This summer, I've been working with clients on improving their websites, and here's the NUMBER ONE problem I've seen:
The content is too generic.
While I totally empathize with this conundrum, I'm here to offer some straight talk.
If you want to build a thriving coaching and wellness practice, you've got to clarify your audience, message, and offering. It's time to stop being a generalist and find your niche.
1. Face your fears. In my work with clients, the top fears I've encountered boil down to these three:
As women, we're programmed to stay small. By becoming visible, confident, and fairly compensated for our services, we're breaking cultural norms. And that's no small deal. It's important to ask yourself what would help you find the courage to move through this challenge. Do you need support from a community or a trusted guide? Do you need to set aside some time for some self-coaching?
2. Own your story. The seeds of your niche live within your story. Why are you in business to begin with? Every client I work with is in business to help others through a similar challenge they've made it through themselves. Don't pretend you're someone else! What SPECIFIC mountain have you climbed to get where you are today? That journey was the boot camp for your business offering! Flesh that story out. That's what makes you UNIQUE. That's what allows you to bring your PASSION to your practice. You are the AFTER of your client's BEFORE. My clients are blown away when they make this connection.
3. Speak your audience's language. Once you're clear on your unique message, you can speak directly to your audience. I like to do an exercise with my clients where they imagine a conversation with a potential ideal client. You can do this too. Imagine how they describe their problem to you. Put yourself in their shoes, and write down what you hear. From there, you can create an offer that solves their specific problem. Time and time again, this powerful content prompts website visitors to book discovery calls asking, "Are you a mind reader? How did you get into my head?" THAT'S when you know you've hit the sweet spot.
To illustrate what I'm talking about, here are a few "niche makeovers" I've helped my clients achieve:
This clarifying work isn't easy, but it's so worth the effort. If you're not sure you can do this yourself, my Branding Blueprint offers the support you need to find your true colors and let them shine.
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MY SPECIAL SUMMERTIME OFFER…
ENDS JULY 31 – If you'd like a professional opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of your website, I offer a website audit service where I dive in a take a close look at the content and structure of your site. Then we hop on a call and I give you 5 actionable steps you can take that will improve your traffic and conversions. Now through the end of July, I'm offering a special summer price - only $100 for the audit + call. Ready to get started and turn this around? Fill out my brief contact form, and I'll get you set up!
Last month, I led a workshop for a group of fifteen entrepreneurial women called Marketing with Heart. We focused on drafting our business origin stories - the foundational root material that fuels our work and our message for the world. It was amazing!
We shared stories of the challenges our lives have handed us:
Losing a loved one…a car accident…the experience of being silenced as a woman – in our families and culture at large…feeling disconnected in a distracted world…losing touch with elders…witnessing the suffering of others… (to name a few)
We explored how these challenging circumstances became seeds for our mission in business. Every woman described a calling she felt to offer her experience as healing medicine to others.
To be in a room with fifteen women claiming their stories left me with one word: Powerful.
At the end of the workshop, several asked, What’s next? I've got my story, now what?
That’s what I’m writing about today. Because storytelling is great, but ultimately, you have a business to promote.
In my work, I see how the majority of women feel nervous about sharing their story publicly. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it’s scary to share personal details in a public forum. And in a culture that exploits women, this isn't entirely on us. And second, it’s daunting to figure out which details to share and how to “package” them for public consumption.
So what is the balance between holding back and oversharing – in a world that's becoming more and more voyeuristic and exploitative? And how do we choose which details are pertinent to our audience?
Enter the delicate intertwining of our story and message. Here is where we're called to courage and discernment.
How your story translates to brand messaging:
Our stories are personal. We get to decide what parts, if any, we want to put in the public sphere.
Our stories are tender. They belong close to our hearts. They tell of challenging, often painful events that occurred outside of our control. These are the stories we continue integrating and healing from.
Our stories are inspiring. For every challenging circumstance, there is a response. The story of how we responded is the piece that works well for public consumption.
Here are some questions to help you figure this out…
Remember this: Your business comes from you but it is also separate from you. It has an energy of its own. It’s worthwhile and important work to untangle your personal material while still letting your business be an expression of you.
This is where we RISE from the roots of our story.
Think about where your transformative life lesson overlaps with the learning your audience is seeking. This is the connection point. Here is where you can speak to them from the heart of your life’s experience – without bridging too far into your personal material - and YOU get to decide where this boundary is.
Here's an exercise to try.
Draw a Venn Diagram with two overlapping circles. Place your story in one circle. Place your client's aspirational story (what they’re seeking) in the other. In the overlapping portion, write your life lessons, and the outcomes your client is seeking that align with your offering. Not all of your client’s aspirations will align with the life lessons you have to share. But some will. And this is where your message lives - in the intersection.
To make this easier, I created a 2-page worksheet for you. On page 2, you'll see where I use my own story as an example. Click below to instantly download your free copy.
If you’d like to go deeper with this material to extract your life lessons and find the clear message in your story, I’d love to help.
I'm currently offering a 4-session coaching package where we get to the root of your brand message. And I'm thrilled to share that my clients are receiving fast and meaningful results.
For those of you who know me, I'm not the type of person that likes to brag. But these results are REAL, and I want you to know what's possible.
I do have openings coming up in April. Do get in touch if you're interested. CLICK HERE to set up a time to chat.
As we enter the Spring season, I’ll leave you with some beautiful words from one of the participants in my workshop:
“We create both from who we are and also what we also need to see manifested in the world.”
Who are YOU? And what do you need to see manifested in the world?
Until next time,
Happy Valentine's week!
In keeping with that theme, I have an important tip for you:
Your message is the HEART of your marketing. Don't put the cart before the horse and design your logo before you know your message and audience inside-out.
To learn more, click below to watch my FREE 5-minute training about "Message Before Brand." (I filmed it outdoors in the fall. Birds are chirping. This alone will give you a lift!)
Need a tip to help you connect to your message?
Start by fleshing out a challenge you've faced in your own life. Ask yourself how overcoming this challenge has shaped who you are today. Chances are, this is closely tied to the work you're doing in the world. And this, my friend, is the message you have to offer others.
Diving deep isn't easy. Introspection can be uncomfortable! But it's so worth the effort. Why? Because your message is MAGNETIC. And as women, we're often taught otherwise, so that's the pattern we need to break.
Is there a story inside of you waiting to be shared?
Can your life story inspire others?
My hunch is YES.
My work is helping others journey into their darkness and extract the light. Whether you're a speaker, teacher, coach whatever your business is...if your story can serve a higher purpose, I can assist you in constructing it in a way that is authentic and that delivers your powerful message.
If you need help, reach out to me. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's connect. I'd love to be your guide!
Author and Branding Consultant
I am passionate about helping mission-centered business owners share their message through compelling written and visual content.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.