In all of your marketing materials, your message matters. If you want a flourishing practice, it's time to do some serious drilling-down to find out as much as you can about your ideal client's critical pain points so that you can create an irresistible message. Without knowing your target market's most critical problems, challenges, issues and stumbling blocks, you simply won't be as successful. The good news is, it's relatively easy to find out everything you need to know about them to ensure your marketing message generates new clients. Just ask them!
Here are some ideas. I've done all of them and my favorite option is the last one.
- Interview 10-20 people who you feel are your perfect "niche" clients
- Meet them in person 1:1 over coffee/tea and review it with them
- Have a 1:1 skype conversation
- Have a 1:1 phone conversation
- Kill two birds with one stone: invite all of the likeminded clients who are experiencing the same struggles to a group lunch/brunch.
Create a questionaire to determine your clients biggest pain points. Don't just leave them to fill out the questionnaire on their own and have them return it at a later date. Most people will forget or put this off. You need to schedule a face to face appointment with them. The actual conversation will help you to build credibility and visibility so it's important to have a scheduled meeting with them.
Send the questionaire to them first so they can peak at it and roll over some thoughts in their minds before you speak.
If you are holding a group meeting, have them email you a copy of their answers and also bring along a copy - this way if someone doesn't show up - you will still have a copy of their answers.
Remember that throughout this process you are building a relationship. Let them know how grateful you are for their time and send them a follow thank you card. If you really want to have them remember you, you can also add a little treat as an extra - i.e./ a coffee card, a donation on behalf of them...
An Important Point:
If after your interviews you have found you do not have enough high paying clients who will purchase your service, it's time to go back to the beginning to determine a more viable target market. This is great news!! Just think of how much time and effort would have been wasted if you hadn't taken this first step.
What about that icky, sales-y kinda feeling?
The remedy for this is a change in paradigm. Think of your market research more like building a relationship. Think of it more as a friendly exchange mixed with "how can I be of most help to you." Get really curious. You want to understand how you can be the best person to help your client with their particular needs. Let them know you aren't trying to sell anything to them. Let them know that you truly just want to create the best experience for them and people like them.
In my experience, most people feel compelled to want to open up when you come from a place of curiosity and genuine interest. Come from this energy and you will probably even find yourself with a client by the time the meeting is over.
If you're a dime-a-dozen therapist, helping everyone to get better, you will have a difficult time getting a hold on a marketing message that will fit ALL of your dime-a-dozen clients. You will sound generic and your message will be weak and diluted.
Doing some drilling down and discovering your client's problems will be a game changer for your business. You will be able to steer all of your marketing materials to your ideal client's and their problems, and as a result all of your marketing efforts will become a lot more FOCUSED and EASIER for you. The best part is that clients will start just showing up out of the blue!