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5 Words and Phrases to Remove from Your Health Coaching Website
April 22, 2020

Words matter. 

The germane nature of this weblog post is belike more appurtenant to your coaching firm than you may cognize.

See what I did there?

That feeling you just had — probably a mix of confusion, minor anxiety, and a smidgen of “what the f*ck are you talking about, Sean?” — is unfortunately how a lot of your prospective clients feel when they land on your website.

They came looking for answers, only to discover words, phrases, and technical terms more appropriate for other health coaches, but not for the average person in desperate need of your help.

In my experience, health coaches, most of whom feel like they don’t know enough, seldom realize that the one thing keeping them from connecting with and enrolling clients is the fact that they … well, know so much.

Without realizing it, we become so fluent in health coach jargon that we forget how to speak the language of the people. 

And since words are energy, our messages send the wrong vibes to our website visitors. So instead of drawing people in, we tend to push them away by trying to sound clever and smart.  

Before we get to the 5 words and phrases to remove immediately from your website, here are two simple rules to follow when creating any form of marketing collateral, including website copy, blog posts, videos, lead generators, social media captions, email broadcasts, etc.


Rule #1: Use the words they use.


A couple months ago, I was having lunch with a friend who’s a certified health coach. Since I can’t help but talk about marketing, we found ourselves trying to figure out which niche she wanted to build her business around.

Since her personal health journey involved overcoming severe allergies, we thought allergies would be the perfect fit. However, she kept using the phrase “chronic respiratory illness.” 

Here’s the deal. Just about no one with allergies ever says they’re struggling with chronic respiratory illness. 

In real life they say and think words like, “I’m allergic to everything.”

Imagine how this person feels when she lands on a website with big header text that says: Struggling with Chronic Respiratory Illness?

Click. She’s gone.

But what if that header said: Allergic to Everything?

Now you’ve got her attention! Because the words you used precisely matched the ones she uses to describe her problem.


Rule #2: The Mom Test


When I created content for the Underground Wellness YouTube channel, I always asked myself one question before I clicked the Upload button:

Will my Mom understand this?

In other words, can someone who has zero background in health really get what I’m talking about here?

If the answer was no, I reshot the video, replacing what might have been too complex for Mom with something simpler.

Ask yourself, are there any words in your copy or in your content that your reader or viewer might get hung up on?

If so, keep in mind that whenever someone reads or hears a word that they don’t understand, they start to check out.

Keep. Things. Simple.

With that said, here are those 5 words and phrases you’ve been waiting for — the ones that make Mom or Aunt Judy wonder what the f*ck you’re talking about. 


#1: Functional Anything 🙅🏾‍♂️


If you’ve read my free ebook, 7 Mistakes Health Coaches Make, there’s a very important question on page 7:

“Think back to the days when you didn’t know much of anything about health. Would you understand words like metabolic therapy or functional nutrition? Probably not.” 

There’s a saying in advertising: Don’t sell drills. Sell holes.

In other words, people don’t buy processes. What drives their buying decisions is the result they’ll get. Trying to sell functional nutrition is like going on and on about transmission and voltage to someone who knows zilch about drills.

All they want is an easy, reliable way to make holes.

Functional this and functional that means nothing to Mom and her sis Judy. They just want to breathe air like normal human beings without having severe allergy attacks.

The only place for functional anything is on your About page. But minimize it while you put the focus on your ability to help your clients solve their problem.


#2: Bioindividuality 🤷🏾‍♂️


Look up this word in the dictionary and you’ll come up empty. If it were in the dictionary it would be defined as: the word you use when you want people to leave your website. 


That’s 9 whole syllables. Six more than the average human can handle. 

Oh, it means that my nutritional needs can be different than someone else’s? So you’ll craft a customized plan specifically for me, me, me, so I won’t be bloated and gassy anymore? Now that makes me feel all kinds of SPECIAL! Thank you! Why didn’t you say that before?


#3: Optimal Health and Wellness 🤦🏾‍♂️


To steal a phrase from my buddy Michael Fishman …

“No one ever woke up in the morning and said, ‘Today’s the day I’m gonna get myself some of that optimal wellness.’” 

Nope, not once. Like ever.

But millions of people did wake up this morning and wish that this would be the very last day they’d have to deal with bloating, or headaches, or brain fog, or allergies, etc.

Selling optimal wellness is like taking someone to the paint section when they want you to show them the best tool for making holes. They might need paint, but that’s not what motivated them to get in the car and drive to the store.

Pain is the greatest motivator. Position yourself as the solver of a specific pain, not as an advocate for a general state.


#4: I 🙋🏾


Brace yourself. 

The people who visit your website don’t give that many f*cks about you. If any. Sorry.

In fact, functional MRIs (yes, I said functional, but only because you know what I mean) show that when we get another person to talk about what they’re interested in (err, themselves), their brains release hormones and neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. They literally start falling in love with you.

But when they click on your site and have the “privilege” of reading all about you, you, you, they check out, FAST.

As a general rule, if the word “I” shows up on your homepage more than a dozen times, you’re probably making it about yourself and not about the client.

The best use of the “I” word is when you’re demonstrating empathy for the prospective client, as in:

* “I understand how it feels to struggle with …”
* “I know what it’s like to …”
* “I’ve been there before.”

When you make the core messaging about them, they’ll become more interested in you. 


#5: Mind. Body. Blah. Blah. Blah. 🙄


These are vague words that rarely connect with anyone.

Always keep in mind that you’re essentially playing The Match Game with your potential clients. Again, your job is to match the words they use to describe their main complaint and how they feel about it.

Not only is the phrase “mind-body” overused, it’s also not a match for the client. 

If you have an integrative mind-body approach to health and healing, that’s awesome! But I don’t recommended leading with it as your tagline or slogan. It would be like using “Transmission-Voltage” to sell more hole makers. 

Mind-body is a term that health coaches get, but clients don’t. Know your audience. 

Also, be aware of the fact that for some folks the word mind can imply “psychological therapy.” That’s not what the client wants. She wants a meal plan, accountability, and her problem solved, not a therapist.

Are you using any of these words and phrases on your website and marketing materials? Leave a comment below and let us know which ones. Will you be making some changes?

Thanks for reading!


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