Jenn Givler operates an internet-based business coaching service that neatly dovetails into her work that’s she’s done as a Reiki practitioner and Aromatherapist. It was her business Willow Fairy Creations begun in 1999 that got her interested in helping others in their struggles to develop their online holistic business presence.
“I remember how it felt like such a struggle to get a steady client flow. I wanted nothing more than to serve people through healing. But steady income and a thriving business were elusive. I even began networking and marketing my business online as a way to get myself out there. But nothing was working.”
“You would think someone with a Public Relations degree and experience in marketing for small businesses and large companies would automatically know how to promote herself. Well, it’s quite different promoting a holistic business. The marketing tactics used in traditional businesses are very different than what we creative-holistic types are comfortable with.” Jenn says
Even after hiring a business coach, Jenn found that traditional marketing methods are not those the work well for the holistic business owner, so she ended up through trial and error, developing a process and model that has worked well for her and her clients.
Jenn graduated from Shippensburg University with a BA in Public Relations. Her corporate career included designing marketing campaigns, writing press releases, and designing sales presentations for both very small businesses and a larger, national software company.
She’s a Reiki Master Teacher in both the Usui and Celtic modalities and she’s also a Certified Aromatherapist through the Pacific School of Aromatherapy.
Jenn and I met through Twitter, a social media website that is a wonderful avenue for networking with others in your field. After some interaction and reviewing her work and site, I thought she’d be the perfect person for an interview. Jenn graciously agreed and here are the results of that interview.
1. What would you say is the most important thing a holistic business owner can do? Understand and learn how to market your business – and to realize that marketing is not about selling. We feel so icky when we think about trying to “sell.” Marketing is about more than selling – it’s about connection and relationships. And if we can learn marketing in that way, it becomes a way to be in service to our potential clients, rather than something we feel pushed to do.
2. What is Mindful Marketing? Mindful Marketing is a process I developed after being frustrated with the progress of my healing business.
I spent about 18 months trying and trying to make my healing business work. And, even though I had a marketing background and I understood “marketing” it felt impossible to do for myself.
At that time, healing and holistic concepts were not well known. So, not only was I trying to get my name out there, but I was fielding questions like “Reiki what is that?” and “what do you mean by healing?” So there was this education process – and people weren’t always very understanding.
I knew that I had to get out there and market myself, but aggressive promotional tactics were out of the question. And I didn’t want it to all be about selling.
Mindful Marketing evolved from me wanting to genuinely connect with, and build relationships with the people I wanted to serve. I also wanted my marketing efforts to be nurturing and for them to serve my potential clients just as much as my work did.
I didn’t know if that would be possible, but I’m sure glad I tried! Because not only is it possible, but it helps me feel connected to anyone that steps into my business community.
3. How does it work? Mindful Marketing revolves around 4 core concepts: Connection, Beginning Relationships, Passive and Active Marketing Activities, and Nurturing the People You Serve.
Let me explain them a little bit and talk about how they fit together.
First, Connection. Connection is what happens when someone meets your business for the first time. They may come across your web site or your blog, or they may meet you in social media, or even offline at an event or function.
If you can clearly articulate who you help and what specific challenges you help with, people will feel a connection with you and your business. Having a clearly defined niche is part of this connection process. The more clear you can be about who you help and how you help, people will either immediately see themselves or someone they know inside of your business. And, if they see themselves or someone they know in your business, they are going to want to stay in touch with you, and build a relationship with you.
Having a way to begin relationships with people is important. When people meet your business, and they make that connection, 90% of the time, they aren’t ready to purchase your products or services. Think about how often you see a business for the first time and immediately make a purchase. It’s not all that often, huh? It’s like that for the folks you serve as well.
Having a vehicle like a blog or a newsletter that people can subscribe to is a great way to help them start a relationship with you, and you with them. As your relationship progresses, they’ll feel more confident purchasing from you because they’ll understand better and better how you can help them with their challenges. Having a way to stay in touch with people also makes your marketing activities more effective – when you’re out there driving traffic to your web site, people aren’t just clicking off your site never to return, they are engaging with you.
And speaking of driving traffic to your site, it’s important to remember that you are the one that needs to be out there conducting marketing activities to get your work in front of people. And, your marketing must include a mix of passive and active marketing activities. Passive activities are things that, once established require little effort from you – things like advertising, article marketing, and putting fliers up.
Active activities on the other hand, require your direct, consistent involvement. So these are things like social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc…), networking offline, and blogging.
You must have a mix of both active and passive to create a strategy that flows and continues to help you grow your business.
Once you’ve got a good base of marketing activities in place and you’re building a community around your business, that is, people are starting to find you, subscribe to your blog, etc… you must nurture those relationships.
You do this through activities like writing blog posts and articles that are informative, responding to comments on your blog, and providing resources.
4. Why do you advise your clients to be authentic? Authenticity in business is essential. People want to feel connected to you – and the more authenticity you can bring to your business, the easier it is, and the deeper we can feel connected to you.
5. What if I don’t like selling? You’ll be happy to hear that selling is only part of marketing. I’ve met many, many holistic and creative business owners who feel awful about selling.
And no wonder – we’ve got plenty of pushy, aggressive examples out there – and who wants to be like that? It doesn’t feel good to us, and it certainly doesn’t feel good to the people we want to serve.
The thing that’s a little scary at first is that we definitely need to sell when we’re getting our work out in the world. However, selling doesn’t have to be pushy, or “salesy” or aggressive.
Selling or promoting yourself is how you tell people how you can help them with their challenges. It’s about being in service – not about pushing things on people and trying to force them to buy.
The people that subscribe to your blog, or who follow you in social media, or who subscribe to your newsletter – they want to know how you can help them in the form of products and services.
And when you’re creating a marketing message, if you come from a place of “I want to serve you” rather than a place of “I want to sell to you” it feels a whole lot better to you, and to them. And, the message comes out of you from a completely different place and creates a completely different energy.
6. Does the law of attraction have a place in marketing? Absolutely. But – it’s not the only piece. Alignment with what we want is essential in business. We need to be very clear about that, and I truly believe that the Universe will rise up and help us.
But, when we’re thinking about what we want, and we’re aligning our energy with it, it’s so important to take inspired action. We can’t forget that action piece.
We need to become still and really listen to see what the next step is, and the next, and the next, so that we can create circumstances that will help us create the outcome that we want.
7. How does your holistic coaching business work? I work with clients in a few ways. I do offer 1 on 1 services where I work with clients individually. We meet via phone once or twice a month depending on their needs, and then I’m available via e-mail between calls.
I also have a group coaching program called Mindful Internet Marketing. This is a four month program where I teach holistic and creative business owners how to use their web site, SEO, social media, and mindful internet marketing activities to create an online presence. We learn the technical aspects of online marketing and then create a strategy for their business. This is also done via phone.
Another way I help people is through teleclasses. Usually once a month I’ll hold a teleclass on a particular online marketing topic, and I also offer e-books on different online business building topics.
8. What advice would you give someone just starting out online? First and foremost, be sure you know who you help, how you help, and be able to clearly and concisely articulate that.
When you know who you help, it’s very easy to find them online. So you can build your network very quickly.
The next thing is, it’s essential to have a web site that communicates very clearly what you do, provides resources and is a haven for the people you serve.
Have a vehicle for building relationships in place. Set up either a blog or a newsletter before you start sending people to your web site through your marketing efforts.
And then – get yourself out there! Go find the people you want to serve and begin immersing yourself in their communities. Offer help, advice and support where needed, and let those folks know how you can help them through your products and services.
9. I don’t like the idea of pushing myself and my business on someone else – how can I learn to market my business “without marketing my business?” Remember, selling is only 1 piece of your marketing strategy. Marketing is meant to be nurturing and supportive to the people you want to serve.
If you are out there connecting, engaging, and building relationships, the promotional piece doesn’t have to feel like you’re yelling… it can feel more like you’re offering more and different types of help.
If you have ways to stay in touch with people, you’re genuinely engaging with them, and you’re providing value, then you’re always marketing, but it doesn’t feel like a chore, and it doesn’t feel aggressive and pushy – because it’s about help and not about convincing someone to buy something from you.
10. Does article marketing work? I’m going to say a resounding YES to this! Article marketing – if done properly – absolutely helps your business.
Article marketing helps with the SEO of your web site. But, it is also one of the most effective passive marketing activities you can use.
For example, there are articles that I’ve written that are over 2 years old and they are STILL published in targeted blogs and newsletters – now that’s longevity! So I’m getting the word out about my business, and providing help and resources for people, and it’s in the form of a marketing activity that perpetuates itself.
11. What place do the social media websites have in marketing my business? The important thing to remember with social media is, it’s just one piece of your marketing strategy.
Social media is social. So, if you’re not into engaging with folks online, it’s probably not the right fit for your business. You must be genuinely interested in having conversations, meeting new people, and continuously reaching out to people to expand the reach of your work.
The big thing in social media communities is engaging – if people see that you’re not having conversations and getting to know the people in your network, they will not want to reciprocate with you.
One thing I love about social media is its power. I’ve expanded my reach incredibly fast through social media. And personally, I just absolutely love it as a way to really get to know the people I serve.
Social media works well if you’re even a little outgoing, you love being online, and you’re interested in meeting people and talking to them.
For business purposes, time management is important. It’s easy to get sucked into social media, so plan your time and stick to your plan. You also want to think about having a balance of conversation, resource sharing, and promotion.
Promotion and the number of people in your network do factor into social media when you’re looking at it as a piece of your marketing strategy. You do need to consider how many people are in your network, and you want to set yourself up on a promotional schedule.
Those things aren’t the main goals, of course, but from a business stand-point, they do need to be considered.
12. What if I can’t write, do you provide these services or know someone who does? I totally understand that feeling that you can’t write. And yes, you can hire someone to do it for you.
However, one of the best things you can do for your business is do your own writing.
If you need help with copywriting and promotional writing, take a class on that – but do your own writing.
Hiring someone to write for you is expensive. And there is really no need to spend that money because truly, the people you serve want to connect to you they want you to write in your own voice.
The internet is no longer a place to be formal and conventional in your writing. We want to hear your conversational tone… we want to feel that connection with you and feel like we’re having a conversation with you through your writing.
So don’t worry about not being able to write… we’re all writers and the rules are very relaxed these days.
Jenn can be reached online at Creating A Thriving Business Online. Where she provides insights into marketing your holistic business practice online.
She offers a free e-book entitled, The Essentials of Building an Online Business. She also hosts an online group for women (ONLY!), at Yahoo Groups called Powerful Entrepreneur.