Alex Okell

How I used a visibility strategy to build my wellbeing business

This is a transcript from The Compassionate Business Collective podcast. If you prefer to listen to the audio, listen to episode eight here.

Visibility is really the key thing that took my business to the next level. Let’s talk about what visibility is. To put it really simply, and you’ve probably guessed this, visibility is being seen by your ideal client. Because if your ideal client doesn’t know you exist, how will you sign your one-to-one clients, group clients or sell digital products if no one knows you’re there? We need to be visible in our businesses.

And usually, if you have an online business, this does mean being visible online in a variety of different ways. But we start our training to become wellbeing professionals because we have an urge to support and help people. But once it comes to actually find these people to help, it’s when we start getting nervous. And this makes a lot of sense. Our degrees, or at least the ones I did and the ones that I’ve heard other people and my clients do, do not equip you to start a business. And even if they do, it’s quite often in the kind of more old-fashioned sense of having a business out in the real world, rather than an online business or a hybrid business where you’re partly online, partly in person.

No wonder we approach starting a wellbeing business, whatever it is that you do, whether you are a nutritionist, a dietitian, a personal trainer, an acupuncturist, a therapist, or absolutely anyone in the wellbeing space. We start our businesses with this want and desire to support people. But then, unless these clients are magically finding us, we often just tend to hear crickets. And I know this resonates with a lot of you, although it makes sense that we need to be out there, we need to be showing up and be in front of those ideal clients.

This is something that I’ve definitely noticed myself, and I notice it within the wellbeing space, especially people who are in a business that aims to inclusive and supportive and anti-opressive. We have this fear of feeling like we’re talking about ourselves too much, feeling like we don’t have enough training to give good, quality advice and have an authoritative voice on the topic of the area that we’re in and the space that we’re in, or feel like we need to do more courses. Which is something I am so guilty of thinking. Well. If I just learn about this new skill in XYZ. Then I’ll start talking on Instagram and to my email subscribers and then I’ll be able to have a voice and speak on this topic on podcasts and in webinars.

It is actually really reflective of how diet culture often shows up. That feeling of “when I lose the weight, then I will finally do what I want to do”. I think a lot of us have that kind of feeling in us where we feel like we can’t do something until we’ve done X, Y and Z. And it really is just as procrastinating and not allowing ourselves to show up fully as ourselves and also not allowing ourselves to be kind of imperfect. We can be a work in progress.

In terms of fitting visibility into our overall strategy in our business, it really is the top layer. So it is the first part of what you may have heard of as a funnel. So at the top of the funnel, where it’s the widest point, we want to be getting as many ideal clients in the top of the funnel as possible. Please note how I’m saying ideal client. This isn’t just stuffing as many people in as possible. This is finding the right people, finding the people who align with you in terms of their values are aligned together. Your skill set can serve them and they are someone who would benefit from your work, whether your work is free or paid, they would find value in what you do. You align together nicely and they are just the perfect person to jump into the top of that funnel with you and they might stay at that top of that funnel forever. And that is okay. They may not be in a position to purchase from you now or in the future. Maybe that will change. But that’s not what we’re thinking about. We’re just trying to get as many of those perfect people who need your support, needs your help, into the top of this funnel. Because at the end of the day, we want to build businesses with impact. We want to help, we want to support people. So even if we’re doing this for free, I’m going to be pretty happy with that.

But of course we can’t pay our rent with free help for people. So when we’re getting people into the top of this funnel. We are helping, giving valuable content, giving that expertise and advice, and then we are leading people into the next stage of our business strategy, which is taking those leads and collecting them. That’s how I like to think about it, collecting leads and nurturing. So ideally, we want to be moving these people off the places where we found them. So I’ll talk a bit more about the visibility side of things in a second, but whether we found these people from Instagram, Facebook, from our podcast, from being on someone else’s podcast, we want to get them from there and get them into our next phase. So this would be getting them onto our email list, where we would then nurture them before taking them into the final part of our strategy, which is where we give them the offer and see whether they want to take us up on working together.

But back to the start, because that’s probably where we’re feeling a little bit stuck. We may be getting consistent client inquiries, but maybe they’re not from quite the right people, or maybe we’re just not getting enough client inquiries at all. And our list isn’t growing. And the group of people who may want our services isn’t growing every single week, month, year.

That’s where visibility comes in. If you want to sell absolutely anything, whether it’s your one-to-one services, a group course, a group program, a membership, a digital product like an ebook, absolutely anything, a class, like a group workshop, anything, you need to get yourself out there and be heard by the right people.

But, you don’t need a huge audience. I know you’re hearing this and thinking, wait, I don’t want to be an influencer. And trust me, you do not have to be. This is about building an audience of engaged, interested people who want to work with you because those values are aligned, because your skill set allows you to serve them in the best way that you can. So this really, really isn’t about becoming someone with half a million Instagram followers. This is about having the right people in your world.

I used visibility and a visibility strategy to build my business, the PCOS Collective. I am a Registered Associate Nutritionist, if you didn’t know that about me. I started my business as The Collective Wellness, which now you can probably guess why I changed the name. The word wellness really doesn’t resonate with me and my values and my brand anymore. But I started as a Collective Wellness and I was seeing one to one clients, kind of through a non-diet, intuitive eating lens, just taking on anyone who wanted to improve their relationship with food.

But just over time, I was getting more and more clients with PCOS. So that meant I had to do my own work and my own research and figuring out more about PCOS, which if you don’t know, is an endocrine disorder. So I went off, I did courses, I did research and reading, and I decided, following a program that I did last year, just over a year ago, I decided to niche into non diet PCOS management. This was amazing for me, definitely. It helped my business a lot because I knew who I was speaking to. And you don’t have to niche as much as this, it doesn’t have to be as specific as non-diet PCOS nutrition management, which is what that business is, but you do have to have an idea of who you’re speaking to.

Before, when I was creating Instagram posts and email marketing, I was just talking to fellow nutritionists and dietitians, to be honest. I didn’t know who I wanted to help, why I wanted to help them, who I was speaking to. So niching into non-diet, PCOS management was really great for me because then I knew exactly who I was talking to. So that really did help.

But then I was still a bit stuck because a lot of the people who I had gained as Instagram followers and email subscribers, which were the two kind of main areas of marketing I was doing at the time, to be honest. I think the only marketing I was doing was via those two channels. Not all of them were people with PCOS or people who knew people with PCOS to refer me to, and nutritionists and dietitians and personal trainers and therapists and physios out there didn’t know that I specialised in PCOS management either.

I really had this great skill set. I’d done so much research and reading and taking all the courses and seeing clients. I really knew my stuff about PCOS, but people didn’t know that that’s what I did. So with the help of various courses and podcasts and all of these different things, I pieced together my very own visibility strategy.

For me, this looked like getting into people’s communities. So this was going into various memberships and podcasts and chatting to other people’s clients about PCOS. And what I did was going into people’s memberships that were about infertility or maybe going on podcasts about general nutrition or podcasts that were kind of specifically for people interested in the non diet approach. So it wasn’t just anything random, it was groups and podcasts and other opportunities like that that made sense to me.

They were basically places where I knew that my ideal client was hanging out. And I either commented on the person’s Facebook post, for example, if I was in a group with this other business owner who had a podcast or a membership where I thought their clients would be open to and it would serve them well hearing my kind of take on PCOS. Or if it was a podcast, I might email the host and say using a template, which I still use today, I would say I’d be a great fit for your podcast. I really enjoyed this particular episode. I think that your listeners would love to hear my approach to PCOS management, talk a little bit about me, about what I do about my business, and basically just pitch myself and I’d be getting to speak to their audience, provide loads and loads of value.

The return for me, because I knew this would be free, sometimes it would be paid in certain memberships. But the return for me was I was getting my name out there and I was putting myself in front of these audiences which were already built. They’re already interested in the host of the group or host of the podcast. They already love their stuff. So I’m going in as someone who is trusted by this host of the group or the membership or the podcast and invited to speak to their audience. It’s a really lovely way to speak to people who you know are already your ideal client or very close to your ideal client, or maybe some of the people in that group of your ideal client. And that’s a really great way to increase your visibility.

The next form of I still kind of call it sharing communities and utilizing other people’s audiences is PR. So this is a really great way to get into various newspapers, magazines, online publications, and make a comment on a topic, a news article that’s happening, anything that’s kind of going on in the world right now. So I use a few different companies and tried a few different things and tried doing it myself. And I managed to get in publications like Refinery 29, Stylist, Good Housekeeping, and various different magazines and online publications where I would make a comment about something to do with PCOS and they would ask me as a quote-unquote PCOS experts. And that was a really great way of increasing the amount of backlinks to my website – the number of times that there was a link back to my website on the internet and also, obviously, it’s seen by thousands of people with these really amazing publications.

Next up, I did a long form visibility strategy. So this was my podcast that I released last year, which was called the PCOS Collective Podcast. And I only made one series of this, actually. It was, I believe, 14 episodes, one series. And it actually still ranks weekly in nutrition charts across the world, which I can’t believe. I get an email every week from Charterable saying where I’m at in different Apple podcast charts around the world. And sometimes I’m like number three in Slovenia for nutrition and it just blows my mind. But yes, I released that last September to November and that has been a really great way for me to increase my visibility.

Podcast apps like Apple podcast, for example, is a search engine tool. People will type in PCOS Management or PCOS non-diet management, and hopefully my podcast will come up because podcasts are still a very underutilised way of getting your message out there. Compared to think about the amount of people who have a social media account for their business versus a podcast. It’s still pretty small. Yes, it takes a bit more time potentially than creating Instagram posts, but it’s a really great way to have these longer, more in depth conversations and be really niche and specific to who you want to talk to.

My other long-form visibility strategy was utilizing SEO, which is search engine optimization. And I’m not going to go into the nittygritty of that here, but it’s basically creating articles on my website that Google thought that people were searching for. And basically it just shows them to those people. If your content is up high enough quality, if it’s being searched, Google will show it to people because you want to give their searchers the best experience possible.

So myself and at the time, Annabel, my intern who now works me as a content creator, would write articles that were optimized for SEO, and we would just keep consistently creating content that would get us ranking on Google. And the business is called The PCOS Collective now. And now finally, that SEO strategy is getting us somewhere. We are getting visible on Google and this means that when people are searching for PCOS specific terms and they’re looking, we do particularly well for PCOS inositol l or PCOS and spearmint tea. When people are searching for those things, the website, The PCOS Collective is coming up near the top. We are getting seen by more people and that is exactly what I want for you as well.

So the other part of the strategy is short form visibility. Also, I’m very much just kind of making up these terms, long form and short form visibility. But it’s what makes sense in my head. So for me, short form is consistently posting on social media. This is something that I think people rely on too much. Social media is a great way to grow an audience, that’s for sure. But should it be the only way? Absolutely not. We know how much Instagram has messed us all up with the algorithm changes. We know that TikTok is a new kid on the block we should all be utilizing. But it’s maybe a little bit of a learning curve to understand and get used to and post consistently on.

If social media is your only form of visibility strategy, then I would really recommend diversifying your visibility strategy. I think that social media can be really helpful, but I don’t think it should be relied on as the main way to gain new clients. Combining different visibility strategies to make one huge, beautiful visibility strategy that gives you omnipresence online, which means that you are showing up everywhere, is really the key way to gain consistent clients, which means consistent income months by impacting more people’s lives.

So that’s the strategy that I pulled together for the PCOS Collective and at the time, so when I kind of started really implementing that from about, I would say September last year was really when I kind of really started consistently with visibility. I pretty soon had a fully booked clinic with a mixture of long-term one-to-one clients which were three-month packages, and PCOS Power Plan clients which were, when I did 90 minutes intensive with people. This was a lot for me to take on and I still had a full-time job, so I was fully booked with that full-time job. It was a lot going on, but it really showed me that having a consistent visibility strategy can work.

Now, the PCOS Collective has four regular contributors plus me, and it makes its money from affiliate links, adverts and digital product sales. So I’ve created this really diverse business revenue model where it creates and brings in money into my business in very different ways from just the one-to-one work, which is what it looked like last September, and kind of until I moved away from this one-to-one model. It also led us to sell 20 places so far for our PCOS for Professionals course, which I’m really excited to start running. And that’s within a couple of weeks we’ve sold 20 places. And this really all stems from having that strategy in place, doing consistent and regular visibility.

I have something I’m just so excited to announce and I really cannot wait to talk about it. If you are ready to launch into the online space, be seen and be heard on your own terms, and if you want to be known in your industry for being absolutely great at what you do without burning out, then my new gentle Visibility training let’s Get Visible is exactly what you need. This free three-day gentle visibility training will help you get seen by more ideal clients without burnout. And I know you feel like you’re not experienced enough or you feel like your niche is oversaturated, but I promise people want to hear your story, your expertise and your unique perspective. This three-day training will help you build an authentic visibility strategy to grow your community without sacrificing your safety, your boundaries, or your physical and mental wellbeing. So we get started on the 11 of October and for three days I will be training you live. As I said, this is completely free. It’s three days’ worth of training and I want you to sign up, ready to receive the reminders, the replays if you can’t make it live, and a bonus visibility checklist.

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