I hope you are all doing well wherever you are and that the Coronavirus interruption isn’t hurting your business too much. There are definite signs of more business activity out there in the UK as people start to emerge from the strict restrictions so expect more work in the coming weeks. Face to face work may not begin for another month or so but certainly, there are signs of life in the online market as people realise that they can’t wait forever to get help. Anyway, let’s talk about online hypnotherapy and what I am beginning to see out there.
Online Hypnosis Sessions
As you are probably aware a good percentage of the hypnotherapy market up until a few months ago predominantly operated on a face to face basis. Therapists either worked from their homes or alternatively rented rooms throughout the world to conduct their sessions. Yes, online hypnotherapy existed but for the most part, the vast percentage of hypnosis was still done using old school methods.
Then along came Coronavirus and everything suddenly changed. When therapists realised they were going to earn no money at all because of the lockdown a rush began to move business online. Therapists who had never used Zoom or Skype for sessions were now trying to work out how to work with clients on screen and also how to attract those new clients.
Over the past couple of months, the revolution to online working has picked up speed. Not just with hypnotherapy but in thousands of industries worldwide. We are never likely to go back to exactly how things were in the past as big businesses talk about shelving their office space and allowing their clients to work from home. Partly the speed at which the changes are taking place is because of health and safety but the second is money. An office block, especially in the centre of a thriving city, is hugely costly to run whilst if you get your employees to work from home costs are slashed.
So far all well and good. Surely therapists should be rejoicing as working from home as online hypnotherapy saves costs and cuts dead time waiting for clients. It is a winning scenario, isn’t it?
Now I am going to look into my crystal ball and give you some potential pitfalls that I am seeing which you might not have expected as you contemplated this new online world.
I hate to break it to you but once this move to online hypnotherapy picks up pace there are other people looking at your clients and wanting a piece of the action. Big business is out there right at this moment and thinking how can we make money from these people who need mental health support. I’m not talking about charities or online directories but big corporations selling health services and I can tell you they want the money that your clients have in their pocket and not yours.
You see trying to package hypnosis whilst therapists were scattered was difficult part from say in big cities. It costs money to be a therapy company and hire rooms across the country and then hire therapists so the costs didn’t stack up. It is a whole different ball game when you move online because of the profit margin change.
The Amazonification (is that a word?) or certainly the commodification of therapy has begun and over the next few years, everything is going to change. Once big business starts to muscle in on the talking therapy market the small players are in trouble especially those who don’t know how to market well.
The Facts about Online Therapy
When you were working locally and seeing clients the world was a relatively small place. You say had a therapy business in say Kent and you would attract people to your practice from the surrounding county. If you were a little more well known you might have got business from further afield but most people would have driven no more than 30 miles to see you. You could be a big player in a small area and might well have done incredibly well.
In the local search engine results, you might have been on the first page of Google or if not you could have posted a local Adwords or Facebook Ad and attracted clients to see you. Getting clients would have been relatively easy and your business might have been doing very nicely.
Now everyone is moving online. Suddenly you are a very tiny fish in a big big ocean and here is where the problems start. As the general public gradually get used to online hypnotherapy that is what they will search for. Now Google only has 10 search spaces on the front page in any country for that particular keyword term plus around four or five ads. So where does that leave your business? I can tell you that getting one of those covered 10 spaces when thousands of therapists are competing for them as online therapists are going to be almost impossible.
So where does that leave you? Well, it means either trying to compete for smaller niches or problems or continuing local therapy. The Google local pack appears here to stay for now. Alternatively, you will need to start using ads to get business or building a social media presence to attract clients.
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Big Business and Therapy
As big business moves into the therapy market they will have money to spend to dominate the niche. With their SEO experts and content creators, they can start to blow a hole in your profits relatively quickly. I am already seeing companies out there who are offering therapy help and have a pool of therapists on their books. The client contacts the big company and they farm the client out to one of their therapists. Of course, the company takes a hefty chunk of the money leaving the therapist with peanuts.
Don’t believe me let’s look at one therapy company who boasts that their online counsellors make between $15 and $25 per hour if they join. To become one of their therapists in the US you need a masters degree! So you work for them and earn little more than you would in a low paid admin job. This company is currently pushing its services in the UK market! Did you get in this business to work for that kind of money and to work for someone else? I know I didn’t.
Also last night I was sat watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them on ITV (one of the big three TV companies in the UK) During the ad break an advert appeared for an online therapy company and their app. To give you an idea of the cost of that ad it would be somewhere between £10,000 and £30,000 for 30 seconds. My guess is there will be more. Bet that has blown your marketing budget out of the water!
Yes, some people will always want face to face sessions but expect that sector of the market to get smaller over the next five years. Big business has started to muscle in and they want your hard-earned cash.
Therapy Marketing Knowledge is Everything
So do you want to become one of the wage slaves working for big business or do you want to differentiate your business and get ahead? Now is the time to get up and start to work out how to fight back and make sure you protect your income over the next few years. That means:
- Having an Amazing Website (not just a good enough one)
- Understanding SEO
- Differentiating Yourself on the Market
- Blogging for Business
- Being an Ads Master
Simply put if you are one of those people who have plodded along and know that you need to do something about your business then this is the time to do it. You need to get up to speed fast otherwise it will be too late.
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Therapy Marketing Courses
Head on over to my website now and start picking up the pace. There are courses there to help you with website layout, business blogging and creating profitable online ads. This is the very minimum you are going to need if you want to start competing for a slice of the therapy market. Online hypnotherapy is here to stay but to really compete you need to have the right skills and from my experience, at least 95% of therapists haven’t taken the time to learn them. What you do right now is going to determine what kind of business you are going to end up within the next year or so.