Author: Ann Lowe
The aim of the article is to help therapists market themselves, not simply advertise what they do. Many of us can mistakenly believe that the two are the same, however this isn’t the case.
Advertising refers to the way we promote our counselling or therapy service, so for example we may take an advert out in a local newspaper or create a poster for a local shop noticeboard.
Marketing on the other hand refers to the whole brand, the whole identity for what we are offering. It requires us to have an in-depth understanding of what we want to convey to the potential client, and then ensuring that at every possible opportunity, that message is coherent.
Therefore, it stands to reason that marketing isn’t particularly glamorous. Many elements of marketing include getting the basics right and focusing in on the detail, such as:
Ensuring that our answer machine message gives the right impression. The way we want to come across on an answerphone message if we are a therapist is going to differ somewhat to if we are an investment banker or physical fitness coach. We want to go for a balance of welcoming, without being too ‘soft’ that it sounds patronising or condescending. A good idea is to ask a few trusted friends or colleagues to listen to our recordings and give honest feedback on how they felt when listening. It may be worth asking them to consider: did they feel a connection with you? Is it friendly? Do they get a sense of what will happen next? Is there an alternative means of contact?
Being aware of our social media presence. If we choose to use social media to promote our services or to connect with friends socially, much information is accessible about us online. As therapists we need to be even more cautious of what is out there in the public domain. Whilst the idea of being a ‘blank canvas’ for clients to be able to project onto is more synonymous with the psychoanalytic approach, its not a good idea to have our night out last Friday (with accompanying photos) on Facebook.
Ensuring that any information we put out is consistent. You may have multiple social media accounts, as well as profiles on directories and counselling websites. It is our job to ensure that information contained on each is the same, that information (such as telephone numbers, email addresses and links to other sources of information) is kept up to date.
Incorrect information can give the overall impression that we aren’t up to date or organised. Inaccuracy can put clients off even before we’ve had a chance to have a chat with them and so it makes good sense to get it right.
Other aspects of marketing – which feed into the idea of having an overall brand image – to consider are:
What makes you unique as a therapist?
Underpinning all of these elements is a simple yet crucial question that we can return to again and again, and that is: what motivates us to do this work? Often known as ‘Our Why’.
If you have a clear sense of why you’re doing this work, then much of the marketing falls naturally into place, we begin to communicate a coherent vision and message for our work and will begin to align with the right people that can put us in touch with the right clients. It will also help you to get an understanding of what makes you unique as a therapist. This may result in us deciding upon a specialism that we feel passionate about, that perhaps not many other people in our area are covering, or it may be the creative way in which we utilise our training to offer something different to clients.
If you need help with your marketing or advertising presence contact Ann at www.TheWriteTyper.co.uk