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This tragic story is a painfully common one. The health practitioner puts their heart, soul and savings into creating a beautiful website. They’ve got professional photos – even one of themselves that is actually okay. The text has been carefully crafted to appeal to their ideal client as well as to Google. Blood and sweat has been poured into writing articles to inform and inspire.
Then the website is launched. It’s out there – for anyone in the world to see. The hard work is done. The website can do the selling for the practitioner. Who hates selling. Hates it. And so the practitioner waits for the to work its magic and make those bookings happen.
Sure, it can take three months to get any traction with Google ranking. But even when your site makes it to the first page, the bookings STILL aren’t happening.
Back in 1885 Thomas Smith wrote a book called ‘Successful Advertising’ with principles still being used across the globe in the marketing sector today. Yes, 1885. They had advertising back then.
Excuse the male referencing, but here’s what Tom said about the importance of repetition:
While it is not always the case that someone needs to see your website twenty times before booking, it certainly is a strong trend. Yes, we can fast-track the decision-making process by creating a website that is most likely to be helpful and appealing to your ideal client (and Google). But, the reality is, it often takes people a few goes at ‘seeing you around’ (i.e. your marketing material at least) before even THINKING about contacting you.
Thinking about Thomas Smith’s list, possible responses to a natural therapist’s website by many in the community could be: “The GP is faster and cheaper”, “There’s no evidence that it works” or “I don’t understand how it works so I’ll give it a miss”. Even if your website makes a case to counter these statements, it doesn’t mean that your case will be properly absorbed and accepted by even the most attentive visitor.
Natural therapies are becoming increasingly known, respected and attractive – particularly where more traditional forms of Western medicine are falling short. But there is still more progress to come before mass trust – let alone appeal – in Western society for exists natural therapies.
Many health practitioners are expecting too much from their website. It is more helpful to see your site as a tool that you use – not a life raft that you cling to and hope will keep your practice afloat. Include your website address in your introduction to prospective clients and referral sources. So when they visit it, understanding, trust and inspiration to engage will significantly increase. But this means some more work from you is required.
Here are some ideas to inspire people to visit (and act upon) your website:
It’s important to factor regular time every week into promoting your practice. If you have an aversion to the idea of promotion, see it as ‘education’ and ‘community connection’. Because that is essentially what this kind of promotion is. Connecting with – and educating – your community about how your modality and practice improve the health of those around you.
You might actually find that connecting and educating is fun. Many practitioners do.
Written by Megan Hills, Ethical Practice
20+ years business development & marketing consultant
10+ years helping natural medicine practitioners to greater practice success