Private Practice: 3 Must-Do’s for Marketing Yourself Online
Getting a private practice off the ground can be overwhelming. There are tons of pieces to figure out, from finding office space to generating referrals. Building a website and marketing yourself online can be difficult. Perhaps you’re not sure where to start, you don’t have time, or you just can’t seem to find what works.
Here at Mindful Marketing, we focus on working with individuals that are helping others. This may include addiction treatment centers, life coaching, yoga studios, and of course therapists and private practice. We answer a lot of questions from therapists and counselors about marketing themselves online, and thought we’d offer a few foundational tips to get yourself going.
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Build an Email List
This is something many people hesitate to do. Email marketing can be confusing. We don’t know where to start, we fear spamming people, and we don’t know if it will be useful. Simply put, email marketing is the most beneficial thing you can do for yourself. Email marketing is relatively easy to set up, can be done without any additional costs, and is incredibly effective at driving traffic and conversions.
As a therapist, you may think that an email list may not be right for you. After all, it’s not like you’re going to send newsletters to your clients most likely! However, there are other people visiting your site that may be interested in what you’re offering. As you probably know, referrals and branding are important in private practice. As more professionals in the industry read your blog, share your content, and get to know your name, you’ll build the authority of yourself and your practice.
Set up an email marketing form on your posts and pages, and let them know when you’re adding new content. Whether you’re writing on your blog, hosting an event, or speaking somewhere, email is the best way to let people know. It may be missed on social media, but an email will go right to someone’s inbox. You can set up email marketing with relative ease, so make it happen!
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Focus on Local
There are an increasing amount of telehealth therapists out there, but for the most part you’re probably meeting people in person in a specific area. As such, you want to focus your marketing efforts on local opportunities. This includes local search engine optimization, social media marketing, and referrals.
When people search for services you offer in your area, you want to show up in search results. Specifically, you want to show up in the local pack, the three little map listings at the top. These listings are powerful, as they have links right to your website, reviews, and your phone number. Getting your site to pop up in these listings may be difficult, but there are a few things you can do.
First, optimize your website for these listings. Pick a page of your website, and run it through SEO Book’s Free Keyword Density Checker. This tool will tell you what words are used most commonly on your site. You want your most common keywords and terms to be things related to your services. If you don’t see your terms, such as “therapist,” “marriage counseling,” or whatever is relevant in there, you should add these terms a bit to your website! If you’re not sure what keywords to use, enter your email below to see some search volume and get suggestions.
As you optimize your page to make it clear you are a therapist, you also want to make it clear where you are located. Include your name, address, and phone number in the footer of your page. Do NOT overload your page with different locations. Here is a bad example that will hurt your SEO, and here is a good example (see bottom of both pages). Make sure Google knows where you’re located, but don’t overdo it. We recommend listing your full address, telephone number, and the name of your business or practice.
Next, you want to use social media signals to make sure it’s clear where you are. Go into whatever accounts you have, and make sure your location is set to the right city. On sites like Facebook, you can add in your actual address. Add it in exactly as it appears on your site. These signals carry some weight and will help search engines know where you are located!
Referrals and Links
Finally, add your site to any directories that are reputable and relevant. This may include sites like Psychology Today, Psych Central, and Better Help. You can also dive into some more free ones like Health-Local, AllTherapists, and EHealthScores. Again, make sure you list your information EXACTLY the same.
In addition to psychology-specific resources, try to find some location-specific directories. If you’re a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, make sure your information is correct. You can also find local directories like Network of Care or search Google for services in your city.
We recommend keeping a list of every single place you’ve submitted your site to. In the case that your phone number or address changes, you want to know everywhere you need to change your information. Rather than guessing or leaving it up to our sometimes-faulty memories, we can have a list of where we need to change information.
Stand Out from the Crowd
This is one of the most important pieces. When somebody is looking for a therapist online, they’re likely to look at multiple different websites. How are you going to stand out from the crowd of other websites? It’s never too late to update your site to make an impression. If you don’t yet have a website, think carefully before choosing how you build your website.
For many reasons, you should steer clear of template sites like Template Monster and Therapy Sites. Template sites like these host thousands of sites on each server, which will cause your site to be slow. Furthermore, your site is likely to look identical to hundreds of other sites out there. For example, look at these three sites. They’re all made by TherapySites, and are pretty darn similar:
Now, take a look at sites like One Mind Therapy or Mindful Counseling Grand Rapids. See the difference? These sites are far more likely to generate phone calls and clients than the template sites. When you break down the costs, it ends up being quite affordable to build your own website where you have full control.
Standing out also involves creating unique content. If you don’t have a blog, start one! Write content relevant to your services and offerings. You can find your own voice, striking a balance between professionalism and passion. You may also create infographics, resource guides, worksheets, and more unique forms of content.
A great way to go is podcasting. Podcasts can be done relatively cheaply (even freely) and is a great way to build authority. By putting a podcast on your website, you provide wonderful content to your listeners. You can also list it on iTunes and Google Play for free. People will find your podcast and get to know you and your business.
If you want help creating infographics or podcasts, you can visit Mindful Marketing’s Additional Services page.