This content is provided by Brighter Vision, an affinity partner of AAMFT. This information is not necessarily the views of AAMFT and should not be interpreted as official AAMFT policy.
For many therapists, the task of marketing your practice can be confusing and downright daunting. So much so, in fact, that it is often overlooked and even disregarded completely by too many private practice owners. We’re hoping to change that.
In this article, we’ll provide you with 8 unique tips you can use to market your private practice. And want to know the best part? You can start implementing them today, even if you’re on a tight budget!
Tip #1 – Start a MeetUp Group to Grow Your Private Practice
Do you have a lot of experience with Art Therapy? Are you an expert in using meditation to relieve anxiety? Do you know all about the mental health benefits of stand-up paddle boarding? Form a community support group, using a service such as MeetUp and get involved in the community!
Hosting a community support group allows you to not only give back to your community; it also gives you the opportunity to showcase what your practice is all about. Host a class, a seminar, a wine tasting, a yoga class -- whatever will help you get your message out there. Clients may come to you directly from the group, and they’ll definitely remember you the next time someone asks them if they know of a good therapist.
Hosting a group is also a great way to show that you don’t have to have a specific problem to benefit from therapy. Use this time to illustrate how you can help enhance people’s daily lives, all while participating in a fun or supportive activity.
Tip #2 – Discuss Your Cases (Yes, It's Okay!)
A fantastic way to get new clients (and to grow as a therapist) is to join a therapist consultation group. Continuous peer education is important – not to mention mandatory – for licensure anyway, and these groups provide a wonderful way for therapists to discuss difficult cases, share experiences, and offer guidance to one another.
Because therapists often pass referrals to each other, groups like this can also be a great way to get clients. Sharing your ideas is a great way to show other therapists how you work and how you think, and they might just have the perfect client for you.
For example, if another therapist is working a difficult case with two parents and they thinks you might be a good fit to help their child, that’s a great opportunity for them to pass the referral along to you.
To find existing in-person consultation groups, check out your local and state psychological associations.
Join Facebook Groups
Another excellent option is to join a Facebook Group of Therapists! Practitioners often look to these groups as a referral resource when they’re in need of another therapist who specializes in a niche outside of their own. You can find national or local groups on Facebook – both of which could provide great networking opportunities.
To find a Facebook Therapist Group, login to Facebook and use the search bar at the top to look for groups that are near you or related to your specialty.
Many of these groups are closed (private) so once you hit “Join” to request access, you may be contacted by a member to verify your credentials before you are welcomed in. There are specialty groups for everyone from “Art Therapists” to “Female Therapists” so no matter what type of group you’re looking for, you can be sure to find a group that is helpful for you and your practice!
Tip #3 – Network Whenever You Can – Like With Hairdressers!
When thinking about networking, don’t just think physicians and mental health professionals. The best referrals can come from the most unexpected places, like hairdressers!
Think about it. Hairdressers are a great resource for anyone. They hear all the stories, all the problems, and all the complaints about people's lives. The same can be said about aestheticians, massage therapists, nail salon employees – the list goes on and on.
Basically, anyone who hears stories from their clients while they’re working is a potential goldmine of referrals for you. Go out and talk to those folks. Tell them what you do and sell yourself as the expert in your area. You could even leave business cards if you have a close relationship with the owners.
We know networking can feel awkward and even sometimes forced, but it’s much easier if it’s approached from a “what can I offer you in return?” standpoint. Think about what referrals you can provide them in exchange, too! Maybe it’s collaborating on a workshop, like a mindfulness workshop at your local yoga studio (this connects back with joining a MeetUp group).
Tip #4 – Going Part-Time to Grow Your Practice
We know what you're thinking right now – “how on EARTH will working on my private practice LESS actually help me market and grow my business?”
Hear us out here for a second though. Working part-time can be a marketing strategy.
Specifically, perhaps you could pursue a part-time job in a public mental health center. Because there is a TON of potential long-term networking and relationship building opportunities, which then become referral sources when you're in private practice.
You would be working directly with people that are giving referrals and, by demonstrating your skills and initiative in front of those people, you’d be giving yourself the leg up when it comes to getting new clients for your own private practice.
THEN, once you’ve...
- built up this referral network,
- built your web presence, and
- have a solid foundation for a part-time private practice, including a steady stream of regular clients)
...THEN you go back to your private practice full-time.
Once you make that full-time switch, the referral network you built in the public mental health center will still be there. All those referral sources will know and trust you. And they may continue referring to you, even though you no longer work there.
Tip #5 – Don’t Be Hesitant to Find Your Niche
Having a niche may just be one of the most important things you do to grow your private practice.
Which clients do you enjoy working with the most? What are you passionate about? What do you have the most experience in? If you specialize in everything, then it’s much harder for potential clients to remember who you are and what you do. Zeroing in on a niche helps you focus your promotions, target new clients, and tailor your practice to suit that ideal group of people.
Tip #6 – Write, Write, Write!
Getting new clients is all about getting your name out there so when people think about finding a therapist, they think of you. Writing can be an important way to share your practice, point of view, and advice with many people all at the same time.
Where to start? The most obvious answer is to start your own blog on your very own website, but often initially it’s difficult to build an audience this way, which is why I suggest guest blogging!
This can be a fantastic way to get your name in front of a large amount of people – not to mention a fantastic way to boost the SEO for your own site! Is there a popular blog you enjoy in your niche? Reach out to the author – let them know your credentials and pitch them an idea for a guest post.
You could also volunteer to write for a local newspaper or magazine, or join a service such as CounselChat, which lets you answer curated questions from real potential clients in your area. Not only will answering these questions allow many people in your local area see your approach to counseling, you can also post your answers directly to your website, allowing visitors to see just how you can help them with their similar problems.
Tip #7 – Speak, Speak, Speak!
Just like writing, speaking can be another very meaningful way to get your name out there.
Are you passionate about putting a stop to bullying? Are you an advocate for the importance of playing outside for children? What about using faith in your therapy practice? Schools, community centers, and churches are excellent venues for public speaking events that can lead to great referrals.
Ask your local schools, churches, or other community centers about their needs, and volunteer to share your expertise with the community.
It’s a great way to get your name and specialty out there – not to mention an effective way to network with educators, spiritual leaders, and other community leaders that might send you new clients.
Public speaking can be intimidating but can generate tons of referrals. Rather than thinking about making a speech, think of something interactive you can do with the group. Are you an expert in mediating divorce? Offer to teach a couples seminar at your church, where you can interact directly with potential clients and give them insight into how therapy sessions may look.
Tip #8 – Research Custom Website Offerings
This tip to market your private practice isn’t unconventional, but it is the best thing you can do for your practice:
Research custom website offerings by utilizing a free trial with services such as Bright Vision.
You can do that anytime by clicking here to schedule a call with us. Our clients typically see a dramatic increase in the number of leads through their website after signing up with us.
Why? Because we handle your website’s SEO (search engine optimization). And we also build you a website that perfectly represents you and your practice. We know cookie-cutter just doesn't cut it, so that's why you won't get a generic website with us. Just check out some of the awesome private practice websites we've designed to see it for yourself!
But enough about us – let’s chat about you. Schedule a call today to let us know how we can help your practice grow.
About Brighter Vision
Brighter Vision makes marketing simple for therapists. They are the world’s leading provider of websites for therapists, while also providing a whole suite of marketing solutions designed to help therapists attract more clients and thrive on the Web.
As an affinity partner of AAMFT, all members receive 2 months free of a new website with Brighter Vision. To learn more or take advantage of this offer, please click here.