Allison Rapp

How to Avoid Common Mistakes Holistic Practitioners Make with Email Marketing

Email marketing is alive and well—in fact, it’s one of the best low-cost advertising options you have. But if you’re like most holistic practitioners I know, you’re probably under-utilizing it. Worse, you could be making mistakes that might lead you to believe email just doesn’t work. Read on to find out what to do instead.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes Holistic Practitioners Make With Email Marketing

Holistic Practitioners Have Special Challenges with Email

And those challenges lead to making mistakes that lower the efficacy of your email marketing.

Below, are 3 of the most common mistakes and what to do about them.

You’ll see that the solutions are not difficult, but they do take some work. If you’re willing to commit time and energy to the solutions I offer, you’ll find that your email marketing will be more effective at helping you to build your local practice.


1. You Don’t Connect Often Enough

It’s not unusual to get on some company’s list—often for clothing or because you made a donation of some kind—and suddenly they’re emailing you 6 times a week. No joke.

Most of us have had this kind of experience. And no practitioner wants to inflict it on anyone else, least of all the people they want to attract to work with them.

That’s why often, practitioners jump to this conclusion: If you want to keep your subscribers, don’t bother them “too much.”

Want the cold, hard truth? You don’t need to worry about this. There is no possibility in this lifetime or any other, that you are going to email your list “too much.”

What you DO need to worry about is emailing so infrequently that you are only in your subscribers’ view for a few random minutes every year.

You read that right.

Practitioners I’ve asked about their email practices report the most common frequency of emails to be about every 6 weeks. That’s maybe 8 emails a year, but it could be fewer because of holidays, vacations… and procrastination.

It’s just not enough to make them think of you when they need you.

The Solution Is…

Be clear on your email opt-in form. Let people know what to expect from you when they subscribe to your list:

  • Who is the person who would be interested in your emails?
  • What kind of mail will you send?
  • How are you going to help them?
  • How often will they see you in their inbox?

Start by committing to be in touch every month. Then when you aren’t getting palpitations every time you hit the “send” button, make it every 3 weeks. Then… every 2 weeks or twice a month. When you make to once a week, you’ll be doing what experts on emailing agree is effective.

Contrary to what you’re probably saying to yourself, weekly emails are not overwhelming for your subscribers when you focus your messages to appeal to them. A schedule like this has the additional benefit of keeping keep you on their radar so that you’re the person they think of when they need the kind of help you offer.

The upshot is that if you meet the expectations your subscribers have and deliver value every time you write, you can stop worrying about bothering people.

And it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind that people know how to unsubscribe. That’s an entirely different post, but the takeaway is that it’s not the end of the world if they do.


2. You Connect Only When You Have to Sell Something

Has it ever happened that you suddenly realize it’s time for a new class series or a workshop and you haven’t emailed your list? So you quick-quick get your schedule together and send it out with a subject line like “My Class Schedule for the New Year.”

I’m just going to ask an obvious question: If this is your email marketing plan, how ironic is it that it’s entirely about selling your work … when most practitioners say they don’t like to and don’t want to sell to get clients? 

I know, you probably think you’re giving information, and that’s not selling. But ask yourself… if you didn’t need the money, would you send even your schedule?

The people on your list want more from you than to know what time your class starts, how to make a private appointment with you, or how to register for your new workshop—all of which have to do with opening their wallets. In fact, a survey conducted by about what people want from email marketing found that 48% of respondents wanted email content to be more informative.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not taking the time to figure out what that “more” is about for the people you want to attract—because when you don’t know, you either write about the wrong thing—your schedule, your fee changes, your modality.

Or you don’t write at all.

The Solution Is…

Think about how to give value.

And then give value more often than you ask for money.

At least 3 times more. That means sending at least 3 emails designed to give value to your readers for every email in which you tell your subscribers how they can spend money with you.

The most likely reason this may challenge you is that you don’t know what to write about. I hear that all the time—it’s a very common problem for practitioners who are used to trying to attract new clients mainly by talking about their modality.

The answer to the value question lies in getting to know your ideal clients better because when you know who you are trying to attract, you have a way to measure the importance of what you’re writing about to the audience you want to reach.


3. You Talk to “Everyone” about Your Modality

There are two mistakes here, and I’ve put them together because one solution takes care of both.

I know it feels normal to you to talk about the specific work you do because you want people to experience the kind of benefits you’ve seen clients get—benefits you’ve probably gotten yourself. Your modality is transformative and you want other people to value it as you do, because it has the power to change lives.

Problem #1: Your timing is off

It’s not that you should never talk about your modality.

It’s that most people who are looking for the kind of help you offer are trying to solve a problem and the first thing they need to know about you is that you can help them do that.

Just take a moment to verify that in your own experience by thinking about the last 5 or 10 people you’ve talked to about working with you. If you don’t have enough of those, think instead of the people you saw in public and thought to yourself “They could use the modality I practice.”

What did you see?

I’m guessing it was some sort of physical clue—balance problems, gait issues, limited range of motion, strained posture, the effects of stroke—you know, the “things you help people with” while you’re helping them transform.

Folks recognize those things about themselves, too, and when they find you, that’s what they’re hoping to change.

In fact, at the moment they find you, that’s all they’re interested in.

There is plenty of time for the rest later, once they’ve committed to working with you to get the help they need.

Problem #2: You’re focused on everyone

The problem isn’t knowing that everyone can benefit—every holistic practitioner, no matter what their modality, knows that their work has value for the whole world.

The problem is talking about it.

When everything you say is general enough to apply to any one of the 7+ billion people on the planet, nobody really gets it that you have the solution they need for their specific problem.

And let’s face it: there’s no way you could work with all those people if they did show up!

The Solution Is…

Know who your ideal client is and focus your emails on what those people are most interested in. Every email should let them see how well you understand them and how much you know that can help them.


It’s really easy when your ideal client is the person your entire life training has prepared you to help.

This needs to be super-clear:

I’m not suggesting you limit your practice to people with back pain or some other ailment.

I’m suggesting you find out who the people are that can most easily be helped by the unique combination of your education, your experience, and your LifePhD.

These are your ideal clients. When you focus your marketing with a clear message that speaks to them, they respond.

That’s why it’s so important to be really clear about who they are and what they want from you. Knowing that makes it easy to find many things to talk with them about. In fact, the more you know about the people you want to attract, the more you know about what to write in your emails, and the less you feel the need to fall back on talking about your modality or limiting your emails to changes in your schedule.

What to do if you feel really resistant to limiting your marketing

I feel your dilemma. I was there myself for a long time in the early days of my practice.

And there is another solution. I don’t recommend it, for obvious reasons, but here it is:

Segment your list so that you can send different emails to people concerned about maintaining independence as they age, to people who have children with neurological difficulties, to adults recovering from a stroke, to people who want to improve performance… you get the idea.

It’s WAY more work because you still need to communicate frequently.

But it’s what to do if you just can’t bring yourself to focus your time, energy and money on the most effective way to build your practice.

(And that’s also a topic for an entirely different post!)