Launching a Powerful Promotional Campaign

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A therapist is preparing to relocate to a different part of the country and is looking to re-open her practice.  She’s developed some interesting new service offerings and believes they’ll be a huge boost to her business.  Business cards and brochures are created in an effort to brand her business effectively.  She places an ad in the yellow pages, issues a press release and announces her practice in a local area newspaper that seems to have a fair amount of reach.  And she’s spent over 6 months researching the area in order to identify key referral sources and community partners.

It’s a great start, but I’d like to talk with you about another approach that is underutilized in our profession.  It’s an idea that has the potential to put your mental health career into hyper drive.  The idea – to launch an aggressive promotional campaign.

Perhaps you’re adding a new clinical group or workshop to your practice.  Or maybe you’re in the middle of completely redefining the scope of your business.  Others may be looking to jump-start their job search efforts in the hopes of finding better opportunities.  A promotional campaign can help with all of these efforts.

Today, I’d like to share with you a high-level framework for a promotional campaign that has its roots in the publishing industry.  There are a lot of details that go into each component and if you’d like more information about each then feel free to contact me directly.  Some of the information may be relevant and some may not.  Pick and choose the pieces that make sense for you and see if you can refine things so it best meets your needs.  If you’re looking for high impact marketing then this framework should excite you!

Component 1: Growing Your Network & Leveraging Your Strategic Partnerships

One of the most important things you can do when marketing a service or product is to build a strong network and establish solid partnerships.

This, of course, is not a short-term activity.  But don’t be discouraged.  If you don’t feel you have an effective network then part of your plan should be to find ways to build that network.

“Markets Are Conversations”, says the Cluetrain Manifesto.  In order to grow your business effectively in today’s marketplace you must be willing to reach out to people in numerous ways.  And as you go about your day to day business take the time to foster relationships with people who are interested in hearing what you have to say and who would be interested in being a part of your success.

So how does this all work?  Let’s say you’re getting ready to offer a new service within your practice that focuses on nutritional counseling and alternative therapies.

You have your service model all lined up and now you want to get the word out.  One way to approach this is through general advertising, however, your new offering will have the most impact if it’s endorsed by key people in the community.  People seek out and trust peer recommendations over advertisers any day of the week.  Your job is to reach an audience of people who will champion your effort with honesty and openness.

This is where your network comes into play.  As you get ready to launch a promotional campaign you need to consider two distinct groups: (1) your general network and (2) your strategic partners. The first group represents those folks who may buy your service or who may tell others about it.  When you reach out to this large audience craft a compelling message and include a special offer.  It could be a bonus item or free gift that may persuade them to try what you are offering. I’ve seen some very effective campaigns where people reach out to their network and offer a raffle of items during a set number of days.  “During the next 7 days we will be drawing a name each day.” In this scenario the winner could receive any number of things: a free consultation from you, a free resource, a discount etc…

At a deeper level there is a second group known as your strategic partners.  This group is designed to be more selective.  Within your network, I suggest you target a few people or groups that have far reaching networks and/or a significant amount of credibility (note: these should be people you have built up a relationship with over time).  You announce to them your plans and invite them to be a part of the process.  You’d like to promote their services during your campaign and in return you would like for them to announce this new service throughout their network and/or you would like them to provide some free item as part of the roll out plan.


Come in for an initial nutrition consultation and receive the following.

-       A nutritional mind-body reference guide (created by you)

-       A 10% discount for an initial Chiropractic session with Dr. Smith.  Dr. Smith has been in practice for the past 15 years and offers… Learn more about him at

-       A free individual Yoga consultation complements of Feel Good Yoga.  They can be reached at…

So in essence you are partnering with a small group of folks in order to build greater influence and impact across your target market. I have seen strategic partnerships where a small group gets together to offer a teleseminar series or the group collaborates on an article for the newspaper.  The options seem limited only by your creativity.

If you leverage your networks effectively during your promotional campaign then you put yourself in a position where you are offering something of tremendous value, you are leveraging the networks of people who have influence within their social circles, and you are making your services accessible to people who might balk at diving right in.  If done effectively, you can create a huge jump in awareness and interest within a very short period of time.

Component 2: The Power of Free

When I talk about value I often define it as “Providing service to people without any expectation of something in return.” Offering something unexpected and something that is free gives you a real “Wow” factor.  In addition, it gives people an opening.  An opportunity to try what you are selling.

Think of something free you can include as part of your launch and, if possible, think of ways in which you can sweeten the offer even further so that your partners offer something free as well.  This model is extremely effective because it moves people along a continuum where they are introduced to you without the hard core sales pitch.  They are given an opportunity to try you out and if they like what they hear or experience then trust will be built and a sale will be made down the road.

The idea is to make your offer so compelling that people have to take notice.

Component 3: Hold Consistent Events to Keep the Momentum Going

The idea here is to have something people can see, attend, and hear about.  This is where you do your grass roots marketing.  And again, the power of free and the idea of sales progressions play’s an important role.

Let’s say you have a new coaching methodology and you are focusing on people going through significant life changes.  You could work out a partnership with a local area restaurant or coffee shop for event space and then offer a free (or reduced cost) 30 minute workshop to wet people’s appetites.

You offer potential customers and referral sources a risk free opportunity where they can come hear what you offer.  But, in addition to the workshop, you are promoting a continuum of services so that if people are impressed with your initial free offering they might choose to sign up for something more substantial.


1)    Free 30 minute workshop or Teleseminar

2)    Intensive Workshop (twice a month for two months with guest speakers)

3)    Select Intensive Individual Program

You might consider offering several of the free workshops prior to and during the launch and then open up the other offerings once your launch is in full swing.

Component 4: Include Before, During and After Activities in your Campaign

You could have the greatest service or product known to man but if all your marketing efforts are short-term it will fizzle out quickly and you’ll get discouraged.  When you have an idea for your business I recommend taking some time to build a project plan that takes into account the factors I have identified here.  This plan should include a network list to keep track of who has committed to what and by when.  It should also include key activities and the tasks required to successfully complete each initiative.  The idea is to have multiple activities going on at the same time along with multiple parties playing a part in the process simultaneously.

You want to be sure you build in activities prior to launching a new service, practice or product.  And you want to keep that momentum going while you are launching and long after the first push has ended.  This means being sure to include activities and marketing efforts that are consistent over time.  Continue building your network and when new partnering ideas open up build that into the process.  Make every effort to include consistent activities that will keep you present within the consciousness of the community.

These four factors can be integrated in a number of ways to create a promotional campaign with a lot of energy and buzz.  It may be hard work but if you do it right you’ll reap the rewards!


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