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Del Morrill, M.S. C.C.H


A Center for Counseling & Hypnosis
Tacoma, Washington, USA
(253) 752-1506

Marketing My Practice

I just started a new practice. Do you have any ideas on marketing?

This will be a lengthy response, because it is so important, and so often neglected. Some therapists have the idea that as professionals we should not have to stoop to marketing. If you are well trained and a good therapist, the clients will just come to you. In fact, I know of schools that give this impression -- "if you think positively, they will come." That's great if you are one of the very few who just happens to hit the right location, right population, open-minded community, and gets lots of referrals without lifting a finger. Marketing is not something that you do just once in a while. It must be a regular and ongoing process. Of course, if you are one of those rare people whom everyone else sends clients to as soon as you open your doors, and you have more business than you know what to do with, then this advice isn't for you. Personally, I had the attitude from the very first day of my business that whenever I wasn't with a client I was marketing! I feel that if you aren't spending a minimum of 10% of your gross income each month on marketing, then it may be inadequate. Some would say that 20% is more realistic. I fall into that category. There are people who spend as little money as possible to let people know they exist. I was appalled when a fellow therapist would not even purchase a $1.50 stand for her business cards. And I can't tell you the number of times I've run into therapists who have business cards but don't carry them with them. It's as if they are afraid to have to print them again when they "run out." Unlike many counselors who can have clients for two to three years on a regular basis, and therefore do not have to carry a large number of patients to succeed, hypnotherapists must always be taking in new clients. Their work is short-term. Frankly, I don't know how to do that unless you are willing to let people know who you are! I feel the keys to a good business practices are, before anything else, MARKETING! MARKETING! MARKETING! This includes such things as: 1. Keeping track of people who call you by getting addresses and phone numbers for later follow-up whether they are clients or not; 2. Testing out places for advertising by checking with others as to what types of media have worked best, and then trying them out for yourself; 3. Occasional mailings to let people know what's offered by you; 4. Keeping business cards with you to hand out to people as you meet them; 5. Presenting talks and demos, or conducting workshops or retreats that spread the word; 6. Teaching in your local community college's continuing education classes; 7. Sending out introductory letters and brochures to those who have some significant change in their life, such as new position, upgrade in job, awards, etc. 8. Belonging to groups such as the Chamber of Commerce or "tip" groups, and other networking possibilities, plus making use of their membership lists to introduce yourself by mail, as well. 9. Gradually creating brochures that inform people about various ways in which hypnosis can be helpful in solving their problems. 10. Health fairs and other exhibitions, especially as you begin your practice. Any other business person in the world knows that "it takes money to make money." They also will do whatever they need to, including loans, to set up a proper business and the marketing tools they need for it. For some reason, therapists seem disinclined to see themselves as business people, for the most part. Now and then, I'll run into someone who actually understands this, usually because they have been involved in some other type of business prior to becoming a therapist. With some advertising, I find that there isn't necessarily a direct correlation between the particular type of advertising and client contact. For instance, I have a Q & A column once a month in the local paper as part of a page called ASK THE PROFESSIONAL. At first, not much came from it, but I decided to contract for one year with the newspaper. I now have clients who come to me either as a direct result of a current question, or from carrying my column around with them for many months before contacting me. Other advertising, such as the Yellow Pages, has more direct and immediate results. In terms of print media advertising, I have found that my ads must be repeated for at least three times before I will evaluate its worth. There are some who feel that one should plan on at least 6 months before receiving any significant return. I created a page for each month for a thin notebook of monthly pages, which is kept in the back of my desk calendar. This has a section for each type of advertising I do, with space to write, and the amount of the ad per month and how many clients it takes to pay for it. This gives me a great help in determining at the end of the year just what has been worth the effort and money. What pays for itself directly? What pays for itself by professional recognition? What pays for itself by keeping people aware that I'm still around when others have "disappeared." It would be great to hear from other therapists on this subject. I'm sure there are many other possibilities for great marketing of this marvelous skill. We are educators, as well as practitioners, and marketing is just one way to educate the public on how the hypnotic processes can help them transform their lives.





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