Sizzle, Steak & the Sensible Shoe Fetish


There’s an adage in marketing that you need to sell the sizzle, not the steak — which is what explains why sex appeal is used so often in TV commercials.


I’m fairly certain that we won’t be seeing any LCSWs, MFTs, LMHCs, ACCs, CPCs, NDs, or LAcs  trying out a similar business branding strategy. 


But, yes, counselors, coaches and NDs do still need to find compelling ways to capture potential clients’ attention without sliding over into Sleezemania.  So let me reframe Sizzle and Steak for the healing arts.  And I’ll thrown in a pair of Sensible Shoes, as a bonus. 


Sizzle is compelling emotional connection.  


It’s acknowledging the pain and suffering being experienced by your niche market with emphasis on the struggle they go through on a daily basis.  


It’s the conversation of your website’s home page or your directory “profiles” first paragraph that immediately helps them feel seen and understood, and does so with a glimpse of your personality.  


It’s the call to action that helps them decide that no they don’t want to put up with their distress any longer and yes they want to come see you.


Steak is substance that nurtures.  


It’s the actual work that you do with your clients once they are in the door,  of course.


But it’s also the valued self help you provide through your website’s give-away items, or your signature talks and workshops.  Tip sheets, articles, special reports, teleclasses with suggestions that can be immediately accessed and  implemented, and inspiring anecdotes to illustrate your knowledge provide hope that by working with you distress can be reduced, life will get better.  


The steak also increases the “know you – like you – trust you” factor that helps prospects decide to call for an appointment.


Sensible Shoes are the necessary facts, ma'me


Sensible Shoes are the nuts and bolts logistical info of where you are located, what your contact info is, how to pay you, your credentials and list of specialties, and your downloadable intake forms, etc.  


It’s the logical reasons and benefits of services such as yours, presented in the plain brown wrapper of an idea that people will see what’s good for them and act accordingly.  


This is the stuff that pretty much sounds like every other therapist, coach or naturopath.  It’s straight forward, no frills, factual info that even the hungriest starlet wouldn’t be caught dead trying to sell ‘cuz it ain’t hot.  Yes, it’s necessary.  But it’s boring.  And it sends potential clients to Snoozeland.


You can overcome the sensible shoe fetish of  Snoozeland, and stay out of over-the-top superhype Sleezemania , and instead dwell happily in Nicheville.  How?  

By writing your web-presence content in a normal conversational voice, like you’re hearing the complaints of a real person and speaking directly to their concerns with empathy and interest in them.


Offer some steak, and season with a dash of sizzle.


If creating sizzle and steak aren’t your forte, I can help.  Get my tips for some copywriting assistance.


Is your website all about selling sensible shoes?  Not sure? Get a website critique and find out what to change.





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​I ​​do two basic things when I work with people:

I bring 40 years of experience and training​ to bear on the projects or situations at hand, and

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