Where to even begin?
When it comes to building your practice, there’s a lot to get done. But out of all the tasks you have on your plate, marketing is probably the one that keeps getting moved further down the list. In fact, the whole topic of marketing for therapists is usually the least loved (read: most dreaded) subject for holistic practitioners.
And to be honest, that’s understandable. Not only is it a huge subject – one that you probably weren’t taught about in depth during your training. But it’s also something that you might have some mixed feelings about.
By now, you’ll have noticed that mainstream marketing for therapists is often focused on bombarding people with advertising, making bold claims and comparisons, playing on fears and insecurities, and generally being geared towards self-promotion and profit. It’s all about selling after all, right?
It’s no wonder you’re not drawn to it.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m not a fan of marketing either. That is, not mainstream marketing. But I don’t see all the things I did to successfully build two practices as marketing. Not in the traditional sense.
If you’ve been worrying about what to post on Facebook, or whether you should be running another special offer to bring in new clients, just hold those thoughts for now.
Instead, let’s look at what has to happen, in order for you to reach new clients.
1. You need to let people know that you’re there.
2. You need to let people know how you can help them.
Those two statements are facts. So far, this isn’t actually about marketing strategies or advertising. Your potential clients need to know that you exist and they also need to understand that what you offer might be helpful for them!
So really, this is about communication.
And when it comes to sharing information, the way you feel about sharing that information matters.
If you feel hesitant, lacking in confidence or like you’re going against your values…that’s going to come across is what you share.
If on the other hand you feel motivated, brave and totally clear that you’re coming from a place of integrity, the people who receive your message will feel inspired and curious to learn more!
Here are two questions to ask yourself
1/ Do you feel comfortable and at ease talking about what you do?
How do you really feel when it comes to answering questions like: ‘What does your therapy actually involve?’ ‘How would it help my ______ [insert symptoms]?’ ‘How many sessions would I need?’
Do the words flow naturally? Or are you never quite sure what to say / you don’t want to come across as pushy / you find it hard to describe?
2/ When you talk about your work, are you sharing the inspiration behind it?
Can you easily say WHY this work matters to you, and WHY you believe in it? Does your About Page tell people what motivates you? Do you share stories of the difference your therapy or approach has made?
Or, do you feel like your website sounds really similar to everyone else’s? Do you find it hard to explain what makes your unique approach different from others’?
Depending on your answers to these questions, it’s likely that the problems you’re experiencing are not to do with ‘marketing’ after all.
When you’re comfortable sharing your work from a place of care and integrity, it never comes across as selling or advertising. As a result, you’ll find that new clients are drawn to your message and your practice. And the reason for this is that you’ll be creating something that money can’t buy.
“The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.’
– Brene Brown
Connect is the key, when it comes to marketing for therapists. When your aim is to create connection with your potential clients, by genuinely empathising and sharing from a place of service, you won’t always be holding back or avoiding it. Your clients will feel more engaged with your message and more open to the possibility of working with you. Genuine connection builds trust.
(Self-promotion has literally the opposite effect. It leaves people feeling wary or hesitant, even if your intentions are good.)
So, as a human who helps other humans to heal, why not shift your focus from ‘trying to get clients’ to creating connection.
For practical ways to create connection (as an alternative to mainstream marketing for therapists), you’ll find more articles on the How Humans Heal Blog, and in-depth training at Pathway to a Full Practice, our 8-week journey for therapists and holistic practitioners.
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