Complementary Therapy – Developing your own brand
When looking at creating a brand for marketing your complementary therapy practice you need to pin down exactly what your ‘brand’ will be and what you will offer.
For example we have mentioned ‘your approach’ a number of times in this article and this is very important. By promoting this element of your complementary therapy or alternative medicine practice it helps differentiate you from the crowd and can act as a USP (unique selling point).
For example, if you are trained as a Physiotherapist, Acupuncturist and Reflexologist your methods or approach will probably differ from a practitioner trained purely as a Physiotherapist.
So, market and incorporate this aspect into your branding and make sure the public are aware of it.
As a multi modality trained practitioner or therapist you should have a broader skill and knowledge base than the practice down the road offering purely Physiotherapy.
Highlight the benefits as you see them i.e. that you adopt a holistic approach to a problem or injury, inter- twining all your skills and modalities to treat the root cause/ problem rather than approaching it from one angle or field of thought.
This philosophy/ approach is the first step in the public understanding who you are, how you work and most importantly how you differ from your local competition.
Examples Of Branding Your Complementary Therapy Practice
A good example of making your brand recognisable at local level is through the use of leaflets. Most complementary therapists or alternative medicine practitioners have an information leaflet of some description. When a member of the public walks into their local complementary therapy centre or health store they are often presented with a vast array of flyers, cards and leaflets. People only take one or two so why should they take yours?
What makes your leaflet stand out from the crowd?
This example of ‘standing out from the crowd‘ will be the same across the board in all communication mediums. Another example is your website.
The number one place the public search for people and services is online. A recent survey found that more people search online than they do using paper directories. It makes sense; you can dig around, do loads of research on a particular complementary therapy, ailment or practice before deciding where to go and who to call.
The key factor with your website as with your leaflet is your brand identity:
· Who are you?
· What do you offer
· What is your approach?
Is there brand continuity? Has your web designer taken your leaflet design and logo and replicated the theme and colour scheme?
So with all of your communications mediums e.g. websites, blogs, emails, flyers, business cards, adverts etc. you need to make sure that your branding is a common thread throughout.
Emphasise The Quality Of Your Brand
Promoting the quality of your brand and services is vital to long term success. Remember, first impressions count so when you communicate to potential clients keep in mind how you ‘come across’.
· Make sure the theme and fonts are replicated from your website/ leaflets.
· Make sure you set a professional signature footer complete with logo, web link & contact numbers.
· Carry your branding to your email address. If you are called ‘New Life Therapies’ then create firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com
With Your Answer phone/ Voice Mail
· Make sure your contact numbers have a message facility
· Set a personalised message
· Take the time to write your message down
· Record it clearly and crisply with no back ground noise
· Welcome them to your practice and mention your company name
Over The Phone
Remember you are trying to convince the person on the other end of the phone to visit you and your practice rather than you competition. Answer the phone professionally and mention your business/ brand. ‘Hello, New Life Therapies, how can I help?’ – this is far better than a simple ‘Hello’.
If you pick up the phone with a screaming baby in the back ground it doesn’t give the impression of a vibrant busy practice run from an office or place of work. It is better to leave the call to go to voice mail and call back later when there are no noises or distractions at your end and you can give 100% of your attention to the potential client on the other end of the phone.
Consider how you come across and sound. If you blind them with science or provide no depth of detail then you risk confusing or losing that person. Don’t forget to re-enforce your brand by highlighting the USP or approach you have previously identified.
Via Your Media
Consider the level of design and quality you are delivering. All of the mediums you use represent your practice and are an extension of your services. Presented and executed correctly they show the public your skills, attention to detail and professionalism.
How much time or money did you invest in your leaflets for example? Did you consider design quality, finish (black and white, full colour, gloss finish) and even paper type and weight. Printing out 1,000 black and white flyers which you typed up on your PC or creating a professionally designed full colour one will obviously deliver different results and brand impressions.
Similarly, if your website is a free ‘build it yourself’ one you made one evening and is riddled with typos and errors you are projecting a negative impression of your practice and damaging your brand.
You represent your business so your presentation and behaviour is representative of the quality and level of service the client will be receiving. This extends from what you wear, interpersonal skills to how you present your waiting room and treatment room.
All of the above combine to create an impression of you, your brand and the service clients can expect. Presented and planned correctly you will encourage clients to return for follow up appointments and even to market your practice for you with old fashioned word of mouth and recommendation.
By investing money in your business you can develop your own identity and position yourself centrally within your local area as slick, capable and effective practitioner or therapist who has paid as much attention to detail and thought to marketing yourself and creating your own practice brand as you do to helping your clients.