Just what are marketing basics for a solopreneur private practice counselor or coach, anyway? Well there’s likely more than one way to think about this, but here’s what makes sense to me, as a 21 year veteran business owner and do it yourself marketer. In my view, the BASICS really cover 3 areas: underpinnings, foundations, and ongoing plan.
The Conceptual Underpinnings
- the business you are really in
- your bread and butter client
- your ideal client
Whether you’re just starting out or getting back to your basics, it’s best to start with clarifying what I call the conceptual underpinnings — the concrete ideas that shape everything else. Be as narrow and specific with these as possible.
Even if you’ve been niche marketing for a while, it’s good to review and renew your underpinnings once a year, to make certain the rest of your marketing relates to your basic concepts of business and client.
For example, rather than saying you’re in the generic business of mental health care for adults, families, and children, maybe you’re really in the business of helping the scared and hopeless regain their grip on a happy life.
Your bread and butter client may be those with the insurance you’re panelled for.
Your ideal client pays full fee out of pocket and has an insatiable drive for self improvement. And these descriptors could be even more specific.
Or instead of thinking you’re in the vague business of life coaching, it could be more helpful to think of being in the business of empowering the uncertain and timid to achieve their next big accomplishment. Your bread and butter client may be the midlife career changer, for example, or the divorcee who is moving back into the dating and work worlds. Your ideal client contracts with you for 6 months, pays in advance or asks for a retainer arrangement, and is thoroughly dedicated to exploration of opportunities.
Tweaking these descriptors even further will make the rest of your marketing more precise and effective.
These underpinnings are vitally important because without having clear conceptions in mind of what makes you unique, and who you want to attract, most people won’t relate to your marketing message.
The Virtual Foundations
- website and blog
- locator directory profiles and Google Local
- business card and / or rack cards
- networking rap and / or referral letter
- social media accounts
Once you’re clear about your underpinnings, it time to set up your foundations. I consider the items above to be the absolute basics for a solopreneur in private practice in the healing or helping arts. All of these are necessary in today’s small business marketing environment because these are the main places where potential clients will turn when looking for a service like yours.
Three of the 5 foundations are internet based — website, directories, and social media — because this is where most people look for resources today. Even TV commercials are starting to direct viewers to Facebook, and radio highlights web addresses. The internet is the 21st century town square — the go-to place for finding out about everything. Not having a strong web presence these days is business self sabotage.
Still, the more traditional foundations of business cards, letters requesting referrals, and personal networking still have a place in solopreneur marketing, especially if your business needs a steady stream of local clients. Yet, even with these, your website or blog, and email address must be featured, so get those foundations in place first.
The Ongoing Outreach and Maintenance Marketing Plan
Once your foundations are in place, it makes sense to focus on a sustainable plan for engaging your target market on an ongoing basis. The most successful plan will be bi-directional — that is, it will have some outreach marketing methods and some maintenance methods.
Outreach marketing methods might include:
- daily posting on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+
- involvement on forums or platforms like LinkedIn where your clients are
- sending a monthly ezine
- referral building follow up by visiting local allied providers
- attending local business networking groups
Maintenance marketing methods will be things like:
- reading up on and adjusting your website’s SEO
- adding new articles, videos, and give-aways to your website
- blogging once a week or every two weeks
- looking for reputable backlinks for your website
- tracking your pay per click advertising with AdWords
- evaluating your site statistics
- adjusting page content to improve conversion rate
This looks like a lot, but you don’t have to do everything. Choose what best fits your time and personality on a daily basis, and be consistent in doing a little something every day.
So, do you have a ready answer when someone asks you what business you’re in? Does that answer grab attention and compel listeners to ask for more detail?
If this map for reviewing, renewing and relating your marketing to the type of clients you want more of in your practice feels overwhelming to you, email me to schedule a strategy consult with a bit of anxiety coaching on the side.