I was speaking with a friend and colleague yesterday about his new private practice. He has decided to take insurance. His reason is that he doesn't have time to market his private practice. Nothing wrong with taking insurance, really. But if you are doing something you just simply don't want to do and don't have the time to nurture, I don't see how it is going to help your practice thrive. Then later in the day I spoke with another colleague who wasn't sure where to start marketing her new private practice. It hit me...Fear, Change, Something New can sometimes limit our creative abilities in getting our practices overflowing and instead we can end up settling on just a few (two legs) ways to get referrals. Let me explain.
Is having a website enough? No! It is the beginning, an entry point, into technology. It is a great resource for clients and potential clients. But, a website alone will be just that, an island in the sea of information. You have to connect it to a bigger plan for marketing.
Is having a social media account enough? Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and all the myriad of social media (Google + is on its way) are great for linking to other professionals, disseminating information and getting up to date information for yourself. But just like having only a website, just having these accounts alone with nothing to connect them doesn't make sense.
Is my advertising enough? Psychology Today, Theravive, Therapy Tribe, newspapers, magazines, church bulletins - you name it - there are plenty of ways to advertise your business. All of them are great. But I can't rely solely on one to bring in all of my clients.
Are you getting the picture? Having a business takes planning and marketing. There are so many diverse fun ways to get your name out there and to get referrals. Where do the clients come from? For me, yes, it is mostly online, but my online presence is diverse and that presence is not created solely because I have a website. It is because others know about my website, have seen my other adviertising, follow my social media, read my blogs, etc. I have done coffee dates with others, knocked on doors, given presentations, and done a whole host of other things to get myself known.
And am I done? No. But I do find we spend less time in this area when we have a full practice and when we need clients we turn back to marketing. You need more than two legs to stand on in this field. You have to have a whole host of ways to connect with others so that when one stream of referrals dries up you aren't freaking out because you have multiple steams of referrals. Technology is just another great supplement to the plan.
You can check out our coaching if you are looking at integrating technology into your practice or you can check out our website help if you want to add a website to part of your bigger plan. Best wishes to you as you find more awesome ways to share what you do! -Kelly Higdon, MFT