One of the biggest challenges for holistic health practitioners is successfully marketing their services. Even if you are highly skilled and experienced in your holistic health field, without good marketing and a defendable legal basis for your services, you may struggle to make a livelihood or even put your profession at risk.
Having a well-informed, focused and multi-faceted marketing plan and defendable legal basis to offer services will make an enormous difference for your success personally and financially. Whether you are a crystal healer, Reiki master, yoga instructor, or other holistic health practitioner, bringing in new clients is key to your long-term success.
Here we’ll provide some ideas to help you get started or improve your marketing and reach your ultimate goal of helping more people achieve improved health through natural means.
Marketing 101 for Holistic Health Practitioners
Marketing is the process of promoting your offering, attracting clients, selling, and delivering your services. Successful marketing involves researching your ideal client, knowing your niche, taking into account consumer behavior, as well as communicating the value of your services, staying authentic, and building long-term relationships.
Because many Eastern or traditional practices are marginalized due to the emphasis on Western medicine, an important factor in attracting new clients is education to help potential clients understand and become familiar with your holistic health services, along with their history, applications, and benefits.
First things first:
Credentials & legal basis to provide services
Your credentials matter. Holding a state license may impart some level of permission for providing holistic services. However, state license scope of practice usually doesn’t permit the wide range of holistic services that your clients demand.
If you receive money in exchange for health services, you should have a solid legal basis and defense for your services if state regulatory boards investigate you. For instance, the PWA License Program gives holistic providers a solid and defendable legal basis for holistic services.
Before you start implementing your marketing plan, make sure that you have a defendable legal basis to offer your services, because state regulators often find practitioners to sanction through their marketing, often by posing as potential clients.
While training and certifications are important to weave into your marketing and messaging, none of these are guaranteed to protect you from the crackdown of state regulatory boards. Make sure that you have a solid legal basis from which to offer services to prevent serious consequences such as being fined, served a cease-and-desist order, or even having your business shut down. In some states there is even the threat of serving jail time.
Organizations such as the Professional Wellness Alliance (PWA) support holistic health providers to give them a defendable legal basis from which to provide their holistic services without worry. Through the PWA License Program, you can offer holistic health services with peace-of-mind in a safe, legal environment.
Conduct market research
Gathering information about customers’ needs and preferences will help you to identify your target market. A great place to start is to find out what is working so far and then expand from there.
Find out more about your current holistic health clients. You can start by asking your current clients how they found you or ask them to fill out a quick survey online or include questions on an intake form. Keep track of this information so that you can identify important characteristics or trends.
Did your client find you by word of mouth or the recommendation of a friend? Were they referred to you by another health professional? Did they find you online? If so, where? Why did your client come to you? What are their needs, interests, and preferences?
Once you have this information, you can begin to build and strengthen relationships with people and organizations that bring you new leads or clients.
Visualize your clients
Take some time to think about the ideal client. What are their needs and priorities, background and preferences? Think about important demographic information such as their age range, health background, gender, and other characteristics.
Consider how important your clients’ geographical location is. Are you offering a holistic health service that requires in-person sessions, or do you offer online or distance healing services? This will help you determine where to focus or balance your marketing. Determine whether you need to hone in on a specific geographic region or cast a wider geographic net online.
Segment and target
Once you have an understanding of the demographics of your current clients and potential clients, you can begin to explore strategies such as segmenting (identifying characteristics for each segment), targeting (selecting segments
to address) and positioning (developing targeted communication for your selected segment).
With this information, you can create specific and personalized messaging for various yet specific audiences. For example, you might reach out differently to potential clients who are seeking relief from chronic back pain, than for yogis who are interested in detoxifying or relaxation. Keeping these factors in mind, you can deliver more relevant messages through intentional and specific marketing strategies.
Make a plan
Especially if you are a one-person business, or are just starting out, it is wise to begin with a simple and realistic marketing plan that works within your budget, time availability, skills and resources. You can shift your marketing strategies over time depending on your results and observations about what is and isn’t working for you.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the marketing possibilities, start small and simple and expand incrementally. Schedule time periodically to evaluate and record the results of your marketing to make sure you stay on the right track. Change course when necessary. Marketing opportunities, especially social media and online advertising are continuously changing and evolving, and so should you.
Integrate advertising and promotions
Advertising is a component of marketing that seeks to influence people to purchase your holistic health services. It is the process by which you make your holistic health service known to your audience. There are many types of advertising including online, social media, newspaper, magazine, radio, television, directories, transit and outdoor, direct mail, and others. Choosing the right mix for you will depend on multiple factors including your budget and target market. It is worth taking the time to find out which types of advertising will work best for you, before spending time and money on an approach that might not pay off.
Even on a budget you can offer creative promotions to increase loyalty, awareness, interest and demand in your holistic health service. For example, you can offer coupons, two-for-one specials, discounts for students or seniors, or a free trial session for a limited period of time.
Join a professional organization
Joining an organization such as the PWA includes free promotion in our online professional directory. This will allow you to have an online profile where you can add videos, photos, and articles to attract new clients. It also means that you’ll be part of a community of holistic practitioners who have fought and won against the state regulatory crackdowns.
Make a website
A simple, user-friendly, comprehensive and attractive website is a huge step in helping clients get to know you and your offering. Make sure to include photos and images that represent who you are and what you have to offer. Include all of your relevant credentials and whenever possible logos that demonstrate your license, certifications, and membership in professional organizations. You can create a professional website on DIY platforms for a monthly rate.
Also, through your license with the PWA, you’ll receive a custom profile you can use to market your services on the PWA Directory.
Use social media to engage potential clients
Find out what types of social media your clients and potential clients are using and research online communities that may be curious about your offering. By making a habit of posting relevant and interesting content, you can build a following on platforms. Paid advertising on social media can also be an excellent way to create new leads.
Create an email newsletter
Consider creating an email newsletter that you can manage from an easy-to-use platform. Remember to always ask permission of your clients before adding them to a listserv. You can alert your community about upcoming events, promotions, specials, discounts and incentives as well as educating with information about holistic health.
Ask for ratings and reviews
Ask satisfied clients to write a review for your holistic health service online. Through your custom profile on the PWA Directory, you can request reviews from your clients and display them on your page. Make sure to send them a link and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
Check your pricing
It is important to know what similar holistic health practitioners are charging for their services in your area and online. The more you know about the demographics of your clients, the better.
Learn from other practitioners
Take a look at other practitioners in your field, in your geographic area and online. Think about what you can offer to further specialize, differentiate or stand out in your field. While it’s common to view other practitioners as competitors, also consider potential opportunities for networking, mentoring, and strategic partnerships.
Create a presence at places, events & conventions
Seek out events that tend to draw a demographic such as alternative or holistic health fairs, yoga festivals, athletic events, organic markets, food coops, yoga and meditation centers. You might also find conventions or gatherings of people with specific health conditions, athletes, or other demographics that could benefit from your holistic health offering. Find out if you can distribute information, offer a workshop, or consider sharing a stand with other holistic health practitioners.
Make yourself known
Think outside of the box about how to make a name for yourself. Ask satisfied clients for testimonials that you can share across various platforms to build credibility through personal stories.
Stay true to your deeper purpose
The more you practice and expand your marketing skills and experience, the better prepared you will be to create long-term sustainability and success for your holistic health business.
No matter where your marketing journey takes you, always stay authentic and connected to your deepest purpose and sense of service — helping more people access better health and wellness, naturally.
Learn more about the benefits of protecting your holistic business by joining the PWA Community.