Many mental health professionals are too busy with clients to focus on the necessary marketing tactics to grow their practice. Additionally, many find the idea of marketing themselves downright uncomfortable. However, with the prevalence of the Internet being used by so many to search for mental health support it has become critical for private practice therapists to have a professional and broad-reaching presence online.
Don’t stress, it’s not as hard or as expensive as you may think. With a little savvy, you can boost the effectiveness of your private practice marketing efforts.
Tips on how to fine-tune your private practice marketing.
Let’s start with the Who.
You. Try doing a branding exercise with yourself. What type of therapist are you? Not just your credentials, but what are your therapeutic style, philosophy, and personality. Let this message come thru in your marketing. As you know, the therapeutic relationship is critical to the success of therapy, so spend some time investing in marketing yourself honestly and you will more likely attract the right type of client for your practice.
Fine-tune it: Invest in a professional photograph of yourself. Therapists with a high-quality professional profile picture stand out from the crowd. In addition, pictures are a great way to connect to potential clients’ emotions and begin to build trust. Add inspiring imagery as well as a practice logo to help create your online persona.
What services do you offer?
Many therapists view themselves as generalists. And yes, so many mental health challenges are interconnected. However, having an area of focus can boost your credibility in the minds of a client looking for treatment for a particular issue. In a crowded market, standing out can be increasingly difficult. However, a therapist that is well known by clients and colleagues in a particular field can often garner higher levels of referral. Ask yourself is there a particular treatment area that you excel in? Is there a unique demographic that you find you have an easier time connecting with? Is there a need that is underserved in your town? Having a niche can often help you to make a name for yourself.
Fine-tune it: Write a self-help article about an area of therapy you are particularly passionate about. Imagine you are speaking directly to a client in need. Adding a self-help blog to your website is a great way to build your credibility and market your value to potential clients. Don’t forget to share a link to your blog post on your social media pages or in the form of an email newsletter.
Where are clients discovering you?
Are you tracking where your clients come from? Is your new business generated from personal referrals, a professional directory, social media advertising, online support communities, your private practice website? As you grow your practice, it’s important to diversify. Being reliant on one source for referrals can put you at risk long-term. Additionally, having multiple touchpoints can increase the effectiveness of your overall marketing. It typically takes a person interacting with your marketing 3 times, before reaching out. Therefore, consistent messaging across all your marketing vehicles is critical. Your name, your practice tagline, and imagery need to all work together to create a unified and professional front. Additionally, all your marketing efforts should link back to one place – your professional website.
Fine-tune it: Own your website domain name directly with a domain registrar. Your domain name (www.yourname.com) is an important business asset that grows in value as you expand your marketing. Plus, owning your domain directly will give you control and flexibility over your website hosting options. Domain name registration is simple and inexpensive (typically less than $15 a year.)
When can you expect results from your marketing efforts?
Building a reputation takes time. It’s good to track each of your marketing tactics so you know what’s working, and what’s not. However, it also can take time for a new marketing tactic to reveal its true value. Often it is the combination of tactics that ultimately caused a client to contact you. Also, many online marketing resources are at the mercy of search engine indexing and algorithm updates. For example, newly created webpages can take time to be discovered and ranked by search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
Fine-tune it: Make your words count. Search engines have strict rules regarding the quality and originality of the content they choose to rank. Take the time to create good, unique content about your practice. Use descriptive language about your therapy approach, services and what clients can expect in a session with you. Don’t use boilerplate content on your professional website, take the time to customize your webpages every time you post something new.
Why should you create a marketing plan?
Just like a productive therapy session, it’s important to create a plan of action. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or even complete, just a place to start. Make a list of the places your clients currently find you. Review these sources for accuracy and consistency. Can you do more to improve your results with these existing channels? Do you need to diversify by adding new avenues?
Fine-tune it: Calculate the value of a client. Investing in a few simple marketing services like a therapist directory can often pay for itself in the short term and lead to a steady new source of clients long-term.
How do I get started?
Start with the many free, or low-cost resources available to private practice therapists.
Free Marketing Resources for Private Practice Therapists:
- Google Places (verify your business location).
- Yelp (claim your free business listing and collect client reviews).
- LinkedIn (start building your professional referral base).
- Facebook Page for Business (create a professional page for your practice).
- YouTube (add videos that you can link to from your website or profile pages).
Fine-tune it: List your practice with TherapyTribe – therapist directory – for only $29.95 month – then choose the additional features you need at no additional cost including — a free professional website, focused specialty pages for your city, and search options for online therapists.