May 23, 2023

Episode 13:

Ethical Marketing and Private Practice with Alison Knott

In this episode, Alison discusses how you can market your private practice from an ethical marketing standpoint so that you build confidence with the act of marketing in an authentic way.

Episode 13: Ethical Marketing and Private Practice with Alison Knott

Show Notes

Kayla: Welcome back to The Designer Practice Podcast, and I’m your host, Kayla Das.

As we know, there are so many ways to market ourselves, but selling like a used-car salesperson doesn’t have to be one of them. Many therapists and coaches worry about the concept of selling their services in fear of appearing salesy or inauthentic. But when we market ourselves from an ethical marketing standpoint, we start building confidence with the act of marketing.

In today’s episode, I have the pleasure to interview Alison Knott, Ethical Marketing Consultant and owner of Alison K Consulting, who’s going to explain the principles of ethically marketing your services and your practice?

Hi Alison, welcome to the show. I’m so glad to have you here today.

Alison: Thank you for having me, Kayla. I’m very excited to have this wonderful conversation with your audience. So excited.

Kayla: Yeah. And before we dive in, though, I do want to provide a clear distinction to listeners that when we are discussing ethical marketing in this episode, we’re not speaking about any particular profession’s code of ethics. Instead, we’re talking about ethical marketing practices that help our practices thrive in the business world. So, if you’re a regulated professional, there may be additional considerations beyond what we discuss here in today’s episode. And I always encourage you to review your particular regulatory body’s standards of practice or code of ethics for further direction.

However, whether you’re a regulated health professional or not, this episode will give you the strong foundation of how to ethically market your private practice so that marketing doesn’t feel so misaligned with our professional values.


So, Alison, I’m super excited for today’s episode because it’s one that’s so long overdue, and I know my listeners will receive so much value from our conversation today. But before we dive in, please introduce yourself, where you’re from, and tell us a little bit about what you do and who you work with.

Alison: Sure. So, hello, Alison K here, hailing from the beautiful, beautiful city of Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada. And in a nutshell, I am an ethical marketer that helps brands putting good into the world, and what do I help them with? I help convert the curious into clients. And so I wake up every day, Kayla, and I’m like, I don’t understand how this is even my job. I know how I got into this, but It’s such a thing for me.

I’ve always felt strongly that marketing can absolutely be gross. It can feel tough. It can feel inauthentic. It can feel overwhelming. And so I’ve made it a mission of mine to use marketing as my activism. And what I mean by that is I know what works. I know what doesn’t and what feels right for folk.

And my clients are start-ups, coaches, entrepreneurs, founders who are putting good into the world. And my job, I feel, is to make sure they get as much advocacy clarification on what they’re doing and amplification of what they’re doing, so that if they’re putting good into the world, I get to help them out. And that’s how I’m advocating for them and being in that piece.

Kayla: Amazing. And of course, as you know listeners are therapists and coaches, so they are also putting so much good out in the world.

Alison: Yes, and I’m also a client. I am doing EMDR therapy and I absolutely love it. And so I thank everyone and many of my friends have benefited from it. And I’m so thankful that the stigma around therapies and what could be offered for folk in terms of coaching. I’ve also benefited from business coaching and group coaching in that. It’s incredible! It’s almost like, it takes a community to help you to find your way and do the best you can do.

So, in terms of marketing in that I suppose I probably could have made a lot more money and found things a lot easier if I went down the product route, right? You need socks with dog faces on them. You just go online, you buy them and you’re done. But to me, there’s something very interesting, juicy, and fulfilling to help folk whose work can be sensitive in nature, complex, long sales cycles or even just, something that people take a while to warm up to before they’re ready to commit and do this deeper work.

And for that, I’m really thankful and I like to live and work in those spaces of how do we contextualize the transformation you give to your clients in a way that they understand because they haven’t gone through it yet. They don’t know the beautiful journey that’s ahead of them. So how can I help it with marketing? Well, I’m a nerd. And it happens to be marketing is my nerdiness. So, you bring your good to the table. I bring my nerdiness to the table and together we both get to help more folk.

What is Ethical Marketing and Why is it Important?

Kayla: Fabulous. So, when we think of ethical marketing specifically, how would you define ethical marketing and why is it important specifically in service-based businesses like therapists and coaches are in?

Alison: Sure. So, for me, I see it in four main, little buckets, right? Honesty, transparency, social responsibility, and then permission-based. For some folk, you’re going to have this right off. Awesome. I’m so glad to check it off for others. So, I’m something to think about, right? And do a little bit of deeper work and thinking around.

So, ethical marketing. For a lot of service-based folk, we get information about marketing that is aimed, like I said, at a product widget, selling sock selling. Nothing wrong with that, but there’s a very different mindset and a place in your ideal audience’s journey that needs certain tactics to be done. On top of that layer. Often in that space, there’s a big push for units to be sold, amplification at all cost, or the end goal is to sell their business. So how much money can we make our investors? How much can we push, push, push, push, and when it gets to be too much, we just bounce out.

So, for service-based folk, the ethical marketing coming to play. Number one, as more people become familiar with where they sit in the planet with their services and how those services affect communities. But also, for ethical marketing, to me it’s about doing things in a way that aligns with your goals and your values as a practitioner and as a business owner in a way that marketing won’t feel so icky and sticky that you put it away because you’re doing yourself a disservice and you’re doing potential clients of disservice. But you come by it, honestly enough darlings, because so much of this is orientated towards more and more and more infinite, infinite, infinite growth, growth, growth.

And if you’re someone who’s thinking about like circular economy or you’re thinking about how you’re going to give back in deeper ways, you might feel, well, marketing doesn’t have a place there. So that honesty piece is pretty clear cut, right? Intend to do what you say to do. And be honest. We’re not inflating our claims. We’re not skewing our stories to a point where we stretch them so thin, we’ve kind of lost the plot of what we’re trying to discuss.

Transparency is being very clear in what am I going to get out of working with you? What are the outcomes? What’s going to be expected of me as someone coming in? So, transparency obviously comes through in our disclosure agreements, and it comes through in agreements that we have. But there’s also, before they even sign up with you or intend to, is there a clear understanding of what there to bring to the table in what you will bring to the table?

And then social responsibility. I can think of some things such as ensuring that you are being inclusive and diverse. And we are discussing examples in situations that you’re in. Are you using technologies and are you using marketing in a way that is as sustainable as possible, socially responsible? And that could be a lot of different things for different people, and we’re all at different levels of our journey.

And then last, that permission-based piece is extremely critical when we get into email marketing, which I know we’re going to get into some deeper pieces, but did you actually get express permission to have these digital quote unquote conversations with people through your social media, ideally through your email marketing as well?

So, it’s on the surface, it’s like, “Well, yeah, of course Alison,” like, we’re all going to be on the up and up about this. But the moment as a practice owner, the moment you start doing your research, it goes right to tactics. And it’s like, “Okay, I get the doing, but I’ve lost the why a little bit here.”

So those are transparency, honesty, social responsibility, and permission based is how I see this working.

Ethical Marketing and Values

Kayla: You know, I love that you brought it back to the values piece because I really think that that’s the core. And I know we’re not talking about brands today. But even when we think about how we market our brand, it’s usually based in our values. And how we show up both in our marketing copy or how we show up in our tone in our marketing is going to be all about our values and how we show up.

I’ll give listeners an example. My values in my business coaching is collaboration connection, and value first. So, a huge part of my values is how I show up, which is why I’m connecting with you today, Alison. Is because connection, collaboration, and then of course this episode is giving value as the first thing that we do, right? So, I really think that these ground us and then it also helps us be more authentic. It helps us not have to be that car salesperson.

Alison: Yes.

Kayla: And then we can really just be who we are. One thing that I see that happens a lot is that we might use our therapist directories or our websites, or even our social media platforms as a way to display us and how many years of experience we’ve had or what education we’ve had. And of course, we want to be transparent of all of that. But it doesn’t have to be all about the therapist it can just be about that relationship so that people start building that trust like you were talking about.

Alison: Yes. And it’s important as well that from, as someone who is a client to various aspects of this industry, we’re also very interested in the transformation piece we seek. And obviously we know we need to do the work and we’re hesitant and resistant to that. So, what are you doing in your marketing that is speaking to that resistance and we’ll get a little bit into– I can’t wait to dive into the one big elephant in the room. I understand about some things that we are not allowed to do as per professional code of conduct, which I’ll talk to again in an ethical way, but that’s what we are looking for.

The credentials, we almost assume you have them. If you’re in a listing or something, we assume that you’ve got the credential. But for us as the clients, and from a marketing perspective, when I work with client, my own clients, I know we’re getting meta here, whose clients are whose. But my marketing clients in these spaces, it’s pulling out what is the transformation I’m going to get in here. And that allows us to talk broadly, still remain honest and transparent because people can’t see themselves at the end goal. That’s why they need the coach. That’s why they need the support. But they’re really interested in that. And then when you talk about aligning your values, that can be very helpful in our marketing.

So, for me, one of my values is humour. Like it’s literally, I got nine values. I got quite a few, but that’s just the way I rock and roll. And so, though humour allows me to define my goals when I’m doing something specific in marketing. But I know when I’m writing and creating my content, humour has to be in it. So, when I find myself losing my way and getting too jargony. Or I start to talk a little bit too more in a way that is drying out, and in my case, marketing is full of very dry or hyper-aggressive language, then humor I return to that. So, I appreciate bringing up values.

I think of things like you have a small marketing project. You list out your values. And out of the values you list, what do I already have? What will I need? And what can I do to achieve this? And if you link that into your values, and I know this sounds like, “But how is this going to help me with how many times I should post on LinkedIn?” Darlings you’re going to get there. You can’t put the curtains on your house, tell, you know how big your house is, how many levels it got, and what kind of rooms you’re going to have.

So yes, values and marketing, this is part of ethical marketing that people don’t talk to. A lot of marketers want to tell you about algorithms and all these other scope things. And I’m like, cool. But if you don’t have the values, you can’t have the goals, which can’t have the strategy, but won’t have the impact you seek.

Ethical Marketing Considerations

Kayla: I absolutely love that. A hundred percent. So, when it comes to ethically marketing a private practice, are there differences between how someone might market themselves when they’re using specific marketing initiatives, such as building a website, posting on social media, sending out emails to the email list and so on?

Alison: I would say from like a 10,000 feet view? No, because the idea here is I should get the same sense of who you are, you and your associates, you need in private practice. From no matter if it’s a one little blip that I see on Instagram or it’s a really intentional, deep, wonderful blog piece or an email piece. So, I shouldn’t feel as someone who’s interested in your services that either there’s a bait and switch here like, “Oh, they’ve been talking a lot about leadership coaching” and now I’ve kind dropped the space and all I’m getting is information on trauma-informed practice. Cool. But maybe I needed a little in between before you were going to link up leadership and the trauma that I face that’s stopping me from being what I wish to achieve, right? So, it’s all the same.

Some things have very clear regulations around them. So here in Canada for email marketing we have CASL Law, which is anti-spam. It’s different than privacy. It comes back to that permission-based marketing, right? How people technically got into your list is something that you have to be more attentive to in your practice than say, how do people arrive to you on social media? Because social media drives people to your sites. In that case.

So, from an ethical marketing standpoint, marketing number one is not marriage, it’s not sales, it’s dating. So, our goal is not people to book with you. It’s for them to like, know and trust you, to make informed decisions for them to see if you are the best fit for them.

So, it’s the same throughout. But I would say you, you think about a funnel you probably heard of like marketing funnels where it’s like top of ideas to the bottom. It’s the same idea of your social media might be where you’re telling broad stories, but also letting them see a side of your practice that feels right to you. And telling stories of things that have happened. And then you’re encouraging them to go into your newsletter, for example, where you can get into more long format bespoke pieces. Because reels doesn’t want you to talk for whatever, or Instagram is highly visual, but like you, maybe you love to write.

So, you’re shifting not your ethics at any point in time. Think of it as deepening and so that email marketing allows you, and I’m a bit of bias towards email marketing because it’s the most flexible way for us. And you can have a lot of stress removed as a practitioner in this way because you’re given more flexibility in what you can write, how you can write, you put videos in there, audio, it doesn’t have to be a newsletter. It can be whatever you want to have. So, for me, it would be the same. The ethics come down to, you don’t really want to change your tone throughout. It’s just the deepening of what you’re talking about.

Kayla: I agree a hundred percent. Yeah. I believe email marketing is one of the best ways that I market my practice too. And actually, two weeks from now, the podcast episode is going to be about email marketing. But email marketing really helps support your message in a way that you want people to see it. When we think of social media or even our ads, like you only have a certain amount of space and depending on the algorithm, only so many people see it. Whereas your email list is really how, when, or really what you want to put out in the world.

Ethical Marketing and Branding

So, I want to go back to the brand piece, because I know I opened the door earlier talking about how ethical marketing goes into branding. So how would you describe ethical marketing and brand? Like how does it apply when listeners are building a private practice?

Alison: Right. So, it depends number one on what your practice is centred around. So, this gets very clear for not my private practice clients, but my clients in sustainability space, right? There’s a lot of greenwashing that happens. So, we can have a very clear conversation about ethical marketing and about not greenwashing. And really standing your ground of being clear about what sustainability actually looks like. How it shows up. Where is it being false and where is it being true. When we get into private practice with your brand, some things I hear are “I’m actually quite afraid to put anything out because I’m worried, I’m going to offend somebody” or “I’m worried I’m going to do this incorrectly.”

The clear thing about ethics is when you learn do you take the time to change the way you’re doing, acknowledge what happens, and write the piece, write what has been wronged, grow from this, and apply that to your work. So ethics too can be a little bit of an integrity piece there, right? Is that if you don’t write anything, and you’re too afraid to write anything because you’re afraid that you’re going to offend a piece or that. Number one, go do some inner work, right? We’re all human beings in a process of growth to do it. But if you don’t put anything out in one sense, you’re not helping anything. It’s important to get out there and to get the feedback and to invite folk outside of your communities into that, in that piece.

Another piece for the ethics that I’d like to mention is, one I have seen is if I’m coming onto your email list, for example, and you have said that I’m going to get these wonderful tips to help me with my executive leadership or to help me work through triggers that I have, and you turn around and start shoving a book in my face. It can be a book about triggers in that, but you’ve got to be very careful that people signed up, at least in Canada, here for by those CASL, Canadian Anti- Spam Legislation, that I didn’t sign up for that. And so, we need to be very careful. And I think that part from your brand/marketing strategy is going in and understanding what your goals are in this communication piece so that you can line up the dominoes in a way that creates transparency on what your end goal is. And of course, I want you to diversify ways in your practice to reach more of an audience. But don’t create a newsletter list. Never send to it. Finally get your book published. Congratulations. That’s really hard to do to get your book published. But then turn around and then it’s going to be spammy. Even though I know it’s from you, and the book is about what you did. I have not heard from you for six months, and suddenly I’m hearing about a book. Hold your horses. You’re trying to get marriage on the first date. Return to what your ethics are around that. Ask directly inside of that piece in your email marketing. I’m going to start talking about this. Please consent and opt into these pieces.

I think brand we gets stuck a lot in like the visuals and the words that we use. It’s are you being consistent? Are you being authentic? What that means to you. And are you taking feedback when people give you this feedback and ethically, are you pausing and saying, I’ve been given this feedback, let me align it against my goals. Am I having being reactive to this or am I going, “Oh, okay, no, I can see how I can actually work this to my advantage” while also being precious to the feedback I received and doing better with it. Marketing’s all experiment. Not everyone’s going to pick up exactly what you’re putting down, being open to that and asking for feedback.

Side note, a great way to just deepen and have more content fodder is to ask questions of your audience and get to know them and let them do some of the work with you to deepen those pieces of ethics that you want to have.

Kayla: I think that’s a really good point. You had a few things there that I thought were really good to come back to. And one of those things is when we start putting stuff out in the world, it’s understanding that, yeah, fear is going to exist, but really putting yourself out and accepting that feedback. But the truth is the fear that we experience. It’s not likely going to happen because if you are worried about, if you’re experiencing fear around it, chances are you’re really thinking a lot about making sure that it is dare I say, perfect. Even though Perfect does not exist.

Alison: Yeah.

Kayla: But putting yourself out there, it will start helping you build confidence in continuing to do that. The other piece that I think you said there that was really important too. Is how you show up? Or how often you show up? Like your example, if you create a book and you have been adding people to your email list, even if you did it ethically. Of course, people need to opt in and you need to be very transparent with that opt-in because we do not want to just start adding people to our email lists just because we found their emails. We want them to opt in naturally.

But even if they did opt in naturally, they’re not likely going to remember, especially if you don’t send out emails either weekly or biweekly or even once a month. And then a year down the road you send out this email, it’s going to look like you had added them to a list, even though that, from a CASL perspective, you did it all right? But it doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to be like, “Who is this person?” And it may not help build that trust with that person, and then they’re likely going to unsubscribe as well.

Difference between Being Outside your Comfort Zone and Being Unethical

Alison: And I think you hit on something so key here, I don’t want listeners to get confused between being outside their comfort zone and actually being unethical. Especially when it comes to marketing, because at the end of the day, repetition equals recognition. And that sounds like, “Oh, you just threw a buzzy sentence.” But hey, also, I love alliterations and I love dancing. So, if that fails gross, turn it into a song. So it feels more fun for you.

So, when marketing, everyone’s being inundated with things. That is true. However, the work that your audience is doing is deep hard, incredibly scary. “Oh my gosh.” If I actually love you as a coach, or I love you as a therapist, I’m going to go to your office and you’re going to open up this Pandora’s box, I will never shut. Point blank darlings, that is how most of them feel, even though we logically know the work you’re going to do. So, on your side of things, it’s like, “Well, I can’t talk too much about courage,” or “I can’t talk too much about EMDR” or “I can’t talk because people will get sick of it.” You got to step into your comfort zone that you need to amplify this because people need to hear how you talk about it and frequently because it’s going to take me a couple of times. Again, we’re not selling socks here. I’ve got to invest time, personal growth, and money for a lot of us into this. So, I need to hear this over and over because the first time I read that I was busy with my children. The second time, something very earth shattering happened to me and I can understand your message better the second time. And I’m talking not second or third, or fourth or fifth. It’s about 18 times. So, what I tell all clients, no matter where their background is that you aren’t doing it enough until you feel like you’ve done it too much. And even me, I could stand to do it some more.

Number one, the algorithm is not going to feed it to people all the time. No one sits until you get to a critical mass. Most folk don’t digest all your back stories. They might listen to all your podcasts; they’ll go to one. And then we know from data that people go back to your podcast and read them through. But people aren’t necessarily going to read all of your newsletters or see your social media all the time. So, it’s important to make sure you’re not saying, “Well, I’m saying too much.” And that’s why I back off when I would dig deeper as a marketer and say or are you giving enough so people can really get a full cup of Kayla? Are you just giving them a little dram or can we have a full cup of her? And a full cup might look like talking about the same thing differently all month. Having a theme can be helpful, right? And I know this gets cuts into sustainability issues, which I also want to work with clients about, which is you don’t have to be everywhere and do it all for your marketing, but the few things you choose, you want to do well. And few things done well will get you just as much results as many things done ad hoc.

How to Ethically Market Yourself Without the Use of Testimonials

Kayla: Love it. A hundred percent agree. We spoke about a lot of different things here today. Are there any additional tips, strategies, advice, anything that we haven’t already touched on for any of our listeners who might be scared to put themselves out there and to start marketing their services? And of course, how to market ethically?

Alison: Sure. So, the one I alluded to the beginning that the elephant in the room I want to address is one of the most secretive, secretive, bestest things in marketing is testimonials. One of the first things that marketers will ask about or want to help you with is using testimonials. And I know the listeners are already going, “Ugh.” And I get. It due to regulatory needs, you’re not allowed to ask testimonials. So, a lot of marketers don’t know what to do. Because they’re like, “Well, how can you talk about the transformation of people if you’re not allowed to have that piece?” and as a tiny, tiny rant as a client, I feel it’s unfortunate because I want to hear how other clients, I don’t necessarily want you to ever push someone and to give testimonial, but it’s important for us to understand who you’ve helped and transform. So that’s unfortunate.

But what do you do? Well, one piece of advice I have is once you’ve concluded your session and you’ve done the piece that you need to do. Are you reserving time in your day when you’re working on your business to reflect about some of the moments that you’ve had, and can you really. I’m not saying like tell the story, then change the name, because I know that’s not going to feel right for a lot of people. But I think about having a document, having it literally on your desktop. And it’s, sort of, what was the topic? What was the concern? What did I offer? And then what was the outcome of it? And that way you don’t even have to deal with, let’s pretend we’re talking hypothetically about Betty and Betty had this happen to them, right? So, if there’s any way in your marketing without having to pull.

But when you’re doing your marketing, marketing isn’t just promoting the things you’re doing and the services you offer. Find a way in your practice after you’re done working with clients that you can reflect and then bring it back to the bigger story here. Yes. It would be lovely to say it was very civically a CEO dealing with this particular trauma piece that happened. But there’s still a way for you to pause, reflect, and capture, not a week later, not when you’re sitting at a blank screen with the cursor blinking. Like, “Oh gosh, I got to write an email now.” Keep like a scratch paper or a scratch deck, or like a document where you’re capturing these moments and so don’t over curate yourself. Sanitize it of what needs to be sanitized and then use that. You begin to build like a vault of content that you can go, oh my goodness, it’s been three months and three times courage came up and I could talk about courage in a way that people aren’t expecting. And then I could even mention about a cool podcast I listened to where those people have lots of great examples and I can say, go listen to this podcast, especially at minute 3:55. Because there’s a story about Sahel and their story is incredible. So, while I would love for that to be a case, there are other ways for us to get creative in speaking on behalf of people we serve without divulging anything private, but allowing your audience who hasn’t bought into what you do yet to see themselves, that would be a big piece, just given that moment to reflect and adding to it. And don’t worry too much about it being perfect. It’s a work in progress document that you can refine and use for your socials, your email marketing, your podcast pieces, and all that good stuff.

Kayla: Amazing. And thanks for bring up the testimonials piece because as therapists, we see a lot of other non-regulated coaches out there saying, “Get testimonials. Get testimonials.” But many regulatory and licencing boards prohibit the use testimonials for therapy and counselling services due confidentiality reasons as well as the power differential between therapists and their clients.

And really what you just highlighted is very much similar to what I teach my clients as well. And this is more when we think of even saying niching down our practice. And this is why I love when we say niching our practices and picking an ideal client or someone that we want to work with. Because very similar to what you said, I always say we can have a little post-it notes on the side of our desk. And those common words, or common situations, or common things that show up, especially when you work with the same type of client, you are not taking like specific information now. You are literally taking a mass of people, right? So, I worked with workplace burnout in my private practice, and something that 99% of my clients will say is that they dread going to work Monday morning.

So, this is some of the things that you’re talking about when we think of like ethical marketing, it’s really highlighting some of the feelings, emotions or thoughts that the mass of the clientele are experiencing and then also how you help get outcomes, right? Not necessarily giving those testimonials or sharing how you have specifically helped a specific person, but those outcomes. And I think one thing is we talk about our therapeutic approaches a lot, and although that’s great. I come from cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. Clients aren’t coming to me ask me, can you do CBT with me? Can you do ACT with me? They are looking like you said, like an outcome. So, when I start marketing myself, I talk about the steps, the strategies, the things that we can do together. Not the approach, but what the approach teaches me on how to help somebody.

Alison: That’s what scares us the most as potential clients for therapists, is we don’t know. We can read all the papers we want on what the steps of this particular system is. But we’re not there yet. And there’s almost like a beautiful buffer that happens when you’re done your session. You’ve sanitized it in the way that you need to. It’s sat in this document. It’s given you a couple of days. You’re coming back and you’re thinking, what can I pull out of this that would sound really good inside of my marketing?

And all of a sudden, you’re capturing on what again– and this is also not unique to this industry. So often, I talk about like features versus benefits. People get caught up on the features of things instead of the benefits of it. And it’s like people don’t know what you do. So, when you bring in at the crux of it, I ask this question to them. That is powerful because maybe some of your ideal clients are so close. But no one’s even asked them a question that you may be asked 15, 50, a thousand of these wonderful folks you’ve helped. And your newsletter for example, or your real online or your podcast topic might be that question. And how do people answer that question? That is powerful and you don’t have to step behind the process because we don’t care. We don’t care. But we are afraid of, what are you going to ask us? What are you going to pull out of us? So, if you’re proactive and start talking about that, then all of a sudden you have a whole marketing case. And again, you can talk about it different ways. What kinds of questions do you ask? How do people react? Do they laugh? Do they get still? Like there’s so many ways for you to tell a story in this. I’m getting all worked on both this.

Refining Your Ideal Clients

The other piece I will say is if you are still refining who your ideal clients are. Or your, you know, “Oh, Alison, I haven’t been capturing this and I’m knee deep into my marketing.” There’s also some really great audience research tools. One is called SparkToro and what it allows you to do, it’s very affordable and I love them. Ethically speaking, they’re great because they actually remind you when your month is coming up and if you want to renew. And they are so ethical in their marketing. They’re my top tier folk in this. But what it does is you can type into it. My audience follows this Instagram account. My audience talks about this hashtag. My audience watches this YouTube channel. So, if you feel like you’re not at a stage yet where you’re still practicing this new idea I have writing it down SparkToro is a great way for you. It’s even free. So, there’s like a free account where you can do five searches and it will like give you some information. It will tell you people who watch this YouTube channel also watch these YouTube channels.

So, I like to call it in marketing, like measure twice and cut once, where you can go and see how other folk in your field are talking to their audience and pull what is resonating with you and you’re hearing and see how they are cracking the nut and how they can talk about this ethically and then add your spin. If you are a queer-friendly therapist and no one is talking about this particular piece from the standpoint of the queer community darling’s, you went and did the research, you’re like, this is great. But no one is talking about the adversarial pieces that they’re missing here of when your spouse is terminally ill and nothing’s be recognized paperwork wise, right? And this is adding stress on top of the loss that you’re experiencing that can be such a secret sauce. So, it’s called SparkToro. And it’s fabulous and it’s very affordable, and it’s a way for you to find out how are other people doing it? You can do the research to see what is the audience responding to, what are they being pushed away from, so that you’re not creating stuff for the hell of it. You’re creating stuff based on other people’s intent, putting your spin on it. And what makes you so unique in the space that you’re working in.

Kayla: Fabulous. And for anyone listening, if you want to scroll down to the show notes, I will link to SparkToro.

Alison: SparkToro. And ethically speaking, I am not an affiliate with this. They do not have an affiliate program. I just believe wholeheartedly in this product.

Free Resource

Kayla: You also have a free resource that you want to give listeners. Can you tell us a little bit about your freebie and how it can help therapists and coaches?

Alison: Sure. So, I have one called website wins and this is going to be, somewhat like a cognitive behavioral therapy piece, if I want to be silly about it. But it is 22 experts across the globe that I’m very well connected with in the areas of sales, marketing, copywriting, and website design. So, is this going to be a freebie about ethical marketing? I don’t have one at this point, darling. So, I do apologize. But I would love– my itty-bitty step goal for you would be to go download this and sit with the information and see what comes up for you. Where do you go? “Oh, well, no, I can’t do that. That’s not going to sit with me at all.” Or where do you go? Well, I can’t do that because this da da. And where do you go? “Well, I might be able to apply that particular piece about pricing to my website” or, “Oh, I didn’t really think about changing the way in which I write my sentences to be helpful.

So, is it going to be ethical marketing for therapists 101 a checklist? It is not. But I think a wonderful moment to toe dip into this conversation of now that you understand ethical marketing and how you can be part of the marketing conversation without it feeling gross, and also the folk who are in there are lovely human beings. And I’m so privileged to have them speak, not me, but all of these 22 individuals across the globe.

So, check that out, see what’s resonating. See what resistance. And do some inner work on that perhaps of where you’re going. And of course, throw stuff out that doesn’t fit at all. That’s cool too. It ain’t all going to be relevant to you, but hopefully it will help you to bump up conversion. In other words, when people land on your website, what can we deepen on it so that we can encourage people probably not to book with you and have an initial call. But maybe to go to your newsletter, maybe to start watching these lives or these sessions you’re doing. Or maybe you have a webinar or a collaboration that’s coming up that could be a toe dip for them. So that’s a great resource to help you. How could I help people get closer to doing something with me? And you might be pleasantly surprised. You might actually enjoy more than 10 of those.

Kayla: Fabulous. So if you’d like to sign up for Allison’s freebie Website Wins, check out

That’s and Knott does have a K.

Alison: and two Ts. I splurged in this economy with letters.

Kayla: Or you can simply scroll down to the show notes and click on the link.


Alison, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today.

Alison: Thank you for having me. And as just in closing, thank you everyone listening for the work you do. I am sure you have an inkling, but the work and the power you give to us is indescribable. So please keep it up. Keep it up when you put things out there and no one replies or comments. A lot of us are lurking because it’s very sensitive to us and we don’t want to acknowledge publicly what we’re feeling or what we’re going through. But we are absolutely paying attention and we look forward to finding the strength to reach out to you and do amazing transformation together.

Kayla: Oh, thank you.

And thank you everyone for tuning into today’s episode, and I hope you join me again soon on The Designer Practice Podcast.

Until next time, bye for now.

Podcast Links

Alison’s Free Resource Website Wins:

Free Boosting Business Community:

Designer Practice Digital Template Shop:

Information Managers Pre-Made Practice Policy and Procedure Templates:

Use coupon code EVASPARE10 to receive 10% off policies and procedure templates.


Credits & Disclaimers

Music by ItsWatR from Pixabay

The Designer Practice Podcast and Evaspare Inc. has an affiliate and/or sponsorship relationship for advertisements in our podcast episodes. We receive commission or monetary compensation, at no extra cost to you, when you use our promotional codes and/or check out advertisement links.

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