Wow, have you been following along and working through each week of the streamlining your private practice challenge? Are you making some deep change and tidying up that practice? We sure hope so! This week we are moving on to marketing!
A lot of people find us and join our Business School Bootcamp for Therapists because they want help marketing their private practice. They are often surprised that marketing is about much more than just posting on Facebook and that good marketing includes a solid business foundation! So, all of the work you’ve been doing so far has been preparing you for your marketing assessment!
Before We Start
Assessing your marketing efforts and effectiveness can go REALLY deep. We find that the best marketing assessments start with the low hanging fruit and then as you get clear and comfortable, you learn more and go a bit deeper each time. This list will go in terms of priority. So feel free to work from the top down, and it is ok if you don’t get to the bottom of this list in terms of assessment!
Do You Know Who You Are?
Many therapists mistakenly think that marketing is about “selling yourself.” That is, about finding anyone who will give you money. When, in truth, good marketing is about introducing yourself, clarifying what you do and how you help so that people who need you can easily find you and determine if you are a good match.
The first time I went into therapy, I literally had to schedule multiple sessions with virtual strangers I found on the phonebook. I paid hundreds of dollars to find out who was NOT a good fit. Marketing is actually incredibly client-centered! A client who finds your website should be able to get an accurate sense of who you are and what you do so they have data to determine if you’d be a good fit.
But, how can you do that if you don’t know who you are? If you aren’t sure what makes you unique? I have asked hundreds of therapists the simple question “what is it about you that makes you unique?” Most therapists could not answer that question. A great, ethical marketing message gives accurate information. Do you know who you are? Are you conveying that in your marketing materials?
Do You Know Who Your Client Is?
The next step is getting clear about who your client is. Yes, we are all trained to work with a variety of issues. We have skillsets that can be incredibly broad. That does NOT mean we can be excellent with everybody. And, if you are going to market something- shouldn’t it be what you are excellent at? No, that doesn’t mean you have to be perfect! It just means you want to do your best to attract the clients that you can have the best outcome with. There really is somebody for everybody!
Assessing Your Marketing Language
Does your marketing really speak to the pain or struggle that the client is experiencing and speak in terms that your client would actually use? I know we all learned jargon and terminology in school that gives us our own shorthand to communicate complex ideas- but your clients may not have the same background as you! And often, when I’ve asked a therapist: Is this what you would say in the office with a client?, they admit that they use more vernacular language.
When we dig deeper, it is often a fear of what other professionals will think about their marketing that keeps them using terms that don’t have meaning for their client! Your marketing is ultimately NOT for other professionals (unless they are the client you want to reach). Adjust your language to fit your client, just like you do in session! And, just like in session- be clear about next steps. Make it easy for the client to move forward by offering a free 15 minute phone consultation and putting the phone number right there easy to click and call and start the process!
You might find out that when you let go of all the stuff you are doing to impress your colleagues, your marketing might be a lot more concise and tidy!
Can Your Client Find You?
Now that you’ve assessed your marketing message and hopefully put together something accurate that really speaks to your client, their pain, and makes it clear what the next steps are- do a Google search. Not for your name! Search as if you had no idea what you were looking for. Usually this is “counseling city, st”
i.e. Counseling modesto, ca
See what your client sees, click the links, notice on what page your individual website shows up. Notice how many other professionals they have to sort through on the directories that pop up. Notice what emotions come up as you read through the profiles and look at the pictures.
Now do a search for your specialty using the words that your clients might use. Depression modesto, ca or anxiety counseling modesto, ca and go through the same process. Remember, while your specialty might be working with people on empowerment and boundary setting- your client likely doesn’t even know that is what they need. They are going to say they feel anxious and overwhelmed… or depressed… but they don’t know why yet- that is why they need to find you.
Niche and Specialization
This is often the time when all those articles you read about the importance of niche and specialization come flooding back to you. As you read profile after profile that all say the same thing and your eyes start to cross. Now is a time to assess if having at least one speciality page on your website (if you don’t have one already) might help assist your clients in more easily finding the help that they need. This is a big topic in itself, feel free to watch this free training here on niche and specialization in private practice [insert link to the training].
Can you see how much there is to assessing your marketing? Here are other areas to explore (because I feel in this moment I could write an entire book on this subject!):
How many people are viewing your website each week/month?
How many calls are you getting each week/month?
Where are people currently calling finding out about you?
How many of those calls align with the best work that you do?
How many of those calls do you schedule at your full fee or an insurance plan that is sustaining for you?
What percentage of new clients completes treatment (doesn’t drop out early after a session or two?)
How are you engaging with referral sources?
How are you engaging with other members of your current idea client’s treatment team (primary care doctor, psychiatrist, specialists)?
How are you engaging with other service providers in your area that your ideal clients come in contact with?
What search terms are you working towards getting your website to the first page of Google for?
What activities are you doing on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to improve the findaibility of your website?
What activities are you doing on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to get more direct referrals from other people?
Notice we didn’t even get to e-mail opt-ins, newsletters, facebook ads, speaking etc. Until you have your marketing message clear, and a clear plan for the basics of your marketing don’t pay for advertising or worry about the more advanced aspects of marketing. Get your core foundation down first! Comment below with the first thing you are going to work on streamlining in your marketing! Until next time!