This article was written for the WestCountry Assocation for Counselling (WAC) journal.  Published in 2012

Linked In is a free professional online network where you can ask for help from other members and get some very useful responses.  Below is a recent one which seems very important to share with WAC:

One Linked In member posted the following query:

“Advertising in local doctors’ surgery booklets? I received a call today which seemed to come from my local doctors’ surgery, asking if I wanted to ‘contribute an article’ to the surgery booklet. Sounded quite interesting, but it turned out to be an advertising company (Oldroyd publishing, based in Lancashire!) selling advertising space. Their package requires quite a financial commitment. I wonder if anyone else has used this method of advertising and if so, whether it’s useful.”

Some responses from other members:

“There have been other discussions on Linked In about the sort of firms you describe and I have scanned through the posts and never found anyone who ever had a referral via these methods and lots who have paid sizeable sums of money.”

“And if that is not enough to deter therapist colleagues, well, just consider – when you look at a card, calendar or the like that is surrounded by little ads – do you read them? Or are they just ‘noise’ ? Do they even stand out or are they a distraction from what you really want? Mostly they look small and cheap and that is not impression we want to give of ourselves as professionals!”

“Has anyone ever been handed one of these things by a GP (or emergency services) – or even seen one?? Nuff said!”

“I’ve used a couple of cheapish options in the past just to see if there was any direct response. I always ask patients where they heard about me or our practice so I always know about direct referrals and advertising responses. There was none whatsoever. On one occasion I did advertise on a local GP practice appointment card…Response: zero! Don’t throw your money away.”

“Another one to avoid is the Police Journal. I advertised last year and all I got from it was further cold callers… I have found some cold callers to be aggressive when I say no”.

“You may like to consider registering with the Telephone Preference Service to opt out of telemarketing calls (and register complaints)”.

“My thinking is if I am going to pay for advertising space I would rather go for a tried and tested publication”.

 One happy Linked In member:

“Thanks everyone for your comments on this. I subsequently heard another horror story about someone who had to take a company to court to extricate herself from a similar agreement she didn’t want, after they claimed to have recorded her saying ‘yes’ on the phone! Glad I checked out the idea first”.

 © Cathy Towers 2011