Why are so many coaches, therapists and doctors afraid of the word ‘marketing’?

If you just felt a shiver run down your spine at reading that word, then you are not alone!

While teaching a live Masterclass on the 3 keys to Marketing Success last week, I heard from coaches, authors and speakers from various countries express their fear and distaste for marketing. The idea of self-promotion and selling services online brings up all sorts of images of spammy, integrity-compromised slick fast talkers.

I’ve certainly seen my fair share of coaches who have become clever online marketers, who talk a good game but deliver sub-par results. And that makes me as mad as it does my clients.

But the frustration you feel from seeing less-qualified coaches get the clients you are poised to serve doesn’t get better by avoiding marketing all together. Instead, I’m offering you a new way to share your expertise without losing integrity and without becoming slick or spammy. It involves a tried and true approach to being your authentic self and growing your business based on who you are and what makes you unique.

Personal Brand Marketing

First, let’s get clear on the two approaches to marketing commonly used today, product marketing and brand marketing.

With product marketing, companies push products with ads and awareness campaigns with a short-term goal of selling products.

With brand marketing, companies focus on building awareness and affinity for their brand. The aim is to distinguish them from their competitors based on the brand’s qualities, unique selling position and ethic. This is the approach for long-term success.

For 15 years of my career I worked closely with major corporate brands on their media campaigns. This allowed me to see how companies with big budgets leverage storytelling, emotional triggers and personalities to build brand awareness, affinity and authority.

While teaching Corporate Brand Management at the International University of Monaco I shared with my students how big brands’ strategies involve creating a lasting impression in the minds (and hearts) of their potential customers, as well as their existing customers.

Big brands know it takes a lot of money to acquire new customers through advertising. It’s much more cost effective to keep existing customers happy, and even turn them into raving fans who will share their enthusiasm for the brand. This allows big brands to get referrals from loyal fans without having to take on advertising.

So what does this have to do with you as a therapist, coach, author or speaker? Simple this… The same principles that I’ve used on major media plays with global brands, also work with personal brands like you and me.

Embrace your true identity — you’re already a personal brand!

Making the transition from product pushing to personal brand marketing does require a mindset shift and an attitude change, and while this seems scary, it is incredibly rewarding.

The first step is to understand what a personal brand is and how you’re already one now. A brand is not a logo or a slogan. Although popular brands often have them. A brand is an image, feeling and expectation created in someone’s mind in response to seeing or hearing of you or your service.

A brand is what people think of you in their mind, it’s the experience they expect if they choose to buy your product or work with you.

So you are already a brand. When someone sees your name on their phone’s caller ID or their email inbox they have a feeling or thought associated with you. Seeing your face on their social media feed brings up an expectation of what they’ll get from interacting with your content.

Recognizing that you are already a brand, this is the perfect time to fully embrace what makes you unique and start sharing your message, methods and mission in a deliberate and focused way. These are some of the essential brand elements that need to be communicated in a compelling and authentic way in every communication you create and distribute.

For more on defining your brand identity and messaging check out the

6 Tactics of Marketing

These are short descriptions for the sake of keeping things simple (and keeping this post a readable length).  But for more depth on these, stay subscribed to my Conscious Entrepreneurship emails as I will be sharing a deeper dive on these in future posts.

1. Content Marketing

In a nutshell, you can break down the term ‘content marketing’ into pieces of content with a marketing angle.  A typical example would be a blog post or a video which tells a story or teaches a lesson, and is then rounded off with a ‘call to action’ at the end.

A call to action is where you ask the reader for something, which can be just their email address, or you might showcase a paid offer of yours.

2. Search Engine Optimization Marketing (SEO)

This one is quite a technical tactic, and something it can take a little time to learn.  SEO works by ensuring your online content (including your paid offerings) are worded in a way that helps Google to find and show them to the right people, via Google search results.

3. Social Media Marketing 

We all know this one!  As small business owners and Solopreneurs we will likely be most familiar with the content marketing approach to social – doing lots of live video and posting at times best suited to our audience in order to beat the algorithm.  But this can of course also include paid social ads.

4. Video Marketing 

Videos are useful marketing tools everywhere.  You may immediately think of the content marketing I mentioned in the last point; going live on Facebook or IG.TV.  And of course YouTube is a key platform for this too.  But video marketing is also used very effectively on sales pages to help bring your offers to life!

5. Speaking (on stage or podcasts)

This is an excellent audience builder.  Speaking on stage gives you an amazing opportunity to get that room full of people to know, like and trust you. Collect those people’s email addresses, and see the point below…

6. Email Marketing

Although email marketing may feel a little old fashioned by now, it is still the most cost effective method for a small business.  The people who open your emails are considered to be your warmest audience members – and from there, if you show them the right offer at the right time (yes in an email), they are the most likely people to become your next customers.

You don’t need to be on top of all of these 6 tactics to have success.  If you are new, or a one person operation, then I suggest taking on a couple and focussing on doing your best work there.

Demystifying the Marketing Plan 

Now once my students believe in the fact that they are indeed personal brands and that their offerings could serve more people they ask, “But how?”

To some, marketing plans seem scary, complicated and too much to handle alone. But as I shared in the 3 Keys to Marketing Success Masterclass (replay available ), building awareness for your brand, books and courses begins with outlining a few essential elements about who you are, what you stand for, what makes you unique and the problems you solve.

With this list you then create a marketing plan that involves sharing those elements in articles, blog posts, videos and social media posts.

While some thought they should just create ads get them in front of as many people as possible, they quickly realized this is an expensive proposition and requires a lot of finesse to create the right headlines, copy, images and offers. Most of this is not part of the natural skillset for the coaches, therapists and Doctors I know. And the idea of becoming a salesperson takes most of them out of their zone of genius — which means it’s not sustainable!

Even if you did create the perfect ad, you would need to keep pumping your ads out to keep a steady stream of clients. On the other hand, building awareness for your brand over time means that people will think of you when they need your product — not just when they see your ads.

Further, for your high ticket offers or in-depth health and coaching programs, people are more likely to invest with people they know, like and trust. These 3 keys to successful marketing don’t often come automatically through advertising, but they are reliably built with consistent marketing.

5 Steps to create a Personal Brand Marketing Plan

Let’s summarize with 5 steps you can take today:

  1. Commit to a specific time for content creation

Just like forming a habit, content creation is something you have to schedule into your week and be consistent about.

2. Choose 1 or 2 platforms that you are comfortable and committed to

If you don’t like the idea of being limited to 184 characters then you will not enjoy or consistently microblog on Twitter.  And if you don’t like speaking on camera then YouTube won’t be for you.  Play to your strengths.  Love creating graphics?  Try Instagram and Pinterest.  Love to write?  Try long form posts on Facebook and LinkedIn.

3. Dedicate time to posting content online

Once you’ve created it, you have to post it!  Put time for that in your calendar too.

4. Monitor and track what works, adjust and keep going

Take a look at your Facebook and Instagram Insights tab, for example, to see which posts performed and which didn’t.  This begins to tell you what your audience want more of.

5. Focus on building a relationship with your audience and email list

The goal here is to build that relationship – remember they need to know, like and trust you.

To answer the question of what to write or speak about, I suggest you take the essential brand elements I listed above and sprinkle them into your content as educational pieces, stories, and case studies.

In the free you’ll see that I outlined the popular AIDA marketing framework for creating content that grabs people’s Attention, generates Interest and Desire, and concludes with inspiring them to take Action.

If you’d like my support and guidance on building your personal marketing plan, check out my A3 Marketing Success Program, a 12-week online training program, which includes 9 video modules + live group coaching sessions. Find all the details on the course . 

Dr. Andrea Pennington is an integrative physician, acupuncturist, meditation teacher and a #1 international bestselling author of several books.

A Visionary Brand Strategist for Light workers, documentary filmmaker, and international TEDx speaker, she is also sought-after media personality who has shared empowering insights on resilience on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Dr. Oz Show, iTV This MorningCNN, the Today Show, Thrive Global and as a news anchor for Discovery Health Channel.

Now, as Founder of the Andrea speaks globally to reduce the stigma of mental illness and to support people on their journey to authentic living. In Andrea’s latest book , I Love You, Me! she explores her personal journey from depression to real self-love and how The Cornerstone Process, a 5-step self-discovery process is setting people free.