Friday, September 18, 2009

Mental Marketing: It's All In Your Head!

I wrote this short article with Deborah Simmons for the Mental Health Professional Group's Spring/Summer Newsletter. It was so well received that I thought I would post it here! There is a part 2 coming and I will share that with you after it's printed! If you need help with marketing your practice then please visit my website LaMothe Services, LLC at


Mental Marketing It’s All in Your Head!
By: Sharon LaMothe and Deborah Simmons, PhD, LMFT

The world of marketing can be very confusing, especially when services and people, not products, are being sold. There are a number of components to marketing, including sales, advertising and branding. There are several venues in which to “sell” or promote services. Below you will find a few simple steps to help you conquer any concerns that you may have about marketing your unique mental health services on the Internet and elsewhere.

The very first thing to consider is who you would like to serve. By deciding on your desired clientele, you can focus on what is referred to as “niche marketing.” There are many good general therapists around but you have something special to offer. Own it and promote it. If you have several areas of expertise, you can use the same marketing techniques to reach potential clients as well as professional referral sources.

Along with knowing to whom you are marketing and what your expertise is, you need to know what your message is. Why should people come to you? What makes you special or memorable? Do you have unusual approaches, like EMDR, hypnosis, or special experience, or perhaps years working in a fertility clinic? Remember that your services and your “brand”--you-- make up your business and every business has competition. No one likes the idea of competing for clients but if you want to stay current, fresh, and focused in our new economic environment, you need to market yourself actively and differently then you might have been doing so in the past.

Now let’s look at positioning yourself on the Internet. While working with the Web can be daunting, it is increasingly your biggest and best tool. Not only will your personal web site reach other professionals, you will be connecting directly with actual patients or clients in a very personal way. Providing public access and information about you and your practice is one of the most important moves you can make. Google and websites have become invaluable search tools. They are often now the very first place where you “greet” your potential clients. Although it is great to ask other professionals to hand out your cards and refer clients to you, your website can offer so much more. Think of it as a living biography of who you are and what you do, as well as a form of web-based education and resources. You are offering the hope of solutions to people who need both, in your office and through linkages to other resources. With pages regarding your services, your biography (with a photo), your professional resources, events at which you will be available, books you have written or recommend, and a page regarding a personal statement about your practice and philosophy, a potential client can form enough of a connection to entice him or her to pick up the phone and make an appointment. Clients surveyed have mentioned that they were drawn to the photographs, philosophies, and the help that is offered on websites before they even consider making a phone call.

The Internet also offers an opportunity to ‘blog.’ Having a blog, especially if it is connected with your website, allows professionals, clients, and others to know more about you, how you think, and how you approach life. A news article or your comments on a current event allow people to connect with you on a level that normally wouldn’t be available.

Networking is a huge component to marketing your services. You already are doing that when you attend conferences, visit clinics, and join associations like the MHPG, ASRM, EDSPA, APA, AAMFT, or NASW. Networking in person builds trust with your peers and allows them to comfortably refer clients to you without hesitation. Go and meet fertility clinic nurses, doctors, and office managers. Do the same with OB-Gyn clinics. Clients deeply value personal referrals from people they trust. It certainly helps that you have provided several unique business cards to share with your website, blog and contact information boldly printed on them!

Let’s not forget the social networking sites available to anyone who owns a computer. Millions are using Face Book, LinkedIN, and Twitter to name a very few. There, on your “page,” you can list your biography, photo, website and import your blog. You can be easily accessible to potential clients. Take advantage of the professional groups available which will widen your professional net work. The book Ladies Who Launch and its accompanying website,, is for entrepreneurs and who want to connect with others, whether it is about business or new ideas.

It is time to move past introversion and fear of the unknown and to embrace new ways of spreading your own wisdom to a wider clientele. Remember that marketing ‘services’ is all about marketing your professionalism, your compassion, and your approachability—you! Thing big!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Having trouble staying focused? These tips are for YOU!

Having trouble staying focused in your home office? There are so many distractions and in order to get everything done during the day that needs your attention you need to focus! Below are several tips that you probably already know about but just haven't put into practice. I suggest you give these ideas another try!

LaMothe Services, LLC

The Art of Staying Focused

Many new and even seasoned internet marketers find it hard to stay focused on their tasks.
When you work online it can be nearly impossible to get anything accomplished when you run across new opportunities, are tempted to visit websites, watch videos, check email, browse forums, check your stats, listen to tele-seminars, browse Google and do other distracting online activities. Not to mention other offline distractions.

Here are a couple things you can do to diminish distractions.

1. Work alone in a quiet space

If you have young children you'll understand how crucial it is to work in a quiet space where other people can't distract you. It seems just about when you're ready to start working you're barraged by requests to do something or help with something.
Now, there's nothing more important than my family but when you need to work you must get down to work.

Go to a quiet space and carve out a solid amount of time where you can be productive. If someone else is in the room with you while you're working you run the possibility of getting distracted.

2. Throw your TV out the window

That's right. Turn it off and get rid of it. This will curb your curiosity of wondering what's on TV. When you're tempted to see what's on you tell yourself "well, I'll only watch a little bit."

Before you knew it your watching an hour or more of TV and aren't getting any word done. This can also be a form of psychologically avoiding tasks you need to get done - procrastination. Procrastination is a surefire way to make sure nothing gets done.

If you find yourself doing this, remember you can always record what you miss on Tivo, or better yet, you can probably find the shows you miss on online.

3. Get Rid of Internet Distractions

While it may be fun to look online for the latest viral videos, check you stats, check email, browse forums, you can literally waste hours doing these activities and check your favorite social networking site. These activities don't get you closer to your goal.

Force yourself not to do any of your favorite internet time wasters until you've gotten some real work done and can see actual results from your real efforts.

If you don't see results don't give up and give into temptation, try again and again. When you see results then reward yourself with your favorite activity.

If you don't actually have the will power to prevent yourself from engaging in your favorite online activities there is actually software which will block these activities for you.

By implementing at least one of these strategies you'll find your productivity going up and your goals will become much closer than you thought.

About the Author: Bill Thompson is an internet marketer and writer. Discover how Niche FAQ gets the niche research done for you so you can have more time to do your favorite activities

Friday, September 4, 2009

Twittering Your Small Business

I am sure you know by now I am pretty big into the whole social networking deal...and I love using twitter....I sign up clients for this FREE service and then we all twitter away. I hate hearing about who is driving to the store or whose kid is getting potty trained but for those who are using twitter as a business tool....sharing links and tips and sometimes an uplifting quote, its great! Check out this article below and then start twittering away! (I have over 500 followers! Feel free to join us at

Sharon LaMothe

Twittering Your Small Business

Word on the street is that "Twitter" is the latest rage, but chances are you have either ignored it, or simply didn't have the time to look into what it has to offer.

Thankfully, Twitter is extremely easy to explain -- they call themselves a "microblogging service". Micro blogging allows members to talk about anything they want, in bite size portions of 140 characters or less. That is essentially the entire service. What makes Twitter so popular is not what it does, but how many people it does it with. There are millions of people on Twitter, some very active, and some that signed up but never quite understood the concept. Like many blogs, the majority of people on Twitter use the service to relay information about their life. They'll post what they had for dinner, or what time they got up in the morning.

Hidden away in all those blog entries, could be the information you need to gain a customer, or prevent losing one. Here is a good example -- if one of your customers makes a purchase off your web site, but the product arrives damaged, they might take their complaint to Twitter before they even consider calling you.

Keep in mind that a disgruntled customer is often capable of creating a PR nightmare for you. A very simple way to be proactive about these things is to keep an eye out for keywords related to your business. The Twitter search feature allows you to search for anything in the millions of "Tweets" posted every day.

Get your own Twitter account, and if someone pops up with a complaint about your company and tries to spread the word to the rest of the Twitter world, step in and offer to help them out any way possible.

Remember, many Twitter users have their entire social network following their posts and badmouthing you or your products will often spread like wildfire.

Of course, Twitter can also be used to reach potential customers. You can do this by setting up your own Twitter page. I wouldn't recommend sitting at your desk all day describing what you see out your window, but a post a day about your deals, upcoming promotions or even as a place to hand out discount codes for your products will generate some goodwill and show your customers that you are at least aware of the latest social networking trends.

Just don't trick yourself into thinking that Twitter will magically increase your sales overnight. Getting your company on Twitter starts with registering an account -- do it now, and make sure you register all variations to your company name. Remember, Twitter is like domain names; if you don't register the name, someone else might, and the last thing you want is someone posting "Acme Widget Inc. sucks" using your company name.

Once you have your account setup, the hard part begins -- what to say?

I'd suggest beginning with some basic stuff. Post about a new product, post about trade shows you plan to attend. Think of Twitter as the message board at your local grocery store -- a place to share the good news about your company. Posting your messages to Twitter can be done through their web site, but also through one of the many "Twitter clients", available for most mobile phones and computers.

Once you've gotten a hang of posting, it's time to start doing some marketing. Make sure your Twitter profile page contains all the right information and be sure to use your company and product names in your "Tweets", that way the search engines will pick them up, making it easier for people to find you.

If your company specializes in "Widgets", start talking about them, provide general tips and tricks for people to use the product, and before you know it, you'll be seen as a specialist in your field (provided you are not posting utter rubbish).

There are of course also a couple of things not to do on Twitter -- most importantly, remember that anything nasty or rude you say can and will be used against you. If you badmouth a competitor, or a customer, make sure you are ready for the repercussions. Social networks are notoriously unforgiving, and if you screw up badly, it'll be all over the "blogosphere" before you know it.

Even if the entire experiment only yields one new customer, it is one customer you did not have before you started Twittering, and at the end of the day the whole thing will not have cost you anything other than your time.

By staying up to date with the latest social networking trends, you'll be ready for the next new service to popup, and before you know it, you'll be a pro at reaching new markets.