I love therapists. I help them connect to their ideal clients online. I try to demonstrate through this blog how I wish to be in relation to you (ie, not hiding behind a one page sales website page that offers no interaction, no thoughts beyond My Products.) There is a lot going on in my life, almost all VERY good things that I can’t wait to share. Tonight I get to meet the author of the most impactful marketing book I’ve read. I will write a formal book review blog post soon enough but for now I’ll just say it has validated everything I’ve felt along this five year journey from launching the Marriage Friendly Therapists website to now. And that message is to get in relation with people. Stop telling them to hire you or read your book or your blog or sign up for your class. Start engaging them, giving them what they really want (and they don’t want YOU, they want what THEY want.)
When you view marketing in terms of your wallet, you probably get a slightly icky taste in your mouth. At least I do. My father and a colleague had a dream to help couples in marital distress find competent, trained and “marriage friendly” therapists. A fantastic dream not filled with a huge amount of drama on the professional side of things. But we moved forward, put thousands into a website, spent enough hours that to reimburse the co-founders for their time would probably average about two pennies an hour.
A year later my father and I had another dream. This dream was to stop being condescending to engaged couples, stop poo-pooing the wedding and start engaging them where they are developmentally: bringing two family clans and cultures together to celebrate one of the biggest life stages a person will ever experience. Avoiding all the standard negativity towards how much weddings cost, how trivial they are, how “silly” it is to stress about one day, we build a class format and a book to share the wisdom we acquired from my engagement journey and the stories of hundreds of others. We are now the most robust national website for premarital counselors and just received our second corporate sponsorship without effort on our end at all. They found US.
In that wild time period of two or three years, I had one, then two babies, a serious crash course on Business 101, a wild array of vendors I had to connect with, marketing I had to learn, failures I had to experience, greed and all the other emotions that go with sharing a dream and hoping to make a social change and pad the wallet a little bit. It’s been five years now and there is absolutely no way I could have predicted where I am today. WHAT? I’m teaching others about marketing? I’m writing in national magazines? I gave a keynote to 1,500 people? I authored a book? I’m living proof of something, but not sure what. Maybe being crazy?
Where I sit now, I am almost back at the beginning, wiser, more exhausted, more engaged and excited. I’m relaunching the therapy website with so much that I’ve learned and teach others to do. There will be so much more engagement on the website for couples needing help and for the unbelievable therapists whose life work includes saving marriages and families. There is a lot of low hanging fruit as I consider the exciting future of The First Dance, which has continued to grow without my trying (thanks to great content, SEO, and relationships we’ve built.) My likely goal is to get myself more inside The First Dance (beyond that I wrote everything) as I become an MFT. I’ve been building great relationships to add more exciting book offers to couples and may add more mini e-books to help with specific wedding stressors.
From all the skills I’ve learned and passion I’ve built, I am able to translate all this wisdom into any adventure I want. THAT is what excites me, not the nuts and bolts of any particular techie skill. It’s being able to think more globally at any dream you have and applying marketing principles to your future that should get and keep you engaged with the shocking amount of information there is to learn. I did a brief consult with a therapist recently and had his innocent book built into a huge empire (in my head) because I can see the potential and ways of growing like I couldn’t a few years ago when I was exclusively focused on SELL THIS BOOK OF MINE. Buy, buy, buy.
This is what I want you to do as well. I work more with seasoned professionals who may be bored “just” doing therapy, or who simply need help getting online, whether or not they need clients from their web presence. I myself am looking down the barrel of being a therapist in a few years, entering graduate school next fall. What I want therapists and educators to realize is the more you listen and engage, the more you will grow and expand. I was about to give up a few years ago when a friend told me about this crazy thing called search engine optimization. We’d spent thousands to no avail and I figured it was worth trying. Instead of gobbling up the learning to market AT people, I learned how even a robot like Google will reward you for being in relationship with others. It’s what I do naturally anyway so I simply applied a lot of life lessons into SEO and teach those to you, therapists who “get” relationships.
So my dear blog readers, stick around. The reason this “marketing” stuff is so exciting is because you can LEARN new things every day and make connections with amazing people every day. And I hope you do the same but if you’re not, I’m here to help. Because when you stop focusing on your wallet and returning to your passion, the wallet will fill up. It’s just a matter of getting from THERE to HERE. And that’s what I’m here for.