08 June 2008

Before You Place that Print Ad ---

We all have gotten seduced into running display ads in local newspapers and/or phone books. For the most part, these never work for therapists or coaches, and don't work that well for NDs.

The reason is two-fold:
(1) The theory of mere exposure explains that people need to see an ad at minimum 7 times before taking action on it -- that is, assuming they perceive a need for your service and judge you to be the best person to fill that need.

Part of the failure of print ads related to this theory is that the ad is placed where your ideal client is not likely to see it. People rarely select a therapist from a phone book, although they are more likely to call an ND with a phone ad.

Another piece of this reason is that you've made the wrong assumptions about where your ideal clients can be found. For example, it seems logical to think that people interested in health in general would by extension be interested in mental health.

But folks who handle their emotions by going to the gym or seeking pharmaceutical solutions may not believe their depression or anxiety can be better treated by sitting and talking about it. Advertising in athletic related publications or trying to get referrals from general practice MDs could be the wrong venue for connecting with your prospective clients.

(2) The second part of the reason ads fail is when the ad itself is all about you, and doesn't speak compelling enough to the ideal client about their problem. If your display ad is only announcing your existence and credentials, it's unlikely to connect with people's suffering.

If your ad doesn't connect to their suffering, it won't be memorable, and hence, YOU won't be remembered as someone who can help them with their pain.

Strong, compelling, client attracting display ads are like strong, compelling, client attracting online profiles. They look prospective clients in the eye, name their pain, and imply a solution by contacting you.

If you must satisfy that urge to run print ads, be sure they are 90% about a problem & 10% your contact info.

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