Private Practice Marketing: Getting Your Services to Those in Need
Marketing has a negative connotation for many people. It may feel like you’re selling yourself or pushing people to connect with you. As you’re building a therapy practice, though, it may help to reframe how you think about marketing.
Private Practice marketing connects people in need with the right therapist at the right time. You aren’t selling yourself; you’re providing a service that makes it easier for prospective clients to determine if you’re the right therapist.
While referrals from your professional network and insurance companies will provide some clients, you can’t rely on that as a permanent solution. A detailed marketing plan is vital for any private therapy practice. This blog will help you craft a marketing plan that will help you launch or scale your private therapy practice.
Why You Need To Market Your Private Therapy Practice
The need for effective mental health treatment is increasing. More and more people seek help from professionals who can help them address anxiety, depression, mood disorders, chronic stress, and learning to handle life stressors. Marketing is a service you provide your clients (and yourself) because it can:
- Ensure potential clients find the right clinician for their needs.
- Give mental health information to your community in the form of web pages, blogs, social media posts, and more.
- Allow you to focus on your clients rather than worry about finances.
How Do I Create a Marketing Plan?
Effective marketing requires you to identify what populations seek therapy. Then, you can locate your ideal clients and ways you can help fill in gaps in the market. Once you’ve decided who you want to serve and where gaps exist in your area, it’s time to identify what specialties you wish to offer. Specializing will help you focus your private practice marketing. It can also be easier to refine your skills and offer your clients the best, most advanced practices. Here are some questions to guide your research and decision-making.
- Who do you want to target? Are there groups of people who don’t have the therapy they need in your area?
(Think about age group, gender, profession, life stage, etc.)
- What do you want your hourly rate to be?
- Will you offer services in an office, virtually, or both?
- What is the potential market for therapy in your area? Is there a mental health issue that requires focus in your area? (substance use disorders, relationships, etc.)
- What existing services are already in the area you are planning to cover? Is there a type of therapy that is not currently available? (Schema, art, relationship therapy, sex therapy, etc.)
- Is the marketplace crowded? Is there a niche that is currently lacking providers?
- What skills and professional credentials do you have or can you develop?
What Marketing Strategies Should I Use?
Once you’ve identified who you want to serve and how you want to help them, you can start creating your brand. Then, you’re ready to launch a marketing strategy. The most effective marketing strategy is one that suits your brand, establishes you as an authority, and gets your message to the people who need it most. If you’re marketing to seniors, you’ll likely choose different marketing strategies than if you’re marketing to teenagers. You’ll want to select a few marketing methods to reach as many people as possible. In this technology-driven society, you’ll need to consider some online marketing strategies in addition to any traditional methods like print ads you choose.
Online directories are an excellent place to start your marketing efforts. Services like Psychology Today allow you to put up a profile detailing what services you offer, who your ideal clients are, and whether you take insurance.
Paneling with insurance companies adds you to their preferred provider directory and will result in referrals. The paneling process is time-consuming, and you have to complete a separate application for each insurance company, so do some research and find the insurance companies you want to work with.
You can also rely on your professional network for referrals. Let other therapists know you’ve started your practice, give them some business cards, and ask them to refer people to you when their caseloads are full, or they don’t have the necessary specialty.
A website can help establish you as an authority in your field and help potential clients find you. It’s also a great way to make a great impression. When someone finds you on social media, Psychology Today, or anywhere else, they’ll peruse your website before calling to schedule a consultation. Slapping a webpage together quickly is often not enough. Using search engine optimization and complimentary content for people who visit your site or subscribe to your email list.
Search engine optimization uses strategic keywords, headings, and links to increase the likelihood that your site shows up in a google search. For example, if someone types “art therapy for children” in a search engine, your site is more likely to land in their results if you’ve used that same keyword on your page. SEO is tough to master on your own – especially if your business is therapy rather than content creation. Hiring a contractor or agency to manage your SEO and even build your website can save you time and make your marketing efforts more effective.
Marketing is most effective when you place your message where the people you’re trying to reach spend their time. In the digital marketing age, podcasts are a marketing strategy that allows potential clients to get to know you through your voice and hear the passion in your message.
You may choose to start your own podcast or look for opportunities to be a guest on some of your favorite mental health podcasts. If you decide to create your own, take the time to ensure it’s well-planned and professionally done.
Digital marketing has taken advertisements off billboards and magazines and put them in everyone’s hands. Your potential clients spend hours on their phones. You can use those habits for marketing your services to those who need them most. You don’t have to use every social media channel. However, it’s a good idea to pick a screen name and register it with each one to ensure your brand stays consistent.
You can be DrSarah or PTSDwithBob – pick a screen name that speaks to your message and reserve it across all platforms. That way, if you decide to expand your social media marketing strategy in the future, those names are all yours. Find out where your ideal clients spend their time and choose a few social media outlets to start with. Try using a service that posts to all of them simultaneously, so you aren’t uploading content repeatedly.
Social media marketing requires you to have a sense of generosity – you’re creating helpful content that people don’t have to pay to view. That generosity keeps them coming back and results in sales conversions. Remember to stay consistent, on message, and make your content valuable.
Many people hesitate to start therapy because they don’t want to go through the work of finding a therapist, filling out paperwork, and spending an hour with someone unless they know it’s a good fit. When someone watches your social media reels, reads your blog, or listens to you on a podcast, they’ll sense who you are. Offering a free, short consultation call can help you overcome any remaining reservations they have. The consultation call is also an excellent way to determine if the potential client is someone you want to treat.
Get Help Designing Your Private Practice Marketing Plan
Creating a detailed marketing plan can feel overwhelming if you’re new to marketing. You have to find the right people, determine your niche, choose your strategies and create content. That’s a lot of work added to an already full plate. Start small and set goals for implementation.
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, working with a business coach may help. Hiring someone who’s been where you are, who knows the industry, and how to build a successful private practice can give you the guidance and accountability to create the private practice of your dreams.
Soribel Martinez, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience in the mental health field. She opened her private practice, SMPsychotherapy, in 2018. She grew the business to include over thirteen practitioners and covers clients in two states.
Now, Soribel is bringing her knowledge of the mental health field and her business savvy to her coaching and consulting clients. Soribel works with therapists, counselors, and social workers who want to start a private or group practice. She can help you design a private practice marketing strategy that gets your message to the people who need it most.Reach out today to schedule your FREE Business Consultation Call to learn more about Soribel’s business coaching services. She’ll learn more about your current business, your goals for scaling your practice and provide her recommendations for your next steps.