Have you ever stopped and taken the time to consider your therapy marketing and who exactly it is supposed to be targeting? My guess it that the majority of therapists have never given it a second thought. Why? Because they construct a generic website that is all things to all people but don’t take the time to really focus in on what their customers really need and want. Here’s a typical example:
Sharon has just completed her therapy training and decides she wants to set up a practice in Townsville. She works with a local web designer and tells them that she would like a website similar to the ones that she has seen her competitors use. She tells that designer that she is looking to get business in Townsville and asks them to construct website pages detailing all the different forms of therapy she does. Sharon knows that she loves working with people suffering from pet bereavement so makes that a feature on her front page. The rest of the website pages have a brief overview of her services and there is a contact page for potential customers to send her an email. Sharon gets the website placed live online and waits for the phone to ring.
Sound familiar? I would say the vast majority of therapists do something very similar to Sharon and never really think about who their customers are and what they want. Instead they construct a website that they have seen a thousand times before or alternatively they choose to focus on a treatment that really interests them without ever giving a thought to whether their customers actually want or need it. To really target your therapy marketing it is necessary to put in much more thought into who your customer really is.
Defining your Therapy Business Market
1) Location – One of the biggest mistakes I see therapists making is defining a market location that is too small. In Sharon’s case her marketing revolved around Townsville but that really does not make much sense especially if that area does not have a significant population. The reality is that you need to be targeting the towns and villages around your home location as well. This could also mean the county or the region where you are based. I regularly get clients coming to see me from many miles away so it does not make sense to focus on a small area.
2) Age – How old are the clients who are coming to see you? Are your treatments aimed at children, young professionals,the middle aged or even the elderly? Try and work out who is coming to see you and then create a website and marketing plan that appeals to that niche.
3) Gender – Can you define your market even further and differentiate by gender? If you specialise in fertility therapy or Hypnobirthing then creating a website that also appeals to men is slightly pointless as it is the women who are making the buying decisions in these cases.
4) Income – There is no point in offering £200 per hour treatments or an expensive package of treatments if you know that your local area is filled with low income earners. That said if you are in the middle of Central London or New York then yes you can sell top dollar all singing all dancing therapies at premium prices.
5) Interests – You may have a huge interest in pet bereavement therapy like Sharon but is it the most suitable therapy to highlight on your website front page? This issue by the way is not made up. I worked with a Counsellor who was getting hardly any clients and was scratching a living. She had put this treatment as the highlight on her website. It was obvious that not only did nobody care about this treatment but that it was probably putting them off contacting her for other issues. Think about the real problems that people really want to see you about such as couples counselling or anxiety reduction and concentrate on those. If you do offer other treatments that are more “out” there stick them on your inside pages.
6) Best Sellers – I have mentioned before that in order to be a great therapy marketer you need to “Smell What Sells”. Have a look at your competition and the people who are typically coming to see you and you will find that some of your treatments will be ten times more popular than others. These need to form the core of what you offer as that is what is going to make you a living. Creating a niche is great but not when it is so obscure that nobody is paying to come and see you for it.
7) Where are They? – Once you have a better idea of where your target market is based you can start to market to that location. So if you are selling Hypnobirthing you need to target local midwives and doctors surgeries, playgroups and coffee shops. Get together with local Yoga and Pilates teachers to sell your services and so on. There is no point just sticking an advert in the local paper as it isn’t targeted marketing. You need to focus in as closely as you can to your niche and sell them more services.
8) What do You love? – Even though I don’t advocate choosing obscure treatments to focus on there is no harm in choosing to focus on the other areas that you love to work in. If you get a kick out of helping people to stop smoking then really focus in on making that part of your core business. If you hate working in other areas then leave them off your websites. I know that I don’t get excited about working with children so where possible I try and avoid that kind of work. Others however will love the little ones. Horses for courses as they say.
9) Vocabulary – I saw a great website today from a Life Coach called “yourkickasslife.com”. The title of the website and the content stood out but remember that this kind of website has its limitations. It has been clearly designed to appeal to women and I would say an age demographic of 30 to 50. Having a website using similar language whilst offering treatment for older customers will simply not appeal in the same way. Choose the tone of your words and phrasing carefully to suit the customers you are trying to appeal to.
10) Keywords – Finally make sure that you use keywords in your copy that will help you get found. In other words think about what your customers would type into the search engines and then use those phrases in your website content. There is no point in wasting words talking about non related content as nobody will find you!
Defining an audience for your therapy marketing and targeting those customers can be easier than you think but it does take a little effort. Get it right and you will reap the rewards but get it wrong and you will be lucky to see a customer coming your way. If you need help with your therapy marketing strategy then getting a professional involved is a great way of making a difference to your bottom line. It can make the difference between success at your new chosen career or failure and heading back to your old day job!