Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is your exclusive Web address, the unique name that identifies an Internet site, for example: A domain name, often referred to as a URL, is a key component of your website’s identity and branding online. Having a domain name builds credibility for your business. It makes your website seem more permanent. The long URL domain names (or sub domain names) that are offered free by many hosting companies are generally viewed as being cheap or of lesser quality. Plus, if you ever for any reason need to change your hosting service, your domain name will go with you, whereas your sub domain name does not.

A well-chosen domain name can help your website marketing efforts immensely. It can help communicate your website’s core benefit and position your company against the competition. And the right domain name can even help you get ranked higher in the search engine listings. A simple domain name is useful in advertisements because it can be memorable. Someone seeing an ad with the domain may remember that name after they get home and on the computer, but you can be sure that they’ll never remember the phone number 845-940-1050. That is why this domain is selling for $50K!

How do you choose a domain name for your website? If customers or potential customers know your company, your business name is usually considered the number one pick for your domain name. People will generally try first when searching for a commercial site. If it’s difficult to spell, you may even want to register misspellings of it too. Choosing a domain name may not be as easy as this, particularly if you have a common name for your business. You can try adding hyphens (ex. or abbreviations of your company name, if your first choice is unavailable. If your company name isn’t well known by your community, which is true for most small businesses, you may choose a descriptive phrase related to the subject of your website as its domain name. This will help search engines rank your site and increase the chances that someone seeing your listing will click your link.

For example, if you were looking for potential MFR therapists in Tampa and one of your search engine results is a site with, what are the odds that you would click through to that site? Pretty high. When conducting business in an international environment, .com domain names are usually considered the best. If you’re only conducting business in one country, you can use country-specific endings like .ca. in Canada or in the United Kingdom. There are other endings like .org, .net, .biz, etc., however when a person knows of your company they’ll usually check .com. SO it is by far the best to buy the dot com.

Warm regards,

Scott van Niiekerk

Don’t do “shot in the dark” marketing

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

— How can I make my message compelling and memorable, so it clearly communicates the benefit someone would get if they hired me?

What ARE the benefits which someone receives from my unique service?!

— How can I find and go after the most profitable market I can?
            What is the description of MY most desired patient case-group?

— How can all of my marketing motivate people to take a specific action (call to action)?

Know what it is you want them to do with each marketing endeavor and test and measure it


— How can I make sure my website is well  designed and interesting, so people don’t click  off of it in the first 10 seconds?

— How can I develop a system where I can easily connect with my target market, interest them in taking action, show them I’m the expert they need, and then consistently convert them to clients?

— Once I get a patient, how can I maximize the reciprocal benefit of the relationship?


I repeat – test and measure every marketing effort!


Regards, Scott

The “Traits of an Ideal Dr” according to a Mayo clinic study

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Interestingly, the Mayo “traits of the ideal doctor” study that’s been widely seen in the past few years,1 involved 192 patents—a smaller number of patients perhaps than your office sees in a few days. According to the Mayo survey, the seven things that patents most appreciate (with patient descriptions) in doctors are:

  • Confident: “The doctor’s confidence gives me confidence.”
  • Empathetic: “The doctor tries to understand what I am feeling & experiencing, physically and emotionally, and communicates that understanding to me.”
  • Humane: “The doctor is caring, compassionate, and kind.”
  • Personal:  “The doctor is interested in me more than just as a patient; he/she interacts with me, and remembers me as an individual.”
  • Forthright: “The doctor tells me what I need to know in plain language.”
  • Respectful: “The doctor takes my input seriously and works with me.”
  • Thorough: “The doctor is conscientious and persistent.”

So what would your patients say and how would they rank what’s most important? Perhaps you’ll ask them, but most likely their answers will be about personal interaction characteristics. A strong patient-therapist relationship is mainly fostered by “feeling” things such as:

  • Eye contact—is a basic sign of connecting, listening and caring.
  • Partnership—in a healthcare relationship is not a one-way proposition.
  • Communication—also works in two directions. Understanding needs. Understanding solutions.
  • Time—is what clinicians have little of, and what patients want from us. They do not want to feel rushed.

Rapport begins before you say hello…

The first meeting between clician and patient can be a little stiff. But—according to another study from the Archives of Internal Medicine—what most patients want is to shake hands with their therapist and have the clinician introduce themselves by first and last name.2 (“Good morning, Mr. Smith. I’m the Physical Therapist, Scott van Niekerk.”)

Other clinician characteristics of value to patients in the same survey included smiling, being friendly, being warm and respectful, and being attentive and calm.

Case acceptance is grounded in trust.

The patient trusts that the therapist has the knowledge and experience to recommend and provide the right course of treatment; they trust that the process will be safe, and they trust that the course of treatment will fulfill their needs—achieving the results that they want and expect. As John says – we need to remind them an intense moments – “You are safe”.

What’s more, satisfaction translates into a bond with the therapist and the practice, and the Voice of the Customer becomes a primary source for new patient referrals of the best sort: “Word of Mouth”!

1 Bendapudi, N. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, March 2006; vol 81: pp 338-344.

Write killer website copy that really works!

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Focus on Benefits rather than Features !  In our YouTube video, we talk a lot about focusing on benefits rather than features. This article takes a slightly different and unique look at “benefits” focusing more on the emotional needs of a website viewer, your potential patient / customer. As a therapist or healing artist, you work with people who are struggling with emotional, physical, mental or spiritual pain. Clients come to you because they are hoping to find relief from problems they are having in these areas.As a skilled professional, you know how important it is to show empathy and caring for the pain your clients are experiencing, and to help them build faith and hope that they can overcome this pain. You also know how much your clients appreciate your showing understanding and caring towards them, and the significant role this plays in their healing.However, if you are like many healers and therapists, when it comes to writing copy for your website, you may neglect to show this understanding and caring. Your copy may sound academic, stiff or dry–and/or it may focus too much on yourself and your healing techniques or modalities.

If this sounds like your website, don’t feel badly… You were never taught copywriting skills in your professional training program. Instead, you learned how to write like an academic or professional. You learned how to distance yourself in your writing.

While academic and professional writing has it’s place, unfortunately it’s not very effective when it comes to attracting clients.

So, it’s time to unlearn some of what you were taught….and to discover how to inject emotion into your writing.

Emotions Are a Key Factor Determining If a Client Will Hire You

It is well known amongst copywriters and marketers that people buy a service or product based on their emotions and use their logic to back up their decision. People want to feel understood and have faith that you can help them or they won’t be inclined to buy your services. The moment your copy touches on your clients’ feelings is the moment they begin to seriously show interest in what you are offering them.

Remember, your potential clients have only the words on your website to help them determine if you might be the person they are looking for. Show them you understand their feelings and desires and they will warm up to you…and the more they warm up to you, the more likely they are to become clients.

Think about the relationship-building process as commencing when your potential clients land at your website – well before they show up in your office.

How To Speak to Client Emotions

The emotions you speak to in your website copy will vary depending on what problems your clients have and the emotions that accompany them. A mother who is having problems with a child in pain who is aggressive and acting out, may feel exasperation, frustration, embarrassment, guilt, fear for her child’s future, etc. If you are targeting this type of client you will need to show empathy for these feelings and convince her that you know what it’s like to be in her shoes.

In addition, you will need to build hope and show potential clients that healing from their pain is possible. Help them imagine what their life would be like if their problems were solved. As you know, many clients have given up hope–or are close to it– when they seek help. You need to show them the way out of their pain and help them become motivated to do what it takes in order to heal. This is a key role of a healer, as well as a skilled copywriter.

In the example of the mother of the child in pain, you might build hope by telling her that other parents have had success bringing their children to seek pain relief which will turn around their aggressive behaviors, and chances are she can as well. Of course, never lie! But I am confident that Myofascial Release is one of the best options poeple have!

Focus on the BENEFITS.“Paint a picture” of what her life would be like if her child behaved less aggressively–e.g. her child would be happier and have more friends, her life would be easier, she would be more calm and relaxed, she would feel more confident and in control as a parent, she could focus more of her energy on other areas of her life, etc.If you know and understand your clients’ problems and desires, you should be able to identify and express the emotions that will touch and move them into taking action.

Use Emotional Language Throughout Your Web Pages

Strong, client-attracting copy will address emotions throughout your website. Some key places to address emotions include: the opening headline on your home page, the opening paragraph, the sub-headings on your pages, and in your “call to action”– the place where you ask the client to do something (e.g. sign up for your newsletter or call you to make an appointment).

Pay particular attention to address emotions early on your home page. You have only a few seconds when clients land at your site to show them what you offer and how you can help them. If they can’t quickly determine whether or not you have something that will provide them what they are looking for, they will leave your site.

The bottom line…

If you speak to your clients’ emotions in your web copy, both you and your clients will be better served in the end. Your clients will have an easier time determining if you are the right person for them to see, and you will ultimately get more clients (and the kinds of clients that you ideally want to work with).

Stay true to your cause!


Getting FREE PR can help build your business.

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Seven Secrets to Getting Free PR Coverage 
for your Business in Newspapers, Magazines and on Radio and TV.


Why spend a fortune on Advertising that doesn’t work when you can get Free Advertising using great PR! 

Recently Jackie Cooper managed to get great free TV PR. Watch the video here. I have managed to do the same with radio, newspaper and magazine PR. Free is GREAT! This month I plan to get some free TV PR, going about it in the same way, as outlined below. I will post the interview next month. This works folks! Why pay expensive advertising on these mediums when you can get it for free?!

I love PR because it’s FREE and it lets you reach thousands or millions of people. Beware though, because it can also make you famous and people will start recognizing you in the supermarket! 
Here I want to share with you the seven fundamentals for getting you and your business famous using the power of PR.

  1. Most Press Releases are a disaster
    99% of Press Releases get thrown in the bin. It is a numbers game, so be in the 1% of Press Releases that lead to a story or interview have certain qualities in common. The following are a few of them.
  2. Step into the Shoes of the Journalist/Producer reading your Press Release
    The best Press Releases step into the shoes of the journalist or producer reading it and meet their needs. If there’s one secret to great PR it’s meeting the needs of the journalists. Every day, these journalists are pulling their hair out trying to fill their newspaper, magazine, radio or TV shows with useful, entertaining information. If you can show them how to do that, you’re virtually guaranteed some coverage.How do you meet their needs? Think about is like this. All of these journalists are under pressure from their editors to find stories that are of interest to the readers/listeners/viewers. So you meet the needs of the journalist by meeting the needs of their audience. If you’re targeting a woman’s health market you need to think of a story that’s of interest to their readers. If you’re targeting a late afternoon radio show you need to think of a story that’s of interest to people driving home from work, listening to the radio whom might be sitting there in pain!

  3. The Press couldn’t care less about You and your Business – but they LOVE a Good Story.
    The harsh truth is, these journalists are not particularly interested in your company, your history or your product or service. Which is why Press Releases with headlines such as:
    ‘WPT appoints a new office manager’

    go straight in the bin. They’re boring. So just get over the fact that the press don’t care about your business and come up with a story (journalists call it an ‘angle’) that is of interest. 

  4. The Headline is the most important part of your Press Release
    The first thing the journalist sees is the headline and if that doesn’t grab their attention, your Press Release is heading for the trashcan.Your headline needs to be bold and interesting – and above all it needs to stand out from all the other press releases. Your best option is to write it in the style of the headlines of the publication you’re targeting. For example, for my Nutritionist – if you were selling a new supplement to help GERD, which of these Press Releases do you think would get the best response:

    New Supplement helps Ease GERD


    Why Some Foods Explode in Your Stomach! 

    The reason that newspapers use bold, attention-grabbing headlines is that they work. You can deploy the same strategy to grab the attention of the journalists you are trying to reach.

  5. Format your Press Release Correctly
    Here are my Golden Rules for formatting Press Releases.


Make sure the headline is big and bold


Aim to fit the Press Release on one page.


Use short paragraphs


Use language that will appeal to the type of media that you are targeting. You may want to write different press releases for different media, eg use different wording for targeting a radio show than you would a local newspaper


Insert the words ‘For Immediate Release’ in bold in the top left hand corner


Include a call to action at the end of the release, eg ‘Our CEO Scott van Niekerk is available for interview. He has appeared frequently on local/national media and is an excellent speaker. If If you would like to arrange an interview or require any further information, please call on etc.

  1. Follow up your Press Release with a Telephone Call
    Public Relations is just like all other forms of marketing – you have to be persistent.Journalists tend to be very busy people so the fact that they’ve missed your Press Release or not contacted you, doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what you have to offer.

    If you don’t hear from the media outlet in two or three days, give them a call. Say you’re just checking that they got the press release about XYZ. Of course, at this point it doesn’t matter whether they’ve seen the release or not. Use the conversation to sell your story. Concentrate on the benefits and what’s in it for the journalist/producer’s audience.

  2. Become a World Class Expert – Overnight!

    Most people think that the only way to get good PR is to come up with a story. But there is another way. This involves positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. Whatever your interest and professional license, there’s an area that you’re an expert in. If you’re a dentist contact the media during the next national smile week. If you’re a Physical Therapist, contact the local press during National PT month. Get the picture? PR starts to be easy – when you know how. 

 This article is also available as a pdf file HERE.