Common Marketing Mistakes

Made by Complementary Practitioners and Therapists

We all make mistakes and there is no perfect way to market your complementary practice or therapy business.  These are a few of the common ones many practitioners make:

common marketing mistakes

common marketing mistakes#1 Not doing any marketing

Unfortunately, many practitioners think that clients will automatically find their way to their practice.  Marketing is often seen as some sort of dark art and practitioners hate the whole idea of it.  You need to get out there and let people know what you do if you want to survive as a practitioner.  If not, you will be the best-kept secret and all your studies and expense will be wasted.

It is important to market yourself in a way that fits with you and your values rather than trying to fit into someone else’s blueprint or formula.  Marketing done well is just about being helpful and letting people know how you can help them.  You get to decide on the activities that are ethical to you and that fit with your strengths.

#2 Trying to appeal to everyone

Whilst you may be able to help anyone and prefer working as a generalist, generic marketing will appear bland and boring.  Your marketing must be targeted and specific and speak directly to someone so they absolutely know you can help them.  If not, it will get lost amongst all the noise and be a waste of your time and effort.

#3 Not asking clients how they found you

The best way to know what marketing is working is to ask clients how they found out about you.  Make this a habit every time someone inquires about your services and it will pay dividends for your business.  It will also help you understand what is working and therefore where you are best focusing your marketing efforts.

#4 Not responding to clients

Whether it’s not answering the phone, returning calls or responding to emails quickly, people won’t wait around for you.  There are a lot of other practitioners out there, so you are missing out if you don’t maintain good communications and response times.

common marketing mistakes#5 Not having a welcoming, comfortable environment

When you do see clients in person, they must feel comfortable and welcome.  If they feel uncomfortable when in your practice, they’re unlikely to ever want to come back.  You want your clients to have a great experience when they come to see you, so they share it with others in a good way and not talking about how bad it was.

#6 Not following up on enquiries

When someone inquires about your services, they are what we call a hot lead. They’re already interested in how you can help them and likely to be ready to work with you now.  You are missing a trick if you don’t follow up on an enquiry to see if they need any more information.  People are busy and often just need reminding you’re there to help.

#7 Poor quality or no profile photo

Relationships are critical to your success as a practitioner and people want to see you before booking.  A good profile photo will help people connect with you and trust that you are the right practitioner for them.  Make sure your photo is current and represents you and your brand and don’t hide behind a logo as this will harm your business.  Would you connect with someone on social media who doesn’t have a photo on their profile?

#8 Holding back on your personality

Being you is the best way you can differentiate yourself from any other practitioner out there.  Not everyone will love you, but some will and they are the people you want to work with.  Avoid trying to be the same as everyone out there and start being you!

#9 Having a bad or broken website

A website isn’t always a necessity for a practitioner, but it is recommended and especially if you want to market yourself online.  A bad or broken website is worse than not having one at all.  If you do have a website, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to work, represent your brand and is up to date and works on different devices.

#10 Not having a marketing plan

By this, I don’t mean you need to have a full business plan and for most practitioners, this will never be the case unless you want funding.  A simple plan on one sheet of paper will give you direction and help you to focus your marketing efforts.  It will help you be consistent with your marketing activities and work out which ones are working for you.

#11 Doing the wrong marketing activities

You could be busy marketing yourself but if you aren’t working on the right activities, they won’t bring clients through your door.  Be strategic about the marketing you do and make sure you know why you are doing every activity.  Different marketing activities will take different amounts of time to achieve results.  You need a mixture of activities that are designed to find clients quickly and those that set up clients for the future.

#12 Not focusing on your core marketing activities

You are far better to pick one or two activities that work to your strengths and your resources.  Then focus on doing those to the best of your ability rather than trying to do everything.  If you flit from one activity to another, you won’t do any of them well, you will be overwhelmed and you will feel that no matter how hard you try, marketing doesn’t work.

common marketing mistakes#13 Not being consistent

As with anything, consistency is key to getting things to stick.  It works with habits, exercise, diets, treatment plans and it also works with your marketing.  If you do different marketing activities in an ad-hoc way, you’re not giving anything a chance to work.  Marketing is a long-term game and you need to give it a chance to work.  Most activities especially online can take months or even years to reach their potential.

#14 Unsuitable social media posting

Remember you are your brand so being mindful of what you post publicly and keep private social media accounts private.  Engaging in a huge public rant over something online could be damaging and put a prospective client off of contacting you.  Set yourself some rules of engagement over what you post and use them to help you decide if something reflects your brand.

Be mindful about interacting with clients on social media as you need to be cautious around identifying anyone as a client (Data Protection) or providing advice (professional insurance).

#15 Not staying in contact with people who have given you permission

Your email list is a huge asset to your business, are you sending out emails to yours?  People don’t give away their email address easily and will only give you permission to contact them if they are interested in what you have to offer.  If you’re not taking advantage of emailing your list regularly, you are wasting a huge opportunity.

#16 Paying for advertising with no strategy

Advertisers just want you to use their services and will try to convince you to pay on a promise it will bring clients to your door.  Whilst advertising is a good way to market your practice, you need to be strategic about it.  If not, it can be an expensive lesson with no or few results.

common marketing mistakes#17 Not being active in your community

This is especially important if you are running a local practice, you need to get known in your local area.  The more you raise your profile, the more likely you’re likely to be recommended for your services.  Your local community and the relationships you build will help you to thrive and build a sustainable practice.

#18 Trying to do everything yourself

You are one person and running a business, you have to wear lots of different hats.  Trying to do everything yourself is a problem as you will soon run out of steam.  Be selective over what you do and then find help for the things you hate doing or are not good at.  Again, it comes down to making sure you are efficient with your time and it’s not always worth it trying to do something it will take a professional a fraction of the time to do.

#19 Not investing in marketing

If you’re a medical herbalist, your clients come to you instead of going to the local health food shop because you are an expert and can help them.  If you’re an osteopath, they come to you rather than buying a shiatsu massage cushion because you’ll be able to help them directly.  Why then would you try and do all your marketing instead of employing an expert to do it?  You’re not a graphic designer; web designer or marketer so get professional help where you can as soon as you can afford it.


Do you make any of these mistakes in your marketing?  Take some time to reflect on what you are doing and work out a plan of action to move forward with your marketing in a strategic way.  If you need help doing this, contact me for a free discovery call to find out how I can help you get your marketing working.

If you need help with your marketing strategy, please contact me for a free discovery call to find out how I can help you.

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