HCPC Ep 59: The #1 Marketing Skill You Need Help With

May 4, 2019

Health coaches often say,”Michelle, I HATE marketing! I stink at it!” And that makes sense because they’ll also say, “I hate writing.” Well guess what? Those two things go hand-in-hand! In this episode Michelle shares ways to up your copywriting game and, in turn, create more effective marketing materials.

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Transcript:

Hey, there health coaches! Are you one of the many, many coaches that I hear from who absolutely can’t stand 100% avoid hate, hate, hate marketing. Is that you? Do you just stink at it? Is it the thing that you despise about this whole profession? I hear you. And marketing is a really broad topic so I highly doubt, I just have to say, I highly doubt that you’re terrible at all aspects of marketing. That would be almost impossible, but today I’m going to share with you some ways to up your game when it comes to copywriting. Yes, because copywriting is the most essential skill that you can hone when it comes to your marketing. If you think about it, you’ve got flyers, you’ve got blog posts, you’ve got brochures, your website, social media, you know whatever you are doing to promote yourself, it almost always is going to require that you write something and I’m just going to put it out there like no judgment because I get it.

We are all health coaches. We’re not copywriters. We didn’t go to school for English or for writing, but when I look at a health coach’s website or anything they’ve written nine times out of 10 not only is it not working for them, it’s often working against them. Meaning you could be sabotaging your marketing efforts simply because of how you’re representing yourself in writing. But today, no worries. We’re going to fix all that. So grab a pen and paper and let’s get to it. And for those of you that I have not met before, my name is Michelle. I’ve been a health coach with my own private practice for the last 10 plus years. I act as a mentor for my fellow health coaches. And if you’ve graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition like I did back in the day, you know that I’m part of the curriculum there where I teach about marketing.

And why is that? Why am I talking about marketing so much? Well, my first career was in big advertising. I was in the creative department. You guys like don draper, he was a copywriter. And guess what the two branches of any creative advertising department is? First, yes, Don Draper, the copywriter, they got copywriting and there’s art direction and I worked closely as an art director with my copywriters for many, many years and I’ve been working closely with copywriting for many, many years and now as an entrepreneur.

Real quick, before we get into today, I want to give a shout out to Kayla who wrote this review on iTunes. Kayla, I am very grateful that you did. Thank you. She said, I have been listening to Michelle’s podcast for months and it’s one that I find myself revisiting again and again. As an aspiring health coach, I have found no greater source of practical wisdom and encouragement to show me that it is possible and it absolutely can be a fulfilling paying career. Thank you Michele for sharing your knowledge and real world experiences.

Thank you Kayla, you rock. Thanks for listening. Thanks for sharing this review with us. And if you would please send me your mailing address to support a healthcoachpower.com just mention episode number 59 cause we’d like to send you a little thank you gift.

Now let’s talk about copywriting and if you guys have questions as I’m going along and you’re here with me live, please go ahead and put those in the comments. I am looking for them. So even without looking at your website or anything that you’ve written, I can practically guarantee that you’re making some of these mistakes. How do I know? I’ve been helping health coaches for a really long time. I see the same mistakes again and again and again. So see if any of these resonate with you. If you’re not sure, go look at your website, go look at your brochures, see if anything that I’m saying resonates.

Okay, so the first being too stiff and too formal in your writing, how many of you have had jobs? Maybe you worked for a medical device company or you worked for, I don’t know, something political, government related. Sometimes you’re literally trained in your previous professions to write in a very stiff and formal way, like you’re writing the insert that comes, you know, with a pharmaceutical box or whatever. It’s all the side effects. You know, sometimes we get into this mood of writing that sounds very robotic and it’s boring. It’s boring to write and it’s boring to read. So just raise your hand if you’re in the “too stiff, too formal” category. I know you’re out there. Now on the flip side of the coin, let’s say you’ve never had a job like that. Let’s say you haven’t taken an English class since high school and most of your writing comes in the form of using your two thumbs on your iPhone.

So the other side of the coin is that sometimes you’re writing can be way too casual. And by that I mean there’s typos left and right. I know we all misspell things time and time again. Please don’t go look at all my stuff. You will find a typo somewhere. But I mean, lots of Typos, lots of grammatical errors and lots of just obvious formatting errors. Like an extra return or a space where there’s not supposed to be a space, so just too casual, a little bit too much, like you’re just quickly shooting off an email to a friend. So be careful of that if you fall on that side of the spectrum. But most often what I notice when I’m looking at a website or some piece of marketing materials from a health coach is that I read it and I’m like, this could literally come from anybody.

Like I have heard all of these words before. I’ve probably even heard them in this exact order. You know how it goes. When was the last time you had an hour to spend just on yourself? You know, working with me, I take a holistic approach. Bla, bla, bla. It’s all white noise. And certainly for me, I’m in this world, we see a lot of this, even for people who are not in the health and wellness community, it’s a very saturated market. They have heard that before. I’m going to help you eat clean and feel your best so you can have more energy and lose the brain fog. Really. Are you join the club so we don’t want it to sound like what’s already out there. And if you have copy and pasted some of these types of copy blocks, maybe something you got from school, maybe something you saw on somebody else’s website and it looked pretty good.

Trust me, it’s all white noise. You got to get rid of that junk. I don’t want to read anything that sounds like I’ve heard it before and my eyes just start glazing over. The other problem with that kind of copy is that it’s impersonal, right? Like I said, it could’ve come from anybody. It could have, you know, there’s so many coaches listening and watching this episode right now. It could have come from any of you. If I read something and I don’t know who it came from, or I can at least make an educated guests. It’s way too impersonal. And the problem with that is that your clients hire you, right? We are solopreneurs. You are representing you yourself, your personality, your heart, your soul. Like this is what your clients are buying into. You’re not selling shoes or software. You’re essentially selling yourself your personality.

So that needs to come through in your writing. And if it doesn’t, then I don’t trust you. If I’m reading your materials and it feels like I’m reading something that was written by some generic company, you ever go to a website like that? It’s those sites that, I don’t know, they make money from ads but you really don’t know who runs the site. It’s just extremely generic information. I feel like anytime you Google anything, you might end up on a site like this and you inherently don’t trust it cause you’re like, who’s writing this? Like what’s the source here? And when you’re unclear of where that voice is coming from in the writing, there is no trust. And that makes me definitely not want to hire you or tell you about my health problems on my personal issues. Does it? No way. So, as health coaches more than anything else, we need to be personal to create that connection with our readers.

And here’s a pet peeve of mine; seriously go look at the last thing you wrote and circle every exclamation point. I’m not going to give you a number, but I really shouldn’t be more than two. Alright. One thing we do when we want to emphasize and we want to be passionate and we want to tell people how much we can help them, is we way overuse the exclamation points, the bold, and we try to shout our very bland message. How do you think that lands? No, not well. It makes people kind of want to run away and go, ah, you’re killing me with that. So less exclamation points, more actual interesting message. And then finally, a little tip for you. A big problem that I see is a lack of editing. Do you know what I mean by this? So let’s say you’re going to write your blog post.

So you sit down and probably stare at the screen cause you have writer’s block for a good 30, 40, 50 minutes. Get up, go get a snack, come back. Who knows when you actually start writing, that’s a problem in and of itself, isn’t it? Then you finally get some words written, oh, got that done, and you hit publish and that’s never what you want to do. You want to take a break, come back the next day with a fresh set of eyes, read it over, cut out anything that you don’t need. If you can say it in five words, don’t use 20 you know what I’m saying? You end up with these long rambling sentences and you might be able to just condense all of that into something short and succinct enough that somebody will actually want to get through it. So I say edit, edit, edit, everything that you’ve written.

I do it myself. Every time I write an email, I write the email, I go, hmm, good job Michelle, nice work. And then I walk away, come back and almost guarantee you that I can eliminate sentences or even paragraphs in that email and still make my point. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? Most people are reading what you write like this on their phone in line at the grocery store, at a red light, right? I mean who are we kidding? So it has to be short. It should be succinct and get your message across while they’re just scrolling with their thumb. That’s why I think shorter is usually almost always better anyway. I know you’re probably thinking, yeah, good tips, Michelle, but I just don’t like writing. I suck at it. Who is that? Who just hates writing? Tell me the comments. What you hate writing the most.

I know everybody hates writing emails. I know this because every time I ask one of our healthy profit university members, have you been sending regular emails to your mailing list? They’re like, no. Then you’re going to ask that. Please don’t talk about it. I don’t want to write emails ever because they don’t know what to write. They don’t have a voice to write with. It’s horrible. So anyway, I know writing can seem like the pits. It’s so technical. I’m thinking back to when I was in seventh grade and they taught us how to diagram sentences. I don’t even know what that means anymore. I just remember that this was an English class lessons, diagramming sentences, and then there’s spelling and those grammar and there’s just all these different rules. But that’s not copywriting, that’s not writing for your marketing, for your business. That’s like English class.

So let’s just leave that there. Good copywriting is not about following rules, knowing how to spell every word and getting the grammar correct every time it is about telling a good story that I am interested enough to keep reading and creating a connection with your reader. So much so that they may actually want to hire you one day. And here’s the thing, any good story, if you think about it, there’s an interesting character. I’ve been reading so much Margaret Atwood lately, like I just cannot stop. The woman has written like 400 books so I could probably continue reading just Margaret Atwood until the day I die. But anyway, she has such interesting characters in all of her books. So you need a character to, you need a super hero of sorts and I want to help you discover yours. So please join me on May 16th this is coming up May 16th, 2019 for a free copywriting workshop that is not about spelling, not about grammar, but rather about creating your interesting character and making writing fun so you can supercharge your marketing with stories that connect and to sign up for free. You can go to healthcoachpower.com/write. Awesome.

Rema’s saying having a conversation is so much easier. Getting the message across via words is tough. That’s true. One test that you can do is try saying out loud, whatever it is that you’re trying to get across in writing, speak it, record yourself, say it to someone. If you can speak it, then you can write it. I’m going to say though Rema, actually, sometimes I find the health coaches have a hard time even speaking their message out loud because they don’t actually know what that message is. So the problem can occur on several different levels, but if you have been speaking easily with people about whatever the topic is that you want to communicate, then you really can write it and we’ll show you how. All right. Again, join us for that workshop on May 16th this we usually have them during the day you guys, but this time it’s going to be in the evening eastern time, 8:00 PM eastern time and if you want to join us you can go to health coach power.com/write.

Alrighty. I got a question here from Lizzy. Lizzy said, I’ve got a new in-person coaching venue and a need to create a small flyer or leaflet. This is related to copyrighting you guys. She said the venue has lots of yoga and other classes so I can leave my paper in the reception area. What has worked for you? I’m an IIN health coach and have not found, IIN own leaflets to be very effective that they gave us. All right. Lizzy, here’s what I want to say for you. Oh wait, she had one more note. She said that it’s getting the words or the ideas for words for copy that’s her main issue is she wants to ensure that people make use of the leaflet or flyer rather than read it and throw it away.

Okay, well let me answer your questions straight first and then I’m going to give you another take on it as I am want to do.

When you’re writing something like this, it’s tempting to have when you’re a little cards, or one of your little flyers say health coaching, health coaching available here, sign-up for health coaching, health coaching packages, and you have to remember that most people, and I mean by that, all people do not care about health coaching unless they’re us. We care, but most people do not wake up in the morning going like, Gosh, I wonder where I’ll find some health coaching today. Oh look, there was a flyer health coaching. It’s right there. I’m so happy I’m going to take this home. So you don’t want to lead with that. You don’t want to lead with the solution to their problem. You want to lead with the problem that as they are experiencing it the way I usually say this is lead with the problem, not the solution. So let’s say that somebody wants to lose weight and they’re post-menopausal.

If there’s a flyer that says something about postmenopausal weight loss, Oh, now you’ve got her attention. Now maybe further down it says something like brought to you by health coach. So and so call this phone number. That’s what I mean by leading with her problem. Let’s say that you were targeting, I don’t know, uh, men who are balding and they don’t want to lose their hair. Who knows? Maybe there’s a health coach for that. Anyway, that’s what it says on your flyer “going bald?” “Hey baldy,” you know, it’s just something like that to attract the person to thinking about their big problem. That’s what’s going to draw their attention. And then health coaching is as minimal because again, nobody really wants a health coach. They just want a solution to their problem. Got It. The other thing that most people do not do well on flyers, and I see this everywhere I’m talking about, you know at the gym there’s a sign on the wall or at my kid’s daycare, they do, here’s a great example, they do date night once a month at their, at their daycare, which is great because the kids just stay a couple extra hours on a Friday.

We can go out to dinner. It’s very inexpensive. Anyway, they give out this flyer for date night once a month and never, ever, ever does this flyer include the time that date night is over and so every darn month I’m going, oh wait a minute, do we have to pick them up by nine? And my husband’s like, no, we have ‘til 9:30 and I’m like, it doesn’t say that’s so dumb, right? That’s like a really important detail about date night. So this happens constantly. We have a flyer, my goodness, you better make sure you have all the pertinent information and you as the person running the event, you’re not leaving out that information because you’re, you know, not a smart person is because you already know the answers. It’s in your head. So it’s not always very obvious when you’re writing it that you left out the most important part.

How about flyers like this? They’ll say call me or you know, call Michelle but there’s no phone number. Have you come across stuff like this? So just make sure that the information on your card, on your flyer make sense is clear and give it to a few friends and see if they have any questions. Because I promise you this happens all the time. But what I really want to tell you, Lizzie, is that flyers do end up in the trash. They do. You might as well just print them and then turn around and like put them in a garbage can. They don’t work that well. I’m not saying they can never work. I’m just saying if you really want to drum up business, consider hosting maybe a workshop in this space. Um, or maybe during the yoga classes the teachers could mention you. Maybe you can work with some of the teachers, do some sessions with them so that they are thinking about you and they’re doing that class on like twists and they’re talking to everybody about detoxing, detoxifying their inner organs, you know, things that yoga teachers talk about.

And then they might mention this detox that they did with you, for example. That would be a wonderful way to get the word out there about your services at the studio. Um, you could even have the studio send an email with a special promotion for your services. Emails tend to be kept a little bit longer and somebody’s inbox versus a flyer, people tend to just right into the trashcan. So I don’t want to dissuade you from printing up fliers, but I do want to encourage you to try some more creative ways to let the studio in the community know about what you’re offering. Diana says, drawing their attention is so key. Thank you for elaborating on this point, Michelle. Oh, you are very welcome. Diana. Thank you for being here. Live with me. What else do you guys want to talk about today? Hit me up.

We’ve got some time and I’ve got a question here from Kristen. Kristen says, what do you do with the client that’s discouraged and doesn’t seem to want to continue working together? She’s a recovering alcoholic and she has replaced that addiction with sugar. We’ve been working together over the last five weeks on various mindset strategies, etc. Today she said she felt like nothing was working and she doesn’t think a health coach specifically can help her. I’m hoping you might have some advice as to how to navigate upcoming appointments. We had seven left. She signed an agreement stating no refunds, so I’m encouraging her to continue.

All right, Kristin, let’s see here. She said she doesn’t think a health coach can help her, but yet she is showing up to your sessions. Sometimes when clients aren’t getting discouraged, they stop returning your calls, right? They don’t show up. They’re not there. They’re not replying to your emails. They just kind of drop off the face of the earth. So the fact that she’s still there with you tells me something, and this is a client that I would kind of go straight out and call her on what you see. Hey, I see you becoming discouraged. Why do you think that a health coach or why do you think that I can’t help you? Or, what do you think can help you? You know, put the ball in her court by just reflecting back what you say. You say that you don’t think health coaching is helping you, but you’re here. Why are you here? What can you make out of these sessions? You know, I would ask her some tough questions that just dig a little bit deeper instead of just providing cheerleading. And I mean, to be honest, who knows?

Maybe truly what she thinks quote health coaching is, is not going to help her. I actually just finished a program today with a client who I would say was not my favorite client of all time. Like I had a difficult time connecting with her. She didn’t really ever implement the things that we talked about. You know how it goes. Lovely woman didn’t really make the progress she wanted and the disappointment was just palpable and I said to her, I feel that you are wrapped in a protective layer and I don’t know what the answer’s going to be to solve inflammation happening in your body, but I would suggest looking for practitioners that may help you open up.

Could be a therapist, could be a life coach. I have had plenty of clients who will go see a therapist on my recommendation or we’ll go see another type of practitioner on my recommendation and have amazing breakthroughs. Now does that mean that I helped them or the therapist helped them? Both. Right. Because if I don’t say that, if I don’t speak my truth and what I am intuiting about my client, then I’m not doing them a service. I believe that’s part of health coaching to reflect back what we see and to sometimes say the hard things that no one else is going to say. Like I said to my client today, I said, the last thing you need is another diet plan because I know she’s done diet after diet after diet and like just keeps thinking, why can’t I lose this weight, but what’s really going on and I don’t know what it’s all about because I couldn’t get to it, but there is a lock and chain around her heart that’s holding on real tight so I’m not surprised at the weight wasn’t coming off. That’s the kind of conversation that you have to have with your clients.

What else do we got here? Kimberly has another question for us. She says, what are some ways that you keep your clients accountable? For me, we establish goals during our first session and then create action steps to take towards those goals. It sounds like a good plan, Kimberly. She said I create a daily checklist from that information and then they are quote required to send me that each night so I can see how it’s going. Curious how others hold our clients accountable since we can’t be with them every day to make sure.

You know, I was right there along with you can really, until you said the thing about how they’re required to send you the checklist every night. And I thought, Gosh, where is that line between coaching and helping and creating a codependent relationship?

Ah, I know, I know we want to be there for our clients. Especially, I don’t know if you’re just starting out can really, but I know when I was just starting my business, like I would do anything for my clients. I would like walk through fire. I would like lay down my myself on a puddle and let them walk right over me. You know, anything to prove that I was worth it. And I think what might be happening here as you’re doing too much, getting a little bit too involved, there’s a term for that, um, with parent-child relationships called enmeshment. Am I saying that right? I think I am. And measurement where there was no boundaries and the individual’s personality, the child’s personality isn’t able to develop properly. Now, I don’t think it’s the exact same thing happening here, but I do think you might be a little bit too involved if you are requiring some sort of daily check in and daily accountability.

My approach to coaching and hey, everybody’s got a different approach. I’m not going to say this is wrong, I’m just saying you want to be careful. My approach to coaching is much more hands off. I am going to give you some information. I’m going to help you hear your own thoughts. I’m going to help push you in a direction that you find interesting to go down and then I’m going to back off. And my clients, I don’t usually talk to them between sessions. Sometimes I don’t initiate it though. They know they can email me and some do and some don’t. Most often they don’t. And then we talk again in two weeks. And that’s the accountability part. It gives them time to live and try and mess up and feel ashamed or whatever they’re going to feel and try again and talk to somebody else and sort of live life.

And I think that’s a good amount of check-ins. I was thinking about this because my son is in second grade and kids these days, kids these days, I sound like an old lady. They seem to be getting their own phone right around like third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade. I hate the idea. And I keep thinking, oh gosh, when am I going to have to get him a phone? I really don’t want to do this, but at least it allow me to check in with him. And then I’m like, whoa Michelle, you don’t want to be that kind of mom, right? Like when we grew up our parents had to like let go and like we go to school and they didn’t, they weren’t able to text us and be like, how was lunch? Did you talk to so and so? What do you want to do later?

You know, like some separation I think can be a good thing. And between me and my second grader, I think when he goes off in the morning and he lives his life and he makes his mistakes and he does his great things. And then once a once a day, at the end of the day we can quote, check-in, that feels appropriate. Cause I’m his mother and he’s eight years old. But for full grown adults in our coaching practices, I think they can go a week or two. I really do. With the understanding that they can always reach out for support and if they do great and if they don’t, great, but they don’t need to be monitored and micromanaged. I think that may actually produce the outcome that you don’t want. You want to always teach a man to fish, not do it for them.

All righty, well that is what we have for today, you guys. I do hope you will join us on May 16th for copywriting for health coaches to supercharge your marketing and make it fun. I remember you can sign up at healthcoachpower.com/write and in the meantime, please keep asking great questions and I will keep answering them. I’ll see you next week.