The 3 greatest online marketing challenges faced by coaches, therapists and healers

by | Jan 15, 2020 | Uncategorised

I’ve been doing research over the past few months with coaches, therapists, healers and other complementary medicine practitioners about the challenges they face in their business and what they do to over come them.

I’ve spoken with 23 practitioners ranging from psychologists to kinesiologist, naturopaths to life coaches. These practitioners have spanned the breadth of business lifecycle from just starting out and trying to get their first 10 clients to oversubscribed and leveraging their time and energy with group work, online programs and building a team around them.

The results have been really fascinating. Not only are there some really common themes and challenges, but there’s a method to the madness. A common path followed by the really successful practitioners as they scale up and leverage their time and expertise better.

At a high level they move from:

  1. Being the business
  2. Working in the business
  3. Working on the business
  4. Leveraging the business


Obviously there is overlap between these phases. But roughly that’s the flow. The really tough thing is when you’re at phase 1, you don’t have a business, you have a liability. Phase 2 you have a job. And at phase 3, you finally have a business. This is where the risk really reduces and practitioners get to spend more time being strategic and making connections and collaborating with others. Phase 4 is then all about strategic asset extension, how can we leverage what we’ve built to be even more self-sustaining and valuable?

To read the full report, sign up for the newsletter here, it will be emailed out once it’s ready.

Today I just want to focus mostly on Phase 1: Being the business. The story of this phase is lead generation. How do we get noticed, stand out from all the others online and earn our prospects’ trust so they’ll invest in an experience with us?

In 2020, a lot of this comes down to how we present ourselves online and on social media. This is about online marketing.

Yuck! Am I right?

This is the overwhelming sentiment I got from the research conversations. Practitioners know they should be doing more, but there are a range of challenges and blocks that pop up around it for them that prevent them from doing it. And it all just becomes this overwhelming and often yucky feeling that means it gets avoided. Or at least pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities and this never gets the attention it requires to make really good traction.

As a result, those practitioners aren’t showing up well online, and just aren’t getting enough quality leads.

Here’s the thing, those who are at Phase 2 of their business don’t feel that way so much. They don’t always enjoy it, but they make it happen consistently, because they know it works. And those at Phase 3 are smashing their online marketing and social media. It’s just not a drama for them, in fact most of them love it! And their energy is out there attracting a stream of high quality clients to them.

If you didn’t realise already, as a coach, therapist, healer or other type of practitioner…

You are your brand!

And it’s 2020 folks! We are officially living in the future… So a large part of your job is officially to be visible online and get your energy out there.

Because that’s how you convert cold prospects into warm leads. You need to take them on the journey.

Two journeys actually.

The first is the journey of TRUST. Specifically they need to be able to trust you with their money and to then receive a good experience.

The second journey is they come to you asking for what they think they WANT, but you know what they actually NEED, and these two rarely align. For example, they might come to you saying they want strategies for making their spouse agree with them. When you know what they actually need is some deep emotional clearing because they are getting triggered by their relationship with their mum.

These two journeys are facilitated by your online marketing and pre-sales eco-system. This is how you generate a steam of quality leads who are ready to buy from you. But it’s not easy as the research shows.

So let’s break down the 3 greatest challenges that came up in the research around online marketing and social media and see what the blocks are.


The first one is super common: Many coaches, therapists and practitioners tell me they just aren’t sure what to post.

So they post occasionally and irregularly, but it does very little for them. They aren’t getting much engagement, and certainly not turning into quality leads or interest in their products or events.

Their mistake is, without a strategy, they end up posting fairly random thoughts as they arise. Or they’re just reposting a varied collection of images, quotes and content from others. Which is ok, but can dilute your brand and your message if you’re not careful.

And original content is key. If you keep showing up producing original content, you position yourself as a thought leader, an expert which gives you authority and credibility. Ultimately, this positioning when combined with consistency over time builds trust.

Where does trust really come from? Think about it.

In business (as in life), trust is measured by consistency, reliability, and most importantly, predictability. If someone can be predicted to behave consistently, then even if that behaviour is less than ideal or less than perfect, you will trust them, because you know what they’ll do in any given situation.

Take eating out for example. Especially if you’re somewhere new and you don’t have a lot of time, many people will choose a franchise restaurant they know (for example the big MD) because they know that while it may not be the best feed on the face of the planet… they can trust it to be what they know.

Trust = Consistency.

I’ll say it again, as a coach, therapist or healer, unless you are very lucky (usually due to falling into some ideal offline partnerships), a large part of your job is to be visible and get your energy out there online consistently over time.

So whether you love online and social media currently or not, you need to learn to love it!

And if you feel resistance when you hear that, what a gift! That’s a clue you have some emotional blocks or beliefs to shift.

We’ll come back to that because it’s important, but for now I want to let you in on the secret to knowing what to post online: You just have to understand the phases of the customer acquisition journey.

What do I mean by that?

You need to know what are your customers waiting to hear (whether they realise it or not) before they will sign up with you?

Once you know that, you’re golden!

For more detail on that, we’re going to dive in during our upcoming online masterclass.


The second challenge coaches, therapists and practitioners face when it comes to promoting themselves online and in social media is that it all feels too difficult and time consuming.

It takes time to create content and social media’s like a black hole for content. It keeps absorbing everything you generate and then asks for more… every day!

Not to mention, the technology situation is like a minefield. If you trip do the wrong thing, your accounts can get banned or things can blow up? In 2020, the technology should not be this fragile, but sadly, it is! Then there are so many tools that are supposed to make things easier, but inevitably they don’t behave or talk to each other as they should and they end up making your life more difficult, not easier. Navigating all the technology options, and then learning all the tools and platforms takes time most practitioners just don’t have.

What a drag!!

Now I want to ask you: What if it were easy?

Because the truth is, pick the right tools and workflow, and once it’s setup, the process of content creation and posting doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. You can actually do a great job with your base online marketing by just spending 3 hours a week, in a single session where you create and schedule a week’s worth of content and then walk away. Job done!

Again, to hear more about how to do that, we’ll going into more depth in the masterclass coming up soon.


Thirdly and finally, coaches, therapists and healers tell me that the hardest challenge is just finding the time and discipline and the energy to do generate content and post online and to social media.

You can probably relate to this right? You know you should be doing more online and with social media, but something’s holding you back? Perhaps you know all the theory and what you should be doing however it still just doesn’t happen. It slips down the list of priorities or through the cracks. Other things come up and before you know it another week has passed and your audience hasn’t heard from you. Perhaps you feel you don’t have the energy or positivity to generate the right content or appear on video or audio.

This is actually the most common and crippling issue of all three. And stems from the fact that you just don’t love generating content and dealing with social media.

You know how important it is, so why don’t you love it?

Lots of reasons and justifications spring to mind. It just seems so fake. It’s exhausting, it’s not for me.

At the end of the day, these are all excuses. It’s easy:

  • Don’t be fake, be authentic, this works MUCH better anyway
  • It’s only exhausting if you resist it
  • If you love it, it’s for you

And I could go on and on.

But ultimately, there are only two emotions: love and fear.

So if you don’t love marketing, here’s the kicker… you fear it.

Yep, this challenge primarily comes back to emotional baggage and self-limiting beliefs we have carried around with us, usually for many years.

In fact there are 3 really common fears that come up for coaches, therapists and practitioners time and time again when it comes to showing up online.

And we’ll be going through them in more detail during the near future masterclass, and then we’ll talk about what you can do to shift them.

Because once you shift them, you will actually love generating content to promote yourself and what you do online. I know this because I know you love what you do, and you love yourself.

So once the fear is gone, you’ll feel amazing about getting the word out there and letting your energy shine for all to see. You will show up and feel great every day for your clients, friends and family and for yourself. Oh, and you’ll have the energy for social media too! 🙂 haha

I know this also because I’ve very much experienced this for myself. I had all sorts of ‘reasons’ why I didn’t engage in social media the way I needed to for my business. And they were all fear-based. Once I’d worked with coaches and in groups to clear the underlying emotional block and limiting beliefs… BOOM! It all unlocked for me and now you can’t shut me up 😉

Ok those are the 3 biggest challenges that came out of my research with coaches, therapists, healers and complementary medicine practitioners around lead generation, social media and content marketing.

And I’d love to know which of these 3 challenges is the toughest for you right now? Drop me a comment below…

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