Are you tired of working a day job to support your herbal career?
Do you want more clients but aren’t sure how to get them in the door?
Are you wondering if it’s possible to make a living as a consultant herbalist?
know what it’s like to desperately want clients, only to stare at an
empty schedule book. For years I thought that being a good herbalist was
all I needed in order to fill my practice, so I studied at great
schools and with some of the best herbal teachers of our time.
But it wasn’t enough.
I was frustrated. My negative voice took it out on myself, “You just aren’t good enough! No one wants to pay to work with you.”
It wasn’t pretty.
would tell me I needed a marketing plan. But at first I didn’t want to
hear this. I used to think marketing was either obnoxious or unethical
or perhaps a little of both. The idea of selling my services as if I
were some sleazy salesman was too repelling to me.
little by little I started to realize that marketing today is less
about “BUY NOW!” and more about learning how to strategically share your
services with the people who need them.
I learned how to authentically market myself, my practice filled up
quickly and now I have a waiting list of at least 6 months. My practice
is full of people who I love working with and every day I feel blessed
to have the honor of watching people transform their health.
the process of filling up my practice my perspective on marketing has
changed. I now know that oftentimes the difference between an herbalist
and a successful herbalist is all about marketing.
So let me share my 5 ways to build a successful herbal business with you.
1. Know Who You Want to Work With as an Herbal Business
The first step in learning how to authentically market your services is to know exactly who it is that you want to work with.
an herbalist the first thing you might think about is the health
conditions you are most qualified and excited to help. In the beginning
it’s better to be more focused rather than have a long list of problems.
You can always expand your marketing message later.
you have your health condition in mind, imagine who that person is. The
more specific you can be the more compelling and successful your
marketing efforts will be.
From there think about who exactly you want to work with. Things to consider are:
- social values
people don’t like this exercise because they feel that it is too
limiting. The reality is that, the more focused your marketing message,
the more success you’ll have.
of the most common mistakes I see herbalists make is that they sell
their services to people who “want better health.” This vague message is
too vanilla. While people may want better health, it’s too obtuse to
get most people’s attention.
Knowing exactly who you want to work with will help you with the next marketing steps.
2. What Benefits Do You Offer as an Herbal Business?
One of the first rules of marketing is that people don’t care about you. At least not initially.
People are most likely to act when they want a benefit.
of the worst marketing mistakes that herbalists make is that the first
message they share with the world is describing the modalities they use.
I know, because I used to do this very thing.
Here’s how I used to describe myself to others, both in person and in my marketing materials (brochure, bio, website, etc).
name is Rosalee. I am an herbalist. I am a graduate of the East West
School of Herbology and I use a blend of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Ayurveda and Western Herbalism to create a personalized plan of health
for my clients.”
Ugh. Still makes me shudder.
Here’s the problem.
people are motivated to see a particular health practitioner because
they think that person can help them with their health problems. Seeing a
list of modalities a person uses or where they went to school is not
Instead, your marketing message will be more powerful if you share the benefits you offer for your ideal client.
Here are some improved examples on how to create a more focused message that emphasizes benefits rather than qualifications.
“My name is Rosalee and I work with stressed out moms so they can have less anxiety and get the restful sleep they need.”
“I help women stop their painful periods so that they no longer dread their cycle and are healthy the entire month.”
3. Share Your Herbal Business’ Message in the Right Places, Frequently
I first opened my practice my local newspaper wrote a
small paragraph about it in the paper. I was so thrilled! The paper
comes out on Wednesdays and I was pretty sure that by Friday I would have
already scheduled countless clients.
Two weeks later I was somehow still waiting for those clients to materialize.
only I could go back and whisper into my naive ears. Marketing isn’t
something you do one time. The average person will have to spend hours a week on marketing for an average of six months.
can be more efficient with your marketing efforts if you know your
ideal client (#1), know how to share your services in a compelling way
(#2) and you share the message where they will see it.
It’s not your client’s job to find you.
Is your ideal client already health conscious? Look for them at health food stores and the gym.
Is your ideal client a young adult? Look for them at local colleges.
Is your ideal client motivated to see an herbalist because of their connection to nature? Look for them at naturalist classes.
An online version of this may be creating a site with SEO strategies for your town or your preferred condition.
4. Create a Referral Network for Your Herbal Business
One of the fastest ways to build your herbal practice is to get referrals from other practitioners.
There are two important considerations here.
first is that you’ve nailed your marketing message so that it’s
focused. If your marketing message is too broad people won’t think of
you for the referral.
If your message is that you practice Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda to create a personalized health plan… well, who is that really for?
if your marketing message is that you work with stressed out moms, when
a practitioner sees that stressed out mom she is more likely to think
of you and give you that glowing recommendation. Even better, she hands
that mom your business card that also clearly states you help stressed
out moms. That mom will be much more likely to contact you because you
clearly offer what she is looking for.
second part of building a referral network with other practitioners is
to realize that this takes time and relationship building. Dropping off
your card with a bunch of massage therapists is not going to cut it.
for people who already attract your ideal client. Look for people you
personally resonate with. And then get to know them. Offer to buy them a
cup of tea. Chat about what they do. Share what you do. If appropriate, sign up for their services. Or perhaps you might do a trade with them.
Or offer them a free session with you. The better people “get” you, the
more likely they will be enthusiastically recommending you.
5. Give People a Chance to Get to Know You and Your Herbal Business
is growing in popularity but it is still a fairly obscure practice.
There are many people with health problems that herbalists can help, but
very rarely are those people thinking to themselves, “I need to find a
Moreover, people rarely sign up for health consultations with people they aren’t familiar with.
Getting a referral from a friend or from another practitioner can be really helpful.
However, if someone is able to get a preview of what you offer they will be more likely to follow through with signing up.
free or cheap classes around town can be a good way for people to get
to know you. Again, think about your ideal client and teach classes they
would be most inclined to go to. Another common mistake I see with
herbalists is that they teach DIY herb classes in order to attract
clients for their herbal consultations.
That’s the difference between teaching this class:
“Make your own herbal bath products: bath salts, lotion bars and facial masks.”
And teaching this class:
“6 ways to cut stress and anxiety from your life so you can get better sleep and have more energy.”
Summary for Building Your Successful Herbal Business
Over the years I’ve heard many herbalists complain that it’s impossible to make money as an herbalist.
I am proof that simply isn’t true. I make a good living as an herbalist
and my practice is easily filled with minimal marketing efforts. This
isn’t because I’m special, or because I am lucky. It’s because I learned
what it takes to be successful and then I made it happen.
am passionate about sharing what I learned in this journey because the
more successful herbal clinicians we have the stronger herbalism will
grow as a whole.