The Top Ten Foundational Things Every Holistic Practitioner Needs

So many holistic practitioners struggle with their marketing. And, to make it worse, they spend small fortunes of time and money on marketing that doesn’t work. And they feel like they’re flushing money down to the toilet.

Initially, I had seven – but since then I’ve added three more.

Before we get into what you DO need – let’s talk about what you DON’T need.

  • Business Cards: these are useful but they’re often a marketing crutch. They get given out to anyone and everyone (including people they already know, who are on their email list and facebook friends. Why??) They’re given out with the notion of ‘getting my name out there’. But, far more powerful than getting your name out there is getting ‘their name in here’. Meaning: better to get their card and follow up with them by sending them something free and useful. But that’s another story. In the meantime – check out this brilliant strategy (it’s somewhat advanced) on how you can use business cards to grow your business.
  • Brochures: These typically get left at new age bookstores and holistic centers and rarely picked up by anyone and almost never get anyone clients (unless they’re written particularly well – again – another topic for another time).
  • A fancy logos: These end up being highly relevant to us but usually irrelevant to anyone else. They’re nice. They can add to things – but they’re not necessary.

So, what DO you need? Here’s my take on the seven things you most need. And I’ve yet to meet a practitioner who’s got all seven of them.

THING #1: A Focused Specialization

You just can’t be everything to everybody. A large part of this is about having a clear sense of who you’re wanting to work with (you can read some blog posts and watch some videos I made about this). But it could also be differentiating yourself by what you offer, where you offer it, how you offer it. There are so many ways to look at this.

The big question people have is, ‘Is this relevant to me? Can this help me?‘ And if you’re lost in trying to be everything to everybody – then your offerings will never get a solid ‘yes’ with them. When we focus we’re able to craft beautiful offerings to people that are incredibly compelling. If your marketing pitch is, ‘I help people into holistic wellness’ then marketing will be much harder for you than someone who can say they work with a group like this.

In marketing, focus is freedom.

THING #2: A Client Generating Website

This is huge. You not only need a website but you need it to do the right things for you. And you likely need the right help in putting it together. 

But, to step back a bit, why a website? Why does it matter so much?

A few reasons:

Firstly, it can be working for you 24/7. While you sleep people can be engaging with it.

Secondly, it has a lot to do with the principle of safety in marketing. Meaning – rather than imagining marketing as being about ‘pursuing’ or ‘chasing’ people – we can imagine it as helping people to find us and making it safe enough to approach us. And a website gives people this safety. They can check us out 100% risk free from a distance and ‘get to know’ us.

What should go on your website? Check out Robert Middleton’s brilliant ‘Website Toolkit‘ and Juliet Austin’s ‘Client Attracting Websites‘ for a great overview.

But also – make sure to check out Carrie Klassen’s, ‘How to Make a Lovable Homepage‘ workbook. It will tell you exactly what you put on your homepage so that it is compelling, clear and not the last bit hyped up or salesy.

 

A couple important note about your website:

  • You must be able to update it yourself for free. Yes. Being trapped in paying some designer to update your website (or waiting for them) is lame. This is why you should get help.
  • It’s not enough that your website is functional and looks pretty – it must help you attract and get real paying clients.

Says, George Kao,

“Good visual branding can help, but in reality it has no correlation with profitability.  Many businesses with really good-looking websites can barely make rent. Many financially successful online businesses have ugly websites

The 3 primary reasons for an internet marketing website:
  1. Opt-in Page – you must give them a way to give you their contact info in exchange for valuable information. Having a ‘free gift‘ you can give people doesn’t hurt.
  2. Service/Product – allow them to buy from you and pay you online!
  3. and then Branding – which gets across the vibe and feelings of who you are. It’s not just all graphic design and logos. It’s how they FEEL when they look at your presence.”

THING #3: A Great Photo

You need a good photo. Like these ones below by my colleague Donna Santos and also the ones you can view here (with commentary!) . . .

Here’s why your photos matter today more than ever before . . .

We live in a day and age where people are more skeptical than ever about advertising, marketing and business. Cynicism is rampant. Dealing with faceless corporations in the age of facebook is losing its luster.

In the age of social media – relationships matter more than they ever have.

So does authenticity. People smell ‘fake’ faster than ever before. And attention spans are shorter than they’ve ever been.

To sum it up: we live in an age of A.D.D. cynics.

So you have to capture their attention FAST. And they need to get that you’re ‘REAL’ extremely quickly too. Within seconds of seeing your marketing materials (e.g. brochures, business cards, websites, posters) they will decide if you are relevant to them and whether or not they like and trust you.

Harsh but true. Your photo plays a critical role in how attractive, safe and ‘real’ your work feels. There are three photo scenarios you can be in.

Says Toronto branding expert Rhonda Page . . .

A picture speaks 1000 words is an old saying but holds more true than ever. How many of you have spent a tremendous amount of time an effort working on your website? Writing and rewriting the content, making sure it says exactly what you want it to say, choosing colours, working closely with your designer or web developer to get it all just right.

It’s amazing to me with all the time, effort and money that goes into developing a website, the calibre of many of the photos I see on Websites. I’m always puzzled why the photo appears to be an after thought. Often outdated and poor quality.

Your photo is one of the most important pieces to your website. It tells your viewer who you are, it gives you credibility. It should be well aligned with your message. One of the exercises in my know your difference workbook is asking people to choose 1 feeling word out of a list of feeling words. This feeling word is to represent the feeling you want your customer or client to walk away with. For example, if you run a travel company and the feeling word you choose was adventurous, you want your customer to get that feeling by looking at your site and especially looking at the photo of you!

You want every aspect of the experience they have with you to feel like an adventure – perhaps it’s an adventure visiting your office! This is what makes brands stand out and differentiate. It seems to me like so many business are shouting out “we’re different, we’re different, we’re different” without really being different.

Take a hardcore look at your business, what’s really different? Is it your business model, is it your product? Is it the experience that your customer will have. Be honest with yourself. If you’re not really different, then get together with friends and brainstorm ways that you can be different. Once you know your difference, bring it to life with a great website and a great photo of you! Use this great photo of you consistently on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so that everyone will start to recognize you. And remember…what’s the feeling you want your customer to walk away with?

P.S. My new photo was done by Donna Santos

THING #4: A Kick Ass Bio

Most people’s bio’s don’t help them. They are lacking the four critical elements any good bio needs. If you want to write a great bio – you’re likely going to need some handholding. And the best resource I’ve found is an ebook called ‘Bye Bye Boring Bio‘ by my friend Nancy Juetten. Go and buy it today. Well worth your money. I also recommend checking out my pal Michael Margolis’ workbook ‘The New About Me

THING #5: A Clear Description of What You Do

This is an area most practitioners struggle with deeply. They go to describe what they offer and people look confused. You need to be able to describe what you do in a way that people ‘get it’. And this means it can’t be fuzzy, confusing, jargon filled or just a list of modalities. I’ve written an ebook about this called “How the eff do I articulate what i do?”  that I’ll be selling soon. It’s really good and gives you lots of examples of how you can articulate what you do in a way that’s crystal clear and extremely compelling.

THING #6: A Well Organized Client Database

You need to keep track of your existing clients. Not just in their intake forms on your desk or in a file folder. On a computer. In a spreadsheet or contact management system where you can email them all together and organize them in different ways.

Things to consider keeping track of: name, email, phone number, address, who referred them, the date of their first appointment, their birthday, how much they’re spent with you, date of their last appointment, how many times they’ve seen you, how many people they’ve referred, gender, age, what type of crowd they’re in and what priority they are to you as a client. There’s a lot you can do with this kind of information.

THING #7: An Extensive Hubs Database

You need a way to not only identify but then keep track of potential partners and hubs you come across. Unless you want to be stuck at the ‘cold’ level of marketing you must start thinking about your hubs.

THING #8: Staying in Touch in Ways They Love

There are basically three ways to stay in touch: email newsletter, blog and social media.

I want to touch on your email newsletter and why it matters.

Having an email list is one thing. But you need to do something with it. Says my colleague and prosperity coach Morgana:

And I’m going to throw in MY big money maker: my “ezine” (electronic magazine style newsletter).

Every time I send out an email I make money. Even if I’m not “selling” anything. I build relationship, share tips or a story that will inspire someone somewhere, and inevitably people buy my books and apply for a coaching interview. Always.

And the quickest way to dry up my cash flow is to stop sending out emails.

Super duper side benefits of my ezine mailings:

1) Every mailing causes a spike in traffic to my website, and that raises my profile with Google.

2) People forward my emails to their friends, and I grow my list.

3) Personal development big shots ask to play with me because I have a bunch of subscribers to my ezine. We interview each other and I get even MORE customers/clients/subscribers!

4) It’s cheap and a lot easier than personally calling 5,300 people every week to stay in touch.

5) People may read me for years before they hire me, but when I hear from them they’ve already made a decision.

6) My ezine gives website visitors something to say “yes” to without having to spend any money. (Which is why you also need to have a kick ass gift–like my award winning Money Magnet mp3 download–to entice visitors to give you their info.) If someone visits your website and doesn’t give you their information, it’s a if they were never there. And that’s tragic.

7) A high quality, content rich ezine is good karma. And we like good karma.

THING #9: Case Studies and Testimonials

As my colleague Casey Hibbard of http://www.storiesthatsellguide.com will tell you – stories matter. They are powerful. There are few things more powerful than hearing the stories and words of your clients. A few thoughts on this:

  1. Testimonials: don’t just make them say “AWESOME!” says AJ from Texas. Who the hell is AJ? Who cares. Make sure the testimonials are a paragraph or two. Give them a headline to grab people. Give their full name. Check out some kick ass testimonials here.
  2. Case Studies: these tell the stories from a before and after perspective. “They came in with _____ problem and they left with ______ result.” You can see one example of case studies here but I really recommend you check out Casey’s site.

What do YOU think? Is there anything you’d add to this list?

THING #10: A Sales Funnel

If all you do is sell individual sessions you’re hooped.

It’s important have levels of what you offer. This first became clear to me in the work of Andrea Lee with her brilliant Pink Spoon Marketing website. Why have this?

You’ll get more people in the front door because you’re offering free and cheap things you offer (e.g. ebooks, free audio, free video, blogs). You’ll also get some clients signing up for higher priced things (e.g. in depth workshops, high level coaching, on going monthly programs).

If you look at this funnel – most practitioners only offer one level (the $50-200). Consider adding more levels. This probably starts with your website and online strategy.

But here’s the short course – there are four things most practitioners need to add to their funnel:

1) Pink Spoons: e.g. ebooks, free audio, free video, blogs, quizzes & assessments etc.

2) Programs: workshops, retreats, talks.

3) Packages: e.g. a spring package, a flu package, a lower back pain package, a series or 3, 6 or 12 sessions etc.

4) Products – e.g. books, DVD’s, clothing, supplements etc.

 

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About Tad

  • I think this is a fantastic article Tad – the idea of starting a business is daunting to many of us, but you have simplified the process. These are great ideas of things to do from the get go in order to take action towards building a business.
    I think that many people, myself included, are focused on helping others, and we need to have a process like this in order to help us promote ourselves.
    Thank you Tad!

  • Hey Tad :) Great article! I’ve been thinking I need to get a contact management system that allows me to keep track of everything you mention above. Do you have any suggestions about which one to use? Right now I’m just keeping track of my clients in my Gmail. Is there something I can use that’s better?

    Thanks for helping me out :)
    Colette

  • Jenifer Boere

    Great advice! I would only add that the practitioner needs to set out some clear goals as to what they want to achieve. What is success to them? I am in this shift myself and reading all your info has encouraged me to get right down to it and set out some guidelines for myself. Thank you!

  • Dear Tad,
    I totally agree with you on getting other people’s business cards…but I don’t agree with you about not having your own business cards to hand out. I have run into others who are just starting up and do not yet have a card, or have just run out! By having my own to give to them, they then can contact me. Just my thoughts.
    Cheers,
    Susanne

  • Hi Tad,
    Great article with some really useful tips! As a graphic designer with 12 years experience, I have to comment on the not needing a great logo though, as I think it is vital that your corporate branding, whatever that may be, is professional and attention grabbing. The first thing people often associate you with is your marketing design…so if your design looks cheap and of little consequence, they associate cheap and of little consequence to you and what you offer. You mentioned the importance of a great head shot… well a logo and marketing design speaks similarly of your character.

  • Karen

    Great article! Would love to attend your course “Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners”, but unfortunately this round does not fit my schedule. Since I won’t be to Toronto soon, do you have a recommendation for a photographer in Calgary?

  • hey susanne, I think it can be GREAT to give out your business cards to those who are interested. But I don’t think it’s necessary. And I think this distinction needs to be clearer in people’s marketing – what are the ‘musts’ and what are the ‘coulds’.

  • hey michele,

    I’m with you that design is important. a cheap looking website doesn’t help you. AND I’ve known of people who’ve made a fortune in spite of it. if i had to choose between a website that got me clients and one that just looked good – i’d take the one that got me clients. can you do both? yes. that’s obviously better. can great design inspire trust?

    profoundly so.

    but it can also just inspire admiration – which may not get people to ‘act’. the skill of design and the skill of marketing and growing a business are related but DIFFERENT. In my experience – web designers do NOT understand how to grow a business whereas online marketers do. Again – ideally both. Also – I think most people think of branding and logo being synonymous. And I don’t think they are. I think one can create a powerful ‘brand’ with no logo. One can inspire deep relationships of trust with no logo.

    A logo is nice but not necessary.

  • Karen, I wish i knew someone in Calgary I could stand behind. I’ll keep my ears to the ground!

  • Excellent advice, as usual, Tad!

    I’d add two more things:

    #8 An organized place for case studies. When a practitioner is first starting out, they may only have one or a few “case studies” or how they have helped specific people achieve specific results/outcomes. Keep a running document, or database if that is preferred, of case studies…this bolsters the practitioner’s confidence and is gold material for marketing — summaries of case studies can be put on any printed brochures or even better, on practitioner’s website and when practitioner is talking to prospective clients.

    #9 Simple 1-page marketing plan:
    * What would practitioner like to achieve? (income, impact, time freedom)
    * What are the major steps and timelines for getting there?
    * What are the sources of support?

    Hope these are helpful additions.

    Cheers,
    George Kao
    Social Media Coach
    http://www.Facebook.com/GeorgeKaoCommunity

  • George – that stuff is gold. Yes. everyone – go hire this man.

  • Hi Tad,

    These are great tips, and I would add one more. Don’t join a club that would have you as a member. Be the only one of your kind so you can stand out and shine among a sea of sameness. For example, be the only holistic practitioner among a gathering of financial planners. They need you, so make it easy for them to know you and have you show them why.

    Tad, thanks much for advocating for Bye-Bye Boring Bio to your tribe. I so appreciate it.

    Everyone, you can access a one-hour audio file and a written transcript of a presentation about how to kick that boring bio to the curb when you opt-in to enjoy the Main Street Media Savvy ezine. Follow Tad’s link and get ready to transform that boring bio from wallpaper to wow right now!

    Nancy

  • Nancy – brilliant. love it. and yes – go buy her ebook people. It’s the real deal.

  • Ann Hill

    Hey there,

    Thanks for a great piece!

    The only thing I can think of that a lot of holistic practitioners (and very often ‘creative’ types in general)have needed a whole lot of healing around the area of money in their life. From my experience very often healers tend to come from the fringes of life rather than the Alpha Male/ Female world and have very often experienced a lot of poverty and hurt/ exclusion around the whole issue of money and the financial world. i recently spent a session with a friend where for forty minutes he needed to vent the pent up emotions around this whole world. I merely said the word ‘Money’ and my friend just laughed and cried and if he looked like he was about to run out I would say the word ‘Money’ and off we’d go again.

    I don’t think I’ve met a hippy type who doesn’t carry a lot of hurt in this area…

    And from what I’ve found, even the best marketing or unmarketing plan in the world won’t work until we have made peace with our finacial selves, our self-worth, our right to earn like the ‘real people’ do. Our businesses can only grow to match our level of inner healing in this area. Or else we will somehow sabbotage ourselves and think that it’s just the business not working out. It somehow feels like a successful business just doesn’t match up with our insides, until our insides are able to be at peace with the idea of money and success.

    I found that book by Barbara Stanny ‘Overcoming Underearning’ is a good place to start the money recovery journey.

    Sorry for the long post!!

  • Ann! Thanks for your words. In terms of money – there’s no one I know better than Mark Silver for this – and he has a course on it that’s brilliant.

  • Great post and I definitely agree! The only thing I’d add to the mix is “remarkability” – it’s essential to stand out, have a “WOW” factor, and do something a little bit different than everyone else. I’d also say to add your own unique flare, whatever that means to you!

  • Andrea. I love it! This is so true. How do you help people identify that? It seems central.

  • And I’m going to throw in MY big money maker: my “ezine” (electronic magazine style newsletter).

    Every time I send out an email I make money. Even if I’m not “selling” anything. I build relationship, share tips or a story that will inspire someone somewhere, and inevitably people buy my books and apply for a coaching interview. Always.

    And the quickest way to dry up my cash flow is to stop sending out emails.

    Super duper side benefits of my ezine mailings:

    1) Every mailing causes a spike in traffic to my website, and that raises my profile with Google.

    2) People forward my emails to their friends, and I grow my list.

    3) Personal development big shots ask to play with me because I have a bunch of subscribers to my ezine. We interview each other and I get even MORE customers/clients/subscribers!

    4) It’s cheap and a lot easier than personally calling 5,300 people every week to stay in touch.

    5) People may read me for years before they hire me, but when I hear from them they’ve already made a decision.

    6) My ezine gives website visitors something to say “yes” to without having to spend any money. (Which is why you also need to have a kick ass gift–like my award winning Money Magnet mp3 download–to entice visitors to give you their info.)

    *** If someone visits your website and doesn’t give you their information, it’s a if they were never there. And that’s tragic.

    7) A high quality, content rich ezine is good karma. And we like good karma.

  • Hi Tad,

    Thanks for some great advice. One of the obvious things I have not done, is include a portrait on my site or business card. Hope to be able to see you soon at one of your Marketing 101 events.

    Great to see Selena’s portrait on your site.

    Take care,
    Michelle

  • uhm. okay, morganna is brilliant. yes. i’m adding it to my list. you win! :-)

  • Tad,

    Nice breakdown and lots of value here. If “internet-rookies” and holistic peeps with “expertitis” would implement even HALF of this (plus Morgana’s suggestion of email broadcasts) they’d see some SERIOUS changes in their audience size, enrollments, and (woohoo!) their bank account. I’ve seen it happen with my clients. Just takes a lil’ desire and follow-through :)

    XO
    -K.

  • kris! thanks for your words. what is it that you focus on with the clients you work with? tell us! tell us!

  • I love how this article evolved through comments made on the Blog.

  • Jaime. Me too. Collaboration makes things better. yes.