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Joshua Myrvaagnes

Yonkers, NY


How No-Pressure Marketing Works:

You Can Have Effective Web Copy—and Keep Your Passion, Integrity, and Connection to Spirit

Do you want a web site that draws to you a steady stream of the people who really need your services?  And do you simply need your copy to reflect who you really are, feel right, inspired, and aligned with your deepest values?  

Well, if the above seems impossible, there's good news: most of what you know about marketing is probably untrue, and in today's market, the best marketing is the truest. (And if the above seems completely unsurprising, please skip ahead to My Process or Vision Statements.)


There are many common misconceptions most “holistic folks” share about web copy and about marketing for success that tend to turn them off or scare them from the start. I myself used to think this way, and I didn't know anything about marketing except what I'd inferred from seeing icky ads for things I didn't want all around me. As I've learned the truth, I've realized that there are honest ways of marketing, especially because of the great change in communications that has occurred recently: the internet. There are now many alternative strategies, and most holistic healers are missing out on these because of an information gap between them and the people who do marketing.
Here are three common misconceptions:

#1:Effective marketing has to cost a fortune.
#2: You have to pressure.
#3: You have to lie. 

Misconception #1: "it will have to cost a fortune,
and no matter how much you do it will only be a drop in the bucket and bring you a trickle of inquiries. You need to saturate the world with advertisements in order to have any effect. Your ads’ content doesn’t matter; only the quantity of ads placed, and the amount of money spent placing them; you’d need to purchase a spamming database and do a mass mailing in order to get any visitors to your web site.”

Truth: Alternative, no-pressure marketing can be inexpensive. The content of your copy is much more important than the quantity of ads placed on the internet or in the world. You don’t need to spam anyone; rather, you need to make sure that those people who do look at your copy can see that you’re worth their time and money. Clearing the channel of communication is far better than brute force. Most of the waste occurs in big advertising because the business's ads or business cards or web site are filled with platitudes instead of information. You should only do a mass mailing if you can make it a beautiful act in and of itself—so beautiful, in fact, that you’d be willing to do it even if it weren’t selling any product.

Rich Harshaw’s team helped one company increase its “lead flow” from 70 to 955 a month without spending any extra money (*. The company had an unusually generous and helpful service—but their ad said the same exact thing every other ad said: “Moving Company, great prices, insurance.” Harshaw’s team wrote a brilliant ad that told the real story of the company’s service, and that’s what made the difference.

* Rich Harshaw, Monopolize Your Marketplace, Executive Excellence Publishing, (Provo, UT, 2004).  (

Misconception #2: You have to pressure.
“Most visitors to your site won’t end up buying from you anyway. If you want to be financially successful, you’d to pressure your customer in order to get them to buy from you. You’d have to be like those slick used-car salesmen, and lie and fast-talk your prospect into making a purchase, and you’d never want to do that so you’ll be satisfied with not doing much business and not making enough money to do your work full time.”

Truth: You don’t have to pressure anyone. Pressuring a prospect for a service like holistic healing is counter-productive. People who are looking for holistic healing tend to make their decisions based on their gut feeling, their heart, and convincing evidence-based information. The relationship is the most important thing. Pressuring people sets up a bad relationship from the start, so don’t do it.

Misconception #3: You have to lie.
“To be really persuasive and make lots of cash, you’d have to make false claims.”

Truth: Obviously, lying about your services would be counterproductive also. It will build a bad relationship. What you need to do is to tell the full impact your services are able to have if you want people to make the investment. It’s necessary to dodge the demons that say your gifts aren’t worth that much—and doing the work of writing together with another person who wants you to succeed makes this much easier. Then it’s also necessary to spark the person’s imagination, by speaking from your personal knowledge, and by describing in detail the exact nature of the service so she or he has a sensory picture in her/his head. The reader should breathe a deep breath because your description is so vivid that her body itself responds and says, “Yes, finally, someone who understands!” The words on your website can be so vivid that they act on the reader’s energy field like an acupuncture treatment. The effect continues to adjust his energy field for 72 hours after the needles have been removed. Artful words can do this.

Stories always stick with us. They come back to mind later automatically when we're talking with someone else and so we pass them on. This is natural. I remember an informational interview with the director of education at the Beczak environmental educational center here in Yonkers where I live. She told me she had started out for many years saving wetlands on Long Island, and was very successful and managed to preserve a large acreage there. Yet, even after years of her working there, the public still had no idea what she was doing or why. They were unaware of the impact their own day-to-day actions had on the environment around them. She deeply wanted people to be informed and aware, and so she switched to environmental education. Now she’s been working for five years at Bezcak, and feels she has begun more truly making difference. I heard this from a real scientist, a person who counts and measures species and toxins, a person who is at home in talking about the fauna and chemical constituents of the Hudson—yet what really matters to her most is still is related to people. I was truly surprised, and felt a sense of relief also at another sign that the grim work of saving the environment could have a human dimension. I will never forget that story. Or my first clients’ desire for people to see the magic in their own lives. What are your stories? What is a story you could tell about your work that would stay with your reader forever? What are the stories that will stay with you forever?


First I interview my clients, usually for at least an hour and a half. I ask you to tell me your passion—what it is exactly that you most want to offer to the world, and who your ideal clients are. Not just the ones who pay well—the ones who feed your spirit to work with, the ones who really need what you have to offer.

Next I’ll ask some more practical questions. Your clients’ needs, their values, what evidence they need to feel they’re making the right choice in doing business with someone. These are not only essential for marketing, but open up opportunities for you to reflect on your gifts and your challenges. It’s often helpful to have a second person near to help one focus on things that are up close every day and that one tends to begin to take for granted. Maybe you’re always stuck in the thought, “I don’t know where to begin,” but in reality you need a chance to remember that you already have a few web sites that inspire you that you’ve been meaning to check out. You have that information in your head; all you need is a mechanism for accessing it—a mirror. I’ll be your mirror.

Then, I’ll toot your horn. If you’re like a lot of people, you undervalue your work because you’re afraid of doing this. Who can see your worth more objectively than you can? The answer is anyone else. Especially if they’re paying attention. You don’t like to toot your own horn—so I’ll toot it for you. I’ll help you talk about your service in the way that inspired you to master it in the first place. (There is even the option that this can take the form of copy on your site that says, “I’m Joshua Myrvaagnes, and so-and-so asked me to write web copy for her coaching business. Let me tell you something inspiring about so-and-so.”) If you have a really good friend who can reflect back to you the real value of your gifts, you can ask that friend to do this. And I hope you’ll reward that person handsomely. It’s an invaluable service. I believe I have a special calling for being the kind of mirror that can let people really see their gifts.

And I myself get help when I need my horn tooted. I didn’t write this site alone. I owe thanks to my housemates Lynne Goodman and Marcie Boyd for looking over copy, and I've asked Tad Hargrave (, green marketing expert and someone I admire deeply and trust with my baby, for constant support and advice. He's been miraculous and changed my life in the process.

STEP 2: I’ll come back at you with a draft--and we’ll work collaboratively as you care to (I hope you’ll be very involved throughout because this is your web site we’re trying to build). If you take me up on my offer of writing coaching (services) then you'll do the writing and I'll simply be on call and there for regular check-ins.

Either way, I won't make you not be yourself. The only thing I won’t let you do is sell yourself short. I’ll suggest, but won’t force on you, some extra ingredients that will make your copy effective strategy-wise. And I’ll continually steer you toward specificity—unique, specific ads are what I’m after. Poets and marketers agree on one thing: living language is essential. Left alone, we humans tend to be vague; but with a writing coach or a sounding board, we begin to see where we've left out specifics, things we've thought but not yet had the nerve to put in writing.

The whole process should take one to three weeks, depending on how much time you have to devote to it. Of course, if you're more comfortable working more slowly, we can work that out also. It's equally important for you to be happy with your text and feel it fits you as for it to be strategically strong, and only you can tell me if it fits.

In six months, I’ll contact you to check on how (and whether) my work has helped your business and your happiness in your work.


Conventional wisdom says to put your portfolio on your web site so everyone can see it.  Sometimes, however, one's best work is so precious it must be kept confidential.

It is also something that came about in an unexpected way.  When I first worked with William (not his real name) as a client, I had already known him for some time from a spiritual support network I belong to.  We had talked on the phone many times, and the thought of his being my client had never crossed my mind.  But today as we were talking he began telling me about a vision he had that he wanted to bring about.  I was riveted.

Because he does not want anything about this vision shared, and because I respect my clients wishes, I can’t tell you one word about it.  But I can say that it’s something he would risk his life for, and something that I would too.  It's so powerful it is actually worth more to him than safety.  I truly feltl a sense of hope and peace as I heard about it.

I said to him, “You know, I could help you write that into a vision statement that you could use in fundraising.  It’s an absolutely awesome vision, and it’s so important that somebody do that, especially at this time, and it would be the easiest thing in the world for me to help you get that into words.”  I was excited, and energy was surging through my belly.

“Yeah, well I know you write web copy, I was thinking of asking you about that.  How much do you charge?”

“Oh, you mean as part of my business?  I hadn't thought of that.  I was saying that just as a friend, but sure, I guess it’s a good idea.  I wouldn’t charge you for it, it’s experimental.  But I’m sure I can do it for you, no problem.”  I just knew it was exactly the thing I’m best at, and that’s most natural for me.  He was doing the hard part—having a specific, concrete vision and the passion to make it in the world; I got to just “eat the dessert” and help tell the story of it.  (He ended up sending me a check for a nominal but significant amount, so that I could say I'd been paid for that job, which I appreciated.)

The way we worked, I wrote up a statement of what I remembered just from our conversation, and he wrote a version, and I mostly asked questions and reaffirmed how powerful I felt certain parts of the vision were.  I kept reaffirming this again and again as doubts crept up or the “editing monsters” tried to convince him to change the words to something tamer. 

He still needs this vision to be kept private, but some day when it’s a reality I hope you who are reading this will get to see it, and feel the impact it will have on our world.  I can say that it is something he's willing to risk liiving in a war-torn country for, and gladly.

That’s how my visioning business got started.  I remembered also that I’d done exactly the same process, but on the other end, with my shamanic community, when the Visioning Committee had asked each of us individually to share what we saw for the futrure of our “village”.  Telling my vision to Jeffrey, and having it be deeply heard, the same powerful energy flowed through my belly.  I just knew I was in the presence of something as vital as food.  And then hearing Jeffrey echo my own vision back to me was astonishing—it was such a powerful vision he was talking about, and he was so eloquent.  Had I just said that?? It was revelatory.

So I knew this was important work, and I knew what a powerful effect it could have on the person having the vision.  And I want to offer it to you.

And since I can’t reveal William’s vision without violating the trust I hold sacred with my clients, I’ll share a little of my own vision instead:

My vision at this time is to co-create ads with other inspired people, texts that articulate what’s uniquely valuable about their products; that I help them write their ideal vision as well as what is good in what they’re presently offering; and that I support them in further unlocking their creativity through other means.  I help people to get what they need to carry out their life purposes, “to have fun, serve the world unselfishly and make a profit” (Victor Baranco).  

And this is not the end of the vision.  This is just what the vision is today.  A vision is an ever-evolving thing, and the dance between myself and Spirit is always changing.  One day it may embrace the world.  That source from which the visions come has infinite size, so the visions it sends us can always grow bigger over time.

If I work with you to create a Vision Statement, I will ask you questions, I will listen, and I will echo back to you what I hear.  I have  the utmost respect for every individual's unique voice, and that is the thing I love more than anything else in life.  We can create a document of one or two pages, which can be excerpted for differnt occasions,. Or a one-sentence version.  This can be used publicly, in fundraising or advertising, or privately, as a "mantra" as they say, to help you keep focussed on what makes your heart sing.  Having it in writing in front of you by your desk can help you maintain confidence in it.  For many people, tangible written words tell the psyche that the thing is real.

Thank you for letting me share my vision, and may your visions come into this world as well.