Meet your ideal client

Let me tell you about your ideal client:

She is smart.
She is motivated by what she wants (not what she is afraid of).
She is 100% committed to doing what it takes to get results.
She is not in emotional, financial or health crisis (and if she is, part of her knows there’s got to be a way out of it).
She loves life and being alive.

Now let me tell you what turns her off:

Telling her that you will fix her.
Telling her she is broken.
Treating her like a child who can’t handle the truth (or decisions)
Guilting, shaming, or scaring her into doing something.

So, here’s a question:

Does your marketing speak to your ideal client’s competence, knowing, and innate power?

Listen, I realize it’s a tall order.

But let’s talk about the stakes:

As humans, we are incredibly sensitive to the stories we are told.

I spend a fair chunk of my day talking grown adults out of believing what some schoolteacher or other authority told them about their writing ability.

The stories we tell each other stick!

So, the way I see it, the story we tell in our marketing can go one of two ways. We can tell a story of struggle, overwhelm, of experts and gurus coming to save us…

Or we can tell the good people a story of their own power. Remind them of their own knowing. Reassure them that they have everything they need to go on their next adventure – and we’re interested, willing, and able to walk the road alongside them when they do.

The natives are restless.

A lot of coaches, healers and folks in the personal development space are waking up to the fact that traditional marketing is manipulative, if not downright predatory.

But what can you DO about it?

How can you makeover your marketing message and practices so that they align with what you actually believe – and do with paying clients?

These are great questions.

A few starting points for you to chew on:

  • Get intentional about who you serve.  Part of the reason people use manipulative marketing tactics is because they aren’t really clear about who they WANT as clients. Or: they don’t really care who their customers are, so long as they get the money. Once you get clear about the sorts of people you LOVE working with (and who treat you well), you start to realize that you need to treat them with honor, respect and dignity from the get go in your marketing and sales. Make a list of the group of people you most enjoy working with, then ask yourself: do I treat my paying clients better than I treat people who haven’t bought from me yet? How can I make my marketing an extension of my paid work?

  • Get intentional about who you’re BEING in business. I’ve talked with too many business owners who were told, early on, that they needed to set aside their core values to “do marketing.” This is a problem. Who says we CAN’T be open, honest, and show respect to the intelligence and decision-making ability of our prospective customers? And more importantly: do we like how this advice feels in our bodies? There is plenty of room to be successful in business and create your OWN way of marketing and selling, that feels good to both you and your prospective customer. At the end of the day, what are your core values? Have you been following traditional marketing advice that violates those values, or that doesn’t feel good in your body? How could you tweak that advice so that it honors who you are, and how you treat other people?

  • Decide your marketing message. Another reason people slide into the ‘default mode’ of pain-point marketing is because they never took the time to stop and decide what their body of work is really about. Or, because they judge marketing as consumerist and gross, they don’t spread the word about their work at all. This is totally understandable, but they are giant leeches on the difference you could make in the world. Clear communication with other people is such a powerful and sorely needed skill! It’s part of leadership. It’s part of feeling satisfied and deeply understood. It’s part of feeling connected – and being someone who can create that feeling of connection in others. Do other people ‘get’ what your work is really about? When you talk about your work, do the right people show up to learn more about working with you – and are they already excited by the possibility?

These are big questions, but worthy ones. I really want us all – coaches, healers, consultants and others called to help people improve their own lives – to expand our understanding of what marketing really is. And how much of a difference it can make in the world… even as it does the work of filling our businesses with paying customers.

If you’d like to work with me privately to decide your marketing message and write it into your next project, there are two New Marketing Alliance spots open for June:

(Note: I’m taking the month of July off to go to Japan for  a family wedding and my honeymoon, and will not bring my laptop. Or my cell phone. Or be available to my clients. Hooray, for going rogue and eating my weight in ramen and rice balls! We’ll pick up where we left off in August.)

Keep up the good work,

Stella Orange teaches her clients how to effectively market their business by telling a better story in their marketing— the story of the hero answering the call to more. A professional copywriter whose writing has generated millions of dollars in sales, Stella knows that the story we tell in our marketing matters a whole lot, because on a fundamental level, it shapes how people think about themselves and what’s even possible for them. Three times a month, Stella hosts a 90-minute Shut Up And Write session via videoconference for members of her Write Club community. She is based in Buffalo, New York, where she lives with her husband, the Philosopher, and their dog, Chachi. Get a copy of Stella’s position paper The New Marketing: How to Create Clients Without Feeling Gross, Icky or Manipulative at

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