Marketing, promotion and advertising are all important considerations for applied sport psychology consultants. The question though is what is the best way to go about doing it? Particularly as significant amounts of work result from recommendation and word of mouth. This is particularly challenging as the British Psychological Society in the UK actively encourage members to not use client statements and endorsements in their marketing. However, the challenge is a very real one, how do sport psychologists go about advertising and promoting their services? A particular challenge relates to how best to reach the desired sport-specific audience?
An approach that works well for consultants is the same approach that is adopted by Higher Education Institutions across the world. Over the past 20 years Universities have been on a journey, changing their marketing and promotional focus from the hard copy prospectus to the website. Now, Universities use the website as their primary tool that sits at the centre of an integrated marketing and promotion plan. In these plans all other marketing and promotional techniques are used to increase traffic to the websites of each institution. As a result, the Universities web address is integrated into all other promotional activity. This approach to promotion could easily be adopted by an applied sport psychology consultant. By developing a comprehensive website with details about you, your services, your history and your knowledge creation activities you can give the potential client all they might need to know to make an initial decision. The next question though is how to get the potential clients to look at your website? There are a number of approaches that can be adopted. These can include producing business cards with your website on, putting a link to the website at the bottom of your email, having a link to your website on your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media pages, and appearing towards the top of search results in internet search engines.. You might also look to produce flyers or posters that again point the potential client in the direction of your website.
If you produce flyers and posters you also need to consider where you are going to put them uo? It might be that you opt for flyers in the delegate packs at a particular event, or opt to put posters on the noticeboards of specific sports clubs, teams, or organisations.
It is becoming increasingly easy to network with fellow practitioners and other sport professionals via networking sites such as Linkedin. But the question regarding connections is an interesting one. Is it a case of getting as many connections as possible, or going for quality (and relevance) rather than quantity. Professional networks can be very useful in gaining referrals, but you need to put some effort into developing and fostering links to make this happen.
Finally, with word of mouth and recommendation crucial to developing your client base it is of fundamental importance to do a good job as a consultant. This might seem ridiculously obvious, but good experiences increase the likelihood of being recommended to potential future clients. Part of this is having real clarity in the mind of the client regarding what you are going to do for them, and even greater clarity in their evaluation of whether that has been achieved. So while all the other things help, you need to do a good job if you are serious about gaining more clients in the future. That way you will also have some positive testimonials to put up on your website for when those potential new clients log-on to have a look at your website.