Stepping into the world of private practice is exciting, liberating, and full of potential. It can also be overwhelming. Unlike working for an agency or group practice, where your caseload is assigned to you, owning a business means you have to be the one to bring in new clients.
For most private practice therapists, marketing is a foreign endeavor, shrouded in mystery and bad vibes. When I was a therapist, dreaming of opening a private practice, marketing was the last thing I ever wanted to do. The thought of selling my services made me sick to my stomach.
What I learned, though, was that I had a lot of preconceived notions about marketing - none of which were true. I thought marketing was about forcing my services down people’s throats, and being annoyingly persistent and loud.
In reality, marketing is just about offering your services. Not forcing or controlling. Just offering.
And while referrals are likely how your practice will get up and running, a solid marketing plan can help you create a self-sustaining stream of client leads that grow your practice on autopilot.
But where to start?
A simple Google search can easily cause more overwhelm than clarity, so I want you to remember this: marketing your practice is a journey. It takes an open mind, consistent, steady effort, and time.
You don’t have to be an expert yet, and you don’t have to do everything at once. Today, I’ll be guiding you in taking just the first few steps.
STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR NICHE AND IDEAL CLIENT
You may have heard the terms “niche” and “ideal client” before, and they may seem like triggering buzzwords at this point, but stay with me.
The most basic tenet of marketing is that you have to know who you’re marketing to. If you don’t, I can almost guarantee that your marketing efforts will end in frustration and even more resistance.
Start by determining the group of people you want to work with (your niche), and the one person within that group (your ideal client) who is most perfectly aligned to be benefited by your gifts. If you need help, my free, 3-day email training, How To Become A Client Magnet, will walk you through defining these two foundational pieces. Click here to take the training.
STEP 2: BUILD A SIMPLE WEBSITE
A website is a business owner’s most powerful marketing asset. Having a well-designed website increases your professionalism, credibility, and trustworthiness, but when you’re first starting out, a simple website is the way to go.
All your website needs (at the beginning) is three things:
A clear description of what you do and who you do it for.
A professional picture of you.
A way for people to contact you.
Squarespace has professionally designed Cover Pages that can serve as one-page websites containing the three essentials I listed above. Here’s an example of what my simple, one-page website would look like if I were just starting out:
To create your own in Squarespace, create an account and follow these steps:
Navigate to Pages, then create a new Cover Page
Choose your Cover Page layout, add text, and customize as you wish:
Change the overall design of your Cover Page by choosing “Change Layout.”
Add your logo, business name, and custom text by clicking “Branding & Text.”
Add your own headshot by clicking “Media.”
Link your phone number, email address, or online scheduler to your contact button by clicking “Action.”
Change fonts, button color, and tweak the design by clicking “Style.”
As your practice grows, you can add pages to your website, or have a full site designed for you. For now, having a simple website, with a custom domain, will start to establish your online presence and build your SEO.
STEP 3: CREATE SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Engaging on social media is a great way to drive traffic to your website and client leads to your practice (for free).
Starting your social media profiles at the beginning of your private practice journey allows you to experiment and find your “voice.” Making genuine connections with people via the internet can feel awkward at first, but social media can be a safe container in which to experiment and learn more about what your niche needs.
To decide which social media channels to use, think about your niche and ideal client again. Where do they hang out online? Also, consider which platforms you’re most drawn to. You’ll be more likely to engage on social media if you enjoy using the platform.
As you set up your profiles, make sure you include a descriptive, but succinct bio, including what you do and who you do it for. Also be sure to include your website URL.
To determine what to post, think about your profile as a way to introduce potential clients to you and your practice. What are you passionate about? How do your worldviews impact your therapeutic style? Use your social media presence as a way for potential clients to get to know you, see a bit of what you do behind the scenes, and serve as a resource for clients who might not be ready to work with you yet.
Owning your own business is one of the most rewarding adventures you’ll ever embark on; establishing an online presence from the very beginning is the best way to set yourself up for marketing success going forward.
Remember, just take it one step at a time, and come back here often for more tips and advice on growing your practice with more ease and authenticity.
IF YOU’RE READY TO HIRE A WEB DESIGNER, I CAN HELP.
Together, we can create a website that will connect you with visitors, hold their unique experience, and transform those visitors into clients. We’ll start with brand development, next we’ll strategically plan your website design, and then I’ll take everything we’ve worked on and create a cohesive, beautiful, and functional final product. If you’re ready to start, learn more here.