What is Therapy Marketing about?
There were two therapists walking in the African Savannah, when they come across a hungry lion looking at them and licking his lips whilst circling the pair. The two therapists are frozen to the spot in fear. Then one of the therapists takes out his training shoes and puts them on. The other therapist looks at him and says “What are you doing? You’ll never outrun him!” The other therapist says “I don’t need to outrun him, I just need to outrun you!”. Therapy marketing is the same. Fortunately for you most therapists are not very good at marketing so the bar is not that high. All you have to do is be better than your local competition.
What you need to know
There are a few simple things you need to know and keep in mind when marketing your therapy practice.
Make marketing your top priority if you want to succeed.
The primary reason any client chooses your therapy service is because of effective marketing and not your therapy. In this day and age it is unlikely that you are the only therapist offering your type of therapy in your area. The marketing process starts by ensuring that the service you offer fills a need for potential clients, so they will want to buy it. The next step is pricing to ensure that practice will achieve profits and that customers will perceive price to be less than their value of the benefits they receive. The final step is promotion, where your practice communicates with your potential clients about the existence and benefits of services to entice them to contact you. You generate successful sales only because you complete positive service development, price, positioning, and promotion. In fact, you will want your practice to be a marketing practice. You will need to focus on marketing at all times, to succeed.
Don’t confuse advertising with marketing.
Advertising is only a part of the last marketing step, promotion, and it occurs late in the game. Often therapists think advertising is all there is to marketing, so they overlook the other 3 very important earlier marketing steps. Consequently, you will lose the opportunity to control and develop over 75% of all marketing, which must be well done first, to allow advertising to succeed.
Your opinions do not make an effective marketing campaign.
Focus on fulfilling the perceived wants and needs of your clients, from their perspective. If you do, you will greatly increase the number of prospective clients that will decide to purchase your therapy services. You want to avoid IMPOSING your opinions on your potential clients.
Learn all you can about your potential clients.
You want to conduct in-depth research of your potential clients. You will want to learn who your potential clients are, what your potential clients think they need, why they need it, and what makes them choose you.
If you specialise in certain areas, what are your unique selling points over and above your competition, and how does this fit in with your potential clients? Specialisation is very effective at increasing your catchment area of potential clients. The therapy practices suffer more than other business because generally the clients have to be local so they can come and see you. If you are a specialist in certain areas, clients are more likely to travel greater distances.
Know and appreciate the value of your existing customers.
You may often become so focused on getting new clients, you ignore your existing clients. Do this at your peril. Old clients may not need to return because you have resolved their problem. However, they can be a great advertisement for your practice and it will probably not survive without referrals and repeat business. Repeat clients present a wealth of opportunities to you. They frequently provide you excellent feedback; they provide an excellent reference; they are the least expensive and most likely source of additional business, and their unnecessary departure causes substantial damage. Upset clients will complain to at least 5 to 9 others. Stay close to your existing clients and learn as much as you can from them.
Consider the overwhelming power of emotion.
The entire buying process is governed by emotional forces. Yet you probably focus your energies on price and avoid the real emotional reasons clients will buy. You should know and feel the emotional connection your potential clients will attach to your practice and your services. You will want your entire marketing program to address the emotional issues to attract and keep the right clients.