COVID-19 has changed the way we live and the way we do business. This change can motivate us to try everything to market our private practice so that we keep things as normal as possible, or it can discourage us and make us wonder if it’s ever going to get back to normal. In a way, we will be forever changed by the events of the past few months – history has been made.
iTherapy exists to make your practice simple and help it thrive – pandemic or not. So, we asked a few experts what the most important thing to focus on to keep your practice thriving during these crazy times. Here’s three expert tips to market your private practice online.
Make your website relevant
You may think websites are outdated. Does anybody check them anymore? Does anyone really read everything on a website? But as a professional, they carry more weight than you may think. The first of our three expert tips to market your private practice online is to keep your website updated. According to Allison Puryear keeping your website updated with relevant and applicable information may give you an edge that other therapists don’t have.
“Your website and other marketing strategies don’t need to be treated like a museum. Keep it updated with relevant information. It’s so helpful to speak to the specific struggles your ideal clients are having as they consider staying home for even longer.
Are you specialized in social anxiety? Talk about the unexpected desire to connect with people and the dread of when things fully open back up.
Do you work with eating disorders? Write about the very complicated relationship to food when the fridge is RIGHT THERE ALL DAY.
Don’t just talk about the ennui or boredom or overwhelm or anxiety in general ways. Think about what your clients are experiencing. The more specific, the more likely potential clients will be to be like, ‘This therapist is already in my head and I haven’t even seen them yet.’” – Allison Puryear
Sharing relevant and applicable information on your website will also improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – another great benefit when marketing your private practice. Meaning, if someone googles a topic you have written about there’s a possibility your website will show up as an answer to their search. Think about what your ideal clients are experiencing right now and share practical tips to help them get through this season with strength.
Update your Psychology Today Profile
“Love it or hate, Psychology Today is a platform that is widely used by prospective clients, especially now that many of them are stuck at home and searching for a therapist online. Here are some tips to make your PT profile stand out during the pandemic:
- PT currently has a new feature called a “COVID Statement,” which is a box at the top of your profile that informs prospective clients about how you’re handling sessions during this time of social distancing. Be sure to keep that section updated with information about how you’re seeing clients and, if you’re seeing clients in person, what measures you’re taking to protect the health of your clients.
- PT also recently unveiled a new 20-second intro video feature so that prospective clients can get a sense of who you are and what you’re like prior to scheduling an appointment. DEFINITELY take advantage of this feature by recording a friendly intro. I’ve included a bonus section in my free PT course that includes sample scripts and a quickstart guide to recording your 20-second intro video. (Note: Laura’s FREE course is fantastic! We HIGHLY recommend it.)
- Take some time to reflect on what your ideal client may be going through during this time, and speak directly to that person in your first paragraph. If your ideal client is a parent with young children, for example, openly address their fears of possible homeschooling in the Fall, trying to work while having children at home, or just the fear of the unknown and how that is impacting their mental health. Update this first paragraph as often as you want to reflect the changes happening in your community as a result of the pandemic.
- Use the third paragraph to explain the value of online sessions. For example, instead of saying “All sessions are currently being conducted online through secure video,” you could say something like, “As a way to help protect the health and safety of my clients, I’m happy to offer online sessions that are secure, convenient, and easy to use.”
- Be clear about your niche and speciality areas. It can be tempting during such an unpredictable time in our businesses to cast a large net and attempt to cater to as many populations as possible. This fear often leads therapists to check many different specialities on their PT profile, and the results can actually have a negative effect on your business. Clients and referral sources may become confused when they see that you claim to treat so many different issues, and they will often go elsewhere seeking a true expert. Instead, remain confident in your top speciality areas and craft a profile that is clear and articulate.” –Laura Long
Laura went above and beyond to provide us with much more insight than we asked for, but it’s all so good, we had to include it all. (Thanks Laura!) A good PT profile will get you clients. If your PT profile isn’t working for you, follow these tips!
Market your private practice by connecting with your clients
Staying in touch with your existing AND former clients is one of the most powerful things you can do right now. Everyone is struggling. We’re all impacted by the stay-at-home and wear-mask orders of this pandemic.
Even if you haven’t realized it yet, you are a database of information that your clients need. You just need to turn your knowledge into checklists, top ten tips, or action steps and then get them in the hands of your past and present clients. Marketing your private practice should always start by being helpful.
“Now is a great time to build a mailing list of new and existing clients. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it will allow you to send emails to an entire list all at once.
For existing and former clients, you can send them an email directly, asking whether you can add them to your mailing list. (This kind of communication can be especially effective with former in-person clients who had been hesitant to switch to online when the stay at home orders started.) We also recommend adding a sign-up button on your website for new/potential clients. This is important because, with that, you will be able to say it is not exclusively a list of current and former clients, which is an important distinction for HIPAA compliance.
Email is a great form of communication. Most people check their emails every day. Don’t overdo emails by sending them too frequently and irritating your clients – once a week should be enough.” – Nicholas Fuller
BONUS – Build multiple streams of income
If you’ve done all these things and still find yourself with time on your hands, it may be a good time to think of a new way to use your skills to earn money. You may have lost clients simply because they couldn’t afford your services. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people in the world who need your service and can afford to pay for what you do. This might be your moment to build a name for yourself by intentionally serving the clients you currently have and sharing your expertise with the world through podcasts or online courses. Here’s what Joe Sanok, Founder of Podcast Launch School, has to say:
“My biggest advice for thriving during a pandemic is to continue to meet your basic client needs but to look for opportunities to build multiple streams of income through podcasts, eCourses, and other expert talks. The world needs your voice more than ever, don’t limit it to an individual session.” – Joe Sanok
In other words, don’t think of this time as a season where you have fewer clients or less work. Think of this season as an opportunity to serve people in different ways with the knowledge you already have. Who knows, you might end up tapping into a whole new audience?!
Confront the moment and speak to your ideal clients
Whatever it is, staying in touch with the people you already have or had a working relationship with while they are going through these challenging times will be performing an act of service AND keeping you in the front of their minds if they decide to get more help.
Did you catch the theme? All of our three expert tips to market your private practice online are about using the knowledge you already have to serve people. Serving people is powerful because it builds a relationship. As you build a relationship you are slowly building trust. Trust is crucial in a client-therapist relationship.
If you want to talk with a real live human about what it looks like to run a practice online during COVID-19, schedule an iTherapy demo and we’ll show you all iTherapy has to offer. This may be new to you, but it’s not new to us! We’ve been doing this for years and we can help you do it too.
What knowledge do you have that is relevant to what your ideal clients are experiencing right now and that you can turn into a resource? Share in the comments your helpful suggestions that your clients are finding helpful!