There may be nothing as exciting, scary or satisfying as working with your first hypnotherapy client. You have studied, you have practiced and now it is time to put all that work to good use but how do you get that first client through the door? This blog is going to explore some key points you might like to consider in your journey to becoming a working hypnotherapist. The very first aspect to consider is your visibility.
Make your hypnotherapy business visible
As a hypnotherapy supervisor I often hear, “I have a lovely website, it cost me thousands of pounds to get it designed and optimised, but I don’t have any clients”. Then, when I them ask how they direct people towards said amazing website, I get silence. It’s all well and good having a great website, but to get hypnotherapy clients, your website needs to be visible. People need to be able to find it organically, and in various different locations (think search engines, social media, AND offline too)!
Right now is an ideal time to be planning how to start or develop your hypnotherapy business. Rather than having a ‘scattergun’ approach and just doing anything and everything you can, a little forethought and planning can help you direct your advertising resources and energy towards what will be most effective. However, whilst there are many different ways of letting people know who you are and what you are offering them, rather than having just one strand (e.g. a website, or single advert), it can be much more effective to have multiple strands. By being visible in more than one place, a triangulation effect occurs and strengthens your potential client’s awareness of you. For example, if someone is thinking about getting some help with their spider phobia and they see an article mentioning you in your local paper, then they also see your advert on a coffee shop information board, AND they get a leaflet through their letterbox, they start to recognise your name and brand. This then can lead to them looking for your social media pages and/or your website.
Being visible in your community does take effort, yet can pay off in terms of potential clients connecting with you as a local, even better, as their local expert. It can be good to make contact with your local paper and find our if they would like to interview you for an article, or whether you could contribute something, either as a one off or even a regular column.
Improve your targeting
Consider what interests your ideal client may have. What issues, hobbies and activities will draw their attention? If you are wishing to work with athletes, then explore all the different aspects of their sport, from sourcing equipment to Facebook groups to social events related to that sport. Do also think about where you ideal clients may shop and visit, whether that is a beauty or hair salon, a coffee shop, a gym or even a health food store. Contact those locations and explore how you might be able to advertise there or even work with them on special events or offers. If you look in your local paper and on your local council’s website, you are likely to find many events within your community. Seek out relevant events and contact the organisers to explore whether you could have a presence in some way at these events, whether it is giving a short talk at a health fair or offering a hypnotherapy session to a church fete ‘tombola’ stand.
Always be self-promoting
As well as direct advertising, you can also promote your business during your everyday activities. For example, you can have magnetic advertising plates that fix onto your car doors. If you strategically park by the entrance of a busy car park, then many people will see your advert. One very successful hypnotherapist regularly engages in this. A few times a month he arrives at his local shopping mall’s multi-storey car park first thing in the morning and parks strategically at the top of the first ramp. He then goes and sits in the most popular coffee shop in a seat visible from all the people exiting the car park. He sits in the coffee shop using his laptop, which also has his business details on the back of the screen. The details look identical to those on his car. In addition, he is wearing branded clothing (polo shirt/sweater according to season). Whilst sitting in the coffee shop he is using his time productively, getting all his ‘office work’ completed, including updating his website, working through emails, even writing his weekly blog. He has now also got an advertising poster on a notice board near the restrooms and in some of the health stores in the mall. This subtle ‘product placing’ and repeated interaction with a brand is a great way to build awareness without generating ‘advert’ resistance or blindness, which can occur if you only use a single advertising strand.
Another form of business promotion that can offer a relatively subtle for advertising is the use of branded products. However, this can become a financial black hole if you are not discriminating in your choices and carefully consider the cost vs benefit for each item. Firstly, it can be useful to consider what you want to promote, whether that is your name and what you offer, your website address, even your phone number. There needs to be room on the item for what you want. Generally, it can be good to keep things as simple as possible. For example, in the photo below you can see we used our logo and web address for our sister company, HypnoTC.
Pens are great as a way of reminding potential (and current) clients of who you are and how to contact you, and they are relatively inexpensive. Consider the styling of the pen and avoid getting the bargain basement cheapest possible option, unless that is the message you want to convey about your company. People will tend to keep a good pen until it runs out of ink, so you get good longevity out of it. In contrast, sweets in a branded tub last a very short amount of time as the tub will likely be thrown away fairly quickly, either because the contents are not to the individual’s taste or because they were, and have eaten them. Also, edible promotion items have a relatively short shelf-life. If you buy in bulk (which keeps the per unit cost down), then you may end up with out-of-date stock.
Also consider what purpose you wish your branded item to serve. If you work with any potentially sensitive issues and give your clients branded items, will they use them in public for others to see? For example, you might special in premature ejaculation and give all your clients a branded shopping bag or umbrella. The unit cost is high, you already have had them as a client and they are unlikely to use the item if it generates other people asking whether they have seen you as a hypnotherapist and what for.
Be seen online
Some potential clients may have an immediate intention to find a hypnotherapist, so might use an internet search. People tend to either use a ‘hypnotherapist near me’ type search phrase, or their particular issue, such as ‘hypnotherapy for anxiety’. It can be a sensible exercise to conduct a range of possible searches for your location and any speciality (e.g. phobias, anxiety, weight management or sport) and notice what comes up higher in the search. The first search phrase will commonly get some ad listings and then a Google map of nearby hypnotherapists and then some listings, base on geographical location. It will also show a number of directories, such as hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk and member lists of hypnotherapy organisations, such as the General Hypnotherapy Register. These tend to offer customisable searches, such as by name, location or speciality. These are your competitors, so if you aren’t on those registers (or similar), your prospective clients may be finding other therapists instead of you. Being on a poorly optimised register, or stuck on Google at page three or beyond isn’t gonna cut it!
Whilst searching online, notice how those coming up higher in searches present their profiles, and make sure you put effort into your own profile so it competes well against your main competitors. When choosing your professional association, in addition to assessing what benefits you will gain in terms of professional support, you may wish to consider how visible (if at all) their register of members is to potential clients.
So, as you can see, whether you’re a new or existing hypnotherapist, there are many ways in which you can optimise your time and resources so that you can attract the clients that you would like to work with. This blog is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like more information about how to improve your visibility and get clients, contact us directly to arrange a supervision/mentoring session, and we can personally help you to get your therapy business up and running, or performing even better than it has before!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, and if you have any more questions about this topic, or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks