Establishing your new business, improving an existing practice.

Nearly all complementary health specialists belong to a governing body and you'll probably find lots of information on developing your practice there. There are of course general rules but it's important to recognize your governing body will also include information specific to your qualifications in practice. HINT: Make sure you stay up-to-date with your governing body's advice on advertising and marketing as this is subject to change. Review their information at regular intervals. We've already discussed the benefits of having your own website rather than relying exclusively on the free web pages and accounts available from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. However, that's not to play-down their importance. It's clear a good coverage is worth while but meeting the demand of updating your various pages is time consuming. Your site as the centre of your web We've already discussed why it can be important to invest in your own website yet not to ignore the benefits of external sites such as the social networks like FaceBook and LinkedIn. Remember, there's a reason why it's called  called 'The Web'. If you imagine your own website 'corporate site is the correct term' as the centre of 'your internet' then we can begin to network out from there. With your website as the main repository of information about your practice activity at google+, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter and the many others can be focused on presenting your site. It's possible to 'Funnel' visitors to your site but even if they don't visit, knowing it's there is often enough to instil their confidence and make a 'purchase decision' to contact you. The websites we build are also capable of interacting with the social media, for example if you have a series of videos at YouTube, you can draw visitors attention to these by displaying them on your main website. You can also direct Tweets directly to your website so each time you send a message via twitter it will also appear on your main site. Thus, you have a higher through-put of content yet have not spent any more time to publish it. So the modern CMS website means you can take full advantage of the publishing power across more and more networks. Using the social networks in conjunction with your 'corporate' website is an important way to find new clients and reach by referral. Your website can add strength to your position within your community as a practitioner and reinforce confidence in referrals. Next: Working with dynamic websites For helpful advice and an over-view of options and strategies for your complementary health practice (including reflexology, aroma therapy, massage and beauty) can use to improve business with holistic strategies we have an article » here « If you would like to explore the options of developing a web system to support your practice please call us today on 01327 344410.

Read more: Finding new clients for Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Massage Business

Working with a dynamic website

It's easy to think of any dynamic website as a baby that needs constant feeding and changing. The social networks tend have veracious appetites in this respect and one can find hours every week occupied with simply posting trivia. Now, one might argue that the more content you have the better, after all the saying 'Content is King' is as true now as ever. But the quality of the content is a factor too. So your time working at your online presence is best planned ahead. If you can delegate some tasks such as answering lower level queries and posting images, video etc. you may find it immensely helpful. You may even have time to take some therapy yourself ;) Different types of website Static WebsiteThe earliest web sites were known as 'static sites'. All content would be added by hand and 'hard coded' hence, one would need competent programming skills to make even a minor change.Social MediaBasically yes these are dynamic however they are built to achieve specific goals. For instance YouTube is for video and although one can post comments and use numerous supporting features - it's job is clearly defined. The same is true of nearly all the social media networks. Also, as a general rule they do not have a policy for one to use their web pages as a business home page even though they support interactivity and cross-connections to the market place.Dynamic WebsiteToday nearly all websites can be classified as dynamic although often that facility is add-in, latent or you may simply not be aware of it. At Famous Websites® we take great effort to enable our clients to update and edit information on their websites themselves, with confidence.The nature of the latest website technologies is constantly changing. At one time, to simply add a sentence to a page would have meant either learning to program or employing a designer (developer actually). Nearly all the modern sites use Content Management Systems, CMS. This means you can personally log into your website and make changes as and when they are needed. CMS website are very flexible Apart from the classic home page, contact page and detail of service, using a content managed system  means you can also add new features such as calenders for schedules. There are numerous applications that can be included to build a 'feature rich' website. Underlying this is a framework that has the agility to respond to different screens too, if you wish your website can change its layout to improve the experience of a reader using an iPad or mobile phone. Have 'registered only' parts of your site for client exclusivity. Edit pages at will. Add new pages at will. Upload photographs. Link audio and video. Change pages on location, even on holiday abroad. Delegate administration, a friend or partner can help. So you have full control over what is displayed, generally you can add as many pages as you need and best of all the modern systems are quite modular so as your business adapts and grows so can your website. For more information on being a website owner please read our 'Therapists and the Internet' article.

If you would like to explore the options of developing a web system to support your practice please call us today on 01327 344410.

Read more: Using a dynamic CMS website with Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Massage Business

Build your practice name into a brand  patrons recognise and support.

Brand Loyalty, how this can help therapists.

Branding and Brand Loyalty

It is hard to imagine anyone living in our consumer society who is not effected by branding and brand loyalty. Companies with products may have their own brand then individual brands for their products. A good example of this is chewing gum. The manufacturer may have their own logo, their brand but the actual range of gum they produce may have a brand for each product.

For service industries and professions a particular package of services can have a brand, we see this often with phone and media companies. So the 'sub' branding can be changed but the company branding, part of its 'corporate identity' can stay the same. A brand isn't necessarily a logotype although logos and graphic devices are often used if for no other reason than to simplify marketing. A distinctive logo is a great way to identify a brand. Most in business would agree it's a good idea to have a company logo.

If you would like to explore the options of developing a web system to support your practice please call us today on +353 21234 0212.

How does branding work?

There have been many in-depth studies, this is a very broad topic so a simple question like "How does branding work?" isn't easy to answer with a few words but we will try by example.

In our kitchen we have tea and coffee. We choose these products based on their flavour, availability and cost. Invariably, if the cost is the same or within a few pence and there may be no 'real' preference on taste and a range of products are available we will buy one particular brand because, we bought it before and it was fine. Our purchase decision is based on a variety of factors including trust. Having used a product already, we trust it will be good again.

A long standing and trusted soap manufacturer changed their formula in the 2000's from one that had been in use since the 1920's. Customers continued buying the soap even though many complained it was "not as good" and even formed pressure groups to convince the company they should return to their original formula.

One could argue that Apple computers who have had periods of severe difficulties have survived because of brand loyalty. This list goes on and on where a companies reputation is encapsulated with its brand. When customers and clients feel they can trust the brand it becomes extremely powerful and important to the success of a business.

One could argue that with health care brand loyalty is irrelevant because if course if one is healing then once that person feels better, the job is done and one would not wish them to return. This ignores the trust element, a person who trusts your 'brand' even if they no longer need your services is in fact an asset for your business.

Satisfied Customers are Assets

Having helped a customer one would hope they will inform their circle and help promote your service further afield. For this reason, referral consultations are vital for long term business development for services especially when the subject has a sensitive nature. Personal recommendations are like gold to sales teams so one should value every opportunity. Where your branding can help in these scenarios is simple, it makes it easier for those recommending your services to pass your details on, especially when your service information can be found on-line.


Your website can become a resource for those customers you have helped. One can have sections of content specifically tailored for existing customers and of course those you have previously helped where they can 'log in' to view exclusive content. On-site forums are available too so one could have on-going correspondence with your client-base forming new groups and helping promote your business and your therapy.

Review Your Branding

  • Do you have a logo?
  • Do you have your own website?
  • How do you appear on social sites like Twitter and FaceBook?
  • How does the public see you?
  • What photographs have you published?
  • Do you have any video?

If you would like to explore the options of developing a web system to support your practice please call us today on +353 21234 0212.

Read more: Brand Loyalty, how this can help therapists

Owning a website, help for therapists

Establishing yourself as a practitioner.

These days it's second nature to open a web browser and search for everything from pizza delivery to holidays and help, including of course help from therapists. So as a practitioner being found “on-line” is important but it's not the end of your marketing story. Advertising online or simply having a website is an important part of the picture but remember marketing is a wide topic and includes many ways to get your “offer” to the public.

Owning your own website.

One might ask “What's the point of owning a website when FaceBook and Twitter are free?” Well the answer is within the question, FaceBook and Twitter are free-to-use social networks, anyone can have a page so if this is the only on-line representation you have ask yourself “What makes me different to the millions of others? How can new customers see my investment?”

A public display of your commitment and investment.

This is about demonstrating your belief in yourself, that you are sure you can help your customers with your therapy. You have invested your time gaining skills as well as invested money into your business.

Anyone can have a page on the social website but you have a business, with a name, a brand, perhaps a premises too. Closing this circle with a website is well used and trusted way to create the foundation for your marketing.

Modern websites are not just “electric brochures” they are software applications that can provide interactive media to the public. Even for the small business there are interactive elements one can bring into play to improve your readers experience at your website. The right choice of articles, images and interactive features can provide potential customers with a compelling 'purchase decision', to choose your business over a competitor.

Modern websites grow with your business so if you expand or become a specialist in a particular field, your website can change to accommodate this. All the modern website systems can be complex yet the primary functions are quite simple. Adding new content, articles and images, adding links or even video does not need specialist computer expertise. Adding an article is no more difficult than writing an email.

Content sensitivity, recognising a “Distress Purchase”

Anyone seeking therapy is clearly in need of help due to a physical or in general terms a 'wellness' complaint. They may have tried other other practices and this could include their G.P. so your contact may often be underwritten by their past experiences. Your literature, be it on your website; within pamphlets or in advertising should be written with the audience in mind. Expressing your understanding of the sensitivity a complaint and the holistic effect this can have on a persons well being is a good place to build 'trust values' into your message. Potential new customers will almost certainly need to feel to some degree confident you can help them before responding to a “call to action”.

How to own your own website.

First, there are terms and phrases commonly used, you may need to look-up some of these if you are new to the concept of owning or editing a website.

Domains and Hosting

Domain, Domain Name

Your domain name is what a person types to find your website, like “www.famouswebsites.eu”, the domain name is “FamousWebsites” with a “eu” extension. Domain names are also used for email accounts like “advice@” then “FamousWebsites” then “.eu”. Your domain name is an important part of your presence online.

TLD, Top Level Domain

All domains have a suffix, an extension like ".co.uk" or ".net". Here ".co.uk" means this is in the United Kingdom, ".fr" for France and so on. A Top level Domain is not territorial hence a ".com" simply means it is a commercial domain in the world.

Domain and Hosting Renewal

We only buy the right to use domains and hosting packages, usually for a year or two. Before that period expires one must renew to continue publishing and using email via a business domain.

Hosting

All internet activity especially email and web pages need an internet host. This is a service one can buy per year which allows publication of websites and sending, receiving email.

Bandwidth

The amount of data one can send or receive on a network. It is a consumable, most host accounts have an allowance for bandwidth. If that allowance is too low and your traffic is high your website may not appear. There should always be enough bandwidth to cover your usage.

Internet Traffic

A general term, email is internet traffic, every visit to a website forms part of its traffic. All traffic uses your bandwidth.

Search Engines

Search Engine

There are lots of search engines but these days most people mean “Google” or “Bing”. These are websites that look on the internet for matches to your search text.

SEO, Search Engine Optimization

Web pages can be tailored making them easier for search engines to read and hopefully giving the web page a better page rank. See below...

Page Rank

Where a search engine thinks your page should appear on the list of thousands of pages it returns to the person searching. A good page rank means you are closer to the top of the list.

General Use

Web Browser

Whenever one views a web page one uses a “web browser”. It's a good idea to know which browser you have because there are important differences. Most web developers suggest using Firefox, a free browser one can download.

Tab

This does not exist in website code. It's what some people call links, what others call a graphic button hence it can cause confusion.

Download

This is when one saves files (including pictures and PDFs) to your computer. All web pages are downloaded to your device.

Logging In

Viewing a website is not logging in, one has to enter a password before a “log in” is possible. Often web browsers will remember a password and log in for you.

CMS

A “Content Management System”, most modern websites allow one to log in and update pages and content on-site. The CMS is the core facility to enable this.

Your Domain Name

You will need at least one domain name, these are “rented” from the internet-at-large and the right to use a name is bought from a registrar. Generally one buys for twelve months at a time and renew each year prior to the expiration date. One can usually buy more time, up to a hundred years with some registrars. The domain name is not a website, it can simply “point” internet traffic (web browsers and email etc.) at a computer with software to publish a website, your web server which is part of a hosting package.

There are important considerations as to which domain name is best for your new business. It is good practice to keep the domain name short but also that it should be descriptive. There are strong arguments to adding location information too. So for example a reflexologist called “Jane Jingle” is starting a practice called “Jingles” which is based in Daventry, a town in Northamptonshire - Jane could use “jingles” or “jinglesreflexology” or “jinglesreflexologydaventry” or even “jinglesreflexologynorthampton” - or all of these, pointing to the same website. A marketing strategy is also to use an individual's name in this case perhaps “JaneJingleReflexology”. As you can see often a place name makes the domain much longer so this is part of the consideration.

All domain names have an extension, typically in the United Kingdom it's “.co.uk” - this is referred to as a territorial domain. A “.com” is called a TLD (Top Level Domain) and is generally accepted as international but often only serve the territory of the owner.

The domain name can be used with a mail server so one send and receive email to a “business address”. It is good practice to send “official” business correspondence using the domain name. So in our example there could be an email address “This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.”. This is proof to the sender that the mail is going to a person at this company rather than for example “This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.” since again, gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail are all free services where anyone can have an account.

Hosting your website

The hosting account is generally a series of internet services that work together allowing one to publish a website, store and retrieve mail and other lesser known services like FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or external database use.

It's not technically required but often a good idea to have ones domain name registered with the hosting company, most offer a registration service. This means your domain and hosting are on the same network and as such you have just one point of contact should you need support.

Not all hosting companies are the same. Make sure your hosting company has a support line that does not charge extra fees for calls and is based in the United Kingdom, even if the company themselves are in another country. Also, be aware, it's common for hosting companies to offer “loss leaders” meaning to start an account seems very low cost but as your website develops you may need more expensive services from them.

A basic hosting package should include about 500mb of disc space, at least one database, an FTP and mail server with at least three accounts. There should also be at least 1gb per month bandwidth allowance within the fee.

Email address' can be used for marketing in their own right. To illustrate, Jane Jingle launches her new business with a special offer, that appears in leaflets distributed locally where a potential new customer can email her at “This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.”. In this way a point of contact can enhance an advertising message.

This can be applied to other marketing methods, imagine “This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.” on umbrellas or bags. There are many marketing techniques one can apply points of contact to.

Website as a cornerstone for marketing

Marketing a business exclusively on-line is possible but one should always remember it is just one way to reach potential new customers. In particular, when launching a new business one should factor-in as many other methods as affordable. Local newspapers, leaflets and posters are a great way to introduce yourself especially when your business has a defined catchment area.

Marketing Terms and Phrases

Offer

What you are "offering" to the buyers, goods or services, everything/anything is an "offer".

Loss Leader

Offer something at such a discount that you can not make a profit knowing once bought the customer will most likely buy other items or services. Generally one recoups the cost of the loss leader from the subsequent sales.

Call To Action

A phrase used within company literature especially advertising that triggers the reader into action. “Phone Today” is a call to action.

Brand

A brand is the company or product name. Branding is usually important regardless of the type of business because it helps identify your 'offer' giving a subliminal reminder of the values your brand represents. Branding and 'Corporate Identity' are similar but not to be confused, a corporate identity is a much wider view of this topic covering everthing from the logo to how a telephone is answered.

One of the great advantages of your own website relates to the content itself, one can have many pages, thousands if needed and each article can be within a structured format so the topics you're discussing with your reader are categorised. Over time your website can become a resource for your client-base and help you build 'Brand Loyalty'.

Developing relationships with other local business is a great way to encourage sales and reinforce your market presence. Beauty parlours and boutiques, health spas and gyms are potential routes. If your therapy helps sportsmen, there are many sporting clubs and associations across the country with local branches that may benefit from your services.

In all cases, with your website in place you can refer everyone to your site for information on your service and your contact details. The website address can appear on newspaper and magazine adverts, leaflets and even merchandising like pens and umbrellas. All advertising is geared towards bringing your service to public attention and within this message is always a “call to action” for readers to contact you, today.

Logistics of Marketing

There is no substitute for actually visiting local business' to build your relationships. Always have some business cards or leaflets with you so you can leave your details. You may find it useful to create a listing of local companies that you have contacted, information on business is available from directories and your local chamber of commerce. Make full use of any services your local authority offer for new business!

When you begin a strategy first identify a goal. Ask yourself “At what point would I consider my campaign a success?”. This gives you a target you can quantify results against. Make a spreadsheet listing of individuals and/or companies you have contacted and note their response.

Get a map and mark your catchment area, depending on its size, split into logical sections, then decide on how you want to reach potential new customers within each sector. This is planning at a fundamental and seemingly obvious level yet often new business owners simply do not take this step. So over time it can become difficult to introduce a campaign because there are 'sketchy' foundations.

Identify the available media and make your evaluation on cost verses results...

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Newspapers
  • Niche publications and Directories
  • Online advertising (including the search engines)
  • Leaflets, Posters and Pamphlets
  • Merchandising

If you would like to explore the options of developing a web system to support your practice please call us today on +44(0)1327 344410.

Reflexology, Massage and Aroma therapies are growing in popularity.

As a therapist you may have many reasons why promoting your practice is important. The more people who know of your skills and the benefits you may be able to offer, the closer you are to fulfilling your ambitions be they to simply help your neighbours or to develop a sustainable business.

It is today normal for a governing body to endorse the view that having a 'web presence' is best practice for business development and the introduction of social networks such as FaceBook and Twitter have meant a new level of personal recommendation and referral is possible.

Even though a prominent position with social media is desirable since these are generally free to use your page there may not represent a discernible investment.

A major factor in business confidence and trust is the perceived level of investment.

How committed are you?


This is a question that your potential clientèle may ask, perhaps at a subconscious level. If this sounds unlikely please remember, much of what we see and hear in advertising is designed to motivate us at a subconscious level. Trust as a concept is simple but as a motivator proves to be a complex mixture of beliefs and personal experience.

Owning your own website independent of the social networks is a testament to your commitment and allows you to include content that is highly specific to your practice and location. It is a clear public statement that you are here to help and have spent time and money to bring your skills to the community.

Next: Marketing your skills


For helpful advice and an over-view of options and strategies your complementary health practice (including reflexology, aroma therapy, massage and beauty) can use to improve business with holistic strategies we have an article » here «


If you would like to explore the options of developing a web system to support your practice please call us today on +353 21234 0212.

Read more: Complementary health websites

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