free time to group time was important here. No one was there to have a heavy coaching session everyday and that was never the purpose of the retreat – but keeping the vibe on point with how it was marketed, everyone knew what to expect and got exactly what they came for. It was great!

Why is this program credible? Why should they trust it or you to help them?

I’ve run my own retreats for 4 years now with huge success, and for this course, I also interviewed 25 other successful retreat leaders to gather their best tips, marketing strategies, and advice, as well as the real scoop on how much profit they have made from their retreats, and blended it all into one easy to use manual that will teach you everything you need to know.

I also include an interview with several other experts to help beef up the course where my expertise was lacking — a lawyer who helps clients with retreat contracts (and as a bonus included one in the course for people to use!); a hotel manager and event coordinator who tells you everything you need to know about booking venues; and a Facebook ads expert who shares some amazing knowledge about how to best use Facebook for selling your retreats.

Who, specifically, is this program not a fit for? 

It’s not suitable for someone who doesn’t have a business or a business idea yet. Retreats rely on you having already built an audience (but I do give tips for getting there is someone is just starting out. But it will not help you figure out what business idea you should start.

It’s also not for someone who wants to run a retreat/travel agency business (ie. multiple retreats a year as their only course of income), or someone who wants to run large, conference-style events.

*

If you’d like to learn more about Rebecca’s program you can click here (affiliate link) or here (not).

 

Educating vs. Selling

41985313 - back to school background with books and alarm clock over chalkboard

Educate when you educate.

Sell when you sell.

Don’t confuse the two.

Don’t promise an education and then deliver a sales pitch.

Don’t promise amazing content when they opt-into your list only to deliver something shitty and then bombard them with marketing for your incredible content.

Don’t bait and then switch.

I recall a colleague of mine releasing a new eBook on how to get more clients to say ‘yes’ to your coaching program offers. It was going to be one of the free give-aways in the launch for his sales training program. I read it before agreeing to send it out to my list. It was a sales letter. It wasn’t a book at all.

I recall hosting a colleague for a tele-seminar where he promised to share nuts and bolts content and his presentation was that he seemed to be reading, literally and actually, from his sales letter. He never really delivered on the results he promised. To get that content you have to sign up for his program.

When you do an intro workshop promising education don’t have it be a covert or overt sales pitch for your weekend workshop or coaching program.

Educate when you educate.

Sell when you sell.

There will come a point when it’s time to share what you have to offer. Do it. There’s a moment, and you can learn to know when it is, where the appropriate and respectful thing is to cut to the chase and say, “Here’s the deal. You pay $__ and you get _____.

There’s a point where you can just say to someone, “You know… I think you might really dig this workshop I’m leading. Can I send you the info?

Educate when you educate.

Sell when you sell.

People will trust you more. People will be able to relax into learning from you. They will know that what they are learning from you isn’t a subtle, sophisticated and sneaky attempt to set them up for a purchase. They’ll know you’re not positioning them to buy something from you. Their defences will go down and they’ll be willing to engage in an honest to god human conversation with you.

Most of the people I work with, these conscious, hippie entrepreneurs, are delighted to realize that there’s a moment where you can just say to someone, “Can I pitch you on something? I think this might be a good fit for you.” or “You know, I have no idea if this is a fit, but let me run this past you in case it is because it feels like it might really help on that issue you were just telling me about.”

You can be so direct.

Additional Reading:

Directness and Transparency in Marketing: A Vital Interdependence. – Lynn Serafinn

Mastering the Graceful Art of Directness – Lynn Serafinn

The Real Reason To Do Intro Workshops – Tad Hargrave

Enough With The Crappy Opt-In Bribes – Do This Instead – Bradley Morris