Being a successful therapist, particularly in private practice, requires a good helping of marketing skills. It is no good being the most effective therapist in the world if you don’t tell the world that you exist.
Your practice will be a success or failure depending on your therapy skills and your marketing skills. Most therapists have to rely on their own judgements and instincts with regards to what will make the telephone ring.
Many new therapists fall into the trap of attempting to ‘buy’ their clients: in effect throwing away their hard earned funds (usually saved from their previous career) at advertising in newspapers, magazines, numerous editions of yellow pages, journals, local directories, doctors surgeries, appointment cards, radio and TV.
Advertising should be researched and approached in the meticulous manner that you would use with your therapy clients. It is essential to always keep records of how your clients heard about you. It is the only way to know whether an advertisement or marketing strategy has worked.
Look at what the other therapists in your area are doing. If they place a regular advert in a particular place then there is a good chance that it is working for them and could work for you. Whatever you do, don’t just use a carbon copy of their format. Try to be original. Think of what extra value you could offer to prospective clients that would knock the competition into a poor second place.
In order to keep a steady stream of enquires coming in you should market your practice every week. That means every week. If you stop marketing when you are experiencing a feast of clients then you will soon experience a famine.
Some marketing methods require a longer lead time to get a response, may be weeks or months. Others can be very rewarding very quickly and literally within hours. If you continue to market your practice every week you give yourself what every therapist craves: a steady stream of new clients week after week.
Decide how much of your therapy fees you are going to spend on marketing and stick to it. That is your budget and you need to get the most from it. If you decide to pay for an advertisement anywhere, always negotiate. Never accept the first price you are given. Often local newspapers find it difficult to fill the space they have. Ask to be informed when they have last minute space. This is advertising space that they have not been able to fill and where they are grateful to sell it at all. They will offer quite a substantial discount to anyone who can provide advertising copy quickly, so have yours ready.
Then again why not get even better coverage and for free. Always read your local newspaper for any stories that could allow you to incorporate a hypnotherapy slant. From “Local Terapist Calms Scholars’ Exam Nerves" to “Coach Helps Fire Brigade Chill Out Between 999s".
Try to ensure that any article includes details of target groups that you can help, such as people with phobias, low confidence, weight problems, smokers etc and of course details of how you can be contacted. To Summarise :-Keep records of where your clients heard about you.
Repeat those advertisements that work for you. Change or drop completely advertisements that don’t work in a reasonable period of time. Always negotiate over price: tell them you have a limited budget and need a better deal than that!
Look out for local news that you can add a therapy or coaching twist to. Market your practice every week. Follow the above and you will soon hone your marketing to successful strategies that produce paying clients.
Steven A Harold
Author - Marketing Tips for Complementary Therapists
Marketing for Therapists Coaches and Small Business