What Swaddling My Baby Taught Me About Private Practice Marketing

Last week I participated in a focus group.

​I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a focus group, but it was something I had always wanted to do and it was a very cool experience.

If you have kids, you know about Halo Swaddle / Sleep Sacks. Well, I saw an ad on Facebook to participate in a focus group for them and I immediately replied, hoping and praying that they would pick me.

A few days after submitting my info, I got that eagerly anticipated email that I had been selected to participate. In the confirmation email from them, they told me I’d be getting two free sleep sacks and $150 for an hour and a half of my time. I couldn’t say “Yes!!!!” quick enough! Free swaddle sacks and free cash was super exciting but also the marketing nerd was really interested to see how the whole thing worked 😉

I was supposed to use two different swaddle sacks with my 3 month old son for 5 nights each and then be prepared to discuss my experiences. EASY AS PIE.

A few Fridays ago, I took the morning off and drove about a half hour to a random office park about 20 miles outside of Boston. I followed the signs to a conference room where a “moderator,” two representatives from Halo and a few moms sat waiting for the focus group to begin. I knew I was in the right place when I saw women with large coffees.

Once we were all there, the moderator started asking predictable questions:

  • What do you think of the material?
  • What was your child’s sleep like when using the Halo Swaddle Sack?
  • Does the look or design of the sack itself matter to you? (We all said “YES!” at the same time – haha)
  • Is there anything you would change about this?

But then the moderator asked a question that made me think a bit more deeply…

She said, “For those of you who have known about Halo for a while, is this a brand that you trust? 

What makes you trust them?”


Holden in one of the Halo Swaddle Sacks they gave us

What Makes You Trust Certain Companies / Clinicians?

I had to think a little bit about that one. You see, we were already familiar with sleep sacks from our older son, Hayes. We registered for a few and got even more as gifts. We used their entire line of products, from the velcro swaddles that you use with infants to the wearable blankets that you use with toddlers. All in all, we had probably spent between $200 – $300 total as we purchased from them again and again as he grew over about a 2.5 year period. (That doesn’t even count the money I’ve spend buying other people Halo products on their baby registries…)

Because I spent so much and over such a long period of time, I obviously trusted the product… but why?

After thinking long and hard, I finally told the moderator, “I think I trust them for two reasons: one because they had a product that grew with the needs of my family. I became familiar with them before our older son was born and those sleep sacks kept him consistently comfortable and warm for years. Also, isn’t there some sort of insignias of companies that endorse them on the packaging? Call me a sucker but that kind of stuff works on me.” The moderator chuckled and pointed out that the product was endorsed by pediatricians, the national hip dysplasia group and there were some testimonials from parents.

How to Establish Trust with Prospective Clients… 
Before You Even Meet Them

This made me think about private practitioners and the importance of trust in client / customer relationships:

  1. What made me trust enough to buy: the endorsements and the testimonials on the outside of the package (external trust)
  2. What made me trust enough to return: my satisfaction and positive feelings that my son was warm and snuggly enough at night when I wasn’t there to hold him (internal trust)

So, here’s what this means for you and your business: You want to develop both external and internal trust with your clients.

External trust comes in the form of adding recognizable or impressive links to reputable organizations or people on your business cards, website, info packets, guest lectures, etc. (ex. the ASHA logo, memberships to organizations you belong to, testimonials, etc.) By using these external “trust symbols” throughout your marketing, clients will be more likely to hire you because they trust you before they even meet you.

Internal trust comes when you satisfy your clients by providing excellent and consistent clinical care that delights your clients and their families allows them to trust that you’re going to help their ongoing needs until they’re ready for discharge.

External trust will get them in your door, internal trust will encourage them stay.

Put More Trust Elements Into Your Marketing and Watch Your Private Practice GROW

What can you change in your marketing efforts TODAY to build external trust? What kinds of things are you already doing to build internal trust and what else can you do to add to existing internal trust?

Put these two trust elements into play and watch your private practice grow.

By the way, if you want more tips and scenarios like this to better understand how to make your marketing efforts successful, check out Grow Your Private Practice. I’ll teach you how to skyrocket your referrals by following a simple plan that will save you a ton of time and money.

In addition to sharing two insights I gained from the experience of being in a focus group, I also gave a pretty heavy endorsement of the company Halo and their swaddle / sleep sacks.
Keep in mind that satisfied customers / clients love to talk about their experiences (so do DIS-satisfied people…) Anyway, strive to create positive experiences and relationships with your clients and they will be DELIGHTED to tell everyone they know about just how wonderful you are. Keep up the good work!

This blog post was brought to you by Grow Your Private Practice, the #1 resource for SLPs, OTs and PTs who want to get more (of the right kind) of clients. Follow the steps in the 32 Action Plans to start bringing in more referrals today!

Jena H. Castro-Casbon, MS CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist, private practice consultant and member ASHA and the American Academy of Private Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She started her own speech therapy private practice in 2006.

She is the founder of The Independent Clinician and author of The Guide to Private Patients, The Guide to Creating a Web Presence for Your Private Practice and Grow Your Private Practice. Since 2008, she has helped thousands of clinicians get the flexibility, income and freedom they desire from starting their own private speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy practices.

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