Brandi Bernoskie on How to Ensure Your Website is Talking to Your Ideal Client | MP 70

Why is your digital experience more important than your digital presence? What are the benefits of trying out new technologies in marketing? What are some opportunities business owners should keep an eye out for and not miss?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks with Brandi Bernoski about how to ensure your website is talking to your ideal client.

Podcast Sponsor

Do you need help building your brand? Feel like you don’t even know where to begin when it comes to marketing your practice online? Whether you’re a seasoned clinician with a website in need of a refresh, or you’re fresh out of school needing your very first therapist website, Brighter Vision is the perfect solution.

From building a brand and designing the perfect website to reflect that, to helping you rank higher with search engines. They’ve even created tools to make online marketing simple that are specifically for therapists. Best of all, we’ve worked with them to create a special offer just for our listeners.

Simply visit brightervision.com/joe to learn more and get your first month free of a new website for your private practice.

Meet Brandi Bernoskie

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim and North Star Sites, companies that help entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence, enhance their digital experience, and embrace their authentic online selves — what she calls their fifth dimensionality, or the extension of their selves into the digital world. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

Brandi’s academic background in theatre, philosophy, and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where her team has worked with thought leaders like Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, Kate Northrup, and Alexandra Carter as well as other notable changemakers since 2013.

Brandi is a natural connector and business matchmaker, who is always working to help others step into their genius work and leverage the expertise of those around them to achieve new levels of success and community along the way.

Visit her website. Connect on Instagram and LinkedIn,

In This Podcast

Summary

  • The biggest misconceptions about websites
  • Opportunities business owners might be missing out on
  • Digital experience is more important than a digital presence
  • New technology to consider

The biggest misconceptions about websites

The biggest misconception out there really is [that] you build it and then you don’t have to worry about it … the reality is that your business is evolving and growing. Your packages may change, your products may change. (Brandi Bernoskie)

Over time, as you and your business grow, you will get to know your clients better and better. Therefore, the language you use may change and you may edit and upgrade your products and services to suit their needs better.

As your business grows, your website – the visual representation of your business and the connection point between you and your clients – needs to grow and adapt accordingly.

You need to check in with yourself and say “is the online presence that I have fully reflective of my business right now? Is it aligned?” because you are always moving forward, you need those moments of realignment. (Brandi Bernoskie)

Opportunities business owners might be missing out on

  1. Not talking to their clients.
  2. giving people too much information but not a clear enough call-to-action.
  3. Talking too much about yourself and not enough but the person, or the solution that you offer.

Digital experience is more important than a digital presence

Some people get caught up in thinking about getting all the pieces into place: they want a website, an Instagram page, a Facebook page and they think that’s enough.

However, the digital world has become so much more lived in that it is no longer about how many tools you have, it is more important to your client about how you use them in order to provide them with the digital experience they want.

How are you going to craft that whole experience of your brand, of your company? … the digital experience needs to [meet with] the physical experience. If you sell a product and you have a stunning website … and someone orders that product and it comes in a strange [battered] box, that starts to destroy that trust you built with people. (Brandi Bernoskie)

Consider the full experience that you provide to people, from the time they land on your website to when they receive their product: your level of professionalism and authenticity should be consistent throughout.

New technology to consider

As a business owner, you should pay attention to who you are and what best suits you, as well as what best suits your audience.

You might feel very uncomfortable with Instagram, but if that is where most of your ideal clients are, then it may be worth overcoming that anxiety and taking the plunge for the sake of your business, and your growth as a business owner.

Be willing as a business owner to try something new. If you try out Instagram and it really is not working for you, you can let it go, but try to experiment nonetheless because you never know – it could work really well, and you will not know unless you try.

Useful Links:

Meet Sam Carvalho

Samantha Carvalho DesignSam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[SAM CARVALHO] Do you need help building your brand? Feel like you don’t even know where to begin when it comes to marketing your practice online? Whether you’re a seasoned condition with a website in need of a refresh or you’re fresh out of school needing your very first therapist website, Brighter Vision is the perfect solution. From building a brand and designing the perfect website to reflect that, to helping you rank higher with search engines, they’ve even created tools to make online marketing simple that are specifically for therapists. Best of all, we worked with them to create a special offer just for our listeners. Simply visit brightervision.com/Joe to learn more and get your first month free of a new website for your private practice. Again, that’s brightervision.com/joe.

Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho where you’ll discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand new business visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.

Thanks so much for joining us today on the Marketing a Practice podcast. Today, we have Brandi Bernoskie with us. Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer and founder of Alchemy+Aim and North Star Sites, companies that help entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence, enhance their digital experience and embrace their authentic online selves – what she calls their fifth dimensionality or the extension of their selves into the digital world. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people, as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create particularly in STEAM fields.
[SAM] Brandi’s academic background in theater philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business where the team has worked with thought leaders, like Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, Kate Northrup, and Alexandra Carter, as well as other notable change makers since 2013. Brandi is a national connector and business matchmaker who is always working to help others step into their genius work and leverage the expertise of those around them to achieve new levels of success and community along the way. Hi, Brandi, thanks so much for joining us today.
[BRANDI BERNOSKIE] Thank you so much for having me here. I’m so excited to be chatting with you.
[SAM] So can you share with us a bit about your story, obviously we covered some of it in your bio, but kind of just a bit about your story and how you got to where you are now?
[BRANDI] Absolutely. So it was definitely a bit of a winding path. I actually started blogging, maybe like 2007. A friend that I was working with at the time was blogging and I thought it might be something cool to do. And I set up a little website and then another friend reached out and he’s like, “You know, this is great, but I need an RSS feed.” And I was, I didn’t know much about the blogging world or even about development at that point, but I was very eager to learn. So I just started Googling things and over time, as my blog started to grow, I started to do more and more on the site myself. So I had very fortunately taken a little, like a small HTML class at the school of visual arts after graduating NYU and like unexpectedly got started that way.

I had just enough knowledge to like mess with my own website and that knowledge seemed to grow and grow until I had friends noticing what I was doing and asking for help. I would say so right around 2013, so it was about six years after starting my first site that I decided I had just enough knowledge to be a website developer. I was going to be a freelancer and that was awesome and I quit my job and started my own business, decided to be a freelancer. And in the last eight years since making that decision, I’ve grown a team of 15 people. We do, we probably do a solid, like 30 to 50 projects a year, depending upon their size. And it’s really turned into something very unexpectedly and I really couldn’t be happier about it.
[SAM] Sure. That’s incredible. So we obviously know that in today’s day and age, a website is super important and it’s probably the first thing to kind of get set up when you are starting a business. So what would you say is the biggest misconception about having a website?
[BRANDI] So the biggest misconception out there really is like you build it and then you don’t have to worry about it. Like you’re done, like, you figured out all the pieces. And the reality is that your business is evolving and growing. Your packages may change. Your products may change. You’re also just as a business owner or as a contractor, whatever capacity that you were serving the world in, you were getting to know the people that you work with better and better over time. So your language needs to change. And then the world around us is changing at the same time. So anyone who kind of went last year, beginning of 2020, things were as they were and then by April, we were all in this pandemic and lockdowns and how we needed to talk to each other actually had to change a little bit.

So a lot of business owners are like, “Oh, I built my website. I’m finished.” But that’s not the reality of it because you need to be on there. You need to evolving it as you will evolve. That does not mean you need to be on there daily or even weekly, but you need to kind of like check in with yourself and say is the online presence that I have fully reflective of my business right now? Is it aligned? And because you’re always moving forward, you need those moments of alignment.
[SAM] So something I’m interested to kind of ask you about in connection with this is I know that a lot of people struggle with this topic in particular is that they have a web developer develop their website and then it’s kind of like a once-off thing. The web developer might show them a little bit of how to change things themselves moving forward but then as you say, like a few months down the line, they want to change something and they look into the backend of the website and they’re not sure how to do it and they have to get hold of their web developer again, and things like that, or then it comes at an extra cost. So how has this something that you guys kind of work around within your company?
[BRANDI] So I’m a really big believer in giving our clients control over their websites. That does not mean that I give them control over everything. But one of the things that we’ve always done is we’ve always created walkthrough videos. In my opinion, when I hand over a site to you, I want you to feel confident editing any photo and any copy on that site. Am I going to give you control to like change colors and fonts and things like that? No, because you’d be paying attention to the wrong things. You’d be doing the wrong stuff in that case. The content and the photos are essential. And that’s like, we just build in a way now that like, it’s easy for our clients to work with. And I think that’s really important.

I also think it’s really, really crucial that you find, you have to look at the relationship as with a web developer, not as a one-off relationship, but as someone who is going to be there for you long-term. And I think it’s really essential when you’re looking for that person to work with you to ask them, like, do they have long-term packages? How do they support? If they don’t that’s okay but that means you need some other like ongoing tech team that you can go to.
[SAM] That’s really good to hear because I think that is kind of a hiccup in the industry that a lot of clients do face. So I liked that we’ve kind of highlighted that for the audience to keep in mind. So what would you say are the biggest opportunities business owners are missing online?
[BRANDI] Really talking to their clients. That I think is like the number one. Number two would be giving people too much information, but not a clear enough call to action. So often as a business owner, you are to some degree, a subject expert in your field. And it’s really the natural inclination is like, let me tell people everything I know, but really what people want is they want to know that you understand their problem, that you have a solution for their problem, and that you can guide them from where they are to success of some sort. Like that is the general idea. So you don’t, I think it’s actually a real disadvantage that the business owners kind of do when they are talking about themselves too much about on the website. Like, you do need to talk about yourself a bit, but you need to talk to the person you’re connecting with and talk about their problem and what they’re facing and show how you provide a solution to that problem. So talking about yourself too much and not talking enough about the person you’re working with in the solution, that’s always kind of a big problem people run into.

And then you have to give them a clear call to action. Don’t make them work for it. When people know that they’re ready to work with you, you don’t want them to have to like scroll down to the footer of the site and then try to find your contact form or phone number and then call you, but not be able to leave a message. Like don’t make it that hard for people. Give them clear buttons that are like contact us, schedule a call, buy now. Make it really, really straightforward. People need that, especially in our digital world, which is so inundated. There’s articles and news things and we’re being hit by so much content. The clearer you can be, the more straightforward you can be, the more you can talk to people, the more people will actually be able to take action and buy from you in some way, shape or form.
[SAM] Absolutely. So I know that another area that our audience often struggles with is also finding a relatable language to kind of check to their clients in and to kind of write the copy of their website in. Because I think obviously a lot of them are educated on a much higher level than us and they’re used to kind of writing their graduate papers as opposed to kind of dumbing it down for the client. So something we often kind of encourage on the podcast is also just making sure that you rise in that relatable language, and as you say, kind of coming from the client’s perspective and what their pain points are rather than confusing them with language, they don’t understand.
[BRANDI] Yes. That’s a really, really good point. And I was actually on a strategy call with a client yesterday and she does like leadership and executive coaching. When I asked her, I’m like, “Well, what’s the problem your clients have?” she was saying, “Well, they’re just really in their heads.” And I asked her, I was like, “Is that the language they would use to describe their problem?” And she’s like, “No, they come to me saying that they’re exhausted.” And I’m like, “Okay, that’s where you need to start then because it’s very relatable language.” Even for me building websites, like our key language is like, you want a website you love because that is what they’re saying. Do I know that it’s more nuanced and layered than that? Absolutely. And I can get them there and I can show them all the nuances and layers. But if I don’t meet them, like in that initial spot with the language they’re using, they’re not going to know it’s right for them.

So just paying attention to what is the language like the specific things that people say when they come to you and how do they describe their pain points? And if you don’t know that it’s a really good time to like look back at past clients you work with, or even like call up some of the past clients and ask them, “How would you have described your problem when we first met? What would it be?” If you are a fence repair person you want to use language, like, “You have a damaged fence that needs repair.” Like don’t make it hard for people to figure out what you do and how you serve and that problem you solve; really meet them at that exact point of language that they’re using.
[SAM] That’s really good. So something else that you kind of speak into is why the digital experience is more important than ever before over the digital presence. Can you kind of speak into that a bit more?
[BRANDI] Yes. So digital presence, I think is very 2000. Digital presence is like, I have a website, I have a social media page and I’ve got an Instagram account or a Facebook page or something like that. You’ve secured the URL and you have the thing and it’s there but the challenge is that we’ve moved past that and we’ve moved into a world where we are experiencing so much more of a business online than we ever used to before. And that is kind of like the consistency of the experience that we’re really looking for. We want to know that when we go to someone’s Facebook page, LinkedIn, or Instagram, that we feel like we’re hearing from the same person. The content may be a little different, but the tone is the same, the language is the same. It feels like the same person, or persona is really talking to us.

And the same thing on the website too. Like if your Twitter account is very humorous and sarcastic, and we go to your website and it’s suddenly very dry and technical, we’re going to question whether we can trust that company or that person. We want really a consistency of experience unlike we’ve ever needed before. And that is, particularly in the last year, we’ve done a lot more online than we ever have in the past. So putting those little pieces into place so that you are thinking not just about like, oh yes, I’ve got a webpage and I’m done, but like, how are you going to that whole experience of your brand, of your company? So whether it’s, and I talk about more digital experience, but that digital experience also needs to sync with the physical experience.

So if you sell a product and you have a stunning website and it looks super professional and really, really polished, and then someone orders that product and it comes in like a strange box that’s been battered and looks like a little questionable that also kind of starts to destroy that trust you’ve built with people. So it’s really thinking about like that full experience that you’re providing to people and that you’re kind of engaging with them on and thinking about like, okay, this is what the physical packaging looks like and this is how we’re reflecting that online. Like, it’s, it’s the same level of professionalism of tone and language of conversation that’s happening across the board.
[SAM] I really love everything that you just said, because I feel like it’s such an important point that again, a lot of people kind of miss the boat on. And I think sometimes it happens unintentionally. We maybe like you said, in maybe 2000, initially people have set up a bunch of digital touchpoints and then they’ve kind of focused only on their website and their Facebook page maybe and other things have just gotten neglected and now, as you say, their digital presence is not consistent. But I’m so glad that you also mentioned kind of maintain their consistency from the digital to the physical, because it’s something that I speak about a lot in this podcast and I always tie together with the brand style guide because obviously I’m speaking more from the design perspective. But how a brand style guide kind of just brings it all together and it brings the theory as well as the visual side of things so that when people walk into your office and they meet you and they engage maybe with even your receptionist and like that personality that, that all matches with what you’ve portrayed on the digital side as well.
[BRANDI] Yes, absolutely. And I love that you bring up the brand style guide because I think visual is so important. It’s one of those touch points for people, that if your brand colors are blue and orange and they walk into your office and suddenly it’s red and purple, they’re going to question if they’re in the right place. So creating that visual consistency, the language consistency, it’s really essential just to kind of like deepen people’s trust and confidence in you.
[SAM] Absolutely. And I think a nice way to look at it is that in today’s day and age, your website and kind of your digital presence as you’re referring to it is your storefront. And that is the first impression people are going to get of you. And then when you kind of put it that it shows how important it really is.
[BRANDI] Yes, absolutely.
[SAM] So what should business owners look for as they consider new technology?
[BRANDI] So I’m a big believer, when I work with my clients that we should pay attention to who they are and what best suits them. And a little bit of this goes to also what best suits your audience as well. So there’s two parts. It’s like as a business owner, if you hate Twitter, don’t be on Twitter. If you don’t like Instagram, okay, maybe it’s time not to be on Instagram. That said, if that’s where your audience really truly is, you may need to be there. So when people, there’s a lot of new technologies, new apps, new ways of doing things, little widgets and corners of websites that pop open bars and allow you to chat to either AI or people in general and so often we are lured in by these shiny objects. That does not mean we need to take on all of the new technology and do all of the things.

I think it’s really important to evaluate technology from a perspective of is this going to serve my audience and my ideal clients who are coming my way? Like, will it truly, and is it going to be a drain on me or am I going to be energized by it? In the cases that if you find like the answer is yes, it’s going to really serve my clients, but it’s going to be a drain on me, as a business owner, it’s kind of your responsibility to find someone who can take that over for you then. But I think we sometimes are too fast to pull in new technology when it doesn’t actually serve us or our clients. And it’s just because it’s like the latest trendiest thing. And I think we need to kind of move away a little bit from thinking of like needing to adopt new trends.

I’m also a big believer in just being willing as a business owner to experiment a little bit. If you sign up for Instagram and it’s not a right fit for you, you don’t have to continue it. It’s not like you’ve signed the blood oath that you will do Instagram for the next 40 years. Like you can do that with technology where you can try it out for a little period of time and if it’s not working for your audience and if it’s not working for you, you can let it go too. But just be very clear what those time windows of experimentation are and like, when you’re going to evaluate it, like if you add an AI chatbot to your site you’re going to do it for three weeks and you’re going to evaluate over those three weeks if you’ve gotten engagement, if you’ve gotten engagement from the right type of ideal.

Like not everyone who comes to your websites is an ideal clients or who will be a customer. So are you getting the right engagement there? Is it really serving your audience or are you just, you know people throwing in random questions that really are all in the FAQ anyway, and you can just better reposition the FAQ on your site is what you discover. So it’s kind of like staying engaged with all of those questions and being like, “Okay, I’m going to, this actually says something I think could work. Let’s give it a try. Let’s see if I like it, if they if people respond to it and then let’s check in, in a couple of weeks and see if it is working.” But you don’t want your site to just be a hodgepodge of trends and new technology that don’t actually serve you or the clients.
[SAM] There’s some really good points. I really like how you mentioned kind of using those two points to filter out things. Is it going to serve you and is it going to serve your client? I liked how you also kind of emphasized that, test it and see if it works. And obviously if it doesn’t, like you said, you don’t necessarily need to feel like you need to carry on with it. So that’s really good. So Brandi, if people wanted to get in touch with you to work with you or to find out more, what would be the best way for them to do so?
[BRANDI] Easiest thing is to go to our website, alchemyandaim.com, head over to the contact page, fill out that form. That actually comes directly to me and I always reach out and if I’m really, if we’re not the right person to work with someone who’s inquiring, chances are, I know the right person. So we’re always happy to make connections or to talk shop, and look at what it would be like to work together.
[SAM] Awesome. And we’ll have that link available in the show notes. And the last question we always ask our guests is if every private practice owner in the world are listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[BRANDI] I think the one thing I would want them to know is like, just go to your website and make sure it’s talking to your ideal client, not about them and not about you, but actually really talking to them. Just take that moment to make sure you are connecting because that goes such a long way overall.
[SAM] Awesome. Thank you so much, Brandi for being on the Marketing a Practice podcast.
[BRANDI] Thanks for having me today.
[SAM] Thanks again to Brighter Vision for being the sponsor on this podcast episode. Remember to hit over to brightervision.com/Joe to see the special offerings they have available for you.

Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want some print flyer designed head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design. Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.

Marketing a Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Beta Male Revolution, Empowered and Unapologetic, Imperfect Thriving, or Faith in Practice, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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