If you took our advice from last week to upgrade your skills and plan to take your practice in a new direction, here are six steps to help you achieve your goal.
1. Develop Excellent Skills in Your New Specialization
- Get well trained so you go in feeling completely confident. Prepare yourself to fully understand both the new technique and the special needs of the targeted client group to whom you will introduce it.
- Practice your skills with a test group of friends, family, or established clients.
- Get feedback from your test group. What are their primary concerns? What do they say when speaking about your chosen approach – can you apply their comments when communicating what your work can offer to others?
2. Develop Your Benefit Statement
- A benefit statement is a vital piece of information because it lets people know how you can help them. Include:
- How you address specific problems.
- Your specialized training.
- Your experience.
- Any testimonials of your work.
- Let’s say you have prepared for a practice that will focus on massage for seniors. Think about and write down your understanding of what older adults need and how your work can help them. Do the same for a new technique, stating the benefits and what kind of people or conditions it can help.
- Remember to allocate the bulk of your message to how you can help. People do not particularly care that you do the latest, greatest technique. They want to know that a session with you will decrease their arthritis pain, help them recover from an injury, or benefit them in some other way that makes their lives better.
3. Invest in Marketing Tools that Support Your New Focus
- Use your benefits statement to write your marketing materials. Use our free Marketing Communications Checklist to be sure your message is received as you intend – direct, accurate, and professional.
- Create a new or second business card that promotes your new modality or client focus.
- If you have a website, add a page that explains your new focus.
- Get a brochure or newsletter that focuses on particular conditions or interest groups. (Check out our 39 different Client Education Brochures to help narrow your focus.)
- Add your complete contact information to all your materials.
4. Promote Your New Approach to Clients and Community
- If you are promoting a new technique, send a postcard or email offering a discount for an introductory session. Hand out your new business cards to clients, friends, and colleagues. Ask permission to place your brochures in offices around your community.
- Mail or email a newsletter to both new contacts and existing clients. If we take the example of senior massage, send a newsletter that focuses on their needs. Even if it reaches people who aren’t yet seniors, some may read it and think, “Oh, my mom needs this.”
- Take your marketing materials out into the community. In the case of seniors, it shouldn’t be hard to find them – many seniors congregate at senior centers, churches, assisted living housing, and fitness clubs.
5. Build Your Professional Network
- Connect with other providers who serve the same population as you. Consider reaching out to MD’s, acupuncturists and naturopaths, support group leaders, yoga and meditation instructors, exercise and tai chi teachers, or nutritionists. Hand or mail them your business card, brochure, or newsletter along with a letter introducing your work.
- Consider initiating a referral system with other practitioners who do a different technique or have a different target group than you. You will refer some clients on, and even lose some. But that can actually help you become a trusted source. When you refer clients, tell them it’s because you want them to find the best help for their particular situation. And be sure they understand what your specialty is.
6. Become Known as an Expert Over Time
- As you work with a particular group, say seniors, or people with chronic pain, you will get to know them more intimately. They will teach you a lot, and you will continue to grow into the expert people seek.
- Keep working on your elevator speech. That’s your 30-second introduction explaining what you do. Focus on how you have helped people resolve their pain, maintain their flexibility, recover from surgery, or resolve other issues.
[Adapted with permission from a 2012 Natural Touch Marketing blog article.]