You’ve finished school, you’ve got your license, you’ve started your own private practice. There’s just one thing to add – clients.
Many education programs do not include how to market your practice.
But as your private practice experts, we’re here to help – and we have some tips from Daniel Wendler of Marketing for Therapists and Lisa Wozniak of Woz Marketing.
The good news is marketing doesn’t have to be hard. Often marketing gets a bad rap, but it shouldn’t. Talking to a prospective client to make a sale doesn’t have to be distasteful.
The most fundamental part of marketing as a therapist is to effectively communicate what you do and how it helps.
“My number one tip when marketing your private practice is to get really clear on what your specialty will be. You have to determine what will make you stand apart in a crowd. In a busy marketing world where there are so many people screaming for attention, you have to determine what will make you stand out. Think of yourself as a search engine. If someone just types in “Therapist” the results will be overwhelming. But if someone is suffering from Anxiety, that’s what they will be typing in to Google. Whether or not their doctor has referred them to someone, they will begin to research on their own. The more you narrow down your niche, the more memorable you will become.”
– Lisa Wozniak, http://wozmarketing.com/
So how do you find this niche? Think of the clients you love to have across from you. What are they like? (Male? Female? Age? Background?) What sort of issues do they generally have? (Anxiety? PTSD from sexual assault? Anorexia?) When you’ve thought about your favorite kind of client to work with, you’ve found your niche.
From there, marketing is easy as talking once you know what to say.
Put yourself in a prospective client’s shoes for a minute – someone struggling with some challenge or challenges, thinking they might need help, but nervous about it. The truth is they’re likely not to understand what you might say about your CBT techniques or dialectical behavior therapy – and they honestly might not care. What they do care about is that you understand what they’re going through, and you can help them get where they want to be.
Think of it this way – if my car is looking rough and starts making weird noises, I don’t care that my mechanic has an impact driver and an 18 inch Matco crescent wrench. I care that he understands the weird noises and is able to get my car running well again.
Combine this communication with your niche, and you have a winning formula.
Here’s what that might look like: “I know what it’s like to live with anxiety – the worry at every little thing, etc. (Understand the problem.) I can help. I’ve worked with many clients (bonus – show experience) and taught them techniques to manage their anxieties so they can live a full and happier life. (Able to reach the desired result.)”
That’s the sort of thing you need to communicate to prospective clients. Not just on your followup phone calls to people that reach out to you, but on your website, in your directory profiles, on your social media pages – everywhere that prospective clients hear about you, that message should be clear. Take that message and share it everywhere you can:
“My top marketing tip for therapists is to look for opportunities where they can share their expertise with a wide audience. For instance, you might speak about teen depression to the PTA of your local school district, write a guest blog post about mental health for a local nonprofit, or appear on a local TV station to talk about strategies for beating workplace stress Then, create additional free resources on your website (such as an ebook) so that your audience has a reason to connect with you online or share your website with others. This creates a powerful cycle where your public appearances build your credibility and drive a stream of referrals to your practice.”
– Daniel Wendler, http://www.marketingfortherapists.org/
Effectively communicating what you do and how it helps is the most fundamental part of marketing. But once you know how, marketing will be as natural as helping your clients.