Three "Most Important" Tips on Marketing Your Hypnosis Practice

Calvin D. Banyan, MA, BCH, FNGH, CI

I recently returned form the National Guild of Hypnotists National Convention. It was great and I highly recommend that you get there each year if you are serious about your profession using hypnosis. While I was there, I gave a few talks on hypnosis and hypnotherapy, but one of the questions that the attendees kept asking me was, "Cal, I hear that you have one of the largest and most successful hypnotherapy practices in the country, how did you do it?" That is a very big question with lots of answers.

The question came up again just a week or so ago. I was invited to speak at next year's Solid Gold Weekend, a great two-day event put on by the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH). I decided that I wanted some suggestions about what I should talk about so I sent an email off to the Banyan Hypnosis Center Graduates Email Group on Yahoo which has over 350 active members! I asked them what they would want me to talk about? The answer was deafening. It resonated so loudly, Dr. Dwight Damon, President of the NGH called me and asked me if I would be interested in speaking on the topic because there was so much interest in how we built our successful business.

Well, what could I say? Of course, I'd be very happy to talk about how we built our business. The world needs more successful hypnotherapy business like ours. Let me tell you a couple of things about our business. We are in a local mall. We have five hypnotherapists working (however the number varies and is sometimes as low as three and has high as six). We have a receptionist and a General Manager, who really runs the place so that I can see clients, write and teach. (Click here to meet our staff.)

Our facility was 2,000 sq. ft. when we first started, and then for our fifth anniversary we expanded that space to 4, 000 sq. ft. We book about 40 to 50 new clients each month. We train approximately 100 new hypnotherapists each year and also teach classes for painless childbirth and self-hypnosis. Whew! We stay very busy. Do you want a center like ours? You can do it, but it takes a lot of work, but it is also important that you work smarter, not harder! (Click here to see some photos or our office and classrooms.)

From the time that we opened our doors and the first potential clients walked in, we have always kept track of where our clients heard about us. Here are the facts we have gathered over the years. The vast majority of our clients hear about us from three different places: the Yellow Pages Telephone Book, client referrals and from our web site. It can vary from month to month, but that tends to be the usual order from most to least. We also get clients from other hypnotherapists, students and other forms of advertising, but these do not pull in the clients like the first three.

So let me take up a bit of space here and tell you about what I think works and why.

Yellow Pages Telephone Directory (Can be Expensive)

Unless you are a real marketing guru, and you can just go out and drum up lots of clients through your public relations skill, you just have to have a Yellow Pages advertisement or at least a listing if you want to build a multi-hypnotherapists organization like we have. Oh, there might be some exceptions, but they are few and far between.

Once you open your office and get a business telephone line, it won't be long until the salesperson calls you to set up an appointment about your listing. Before she arrives, take the time to look at your local telephone book and see what kinds of ads already exist. Chances are, unless you live in New York or Los Angeles, there will be less than one page worth of telephone ads and then some more listing. This is great news, because this means that you don't have a lot of competition when it comes to advertising.

I've been doing a lot of research on this kind of advertising and I have come to the conclusion that you don't have to have the largest ad in the book under your listing category. But it should be as big as the largest ad. This will keep you up with the leaders of the pack. Then keep these things in mind as you write your ad.

  • Don't take up a lot of the space with the name of your business.
  • Look at the ad from your potential client's point of view.
  • List the benefits of seeing you (i.e., location, experience, etc.)
  • Size is more important than color when designing an ad.

Too many companies take up this valuable space on their ad by having the name of their business in big letters. Remember that people are more motivated by solutions than anything else. So put your name at the bottom of the ad next to the telephone number. Your potential clients are not going to be interested in your name until they are interested in your ad.

Finally, larger ads send the message that your business is successful. Color doesn't send the same message. Also larger ads go to the front of this listing. If there are a small number of ads in your category then your potential clients are going to see all of the ads, so like I said before, you don't have to have the largest ad. Yellow Pages ads cost a lot of money, especially if you live in a city with a large population. But remember, you can beat out a large ad by having good content. Have a good heading that catches your potential client's eye. Here is another thing. Make sure that you list the major services that you want to provide, and then say "and more."

For more information on using the Yellow Pages, I recommend the best book I have ever seen on the subject, Using Yellow Pages Advertising to Ethically "Steal" from Your competition, by Alan Saltz. Click Here to go to Mr. Saltz's web site and learn more about Yellow Pages advertising.

Web Site (Can be Inexpensive)

I first put up our web site in 1996 using my America Online Account, and quickly changed over to having our own domain name, which is still, www.HypnosisCenter.com. I get a lot of good comments about our web site and I appreciate them all. But I am more impressed by the number of clients and students that it has generated over the years.

Here are a few tips:

  • If you can use Microsoft Word, you can build a web site.
  • Start off thinking about it as a brochure that is online.
  • Use the word "hypnosis" in the domain name.
  • Swap links with other hypnotherapists to generate traffic.
  • Write some short articles about hypnosis.
  • Put your picture on the web site.

I use Microsoft FrontPage to create my web site. I like it because it looks and acts just like Microsoft Word. Get the program and get a book on it and most people can put up a good site that will get you lots of referrals.

When you design your web site, think of it as an online brochure. Make it simple but attractive. The index page is the first page that will come up when someone types in your domain name. It is like the front page of a fancy brochure. Then have a place on the front page that links to other pages. Good names for such links are, Contact Information, Learn About Hypnosis, Our Most Popular Services, How to Get to Our Office and What to Expect For Your First Session.

When you pick out your domain name, always use the word "hypnosis." This will pay off in many ways. For one, a lot of people will find your web site by searching on Google or Yahoo. The word "hypnosis" will be used in an attempt to find you 10 times more than the word "hypnotherapist."

You should also set up a links page on your site. Then you can search the Internet and find other hypnotherapists who have web sites and ask them to trade links with you. This means that you will put their site on your links page and they will do the same for you. This generates more visitors (traffic) to our site because visitors to their sites may find that they are closer to you and click on the link and come to your web site. Also, and this is a big ALSO, search engines like Yahoo and Google tend to rank web sites more highly if other web sites are linking to them. They figure that if other sites are linking to this site it is probably a pretty good site. This means that you will receive a higher ranking and show up closer to the top when they show the results of the search. And, basically if you are not on the first page your appearance on the search engine is not going to provide you with a lot of traffic.

I know that some of us like to write and some of us don't. I never really liked to write much until I started getting pretty good at it. Now it is kind of fun and it makes me some nice income. So I recommend that you write some short articles for your web site. These articles should tell your potential clients a little about hypnosis and hypnotherapy. These articles do more than just inform your potential clients, they also establish you as an expert! They say, "I know what I am talking about." Really the shorter the better (I tend to write too much, but I am working on that). Some web sites such as ours even have articles that you can use as long as you link back to our site.

Finally, I recommend that you put a professional picture of yourself and maybe even your office on the site. Doing so gives you more credibility. There is something very cold, impersonal and vacant about a web site that has no photos. Besides having your photo up there (as well as the other hypnotherapists once you have hired them) helps to build rapport. Your client finally shows up at your office she will feel somewhat familiar with you.

Client Referrals (Inexpensive or Free)

Receiving referrals from clients is one of the least expensive (and mostly free) marketing that you can do for your business. So undoubtedly, this is the best kind. The catch is that you must first have some clients before you can receive these referrals. But if you do the first two things that I mentioned you will get your clients, and then you can do some of these things and get the referrals coming in too!

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Under promise and over deliver - never the other way around!
  • Have a clean and professional office in a good location.
  • Present yourself professionally.
  • Provide a great service that gets results.
  • Give your clients things to hand out or show off!

Be honest in all of your advertising and never mislead your potential client. Don't pick a grandiose name for your business, such as the National Institute of Professional Hypnotherapy Professionals, if you are just one person sitting in an office somewhere. The clients that choose to see you because of the grandiose name will certainly be disappointed and will be embarrassed to refer her friends and neighbors to you. Always under promise and over deliver. Visitors to our center are always impressed with our professional presentation and the way they are treated. This is the kind of approach that leads to lots of referrals.

Your office needs to be clean and in a good location. You don't have to have a "swanky" location to get lots of referrals, but your clients should feel safe going there. Things like having a well-lit parking lot in a good neighborhood make our clients feel safe at night. They will feel safe in referring more clients to you.

Your office and reception area if you have one, should look and smell very clean. So should you. If you are not sure what professional dress looks like then get a book or get a consultation. You should hear the horror stories that we hear about other hypnotherapists who don't follow these recommendations. Not only do these unprofessional hypnotherapists not get referrals, sometime the clients don't come back for a second appointment!

Provide your clients with excellent service that really gets results. Most professionals agree that taking the time to do a good pre-talk to prepare the client for hypnosis is vitally important. Use a hypnotic induction designed to take your clients into a deep level of hypnosis, then you can use convincers to show your client that she was hypnotized. If you lock her eyelids closed or create arm catalepsy this gives your client something to talk about with her friends. Also these deeper levels of hypnosis, together with convincers will provide your clients with longer lasting results. These results can be further improved by using insight therapies are put together in the now famous 5-PATH™ approach to hypnotherapy. Getting great results naturally leads to getting more referrals!

Give your clients something to show off or share. As I mentioned above, give them something to talk about, like the use of convincers. But then we always have our clients leave the office with a brochure with information about hypnosis. We also always put three business cards in each brochure, so that your clients can hand them out to their friends. Another great approach is to give out certificates when appropriate. For example, when one of our clients has completed our stop smoking program, we always give them a certificate that announces that they have stopped smoking. We also do this for our painless child birthing classes. These certificates wind up in the babies' room or in the babies' scrap book, which the young parents love to show off to their friends! There are lots of ways to do this. Just use your imagination and you can think of lots of things for your clients to share with their friends.

Wrap-Up

These are the top three things that we have done and continue to do to build our business. There are lots more things you can do. You can do free public talks, get on the radio or television, or write articles about hypnosis. All of these things will provide more clients for your growing business. But these top three are worth the time and money that you put into them if you really do it right. They will give you the best steady stream of clients, and that is what a growing and thriving business really needs.

Best of luck in your business! Remember, if you get serious about your hypnotherapy business then you will have a serious hypnotherapy business.

Copyright © 2004 Calvin D. Banyan. All rights reserved.