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Smart Marketing for the “Esoteric” Business

  • Ling WongLing Wong

Folks who provide services in the realm of “personal development” and the “woo-woo” or do “intuitive work” often have a hard time with the typical “marketing” trainings because it’s difficult to put a finger on “what they really sell.”

They were told to talk about “specific” outcomes, like “get 10 clients” or “lose 20 pounds”, but the nature of their deep work creates transformations that vary widely according to the client’s circumstances.

Many are afraid to go “specific” with their communication, mostly out of the “fear” of excluding people because their stuff can “help everybody.”

Or, they are not sure how to translate the more “general” way of describing their work into communications that point to specific and relevant results.

Maybe they are afraid of the vulnerability that comes with sharing their own journey (which by default, is specific!)

As a result, they hover on the surface and fail to go deep into talking about what REALLY matters for the clients in a way that builds connection and makes them relevant.

They look around to see what others in their field are talking about (disguised as “marketing research”), and then “Frankenstein” together some overused sound bites to communicate the “what they do and how they do it.”

The problem? It’s rather self-referential and unless you are some big-name artist, being self-referential is often not the best way to connect with your potential clients or customers.

Most of these cookie-cutter sound bites are overused, devoid of real meaning, and raise the BS flag for those who have been around the block a few times and are skeptical of regurgitated copy.

And because most people use the same “scratch the surface and hoping to appeal to anyone who can fog a mirror” kind of catch phrases, they end up sounding just like everyone else and fail to distinguish themselves from their competition.

The dissonance between intention and words creates a disconnect between your message and your action, between YOU and your clients.

The “general” love and light stuff may be ok if you are selling a $10 ebook. But if you want to sell a $3,000 program, your potential clients would need more than promises of a pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow in order to purchase your services.

Is there a way to create appealing and relevant communications that connect, without making “promises” that don’t align?

Good news is, you don’t have to get into that pickle.

It’s very possible to write good marketing copy to communicate the “benefits” of services that are somewhat “esoteric” in nature. We just need to dig deeper and ask the right questions so we can communicate your RELEVANCE so your ideal clients listen up.

1. Nail the Best-Match Problem

First you need a very good understanding of your ideal clients, as well as your own process, talent and skills.

Understanding your ideal clients means going way beyond “demographics” and getting into their head, digging into their emotions, and connecting what they say, think and feel about the problem you can solve for them.

Knowing your process and superpowers helps you meaningfully deploy your talents and strengths.

“Process” goes beyond a series of treatments, handouts or coaching questions. It has to include the way YOU do the work, plus YOUR attitude and conviction. It certainly goes way deeper than some x-month program handed down by some certification training.

Instead of talking about “vague” results (e.g. more self love, stepping in the divine feminine etc.), map your process and superpowers to the SYMPTOMS that really bugs your ideal clients to communicate why you are relevant to them.

Most coaches and practitioners go deep and get to the “root cause,” which is great – but to get the attention of your ideal clients so they perk up long enough to want to hear about the root cause, you need to talk about the symptoms you can help them solve in a way that make sense to them.

2. Make It Resonate

After understanding how you are relevant to your ideal clients by mapping your process and superpowers to their nagging symptoms, now you want to make any ideal client reading/listening to your communication “get it” right away that you are the bearer of their solution.

Have you ever listened to a very riveting story, and even though the specifics of the story did not mirror your own experience 100%, you could relate to and resonate with the characters because the story was specific, vivid and went deep into the thoughts and emotions of the characters?

That’s the power of painting vivid pictures and storytelling – and you can use this technique to describe specific problems and situations you can help your ideal clients solve, without the “story” being a 100% match to each individual’s circumstances.

When you can relate the circumstances to how a person thinks and feels, you tap into the universal power of emotions, which we all share. (People buy with emotions.)

One great way to do so is to write out the “day in life” of your ideal clients. What do they walk around complaining about? What are their actions, thoughts and emotions? What really bugs them and what deeper “stuff” is triggered?

I bet your ideal clients don’t wake up in the morning and say “damn, I need more self-love and self-respect!” but she may think “shit, I have all these things on my calendar to do today that isn’t really my responsibility! Why did I say yes? I don’t even like those people! I really don’t have time for these things, but what are others going to think if I say no?”

2.5. Keep It Simple, Sunshine!

Simple is elegant. Simple is to the point. Simple reflects confidence. Simple does not equate to sounding like you don’t know what you are talking about.

So many regurgitate jargon- and cliché-jammed copy, mistaking they have to “sound a certain way” to showcase their knowledge.

When the choice of words comes from a place of fear (of not being good enough, of lack or of being criticized), the communication is not genuine and does not put you in a place to truly connect with your audience.

Jargons and cliché also make you sound like all those your peeps have purchased stuff from, and most of those stuff didn’t get them results. How would that reflect on you?

Use plain English (it may be harder than you think!) and be discerning about your word choices to create relevant and meaningful communication that gets your clients.

3. Turn ‘em into CLIENTS!

Another challenge many coaches and practitioners in the “personal development” or somewhat “woo-woo” realm face is “closing the sale.”

They are great at making connections with their prospects who are emotionally and intuitively drawn to working with them. The problem is, even though their “guts” are on board, they come up with 101 “reasons why they can’t right now” when it comes time to whip out the credit card.

To complete this “last mile,” we want to get the “left brain” on board because most people make their buying decisions with both emotions and logics.

I like to ask my clients this question to help them come up with communication that speak to the logical mind: What would your potential client need to know so she can confidently walk up to her spouse and tell him why she has to invest in your services?

“Spouse” can also mean their “logical mind” or friends and family who may question their decisions.

One way to do so is to go back to the “symptoms” we mapped out in step 1, then look at the cost of not having the problems solved or the gain of having the benefits achieved.

Pay attention to position the costs and gains to speak to what is important for your ideal clients – it could be monetary, career-related, emotional, or about their relationships etc.

Appealing to both a potential client’s emotions and logics can be very effective, and the power stems from a complete understanding of and connection with your ideal clients.

Over to you – how are you going to tweak your communication so you can build connections that leads to conversion?