For some therapists and healers, 2013 was a struggle. Perhaps you can relate and want to do better this year yourself. If that is the case, now is the time to get on it.
Below are 5 themes that I saw repeatedly last year in therapists’ marketing and some pointers on how to avoid them this year.
Mistake #1: Going Into Panic Mode Because of a Drop in Clients
Whether you have been in business for 6 months or 30 years, you are always at risk of experiencing a drop in the number of counseling or healing clients you see—this is especially true if you are not marketing effectively. I had quite a few people come to me last year that had been in practice for a few decades and were shocked and discouraged when their client load decreased substantially.
Of course it is understandable to be concerned when your client load decreases, especially if you have been successful for many years. It can cause you to have doubts about what you are doing and worry about your future. At worst, you can become desperate and panicky, which only ends up working against you.
You have to remember that nothing is ever for certain. Things are constantly changing, and in order to thrive in business and in your life, you need to change and evolve too.
You can’t control the economy or any other external factors that seem to be getting in the way of attracting more clients, but you CAN control what you do.
If you have built a full practice once, you can do it again. The key is to stay positive and figure out what you need to do to improve your situation. I can assure you that there are still people out there who are paying for therapy and other health services; just like there are many successful clinicians and practitioners with full practices. If they can do it, so can you. It may not be easy, but being in business often isn’t.
If you have found that you are losing too many clients, you should increase your marketing, and maybe take a look at some new strategies. Perhaps it’s time to look at your mindset and what is holding you back. Be honest with yourself, and find out where the problem is and what you need to do about it.
If you are feeling stuck in discouragement, you might want to take a course or get some consulting or coaching help. Find a way to move forward that works for you. You can overcome this crisis, but it is important to reach out for help if you need it.
Mistake #2: Failing to Market Consistently
In any business, it is absolutely vital to maintain a consistent marketing plan. If you fail to market consistently, you are at high risk of experiencing a drop in clients at some point—and it could be a huge drop that takes you completely by surprise.
In many places competition continues to increase, and it’s certainly increasing on the web. This makes it more important than ever that you find a way to stand out. This can be a challenge if you don’t want to be seen as competitive. However, the reality is that you need to find a way to position yourself as unique in what you do, so that you can attract the type of clients that resonate most with you and what you have to offer.
It is not enough for you to have a rough idea of your marketing plan in your head. You need a written plan in order to organize your thoughts and ideas before putting them into action. Once you have your written plan, it will be much easier for you to follow through with it on a consistent basis. If you continue to work your plan effectively, you WILL see results eventually.
Mistake #3: “Hoping” to Acquire All Your Clients From Search Engines and Counseling Directories
First of all, “hoping” to get clients isn’t an effective way to market. Second, while optimizing your website for search engines and listing in counseling or other health care directories is important, to expect or hope to attract all your clients this way is unrealistic. It was a lot easier to do this in the past, but the Internet keeps on changing so what worked in the past, doesn’t always work so well today.
Sure, there are some people who still attract many of their clients from these platforms, but they are the exception, not the rule. AND, the situation could change for them at any time. If they are choosing not to market because they have a steady stream of clients coming in from these sources, they are putting themselves in a vulnerable position.
If you are not prepared to engage in an aggressive SEO and website/blog strategy to bring your rankings up, it’s best to add other methods to help bring clients in.
Mistake #4: Focusing on Short-Term Results
Too many professionals focus on short-term results, as opposed to understanding that it is the long-term strategies that will sustain a full private practice. We all want clients NOW, and so it’s upsetting when we don’t get the results we expect right away when we’ve put in a lot of effort. And yet, it is essential that we plan for the long-term with a systemized strategy, and then any clients we attract in the short term are an added bonus.
Having a long term vision and plan is the key to having a full practice. By doing so, you will avoid being surprised if your client load drops because you will have a marketing strategy already in place that you can trust to get you to where you want to go.
Mistake #5: Failing to have a Strong Internet Presence
Many therapists make the mistake of putting up a website for the sole purpose of having some form of an Internet presence without regard to what the website looks like or having a plan to bring clients to it. A strong, up-to-date, user friendly, conversion optimized and compelling website will convert more web visitors into clients, thus building your practice faster.
Your website is a long-term investment for your business, and if it is done well, you’ll get back much more than what you put into it. It should be built to attract the type of clients you want to see, and it should easily convert those visitors into new clients.
If you want to attract clients online, you’ll need to do more than just have a strong website. You’ll need to have an email list and a blog, and a social media strategy too. Content marketing (email/newsletter marketing, blogging, video marketing, etc.) along with social media are the best online strategies in use today.
Moving Forward In 2014
How many of these mistakes are you guilty of making during the past year? Whether it was one or all of them, don’t worry. 2014 is full of new possibilities. You have a lot of time to make the necessary changes to grow your practice this year.
All you have to do is resolve to make some great, positive moves for your practice and then put them into action. We all make mistakes when building a business. It’s what we do with our mistakes that count.
Feel free to leave a comment on this article in the Comments section below.
And if you want some help…
If you want help in developing a marketing plan, check out when the next Marketing Plan Mini Camp begins.