Are you connecting with your ideal client? Connection is essential for business owners to get right, but it often gets misunderstood or overlooked. You can check all the boxes to get your coaching business up and running, but if you hear crickets, you need to look at what stories you’re sharing and find out whether or not they are connecting with your audience.
In today’s episode, I’m talking to Michelle Ellis, a conversion copywriter helping coaches position themselves in their industry through words that tell their story, connect with their ideal client, and, ultimately, land the sale.
During our conversation, Michelle and I talk about the best ways to connect with your ideal client through stories so you can start helping them achieve results. Michelle explains what type of stories connect on a deep level, how to connect when your client’s pain points aren’t a part of your personal story, what a hero’s journey is, and how to share your story in a way that focuses less on you and more on your ideal client. Plus, she’s giving her best tips for finding your why and creating a story from there.
Connect with Michelle:
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Rachel: Hey guys, it is Rachel Feldman here at Healthy Hustle Podcast, and I’m so pumped to have Michelle Ellis. I am going to let her introduce herself because we have known each other for way, way too long. So before we dive into owning your story, building a successful and thriving business, tell everyone a little about you.
Michelle: Thanks for the introduction. So I’m Michelle Ellis. I’ve been a copywriter now for at least five plus years, but really, I was underneath the health coach, VA, copywriter umbrella since like 2013. I graduated from IGN. So former health coach. I absolutely love writing everything when it comes to storytelling, copywriting, organic marketing, and really just helping coaches and health coaches specifically. Because that’s my pure passion so to move that industry forward, and get to get to be a part of it, even behind the scenes is why I love doing what I do.
Getting Started By Building A Local Referral Network
Rachel: Oh, talk to everyone, because I’m sure anyone listening is like, she’s been in my shoes, she totally gets it. So tell everyone, just even a little about your business when you first started. Because I think whether you’re new or whether you’re a new coach, you’re like, Oh, my God, tell me please. Or somebody who has been in this industry, it’s always nice to hear how somebody started.
Michelle: Yeah, it’s interesting. So when I first started health coaching, obviously, that’s how we met because I stumbled across you in one of the marketing groups that the school had at the time and found a spring detox, and like all these detox programs. This was great, because, at the time, I was really struggling as a new health coach with all the things. Starting a new business, wanting to coach clients, not knowing, okay, well, how am I going to do this online? Should I be doing this online? Should I be doing this in person? Should I be doing a combination? What are all the assets that I need for a website? How am I doing this with kids?
I wanted it to be time-efficient, and I wanted to hurry up and coach people. I didn’t want to just spend all my time marketing or designing my business cards or brochures, or trying to book all these sessions, I really just wanted to coach people. So I did a little bit of both to where I was going into local, that felt easiest for me to go into the stores I was already shopping at and wild by nature was the one that you and I talked about that time because you and I said how often coaches were I’m going to build in the online space.
Rachel: Just because you’re building the online space doesn’t mean that you can’t build a referral network locally. So I’m glad we’re glad that you said that even though I interrupted you.
Michelle: It’s the truth. That’s what I felt most comfortable. So I was already shopping at the stores. So I was like well, I’ll just go into Wild By Nature. I saw and admired all the business cards that I saw posted. It was funny because I saw another health coach too. And she was also a graduate of IGN. I was just like wow, this is cool. So I felt like I was really a part of something, a movement happening.
I remember approaching them. And it was the funniest thing ever, because they had a couple locations on Long Island, three locations. One was really close to my house like 30 minutes away. So I remember just emailing back and forth because I went up to somebody, they said, just email what your topic would be and it was on digestion. I was like, Okay, I want to do a workshop. And the Funny thing is, I was booked on their calendar. And then they finally released their calendar app, that was like the coolest thing ever to get in on their calendar and see my name and that it was a health coach and that I was going to do this workshop and I was so excited.
Come to find out. It was so funny. It was actually at a different location. closest to my house, I had to drive I’ll never forget, it was like 45 minutes to get there plus traffic. I still did it because I was I’m on that calendar and I’m gonna show up. But I also thought it was cool because it was on the borderline of the county. So I had people coming from two different counties to talk which I thought was really cool. I remember there was a natural holistic doctor there and just getting that connection, that visibility on that connection. And they wanted the same thing. We passed our business cards to each other. it was kind of like okay, you refer to me, I could refer to you, how can we help each other? That’s what the whole thing was about. After that I was like, Okay, this is really cool. I want to keep doing this. So I would go into the gyms and post the flyers for the detox like all the things that I saw you talking about. I was Okay, I got to do this.
How To Get In Front Of People & Build Your Marketing
Rachel: I’m just gonna do it with dairy, but you have to do it. I mean, I think that’s the part that I have coaches, coach was saying to me the other day, she’s like Okay, I got a program, what do I do now? I said to her, you can post on social media, you can do organic, but that still takes time. Don’t think that it’s just going to happen right away. You need to be using maybe even your personal page on Facebook, if you’re comfortable. But I told her at the end of the day, go to people locally, who already know your own growth providers. See if you can do a workshop get in front of people and also get used to speaking.
Michelle: Yeah, and that was really helpful. For me, interestingly enough, the first thing that I did was because I had some network marketing background where I was in previous MLMs, and things like that. So I kind of took those principles to create your list of however many people go into your communities but I didn’t want to be coaching my close friends and family. I just did it, I was like, Okay, I want to go beyond that.
So I reached out to the local community, and also online, the first thing that I thought of was in all these mom groups. So I was in all of these moms groups and all these moms reaching out and asking questions, and they even allowed me to post some recipes. There was a recipe book in the file section of the group. I didn’t pitch because that wasn’t allowed. But people did message me. So it organically happened both online and offline in the community. And I just kept doing that. It felt really good and comfortable.
I’ll never forget I did like a holiday bloat, ditch the belly bloat or something. It was something like a muffin top. That’s it. It was muffin. Melting the muffin top for the holidays. I had gotten like 50 plus people into my free group online. I was so excited because I was like, Wow, that’s really awesome. Because then I had people locally who were joining the Facebook group, and people online, all came from just those marketing efforts of really having conversations.
Rachel: You brought up something that I just want to highlight before we even go on. You were that’s what it was about. It was about making connections. I think that we fail to remind ourselves that within the online space, we have to get in front of other people’s podcasts like we have to do these, this kind of connection marketing. We can’t just expect that somebody is going to land on our page.
But I did tell this woman the other day, I said listen, still to this day, and I do paid ads, which I didn’t do paid ads back then. I said my people still to this day, find me on YouTube. I said, because if somebody’s searching intentionally, where are they going to go? They go to YouTube. Because I’m thinking now they’re going to Tech Talk, as you and I were talking about the other day. I always think if somebody is googling, where are they going to land first?
We’ve talked enough about that, let’s actually get in, because that you and I were just saying, let’s keep this up 20 minutes for the person.
How To Make A Connection With Your Ideal Client
So I want to make it doable. We’re keeping to our goals. Alright, so we are going to dive into something that I think is extremely important. It gets either overlooked or misunderstood. Which is how to make that connection with your ideal client. We’re talking about all the things that we need to get our business going. But we’re gonna hear crickets if we’re not connecting. So you love storytelling? Can you dive into a little about it? How do you get your ideal client to really connect with you, in a sea of people doing the same thing?
Michelle: I think it’s funny because it kind of plays off that connection of building locally, online and offline. Because back then when you’re in person, and before, the live buttons came out, before all of the cool technology that we have now, it really was about conversations, and having those conversations with people andthat connection.
I think that somewhere, I don’t know why, but coaches specifically or even just small business owners, they get this mindset of like when they market, it’s like sales, sales, sales, sales, right? So it’s always like this push. And somewhere along the lines, that conversation and connection gets lost. But really, it needs to stay present everywhere.
Don’t get the mindset of I’m just going to share some content and throw some tips out there. There should still be a conversational tone and approach as if you’re just talking to one person in the room and the same thing with email, the same thing with private messaging, people inviting to your Facebook group, your social media posts, whatever you’re doing. Have that connection, start the conversation first. That’s where you have that coaching conversation. Right?
What Kind Of Stories Connect With Your Ideal Clients
So it’s like taking your coaching skills into your marketing skills to say, and listen, if you’re talking to somebody, or if they hopped on your list, even for a freebie about something specific what their pain is about. So your emails and everything that you do, should really be saying and asking those questions. How do you feel if you are struggling with weight loss? What does that really look like to you to not be able to lose weight? Are you skipping out on the parties?
Having that conversation and going back to relatability, and really talking about your own story. That’s the thing, it’s not like your core one single story that’s on your about page. It’s all of the stories that you’ve built up and collected throughout the entire years, to relate to whatever those same emotions are. So if somebody is feeling a lack of confidence, or if they feel lonely, which is the biggest reason why everyone hires a coach is because they feel alone, and they need support. Always going back to that in conversation and in telling your story.
At the same time saying if you’re writing an email, let’s say the topic of the emails is struggling to lose weight, and they feel just a lack of confidence, they feel like they’re never going to be able to do it. Talk about what was that like? And if you don’t have a similar story, just connect. Are you reading my mind? Because I say, there are so many coaches, I can think of one right off the top of my mind and in my membership, and in our membership, where she doesn’t have that weight loss story. She shares it in a way where it’s so relatable, because it’s just about her story. She’s talking about things that she’s witnessed, things that she’s experienced.
How To Connect With Something That Isn’t Part Of Your Personal Story
Rachel: Can you give us a tip for anybody who may be in a niche that they evade, or help somebody else or to or pains them. So they have that empathy and they decided to really focus on that niche and it’s not their personal story?
Michelle: The biggest thing is really going back to what those emotions are and tying that in specifically with emails too, right? Because they appear like their personal letters to people talking if somebody’s tying in, what’s that emotion? So let’s say they feel defeated, they feel hopeless, whatever the result they’re trying to get. And what that feels at some point, because we’re human. So it’s that human connection of Okay, well, I know what it’s like to feel that loneliness or to feel that you’re defeated or you can’t do it. Tie in a story that doesn’t even have to do with weight loss, or whatever their end goal is. It could totally be about what that emotion is going.
Rachel: That’s such a great point. I think we often forget that, when we think about the marketing piece, yeah, forget that. It’s feeling overwhelmed or feeling hopeless, we can feel that in other places of our life. It’s all we got through that trial and tribulation.
Michelle: Exactly. And then also tying in clients stories, or just the things that you see going on in the world today, and how it makes you feel. Let’s say you’re a coach who is dealing let’s say you’re focusing on hormones, or something, and a news article just came out, and let’s say it’s marketing this new magic drug or something and you feel a certain way about it talk about it an open letter about this new topic and send an email out of how you feel about it. Talking about how you get people to really see that human side.
That’s really what it boils down to so that we don’t become these marketing machines that lose sight of that emotional connection. The best launches are the ones that did a lot of the strategy and talk more about that story-driven approach which includes strategy. We know we should have X amount of emails and they should go out on this time. But forget the template and just talk from the heart. That’s the biggest connection, especially on social media.
How To Share Your Story In A Way That Focuses On Your Ideal Client
Rachel: That’s what people think for a lot of coaches. They are introverted personalities. I think talking about this for someone is getting comfortable. How do you actually make your story about them, but you’re sharing your story? Can we dive into that next part, how do you actually share your story so it’s not me, me, me. But still telling those relevant parts of what happened? What was life like? What dropped you to your knees? What do you learn? What do you teach?
Michelle: A lot of that boils down to speaking to those specific pain points and knowing and putting yourself in your ideal client’s shoes. So if you know what their 3am wake up problem is, if you know what they worry about all day, what drives them crazy, what they wish they could just accomplish. They just feel like all the things standing in their way, the limiting beliefs that all have the emotion and really feeling through that, then it’ll be easier to approach that in a story-driven approach.
If your ideal client, let’s say is women 30 to 40 or something like that, you can have an email that goes out and say, Look, I speak to so many women that are between 30 and 40 years old, and this is what they go through every single day. And bullet point, list it and describe those different experiences, not just the vague, general Oh, they struggle with weight gain, or they struggle with lack of energy, but saying why, what, and how that represents in their life?
What does that lack of energy do for them? Does it mean they can’t go to their kid’s soccer game? Or does it mean that they’re still working a nine to five, and they feel completely done by noon? Really just describing their story, what that’s like for them, and then tying it into, I understand. At one time in my life, that’s what I was going through, until I discovered whatever that solution is.
How To Approach Your About Me Page Story
Rachel: I love that you’re talking about that. We can even break this down with what is the approach on and about me website? Because there are a few different places that we tell our story. We tell our story on social media, we tell our story on a website, we’re telling our story, even when we have a webinar, or workshop we’re always telling our story to some degree.
But let’s even talk about websites, because I see a lot of people who have a laundry list of all their certifications, their accolades, and how is it that you represent yourself and say, this is what I’ve accomplished, but also making it a relatable story so they see you beyond just the accolades.
Michelle: It’s interesting because that’s that business mindset approach of Oh, I’m a business, so I have to look really professional. And that’s great. If you have a corporate niche I think that you should have it differently on your website if that’s who your target market is. But if your target market is the everyday people, you’re not targeting these corporate businesses.
I would say, really leading in on that about page with you’re here because and you talk about what those immediate pain points are and then you transition the conversation into introducing yourself and the things you’ve gone through in life that make it relatable, understandable and really highlighting exactly what that experience is emotionally, as well as the victory that that happened. What you do in your coaching life? What’s your mission now? Who are you coaching? What are you helping them achieve or helping them overcome?
Then going back right around at the end to the call to action to having something there where you’re leading them to really a call, I think is great in the health coaching niche, because that’s where that conversation happens. So on that page if you can relate, if you understand, if you’ve gone through XYZ or if you’re looking to achieve whatever that result is to do, I help women do this or whoever the target market is and describe exactly what the results are. Book a free discovery session with me.
But the whole time you’re opening the conversation. You know as soon as they land on that page that you get them because you’ve already identified their pain points. The first three lines, you can also ask an open question like, Have you ever felt bla bla bla bla bla? Do you feel this way? Are you ready to whatever the result is? Ad really talking about that journey and not this long-winded, when I was three journey because sometimes that’s too long.
What Is The Hero’s Journey?
Rachel: Really picking out the most relevant story which you can tell quickly before we go on to this next part. What is the hero journey? Because I know coaches are going to hear this. I think it’s so relevant when you’re picking out your signature program, and you’re really picking out who you want to, especially what you want to specialize in who you want to work with.
Michelle: The hero’s journey is really about this transition of getting them through the door and walking them on what that journey should look like. Because people typically don’t come in, let’s say they have whatever their result is that they want to achieve. You don’t usually say, Oh, I want to sign up for a six month program right off the bat. There are these baby steps that people have to walk through and it has to feel doable for them. So taking them through this approach of Okay, well, maybe they’ll start with a 10-day program, and then maybe they can go to a 30-day program, and maybe they can go on to the next one.
Rachel: These are the steps that I’m taking, which is similar to a coach mapping out their hero’s journey What were the essential steps, not just at three months old, but what were those essential highlights and steps in your own journey that can help that person relate and identify what the steps that you’re taking this person through?
Michelle: Yeah, and it really should be a step by step approach in their journey, because that’s the easiest thing if somebody is obese, let’s say, and they have 100 pounds or something to lose for their health. It’s going to seem too hard to just jump in. So if you handhold them, and you walk them through, Okay, I understand, let’s just start really small, let’s make some small little shifts, and then they get a win moment. Then they feel like they get the strength to move on to the next step in the journey and the next step. So throughout that whole entire process, it’s really about hand holding them and coaching them through a similar journey, either that you went on, or just or just your ideal client. And that’s just something you really want to
Rachel: I love that you just said that. Because when you think about that, and that hero’s journey, you have the part where the trials and tribulations, this is what I learned. But then you have those really clear steps that you took, or that you’re talking about, that you developed because you wish you took them.
Starting Small & Adding On From There To Achieve Results
Michelle: Exactly, exactly. That’s a really big one too. So a lot of it’s what we’ve gone through. I know, even I with my own health issues is trial and error. I think that’s a lot of what draws health coaches into becoming a health coach is because we’ve walked that journey so we want to save other people the time. We found what really works, and really walking your ideal client through that in a story-driven way, where you’re really meeting the needs the small little goals that they should be achieving. What does that look like?
So if you start with the freebie you don’t want to overwhelm somebody by talking about losing 100 pounds. Let’s just get a few off and see how you feel. Let’s just add in. Not eliminating stuff, but adding more of the good stuff in your life. I think that was so approachable for most people. If we come from that angle in our marketing well, let’s just not worry about what we’re taking away, let’s just add some more good healthy stuff. No matter what the niche is, taking that and making it approachable and doable for people no matter how busy their life is and really sticking to what the pain points are, what it looks like and represents in their life on a daily basis and what is so amazing and unique about your solution compared to anything else out there.
Rachel: I think that’s the key part. Because when we say how do you stand out in a sea of coaches? Because they’re going to be people who specialize in the same area. But it’s your signature approach. As long as it makes sense and you see those steps that your ideal client should take, that you wish you would have taken or your friend or your family member or just what has to happen in this world. That’s when it becomes much easier to convert and to attract your ideal client and to have them identify with you and to really speak that language.
I feel like we have ended at a really good place. I would just love you to give maybe a tip for anyone who is like, I don’t have a story.
Tips For Finding Your Why & Creating Your Story
Michelle: Yeah, I think everyone has a story and sometimes it may be buried. Sometimes we bury these stories that we’re too afraid to tell or we think it’s too deep. It’s too much. We’re all humans. We’ve all experienced. Nobody has a perfect life. Some are better than others, but there are always stories to tell. And you know what? It doesn’t always have to be negative. It doesn’t have to be this painful story. Maybe someone doesn’t have a painful story.
Maybe they have this magical story of I remember one time writing a website for somebody who was healthy their whole entire life. They were raised on and grew up on an organic farm. They were always healthy. They were just stunned by the sickness in the world because they never experienced it. And so we had taken the approach of wanting to be that person that goes out and shares that message in the world. So that they just wanted to sample. It doesn’t have to be negative, it could just be Hey, I’m just here to make a change and I want people to be healthy. Here’s why this is so important to me. So really, it boils down to why is this so important to you? Why do you want to change the world and make it healthy?
Rachel: Oh, I love that. That is such a pure, great example. I remember interviewing Reed Davis, who is the head of FDN. He said, When I got into health, I wasn’t sick. I wanted to change. He’s like, there wasn’t this bad thing. If anything, I knew that I had great energy, I wanted more energy. I wanted to have complete control over my life on what I could do. And if I wanted to get on a plane and have six hours of time difference. I wanted to not have jet lag.
That’s such a great thing. Because I think so many of us get stuck thinking that we need to have this horrible story. I know when people have heard my story they’re like, but I don’t have a story like yours. But you have. No one has a story like yours that your ideal client is gonna write with you compared to somebody else, but you still have a story.
Michelle: Exactly. Always, always a story, always a mission, always that deep burning why. Why you want to do this. That’s what really needs to be shared all the time, in as many different ways as you possibly can. Just continue that because repetition is key. So when people continually see that you’re showing up all the time with your message all the time, they get attracted to that, and then the conversations just start and get to know each other.
Rachel: Well, guys, if you are not blown away and taking notes on this one, then please, you have to go drink some green juice matcha tea, get that energy, come back and listen, because this was a game-changer. And I know that it was a game-changer for me as I got really clear on how to share my story and attract my ideal client versus just sharing my story and not thinking about those motions. So that was a big change for me when I was able to connect that pain and the solution. Talk about my ideal client, but make it relatable.
So Michelle, thank you for being here. Stay tuned for the next one. If you haven’t seen latest episodes, go and check them out. With that being said, we’re gonna see you on the flip side. Bye, guys.