How to Effectively Market Your Practice Online
Did you know that over 70% of new patients use the Internet to find a therapist? Over 3 million people use the Internet to search for therapists each month. In order to reach new clients, it has become imperative for your practice to have an online presence. But just having a website – or listing your practice in a few directories – isn’t enough: you have to market yourself properly, too.
You are a brand.
Think of yourself as a product. Aren’t people paying you for your time? Invest in professional photography that shows you in a positive, empathetic and engaging manner. Develop a consistent and clear marketing message about the value you provide as a therapist. Also use the first person voice to speak directly to your potential client. (i.e. “I can help. Call for a free consultation.”)
Give it away.
All good marketing includes a specific call to action. What better way to get people to call than to offer a free consultation? Don’t be afraid to give free advice. Gaining a new client requires establishing a trusting relationship as well as ascertaining a good fit between you and the client. Besides, isn’t it better to know upfront if a client is not a fit – so you can quickly move on to finding one that is?
Give great customer service.
Give timely, professional customer service. It is critical you respond to a client inquiry within 24 hours. Clients searching online are in a need state, and are looking for someone who can help immediately. Clients often reach out to several therapists at a time and will likely prefer the therapist who is most responsive. Plus, professionalism is critical to getting repeat business and referrals. People make referrals to those they know, like and trust.
Understand the value of a client.
Calculate the lifetime value of a client to you. On average, a client stays with a therapist for 10 – 16 sessions. At $70 a session that’s $700 – $1120 per client. Create a marketing budget based on the value of a client to you. Don’t be afraid to invest a little today to build your practice for the future. There are several simple and affordable ways to list your practice online. All it takes is one new client to make your investment return dividends.
Give it time.
Track your results and overtime you will learn what works and what does not, but it is important to give each new marketing vehicle a true test. For example, websites and directory profile pages take time to be indexed by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. The longer a web page is active, the higher it climbs in the search engine results pages. Websites and directory listings that have been active for over a year will begin to see higher results than newly posted ones.
Quick Tips for Websites & Directory Pages
Sometimes the difference between a successful web page or directory listing can be a matter of a few simple items. Below are some quick tips and potential mistakes many make when listing their practice. When creating a professional website or listing check the following key items:
Is your photo professional and friendly?
Do you communicate your services clearly?
Do you give clients a reason to call you?
Have you reviewed your listing for errors after submitting?
Did you review the directory do’s and don’ts?
Do provide practice details and personal statement (don’t just refer to your website.)
Do explain how you are qualified to help
Do give a free consultation
Don’t talk about yourself in the third person
Don’t delay in returning emails and messages
Don’t give up too quickly on your website or listing
Articles from our Private Practice Marketing Series: