Tag Archives: holistic marketing

10 Tiny Tips for 2014 Small Business Success

In the spirit of end of 2013 lists I wanted to share with you my top 10 tips to help your business succeed in 2014. They’re TINY because I know time is limited….and the less to read the better! SO, here goes!

  1. Get your website in order. It should be easy to navigate. Don’t make people work for it!
  2. Figure out what your business/you stand for. ie. are you upscale and chic or friendly and knowledgeable.
  3. Talk to potential clients about what you can do for THEM. It’s all about them, not you!
  4. Implement basic SEO on your website. Help potential clients find you more easily.
  5. Track, track, track! Use Google Analytics to track your website info and help make every thing you do even better.
  6. Use words your clients use, not jargon. ie. Instead of “RMT”, say “Massage Therapist”. Instead of “vestibular disorder” use “vertigo”.
  7. 
Be inclusive. You never know where a connection or business will come from. (and it’s good in life too!)
  8. Have a marketing plan. If you know where you’re going you’re more likely to get there, and waste way less time!
  9. Pick fewer social media and do a better job using them.
  10. If you really dislike doing something (ie. Marketing!) outsource it as soon as you can.

If you want a little help getting your business to the next level, check out this Small Business Marketing Workshop in Toronto. (with an early-bird signup before Jan 16)

For more tips directly to your inbox sign up for my super-useful small business marketing newsletter.

Feel free to add your own tip for small business success below…..and best of luck in 2014!!

Are You Ready for the Digital Future?

Ctrl Alt Delete book reviewI recently finished reading “Ctrl Alt Delete” by Mitch Joel, as well as listening to a podcast interview of him by Social Media Examiner.

In his book Mitch Joel provides *excellent* advice for businesses looking to move forward and survive and I thought it’d be valuable for me to share some of the parts that I found most relevant and useful for wellness and service businesses.

From Me to You – Instead of thinking that you love your customer, think about what they are doing and how you can help them. ie. think from your customer’s point of view not your own. 
I’d suggest thinking about what they want or what their problems are and how you can help them. Maybe it’s hosting a very low cost session packed with advice on one of their problems. Or offering free 10 minute sessions once in a while. (trials only….don’t give away everything!!) I think this also makes good business sense – someone can try your service before they buy. But you have to be okay with not getting paid.

The “new consumers” are not linear – they are scattered, connected and social.
If you think about the process you go through when purchasing something this makes sense. You’ll look for online reviews, ask friends what they think via social media, look at a few stores…..etc. etc. This is why I think just having a website is not enough marketing for most businesses. Maybe add on online reviews, plus a strong referral/loyalty program and that’d be enough….but not just a website.

iPhoneThe one-screen world- We no longer use one screen for watching tv, one screen as a computer and one screen for a phone…..everything is converging, and quickly. And if you think your customers are not online now, well, they will be very soon. Be ready! Joel suggests that to survive entrepreneurs need to adopt a digital-first posture. I’d say at a minimum have a mobile-friendly website.

Joel also talks about the importance of data – tracking results. In my opinion you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you are, so I wholeheartedly agree!

And a useful reminder….

“When you’re on a media, look around and ask yourself — Why are people here? What are they doing here? What is their experiential intent when they come here and how would I – as a brand or a company – be able to better connect without disrupting their experience? Can I provide a truly additive dose of value?”

One final note: I found the book so jam packed with good ideas that I’d suggest reading the book in chunks rather than all at once.

Are there any business books you’d recommend? Please share below!

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Been Avoiding Something?

ProcrastinationEver have something you’re procrastinating doing? Something that you know you have to do, but for whatever reason something is holding you back?

That was me last week. It felt like part of a project was hanging over my head, and while I’musually very diligent about digging in and getting things done, I found myself coming up with excuses…..mostly because it involved a computer program I’d never used, and I wasn’t very keen on learning.

So you might wonder what happened……?

Well, yesterday I decided to pack in the excuses and get down to business. I sat down and mapped out what needed to be done, and this afternoon I got a good chunk of the work done.

And you know that feeling you get when you accomplish something? Well, it definitely felt good to get over that initial “hump” that had caused me to avoid it in the first place!

I know that for many small business owners, especially wellness practitioners, it’s easy to procrastinate on marketing their business. It can feel like the last on a big list of things “to do”, overwhelming, and many people just don’t know where to start. I’m guessing it’s not what attracted you to your line of work, and may not be your favourite thing to do. (I know that is most certainly the case with a number of my clients!)

I’d like to encourage you to “Go for it!” Jump in and get started!

Wondering where to start marketing your small business? As a starting point – I’ve got several blog posts that will be useful when learning how to market a small business. Check out “Back to Marketing Basics – Part I” or “Back to Marketing Basics – Part II”

And if you need more help, just post your question on one of my social media (Facebook, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn) or  email me.

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3 Ways to Boost Your 2013 Wellness Marketing

Do you want your Marketing to be organized and run well this year? Want to feel on top of it, rather than like a dog chasing it’s tail? Want results?

Below are three things you can do to organize and plan your Marketing for 2013.

1. Review your 2012 marketing 
While you may not have tracked your 2012 efforts, go back and think about each marketing activity and whether it worked for you. Some of the questions you might ask of each marketing activity include: Did it bring me any clients? (if that was one of your goals) Did I enjoy doing it, or was it completely painful? (hint: drop it or outsource if you dislike doing it) How much did it cost? (Money or time) And did it pay for itself? (if that was one of your goals)

2. Set out your business goals for 2013
ie. Do you want more clients? Want more visibility for your business? Want to be current? Want to educate more people? This is when you should think of results and measurement. ie. If you want more clients, why not set a goal of getting 2 more clients per week? (or whatever you think would be realistic for your business)

3. Research the “media”*
Make a list of ones that could help you achieve your goals and start trying them out, one by one. (set and track results for each one so you know whether it worked for you)

*By “media” I mean both “online”/Social Media (ie. Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) and “offline” (ie. flyers, brochures, posters, events, etc.)

If you’d like help getting your 2013 Marketing organized or putting together a Marketing Plan to help you get where you want to be just contact me. I’d be happy to help you succeed!

Do you Embody Your Marketing?

EmbodyWellnessMarketing

Do you embody how you want your clients to look, feel or act? And, do you think it is important to look/act how your clients expect OR is it more important to have the knowledge to help your clients attain their goals?

Here’s a story…… This week I went to a boxing exercise class at a local gym. I was very surprised when I saw the instructor; I’m guessing she weighed 250lbs. Now, there’s *nothing* wrong with that weight, but it was not what I expected. I imagined that the gym would have someone more “aspirational” as a fitness instructor. So, I didn’t expect a very challenging workout.

I’m pleased to say that it was an *excellent* workout. Not only was the instructor motivating and encouraging, she was also knowledgeable about the more technical aspects of how to punch/kick properly (and avoid injury!). She also had a fun and funny personality, which I appreciate. She didn’t actually lead the class; she acted more as a coach, but that’s fine with me. (and I love that this gym hires “real people” rather than only “models”)

For me this experience brought up not just personal expectations, but also the business side.

As a Wellness Practitioner, how important is it for you to be as clients or patients expect you to be?

My personal opinion is that professional skills are much more important, but embodying clients’ expectations also factors into getting hired. Ideally, your “Marketing Message” should permeate all parts of your business. ie. If you are a Naturopathic Doctor who focusses on children’s health and healthy eating, many clients will perceive you as more credible if they know you help come up with healthy menus for school lunch programs.

Obviously, this varies by Practitioner, their area of expertise and their Marketing Objectives (which should be in line with where they want their business to be).

Facebook: to “Like” or “Unlike”?

As a wellness practitioner you’re probably asked if you’re on Facebook. Many people think they *have* to be on Facebook in order for their business to be successful.

It’s true that Facebook has more than 800 million users every day. And each of those users has an average of 130 Facebook “friends”.

Based on this fact alone you can be pretty sure your potential patients are on Facebook. They’re commenting on their daily lives, people that inspire them, things that make them angry and the silly things their kids have done.

Facebook is about relationships, and as wellness practitioners your business is based on relationships, so Facebook is a natural fit. It allows you to more quickly build trust with your existing and potential clients, and people will buy from those they trust.

Facebook also enables you to more deeply connect with people; you can hear their feedback and talk to them in a more informal way. Plus, it allows your followers friends to see what you’re saying, which helps build your network.

Also, there are some things that don’t belong on your website but may be relevant to your potential clients; Facebook is an ideal place for these items. ie. I post many inpspirational work quotes. They speak to me, and my FB fans like them to!

Another way Facebook helps your business is with your Google ranking – having a Facebook page gives your potential client more ways to find you, and search engines reward this since it makes you more relevant.

Facebook logoFacebook is a great addition after you have a website. Your website should come first because it will have all the information that doesn’t change as frequently, or require as much interaction from customers.

You might be wondering what the downside to Facebook is…the “unlike” part of this article. The biggest downside to Facebook is that it takes time. It takes time to set up your page, to think of what to post, to increase your number of fans. As a small business owner I know your time is limited! Before you start on Facebook stop and think about whether there is something else that will give you a bigger bang for your buck. Then plan out your postings if possible and keep a file of thoughts or ideas for posts.

If you’re so inclined, check out my Facbook page. On it I post various short marketing tips as well as other thoughts, tidbits and inspiration. Plus, if you “like” me I’ll “like” you back, and we’ll both feel loved.

Rona’s Olympic Advertising

After watching the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, I felt the need to send a shout out to an Olympic advertiser: Rona.

This Canadian company’s same-store sales have been falling in 2012 while one of it’s competitors, The Home Depot, has been enjoying a steady increase.

In a bid to win back customers Rona has played it’s ultimate card in it’s 2012 Olympic ad; the “Canadian” card. This is Rona’s biggest point of differentiation in the marketplace, and they’re using it well!

Rona’s Olympic ad is clever, inclusive of Canada’s regions and sports, funny enough to keep you watching (and guessing), and shows the pride many Canadians have in their country (and according to Rona, their home improvement projects!).

Next step for Rona should be taking a look at it’s pricing; I don’t think Canadian pride is enough to get most people paying more for products.

Note: You may have noticed this blog post is different than my usual tips/advice for wellness practitioners/small businesses. I’m a huge Olympics fan and somehow while watching the 2012 Opening Ceremony I couldn’t take off my “Marketing Hat”!

Back to Marketing Basics: Part I – Be Clear on your Niche

Not sure where to start your marketing? Or, have you started but are feeling a bit lost? Since it’s summer and you may have a bit more time on your hands I have some homework for you. Doing it will give you greater clarity on your business and who you want to work with. Stay tuned for Part II, but let’s get started now!

Get out your note-taking technology of choice and answer the following questions:

1. Who are you?
Every professional is different, even within the same field. Write down what makes you different – why someone should come to see you (or come to your clinic) instead of someone else. ie. “I’m a Massage Therapist who specializes in pregnancy massage” OR “At our clinic you’ll not just receive high quality treatment – you’ll also have fun!” Competition with others in your field is not usually an issue because no two practitioners are the same!

2. Who do you want to serve (or work with)?
Yes, you do need to narrow down who you want to work with, because if you try to talk to everyone no-one will listen. If you’re struggling with this, think about who you’ve worked with in the past (even in practicums) and who you most enjoyed working with. Think about who you can help the most. Also think about who can afford your services (sorry healers out there — but you do need to make money to survive! :) Choose potential clients you love to help – your enthusiasm will come through and people will respond to it.

So that should be enough to get you started. If you want to talk this through, or have any questions specifically about your business, just email me. I’m happy to help.

Money Now or Clients Later?

$I was talking to a client recently about whether she should focus on a project that she thought would give her clients immediately or longer term planning (creating an overall Marketing plan). This is an issue for so many small businesses that I wanted to address it.

When you first start a business is the time you would ideally figure out where you’re going with your business – who you want to serve, how you can best serve them, what you want to say to them, etc. In other words you’d create both a Business and Marketing Plan. BUT you need immediate clients so you can earn a living. Problem!

Here are some solutions….

Most ideal– Start with the marketing (and business) plan – really focus on it and get it done. SO much flows from your marketing plan that if you have it done it’ll be much easier and quicker from there to figure out what things use to achieve your objective(s). (ie. twitter, facebook, postcards, promotions, etc)

Least ideal– Start with the short term goal of getting more business, and the thing or things you think will get you there. This is not ideal because if you skip doing some of the thinking about your ideal clients, overall goals and opportunities, you might actually be trying to reach the wrong people the wrong way, and wasting time and money. Ouch!

The compromise – Do both short and long term planning at the same time. If you’re already working on a specific project (ie. a new website) you can also think about your overall marketing because the two overlap. Then in your “down time” (I know, there’s not a lot!) you can work on the overall plan. This way you’ll have clients now and down the road.