Functional Medicine is About the Patients’ “Hero Journey” – and Your Marketing Needs to be, too.

Functional Medicine is About the Patients’ “Hero Journey” – and Your Marketing Needs to be, too.


Have you spent hours (and tons of money) building an amazing website for your Functional Medicine practice… but it’s still not generating new clients?

You might have had business cards printed, started a weekly newsletter, developed a referral system, and even spent hours appearing on radio, TV, and podcasts…without anything to show for it?

Sadly, this is a position many Functional Medicine practitioners find themselves in. They’re working hard to “market” their practice and bring in new clients… but the marketing is ineffective, and their practice feels more like a hobby than a business.

As a longtime health and business coach, this is an issue I’ve experienced personally and seen time and again with my clients. When Nathan Morris opened his new practice in Colorado and realized his word of mouth didn’t follow him, he too had to rethink his marketing strategy.

Let me reassure you: like Nathan, you’re a great practitioner! A lack of clients is rarely about the practitioner’s skill and far more often about poor marketing. Don’t give up on your passion for helping people.

To help solve this problem, our team decided to focus Season 3 of the Good Medicine On the Go Podcast specifically on how to redefine marketing by creating simple steps to build better relationships and strengthen your practice.

For Episode 2, we were joined by marketing expert Allan Dib, author of “The 1-Page Marketing Plan.”

Allan shared the two biggest mistakes Functional Medicine practitioners make in marketing… and exactly how to fix them – and now I want to share that with you.

Problem #1: Selling functional medicine

I get it – you’re passionate about the Functional Medicine model. So am I!

This is the rookie mistake I made when I opened my Autism Recovery Clinic in 2013. I was so excited to share all the influencing factors contributing to our children’s developmental delays and behaviors and what we can do about it. Most parents stared at me like I had three heads.

Let’s remember why most people turn away from conventional medicine and toward alternatives like Functional Medicine. The biggest reason: no one is listening to them.

If you focus your marketing on talking about why Functional Medicine is so great, your potential client again feels like they’re not being listened to. They perceive you as having an agenda to push instead of as an empathetic, caring healer who is willing to listen.

Problem #2: Talking about yourself

It makes sense to want to talk about your own journey to Functional Medicine, your training and qualifications, and the beliefs that guide your practice…

If you have a broken arm, and you go to the emergency room, do you want to hear your doctor’s philosophy of medicine? No! You want acknowledgment and help for the immediate pain you’re in. And that’s what your clients want, too.

Marketing Should be patient-focused

If you shouldn’t talk about Functional Medicine or yourself… What should your marketing focus on?

Effective marketing acknowledges the patient’s pain and centers the patient as the hero of their own story.

Functional Medicine is about the patient’s “hero’s journey” – and your marketing should be, too.

When it comes to marketing your practice, you should be focused not on what you’re selling, but who you’re selling to. This is how we build better relationships with our prospects. And we know, for a Functional Medicine care plan to be successful, the patient and provider need a long-standing relationship (partnership).

Meet the client where they’re at

To market effectively to potential clients, you must first understand the conversation in your “ideal client’s” mind.

Focus on two areas:

 #1.) What are your ideal client’s pains?

If your niche is gut issues, prospect patients’ pains might be bloating, food sensitivities, and constipation. If you work with hormone issues, their pains might be hot flashes, irregular cycles, and hormonal acne. Whatever your niche, spend time thinking about exactly how your patients are hurting. What is the conversation going on in their mind? To do this, do some market research, aka interviewing your patients, to understand their daily frustrations, anger, guilt, fear.

#2.) What does your ideal client want to gain?

Think about what your client hopes they will get from working with you: relief from their pain, of course, but also freedom, confidence, and even love.

Effective marketing materials focus less on you and Functional Medicine and more on a client’s “pains and gains.”

Here’s what this looks like in real life

To help see this kind of marketing in action, I’ll share about my own marketing practices, and those of my business partner (and cost of the Good Medicine On the Go Podcast), Dr. Nathan Morris.

For an example of how to dive into your patient’s pains and gains, be sure to listen to Episode 2 of Good Medicine On the Go, where Dr. Morris and I discuss in real-time “getting into the mind” of his ideal client: a woman in her mid-40s, who is usually a high achiever, but is now feeling “off” – and might even be worried she is losing her mind.

For my own business coaching practice, I’ve chosen nutrigenomics as my niche, and my ideal client is a provider who is new to using nutrigenomics.

Here is the brainstorm I came up with to describe my own ideal client’s pains and gains:

  1. Your Passion has been reignited for medicine
  2. Yet, you are now expected to be an expert in all fields of medicine and business development upon entering the field
  3. You are taking a deep dive into so many courses and certifications and sometimes can feel more lost than ever of how to apply the information you are learning
  4. How can you possibly take a deep dive into genetics?! You have had very little if any previous training.
  5. You desire to be on the cutting edge of medicine and best serve your patients
  6. Plus, you are attempting to live a balanced life as you recommend to your patients…
  7. You may already feel guilty that your practice is totally consuming you. You put your business to sleep, you dream about it, wake up, take care of it, and repeat.
  8. Learning a complex topic such as nutrigenomics and using a genetic interpretation tool can be intimidating, and it can be hard to know where to begin.
  9. You are looking for the answers to questions such as:
    1. Where does a practitioner start to learn the science of nutritional genomics in a non-intimidating method?
    2. How do you use a nutrigenomics report in concert with a patient’s history and lab results?
    3. How do you talk with patients about genomics so it’s empowering and not overwhelming?
    4. How do you integrate into your workflow and office systems?
    5. How do you train your staff?
    6. How do you market this service?

Based on this deep understanding of my ideal client, I created a 4 Step Knowledge Process for successful integration. Head over to my website and see how I put the pains and gains I outlined above to work. Go ahead and schedule a free welcome call to get started mapping out your unique integration plan – or send me an email directly at

Are you looking to level up your practice by adding nutrigenomics?

Be sure to check out our new Good Medicine On the Go virtual events! Learn more about our virtual events calendar.

Our New Virtual Events are designed to help you deeply engage with the material you’ve already heard on Good Medicine On the Go so that you can apply it to grow your practice and better serve your patients.

This year, we have created a lineup of events to help you connect history + genetics + labs. Our first event kicks off on May 19th with Nutrigenomics Case Studies. Dr. Nathan Morris will review history + genetic case studies submitted by our audience. Have you been hoping for the chance to review your patient’s report with an expert? Let’s do this!

More marketing questions?

Be sure to leave a comment with your questions, challenges, and even your successes on our Facebook Page!

Your comments may be integrated into a future episode of Good Medicine On the Go.

I am a paid advisor at Pure Encapsulations, I do not have any other conflicts of interest. All podcast productions represent the opinions of the co-hosts and do not represent the position or the opinion of the sponsors. Reference by the presenter to any specific product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, or manufacturer does not constitute or imply endorsement or recommendations by the Sponsor. The podcast is not a substitute for standard medical care. The podcast is intended for licensed health care practitioners. Practitioners are solely responsible for the care and treatment provided to their own patients.

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