You know I love marketing and I sing the praises of how marketing will bring your clients! and money! and free time you never knew you had!
There also seem to be about 100 other people out there also telling you how to market your practice. I know some of these folks personally and they know their stuff.
But most of them won’t tell you the nitty gritty ,down and dirty insider secrets that I’m about to tell you now because they have filters and are appropriate in polite company and I just say stuff that comes to mind (because it’s my blog and I can do that).
The truth is, there are more than 5 things people aren’t telling you about marketing, but I’m going to share 5 here because I don’t want to scare you. I share because I care and don’t want you to make some of the same mistakes I’ve made along the way that have cost me time and money. Let my experience be a warning educate you about how to do the marketing right.
It’s Not Simple
The first thing no one will tell you is marketing is more complicated than people are telling you.
A lot of marketers sell “formulas” to market a practice. They offer templates and forms, strategies that you can cut and paste to market your practice. The problem with those approaches is that YOUR practice is unique. What works for them with their ideal clients, in their geographical location and within their specialty won’t necessarily work for you.
It is, however, easy to sell formulas with titles like, “The Marketing Magic Kit,” because people want an easy button, and no one will buy something called, “5 Ways to Do the Market Research Necessary to Fill Your Practice.”
Being Online is Great, but Not the “Answer”
The second marketing trap is the idea that being online is awesome and will be a magical path to success. Honestly, it’s not enough to have a web site, a Twitter account and a Facebook business page. You need to customize these to speak to your ideal client.
People often read this blog and go forth to engage in social media. Once they get set up with a website, Twitter and Facebook they come back to me and say, “Hey, this online stuff doesn’t work!” So, I go check out their online office and see all sorts of reasons why it doesn’t work for them.
If you’re website’s confusing, too wordy, all about you, has no call to action, or just looks amateurish, you won’t get as many clients if it is clean, clear, about the client, and has a strong call to action. (Pssst…if you think your site is awesome, but it isn’t bringing you clients you need to rethink the awesomeness. It’s only good if it brings results).
And if you tweet like you’re advertising, over and over again promoting yourself, your practice, or your products no one will do business with you. You need to converse, be real, promote others, share resources, be approachable and friendly, then people will want to work with you.
Just showing up online doesn’t guarantee you anything. Having a sophisticated, professional presence online gives you a much better chance of a health return on investment.
Marketing is Work (dang it!)
Third, you will get out of marketing what you put in to it. Often I hear this from therapists,
“I want to write a blog and out out a free report or e-book,Tweet and network but I can’t seem to find the energy/time/mojo to do it. But I really need more clients and I don’t want to take insurance. Do you have any ideas of how I can do that?”
No. I have no idea how to answer that question. I have all my clients because I write, post, Tweet, network, and publish.
The truth is, if you manage to put out only 2 blog posts, a few Tweets and occassionally get coffee with a colleague you will get very few (if any) clients from your efforts. But if you kick it into gear and consistently put your stuff out there, over time people notice and you stand out and eventually they want to do business with you.
You’ve Got to DO Stuff!
The fourth thing no one is telling you is that doing is more important than learning. At a certain point you will get diminishing returns from learning how to market and you just need to get out there and do it.
The other day someone asked me how to Tweet. Again, no answer here….just write 140 characters or less about a topic of interest. Read the 1 million other tweets on Twitter and get a feel for what people are doing.
Write. Send. Repeat Often.
Don’t waste your money on a book about how to tweet. Figure out the basics and take action.
The First Try Doesn’t Always Work
Finally, no one really wants to tell you that sometimes your marketing will fail. If we’re being really honest, often your marketing will fail until you get good at it. Getting good at it requires knowing your target audience, speaking to their pain, offering the support they want (not what you think they need), and doing it all while looking professional and polished.
When your marketing doesn’t get you the results you want, you have two choices.
1) Give up, or
2) Tweak and try again.
Good marketers are always tweaking and trying again. They know this isn’t an exact science. They understand that giving people what they want and need isn’t always easy.
I admire good marketing and a website that pulls me in and copy that speaks to me so clearly I want to buy what their selling, even if I have no logical reason to do so.
It’s a Process
Good marketing is an art. It takes time and thought to hit the “sweet spot” with your marketing message, but if you invest in the process it pays off in a major way.
And the real truth is, therapists have a much easier marketing journey than the guys that sell juice, tires or dry cleaning because our work inherently solves a pain. People want to invest in things that solve pain and offer solutions to problems. That’s what we do!!
But don’t let anyone tell you their marketing program will solve all your problems. That’s great marketing, but knowing what works and doing what works are two different things.