Particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, in September, kids go back to school and parents have more time to think about themselves. People start thinking about what they will do over the winter. Courses and evening classes all start up. It’s when people make decisions. In the southern hemisphere it’s the same story, just at a different time of year.
September is an upswing month for therapists in general. But a lot of us wait until September to start putting the word out about what we do. It’s too late at that point. A lot of people have already decided.
You see, most people only take action after they have been made aware of us several times. Few people act the 1st time they see something from us. If we are consistent in putting out our message, then we get both; those ready to act immediately and those who need to see us a few times before making a decision.
There are a lot more people in the category of those who need to see us a few times. That’s the advantage to us in starting advertising now.
In testing campaigns, we found that when we keep talking about the same topic across 6 posts, we see 5 times more clients coming in for the same amount of money spent on advertising. There are several reasons for that, but the key thing is if we post 6 times each time on different issues, e.g. anxiety one week, depression the next, Phobias the 3rd and so on, we only get 20% of the clients. While for the same money, if people see us staying on topic for 6 posts, e.g. 6 posts on different aspects of anxiety, we see a much higher response.
Consider that in relation to the time of year. If you want a busy September, it’s much more likely to happen when you start posting at the end of July and keep going, than if you try to do it all at once in September. When you do that it takes until mid-October to see the results of a short campaign and lots of therapists quit campaigning after a week or two because they don't see great results in the goal month of September and it becomes all or nothing for them.
Every September my Facebook newsfeed is filled with notifications of classes and courses being cancelled. It’s demoralising and it’s unnecessary. But people wait way too long to start advertising and consequently fail to accomplish in two weeks what in reality takes 4-6 weeks. Build interest weeks in advance even if bookings don’t open yet.
For filling a clinic start talking about your services a month ahead. People don’t like to have to wait more than a month for an appointment (no show rates go up a lot when we hit 5-6 weeks) but you can take bookings and keep the campaign going right across August even if you don’t start seeing people till September.
The key then is to keep going. Don’t wait until you’re getting empty again to start putting something more out to the world. Keep up the momentum.
Gauge it as best you can from your diary. When my waiting list slips below a month, I start to advertise a little until It’s back to a month long. People are happy enough to wait that long but if it goes to 6 weeks the no-show rate is a lot higher. That’s why we should advertise 4-6 weeks in advance but not more than that for clinic work.
For both clinic and group work it’s a good idea to keep a certain level of awareness posts going out regularly all year long and then giving people a nudge to act when the space is available. That could be a push at the start of semesters if you do evening courses or classes, coming up to a seminar, or just when your 1-1 client numbers begin to drop.
Think of it more as keeping people aware of how you help and then giving them specific opportunities to avail of that as space opens up. This works great for filling classes, group sessions, and 1-1 sessions too if you do all of these at different times of year.
The best places to do this are still Facebook for reaching the average person in the street. LinkedIn works best for business to business offerings and remember to build your website’s ranking on google.
Hope your year is going well.
Have a great week,
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John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.
He is also the Founder of Therapy and Coaching Success that specialises in helping Therapists, Coaches and other Wellness Practitioners, connect with those in need, build their diaries and earn the income they need.
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