Marketing You: Building a Wellness Based Business

Marketing and the world of holistic systems have been at battle with each other since the approaches of yoga and alternative care have entered the Western consciousness.  For many people there is an innate distrust of the idea that marketing can be a healthy companion for building a spiritually based business.  The cold truth is that although you may have developed the most beautiful healing practice and are ready to offer your gifts to the population unless people know the basics of where to find you and how to get in touch there will be very few opportunities to share your system.

In building a strategy to market your business be aware of your own self-defeating thoughts about how marketing can work for you.  It is common for alternative caregivers to feel that they are selling out by making money or creating a marketing image of themselves.  As long as you remain true to the message that you want to share, remain honest in what you present in public forums, and find marketing opportunities that are in tune with your business goals it is possible to be well-marketed and on line with ones personal integrity

So, let’s start with the most basic and deepest truth about creating a marketing practice around yourself.  NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU!  As blunt as this statement is, it is a concept that one needs to get comfortable with in the process of growing a marketing strategy.  It is easy to wonder why things are not coming to you and how others are getting all of the opportunities that you feel should be coming your way but unless you put yourself out there and take a chance no one is going to know about all of the amazing gifts you have to offer. This modesty toward self-marketing can often be driven by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt about being part of “the system” but when overcome can yield amazing results and allow one to share with a larger population.

As you find comfort with the idea of self-promotion let’s look at some of the easy places to start that do not require a large financial investment.  It is often best to start close to home.  Sit down for a few minutes and put together a list of acquaintances that might be willing to help you out in creating your marketing campaign.  This can range from friends who are computer design savvy to help you build a quality website to family members who are in companies or organizations that would provide places for you to present your product of service.  No connection is to big or to small. 

Then follow up with that list and connect with the people on it to see if they are willing and able to help you.  The thing to know about asking for assistance is to be comfortable with the idea of someone saying no.  There are many marketing systems that suggest to push until someone says yes. By engaging a philosophy that it is okay from someone to say no it reduces the fear of making the initial connection, helps remove the fear of rejection, and also relieves the pressure on a contact who may not feel able to help at this time.  Perhaps in the future though, they will remember you and then a connection is made. 

As these connections begin to flower observe for a moment and see if any themes begin to develop.  Are there certain groups of people who seem to be connecting to your requests? Are there patterns developing in the kinds of question they ask you?  An example might be a yoga teacher who places calls and find that many of the contacts that respond are involved in senior care and wellness.  Could this be an opportunity to fine-tune your business to work with seniors as part of your outreach into the community?
These themes can help you to focus your message and create a unique niche for your business.  This input from your contacts can provide deep insight into the development of your business model just make sure that it adds flavor to the message you are creating and not distracting you from the work you are hoping to do.

Use this information to create the image you want to convey and then put together some basic marketing tools.  As mentioned above, in this day and age even the most basic web site is essential.  There are many programs that can help you develop a high quality low cost site creating a hub for potential new customers to learn more about you and your business.  Think clean, simple, message driven design.  Your new clients do not need to read everything about you, instead leave them intrigued and curious enough to place a call at which time you can build your rapport with them. 

Another necessary tool is the business card.  Online resources such as allow you the resources to design a professional quality card that is unique to you.  Even a simple black and white card purchased at your local copy store can be upgrade by the use of ink stamps that are themed around the focus of your business.  Although it is possible to create cards on the computer there is often a lower quality feel to them and it is worth the small investment necessary to work with a printer.

Now that you have your cards get them out there. Be fearless. Put cards on every community bulletin board that you see.  Stop by organizations that might have an interest in your business, ask if you can leave some there.  Go back to your friends and family list asking those people if they would feel comfortable placing your cards at there place of business or other organizations with which they may be involved.  Always carry your business cards with you and be bold with your willingness to hand them out.  They don’t do any good sitting in your drawer at home but they might end up in someone else’s drawer who requires you services either now or at a later date.

When you hand out your cards be prepared with a short answer to the question “What is it that you do?’ Sample answers might be “ I am a massage therapists who works primarily with seniors providing in-home massage” or “ I am a yoga teacher.  I currently teach at such and such studio as well as working closely with corporations to assist them in creating wellness programs.”  Engaging your contact in conversation allows you to speak of your passion and can leave a vital memory of the exchange that is easily recalled for future reference.

For many businesses, both new and established, in the holistic market, community sponsored wellness fairs are an excellent place to make face-to-face contact with large numbers of potential customers.  Local hospitals, community organizations, and even malls looking to build a bridge into the community often sponsor these fairs.  Contact the event and community outreach departments at these organizations and find out the requirements to be a participant in the fair.  Be willing to share the uniqueness of your business and why you would be a great asset to their wellness fair.

Most important let them know that you are offering some kind of give away to the attendees of the fair. Most people who attend will be attracted to the businesses that are giving something away and this is a bonus for the organizers in their marketing campaign.  One of the most effective freebies is raffling off a free session of your services.  This cost you nothing and allows you to build a fresh customer base both with the person who wins the raffle as well as the people filling out the raffle ticket with there name and contact information.

On the day of the wellness fair, dress professionally, bring plenty of business cards to hand out, and set your intention that you are there to build your business and ready to meet new customers and potential contacts for growth.  Be aware that these contacts come not only in the form of the public attending but also in the other businesses participating.  These other businesses are a bonus source of potential marketing so go around to the other participants and share your business information with them as well. This network allows you to have potential resources for your customers but will also encourage these businesses to refer to you. 

Which brings up the subject of gratitude.  Whenever someone offers you assistance whether through advice, services, or referrals take the time out to thank them personally.  This can be through a quick note, a small gift, or meeting them in person. The process of saying thank you takes very little time out of your day, sends out the right message into the universe, and leaves a lasting impression on your contact. 

Hopefully the concept of marketing and self-promotion no longer has to be an overwhelming and frightening idea.  By remaining clear and precise with your message, being wiling to tap into your network, and creating a few basic marketing tools there is huge potential to grow your business.  And remember, it is up to you to market the business that you believe in.

John Sovec

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