Planning the Marketing for Your Therapist Website

14

February, 2018

As we discussed in a previous post (see How to Market a Therapist Website, the concept of marketing is often not a positive one in the world of therapists. The bottom line though, is that there is a very real need for therapists to get their name out there for the sake of their clients and potential clients. Failure to do so simply allows “alternatives” to dominate the market with the result that people may not get the help they need.

We have put together this guide on creating a marketing plan to encourage and empower therapists to get their name in front of those who need their services. We strongly discourage any underhanded, misleading or “ambulance chasing” techniques and will never advise anything of that nature. Instead we focus on ways to simply be seen by those who need you, when they are looking for you. We also believe in helping you do as much of your own marketing as possible, especially in the early days when you may have more time available. So let’s get started…

Step 1 – Allowing Time and Setting Times

When something is important, whether professionally or personally, we as individuals will set aside or make time to make it happen. This is a huge part of the difficulty many people have. They try to do “a bit of marketing” when they feel like doing it which is doomed to fail. Marketing properly is work. It takes time. It takes commitment. When you do it properly, you can feel that you have completed a job. So, like any other part of your job, set aside specific time or times in your diary which are for marketing only. This should be treated like a client appointment time – you do not allow anything else to intrude on it unless it is a (real!) emergency.

How much time depends on a number of factors. These include your availability, ability, goals and specific marketing methods. For some, finding 1-2 hours per week will be plenty as the work is done from home and is done online. For others, the specific methods may require 6-8 hours per week as they are physically travelling and meeting people etc. As you go through the marketing options for yourself, consider how much of your time these will take.

“The concept of marketing is often not a positive one in the world of therapists. The bottom line though, is that there is a very real need for therapists to get their name out there for the sake of their clients and potential clients. Failure to do so simply allows “alternatives” to dominate the market with the result that people may not get the help they need.”

Step 2 – Deciding on Marketing Methods to Use

When choosing any type of marketing, it is important to keep a number of things in mind to ensure you are not overstretched and to keep you on track. These are:

  • Consistency – Can you do this on an ongoing basis?
  • Measurability – What will success of this method look like? How many new clients do you want/need it to bring you to cover the costs (financial, time)?
  • Affordability – If this method does not work, is badly implemented or even if a third-party messes it up, how will this affect you? Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.
  • Long-term effects – Does this method show your practice in a favorable way? Could you lose clients or suffer reputational damage through applying this method? E.g. hard-selling methods which people dislike.

Once you have marketing methods which take the above points into account, it is time for implementation.

can find what they want and engage with the site.

Step 3 – Budgeting for your Marketing Plan

Asking how much does a good marketing campaign cost is like when a client asks you how many sessions they will need before you even meet them – it is impossible to say definitively. However, it is vital that you set a budget that you can afford and that you stick to it – within reason. I firmly believe in a slow and steady progression of your marketing method. For example, if you are considering placing an ad in a local newspaper, choose a smaller ad and if you see a result consider a bigger ad or an additional newspaper. Similarly, for online advertising with Google or Facebook, you can begin with a very low budget and see what results you get.

It can often be worthwhile to consult a professional regarding certain types of advertising. For example, talk to a graphic designer before doing a newspaper ad and see what they suggest. For online advertising, talk to someone who specializes in this area. On average, I find that people who create their own Google Ad campaign waste 60% of their spending as they have made mistakes, targeted the wrong phrases or simply did not think about the text in the ad. With this type of advertising, a bigger up-front cost can save a lot of money in the medium to long term so be prudent and don’t assume that you can do everything yourself. Budget for expertise.

Step 4 – Implementation Planning

I have long since lost count of how many clients have come to me at the last minute to help them with implementing a marketing strategy. Some real life examples of last minute problems I have seen clients have:

  • “My flyers took longer than expected and I can’t do my promotion day”
  • “I can’t find a venue for my information evening (tonight)”
  • “I booked a radio ad but have no idea what to say, the ad is due to start tomorrow”
  • “My son designed my posters and ordered them online but they just arrived and look awful!”

I have a general rule of thumb for promotional materials that are to be ordered – they need to arrive 7-10 days BEFORE I actually need them. This allows time for a back-up plan if necessary. Printing companies are notorious for allowing queue jumping if a bigger order comes in so plan for all eventualities. Similarly, any venue you require for any activity should be booked and confirmed with deposit paid a minimum of 4-6 weeks in advance.

The bottom line is that a last-minute ANYTHING is much more expensive so make sure you do not fall victim to this.

Step 5 – Just Do It

Now that you have laid out your plan, put things in place, set a budget, costed out what you need, consulted an expert and are ready to go – you need to just go and do it.

Remember the time setting we talked about in Step 1? Stick to it. Stop second guessing your choice of marketing methods – you have already litmus tested them with the questions from Step 2 (Haven’t You?). Double checking your budget from Step 3 is ok to do but once you have done so, don’t dwell on it and just keep to the plan. Your flyers have arrived, your venue confirmed with you yesterday and the expert told you everything looks good from their side – You have planned the implementation well so place a tick beside Step 4. It is all ready to go so now is the time, go out and do what you have planned and do it with a smile on your face. This is part of being self-employed and is something different to your usual job, perhaps outside your comfort zone so Just Do It.

Marketing is not easy. You are of course allowed to make mistakes. To minimize the possibility of mistakes happening, make sure to read through our other Resource pages and blogs to glean as much advice as possible and Sign-Up to our newsletter to never miss a new advice post. In fact, you can even set a no-obligation consultation with us to discuss your needs and we will give you suggestions and feedback on your ideas as well as provide you with ideas of ours.

Contact Us today and get your practice moving on its marketing plans.

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