stress

Marketing our businesses to try and get new clients or customers can be very stressful. (Find out how stressed you feel by taking this test.) It may be difficult for us to determine where to spend our time, energy and money to yield us the most fruitful results, and sometimes we don’t even know what marketing should entail.

“Growing your career or business is an evolution, not a revolution,” CEO of the Stella Group, Ryan Alovis, told Forbes. And your marketing strategy helps your business or practice evolve. Marketing has been defined at its basest form as the “process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over competitors.” But marketing really is the study and management of relationships, in its purest form. It involves not only the creation of the product or service concept, identifying who would purchase it, the promotion of it, and then the moving of it through the selling channels, or what is referred to in marketing textbooks as the 4 P’s: product, price, promotion, place.

The purpose of marketing, whether it is on social media, on your website, in paid advertising, on promotional giveaway items like pens and coffee mugs or anywhere, is to capture the attention of the target market and encourage those people’s purchasing decision while providing them with an easy, low-risk way of taking action.

In the mental health field, sometimes the clients who need us most see contacting us as a great risk, so how can we reach out to or market to those who may need us? I reached out this week to Dan Vassiliou, CEO of Internet marketing company Edivan Digital for his expert advice. And the first thing he suggested was guest posting articles or a blog on sites where you’re likely to find clients, while making sure you link back to your own website. “The more posting you do, the more people feel like they ‘know’ you, in a way,” Vassiliou says. “You become familiar to them.”

You can also take out low-cost targeted ads on social media platforms that address a certain issue. Facebook, for example, has prices that start at only dollars to reach thousands of people and allows you to target a specific age group, gender, area of the country or a city, and many other demographic parameters.

Or you could place an advertisement on Google or another search engine so that if anyone searches your area of expertise or whatever words you choose, your ad is at the top of what they see on their computer screen. This option is more expensive but may yield more results than the social media ad, depending on what you’re marketing.

A fourth way you could market your business is by paying a few hundred dollars to get your name in an article on a news site, in what is called content marketing, or branded content. This would involve hiring a company that specializes in content marketing to create video or written content mentioning you as expert by quoting you, with links back to your website. If you look at most major news networks and magazines, you will see content designated “Branded Content” on their websites.

And finally, you could spend a few minutes per day posting in forums where your target market is often found. This is similar to idea one, guesting posting articles and blogs, in that you become a familiar name to the group and are seen as one of them as opposed to an outsider.

These tips may seem simple, but as Vassiliou says, “People get stressed out over marketing or feel like they are failing when they picture it to be this big, overwhelming plan. Doing bits here and there is what sustains businesses.” And if you need more tips on managing your stress, check out PsychCentral’s section on Stress Management.