Chances are if you are reading this column, that you and I have developed a relationship, though we may not have met in person. That is because over the years, I have been developing relationships with therapists and creating trust through content via inbound marketing techniques. These same techniques that I have used to gain your trust, you can use to gain the trust of consumers in the hope they will become your clients when the need arises. The internet affords all of us the vehicle to meet new prospects and build trust without having to resort to cold calling, which has a notoriously low success rate in bringing in new clients. Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your practice and services you offer. By aligning the content you publish with your niche areas of expertise, you automatically attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and work with over time.
Creating trust through content means that a great way to start a conversation is by continually publishing some type of educational/meaningful content to your website. Your article choices, blog posts and opinions will begin to engage website visitors, FB fans and LinkedIn connections well before they may actually contact you for services or make referrals to you. What this means is that instead of spending time talking on the phone trying to make contacts, you are instead allowing consumers to get to know you and learn from your experiences. Professional services will always be relationship based, and consumers look to educate themselves before selecting a service provider. Sharing knowledge is an effective way to gain trust quickly – if you are still reading this, this is a live example of what I am talking about!
Become a magnet, attracting those who need your services by owning your space and your niche, and becoming the “go to” person for a particular skill and bolstering this by your targeted content. This is when you are educating “early stage” prospects who may contact you at some point down the road. No doubt there will be consumers who may look to you for content and information, and never take the relationship to the second stage, but others will, and you will be ready when they do. Using words that are “calls to action”, such as ready to get started? helps to move the relationship along to the point where you are contacted. Consumers that have been reading your material and learning to trust you will contact you when they are ready to start or need your services. You want to make sure they have an easy way to move into this stage of the relationship so keep your “contact us” form easy to fill out, and your telephone number/ personal email address readily visible to use. ( Case in point – are you still reading? Have I moved you to action to contact me so we can work on the targeted content for your practice’s website??)
There are no true substitutes for a personal meeting, and gaining the trust of your clients and referral sources in the traditional sense, so I would not be concerned that it is becoming obsolete. But in this age of the internet as a primary source of information in healthcare, content marketing and online nurturing is becoming more and more important as a tool to utilize in forming solid long term relationships.
Iris Kimberg, MS PT, OTR, has worked in the non-clinical aspect of therapy for the past 30 years. She is the founder of New York Therapy Guide (https://www.nytherapyguide.com), a site dedicated to the growth, viability and success of therapists in the private sector. Iris now enjoys sharing her expertise with others in the field through workshops, webinars and private consultations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.