What happens when you see the two words below?
Do your eyes glaze over?
Do you feel worried that you don’t have one…or wonder if you really need one?
If you don’t like the idea of creating a marketing plan for your therapy or healing practice, you are certainly not the only one. Many therapists and healing professionals have huge resistance to developing a plan that guides them in their marketing.
Below are 5 reasons for marketing plan avoidance syndrome and why, if you engage in any of them, you might want to change your behavior and get your plan in place.
1. Failing to understand the importance of a marketing plan.
Like most things related to building a successful counseling practice, marketing planning isn’t typically taught in graduate school programs. In fact, it’s not taught in many marketing programs and classes either.
Most therapists are aware that they need to know something about marketing. However, they often fail to see that coming up with marketing ideas and implementing some of them are typically not enough to keep a private practice full.
Research shows that businesses who do having a marketing plan tend to see better results. This is not surprising since it’s challenging to get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are going and how to get there. Having a marketing plan is like a road map that leads you towards a full and rewarding counseling or alternative health care practice.
2. Creating a marketing plan feels too complicated.
There is a common belief and often a fear that a marketing plan has to be a complicated document that takes hours to put together. Many counselors just don’t know where to begin.
The truth is, however, that counselors and alternative health care practitioners do not need a complex marketing plan. Instead, you need s simple and realistic plan that you can refer to that keeps you on track and helps you evaluate your progress and results.
3. Lack of clarity.
Many therapists I come across feel torn or pulled in so many directions that they don’t spend the time to get really clear on who they are targeting in their marketing and what they want for their practice.
I’ve seen clinicians and practitioners market to one audience one day, another audience the next. Or, they put out a message to their prospective clients, but then contradict that message somewhere else in their marketing. Sometimes the contradiction happens in the website copy on the very same page!
When the marketing message is vague, goals are vague, strategy is vague and results are limited. The bottom line is you can’t make a plan if you are not clear in what you are doing.
I’ve noticed the 2 main reasons counselors and healing professionals get stuck in indecision are:
a) they fear they are going to do something wrong
b) they have difficulty prioritizing their ideas
If you have trouble making decisions because you fear that you are not doing the absolute perfect “right” thing, you won’t get very far. There is risk involved in building a counseling or healing practice–some things are going to work out better than others and you don’t always know which ones will and which ones won’t. There are times where you have to make an educated leap (notice that I said “educated” leap as opposed to a “blind” leap) and make your plan.
Likewise, if you are overwhelmed by too many marketing ideas, you’ll just have to make an educated guess (or seek marketing advice) about which ones are going to bring you the most counseling clients and put the rest off until a later time.
Finally, remember a marketing plan doesn’t have to be written in stone. As things evolve with your marketing and you start seeing what is working and what isn’t, you can tweak and modify things as appropriate.
5. A marketing plan can feel like it’s just one more thing to do when you’re already overloaded.
There are so many things to do in a private counseling practice besides treating clients that sitting down to do a marketing plan can feel like it’s just one more thing to add to your already too long to-do list. Therefore, even if you intend to get a plan completed, it’s easy to make excuses to keep it on the back burner.
While putting it off is understandable, it’s not going to help you build a full healing or therapy practice until you eventually sit down and make your plan. Scheduling time to get a marketing plan in place will pay off in the long term.
If you know it’s time for you to get your marketing plan in place, check out when the next Marketing Plan Mini-Camp begins.