A significant challenge with marketing unique, experiential work like lesser-known healing modalities, personal growth approaches, or transformative group processes is that your ideal prospective clients aren’t already seeking it out. They’re looking for ways to improve their lives or strengthen their teams, yes, but they aren’t typing words into a search engine that match your specialized approach.
This situation is quite different from marketing an easily identifiable line of work like massage therapy, marriage counseling, or team-building, where people already know they want it and can search for it by name.
When marketing a little-known modality or approach, your most effective avenue to find new clients is to expose people to your work so that they can experience a small piece of it. Your intention is to help them realize that they want more. Take a few moments to read my post How Can You Sell It If They’ve Never Heard of It?
There are six different approaches described there for exposing prospective clients to the type of work you do. Start by choosing just one of those approaches as your focus and seek out venues where you can use that approach to reach people who are pre-disposed to be attracted to what you do. Consider the key benefits your work provides. What categories of people are most likely to need those benefits?
For example, let’s say a key benefit of your work is to help people develop better coping skills. One group of people who might benefit from work like that would be caregivers — those who are caring for others who are ill, disabled, infants, or elders. If you chose classes and workshops as being the approach you’d like to use to expose new people to your work, you would want to seek out places where caregivers are already gathering. You could identify support groups for illnesses and disabilities, networks of single parents, nurses associations, etc. and offer to present a brief workshop to their group.
Remember that in this case, you are using workshops as a marketing strategy, not as a line of business. So you would offer a sample of your work to the organization at no charge, and invite those who attend to experience the work in more depth by participating in a paid seminar or private session with you.
By making use of already-existing groups to engage people in your work, you are short-cutting the effort it takes to find those people and gather them together on your own. That’s a huge savings of time and money. You just need to be sure that you pick groups where there would be a clear connection between the group’s purpose and the solution you are offering.
If you find a category of people which seems to be naturally receptive to your work, try to find more people like them before branching out to more categories. So in the example above, if caregivers respond well, look for more caregivers before you try other categories you think would benefit from improved coping skills, such as teachers or law enforcement. That way you can benefit from the caregiver contacts you make by asking for referrals or introductions to other people and organizations they might know.
When marketing an unknown option, you must become an educator, teaching people about the unique solution you offer to the problem they have, and demonstrating to them your expertise in delivering this specialized approach. That way you will build their trust and increase your credibility at the same time as you are making your work more visible.