Starting out as a hypnotherapy practitioner may seem daunting and at times, quite a lonely prospect, but there’s a good deal of support and help to be had if you know where to look for it. We are fortunate to be living through a digital revolution in business at the moment, and every day new tools, facilities and information come online to help you make a success out of your practice.
To take advantage of the many tools and resources available, you need to be comfortable using a computer, and you’ll need to have some idea of how to navigate the Internet, follow links, download files, install software and send and receive emails and instant messages. For those of us that already do these things in our sleep, it doesn’t sound difficult, but I recognise that there are still plenty of people who feel like they have a mountain to climb when it comes to embracing technology.
The secret is to take it one step at a time, and discover for yourself the ease and speed at which you can, for example, send an email to 100 prospective clients or reconcile your accounts. If you’re not ‘technically minded’ then don’t overwhelm yourself trying to grasp too much at once! Start small and build on your knowledge as you go along.
In all of this, don’t forget that if you don’t know how to do something, you can go to Google (http://www.google.co.uk) and ask!
Essentially, you can use technology to make it much easier to:
Market your services to prospective customers
Automate your marketing
Manage your customers, bookings and time
Marketing your services with technology means building a digital profile for your business, starting with your website. It’s possible to spend tens of thousands of pounds on even a simple website – but at the other end of the scale, it’s perfectly possible to get your own website up and running literally in minutes.
If you don’t already have one, an email address is essential to managing and accessing all these online resources. Free email addresses are available from a number of sources, but perhaps the best choice is to get a Gmail address from Google, as that will include with it a Google account that will give you immediate access to a number of important digital platforms like Youtube and Google Docs. Head on over to www.gmail.com and get started!
Blogging platforms like Wordpress are a good place to start, and you can get so-called ‘turnkey solutions’ to enable you to register a custom domain name (e.g.www.daveshypnotherapy.co.uk, or www.sheilagranger.london). Install a fresh copy of WordPress and have it configured with your contact details and some basic content. Have a look at either www.wordpress.com or www.blogger.com to begin with, as both of these options will let you create a smart looking website and give you the ability to change the content easily.
Once you have an email address, a Google account and a website, you can begin to sign up to other services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. Have a look, at your own pace, and see how other people are using them to talk to their existing and prospective customers.
With a website in place and some experience of social media, you’re ready to look at more structured sales and marketing technologies, like Customer Relationship Managers, email marketing, content marketing and inbound marketing. These boil down to ways of keeping track of existing, new and prospective customers, and then communicating with them through email and social media, writing blogs to attract visitors to your website, and following up any interactions you get through these channels.
There’s an enormous amount of complexity to these tasks, but you should aim low, to begin with. Set yourself some SMART goals for your first forays into technology (engage with 3 people on social media about hypnotherapy, capture 10 email addresses of people interested in hypnotherapy weight loss (for example) or send 1000 marketing messages out to a mailing list and measure how many people respond in some way).
If it all seems like voodoo, don’t despair – using Google and Youtube to find tutorials can help, as can having a technologically minded relative or friend who can help you take your first steps. Don’t be afraid of using your network to help you embrace the technology that will make running your hypnotherapy practice simpler and easier, freeing up more time for you to spend helping people.