5 Free Ways to Market Your Therapy Practice
Thanks to technology, there are many free ways to effectively market your private therapy practice. Since these free strategies do take time to implement, I suggest focusing on the ones that sound interesting, fun, fulfilling, and a little challenging so you get something back personally from your time investment.
It can take some time until you actually see the benefits of your marketing in terms of clients coming to your practice. Part of effective marketing is simply raising awareness of your practice and your specialties, which will bring in clients over time.
After nearly 10 years in private practice, I’ve found that the most effective strategies for building your practice use what we already know as therapists about building relationships: building rapport, using your authentic self, starting where the “client” is, to name a few, and translating those skills into a new formats that reaches larger audiences.
Here are 5 ways to draw clients to your therapy practice:
1) Speak to your ideal clients
Once you’ve identified who you’d like to see in your private practice, ask yourself, “Where are my ideal clients gathering?” or “Where are groups who work with my ideal clients already gathering?” If your ideal clients are families with a young children with behavior problems, then you may want to focus on speaking to groups of parents or teachers in the schools, for example. Or if you’re wanting to focus on working with couples in crisis, then speaking to clergy who regularly meet with distressed couples, or speaking to local religious groups on marriage issues might be something to consider.
2) Blog on your niche
If you have a blog on your website, write weekly articles that speak to your ideals clients. Blog posts are generally 300-500 words, so keep it simple. Blogging once a week is enough to keep it fresh. If you don’t have a website, or don’t have a blog on your website, I suggest that you look into it. Blogs allow tagging and categories which make it search engine friendly to people who are searching for the information you’re offering. Here’s an example of blog integrated into a therapist site from my own private practice.
3) Target local social media
Social media is global but your practice is local. Talk with other local businesses and therapists on Twitter and Facebook by using the search boxes to find other pages in your city. For example, if your specialty is working with adults living with chronic pain or illness you may want to follow on Twitter or “like” the Facebook pages of local hospitals, newspapers, rehabilitation centers, chiropractors, and other related businesses and services. The goal of social media is to communicate and interact, not just to inform, so share other local resources on your social media pages. Tag them on Facebook posts or mention them on Twitter status updates. Reciprocity is the key to effectively using social media to build your therapy practice.
4) Interview on local radio
Did you know that radio stations provide a certain number of public service hours each week? Producers are often looking for helpful topics and interesting people to interview that will benefit their listeners. Call or email the top local radio stations in your area, ask for the producer of their public service show, and offer a couple of topics that are related to your basic message.
5) Write for local newspaper or magazine articles
Which magazines or newspapers are your potential clients reading on a regular basis? Do some research on the demographic of the periodical and contact the editor to offer your writing services. Always lead with information on how your article/column/expertise will serve their readers, not how you hope to get hundreds of clients by writing for them. Since most news outlets and local magazines have websites, offering to blog for their site is a great idea, too. Fresh content is a valuable asset to websites so pitch with passion your area of expertise as a blog.
I’d love to hear back from you on how you implement any of these free marketing ideas. Please comment below and feel free to post links of your blog, news interviews, articles, etc. that might spring from reading this post.
Multiple Income Streams Soothe Therapist’s Financial Anxiety (part 1) By JULIE HANKS, LCSW
Relying solely on direct clinical hours may leave private practitioners financially vulnerable to income instability. Since client hours in private practice can vary greatly depending on the time of year, state of the economy, number of new referrals, and several other factors, developing multiple income streams can help you to create a more stable income. “By having the other income streams in place, I have been able to be less susceptible to the ebbs and flows that occur in private practice during difficult economic times,” says The Rev. Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMFT. In addition to providing income stability, diversifying your professional activities with multiple income streams allows therapists to explore a variety of interests, to express creativity, and to get paid for their passions.
In addition to clinical hours, I own and serve as clinical director of a private therapy clinic where I oversee and supervise 10 therapists, write for PsychCentral and other publications, work as a relationship and emotional health media contributor, do public speaking, provide consultation to therapists building a private practice, and I’m currently writing my first book. Curious about what other private practitioners are doing to add to income stability I reached out to several successful colleagues to see what additional income streams they’ve developed. Here’s a sampling of what other therapists are doing to diversify their professional life and achieve greater income stability.
Write and publish a book
Many therapists have taken their clinical expertise and turned it into a book. For example, Frank J. Sileo, PhD has written three children’s books, including Bug Bites and Campfires: A Story for Kids about Homesickness (Health Press, 2009). Clinical Psychologist Dr. John Duffytook his passion for parenting and authored a book The Available Parent: Radical Optimism For Raising Teens and Tweens (Viva Editions, 2011). What areas of expertise could you write about?
Write for print publications
Supplementing clinical work, Terrie Browning, LPC, CFC, DCC writes for a column “My Healthy Mind” for a local magazine My Metro You. Not only does it provide additional revenue but she says it’s also personally fulfilling. Of writing for publications she says, “Writing allows me to share knowledge on topics that are a concern for many people and offers a way for me to network myself.” Therapist Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. has successfully written for professional publications including Social Work Focus, Social Work Today, Addiction Treatment Forum, and The Newsletter for the Society for Family Therapy and Research, adding an additional income stream.
Create a therapeutic product
Have you considered creating and selling a product based on your clinical expertise? Stephanie Ann Adams, M.A., LPC of Beginnings Counseling & Consulting, created a hybrid counseling/video series for premarital counseling through Twogether in Texas. To help families deal with the stress of relocation Jill Kristal, President of Transitional Learning Curves, developed a game and book series called ‘Our Move’.
Develop a professional online network
The internet allows for many options for therapists to create passive income through membership sites. In addition to writing a local magazine column and providing clinical work, Browning, with the help of her adult children, developed a professional wellness center online called Experts Now. This online center offers wellness experts an avenue to offer services and sell products for a commission creating additional income for Browning.
Contract as a consultant
Consider asking yourself, “Which companies or organizations may want to tap into your areas of expertise?” Therapist Dr. Mario Kirk, LPC, Director, A Blessed Child, LLC, performs psychological testing for local attorneys and schools. Women’s reproductive health specialist Pec Indman EdD, MFT consults and trains for county health programs and for the US Federal government.
Are you developing multiple streams of income to supplement your direct care hours? Please share your ideas in a comment below.