08 July 2010

Does Your Ezine Cut to the Meat, or the Chase?

I used to be a cut to the chase type of person. You know the sort who wants info products to get to the point, and not waste my time with personal notes and frilly graphics and random other people's opinions (usually called testimonials...LOL).

I get way too many ezines, and all that overly friendly relationship building stuff doesn't really get me feeling all warm and fuzzy about the sender.

This morning, after getting yet another formulaic ezine I realized that either I'm a terribly unusual consumer, a hard sell (both may be quite true), or I've already been sold and trying to sell me again is having a boomerang effect -- it's actually pushing me away.

The chase makes me run the opposite way. The excessive exhuberance comes off as a little desperate.

So for all my colleagues out there who are falling into the habit of formatting your ezines this way:
  • personal note
  • picture of family or some past event
  • testimonial that promotes your latest program
  • promotion about something you're selling
  • finally!! the meaty tips that keep readers on the list
  • another promotion
  • another promotion for someone your list has never heard of
  • another promotion for a joint venture partner
  • no kidding, another promotion for another JV partner
  • and yet a 2nd or 3rd promotion for what you're selling

may I suggest that you think about cutting to the meat of your message instead of leading with so much chase. Quality over quantity, ya know?

04 July 2010

4 Things You Absolutely MUST Spend the Money For

Just starting out in private practice, or moving from agency work to be out on your own? Haven't had to market for clients before and don't know where to start?

There are 4 tools and services you need to function as a business owner who relies on attracting clients for one-on-one counseling, coaching, or naturopathic healthcare. They are as important to your business as electricity is to your home.

A Client Attractive Website for Your Practice

It's a well known fact now that most people who have computers do an internet search first when thinking about needing our services. In addition, many allied professional want to check us out before referring, and want to see our website. If you don't have one, it's like announcing to the world that you aren't ready for prime time.

You don't have to pay a designer thousands of dollars to have a website. They really aren't that difficult to create on template-driven webhosts. See my Web-Based Marketing Resource Packs for Counselors, Coaches, or NDs for a list of recommended, inexpensive and easy to use do it yourself web-builders.

Your Own Domain Name

Rather than having your website address be something like yahoo.com/TopekaTherapy it really is better to buy just Topeka Therapy.com. It's more memorable and clear, and looks more professional, like you are serious about your work and the success of your business.

Many webhost / website builder companies will also have domain name registration as part of your package. Some charge more than they should, but many make the whole process very easy. One that I like so much that I became an affiliate of is Webstarts.com.

An Autoresponder Vendor That Can Send Attachments

To build relationship with potential clients who are yet ready to make appointments and commit to therapy or coaching, you'll want to be able to provide them with a useful piece of self-help in exchange for collecting their email address. In the beginning before you have more than 50 names on your business email list, you could manage this manually with your personal email program.

Once your list goes beyond 50 names you really will need an account with an email broadcast vendor such as Constant Contact, MailChimp or Aweber. Short information pieces -- such as tip sheets -- or a series of short articles, these can be delivered by your personal email, but will tend to get blocked from delivery if you send to a group larger than 50.

The best solution is to pre-program an autoresponder to send your self-help tip sheet or special report on request. Constant Contact is the easiest for that, but can't yet send attachments. Aweber sends attachments but is more difficult to configure. All broadcast email services provide a sign up box you can install on your website.

Listing in Locator Directories

Once your website is live on line, with its own address, and with an autoresponder email collection box on it, it's time for the last of the 4 essential items you must spend money for -- listing your practice on a locator directory, such as Psychology Today, CoachDigg, or HealthProfs. Some are free, but the better ones charge a monthly fee to list your practice. Look for the ones that rank high in natural search results, which means more people use those directories to find practitioners.

Don't forget that all these expenses are likely to be tax deductible in the cateogry of Advertising because they are spending you need to do to let the public know you are open for business.