Marketing Is Service

By Allison Puryear, LCSW, CEDS on February 21, 2019

The word “marketing” may send shivers down your spine. Or make you feel a little queasy. You’re not some sellout in a suit glad-handing with your right hand while thumbs-upping with your left. “Marketing” conjures images of greed and cheesiness and inauthenticity, especially if you’re like me and didn’t grow up with marketers and “business people.”

Suddenly, as a private practice owner, you are responsible for being not only a business person but a marketer. We’ll get to the “hows” of that in another post, but right now we need to get your mindset right around marketing so that it feels like a natural extension of your practice rather than an uncomfortable role you’re playing. If marketing feels like playing a role, you’re probably not doing it very well, and also forcing yourself to do something you hate isn’t fun for anyone. Marketing can actually be fun if you’ve chosen well and you’re doing it right.

I think of marketing as a service to potential clients. If your ideal client can’t find you, they may not get into therapy. They may start working with someone who is a poor fit. They may struggle significantly longer than they have to.

Some of the top marketing strategies are literal acts of service. Blogging, vlogging, podcasting, and sometimes social media are lumped into “Content Marketing,” meaning you’re creating content that your ideal client will want to read/watch/listen to.  If you’re doing it right, you’re providing help through this content. Not the kind of intensive help you’re providing in therapy, but enough help for your ideal clients to feel like:

  1. They’re not alone.
  2. There are some action steps they can take (even if that’s just processing what you created).
  3. That you are an expert in their type of struggle.
  4. That there’s hope.

Having some techniques they can implement can help as well, a call to action that can lead them to schedule with you later on if the “schedule here” button is too much in the moment: journal prompts, a DBT skill, an ACT or CBT exercise, or a guided meditation can all be helpful so long as they match up with how you practice.

If you look at marketing as a digital popularity contest, slogging through the internet, of course you won’t be consistent. Consider marketing as a way to connect with potential clients and offer them the opportunity to work with you. They can’t find you if you don’t market. And consistency is key. Whether it’s networking, content marketing, or a consistent and clear message on your website or online listing, inconsistency will create confusion: are they still open? Are they taking new clients? We all know confused mind says, “no.” Marketing says to your ideal client, “I’m here, I’m ready to help you.”

If you’re choosing strategies that you enjoy and that make you feel helpful or valuable, you’re likely to continue doing them regularly. We’ll talk about choosing those in a future blog.

If you stopped thinking of marketing as getting money or business and started thinking of it as connecting to and helping potential ideal clients, would it feel more aligned with your values?

* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.


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