Therapist marketing tips

Learn the secrets of running a successful complementary therapy practice

With all the economic doom and gloom are you looking for some help to boost your complementary therapy or alternative medicine practice? are marketing specialists both online & offline, so our experts thought they would give you a few free pointers to think about and help you generate more paying clients.

Understand The Basics – The difference between Marketing & Advertising

It is important to understand the difference between Marketing Your Practice and Advertising your practice. People often confuse the two and knowing the difference will help you set off in the right direction.

Advertising can be defined as a ‘non personal announcement of your products and services through an identified platform/ sponsor to their existing audience’.

Marketing is ‘the process of producing strategy and plan which is methodically implemented. The aim is to systematically plan and put into place the price promotion, services & distribution to create and maintain relationships that will deliver you organisational & individual objectives i.e. bringing buyers & sellers together for an exchange of products or services.’

Marketing Your Practice – It’s all about the marketing mix

A healthy complementary therapy and alternative medicine practice generates new business from a broad range of sources. Some of these could be:

– Word of mouth

– Flyers – Direct hand outs, house dropped, inserted in newspapers etc.

– Local ads – newspapers, shop windows, notice boards etc.

– Your own website

– Blogs – Run your own, post comments on others linking back to you

– A third party website e.g. Yell, GoToSee etc.

– Cost per click advertising

– Repeat business etc.

If your complementary therapy practice relies on one advertising channel then you are taking a big risk not to mention limiting your growth.

Supposing 99% of your new business comes from one source such as leafleting your local area. It’s all working well and you are getting lots of new clients. What happens when other local therapists or practitioners in direct competition with you copy your strategy? The market is saturated with therapists and practitioners, supply increases and your demand (referrals) drops.

By nurturing a broad spread of advertising channels you are able to limit your dependency & exposure to one if it becomes less effective or less cost effective.

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Marketing your practice starts with a plan. Take time to write a range of ideas down and formulate a marketing plan for the short, medium & long term.

Your marketing plan will detail everything you need to do to reach a specific overall objective. A good business will ‘strategically plan’ on an annual basis. Set down what you want to achieve and allocate budgets. Going back to your plan a few times throughout the year will help you stay on course. Without a plan you will be running round like a headless chicken.

Online Advertising – Demand value for money

In these economically challenging times it is easy to retreat into your shell, put all advertising spending on hold and wait for the whole thing to blow over. This is a losing strategy. By cutting your expenditure you reduce your audience and therefore your potential income

Life goes on and the public still need the services of complementary therapists. People will always find the money to spend on health and well being. Given a choice between sorting out back pain, stress, exam nerves etc. or forking out for a luxury item such as a new pair of shoes it’s pretty clear where the money will be spent.

Free Directories – It goes without saying you should list your practice anywhere that is free but don’t expect your phone to ring off the hook. They are free for a reason – either they have zero internet presence or they are fishing for your contact details to feed their telesales team who will sell to you at a later date.

Paid For Directories –Placing your practice in a paid for directory (3rd party website) is a quick way of getting your practice seen by a large audience. Selecting the right place to advertise your practice online is crucial to long term success.

A 3rd party website may look great and create a fantastic listing but is it getting seen by anyone other than yourself? Using a high street analogy it’s pointless paying for a fantastic poster in a shop window stuck down a side street. You want to be situated on a busy High Street in a window with thousands of passersby.

One thing to consider is that high traffic volume doesn’t necessarily equate to success. The other crucial thing to consider is whether the traffic is relevant. So taking the High Street analogy forward how successful do you think a poster advertising your counselling services in the shop window of Burger King on Oxford Street would be? The audience are browsing for a completely different service to the one you are offering. Placing your practice in the window of a ‘shop’ that people go into looking for information on Complementary Therapy & Alternative medicine is going to be far more targeted & relevant to your market.

One final thing to consider with advertising online is the space you get allocated to describe your therapies and treatments offered. This is particularly important when considering the complementary therapies and alternative medicine (CAM’S) sector.

For example if you need a plumber you don’t really need to know much more about them other than their contact details and governing body membership. When looking for a practitioner or therapist people prefer far more information to help them decide whether to take the next step and call for an appointment. Providing examples of how you helped Mr Brown overcome a fear of public speaking with hypnotherapy will have far more impact than a small listing with 4 bullet points listing your therapies.

Whilst we are looking at cost effective places to advertise your practice don’t forget to consider We have a value for money guarantee – if your listing hasn’t paid for itself in 12 months we will run it for FREE until it has.


Be Realistic With Your Advertising Budget

The saying ‘you need to spend money to make money’ is very true. But how much money should you spend when advertising your complementary therapy practice. How do you pin down what advertising budget to set?

Is it better to spend £40 or £400 to advertise your practice? The first thing is you aren’t spending you are investing. Obviously the less money you invest the better but again it’s all down to return on investment (ROI). So which is better? Just because you are spending £40 doesn’t mean you are getter better value for money.

Supposing you spend £40 & that listing generates 1x £30 booking. You have lost £10. Alternatively the £400 page could generate 20 bookings at £30 each (£600) and you have a return of £200 over and above your initial investment.

The lower cost route just wasted money that could have been more effectively invested elsewhere. So when setting your budget be realistic and don’t be afraid to spend larger amounts. Remember you are speculating to accumulate. To reduce your risk spend wisely and research what each advertising avenue is offering you. Armed with all the facts and figures you will be able to decide where to allocate your budget.

Know The Source Of Your Leads

You need to know where your clients are coming from and more importantly where they are not. This is crucial to every business regardless of size. This will ensure you aren’t continually wasting money in areas that aren’t delivering a return on your investment.

Keep a chart of everywhere you advertise and make sure every single enquiry and call is marked alongside one of these. So if a caller says ‘I found your website’ find out how.

– Did they go straight to your site from a Google search?
– Did they find you via an intermediary site if so which one?
– Are they from word of mouth? If so who recommended them & where did they come from originally?
– They saw your flyer? Where? The one you left in a GP surgery or one you direct dropped to their home?

If you have a website use an analytics package to track your visitors and see where they came from and which pages are attracting the most views. Plenty of analytics packages are available on the market but by far and away the best one is Google Analytics. The fact that it is totally free makes it even better.

Get A Website For Your Practice

In this day and age people reach for the keyboard instead of a phone book. A website advertises your practice 24 hours a day 7 days a week. People expect businesses of all sizes to have a website & if you don’t have one they may think –

Why is that?
Are they newly qualified?
Are they fully qualified?
Are they established?
How serious is this person or practice?
Are they insured?

People like looking online and reading up on you first rather than calling you up cold from a phone book. This is especially important when considering alternative medicine and complementary therapies as people are curious about this area and spend a lot of time researching alternative solutions before deciding upon a treatment route.

A website lets you explain more about the services you offer. It gives you unlimited space to list recent success and case studies. People relate far better to examples such as how you were able to help Mr Brown overcome his chronic back pain, migraines, anxiety etc.

Another good aspect of a website is that it keeps your sales momentum going. If someone finds your website late at night they can email you then and there. The alternative is they forget to call the next day or lose your details and you lose a potential new client.

So clearly a website is a vital arm of your marketing mix, but can afford to have one? Well can you afford NOT to have one?

Well you can’t beat a recommendation and we recommend you check out our website design service. GoToSee specialise in professionally designed low cost websites for practitioners and therapists.

With a professionally designed page website costing £100 you will be surprised how affordable getting your practice online really is. If you’re an existing GoToSee client you will get a 25% discount.


Got A Website? Then Make Sure It Works For Your Practice

Having a website for your complementary therapy or alternative medicine practice is a great way for potential clients to find out more about you and your services.

The big challenge is making your website work for you, which means attracting new potential clients. This is easier said than done but basically you want your website to appear when someone searches for your therapy matched with your location

E.g. hypnotherapy Highgate

Similarly you want a local search matched with ailments you treat to bring up your site

E.g. back pain Highgate

So how do you achieve this? Well you need to make sure:

– The search engines know about your website

– When they visit it are able to read your content and work out what services you offer.

This process of making sure a website is found and ranks highly in the search engines in known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and is a multi million pound industry. Looking for a company to help you with this is a minefield and you need to be very very careful.

There are literally thousands of companies waiting to sell you every package and service under the sun such as:


– Link building campaigns

– Search engine submission services

– Managing cost per clicking advertising campaigns (CPC)

– Writing optimised content

Naturally these all of these come at a price and many prey on the knowledge that most people have no SEO knowledge and are easy pickings.

All I would say on this point is to that GoToSee are internet marketing specialists. Our website contains thousands of pages of unique content that is designed to be indexed by the search engines. We appear on the first page of Google, Yahoo & MSN for a broad range of search terms and have over 10,000 organic search terms that pull the public into our website. Some examples are:

Alternative medicine
Complementary therapy
Stress management counselling
Curing obesity
Stomach cramp
Breathing disorder
Neck stiffness
Reasons for obesity
Skin welts

We run the largest cost per click advertising campaign for Complementary Therapy & alternative Medicine sector in the UK and have SEO experts employed full time in house to work on our website.

We aren’t in the business of selling our skills & knowledge to the public as all our time is taken up with making GoToSee the UK’s number health resource. However we are always happy to take time out to help our customers by providing free advice (within reason).

We understand the importance of word of mouth advertising and your success is our success. Whether it is having a quick look at your website and making suggestions regarding layout, content or tagging to simply providing honest un-biased feedback regarding a marketing service that has been offered to you.

Get Expert Advice
When marketing you complementary therapy practice pick the brains of and seek advice from other people who run a similar business to yourself or operate within your market place. Their marketing tips and advice can be invaluable. They can point out the pit falls and point out the ropes along the way. This marketing advice will save you time, energy and money.

Found this article useful? Also read our ‘Branding For Complementary Therapists’

Article submitted by
David Ibbotson, GoToSee Journalist

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