Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Alternative health professionals share marketing favorites

I had a great evening at Lake House on Tuesday night, networking with a diverse group of alternative health professionals representing eight different specialties. Everyone had a marketing tip -- or two or three -- to share.

Now I'm sharing with you:

Use both sides of your business card -- the front for the basic contact information and the back to offer a coupon, free gift, special offer or even a silly joke.

Collaborate with other professionals to create new projects, programs and services. You can share your networks and the work doesn't feel as daunting.

Get the name of your Web site on search engines. Many search engines, including Google, have a business feature at the bottom of the page. Let's say I would do a search "Racine psychotherapy" to see what comes up and where the name of my business is located on the results list. When the results arrive, scroll to the bottom of the screen to find a link that says "add a result." This is where you add your business link. I might also do a second search for "Racine coaching" and do the same.

Put your name and the name of your business in Google "alerts" -- link here -- to learn how your name is being used online. You can also use the feature to keep tabs on trends and news in your profession.

Research Web sites where you can list your business information for free or very low cost in just minutes (this will be the topic of an upcoming blog post!)

Research Web making and Web hosting options thoroughly so you can make the decision that's best for your business needs.

Introduce yourself with the health benefits first, title second. For instance, rather than say, "I'm a yoga instructor," say, "I help people relieve stress, improve concentration and feel more energy." Add later that you're a yoga instructor -- people may have mistaken ideas about what a yoga instructor does.

Consider making a video or DVD for your client, your Web site or for posting on YouTube.

Be acquainted with the local and regional media where you may have the opportunity to get free publicity. Advertise in the venue where you are most likely to connect with your target client; The Guide To Health, Wellness & Creative Living is one example of a publication that has high readership for those interested in alternative health.

We agreed that not every idea works well for every professional and profession, but it was energizing to share on so many levels.

What if I don't speak your lingo?

Just the other day, I was asked to review the beginnings of a business plan for a new online "product" for people like me -- psychotherapists, coaches and others who might have need for online assistance. The project -- which I can't disclose -- is fascinating. But I was stymied by the prose that was high on tech and low on touch.

My client gave me the opportunity to share my top-of-the-brain response. In short, if you're writing to prospects who don't know your specialty, stay away from the lingo. And:

It seems like your product may have benefit for me -- but there's too much else in front of me to weed through your information to determine if this is a must-buy item. I get all kinds of offers about all kinds of seminars, books, courses, classes and products on a daily basis. I need really compelling info to identify a high level of value to me and my business.

I am not an information technology person -- so lingo and phrases like intranet, extranet, field relevant, infrastructure, etc., zip right over my head. I want to know what this product will do for me, how it will be different than and/or better than the free and/or simple products I already use online.

I need lively and compelling language, both in the verbiage and in the name of the business itself. I need to get genuinely excited about your product.

I like short paragraphs. Some bullet points will help, too, so I can get a quick idea about what you're about.

Help me identify the cost we're talking about -- at least in a ballpark. I know what my budget is and what I can afford and can't afford. I need to know if this is product even reasonable for me to consider and how it matches with online resources that I already use or purchase.

Who are you? What kind of track record do you have? How can I trust you, especially when I don't speak the lingo?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Trust your creative resources for whole person marketing

“Thinking out of the box” has become an overused phrase for identifying and promoting creativity.

However, helping and healing professionals with the whole person perspective know that we are more than thinkers. We also see, feel, move, touch, talk, laugh, argue and gather. Approaching creativity in a multi-dimensional way gives us greater opportunity to advance our businesses in authentic ways.

Self presentation — which most people call marketing — can be a growth-producing adventure rather than a dreaded chore when it is approached with creativity and imagination.

Adding the creative perspective helps us to move away from the hurried and pressured standard of competition and view the world as a place of unlimited possibilities. Energy is not focused on battling the other but rather on bringing our special skills forward.

With trust in our own resources, we can respect the talents that our colleagues bring and know that we also have much to offer from our unique perspectives. With the belief that “no one can take what I have,” we even may want to work collaboratively with the people we may have once viewed as competitors.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Your Web site, the centerpiece of today's marketing

Several of my coaching clients have been discussing Web site questions with me. Funny, because I’m in the process of revising my own Web site, and I’ve been in deep research with various options.

I’ve been using the Web-making tool, included in my Microsoft suite, to make perfectly serviceable Web site.


When I’m honest, it doesn’t have the sparkle that complements my personal growth and coaching work.

A Web site should be considered the centerpiece of marketing. Other marketing efforts – both personal and print – should refer your prospects to the site. Let’s face it, in our modern world, printed materials age quickly. They’re unhandy to distribute fully and quickly. A Web site can be instantly updated and kept current with less effort, and available 24-7.

My research is bringing up several choices, all of which offer pretty cool templates:



There's even a free option, Microsoft's Office Live.

Have a favorite? I’ll check it out and report back here.

Is your type size reader friendly?

I just received an e-mail newsletter pointing to a blog about information has high interest for me, and I’m likely to refer this information to clients, colleagues and others.

The problem?

Part of the blog shows up in teeny-tiny type. REALLY teeny-tiny type. Even with the full page option, plus the option to bump up the type size to 150 percent – two additional key strokes that add to the inconvenience – the type was still small for my middle-aged eyes.

Your promotional materials should be easy to read. That includes type size as well as other details, such as short paragraphs. With online marketing, we are marketing to people who spend a good amount of time online and need reader friendly materials. Remember, your readers may have vision problems, color blindness or easily distracted.