Guest speaker Lisa Barber’s tips on how to get to the top of Google

In this week’s blog post, Marketing Teacher and Business Mentor Lisa Barber at Roots and Wings, will help you get to the top of Google.

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How to get to the top of Google

I get emails from people most days offering support to get me ‘to the top of Google’. And each time it pains me to think how many business owners are falling for their fear-based approach. If you have a website for your therapy business, you don’t have to pay for ‘SEO support’. There are many things you can do yourself – and for free – to be found by the people who need you.

Let’s start by clarifying some of the terminology and jargon.

Search engines (Google is a great example) want their users to have a good experience. In a nutshell, they want the people using them for searches to find what they are searching for. They want the results people get to be a good match. So this is how Google chooses to reward (and penalize) website owners. If your website, pages, blog posts, products and services are an accurate reflection of what you actually do for people, Google is happy. And Google will reward you by improving your rankings (i.e. where you appear on the list of search results).

SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is the name given to the activity designed to improve where and how you appear in online searches. You can pay people money to ‘do your SEO.’

Here’s my simple view.

With all your other overheads, I wouldn’t class spending money on Search Engine Optimization as a priority. Especially as there are things you can do to improve your rankings for free. I don’t pretend to be a SEO expert. But I have figured out what works in my own business. And I’ve supported therapists to get the same results. My blood boils when I hear about the large amounts some therapists have felt compelled to spend on ‘doing SEO’. To my mind, the results you’re aiming for can be much simpler, cheaper, more genuine and gratifying to achieve.

If you love the idea of getting to the top of Google for the service you offer your clients, ask yourself this: “Do I really want to be at the top of Google or do I want to turn strangers into paying clients?” The two are quite different.

Let’s look at an example.

I don’t want to be at the top of Google for ‘marketing help’. Why not? Well, although that’s what I offer, it would give Google’s users a negative experience. Here’s why. There’s a niche I’m a perfect fit for. And many many more people my approach is not a fit for. If I appear at the top of Google and I’m not what the user is searching for … then back down the list of results I go. Remember, Google wants the people doing the searching to be presented with exactly what they are searching for. So, I don’t want to get to the top of Google for ‘marketing help’. But I would like to keep attracting an ongoing flow of people I’m a fit for. (Just notice – the two things are completely different). And I won’t do that by ‘getting to the top of Google’ or paying for ‘SEO support’.

Four no-cost techniques to try instead.

  1. Do your research.

Find out what your ideal clients are searching for. What problems do they have? What words do they use to describe those problems? What would they actually type into Google for help alleviating the symptoms? For example, might a potential new client be searching for ‘complementary therapist’ or ‘relief from lower back pain’?

  1. Start a blog.

If your blog answers the questions that are keeping your niche awake at night, people will find you when searching for solutions online. Use their actual words and phrases. For example, does someone really want to ‘be their most authentic self’ or do they just want to ‘stop bursting into tears’? What do they wish for when they blow out the candles on the birthday cake? You have your most compelling blog post title, right there.

  1. Mobile friendly.

Your website needs to be mobile-friendly or Google will penalize you accordingly. It’s a way of making sure that Google’s users are having a positive searching experience across all devices.

You can take a quick, free Mobile-Friendly Test by clicking here. https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly)

Follow the instructions and you’ll know whether your site passes or fails. If you fail, it will tell you why and what to do about it.

  1. Don’t search for clients.

Stop wearing yourself out searching for clients. Instead, position yourself to be found by the people who want and need what you sell. As opposed to thinking about how to ‘get to the top of Google’, ask yourself where your ideal people are already spending their time, their money or their attention. Then show up there with a blog, a point of view, a talk or a tweet.

SEO is not something you do anymore; it’s what happens when you do everything else right.” SEO guru, Chad Pollitt

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About Lisa Barber

Lisa Barber is the creator of ‘How To Market Your Holistic Practicewww.rootsandwings.biz/fht

Which helps sales-phobic therapists to attract clients who’ll pay their prices. If you’re feeling in the dark about how to promote your business without being salesy, visit Lisa’s website for no-cost strategies that work.

www.rootsandwings.biz

What to put on your Facebook business page

You’ve set up a Facebook page for your therapy business. And now you’re wondering, “What on earth do I share? There’s only so much I can say about aromatherapy, reflexology, massage etc…” Am I right?

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It’s important to view Facebook posts as adding value for free to your followers. Not just self-promotion. But thinking up relevant and original ideas day after day is tough. Are you finding your Facebook business page a challenge? Experiment with some of my ideas below to boost interaction, engagement, credibility and clients.

  1. Ask questions

Post questions that will give you valuable feedback about your business. Or about what’s important to your ideal clients. This is like free research with your fans. For example: “If you could sit down with your 12-year old self, what would you tell him or her?” or “What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

  1. Share a Pink Spoon!

A Pink Spoon is something deeply sought after and compelling. It’s sometimes referred to as an opt-in or a freebie. Either way, it’s offered for free in exchange for an email address. And it can take many forms. A Pink Spoon brings people from your Facebook business page over to your website. And it’s here that they will be able to find out more about you as a person. As well as the services you offer your clients. What is it that your ideal clients are craving? Create a Pink Spoon that feeds that need and share it on your Facebook business page. Click here for ideas and examples. (Link to earlier FHT blog post, here: https://blog.fht.org.uk/2016/10/04/how-to-spend-less-time-marketing-and-still-get-clients/)

  1. Post links to blog posts

If blogging forms part of your marketing approach, don’t forget to let your Facebook followers know when there’s a new blog post waiting for them on your website. You share and then they share. It’s a powerful way to get more people reading your words. Plus, it gives your Facebook followers repeated opportunities to find out more about you and your approach.

  1. Let people know what others are saying about you

Feedback is a gift. And testimonials are an incredibly powerful form of marketing. They boost credibility because they come from an unbiased source ~ a paying client. With their permission, consider turning your feedback from clients into images. You can do this using a free tool like Picmonkey. (Link to www.picmonkey.com). Then share that image on your Facebook business page.

  1. Videos and audios

Clients buy from people they know, like and trust. And by giving potential clients a chance to see (or hear) you ‘in action’ you’re boosting the Know, Like, Trust Factor. Videos and audios allow people to check you out from a safe distance. They can figure out if there is likely to be a good fit. And if there is likely to be a connection in real life.

  1. Set up a survey

Want to run a basic questionnaire with your Facebook business page followers? Or some sophisticated market research? Use Surveymonkey (Link to www.surveymonkey.co.uk) to find out what your ideal clients are really thinking. Ask what they would be willing to pay you for. Or what they would like to see more of on your Facebook business page.

  1. Images and inspirational quotes

I wasn’t surprised to learn that quotes are one of the most frequently shared images on social media. They stand out. They connect with people in a way that simply talking about your own service can’t. Find something original, helpful, relevant, inspiring or motivational. And watch the likes, shares and interaction rise.

  1. Answer questions

Generously sharing your tips and wisdom gives your followers a positive experience. You don’t have to give away all your knowledge in one reply. Respond as you would in person ~ perhaps sharing your ‘three top tips’.  You can always direct people to your website or blog for more information.

  1. Links to helpful information

Share links to useful people, services and other Facebook pages. This shows you want to be of service. And that you’re not just a self-promotion machine. If you find an article or a business that would be of interest to your Facebook followers, tell them. Share the love.

  1. Promote what you do

I’ve deliberately saved this until the end. There’s a time and a place for self-promotion on Facebook. Too much and you’ll push people away. Too little and your time on social media becomes unsustainable. Even when you do talk about your business, you don’t have to give it the hard sell. Have you launched a new service? Are you running a competition? Let your followers know. Shine the spotlight on different aspects of your business. Share links to the products and services you offer. Want people to take action? Then it’s important to give clear direction. For example “Click here to book”, “Fill out this form”, “Share this with 3 people”.

How to spend less time marketing (and still get clients)

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It’s so frustrating when you have all this passion and not enough of the right people seem to notice. After all (and let’s be honest here) you are actually trying to help them!

You got into this work so you could help people. And you didn’t invest in your training so you could spend your days marketing yourself. You know there has to be some way clients get to hear about you. But you’re already time-strapped and you don’t want to spend money on self-promotion. Ever find yourself wondering if there’s some secret formula to finding clients? Yes? You’re in the right place.

Here’s something I want you to remember:

Clients buy from us when we (subconsciously) tick five boxes for them:

  • They know us
  • And decide they like us
  • They begin to trust us
  • And believe we have the answer to their problem
  • They’re ready to pay someone to help them with that problem

Your marketing needs to make it easy for potential clients to decide if you tick the first four boxes for them. Or not.

Have you been networking with a view to finding clients or people who may refer you to clients? Did you hand out or collect any business cards? This exchange of contact information is the beginning of any relationship. You’re giving (or being given) permission to continue the conversation at a later date.

Imagine if you could do this without setting foot inside a networking event.

You can!

Exactly the same principle applies online as it does offline. Your website’s job is to greet potential customers when you can’t. It can start those conversations and begin building those relationships for you. So when your perfect-fit people are ready, they call.

The best way to do this is offer something of value ~ for free. This taster is given in exchange for an email address. And it helps people get to know you, like you and trust you from a distance. It gives them a genuine feel for what you’re all about and whether there is likely to be a fit. (You may have heard this taster called a freebie, an opt-in or even a ‘pink spoon’ elsewhere).

How to create a perfect taster, freebie, opt-in or ‘pink spoon’

  1. It needs to be free. And it’s in exchange for the potential client sharing their contact details. In exchange for the potential client giving you their permission to be in touch. Make it genuinely sought after and compelling ~ a true taste of what’s to come if they book.
  2. It can be small. Resist the urge to give away everything in a freebie. You’ll burn out delivering freebies before reaching the money making stage.
  3. This shouldn’t be something that needs your time or energy on an ongoing basis. We want this to stand up on its own. So you can create it once and then let it do the work for you.
  4. Make it relevant to the problems and needs of your ideal client. For maximum impact, make it niche relevant.

Your taster, freebie, opt-in or ‘pink spoon’ can take many different formats. And there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Look at what other websites are offering. What do you find compelling? What makes you sign up to something? I’ve supported clients with many of these over the years. Audios, videos, reports, e-booklets, ‘how-to guides’ and online courses all work.

This is perfect for you if you don’t like the thought of self-promotion. And you don’t have the bandwidth to be out there, visible. What would you like to see more of in your business? Now create a freebie that feeds into that. Share an opt-in that gives people a genuine taste of what it would be like if they paid you for this thing you want to sell.

Top tips for creating a website that works for you

Your website greets your ideal clients when you can’t.

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In the middle of the night, it can give someone a sense of hope. While you’re shopping in Tesco, a potential client can find out more about your business. When you’re on a training course, someone can figure out if you’re a good fit for their needs. While you’re looking after an existing client, a potential new one can be deciding to book. Your website is your front of house when you can’t be. It’s a reflection of who you are and the problems you help people with.

And developing a website can also be a big deal financially can’t it? “What if I spend all this money and it doesn’t work?” It’s really normal to stay stuck on the starting blocks with a website. “What to do first? What needs to go where?” Or to set yourself up for a headache and extra costs down the line. “If only I’d known this back then.” I’ve made costly mistakes, too.

I want you to be confident you’re investing your money (and time and energy) wisely. That’s why I’ve created this video from ‘How To Market Your Holistic Practice’. In it, you’ll discover how to sidestep the website pitfalls that trip up the newbies. Plus, I’m lifting the lid on how to make sure more of your ideal clients stick around your website. Then book.

Want my top tips for getting your website to work for you? Grab your favourite notebook and press play to get started below.

My perfect retreat – Kagyu Samye Ling

Meditation and yoga are fast becoming everyday tools, helping us cope with the pace of modern life, writes FHT Vice President Maria Mason.

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I have been studying and practicing yoga and meditation for many years and have been fortunate enough to have traveled to and stayed in a number of monasteries around the world. With a keen interest in Buddhism, I have now found my perfect retreat at Kagyu Samye Ling in Scotland.

Kagyu Samye Ling is a monastery and international centre of Buddhist training, known for the authenticity of its teachings and tradition. This incredible monastery has a sense of peace that is tangible. Now more than 40-years-old, its work has far reaching effects, offering spiritual guidance, charitable aid, health and therapy.

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Founded in 1967 by two spiritual masters, Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Kagyu Samye Ling was the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre to be established in the west.

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Daily life at Kagyu Samye Ling is centered around the beautiful shrine room with its gilded Buddhas, surrounded by thousands of smaller Buddhas. The day starts at 6am and the temple closes at 10pm, with the days consisting of communal tasks, gardening, cooking and general maintenance of the monastery, prayers, teachings and meditation.

My first visit to Kagyu Samye ling was a course run by Johnny Glover.

Johnny Glover is a yoga meditation teacher who uses traditional yoga practices offering practical support and encouragement to those who wish to develop a regular meditation practice.

Maria Mason and monk

Since my first visit, over a year ago, we have introduced the benefits of yoga meditation to our clients, hosting days and weekend retreats at Beauty Time in Bristol.

With so much interest from clients, I have also been training to become a meditation teacher. This has benefited my own personal practice and enabled me to support my staff and clients by offering them different forms of relaxation.

I will be returning to Kagyu Samye Ling in October, with great excitement, to join a teaching and meditation course run by the truly respectful Buddhist monk, Drupon Rinpoche.

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‘Meditation means simple acceptance’ – Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche

Read more about Kagyu Samye Ling

Read more about Maria Mason

The real reason clients aren’t calling

When you know you get great results for clients, it can be hard to understand why someone doesn’t want to book an appointment with you, when they need the exact service you offer.

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Perhaps you’re getting plenty of enquiries. Maybe there’s a lot of polite interest. You may even be getting a healthy number of visits to your website or people picking up flyers. But for some reason you can’t put your finger on, the interest isn’t translating into paying clients.

Your inner critic puts in an appearance

“Not enough people know I exist. There’s too much competition out there. It’s impossible to stand out. I need to advertise. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a holistic therapist after all. It’s because people think I’m too expensive.”

When you’ve worked so hard to get your business off the ground, it’s entirely normal to feel frustrated and self-critical when perfect-fit clients don’t flow to you. After all, you are actually trying to help them. Most therapists in this position find themselves assuming that price is the issue here. Some take their prices off their website, or give on-the-spot discounts to wavering clients. Others try luring new clients in with special prices or freebies – only to discover they can’t then sustain a viable business this way.

Here’s something I want you to remember

Someone could come across what you offer, see it’s a perfect fit for his or her needs and still not buy. Sometimes it’s a question of timing. But very often it’s a matter of safety and of risk. They’re scared that if they buy from you they’re going to either lose out on something they have or they won’t get something they want.

Their risks (whether perceived or justified) can be anything from having to explain their purchase to a partner. The fear of looking silly. The fear of spending money and not getting the results. The fear of getting their hopes up only to be disappointed (again). The fear that the therapist may talk too much. The fear that they won’t be able to get a parking space. The fear of being sold to. The fear of not knowing the cost or really understanding what a particular treatment could do for them.

The majority of therapists are totally blind to this

Therapists haven’t asked themselves, ‘What might be risky or scary about making this purchase?’. Often we’re so close to our own businesses that we find it impossible to understand why someone wouldn’t want to book. If this sounds like you, ask someone you trust, “Why wouldn’t you call to book an appointment with someone like me?” then capture each response in a list. Or consider asking clients who already know and trust you, “What hesitations did you have about booking before you became a client?’

Your marketing needs to make it safe enough for people to make contact

It needs to reduce the risk and make it safe for potential clients to move forward. Here are 5 of my top tips for doing just that in a no cost way.

  1. Communication

Make sure your voicemail or email address is personalised for your business so potential clients know they have reached the right person. And remember that what goes on social media stays on social media. It’s fair for people to assume that however you come across online, or how you respond to people in person, is exactly how you’ll come across as a therapist with clients.

  1. Put your prices on your website

Be honest about how much you charge so the potential clients who make contact have already decided that your price point is a fit for them. You’ll also be far less likely to waver on price if you’ve publicly declared how much you charge.

  1. Testimonials

Include testimonials from previous clients on your website – when people can see their own situation reflected in someone else’s words and feedback, they are far more likely to move forward, to feel safe.

  1. Simplify everything

Make it easy for people to buy from you. If information on your site is out of date, if links aren’t working or if it isn’t clear how people go about taking the next step, the chances are they won’t. They won’t feel safe. On every page of your website ask yourself, ‘What action do I want people to take next?’ Then gently guide them in that direction with a very clear Call To Action (e.g. ‘Click here to discover why I do this work’, ‘Fill out the form below to request a call back’, ‘Call this number to book your appointment.’)

  1. Be transparent and real

Be open about who you are and aren’t a fit for. You won’t be right for everyone and that’s OK. People will admire your honesty and integrity. Use blogs on your website to communicate your philosophy and approach. Share your story on your About page. Explain why it is that you do what you do. Did you go though a similar struggle to your ideal clients? Share that. You’ll be meeting your potential clients with empathy and understanding and making it safe for them to connect with you. You’ll be giving them an opportunity to get to know you from a safe distance and ultimately lowering the risk of them making contact.

About Lisa Barber

Lisa Barber - Roots and WingsLisa Barber helps complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapists to get more perfect-fit clients and to set up their businesses for the long term. Her video course, ‘How to Market Your Holistic Practice’ is currently available for FHT members. For affordable, DIY marketing techniques and smart, sleaze-free strategies that work, click here to get her online video series.

4 reflections on sticking to your prices

4 reflections on sticking to your prices

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” – Anna Taylor

If you’re anything like me, you were raised to believe that generosity is about giving. You were taught the importance of sharing at a very young age. And you learned your lesson well.

You’re a generous spirit. You know how to give. You’re doing ‘good’ work.  And the chances are you first trained as a therapist because you wanted to bring hope and relief to others. You wanted to be ‘of service’ in this world.

So if generosity = unconditional giving for you, it’s only natural that you find it hard to charge people for the value, information, time and energy you give.  Maybe you keep your prices low on purpose. Perhaps you find yourself going down the slippery slope of offering free sessions to attract more clients. Maybe you offer on-the-spot discounts because the whole pricing conversation feels awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing to you. It’s not at all unusual for therapists to reduce their rates to remain competitive.

When you’re doing work that helps or provides relief, it’s entirely normal to want to make your service both affordable and accessible. You’re not alone in wanting to bring your help to more people. And you’re certainly not alone in feeling a little bit guilty (perhaps subconsciously) for being paid to do something you enjoy and that helps other people out.

Let’s reframe generosity:

Here’s the thing. I actually believe it’s ungenerous to cave in on your advertised price when pushed. Here’s why:

  1. You can’t sustain a business this way

4 reflections on sticking to your pricesIt’s heartbreaking to witness so many therapists frustrated by lagging profits. It pains me to see businesses fold because they don’t make enough money to keep going. When this happens, not only does the business owner have to set their passion and talent aside, but potential clients of that wonderful business also lose out. Clients wanting exactly the support that person offers in exactly the way they provide it won’t get the help they need.

Let’s imagine I didn’t charge for the support I give clients. Workshops, one-to-one care, online tutorials … all free. Sounds great? Now consider the conditions under which I’d be able to do that. I have my personal expenses and I have business expenses. So, how would I pay for those if I weren’t making money through Roots and Wings? I’d probably have to return to the corporate world. When I returned home, I wouldn’t have the bandwidth to create free blogs, write talks, prep the content for my workshops, and give ongoing inspiration, encouragement and support. It would be ungenerous of me to give so little of myself to the work I’m motivated to do. The most generous thing I can do is to keep trying to find ways to become profitable through following my passion. The same is true for you.

  1. For the sake of your client

I’ve met a lot of therapists – as a mentor and also as a client. As a client, few have been visibly comfortable quoting their rates or answering the question “So, what do I owe you?” If this sounds like you, this is entirely normal but here’s something I’d like you to remember. By approaching you for help, I’m saying I have a need. I’m admitting a degree of vulnerability and I need you to be rock solid. And here’s the irony: when you waver on your price  (“£50?”) or worse (“£50. Does that sound OK?”) you’re removing a really crucial level of safety. Imagine there was a price tag on a pair of shoes in a department store and it didn’t say “£35”, it said “£35? Is that OK?” How would you feel as the potential buyer? My hunch is that trust would be broken. For the sake of your client, please stand firm. In order to move forward, clients need to feel safe with you in more ways than one.

  1. You can’t then pay it forward

I enjoy paying for things that matter to me. But if I don’t make money through my business then I can’t pass the money to the next person. I can’t pay other businesses a healthy amount for the products and services they provide. But by striving to make a profit, I can contribute towards a virtuous circle. I can invest in reflexology, pay for reiki, treat myself to a massage or facial, join a yoga class, or experience the benefits of EFT. If you earn a healthy living, you too can then pay it forward. Whether that’s supporting your FHT peers to stay in business or keeping your local coffee shop afloat, you’re doing your bit to keep everyone thriving.

  1. It’s disrespectful to your peers

It only takes a handful of therapists to offer on-the-spot discounts or undercut peers to make it increasingly hard for others to charge a fair amount. Make a commitment to the long-term sustainability of your industry. You’ve spent thousands on training (plus time and energy) and you deserve to earn money as professionals.

Over to you

I want to live in a world where therapists are able to sustain themselves (energetically and financially) doing the work they love. I have a hunch you feel the same way. So let’s rewire the way you think about on-the-spot discounts once and for all. Decide right now that the next time someone asks you for money off, you’ll hold firm on your price. By sticking to healthy rates you’re ticking four important boxes. You’re being generous to your peers and industry. You’re making a commitment to the longevity of your business. You’re putting yourself in the best position to pay the money forward. You’re also building trust with clients.

About Lisa Barber

Lisa Barber - Roots and WingsLisa Barber helps complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapists to get more perfect-fit clients and to set up their businesses for the long term. Her video course, ‘How to Market Your Holistic Practice’ is currently available for FHT members. For affordable, DIY marketing techniques and smart, sleaze-free strategies that work, click here to get her online video series.