Trusting the universe for new clients is risky - make a simple plan instead.
Many therapists understandably avoid marketing themselves and their practice. Marketing yourself can appear salesy, not to mention the complexity or expense of it. But it doesn't have to be either.
There are times in any business when referrals dry up and clients are thin on the ground. Spurred to action to do something about it often meets a dead end, as one becomes quickly overwhelmed with marketing, design and technology options. And then it's back to trusting the universe! But it doesn’t have to be this way.
The key is to avoid getting overwhelmed. So how do we do this?
The golden rule is to keep things simple!
Try not to get overwhelmed by the options e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, doctors' referrals, local media, networking events and so on. Rather pick an area that you like, make it yours and go for it! For example you might like design, and be reasonably good at it, so creating and posting engaging sentiments with graphics on Facebook to engage your local audience might be a good idea for you. Take a look at some of the following strategy options. Could you see yourself engaging in any of these?
Marketing strategy options:
Public Speaking: Perfect for those of us who love to talk. Public speaking at events is a great way to build your brand and link people to your website.
Writing (blogging): Becoming a thought leader is a great strategy as you get noticed in local and social media and keep your website looking lively.
Networking: A solid strategy to build awareness among local doctors or local community members. Make sure you have a good website, so when people look you up you give them good reason to connect.
Social Media: Building local awareness on social media is an effective strategy, and surprisingly, it doesn't cost the earth. You might be good with social media but don’t have great design skills for creating content? Did you know you can find content available through Zen Social? Zen provides therapists with hundreds of ready-to-post graphics. All you have to do is pick and post them to your favourite social media audience, and now you are engaging with your local community.
Local leafleting: Getting your message out there into doctors surgeries, local medical centres, physiotherapy centres, dentists, educational centres, the local shop notice board, banks and credit unions for example, are all great ways to send people to your website, build and reinforce your brand.
Google Adwords: If you are reasonably technically minded, promoting your website via Google Adwords is a great way to ensure a steady stream of clients.
Check back soon or sign up to our newsletter here as we will dive deeper into the above strategies in our next blog.
Keep it simple.
Keeping things simple has many hidden benefits.
Take your time to try different approaches and see what gets results and what doesn't. Hone in on what works and you will eventually master it. Because you are doing less generally, you now have more time to specialise, and you produce better work. This gets noticed!
As you work at it over time, you will find ways to be more efficient and effective at what you do, and you will start to get results. In no time you'll be a dab hand and this job will have become second nature to you.
Now that you have found your thing, just decide how often you need to do it. Set aside a monthly or weekly slot and schedule it into your diary as you would a client, making it a permanent fixture (easy to do with Google Calendar and you can set up reminders). Many bloggers discipline themselves by setting aside a specific day and time every month. The first Tuesday of the month is as good a day as any. Start early and set aside two hours, for example 6.00 - 8.00. This is very productive time and you are not eating into client time.
Because you have now a routine, you begin to think about what you want to do ahead of the day. In the case of the blogger you get ideas during the month which you can note down and so you have a good idea of what you want to write before you even start.
Keeping things simple helps you to specialise and become an expert. It takes a lot of pressure off and helps you build confidence in your abilities in marketing. But most of all you've built yourself a reliable and sustainable source of clients that you can count on and who can now count on you - thanks to your initiative.