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.
WHY IS THIS?
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:
- The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
- The second time, he does not notice it.
- The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
- The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.
- The fifth time, he reads it.
- The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
- The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”
- The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
- The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
- The tenth time, he asks his neighbour if he has tried it.
- The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
- The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
- The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.
- The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.
- The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
- The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.
- The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum to buy it.
- The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
- The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
- The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.
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.
FLIPPING ATTITUDES & BUILDING TRUST
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.
A WORK IN PROGRESS
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.
THE PROBLEM IS SIMPLE
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.
WHAT TO DO
Here are some ideas to inspire people to visit (and act upon) your website:
- Approach other health practitioners for appropriate cross-referrals
- Note: it is important to approach with the focus on how you can help the other practitioner. NOT about selling yourself. If you feel daunted about approaching other practitioners, consider teaming up with another practitioner (preferably of another modality) and approach together; this will give the approach more impact too. See Jeff’s video on this, and Jeff’s article on starting out again, which includes how he approached other practitioners.
- Approach (and support) local businesses
- Such as: cafes, hairdressers and natural food stores. Ask to leave you flyers and/or business cards; offer complimentary sessions to generate genuinely supportive referrals.
- Align with others
- What can you do with other practitioners or local businesses to increase you impact on your ideal clients? Perhaps create a collaborative free ebook and promote it via social media; give a co-presentation on a health topic (locally and/or online); sponsor a local event.
- Tap into media
- Subscribe to media call-out platforms like SourceBottle and Haro – Help a reporter Out; approach well-ranked sites and submit a health article; approach local media with a timely newsworthy story about health.
- Appear on other sites
- Ensure that at least your website address, at least, is on local business directories, health directories, etc. A profile about you and your practice is even better.
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.