Looking to promote your services but don’t have the budget?

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Try Permission Marketing! Permission based marketing is a process whereby you offer people an opportunity to volunteer to receive marketing materials from you.  Let me offer an example to clarify what I mean by this approach.

I know a therapist in Washington, DC who has built a thriving consulting practice using a permission based model.  She offers free trainings to mental health professionals in the area at least twice a month in the form of lunch and learn programs.  Her goal with these workshops is not to sign up people for one of her paid programs.  Her focus is getting people to commit to the first small step in the selling process.  In this case, that process is for attendees to give her their email and/or mailing address so she can send them future updates.

Over the years, she has built an extensive mailing list using this approach.  She uses this list to offer even more value by mailing fact sheets and useful resources free of charge.  This information reinforces the positive impressions she has already created through her free workshops and leaves a lasting impression.  Once again, she uses a permsion based model to continue to build trust and credibility by offering real value to her target market.

The result?  Her paid workshops are always in demand.  She receives close to  a 50% conversion rate when she decides to promote one of her services.  Want to know the industry standard for conversion rates when posting an ad in a newspaper or mass mailing a postcard about your practice?  1-5% at best.

Her success did not happen instantly, she worked hard at building trust and credibility through her free workshops and worksheets.  She built strong relationships in the community that enabled her to create a qualified list of prospects who were interested in what she offered.

And the best part of all – it’s very cost effective!  If you leverage the Internet it’s essentially a FREE direct mail marketing campaign only better.  Why?  Because you already have taken the step to qualify your customers, meaning the people who are receiving your marketing material have already expressed interest in you.  They want and expect to hear from you!

I have included a snapshot below of some permission based marketing methods worth considering.  There are many ways to use this approach (too many to discuss in this posting!).  If you would like to learn more about permission based marketing and how to implement it in your practice contact me at




  1. Brian Sullivan, PsyD  February 10, 2009

    Great stuff, David – definitely the sort of thing we were NOT taught in graduate school. At least I wasn’t. Of course, that was 15 and more years ago, but I’m talking with a number of students who say they CRAVE this sort of knowledge, but don’t know where to find it. I’ve been telling them they have to tune in to MHResourceConnection because you’ll be providing more and more of this type of education.

    How great it is that you’re out there learning these things, and willing to share them with the rest of us. I guess you have my permission, eh?


  2. Barbara Radin Fox  February 10, 2009

    Great point of view!

  3. admin  February 10, 2009

    Thanks for the feedback. There is an awful lot of great information out there that can be of tremendous benefit no matter what your role is in the mental health profession. Feel free to share with others and look for the next post this coming Tuesday!

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