A key concept in marketing a service business such as psychotherapy in the 21st century was popularized by best-selling business author Seth Godin in his 1999 book "Permission Marketing". (click here to get the first four chapters of the book for free!) Godin's brilliant insight into the nature of modern-day advertising and marketing depends on one crucial distinction:
Interruption Marketing works by constantly interrupting what we are doing at any moment. So if we're watching TV, a commercial comes on. If we're reading a magazine, an ad is on the next page. If we're browsing the Web, a pop-up windows or banner ad interrupts our reading.
In Godin's view, Interruption Marketing is no longer a viable medium of marketing, because it annoys and frustrates the potential client or customer, and it wastes their time.
The alternative is Permission Marketing, which offers the client an opportunity to volunteer to be marketed to. By only talking to volunteers, Permission Marketing insures that potential clients pay more attention to the message. People want to hear about your service if they have asked you to tell them about it. It's not frustrating, it's educational and informative.
The shift in attitude and mindset among Permission Marketers encourages potential clients to gladly pay attention to your informational messages. Potential clients expect and anticipate to receive your marketing messages - they asked for it! As opposed to the annoying, frustrating mood of Interruption Marketing, Permission Marketing messages are looked forward to.
So how does this apply to marketing a psychotherapy practice? To fully utilized the concept of Permission Marketing, you must have a consistent, reliable way to capture names, mailing addresses and email addresses, as well as your clients (or potential clients) particular interests in your range of services. Then you must get permission to regularly send them useful, relevant, timely information that they will look forward to receiving. Follow these principles and you will soon have a large mailing list full of people who are interested in and look forward to hearing about your services.