Why your marketing can feel pushy and what to do about it
You improve and transform peoples’ lives. You help people in important and amazing ways. You started your practice to make a difference for the people you can help.
And while you know you need to market your services to help more people and to pay your bills, you hate the idea of being a pushy, sleazy salesperson.
Don’t we all. “When I grow up, I want to be a salesperson!” said no one ever.
Icky self-promotion isn’t exactly one’s idea of a dream job. And it’s not an ideal or effective marketing system either.
Conventional marketing and sales can feel seriously pushy.
When I think of sales, I imagine a used car salesman who’s trying to trick me into buying a terrible beat up car and paying way too much for it. In other words, not helping me, not collaborating with and supporting me – but someone who’s trying to screw me over that I need to out-smart and protect myself from.
Or I think of that old salesman cliché: “He could sell ice to eskimos.” Ick… eskimos don’t need ice, buddy.
This kind of sales has been going on for decades if not centuries, and we’ve all caught on to this sales game. We’re well aware of the tricks and the trade. We haaaaaaate being sold to. We cringe and run the opposite direction as soon as we feel it.
We’re sick of having things pushed on us and just want someone to LISTEN to us.
Pushy doesn’t feel good to anyone, and it’s not an ideal or effective marketing system.
But why can marketing our practices accidentally feel pushy to us, when what we actually want to do is help people and serve people?
And how do we market our practice without feeling pushy? First, we’ve got to understand why marketing and sales can feel pushy.
Your marketing feels pushy when you’re not listening to your clients.
When you assume your potential patients know something that they don’t.
Which is what most acupuncturists are doing, because they haven’t taken the time or interest to invest in learning about marketing.
Here’s the thing. Bad marketing is pushy. Bad marketing doesn’t consider who you’re speaking to or trying attract, and just pushes messages out there like “buy from me!” or “try acupuncture!” or “acupuncture works!” without actually listening to what peoples’ needs and problems and desires are, and focusing and tailoring your message to THAT.
It’s so ironic that so many well-intentioned acupuncturists shy away from marketing because it feels pushy, and this is actually what makes their marketing feel pushy. The answer is to spend some time and thought on your potential patients, and how to best serve and communicate and help them. To spend some time on marketing.
You’ve got to meet your potential patients where they’re at. Then you help them get to where they want to be.
If you assume they’re somewhere they’re not, your marketing begins to feel pushy.
Trying harder won’t turn them into converts. It’ll make them want to run away from your pushy self.
You’re someone who wants to work with patients in a win-win scenario where you both get a lot of value and satisfaction out of your relationship. You want it to feel good. And in our business it HAS TO FEEL GOOD in order for it to work.
But it doesn’t feel good to your potential patient when you don’t know their level of awareness and you think they’re more knowledgeable and aware than they really are. That’s when your potential patients begin to feel like you’re being pushy.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine you’ve travelled back in time to the 1960s and are marketing a patch that helps people stop smoking.
In 1960, smoking was all the rage. There wasn’t much evidence yet to suggest that smoking was harmful. It was just plain cool.
In other words, your potential patients have a very different perspective about smoking than you do. They don’t know it’s a problem that needs solving.
If you were to say something like:
You: “Check out my patch that will help you easily quit smoking!
Them: “Quit smoking? Why would I want to do that?”
You: Smoking is bad for you. You’ll feel so much better if you quit. Trust me!
You tried to capture their attention with the wrong thing: “quit smoking”, so they had no interest. When you keep trying to persuade them, you turn into that pushy sales person you hate.
Your marketing feels pushy because it IS pushy.
You could show them study after scientific study to try to convince them that smoking damages their lungs and accelerates aging… but you’ve got their awareness level all wrong, so now you’re just trying to force them to see your perspective.
Which means…. You’re now coming off as pushy.
You need to meet your potential patients where they are.
Meet them where they are, then GUIDE them towards the realization that your service will genuinely help them. You can’t force them to believe you. But you can guide them.
Imagine how differently a 1960s lady would have reacted if you had asked her a question like “are you worried about aging too fast?” or “Do you want to reduce fine lines and wrinkles?”
She would probably have said yes and then you could have started explaining how cigarettes make her age faster. Now you’re having a conversation that she’s interested in and meets her at her level and makes her aware of her problem.
Once she’s at that level of awareness, you can explain to her all the ways your service will benefit her. And she’ll be interested. She’ll pay attention. You won’t feel pushy to her, she’ll care about what you’re sharing.
And that starts with getting to know your potential patient and meeting them where they are at.
This is what effective, mindful marketing is. Listening. And then communicating mindfully based on what you heard. Connecting.
Unfortunately, I see acupuncturists doing marketing all the time that fails to meet patients where they are. Examples of this are marketing that includes:
- An ad that consists of ONLY your logo and phone number (Who cares? What problem does it solve?)
- A headline like “TRY ACUPUNCTURE NOW” or “ACUPUNCTURE WORKS”
- An ad or website that says “Acupuncture proven to help with…. a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j……” with a huge bullet list of ailments without focusing your attention on connecting with one specific problem.
- An ad or post that says “new study show acupuncture effective at treating ______.”
This feels pushy. It doesn’t meet people where they are. It doesn’t involve any LISTENING. Any COMPASSION. Any GIVING. It focuses only on you and your solution, rather than on their problem and things they care about.
But if you listen to your patients’ struggles and problems. And you design information that is specifically tailored for them and their problem, shows that you get them and understand them and what they’re struggling, and show them that you can provide them a result that they care about…… That kind of marketing is not pushy. It is full of HOPE, CONFIDENCE, and TRUST.
This is the kind of marketing that works and feels good and is not pushy.
I want to show you the steps to developing a message that is based on LISTENING, and COMPASSION, and actually RESONATES and therefore magnetically attracts your potential patients. Without being pushy.
So you can have a marketing plan and feel confident in designing marketing messages and campaigns that actually work and feel good. So you can help more people. Make more money. Thrive.
This is what I so want acupuncturists to learn and embrace. So that we can show the world how much we can help them. And transform lives. Lives of people who don’t know they need us… yet…
Finally design marketing messages, your website, patient emails, facebook ads, brochures, or fliers that get your potential patients’ attention and attracts them to become patients and book an appointment with you.
You can learn more about the ProsperRing here.
Hi! I'm Katie Altneu
I'm an acupuncturist, herbalist, & business teacher
My acupuncture clinic in Denver, CO makes me so happy. It's full enough to support my life, and simple enough to give me peace of mind. I'm a firm believer that bigger is not always better and that we need to "stop the glorification of busy".
I want your acupuncture clinic to be as full as you'd like it to be. I want acupuncturists to know how to inspire-to-action the people who need us and our medicine. And I believe the best strategies are simple and heartfelt.
Combining my prior education & career in business & finance with my personal experience starting and growing my clinic, I love teaching acupuncturists to master the business side of their clinics. I believe in you and I'm so glad you're here!