A great many qualified
and highly skilled holistic and complementary therapists are very much
underemployed simply because they cannot get enough clients. The main
reason is because their expertise is in helping and healing people but
they know precious little about effective marketing. It's
a problem that affects a great many people that have products and services
that they want to spread to a wider market.
So How Do You Attract More Clients ?
As mentioned above, it's
really all about marketing. We know that many people in the field of
holistic treatments feel uncomfortable with the term. It's smacks of
commercialism but don't forget that practitioners of main stream medicine
have no qualms about promoting their services and charging far more
than you may ever charge.
So let's not shy away
from using the term marketing - it's not a dirty word. It's what
is needed to get the message about you, your skills, and your abilities
out there. You've invested in gaining your qualifications so that you
can help people. But how can you help people in difficulty if they don't
know that you exist?
What is Marketing?
Here's one definition
: It is how you apply your resources - financial and time - in
an effort to achieve your objective i.e. to help people for a fair recompense.
If we assume that your clients will pay a fair price for what you do
then the focus must be on those activities that you engage in before
any client ever arrives in your practice. Those activities are constrained
by the limited availability of money and time. Therefore it is vital
that you spend both wisely and only focus on activities and expenditure
that will generate more resources than they consume. That is the theoretical
side covered. The following is some practical marketing advice on how
to attract and retain clients.
Marketing Techniques, Tips and Advice
Most people are aware
of the tried and trusted marketing techniques and tools such as using
business cards, brochures and leaflets however you should take a more
holistic approach to your marketing. Methods and techniques that
work in other areas of business can and do work in the area of complementary
and alternative therapies. The following list contains marketing tips
and advice which may not be for everyone but you should find something
that has some practical application for your practice.
- Determine who your target markets
are. For example; athletes, business people, children. Develop
a specific plan for each target group.
- Do market research and find
out what other therapists and practitioners in your area are
doing and how they are marketing. Ask them to send you their
flyer, card or brochure.
- Print up brochures, flyers,
business cards, gift certificates etc. Be extra vigilant and
treble-check everything. Mistakes with hard copy printing can
be very expensive to rectify. Pay particular attention to your
contact details. Make a mistake with those and you will definitely
miss out on potential clients.
- Use both sides of your business
- Develop an information kit for
new prospective clients telling them everything they need to
know about getting a treatment such as location, cancellation
policies, educational material etc.
Develop a therapist online marketing
plan. More and more people are using their computers, phones,
and other electronic devices to find services such as yours
on the Internet. If you are not online then you are definitely
missing out on potential clients. (More on this after
- Set up a PayPal a/c so that
you can accept credit card payments to sell gift certificates
from your web page / site.
- Most mobile phone packages offer
a set number of free web text messages. Set up a text mailing
list of your clients and use this free facility to contact them
with appointment reminders, special offers, follow-up messages
after therapy sessions, etc.
- Text / contact clients to remind
them of their appointments.
- Text / contact clients to let
them know you have time slots available.
- Distribute your leaflets, flyers,
poster, brochures etc using notice boards and on counters in
health shops, pharmacies, supermarkets, veterinary clinics.
- Use tear-off phone numbers on
notice board posters.
- Try to work regular hours so
clients know that they can count on you.
- Keep good records so that you
can keep track of everyone who comes to see you and keep your
mailing and phone lists up to date.
- Contact clients that you haven't
seen for some time and let them know what time slots that you
have available that week.
- Make every effort to return
all phone calls promptly, within hours or at the very least,
on the same day.
- Give regular clients a special
volume discount e.g. pay upfront for four sessions and get €5
discount off each session.
- Ask your clients to write testimonials
for use in flyers, brochures and on your web page / site.
- Contact / text your client the
next day after a treatment session to see how they feel.
- Send offers for gift certificates
for holidays such as Christmas, Valentines Day, Mothers Day
- Write articles for the newspaper
or regular local publications.
- Develop a one line slogan that
can be associated with your practice.
- Send letters to other supporting
practitioners in your area (naturopaths, acupuncturists, physical
therapists, chiropractors, psychologists, counsellors, herbalists,
doctors, osteopaths, orthopaedic physicians, etc.). Ask for
referrals. Ask them for information about themselves too so
that you can refer clients to them also.
- Find other health-related businesses
and people to network with such as Yoga studios, health clubs,
- Send hand written thank you
notes when appropriate.
- Donate gift certificates to
auctions for local non-profit business such as schools or other
local community services.
- Attend conferences, seminars
and industry shows & exhibitions.
- Regularly research rates and
price structures in your area to make sure you are competitive.
- Offer your clients a free treatment
if they refer (say) three friends to you.
- Keep up on techniques and methods,
constantly improve your self and your treatments.
- Watch out for low cost small
advertisement opportunities in your local newspapers. Make contact
with the person that sells the ad space and ask them to keep
you in mind if they have late unsold space. Quite often this
can be sold at knockdown rates.
- Make copies of interesting and
informative articles to have on hand for distribution to your
- Subscribe to a marketing newsletter
or e-zine to generate ideas to help to keep you motivated.
- Offer a senior citizens discount.
- Join the Chamber of Commerce
or local rotary club for networking purposes.
- Run promotions for the various
holidays emphasising gift certificate sales: Christmas, Mothers
- Volunteer your time to charities
or not-for-profit organisations.
- Change your voice mail message
every day to let clients know what openings you have each day
or when is your next opening.
Online Marketing for Holistic and Complementary
We live in an age where
an ever increasing number of people are using all kinds of electronic
devices to search the Web for goods and services. Your potential clients
are using laptop computers, iPads, mobile phones and a whole host of
other electronic devices. Off-line printed directories are becoming
far less relevant or effective.
It is essential that
your marketing plan and activities incorporate a significant and effective
Web strategy. It is not enough to just build a website. Your online
presence must be highly visible to Google. As the joke goes; Where is
the best place to hide a dead body? Answer: On the second page of Google
search results - no-one ever looks there! So what are the do's and don'ts
of online marketing for holistic and complementary therapists?
Read more about online
marketing for holistic therapists
Complementary Therapists - Holistic
Practice / Attract More Clients - Holistic
Online Marketing - Online
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