Create your Marketing Avatar

What is an Avatar? Basically, what you are doing here is helping yourself define very clearly the ideal client – the person that you want to reach out to and work with. Spending a little time on this allows you to be precise in the way that you are marketing and invest your time and money in the best way possible. Does this feel silly for some people? Maybe a little. After all, in some ways this is basically the adult equivalent of creating an imaginary friend. A couple things that it might be helpful to remember:
1) There are no wrong answers. This is about who you want to work with, so don’t worry if it sounds a little odd when you write it all out. We’re not trying to please everyone – maybe the oddballs are your ideal clients and that is totally ok. In fact, when putting this together you may want to actually focus on some of the ways that your avatar is different from the people around them. Knowing how they are quirky and what sets them apart from the crowd is what allows you to connect with them on a deeper level.
2) This can be fluid and can change. You are not stuck with this indefinitely. You can add things, and take them away as you grow. You can add more avatars in the future to represent the various aspects of your business. You my friend, have options, so don’t be afraid to jump in and have fun with this.

Download the free PDF and begin!  GEMS avatar creation WS

KinesioGeek Magazine: Updated Media Kit!

We are entering year three for KinesioGeek Magazine! The magazine serves several different purposes; it connects us as practitioners in a small industry, brings new information and research to our attention, and showcases products and events that are of interest. If you’ve never considered advertising your products, classes, conferences, etc. before, this might be the time! Get your message out in front of people who are as passionate and invested in Specialized Kinesiology as you.

We are building a strong presence in the world and we’re all in this together!

Click here to download: KinesioGeek Magazine Media Kit

Coming through clearly in a noisy world – Marketing and branding with Alexis Costello

(This is the Conference Journal paper for the International Association of Specialized Kinesiology conference in Bergamo, Italy, April 2017. For more information about the conference or to register, visit www.connectingkinesiology.com)

 

Historically, health practitioners of all sorts have been keepers and sources of information. We go to school, study the body, read the books, learn through experience, and then, clients (patients) come to us with their questions. It has worked this way for many years. But in an information age – when anyone can Google anything and people are used to receiving unlimited quantities of information for free at the click of a button – how do we attract clients and students and set ourselves apart?

This is why we need to investigate the concepts of marketing and personal branding more closely. When you think of the word ‘marketing’ you may have an idea of television commercials, tacky billboards, or an irritating jingle that you can’t get out of your head, but this isn’t the approach that we are going for. Marketing can mean putting quality content out into the world that helps people who are aligned with our energy and goals find us.

It’s that simple.

People are no longer coming to practitioners in order to find out what vitamins will help their symptoms – they can do that online. They come to you to experience your personal energy and story. Who you are (not just which courses you have taken or schools you have attended), really matters.

This is a huge topic and many books have been written on the subject. Unfortunately, we only have a few minutes together in Bergamo, so we need to stay focused and I will keep this very short! We will discuss:

  • Why ‘Marketing’ is not distasteful for holistic practitioners, but a necessary part of our business world
  • How a personal brand is an easy and fun way to market your business with full integrity
  • Why it is important to understand your Core Values in business. We will do a little exercise together to help determine these values, which then form the base of your marketing strategy

In a world that has become increasingly noisy it is important to be clear in your message. An understanding of the points above means that your website, your articles, your social media, and your one-on-one interactions with people, all sing the same message so your clients and students know exactly who you are and what you stand for.

This is going to be fun!

 

To find out more about me or get in touch, visit www.alexiscostello.com or www.gemskinesiology.com

Follow me @healthylexi

The formula for good Open Days or Demo Days in your Specialized Kinesiology clinic or school.

“I’m the kind of person who notices everything,” says Tania O’Neill McGowen, director of O’Neill Kinesiology Collage in Perth Australia. We are chatting on Skype, spanning a 14 hour time gap, in order to discus marketing, kinesiology and the future of our field.

Most of this interview can be found in the second issue of Specialized Kinesiology Magazine, which will be available January 2017, (how’s that for building anticipation of a product?), but today, I want to share Tania’s formula for successful Open or Demo days.

Many of us are taught that a kinesiology demonstration is the easiest way to attract new students and clients. After all, it’s hard to see what SK can do and not be impressed! Back to what Tania says about ‘noticing everything’; “I notice what works and what doesn’t work. We used to do Open Days at the school, as I think many do, but they were lacking the “Wow!” I wanted a better format. I sat with it for almost two years to come up with something better that really works.”

This format seems very simple, but has proven to be extremely effective for the Collage.

 

–       Start with a 15 minute talk discussing ‘What is Kinesiology?’ using overheads, showing that this is real science and featuring the integration of Eastern medicine.

–       45 minute Demo in front of the group, working with someone in the audience experiencing physical pain. A demo working with pain provides the most noticeable change for the audience and is most impressive.

–       30-45 minute discussion of their training program and what is involved.

–       Free 30 minute mini-session with one of the advanced students.

 

Why is this so effective? With this set up, the audience will listen to you explain what it is that you are doing, see how well it works on someone else, hear how they could learn this too and then experience it for themselves. Tania emphasizes that it is important the demo days be free. “Most people will not pay you for something they know nothing about. Having events where they can come along that don’t cost them anything is important. When they attend, most people will go ‘Oh wow!’”

For more of our conversation including the importance of advertising, how to work with a business coach, and why, “if you’re not using Facebook to promote your kinesiology, you’re crazy!” wait for the January issue of Specialized Kinesiology Magazine.

We’re all in this together!

Alexis

Creating Focus and Flow with GEMS

Written for the Touch for Health Association Conference Journal 2016

How confident are you that you are using the right technique at the right time with each person you work with? By the time you have gone through four levels of Touch for Health, you have acquired a huge new skill set filled with tools and information that can help those around you. Despite all of the tools available to them however, new students and practitioners often struggle with how best to apply their knowledge when actually working with someone. When do you use all 42 muscles, and when is 14 enough? When would you use something like a sound balance? Because they can’t answer these questions, students get into a routine, using only the techniques that appeal the most to them and forgetting the others. In North America, very few practitioners use only Touch for Health – it seems like most people who want to work professionally take TFH as a prerequisite to get into other courses and then leave TFH behind. I am hoping that GEMS (Goal, Element, Mode, Stack) offers a way to streamline the tools and techniques from the TFH world and integrate them with techniques from other Specialized Kinesiology systems so that they find their rightful place in the kinesiology tool kit again. Creating practitioners who are flexible and able to think outside the box means that they will have an easier time integrating new information, rolling with whatever a client throws at them and succeeding in general.

Touch for Health should be the way of the future. At the 2016 Conference, we will spend some time together discussing how to use this in your life everyday, integrate it with other techniques as they are learned, and create a business model that will allow you to help others and make money with full integrity.

It has been suggested to me recently that our field is a competitive one and that there is an unwillingness sometimes to instruct or help others. In the spirit of collaboration over competition, I have put together the GEMS website with information that can be useful to anyone wanting to work with these amazing tools and the idea that “we are all in this together”. When we examine closely the actual goals of each practitioner: who they want to work with, how and what values they keep central in their practice, we find that each one has a group that they will appeal to and enjoy working with and there is such variety in these groups that there is very little overlap at all. The idea of ‘Touch for Health for Everyone’ is real in that there are techniques in this program that will benefit absolutely anyone you run into, it’s just a matter of finding the correct one. The GEMS flowchart helps with this process by offering a simple and intuitive way to sort the information available to you and arrive at the priority for correction. It works as a bridging class, spanning the gap between the TFH full self-responsibility model and the more diagnostic model used by many practitioners in other modalities. It allows for integration between all modalities, which might be a good way to bring practitioners back together and establish common ground.

I understand that TFH was originally designed to be used by laypeople on family and friends, not as a career, but many people today are using it as a stepping-stone to move into the brilliant world of Specialized Kinesiology. The process of actually moving from ‘friends and family’ to a career can be daunting however. GEMS Business helps to move people into this brilliant field easily. At this Conference, we will discuss some ways to do this, starting by determining the core values you will build your practice on and who precisely you wish to work with. Once you know what is most important to you in your work-life, it is easier to begin marketing and branding – one of the most overlooked facets of our industry as a whole. This marketing piece is an extremely important and overlooked subject. Let’s face it, as an industry Specialized Kinesiologists are stunningly bad at marketing. There are individuals who shine, but as a group there is a lot of room for improvement. It doesn’t matter how amazing a practitioner you are, if no one knows what you do then you can’t help anyone!

For more ideas about how to push your Specialized Kinesiology business to the next level or to contribute information that might be helpful to others, visit www.gemskinesiology.com or take a class to join the group of people around the world who are using GEMS to get amazing results.

 

www.alexiscostello.com

happy@alexiscostello.com

Follow me @healthylexi

 

Selling your Natural Health Business – 3 Things I’ve Learned

Selling your business is hard. It’s hard to place a monetary value on something that you have been pouring your blood sweat and tears into for years. You have to relinquish control to someone new, and yet you want to find the absolute best person for the job since the future happiness of your clients and staff that you love is involved. Because of the nature of our industry, so much of the value of your business is wrapped up in your own skills as a professional that you might wonder how to go about selling it at all. Here are a few things that I have learned from this process that might help.

1)   Make sure that there really is a business outside of you. What I mean by this is that you need to have income making potential even if you are not personally seeing clients, whether this is from retail product, other practitioners, class sponsorship, etc.

2)   Look at the effectiveness of your branding. Is your business name well known? Does it have a good reputation? Brand recognition is one of the major reasons why someone would choose to buy your business rather than start from scratch. It takes time to get your business name “out there’, especially if you are working with a small or non-existent advertising budget. If you think that you might want to sell your business a year from now, taking steps over this next year to get your name out will serve you well. We go to health shows all over the country and I am shocked by how many people see my business card and logo and say; “I’ve heard of you”.

3)   Create some separation between yourself and your business. I had an interview with a potential buyer last week who asked me, “If you could go back in time and change anything about starting your business, what would you do?” My answer was that I would set up my accounting better (not my strong suit and still a mess, but much much better than it was when I started!). But after I thought about it for a moment, I realized that part of the problem (even with the accounting) was that the lines between what belongs to me personally and what belongs to the business are so blurry. Just cleaning out my stock room took forever as I realized how much of my personal paperwork and documents had migrated into the space over the years. Start creating an inventory of the equipment, furniture, books, products etc that are associated with your business and figure out who they really belong to – you or the business.

 

I know there are plenty of websites and books out there to help you with the actual selling of your business, but I have had trouble finding info that is specific to the kinds of challenges we face in this industry. Do you have an exit plan for your business? Or, like so many of us, will you see clients until you physically can’t anymore?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you – we’re all in this together!

Alexis

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People with Social Media

It is shocking how bad people can be at social media. I recently wrote a bit about social media here and how to use it as a natural health practitioner, but this is different – this is more of a rant. I don’t claim to be a guru or a professional marketer, but there are a few things that drive me nuts with social media and since I want us to be friends (at least on Facebook), I want to share one of them with you.

Think about the name of the medium: social media. It means to be social, to share and be friendly. If you were at a dinner party and constantly kept shouting out, “I use _________ everyday to stay fit!” “_________ is the best product for weight loss!” “Ask me how you can make money from your computer with ________!”, how long would it be before you were left alone in a corner with no-one to talk to? Would you ever be invited back?

Because we can’t always see the people we are reaching with social media, it is easy to forget that they are actual people who want to be treated as such. No-one wants to feel like they are being shouted at or talked down to. They want to be heard. People use social media to check out a company or practitioner sometimes – to get a feel for who you are and what you stand for. If you want to be known as someone personable and empathetic then that needs to come across in your posts, tweets, blog, etc.

Yes it is OK to use social media to promote your business, but you want to do this in the same way that you would face to face; with an open dialog, responding to questions, asking your own and offering opinions and information. You can branch out from your own business and promote fun local events or businesses that would be of interest to your followers, or even just share something that makes you think or makes you laugh.

This is what friends do.

We’re all in this together.

Alexis

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Leave them below!

 

Navigating Social Media for your Natural Health Business

 

Social media and business guru Nikki Csek of Csek Creative and Kelowna Now spoke to Kelowna Women in Business in April to help us all become better communicators in the crazy world of social networking sites. I may be one of the world’s worst note-takers, so this is nowhere near everything that she talked about, but I have recorded a few gems for you here that might help you as you decide where to put your time and energy online.

According to Nikki, these are your ‘Must Haves’:

1)   The ability to access your website and make changes to it

2)   You must have identified and set up the social channels you wish to use properly

3)   You must make it easy to share – content is 7x more likely to be shared if it’s simple for your user

4)   Google Analytics

 

You’ve heard me discuss Content Marketing before, right? Unless you have a content strategy, nothing works. Her suggestion is to sit with a piece of paper and write ten article titles for your perfect customers. Once these are in place you know what you need to write and can schedule it for publishing.

Now that you know what you’re going to publish, let’s talk about how to get it ‘out there’ to your target market. Nikki had some analytics for the major social media sites that can help you decide where your potential clients are and meet them on their home turf.

 

1)   Facebook: 71% of Internet users are on FB and most of these are between 24-50 years old with equal gender representation. If you are posting regularly to FB and people are not engaging with you (i.e ‘liking’ and sharing your posts) you may need to reconsider what you are posting.

Find me by searching Happily Holistic – Be Your Best

2)   Twitter: 23% of Internet users are on Twitter, demographics between 18-29 years old and skewed slightly female. Over 30% of users check multiple times daily, so you can post more often without bugging people. (Nikki taught me that etiquette says you follow people back, so I’m working on that since manners are important.)

Follow me @healthylexi – I’ll follow you too!

3)   Instagram: 26% of Internet users are on Instagram and it is growing quickly. Demographics are between 18-29 and again skewed slightly female. I’m not on this one yet, so can’t add much to this!

 

In each of these you need to decide how you wish to be perceived, both by existing and perspective clients. You can search for and look at your competitors; see what they are doing well and identify opportunities. Take a look at how people are using technology and what channels they are using. For instance, are your perspective clients looking you up on their iphone? You had better be sure your website is formatted properly for that or they will get frustrated and wander off.

Of course, there is a lot more to all of this, but hopefully this will get you started.

Are you comfortable in the world of social media for your business, or do you find it difficult? Do you have specific questions we can help you with?

We’re all in this together!

Alexis

Marketing for Health

marketingquoteLet’s face it, practitioners in our field tend to be terrible at marketing. This is partly a personality thing; many of us are drawn into this field precisely because we are much better with people than we are with numbers and technology. Right-brained, creative and empathic, these traits seem to be the antithesis to sitting behind a computer right?

While the idea of marketing may sound scary, it is important, so you need to find a way to do it that works for you and allows you to be comfortable.
What everyone is talking about in the marketing world is ‘content marketing’, meaning that, rather than relying on the old traditional ways of getting your message out there (TV commercials, magazine ads, billboards, etc.), you advertise by giving people valuable information that they are looking for. Once they realize that you have the info they want, and are willing to give it to them for free, you have established a relationship. How do you do this? Again, play to your strengths. Are you a writer? Compose some articles about why muscle testing works, or your favourite supplements, or the best exercise program ever for buns of steel. Are you comfortable in the spotlight? Get a friend to turn the camera on you and set up your YouTube page vlog. Don’t be afraid to give this kind of information away. Once you have solved a problem for someone you inspire confidence in them that you could do it again. They will turn to you the next time they have a question that needs answering. Maybe they will never book an appointment with you themselves, but when they get into a conversation with someone about their health problems, or back pain or recent diagnosis, they will rememarketingbabymber that they learned a lot from you and will pass your name along.
This kind of marketing is going to work for you because it fits with your values.
1) It’s authentic, meaning that you are only going to provide information that you believe to be true, that you can get excited about, and that people are looking for.
2) It’s about them, not about you. For this to work, you are identifying a problem that your target group has (eg.Natural Health Practitioners tend to need help with marketing and establishing an online presence), and giving them some solutions to that problem. This is probably why you got into this field in the first place: to help people.

Do you have any challenges as a Health Practitioner that you would like to see addressed here? Any success stories that you would like to share? Let us know!
Be Amazing,
Alexis Costello