In today's climate of high-inflation and the desire for flexible hours, more and more therapists/counselors/clinicians are feeling the allure of private practice. Setting out on your own, creating a brand and business you can be proud of, and keeping a bigger part of fee are all tempting propositions. But after the luster wears off, comes the existential dread.
"How am I going to get clients?"
Figuring out just how your clients will find you can be almost paralyzing. After all, most therapists didn't go to school for marketing and business. In all of your class discussions about interventions and modalities, SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) likely never came up.
That's 1.5 billion results. Billion with a B
And after the most basic of Google searches, it's easy to quickly feel like there's more to do than you have the hours in the day (or funds in your bank account) to accomplish. But you don't have to do everything at once. Private practice growth (much like personal growth) happens incrementally and at its own pace.
But all growth has to start somewhere. So rest assured that there is a basic roadmap that anyone can follow to get your dream off the ground and build momentum.
Phase 1: Bare Bones Marketing
In the early stages of launching your private practice, you'll want to focus on the essentials to establish a strong foundation:
1. Define Your Niche:
Determine your specialization and target audience. What specific mental health issues do you address, and who are your ideal clients? You may know from your internship who you like working with (and who you'd prefer to avoid). By knowing this, you can make sure the language, imagery, as well as the places you advertise are tailored to attract that group.
2. Create a Professional Online Presence:
Develop a user-friendly website that includes your credentials, services, contact information, and a blog to share valuable insights. You don't have to be a coder! Using one of the big services like Wix or SquareSpace will give you off the shelf templates that you only need to plug your information into.
Optimize your website for search engines (SEO) to increase visibility in online searches. This means using words on your website that relate to possible search terms someone would be typing in while looking for you.
3. Social Media Profiles:
Create and maintain professional profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Try to keep the pictures, language, and logos consistent (and high quality)
Share informative content, engage with your audience, and build your online community. Remember social media is a two-way street - if you aren't engaging with your audience, they will leave.
4. Network and Referrals:
Connect with other healthcare professionals, therapists, and clinics for potential referrals. Many clinicians HATE NETWORKING. You don't need to give any speeches or thrust yourself into a room of strangers. It could be as simple as reaching out to someone who looks interesting in your field, and grabbing coffee.
Attend local events and join professional organizations to expand your network.
5. Online Listings:
Create and optimize your profiles on online directories like Psychology Today, as well as any local directories in your area that may exist.
Also make sure you make a Google Business Profile. After all, if you're not on Google...you don't exist.
Encourage satisfied clients to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google and Facebook.
Phase 2: Expanding Your Reach
Once you've established your private practice and have a steady stream of clients, you can consider expanding your marketing efforts:
6. Content Marketing:
Continue to publish informative blog posts, videos, or podcasts relevant to your niche.
If you don't mind the camera or microphone, consider starting a podcast or web series.
Share your content on social media to position yourself as an expert in your field.
7. Email Marketing:
Build an email list of clients and potential clients.
Send out regular newsletters with helpful tips, updates, and offers.
8. Paid Advertising:
Invest in online advertising such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach a wider audience.
Target your ads based on demographics and location.
9. Community Involvement:
Host workshops, webinars, or support groups in your local community.
Establish partnerships with local businesses to cross-promote services.
10. Telehealth Services:
Consider offering telehealth to reach clients outside your immediate area.
Update your website to include information on telehealth options.
Phase 3: Scaling Your Practice
As your private practice grows, you may want to explore additional marketing strategies to scale your business further:
11. SEO and Content Optimization:
Invest in advanced SEO techniques to rank higher in search engine results.
Optimize your content for voice search as it becomes more prevalent.
12. Online Courses or Workshops:
Develop online courses or workshops to share your expertise and generate additional income.
Promote these offerings through your website and email marketing.
13. Hire Marketing Assistance:
Consider bringing in a marketing specialist or agency to manage your marketing efforts, allowing you to focus on client care.
14. Expand Your Online Presence:
Explore new social media platforms or consider podcasting or YouTube if it aligns with your audience.
15. Client Retention:
Implement a client referral program to encourage satisfied clients to refer others.
Continue to nurture existing client relationships to build a loyal client base.
As you grow your private practice, periodically review and adjust your marketing strategy to adapt to changing trends and client needs
you can reach out to us and we'll do all of this for you.
Remember, marketing is an ongoing process, and it can be daunting. Often small business owners are expected wear a lot of hats. And if you just love doing the marketing on your own, more power to you! But if you want to free up your schedule without slowing down your practice's growth, we're here to help!