Private practice marketing is something that psychotherapists, counselors and therapists did not study at school as they go to school to learn to help people. They do not study business or marketing techniques. As a result, if a therapist wants to start a private practice, they are at a serious disadvantage. Although the idea of marketing is distasteful to some, the fact is that you can’t perform counseling if you don’t get people in the door. Luckily, getting clients for your private practice is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are some marketing tips and private practice marketing strategies to successfully market your private practice.
Clarify Your Identity
Before you begin to market your private practice and your services, you need to understand who you are and what you are trying to provide. This involves knowing your target audience and the skills you have that may appeal to them. For example, if you have considerable experience working with borderline personality disorder, you may want to market yourself to that specific population. That may set you apart from a lot of other therapists in the area and help you develop a niche.
Another niche that can set you apart from other private practice is teletherapy. There are many remote areas across our country that are underserved and exploring these areas and marketing to them is something that one can consider. Here are some ideas for both online marketing and offline marketing of teletherapy services and how to launch teletherapy business.
Because this is a business, you also have to consider supply and demand. Say you have an office down the block from an established practice that also specializes in treating borderline personality disorder. Is there room enough in your community for both of you or is the market saturated? Some important questions to ask yourself: What type of therapy are you trying to provide? Is there a market in your area for that type of client? Are there other therapists nearby who also have that focus? A meshing between your personal identity and business interests will provide you with the best chance to have a successful practice.
Build A Website
You must have a website when you own a private practice. Most people get their information from the internet and even if people find out about you through another source, they will look at your website before they decide whether to avail themselves of your services. Your website is your public face and a very powerful private practice marketing tool. It tells potential clients essential information about you and your practice. It is not an exaggeration to say that a website can break you if it is not up to snuff. Here are some things you need to consider when creating your website:
How Do I Make a Website?
You can always hire a professional, but making your own website is not as hard as it may seem. Companies like Wordpress make it easy. They have ready-made professional templates where you just fill in the content. Yes, there is a learning curve, but you can have a site up and running within a day.
A domain name is almost as important as the name of your practice and needs to reflect your business as much as possible. It is probably a good idea to have a domain name that is close to the name of your private practice so people have an easy time finding it. Unfortunately, a lot of domain names are already taken so you may need to be a bit creative. Try to get a name with a .com extension at the end. It is what most people expect and trust.
What Needs To Be On My Site?
People look to a website to find essential information so you need to make sure it is there. Here are some things to include:
• Your location (an interactive map is nice).
• Do you take insurance?
• What type of issues do you treat?
• How do I make an appointment? Being able to make an appointment online is a plus, especially for people that may have some anxiety about talking to someone on the phone. Of course, if you like to screen people before you accept them as a client, online appointments are a bad idea. A contact phone number is a must either way.
• A biography and picture. For clients, choosing a counselor is a big deal. They are going to spill their guts to you every week and they want to feel that they can trust you. A pleasant professional-looking picture and a short biography helps them connect to you and validate their choice
• A mobile-friendly site. Your website may look very different on a phone than it does on a laptop or home computer. Because so many people use their phones for everything, you need to make sure your website looks as good—and works as well—on a phone as it does on a bigger screen.
• A content blog. A content blog serves several purposes. First, it is a place where people can visit to get mental health information that supports your practice. Second, it can drive people to your site. Say you wrote a blog on depression. Someone looking up information on the internet may run across your blog and, as a result, visit your site.
Using social media as a way to promote and market your private practice is a tricky balance. On one hand, social media has become too popular to ignore. Having a Facebook or Twitter account that represents your business is a great way to reach people. On the other hand, you have to be very aware of confidentiality and boundary issues. You don’t want to get into a casual relationship with a client or tweet personal information by mistake. Having said that, social media makes it easy to connect to current and prospective clients. For example, you can tweet about a new blog post on your website or comment on a mental health issue that is in the news. In addition, Facebook and LinkedIn will allow you to set up business pages, separate from your personal page, at no cost.
Although many people will find you through social media or your website, there is no substitute for old-fashioned networking with other people. Here are a few tips:
• Reach out to professionals in your community. Doctors, schools, and other therapists can make great referral sources. Although you may feel anxious contacting people you don’t know, they are probably always looking for good therapists.
• Join a professional networking group. They can provide you with numerous contacts as well as a wealth of information about running a successful business.
• Do a presentation in your community a few times a year. For example, a school or church may want you to speak about mental health issues that affect people in your area. Everyone in the audience is a prospective client.
Therapists were not necessarily born with a mind for business. However, some private practice marketing is necessary if you want to start and maintain a private practice. Fortunately, the internet has provided more marketing opportunities than ever before. With some planning and effort, you can exercise your therapy skills while possessing a thriving private practice.