Starting a Counseling Practice Part 7: Creating a GOOD Referral Base

Starting a Counseling Practice Part 7: Creating a GOOD Referral Base

We are back from vacation and bootcamp! Did you miss us? Nope! Because you've been here working. Right?! In honor of this series, join us this week for our upcoming training - Starting a Counseling Practice from Scratch.

If you build it, they will come. I talk to therapists daily who truly believed that if they had an office space, and a website, that clients would find them. The truth is, it isn’t just about building it, people have to be able to FIND you!

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Interview with Clair

Interview with Clair

Clair is a hybrid buzz strategist for talented solopreneurs that want to boost their online presence. Through her live streams, posts and coaching, Clair spices up your approach on becoming visible online and how you operate your personal brand-- while making sure you're attracting your dream opportunities, charge higher prices while spending less time on your business.

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LIVE Mini Bootcamp: Week 4

Welcome to Lesson #4: Marketing 101 where we are going to explore the foundations of your marketing plan. Here's what you need to do today:

1) Watch the video

2) Assess your current marketing by asking these questions: 

  1. How many calls are you getting per month?

  2. How are they finding you?

  3. How many of them schedule?

  4. What are your favorite clients typing into Google before or when they finally find you?

  5. What words do they use to describe the issue they are trying to resolve during the first contact?

  6. How many weeks on average do clients stay with you?

  7. How many paying clients are you getting from each referral source?

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5 Causes of Freak Out in Private Practice

5 Causes of Freak Out in Private Practice

How do you feel when the phone stops ringing? or when referrals start to slow?

Maybe you are comfortable riding the wave and don’t feel anxiety or worry. If that is you! I am so happy you aren't struggling and hope you can share below your wisdom on how you have learned to cope with change. This is so very important as a business owner.

Others of you might actually have a little freak out or your brain might activate the chicken little inside - landing you on google looking for employment. 

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Marketing Tip #8: How to track what is working

Marketing Tip #8: How to track what is working

The truth is, there are a million things you could do each day to market your private practice and make sure the clients you need you can find you. But, you don't have the time, energy, or desire to sit and spend your time marketing- you want to get to the good part- helping clients! 

Here is one quick, easy tip to determine where to spend your time and energy- track your results. One big way we connect with therapists is through our writing. I LOVE to write and it makes my heart happy knowing that I get to write as part of my job! 

Tracking what people are reading

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The Initial Consultation: 6 Lessons Learned from Shoe Shopping

The Initial Consultation: 6 Lessons Learned from Shoe Shopping

Straight from the podiatrist with a nice limp in my step, nursing such severe plantar fasciitis that I couldn’t manage it on my own any longer, I walked into a shoe store. Not just any foot store, but a fancy running shoe store that felt all together intimidating. 

Here’s what you need to know about me. I wear a size 11 shoe and have since I was in 5th grade, so finding shoes is not really all that fun for me. I prefer to spend my money on travel and fun stuff with my family. So for me to go into an expert shoe store means I was in pain and needed help.

Here's the rest of the story and why it matters to YOU....

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Building a Counseling Practice: Real Life Stories with Mercedes Samudio, LCSW

Mercedes Samudio is on of those clinicians that has a clear niche and is clear about how she helps. She has a coaching practice as well as a psychotherapy practice and she does a great job of explaining the difference. She also shares a fascinating story about using twitter for her practice.  Check out Mercedes at The Parenting Skill.

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1 Thing You Are Missing From Your Private Practice Marketing

You've got your website, your facebook page, your twitter, your LinkedIn profile, your blog and maybe some other social media accounts all lined up. After writing, tweeting, posting and blogging, it doesn't seem to be doing anything. At least you don't think it is. You aren't sure what works and what doesn't actually. 

It stinks when you put forth so much effort only to be left with the feeling that all that stuff marketing coaches talk about is only a sham. 

If this is you, I want to help.

I know building a business takes time. And I know you will make mistakes - I still do - but that is how we learn. If I am learning from a mistake, I want to learn the lesson quickly - so I don't keep making the same mistake over and over. At ZynnyMe, that means paying attention to our analytics.  Let me show you why analytics is something you don't want to miss out on for your marketing.

Whenever you use a tool or platform in your business, it typically gives you some data that you can use to inform you about what you are doing and its effectiveness.

We use google analytics on our website. Easy to add and easy to understand the basics. There are others out there like Get Clicky and Crazy Egg. With the website analytics I can see things like the bounce rate. The higher the bounce rate, the more likely my website is dropping in ranking with google. We talk more about this in our website 101 course but it's a statistic that reveals relevancy of my website. 

Also, on our website we are looking for the behavior of people that come to the site. What pages do they visit most? How long do they stay on each page? What content is most popular and where do people engage? You can do so much with that information. If no one is searching for one of your niches, they don't even go to it on your website -it might be time to decide if there is a market for your niche. We used to teach that every website should have xyz pages and that great for a basic start but after looking at your analytics, you see what is most valuable to your visitors. Do what is valuable. Don't add stuff that isn't necessary. As you cut back to what is essential, the value of your site for your marketing increases. 

Facebook has analytics called insights. Your insights give you demographic information regarding your followers, shows you what posts are most popular and engaging for your visitors and the best times for you to focus your engagement based upon when your followers are on facebook. This information can inform you on the changes you can make to improve your content. For example - the more vulnerable my post, the more relevant to my personal life - it does better. Bold images are also engaging for us. What doesn't always work is sharing someone else's content.

Here's the really cool part. Then we take a look at our website information and we can tell who comes from facebook to our site. We can see if what we are doing on facebook is working. And yep - there is a direct correlation between activity on our facebook page to the activity on our website. 

Blogging, while part of your website (I hope it is!) requires some analysis. Blog posts can go viral and be shared across many types of platforms. If you share your blog or any other content for that matter, use bit.ly to track the link so you can see where it was shared and where it was most popular. When I look at our blogs I am looking at how much it was shared, where it was shared, comments made and number of visits to that particular blog - not the blog page but the specific blog article. 

Every platform has it's analytics. I could go on and on. My hope is for you to understand the "why" of using analytics and it's impact on your marketing trajectory.

Here are my final tips for you:

  • Look at what gets shared, commented on and the highest visits. This will show you what content is engaging and relevant and then you create more of it!

  • Give yourself some time to create content to analyze. Nothing worse than writing a couple blogs and calling it quits. It takes time and strategy and then you can analyze the data. (Strategy is a whole other training!)

  • Keep testing. It is only information. This is not a place to say "I failed." You have to keep trying different things, being creative until you find the sweet spot for your niche and your audience.

  • What works on instagram isn't necessarily going to be as hot on twitter. Sometimes that will happen but more often than not remember each platform reaches a unique audience in its own unique way. This is why I recommend reading Gary Vaynerchuck's book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook. You might just realize you don't need all those social media accounts after all.

  • Install analytics on your website and schedule time monthly to look at them. Check out the analytics on your social media accounts. If it doesn't make sense, check out hub spot or you tube for some free training and support. Make the analysis part of your marketing routine.

  • Once you have your marketing analytics you can match them up to your goals - the number of phone calls and the number of new clients registered or programs sold and start to make correlations between your effort and outcomes.

Phew!  Next time I will share about the analysis of your relationship marketing. How do you know if that network group is worth it for you? In the mean time, what have your analytics taught you about your marketing? Share below!

Now, you might be wondering why I recorded this. Well, you may not know but I used to dabble in voice over and I really love the mic. AND I wondered if some of you learn better when you hear information than when you read it. So why  not test it. Right? So I will test it a few times and see if it is something we need to start doing more to engage and help our readers. Fun!

4 Tips to Make Technology Easier for Your Private Practice

Yesterday, Miranda and I were in this gorgeous park, filming some kick ass videos for a new free training (Oooo I am so excited about it!). We were on a roll, laughing and chatting and really conveying some clear messages for our peeps. We were in the flow.

This morning, I rolled out of bed to find Miranda on my couch, looking at the camera. "I've got some good news and I've got some bad news." Uh oh... "The video was awesome, beautiful, and looks great!" "But there is no sound." 

Over an hour of content - rockin' content - gone. 

I had a choice. I could throw my camera out the window and stomp my feet thinking about how technology sucks. OR I could figure out the issue, get help if needed, and try again (and still punch a pillow). For the record, we are not immune to technology woes. In fact, I think Miranda has a few less hairs after trying to figure out our website issues this morning. Send her some love, willya? :) 

If you run any kind of business, you are going to need some sort of technology. For private practice owners that can include a smart phone, a computer, an electronic health record, online messaging and video programs, bookkeeping software, a website, social media tools...well you get the idea.

So how do we make technology easier in our business. Here are 4 tips just for you!

1. Do what is necessary, not what is popular. Everyone has apps they love and computers they recommend. Before you start downloading every app your friends recommend or signing up for all the latest social media platforms - how does this help you achieve your business plan? Does it serve your client? Does it make your life easier in the long run? If your ideal client is a 20 something that is artistic and creative - instagram might be cool for your business marketing, not facebook. There is nothing wrong with stopping and researching before you bury yourself under a ton of technology that just isn't what you need. Go back to your business plan, then research tools that will help you achieve your goals. 

2. Use the help desk, YouTube and Google. People may think I am some whiz kid with tech, but I am self taught. I watch videos, read help manuals, speak to customer services reps and practice until I really "get it". If I pay for a service and they have support, you bet I am going to use it. That is why I pay!! I want another expert to teach me and guide me. Did you know YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google? It has so much information AND it is visual which is awesome for those of us that need to see it to learn it. Think about this. When you started grad school, did you know how to do therapy. Sure, you had your preconceived ideas, but you could never anticipate how scary or difficult it could be at times. So what did you do, you studied and learned from others. When you graduate you aren't done learning. New research comes on the scene and we adjust our interventions. Learning technology is the same kind of thing. New tools come out all the time. You will never be done learning. Simply use the resources around you to make the adjustment easier.

3. Stop the negativity. The script in your head of "I'm not tech savvy," is informing your perspective on any technology you touch. You are capable of learning. The worst thing I see coming out of the negative beliefs are bad choices and trusting people that take advantage of naive business owners. I spoke with a therapist the other day that just trusted a person who said they could make all their internet marketing dreams come true. Instead of researching their reputation, asking questions until they fully understood what that person was going to be doing for them, and getting clear on the expectations, they got completely taken advantage of. You have done many things in your life that no one taught you how to do them. Sure, you have made some mistakes, that is how we learn. But you don't have a limited capacity for growth and understanding. By tech savvy we mean that you know when to ask for help and you don't let shame and fear stop you from finding a solution.

4. Be patient and persistent. If you are pissed off and frustrated, take a break. Come back and ask for support. Know that you won't figure it all out at once. People that go through our bootcamp and other programs amaze me. They struggle and at the end, they use new technologies that they would have previously believed they could never had understood. Have some compassion for the learning curve. Know that adding technology to your business is an investment in your business and should elevate the services you are providing to clients. 

Those are my tips. Notice how the title isn't "how to make technology easy." This is about coping better for the sake of your success. 

Oh and the reason we didn't have sound in our videos - the battery in the microphone died.

A battery.

Gah!

Let's Get Creative

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"You need a website! You need a brochure! Don't forget business cards! Get on Psychology Today!"

You have a great message and know how to help people, but how do they find you? I am sure some of the above ideas, you have heard before. Heck! I probably told you one or two of those. But let's get real for a minute...Marketing doesn't work without a plan or a purpose. So how do you figure out what you need?

Uh oh...back to that planning thing again Kelly? Yep! I know. Am I repeating myself...maybe, but this important stuff. So this is how I approach marketing planning with any of my clients.

  • What tools and services do you offer? How do you help people heal? What do you know and love?

    • Answering these questions demonstrates your value. You gotta know what you are about and what you have to give to the world. It takes bravery but if you care about the people that need you, you will dig deep and find your value.

    • Who benefits from your tools and services? Who are you meant to help?

      • Getting clear on that ideal client is so important. That process never ends and constantly gets renewed in the course of your business. You just get more and more clear as you work on this. But once you identify who you want to work wtih...then you can determine where to find them.

      • Where are these people at? Are they online? Are they in the community?

        • Ok, I will be honest. I am a big fan of online marketing. Why? Well, it works AND it reaches people that I can't reach by pounding the pavement. It extends my support across the world and that is beautiful. But the online world has its challenges. You gotta put your message where the people you want to work with will find it. For everyone that is different. Some people - google ads has really worked and for others it is LinkedIn, and let us not forget about facebook :) This sometimes takes some coaching plus trial and error to find the sweet spots in your marketing placement.

Once you got an idea of the answers to those questions, then you can get creative with what you do to get more people in the door or purchasing your eBook or online course. And this is the fun part for me as a coach. Sure, the idea is to find more clients...but the ways in which to do that are so vast. Newsletters, webinars, social media plans, websites, face to face networking, speaking engagements...oh the list goes on and on. And none of those things alone is a good idea. You have to have purpose remember? So if you do a speaking engagement, get emails, follow up, offer the next step in working with you. If you do a newsletter, give them options to engage in your services. 

There is no magic wand. There is no absolute one perfect way to market your practice. But there is hard work and dedication. There is a unique path for you. If you feel stagnate...your marketing is gonna be stagnate. This is why coaching is so helpful for people. It reignites their passion and gives them laser focus and purpose in their marketing strategies. If you want help, be sure to get on the list for free practice building trainings and articles delivered weekly! 

I don't do coffee anymore.

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Ok, I do have coffee on occasion - with a girlfriend or a coaching client or by myself when I got no sleep the night before with a teething toddler. But really, I have re-evaluated my coffee time.  When I first started out in private practice, I rocked the face to face networking. Several coffees every week, networking groups, phone calls, and meetings - just anything I could do to get my name out there. And it was valuable. Truly. I met amazing people and did get a referral here or there.

And then my schedule started to shift. I had clients, not a full caseload but I was busy. All of the sudden my time just got more valuable, right? I had people paying to sit with me. So then when I got a request to have coffee, I started to feel a struggle between feeling like "I should" meet with them and knowing that I have other things that are priority. Does that mean I threw my relationships out the window? No! I just go more focused on how I spent my time. (There are other ways to maintain relationships outside of spending time in the coffee shop)

I find many therapists don't treat their schedule with respect. They don't value their time and thus end up busy but not seeing a return on their investment. Busy does not equal productive. Doing things out of what other's think you "should" do will only leave you feeling resentful. So if you want to have a coffee - great! Make it productive. Have a plan. Think of how you want to work with that person. See how it is going to benefit your practice. But if there are other things you can do to grow your practice, why not explore having a more laser focus. Marketing strategies have their value and are needed in any private practice.

So before you reach for your Pumpkin Soy Latte - just remember, every decision you make impacts your business and reflects how you value your time. Learn to treat yourself and your business with the respect that it deserves. 

PS. This blog is inspired in part by the people in our Rockin' Profitable Practice Accelerator Program (All of whom are launching new products in the next 2 weeks!!!) and by my mentor - because of him, I focus on the stuff that truly matters.