Why are you a therapist? Part of the answer will probably be because you want to help people. You will hopefully also enjoy it and then you need to make a living.
But how successful are you at running a thriving practice?
Many enthusiastic and well trained therapists set up in business only to close their therapy doors all too soon, frequently in the first year of trading. When we question why this is, we come to the conclusion that in a lot of cases the therapist has not done what is needed to market and promote themselves. Either they’re too bashful to sing their own praises – it’s almost as though they’re too nice to succeed or they don’t understand/like marketing, so they avoid it.
Part of the problem, it seems, is that they’re not fully exploiting opportunities that are already open to them. We’re always saying to our hypnotherapy clients that “it’s the small steps that count”. The same applies to marketing. Some therapists get daunted by the sheer scale of what they can potentially do. Yet let’s look at something very straightforward:
The power of business cards
Now, when we manned our stand at Camexpo at Earls Court in 2012, it had an estimated 5,000 attendees. We set up a free prize draw with the chance to win £150 in Health Spa vouchers, in exchange for dropping a business card into a glass bowl. Anticipating some therapists might not have their business cards on them, we prepared paper slips for people to fill in. What surprised us is that over 40% of the therapists who came to our stand didn’t have their business cards with them. So they were potentially missing out on a massive networking opportunity. What a lot of therapists miss is the fact that the competition i.e. other therapists, can be a great source of introductory business if you play your cards right.
So where are your business cards right now? In a neat pile at home or at your therapy room? Or do you have a supply in your pocket or handbag ready to give out to anyone you meet who expresses an interest in your therapy? Business cards are inexpensive, effective and can convey a huge amount about you in a nutshell, yet people don’t see them as the potentially valuable marketing tool that they can be, especially in this digital age.
We give out two or three business cards in every relaxation CD case we hand out to their clients. Why two or three? Because those existing clients have friends, family, colleagues etc who may need your services. When writing to a GP, we always include a business card – the letter will end up in the patient’s file so you need something that the GP can refer to. We do recognise that depending on the GP they may also end up in the bin, but this is where the cards are relatively cheap and therefore that doesn’t matter. The more you persistently make contact, the more chance that business card will be kept.
Imagine walking down the High Street where you live and you bump into an old colleague, maybe a business person who you recognise from working down the same street or possibly a family member who has a friend with them. The question is asked “What do you do”. You should always “Enthuse”!! Show your passion for your work. But then life continues and that person carries on down the road and goes shopping or goes back to work. Where are you in their mindset? Probably not at the forefront. However, if you’ve handed over your business card and they find that on returning home, it reminds them of what you do. It may get filed in the bin….but it might not!
This is where general marketing comes in and you need to be seen in more than one place. It’s all well and good being on the internet, a must in today’s world, but if you’re handing out business cards, appearing in local good quality magazines etc, you get a drip feed effect – and that’s the power of marketing, if you do it properly.
Why do companies such as Coca-Cola, BMW and big supermarkets not just advertise on TV or the internet? It’s because that’s not the only place people look and they know the power of spreading that marketing mix.
Finally, what’s on the back of your business card? Some people use it as an appointment card which is fine, but consider this. If someone comes to see you for a fear of flying then in their mindset you’re great at helping to sort out this type of phobia. It might not strike them that you’re also a gem at helping to sort insomnia or helping with the symptoms of IBS etc. The back of your business card is an ideal place to advertise your wares. Even a simple heading saying ‘Hypnotherapy can help with…’ and you can list anxiety; phobias; insomnia; confidence etc. Remember, your clients have a lot of contacts and your business card is a great way of spreading the word.
A business card may only be a small outlay financially compared to other areas of your marketing budget or business as a whole, it may only be small as you hold it in your hand, but it is powerful.
Your Action Points:
- Set yourself a target to give out your business cards to at least five people a week.
- Don’t just give them one card, they’ll want to keep that. Give them at least two or three so they can keep one and pass the others on.
- Make sure your business cards are out on display right in front of your clients, so they hopefully help themselves.
- Start putting them in with correspondence/relaxation CDs.
- Stop being shy, hand them out!
Nicola Griffiths and Deborah Pearce are hypnotherapists who can jointly boast over 50 years of marketing experience. As well as running hypnotherapy practices, they also head up Therapists Marketing Solutions (TMS) which offers marketing courses for hypnotherapy students and practitioners.