Some tools useful for communicating to a general audience:
Your blog or website: This is a very useful tool for building credibility, attracting a following, educating your audience and providing a means with which to initiate a relationship through your opt-in. One of the main purposes of having your own website is to is to attract visitors to opt-in to your list in order that you can begin to build a relationship with them. You’ll be familiar with opt-in boxes as they exist on so many websites today. See the one on the top right of this page as an example. Don’t ask a visitor to your site to give you their email address without offering them something of real value in return. If you truly appreciate your website visitors you’ll never do this. When you offer something of real value your new subscriber will appreciate it and look forward to hearing from you again. Always be asking the question “How can I provide more and more value to my subscribers, my tribe?” Then do it.
Facebook: The most well recognised social media platform with 1 billion users. Even if you don’t have your own website you can still have an online presence by having a Facebook page and through this connect with people online. On your page you can provide information about your practice, event or news updates, and engage in conversation with your visitors. There is often confusion between Facebook pages and profiles. In brief, your profile is your personal page, to which you invite ‘friends’, respond to ‘friend’ requests, choose your privacy settings which enable you to show content to different groups. For instance, if you put up family photographs, you can decide that you only want those you’ve listed as ‘family’ to see them, if you’ve put up something relating to a group you’re involved in you may have that content only show to a group. A fan page or a business page is as the name suggests, for your public profile or your business. You’re limited to 5,000 ‘friends’ on a ‘profile’ but with a ‘page’ you have what in Facebook speak are known as ‘fans’ and you can have an unlimited amount of fans. The key to success with Facebook is consistency, posting regularly and engaging with people on the platform.
The big downside with depending on Facebook for your online presence rather than having your own blog or website is that you don’t own your page, Facebook does. At the time of writing there are many Facebook page owners very upset that Facebook have acknowledged that if you have a Facebook page your messages may be reaching only 15% of your fans. If you have or are thinking of starting a Facebook page this article sheds some light on the topic. It’s still a very good idea to have a page and post regularly if you feel so inclined, but despite the Facebook mania, not everyone likes it. Regardless of the pressure you may feel under to use it, trust yourself, if it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t.
There are other sites you’ll no doubt be inundated with advice that you ‘have’ to be on; Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc. The fact is you don’t ‘have’ to be on any of them. Whilst it may be advantageous to have a solid online presence it would detract from your practice, not to mention your peace of mind if you were to constantly be thinking about what to post, tweet etc! With any of these online tools you need a clear strategy and a discipline for how you’re going to use them. Having done that, consistency is key; be consistent, quite simply that’s the golden rule for social media and blogging.
Article marketing: has been around for some time and is still a valuable way to create content and further your credibility. They help tremendously to give you ‘expert’ status online. A well written informative article may be picked up by many websites hungry for the type of content you provide. Include a clear call to action at the end which attracts people back to your website. All the links back from these articles to your own site help to increase your search engine ranking making you easier to find when your ideal client may be online looking for information that could help them.
Tools for communicating to a specific audience:
Face-to-face meetings as part of a referral strategy: If you were to do an analysis of your past and present client list you’d probably discover that most if not all have come by word of mouth, from people who obviously know, like and trust you. This tends to be true of many one or two person businesses, not just holistic practices. So isn’t it baffling to think of the resources a business might plough into advertising yet a mere smidgeon on relationship building? Now if that isn’t upside-down marketing I don’t know what is! As we saw in the Spiral of Influence it makes so much more sense to build out from your centre of influence. Why work so hard yourself to promote your business when you can enlist the help of supporters who’d love to help you and see your practice thrive? As part of the Ultimate Client Attraction Process for Holistic Practitioners I show you how to implement a referral strategy to do just that.
Phone: Every time you have a cancellation and have unexpected time free, ask yourself, “Who have I not been in touch with for a while? Who have I not seen for a while?” And give them a call, just to say “Hi” and that you hope they’re doing great. Even better, set aside two hours during your week to call past clients, your advocates and supporters that you don’t get to see that often to do this. Remember, connect, connect, connect. We all have human needs to feel like we belong, we’re connected to a community, we feel wanted and cared for. One of the most blessed opportunities you’ll ever have in life, in your practice, is the opportunity to meet those needs. When you do, it will be said of you, “There’s something different about her, there’s something different about what she does, I like it, I like being connected with her”. You help people to feel good about themselves; you let them know they’re valued, appreciated. When you do this consistently they will want to continue seeing you AND they’ll want their friends to share the experience they’re having because it feels so good.
N.B. Obviously with this one it depends on the type of therapy you’re engaged in, this may be totally inappropriate for some and inadvisable for others. You know your own situation and you can decide if it’s appropriate or not for you.
Email: The great thing about email is that it’s free, quick and very easy to do. You can shoot off a quick ‘thinking of you’ email to someone who pops into your mind in less than a minute. When you find an article online or a website you think would be of interest to someone send them the link with a short note to let them know you’re thinking of them and you hope this will be useful for them.
You can set up a system whereby you regularly send newsletters to your audience. You can use a service like Mail Chimp to make it easy. They’ve also got a great selection of templates you can use or you can have your own designed if you wish. You can set up an autoresponder with this service which sends out your pre-written messages to your list at intervals you determine. This is particularly useful for beginning communication with those who opt-in to your list from your blog or website. The challenge with email today is that so many people are overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive. It certainly has its uses but it’s hard to stand out with this form of communication.
Text messaging: Think carefully before using this one. Text messages, unless they’re appointment reminders, can be perceived as being intrusive and a bit of a nuisance and that’s the last thing you want to be known for! You know what it’s like, you’re doing the ironing, the phone you left downstairs signals you have a new text message. You think it might be important so you’d better get it. You leave what you’re doing and go downstairs. You discover it’s a promotional offer from a business. They’ve interrupted you, and even if this is a business you like, you don’t feel too pleasantly disposed towards them in this moment. The last thing YOU want to do is be one of those businesses so think carefully about how and when you use text messaging.
Letter: Sometimes old-fashioned is actually best. Very few businesses, in fact very few people send letters of any description these days. If you do, you’ll stand out. A letter shows you went to some effort to communicate and everybody loves getting mail these days that isn’t a bill of some description. Because of the rush to digital media, direct personal mail is experiencing a resurgence of interest. It’s something you should certainly consider as part of your Client Attraction strategy.
Cards: Esther Hicks now sends out actual postcards in the post to notify subscribers of Abraham events in their area. Listening to a talk given recently by a hugely successful internet marketer it was interesting to hear him say that he sends out 40,000 to 50,000 postcards a month to promote his online business. The trend is ever more towards personalisation at this time and what’s going to draw favourable attention to you. If you really want to create a lasting impression, send a greeting card!