I assume since you are reading this that you want to learn the most effective ways to market you health coaching or wellness business, right? Once you start diving into the world of marketing, you realize that it is much like diet, there is no one size fits all approach.
There are however, some things that just don’t work and end up sabotaging your business instead of building it. Much like in health and diet, we all can agree that eating lots of processed food and tons of sugar is going to harm your health no matter what kind of diet you eat.
What prompted me to write this post was all the ineffective and counterproductive ways I see all sorts of people trying to market themselves online. This is another one of those tough love moments for some people. If you are using one of these methods and it is working great for you, fantastic. Just ignore everything I am saying. If, on the other hand, you are trying these and not getting any results (as I would expect) please don’t beat yourself up, just stop and try something new.
As an online publisher in the Health Coaching arena, I probably get approached a little more than most people by many of these techniques. When I am feeling gracious I simply respond with a very polite notice saying why I think the person should try another approach. Normally, I just ignore the messages or emails and when I am feeling especially cranky, I hit the Spam button. My guess is that for most people, the response to this type of marketing is probably in the reverse order of mine.
This is the modern equivalent of cold calling. I’m sure it works for some people, but like cold calling it will be a very SMALL percentage of people that respond. I routinely get emails and social media messages from people I have never heard of, never met and never asked them for any information. It usually goes something like “I have this awesome product that you have to check out!” or “Are you interested in making more money?” My favorite is when I get a follow up message to this initial spam asking me if I got a chance to look at whatever they are hawking.
Most of these types of messages come from Network Marketing reps which is one of the reasons why that industry has the reputation it does. Network marketing businesses are like any other business, you need a solid marketing plan and sales funnel in place. Just aiming your message blindly at the world will not lead to much success.
I hate to bash network marketing, it just seems that this is where some of the worst marketing practices show up. I guess this is understandable since many times it is a case of someone who knows nothing about business coaching someone else on how to build their business.
This is mainly on Facebook, but can be any social media account. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unless you are using Facebook for advertising (which you should be), having a ton of likes on your fan page is not going to really do much for you. I understand the excitement, a new business and we want others to know about it. I see this in the health coaching arena a lot, people go into groups of their peers and ask people to like their page or get on their list. Unless these people are in your target market this one is another time waster.
While I am not a huge fan of selling in general on Facebook, this is specifically aimed at those who post their sales messages on pages and groups that are not theirs. Other people create groups to serve their audience and sell their stuff, not yours. This one can get a little tricky, but my basic rule is never to put up any kind of sales message on a property that you don’t own or control. If your material will serve this audience and the owner of the page or the group is OK with it, post useful content or resources, but not sales messages.
Here’s another one I see lots of starting network marketers do, once again this is an exaggeration. The message usually looks something like
“I only have room for x more people on my team. I haven’t tried the products yet and have no idea how to build a business, but my up line told me to do this. Join me and you will be earning a residual income in no time”
OK, so maybe it’s not usually that bad, but you get the idea. Network marketing is a very valid business model, but do yourself a favor and get educated before just blindly doing everything someone tells you is a good idea.
Enough of my rant, sorry if any of this came off as overly negative, but I think there are lots of people using techniques like this and wondering why they are not getting the results they hoped for.
Don’t take all this as an indictment of network marketing. I think network marketing can be very effective and done well, it’s just that so often it isn’t. It’s pretty easy for me to dismiss 90+% of the companies out there simply by looking at the ingredient labels and another 8% by realizing that the prices are so expensive that nobody but sales reps will buy the products. Here is a post I did awhile back about the Network Marketing Myth you might find valuable.
No matter what kind of business you are doing it still comes down to the same basics. Developing relationships and providing value to your ideal client and THEN offering your products and services to them. If someone hasn’t given you their email address yet or signed up for an event you are doing, they probably are not interested in buying anything from you. Start generating valuable content and relationships first, worry about making money second, not the other way around.
One of the biggest problems that health coaches and nutritionists face is the fear of asking for money and selling large packages. Asking for the sale is something that feels awkward and uncomfortable.
How to sell or even what to sell isn’t taught in school. Most us have no clue when it comes to setting the stage to make the sale prior to even meeting with the prospect. I’ve met people who have been working in the alternative health industry for 20 years who still do not offer long-term packages with an EFT (electronic funds transfer or monthly payment) option.
In fact, you might not even feel this article is for you because you are NOT a sales person… you are a (insert professional title). Well, I’ve got news for you that might rub you the wrong way. You (insert professional title) are in fact a sales person.
In order for you to get and retain as many clients as you’d like to enjoy financial stability it’s up to you to sell or communicate the value of what you do. You must communicate your unique value over the competition down the street. It’s your job to paint a word picture of how your services will solve your prospect’s problem in such a way that the prospect FEELS that you and only you can help them.
Before we jump into the 3 steps to selling nutrition services with ease I’d like you to take a couple of minutes to examine your negative associations with sales. Why do you feel the way you do? Are you open to changing your mindset towards sales?
You are a value provider. You are an expert that coaches people to achieve optimal health. Your services are not the same as the free info found on the internet. You deserve to be paid what you are worth. You decide your worth, not your clients or your competition.
Now that we’ve got that clear, let’s jump into the 3 steps to selling nutrition services with ease.
Stop offering initial consults with a 1-2 time follow up for $150. Take that service offering out of your repertoire. Instead prospects should be encouraged to come for a 45 to 60 minute complimentary assessment.
This 45 to 60 minute assessment is NOT so they can pick your brain and ask you all kinds of questions. It’s to run through your scripted intake assessment so you can provide specific recommendations on the services you offer.
You are not required to provide a personalized plan for this initial complimentary session. During your time with the prospect you can provide helpful tips.
The language can be something like this…
“Yes, sure Mrs. Jones. I would be happy to answer your questions. Here is what I suggest. Let’s schedule you for a complimentary 45 minute nutrition intake assessment. During this assessment you and I can get to know each other better, I will answer some of your questions and will evaluate your goals and your needs.
This way I have all the info I need to make personalized recommendations based on the services I offer. I have Wednesday at 10am or Thursday at 7pm available. Which appointment would be best for you?”
Through letting the prospect know that your complimentary 45 minute appointment is to assess her goals and needs so you can make recommendations we’ve already set the stage to close the sale. There are no surprises that you offer programs that she will have to pay for.
Set the stage for closing the sale. When you are conducting your initial intake review the agenda with the prospect before you even start asking questions. It’s important to let the prospect know what to expect from your time together.
The language could be like this…
“Thanks so much for coming in today Mrs. Jones. Did you bring your assessment forms? Great. Before I tell you a little bit about myself let me explain exactly what’s going to happen over the next 45 minutes. First I will ask you some personal questions about your current state of health, your nutrition habits and your goals, what you want to work on, etc. Then I’m going to put you on the scale and take some measurements. After that I will explain what the numbers mean and then review your food tracker so I can give you some personalized tips. Lastly I will review everything with you and make specific recommendations based on the services I offer. You and I can decide together how we can proceed so that I can best be of service in helping you achieve your goals. How does that sound?”
Framing the initial intake assessment in this way let’s the prospect know that you are in control, you are the expert and that you offer services that will help them achieve their goals. No surprises.
Refer to your services throughout the initial intake assessment. Talk about clients who had similar experiences as the prospect. Use social proof as much as possible to influence the sale.
For example, if a prospect comes in complaining that they have no time and need a meal plan rather than learning how to create balanced meals I would tell them a story about another client in a similar situation and how I helped them to implement small changes over a 12-week period. I would also mention the results the client got.
Sales don’t have to be the enemy. In fact, if you want to achieve financial stability then they shouldn’t be. Becoming a proficient sales person is a learned skilled. It doesn’t happen by accident or without practice.
I have a confession to make, I used to hold some serious misconceptions about network marketing. It was about 10 years ago, I found an organic skin care company that I thought was going to be “the thing” that finally allowed me to quit working in the pharmaceutical industry and work for myself. I fell for the network marketing myth. I signed up (under someone who really didn’t understand the business), learned all I could about the products and the company and started doing what the company told me to do. Basically it was the same story, go approach every person you have ever met and tell them how awesome this business is and how they can make a good income by just sharing the business with a couple of people.
If you have ever joined a network marketing (sometimes referred to as MLM, or multi level marketing) you may have run into some of the same stumbling blocks I did. I hated “selling”, I got a knot in my stomach whenever I would go tell a friend of mine about the business, and after about 5 months, I became one of the huge number of people that were happy to tell everyone that network marketing doesn’t work.
So fast forward quite a few years. When I started Health Coach Weekly a few years ago, I brought this baggage with me. I said I will “never” promote any thing in the network marketing industry. Then a funny thing happened. I met person after person that had made it work for them. Sure, many of them were promoting products that there was no way I would put my seal of approval on, but I started to pay attention. Then I met someone that had built some enormous organizations without ever approaching her warm market (now I’ve quite a few more). I even have a friend that almost never calls someone to get them to join her business. Either they call her or just show up, and she is more successful all the “old school” marketers in her organization.
So by this time last year I had seen enough to know that my judgment of the business model was wrong but I still was hard pressed to find a company that I could really get behind.
I basically found 3 kinds of companies when I started really doing my research.
I’m sure you have sat in on some of these “opportunity” calls or webinars. They all sound great, just get a few customers and sign up 3 more “business builders”, help them do what you did and you will be all set. Like most things in marketing, there is a kernel of truth to this. In theory, at least…in reality, it is a lot of hard work, just like every other kind of business. I do think, however, for health coaches, there is a good place for network marketing for most coaches. At the least, you are probably wanting to be able to give your clients access to some really excellent products, and if you find a company that has managed to keep the pricing competitive, this can be a nice extra income source. Most coaches I talk to already recommend certain products from the health food store. If you can find similar products that are valuable for your client and you make money on, I look at that as a win-win.
Of course, the big thing that seduces people into looking at network marketing is the promise of “residual income”, basically earning money tomorrow for work you have done today. Anyone I have talked to that has actually built up a substantial residual income did not do it by signing up 3 people into their business and then helping them. I know some people that have done it in amazingly short amount of times by working incredibly hard and following some very good systems and training. But even the friends I’ve met who took 3 or 4 years to build up a $10,000 – $20,000 + / month “residual income” still worked very hard.
So basically, what I am saying, is don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater like I did. Network marketing is a perfectly fine business model as long as it is done right. Just like there are slimy internet marketers and used car salesman, you can find the same thing in network marketing. There are also lots of heart centered network marketers full of integrity just like in any other field. They are just not always the ones that are speaking the loudest. Just don’t fall for all the low-work, get-rich hype that still exists in the industry and fuels this whole network marketing myth.
I don’t try to “prospect” everyone I meet, in fact, I’ve gotten kind of particular about who I want to work with personally so if you interested in learning more about what I’m up to in this arena, just drop me an email. I answer all my own messages and would be happy to share my experience with you.
Most Marketing Teachers Get This Wrong
Because of the good-intentions but wrong approach of many business coaches, health coaches end up turned off by the idea of “niche” or “target market.”
But it shouldn’t be this way.
There are too many people that need your help. That is why you need to understand the power of Niche Mapping™ – a completely innovative approach that holistically hones in on your authentic gifts and how to make money, so you can help more people.
Know The Niche
a. A situation or activity specially suited to a person’s interests, abilities, or nature
b. A special area of demand for a product or service
A niche provides you with focus. That is all. There is no more magic or mystery to it than that. You find a focus, then you take persistent and consistent action. It is not easy, but nothing worth doing is. Think about it… raising children, writing a book, building a house, etc.
How Matthew Turned His Niche Into $11,000
Matthew Joseph Anello (MJA), a 2009 IIN Alumni, got clear about his niche in the next greatest version of his work.
And early in a damp spring, on the terrace of his flat in Barcelona, Spain, MJA had an idea… what if he combined his passion and skill in an entirely new way? What if he could take his interests in bodywork, nutrition and facilitating group experiences and create an entirely new way to lead the world while publishing a book.
MJA got clear that he needed to crowd-fund AND crowd-source a book. WHOA. Totally evolutionary. That means he is pre-selling his book, and gave himself an $11,000 advance on his new book. AND, he is facilitating a series of calls and experiences to bring fourth a book bigger than himself.
And he used all of the tools that we teach in the “black box” Niche Mapping™ program.
Restore Your Authentic Enthusiasm & Nail Your Niche
There are four steps to kindle your fire, get clear on your focus and create a clear plan for the future.
If you need support in mapping out these four steps for clear, confident, productive action, then join us for an incredible webinar:
“Niche Mapping™: A Holistic Approach to Building a Profitable Practice From Scratch”
You will discover:
I guarantee that you have NEVER learned this system for nailing your niche. This is the first time this evolved system has been taught. Get on the crest of the wave and sign up now.
For a deeper dive into why you need a niche, check out this article.
I am sure you have attended your fair share of online summits and are wondering how you can use these in your health coaching biz.
Basically, in my experience, there are 2 main types of online summits, and only 1 of them you should try to avoid like the plague.
Of course, these are not inexpensive to produce or make available so the typical way these are monetized is that the recordings are made available for a limited time (usually 24 hours). After this time, various upgrade packages are made available. I’ve purchased quite a few of these over the years, some super valuable and some maybe not so much. I recently attended the Gluten Summit, which just wrapped up and it easily had the best quality content of any “free” summit I have signed up for ever.
I think the upgrade package had something like 30 hours of recorded webinar trainings with various medical experts on the subjects of gluten intolerance, gluten free diets and all things gluten. They are even giving me a special powerpoint presentation that health coaches can use with their clients or for presentations on next steps in the gluten free journey which I can’t wait to get my hands on and share with everyone that purchased the upgrade package. There was way more content than I could ever hope to absorb in 1 week and having a son on the autistic spectrum whom I try to keep on a gluten free diet this was a real bargain for me. Being able to share some of these trainings with family members will be so much more effective than me telling them why he shouldn’t be eating that cookie.
No matter what your specific area of focus in health is, chances are there is a summit around that topic at least once or twice a year. These can be a great way to help educate your audience as well as generate a little extra income for yourself. Also a great place to get ideas for content or products that you may want to create.
Like everything else when it comes to promoting things like this, you cannot expect to just slap a link on facebook, send one email and wait for the dollars to come pouring in. I am perpetually telling people about the importance of building up their own email list and developing some sort of relationship with your audience. We may not have gotten a chance (yet) to speak personally, but I feel like I know a lot about you already. Sure, we have have different dreams and obstacles, but basically every health coach I meet has the same core desire to help people live healthier, happier lives.
A more advance tactic is to create a separate email list so that people from your main list who sign up for the free event you can send additional information to without pestering people who have no interest in the event. This is what I typically do. Send a couple of messages about the free event to my main list and then people that sign up I will send some additional messages, especially as the event is drawing to a close. You need to be careful if you don’t segment your list, since if someone gets 10 emails from you about an event they have no interest in, they will likely unsubscribe.
After people have invested some time in reading or listening to / watching whatever kind of content it is that you produce, have been on your newsletter list for awhile and have grown to trust your recommendations is when you can actually start expecting to see some results with stuff like this. I try really hard only to send out emails about things that I think will either educate you from a health standpoint or help you move your business further along. Sure I stumble once in awhile and send something more like the second main type of online summit.
While the first summit I just described is great to listen to, easy to invite people to, and can even generate a nice little chunck of change sometimes, the second kind really turns me off.
You see this in both online summits and live events. “Come see these 10 experts for free”. Then you attend the online summit and each speaker spends half of their time talking about some great promotion they have going on and the content is weak.
While I have no problem with people offering their services, there has come to be an expectation of how this will work. If I host a 1 hour webinar, I usually tell the presenter that we want to give a minimum of 45 minutes of high quality content that everyone can use, regardless of whether they buy anything or not. This is a pretty standard setup and people have gotten used to this. If they want to buy the product / service, great! If not, at least they learned something useful. What ends up happening in summits like this, on the other hand is that the organizer asks for people to share their event through some sort of JV relationship (you and me) where we will make a couple of dollars for people we invite and purchase the upgrade package. When they go on to heavily pitch each presenters products, the organizer has a JV deal with them, but you don’t. Besides which, it ends up feeling heavy handed (at least to me).
There is another kind of online summit that has a lot of value for health coaches or anyone who is trying to build a business. This kind of event is usually aimed more at list building than it is at income generation, although you can do both. Typically these are smaller events, with 6 – 12 people, where the organizer gets together a bunch of experts on the topic, and each expert (that’s YOU!) gives away some sort of free gift. These can range, much like the online summits from super valuable to a complete and utter waste of time. What ends up happening if it is not well structured is that the organizer will get a pretty good result in terms of list building but the experts will not. This does not have to be the case, just depends on how well everything is planned and laid out. Also, when you are first getting started, just getting your name and voice out into the discussion has tons of value, regardless of any list building or monetary gains.
I know the holidays are fast approaching and even though this may not be your focus, everyone is looking to either lose weight before and/or after the holidays. So I’ll leave you with a couple of upcoming online summits that I think will be a perfect fit. The first is more for your clients, and is a great way to share a free resource with them without having to do the work. The holistic weight loss summit starts in a few weeks which will give you enough time to sign up and get it into your marketing calendar. There are a few IIN grads, some faculty, and a bunch of holistic nutrition experts, so I am sure there will be lots of great stuff in this one.
If you want to promote this to your own audience, just sign up for free and then go to the affiliate signup page. This can be found at the bottom of the summit home page. They will send you all the information you need.
The second is more for your personal education. I recently got the opportunity to meet the founder of the META Health University and they have some great training available for those of us interested in holistic and integrative health. He has put together the first META-Healthy Integrative Medicine Online Summit. He has brought together 30 world-renowned health experts and their goal in this event is to Show you How to Improve your Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual, Relationship and Financial Health. This actually started today, so be sure to check it out HERE.
You don’t have to be a marketing expert or a copywriter to succeed at reaching prospective health coaching clients. The most important thing to do is know your audience, write in your own voice and offer valuable content your ideal clients can use on a consistent basis.
Some health coaches, including many of my clients, are good at putting an article together, but then they use a title or subject line that fails to connect. It doesn’t matter how good your article or newsletter is, if no one reads it.
If you get stuck on writing titles, or even coming up with topics to write or speak about, you just need to know where to look for quick and easy inspiration.
Next time you’re on line at the store, take a look at the covers of the most popular health and beauty magazines for your target market. The article headlines on the covers are designed to sell those magazines, and using headlines like these for your own articles will inspire your website visitors to read your blog posts and your list members to open your emails.
Some of those titles you can use nearly as is (don’t worry – if you were to look at these covers over a long period you’ll find the same headlines are used repeatedly and are basically interchangeable from magazine to magazine). You can also use them to learn how to write your own snazzy headlines.
For example, if you’re a health coach with a target market that includes women in their 30s and 40s, you’ll find headlines like these on popular magazines:
5 Weird Weight-Loss Questions, Answered!
10 Delicious Ways to Cook Pumpkin: This antioxidant-packed fall favorite has never looked (or tasted) better!
5 Surprising Effects of Supplements
7 Stubborn Fitness Myths
20 Minute Metabolism Booster: Turn your body into a fat-burning furnace with this metabolic conditioning routine.
5 Things You Don’t Know About Fat
Is Sugar Giving You Wrinkles? It’s time to face facts about the toll sugar takes on skin. Get the scoop here, and learn how to keep your complexion youthful for years to come.
Intuition and Health: Hear the body when it whispers
Rev Up Your Snacks! Delicious, healthy mini-meals for all day energy
Get Healthy Now: 10 essential steps to staying well
Build a Better Sandwich: 10 Delicious Combos to Boost Nutrition and Drop Pounds
7 (Non-Yogurt) Snacks that Improve Digestion
4 Habits that are Making You Feel Bloated
Quick Tips for Managing Your Stress
Make a habit of noticing titles when you’re out and about and jot them down in a notebook, or use your phone to snap a quick pic. Now you’ve got some great topic ideas for your next blog post, article or talk.
Pay attention to the other headlines on those magazines for joint venture ideas and potential referral partner ideas. Use those covers to learn more about your target market. For example, your ideal client might love Oprah Magazine for the health articles, but also reads it for the features about fitness, wellness, fashion, books, relationships, careers and more.
Complementary specialties can be a great way to serve your target market through collaborations. Make a list of the colleagues, events, local centers, bloggers and authors you know who also serve your ideal clients.
Use magazine titles to learn how to write your own titles and subject lines that will speak to your ideal clients and help build your health coaching business.
1) Numbers are attractive and let the reader know it’s going to be a quick read with a clear number of tips they can use.
2) The best titles get straight to the point and make it clear what the post or newsletter is about and what’s in it for them.
3) Short and sweet can work, and a descriptive sub-heading can also be effective.
4) You’ll do better to write the way you speak, keep it simple and not try to be overly cute or clever.
5) It’s worth repeating: know your audience. Write directly to your ideal client with their needs in mind.
Experiment. Try playing with these titles to make them your own and look for some more good ones next time you pass by a magazine stand or get bored on line at the market.
You don’t even have to leave home to gather great new ideas for your health coaching business. Browse the magazines’ websites for article headlines. Pay attention to the titles given to upcoming segments on daytime television and news programs geared towards your target market too.
Have fun with it. Go with what feels good, make it your own and get your passion out into the world.
To your awesome business,
I graduated from the only Buddhist University in the United States. My major was music and my double minor was theatre and dance. My peers were either:
4. Environmental Studies Grads
5. Buddhist Clergy / Religion Geeks
So when I graduated from IIN as a health coach, I wasn’t surrounded by a high net worth peer group. To say ‘finding clients that could pay me was hard’ is like saying ‘habanero peppers are kind of spicy.’
Therefore, I had to find a way to get connected to people that could afford my services but still shared my values.
That is when I met a mentor that would change my life.
The Right Mentor Changes Your Life
My mentor, (we’ll call him “Bob” to respect his desire for a low profile) is wealthy.
He is not only wealthy in the traditional concept of dollars, but also in the realm of relationships; he is one of the most connected and respected people I have ever met. In the domain of the intellect; he is well read, versed and constantly surrounded by new thought leaders and diverse thinkers. In the domain of the spirit; he is growing and stretching his soul everyday.
When I first asked him to mentor me, I had to really show up. I needed to demonstrate that I was serious about growing. He actually had me compete a series of tasks to prove it. Once I made it through the gauntlet, he gave me 20 minutes in our first meeting. And he listened to me for 15 minutes; asked me some tough questions and then told me to do three things:
1. Read the book, Good To Great
2. Get rid of my T.V.
3. Find a mentor that has done what I want to do
So I share this with you, without the gauntlet, if you are really ready to succeed and want to get the distilled wisdom from the best source. If you want to succeed, take heed of this lesson:
1. Study the right books
2. Eliminate distraction
3. Find someone that has achieved what you want
But most importantly, there is one concept from the book Good To Great that every health coach should be familiar with. It is called the hedgehog concept. And the concept is built on three overlapping questions.
Your Foundation for Your Niche & Business
Now, you need to hear this. Think of this as the essence of the essence of the essential lesson that you need to develop your niche. Before you start figuring out your life experiences or doing the market research to determine your, consider these three questions.
1. What am I really passionate about?
2. What can I be the best in the world at?
3. What economic engine will drive this business?
We walk our clients through this process. I feature this in my book, Indestructible Success and I teach this at holistic schools. What I don’t understand is, why don’t other people teach this too?
These three questions have to be part of your nailing your niche. And when you find that sweet spot, your world starts to be like a hedgehog.
Now, if you want to know what I mean by the hedgehog reference, and to get a whole lot of support in narrowing your niche for my impact, income and clients, sign up for the replay of the live training we did on Tuesday evening.
If you are a health coach, serious about building your business and want to get down to the best use of your time – then get on the list for this call!
You will learn:
Get registered now and you will learn all this, PLUS what the hedgehog concept really means and how you can use it.
By the way.,. if you have any specific questions that we can answer about nailing your niche, email Seth@SethBraun.com.
I had to change and grow to be able to have a health coaching business that worked.
I found a mentor that had the kind of financial success that most people only dream of (or despise).
I received three precepts to follow:
1. Read Good to Great
2. Kill my T.V.
3. Find someone that has done what I want to do.
Now I challenge you to:
1. Put these three questions into play:
a. What am I passionate about?
b. What can I be the best in the world at?
c. What is the economic engine that drives income?
2. Make the determination to defeat distraction. (You know what I am talking about – we are beyond the T.V.; it is FB, Youtube, Netflix, etc.)
3. Get on the list for the call (or recording) and learn from someone that has been down the road.
I am thrilled to share this high-energy training with you!
a. A situation or activity specially suited to a person’s interests, abilities, or nature
b. A special area of demand for a product or service
Successful health coaches develop two foundation characteristics:
1. The ability to focus
2. The ability to persist
“Say no to the 1,000 things to say yes to the 1 thing that is important.”
- Steve Jobs
A niche provides you with focus. That is all. There is no more magic or mystery to it than that. Then you take persistent and consistent action. It is not easy, but nothing worth doing is. Think about it… raising children, writing a book, building a house, etc.
But health coaches have a hard time with niches.
Your health coaching practice is like a lighthouse. You stand tall and shine your light and your clients can navigate by your presence.
However, if you keep moving around… raw food expert for teens… cooking class teacher for baby boomers… goal-setting coach for 30-something women… people are going to crash! The lighthouse keeps moving!
I know you are excited. I know you want to serve a lot of people. You can. Just not all at once.
So how do you choose a niche?
Amy just graduated. She resists the status qua and wants to blaze her own trail. She just turned 30 this year, and is finally ready to play big.
Jennifer graduated a year ago, but has been putting off the development of her business until she could go to half time in her corporate job. With her 49th birthday coming up, she sees this as her second career.
Amy has a crazy idea for a raw food private chef business, but doesn’t know anyone that has ever done anything like it.
Jennifer wants to follow a predictable business plan for success; it could be the plan the school laid out for her, but doesn’t know where to start or if this is best.
What are they to do? Do they need the same support? Should they use the same approach?
Both women have been watching videos, reading books and getting advice about building a business and narrowing their niche. But this has left them confused, stuck, frustrated.
It is like making soup mixing curry and Italian seasoning. Awful. Contradictory information isn’t sitting well. So how do they figure this out so thy can get focused?
The first step to take is to resolve the major conflict in developing your niche. Is it internally or externally driven?
Start with the two definitions. This is where the confusion starts.
Definition #1. A situation or activity specially suited to a person’s interests, abilities, or nature – a business built around you.
This option comes from inspired teachers that tap into the deep spiritual nature of life and rightly assert that you can access this Divine Spark and allow it to flow through your business.
This is all about creating a niche around you. You become a groundbreaker. And some people are inherently geared to operate this way.
I call this an internally oriented process for developing a focus in your business.
Definition #2: . A special area of demand for a product or service – build your business around market demand.
This option is full of great advice about market research, competitive analysis and engaged dialogue with your potential clients.
Often times high achiever, type A, goal-oriented people with natural leadership ability adopt this approach for the predictability and certainty of results.
Other health coaches appreciate that you can be laid back, follow the formula and get results.
I call this the externally oriented process for developing focus in your business.
Instead of thinking either/or, it is much more favorable to think of both/and. Look at these two perspectives as existing on a spectrum. You will use both approaches.
On the left side is the groundbreaking, creative, internally located motivation and on the right side you have the research driven, formulaic approach.
So the question is not, which one should I do? The better question is; Where am I on the spectrum?
In our example at the outset of this article, Amy represents a primarily internally driven groundbreaker. Jennifer is an example of mostly externally driven leader.
However, Amy went on to develop a business plan, do market research and adapt her concept to meet the demands of the clients she attracted. She is now in her third year of business with a restaurant.
And Jennifer sill took the time to look at her unique gifts, so she could match them with a market that she found to be highly profitable; working with holistic beauty and anti-aging for baby boomer women.
So let’s recap.
Most health coaches need to focus. The biggest challenges for health coaches are:
1. A Focus To Their Business
2. To Learn Persistence
Identifying your internal and external drivers for a niche is the best way to get focused. Once you are focused, you take consistent and persistent action. Then you get results. It is simple. Not always easy. But you can do it.
If you need support in mapping out these internal and external variables so that you can take clear, confident, productive action, then join us for an incredible webinar:
“Nailing your Niche For Holistic Pros: A Complete Outline for Building a Profitable Practice From Scratch”
You will discover:
No matter how old you get, September always feels like Back-to-School time. Whether or not you’re busy shopping for school supplies, you feel the start to something new.
In many ways, this time of year is similar to New Year’s. Like they do in January, your prospective clients are reflecting on where they are and where they want to be, in their lives, in their health, etc.
And, not coincidentally, you’re having the same thoughts except they include where you are and where you want to be in your health coaching business.
This makes for the perfect synergy to offer exactly what your ideal health coaching clients are looking for, and get exactly the results you’re looking for in your business!
There are lots of different ways to inject new energy into your business to attract new clients or build your list. The key is to take action based on your specific business needs, and your personal style, and not just rush off to try what you think you should do, or what you see other health coaches doing.
Depending on where you are in your business growth, here are some ideas you could implement – or at least get started – quickly over the next couple of weeks.
List building systems should be incorporated into your online presence to grow your leads consistently.
Additionally, you can commit to focusing on boosting your list for the next 30 days. Whether your list is new, or you want to plump it up in advance of a product launch you have planned, now is a good time for it.
One of the easiest and best ways to build your list is to offer an incentive in exchange for an email address. The incentive can be in the form of a gift, such as a free ebook, video or email series. It can also be in the form of an event, such as a free teleseminar that requires RSVP with an email address.
The key to offering the right incentive to attract new health coaching prospects to your list, is to be clear who your Ideal Client is and what their top 3 challenges are. Your incentive gift or event would be designed as a simple solution to one or all of those problems.
For example, if your Ideal Client is stuck on losing those last 10 pounds, your free gift could be “Seasonal Secrets to Losing the Last 10″ in the form of an ebook with recipes or a live teleseminar promoted on Facebook and Twitter.
If your list is new, you’ll want to promote your free gift or event on social media, at networking events and speaking engagements. If you have referral or joint venture partners, let them know about your free gift and ask if they’ll spread the word.
If you already have an active list, you can also promote your new offer or event to your tribe encouraging them to share it with friends.
Cleanses do well before Summer, and around New Year’s, but did you know that the start of the Fall season is also an excellent time for a detox group? Your tribe is feeling a little guilty about the extra beers, ice cream cones and grilled burgers they enjoyed this Summer, and will welcome your Cleanse/Detox offer now.
Consider putting a Back-to-School or Autumnal spin on it to make it extra timely, and begin marketing your group right away. Offer a discount if they enroll early, but avoid using dates around Labor Day weekend as limiters, as most people won’t pay much attention until after the holiday.
You can plant the seed before Labor Day and followup with a post-holiday reminder with a limited time discount. Set the startdate of your group enough weeks away to give you adequate time to market your group.
Groups are easiest to fill if you have a large active list and/or social media presence. If your list is small and/or inactive, focus on a list-building strategy for now instead.
Rather than creating something new, you could promote your current programs and products with a Back-to-School sale. If you have a shopping cart system in place, create coupon codes with an expiration date and share those coupon codes with your list, on social media and offer them to your referral and joint venture partners.
A limited-time discount on your Health Coaching Program can be just the kickstart your prospective client needs to get herself into action.
Offer a link to your Breakthrough Session, which you can also offer free or at a discount, on all of your marketing platforms.
Another way to use the Back-to-School energy is to offer a special themed Breakthrough Session. For example, your usual Healthy Life Breakthrough Session temporarily becomes the Back-to-SelfCare Session for Moms and you market it specifically to those moms on your list who suddenly have more time for self-care after school opens.
Consider also an End-of-Summer Sale, a Fall theme, seasonal eating tips, a No White after Labor Day teleseminar about eating colorful foods, etc. There are lots of ways to play with this, so have fun with it and see what you come up with.
Your blog is your very best SEO tool. Keep it updated with fresh articles, use keywords, categories and tags, and be sure to share the link to your new posts in social media and your email marketing campaigns. If you haven’t been posting consistently, you could challenge yourself to take it up a notch over the next few months.
Begin by posting at least twice each month, then increase to a weekly schedule and if it works for you, try posting more than once a week.
Don’t worry if you don’t like writing. Your blog posts can be a combination of brief articles, audio recordings, video embeds, recipes, lists, how-to’s, links and photos. And I’ve found, the more you write, the easier it gets.
If you’re in need of post topics, try this quick written exercise:
What are the top 10 questions clients or friends ask you about how to eat healthy [insert your specialty here]? Don’t think about it too long, write the first 10 things that pop into your mind.
Depending on how specific or broad these questions are, you now have at least 10 blog post topics to use and most likely, far more than that, from just this list. See how you could break up some of these questions into 2-3 blog posts.
If you’ve been working on a new website this Summer, now’s the time to prepare for a late September launch. Start creating a buzz by planting seeds in your newsletters and on social media. Plan a virtual Website Launch Party and offer a special discount or free gift as a party favor.
If you’re a Newbie ready for a health coaching business website of your own, you can have a semi-custom WordPress site launched in less than two weeks, or get to work this Fall on content for a new custom branded website.
Your prospective clients are looking for you, and my job is to help you get ready to receive them. I’m offering a variety of special offers and discounts to make it easy for you.
Save on all Awesome Tech and Coaching Packages: start with $20 off an Awesome Tech Breakthrough Session with coupon code HCW20 (exclusively for Health Coach Weekly readers!)
If you’re ready to go pro without going broke, check out the Awesome Website Starter Kit and save $100 with coupon code NEWKIT (expires 9/30/13).
To your awesome biz,
If you’re anything like my clients, you have a list of things you think you need to know, should be doing, could be learning and see others doing, running around in your head. Admit it. I’ve got those kinds of things running around my brain too.
Not very productive, though, is it? It’s like carrying around this long, heavy to-do list that leaves you always feeling like you haven’t done enough, no matter how many hours you spend working on your health coaching business.
I see health coaches signing up for course after course, webinar after webinar, getting on more and more lists from marketing experts, tech experts, and coaching experts hoping all of that is going to lead to new clients.
But when I talk with my clients, I hear the same thing over and over again. They’re confused, frustrated, full of too many ideas and other people’s suggestions, getting way too many emails, and feeling stuck and unsure what to do.
So let me break this down for you in a new way. Here’s a list of things you really don’t need to spend your time on – not if you want to have a successful business that grows easily and leaves you plenty of time and resources for the awesome life you want to enjoy.
You don’t need to know how to develop your own website, how to install plugins, create galleries, set up complicated salespages and optin features, and all the other thousands of things you could do with your website.
If you’re just starting out, get comfortable with the basics and leave the rest for later.
Your website must represent you in a professional way that feels good to you, attracts your ideal clients and offers you plenty of ways to grow your business.
Additionally, it would serve you to know how to post to your blog, use at least one social media platform and how to send a newsletter. That’s all.
Nothing fancy, no bells and whistles for now. Just solid, consistent efforts that will grow your list, your content (which you’ll use again later for all sorts of things) and attract ideal clients.
Get a friend to teach you the basics you don’t know, search YouTube for how-to videos, use your email marketing service’s tutorials or hire a tech coach to train you.
If you’re already having success, hire experts to makeover your website, run your social media efforts, send your newsletters, edit your videos, develop salespages and optins and all the rest of the tech you DON’T need to know.
Focus your energy instead on what only you can do in your business: coaching clients, speaking to groups, writing a book, developing a cleanse program, a video series, and on and on.
If you’re what I call a “Natural”, you have endless great ideas and you often feel disappointed that so many of them are still in your brain, or scribbled into a notebook somewhere, and not coming to life to reach the people you really care about.
It’s time to start building a team to implement your ideas, and allow your health coaching business to evolve.
You can spend hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours learning the ins and outs of Facebook ads, edgerank analysis, Twitter promotions, Pinterest business strategies, LinkedIn groups, etc.
It’s not necessary to become a social media expert to have a successful health coaching business.
If you’re just starting out, choose your favorite social media site and get comfortable with it. I recommend a Facebook business page for all of my clients. It’s an easy way to get started, and with some effort now you can have modest results and later you can invest in a social media manager to take it all to the next level.
If you’re already having success, being on social media really lights you up, and your business model includes having a major social media presence, you’ll want to know more than most health coaches and wellness pros. Choose one expert to learn from and/or hire a social media strategist.
It remains essential that you focus your energy on the things only you can do for your business. You can write posts you schedule in advance, or hire someone else to.
You can hire a social media VA to pull quotes from your existing blog posts, ezines, books and programs and schedule them for you. You would then schedule time to check-in on your Facebook page and respond to questions and comments.
If your current business strategy is more aligned with coaching individual clients and small groups, you can do well with a modest social media system. If you’re more aligned with filling large events and selling products, social media will need more of your attention, and I’d recommend working with a social media specialist to get the best results without a waste of time and money.
To have a successful business, your money needs attention. What often happens is you feel uncertain about how to manage your business finances and so you ignore them. You keep your rates too low because more money will mean even more questions and uncertainty.
You don’t need to know Quickbooks or Quicken. If you’re a Newbie, you don’t need to develop a shopping cart or create complicated payment systems.
If you’re just starting out, get a PayPal Standard account to add a quick button on your site for purchasing a Breakthrough Session. When a client’s ready to hire you, send them a quick Money Request (no complicated invoices needed).
I recommend you upgrade to a virtual terminal account as soon as you can though. I use Practice Pay Solutions, and you can also get this feature with PayPal.
A virtual terminal gives you more control over getting paid. You collect the client’s credit card info and enter it yourself. If you’re working with in-person clients, get a cardreader for your smartphone.
You don’t need to learn bookkeeping or get trained on Quickbooks. In the beginning, get in the habit of keeping business income and expenses separate from personal. By using a merchant account, your income is being tracked so you can print it out at tax time and hand it over to your tax preparer.
If you’re already having success, hire a bookkeeper now. This is a relatively inexpensive kind of support that can make a huge difference in your income. You can relax about how you’re going to manage your business expenses (which keep growing as your business grows) which creates energetic space to allow more money in.
At tax time, you don’t need to do a thing. Just get the bookkeeper’s records over to your tax preparer. Better yet, hire a bookkeeper/tax preparation team.
You can see how most of your necessary business tech can start out very simply. If you’re a Newbie Health Coach, I recommend you learn the basics and forget the rest for now.
The more you get comfortable working with clients, building confidence in your expertise, writing and sharing content consistently, the easier it will be for you to put your big ideas into action later. When you’re ready to hire a team, you will be so much clearer about what you need.
If you don’t have a professional website that represents your health coaching business well and offers you limitless upgrades and customizations, check out the Awesome Website Starter Kit. This unique package was designed especially for the Newbie Health Coach who’s ready to go pro without going broke!
To your awesome biz,