Keeping your promotions on the straight and narrow
Legal, Decent, Honest and Truthful
Most of us are aware of the need to keep our promotional material 'Legal, Decent, Honest and Truthful'. The subject will either have been covered in your therapy training, or your Professional Association may have made you aware, or you'll have learned about it at a CPD event. It's one of the subjects we cover on our 'Do You Want More Clients' DVD, for instance.
Essentially the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is responsible for ensuring that all advertising (including websites and social media posts) adheres to the Advertising Codes. The general rules are that advertising must be responsible and must not mislead or offend.
Although none of us would knowingly make false claims, we do have to mindful that we are not overstating the effectiveness of our particular therapy unless we have strong evidence.
Any claim that a particular therapy can treat or cure a medical condition is unlikely to be acceptable unless you are considered suitably qualified and hold robust evidence to support the efficacy claim.
If the ASA receives a complaint about your promotional claims they will ask you (rather firmly) to change the wording. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), who write the advertising Codes, provide helpful advice for what they deem to be acceptable and even suggest alternatives, eg: Before:
'Many of my clients suffer from depression, especially in winter, and find that Shiatsu can help lift their mood'
'Many of my clients find Shiatsu excellent for improving their mood'
'I treat people suffering from Cancer and fertility problems'
'Some of my clients include people suffering from Cancer. They find that the soothing, calming and
relaxing nature of the therapy assists their emotional wellbeing during this difficult time'.
References to Medical Conditions
Be sensible about any claims that you make and if you are contacted by the ASA, it's not the end of the world. Provided you amend your promotional material in line with their recommendations, all will be well.
Take Action to make sure your promotions follow ASA guidelines
Nic and Debs