Help People Avoid Horrible Things

Many natural healthcare practices confuse their potential patients with unclear messaging. StoryBrand provides a formula to craft your message so that your ideal patients will be captivated and want to engage. Follow this blog series to discover how StoryBrand is a natural fit for marketing your naturopathic, chiropractic, acupuncture, or functional medicine practice.

This article is part 9 of 11 in a series on StoryBrand for Health and Medicine. Check out the entire series here.



StoryBrand for Health and Medicine Part 9: Help People Avoid Horrible Things


People are often more motivated to avoid bad things than to achieve good things. They will take action if they know that there is a risk of losing money or status….or health.

That’s why one of the most important parts of the StoryBrand framework is the section where you talk about failure.

If you are a naturopathic or integrative clinician, the failures you help your patients avoid are huge. You help them avoid a lifetime of disease, discomfort and pain.

But you don’t want to harp on the negative. Donald Miller of StoryBrand says that successes are the flour in the messaging recipe and failure is the salt.

If you want to know how to incorporate failure into your healthcare marketing message—in a way that is nuanced and subtle, read on….


Types of Failure You Help Patients Avoid

When you sit down to brainstorm the types of failure you help your patients or customers avoid, there are 2 categories to consider: short-term and long-term. Short-term failures are the things that your patients are already experiencing. Long-term failures are things you help them avoid over time. To get your creative juices flowing, take a look at these examples:

Examples of short-term failures that naturopathic and integrative medicine often help people avoid:

  • Procrastinating about your health
  • Ignoring symptoms and wishing they would just go away
  • Dealing with bothersome symptoms day in and day out
  • Low energy
  • Low mood
  • Pain

Examples of long-term failures that naturopathic and integrative medicine often help people avoid:

  • Worsening of symptoms and disease
  • Developing an irreversible chronic disease
  • Increasing dependence on medications
  • Losing time with family because of health issues
  • Losing money on the high cost of healthcare


How to Use Failure in Your Marketing Message

Remember to use failure in your marketing message sparingly! There are 2 times that mentioning failure can be particularly helpful: to set the stage for your offer and to close the deal.

When you use failure to set the stage, it’s similar to talking about the problems your patients or customers have. On a website, you can do this as one of the very first things (typically after your headline section). Simply write a brief paragraph summing up some of the horrible things you help people avoid. It will tap into their emotions and leave them eager to hear how you can help.

When you use failure to close the deal, a little goes a long way. All you need is a single sentence. At the moment that you are asking a new patient to sign up for a service (or even when you are asking a current patient to take the next step in their healthcare), remind them what they will avoid. On your website, when you ask them to “schedule an appointment,” put some brief text above the button that says, “stop procrastinating and wishing your symptoms would magically disappear…CALL NOW.”



Failure in the StoryBrand Framework

Read Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller or check out the free online BrandScript tool. You'll see that every good marketing message includes mention of failure. Sometimes in StoryBrand we refer to this as "the stakes." You can learn more at or by hiring a StoryBrand Certified Guide.


Up next

This article is part 9 of 11 in a series on StoryBrand for Health and Medicine. Up next is Part 10: Your Medicine Makes Life Better 

You might also like...

February Social Media Ideas for Functional Medicine

November Social Media Ideas for Functional Medicine

October Social Media Ideas for Functional Medicine

Get my Rinse & Repeat Caption Template!

A proven social media formula to boost likes, comments, & DMs

No Spam. Unsubscribe any time. Privacy policy in footer.

Sarah Cook

Simplifying copy & content for health entrepreneurs.

Start Here