You have to blog to get more clients for your practice, but make sure you post consistently. Post on every social media channel at least three to five times a week. Don’t forget to go to networking events!
Do you ever feel completely adrift in the number of ways you can grow your practice? If so, you are definitely not alone; even the marketing experts we speak to are awed by the sheer variety of ways that people can market their businesses.
However unlikely it may seem right now, the plethora of marketing opportunities available to you can be an advantage. There is literally a practice growth strategy for everyone, and you can find and use marketing tactics that will work well for you, and that you may actually enjoy!
Even better, once you find the strategies that work for your practice, you can set the other strategies aside for now, without feeling guilty about not using a common marketing strategy, or worrying about whether you are doing “enough” to grow your practice.
The key to having a good experience with marketing versus a stressful experience is being able to sort through your options and pick the best strategy for your individual practice. I know, I know, sorting through the options is easier said than done. Let's walk through a few ways that you can choose marketing tactics and strategies, together.
When marketing is just one of a myriad of responsibilities you have as a private practice owner and therapist or coach, it is so important to choose marketing activities that you enjoy, or at least can stand. If you have to make yourself do your marketing work oh, it will be so hard to put in the consistent effort you need to see results from a particular strategy. Using a strategy that doesn't work for you and your zone of genius can also prompt feelings of helplessness and burnout, which takes away from the freedom and joy that brought you to private practice in the first place.
Please take this as your permission to choose the marketing techniques that speak to your skills, instead of feeling like you have to use a particular strategy, no matter how insistent people are that it is a solid one.
You should also focus on what you enjoy without worrying about whether you're great at that specific technique or activity. You do not have to be great at marketing to fill your practice. You just have to be good at the specific strategies you use.
What does that actually mean? You don't need to be the best writer to put together a blog that fills your practice, for example. You just need to write posts that are easy to understand and that show your prospective client that you can help solve their problems. However, the marketing strategies you choose should still play to your strengths; if you don’t like writing and don’t think you’re good at it, blogging may not be the best way to promote your practice.
Are you still not sure you would like any form of marketing? Let’s step away from everything you know about marketing for a minute. At a fundamental level, beneath all the jargon, technical terms, and best practices, marketing is just the way that you let people know that you can help them. There are so many ways you can tell people you can help them that there will likely be a form that resonates with you:
If you love people, networking with other providers and building referral partnerships with others that your target client may approach for help (doctors, schools, religious/community leaders, professional organizations, affinity groups) may help you build your practice.
If you love writing, blogging, creating an email newsletter, or developing unconventional content (like quizzes) can help you tell prospective clients that you can help them.
Do you enjoy creating art or follow design blogs? Social media marketing and advertising might be the right fit.
Finally, are you a huge math, numbers, and spreadsheets geek (like me)? You will love Google Ads (and possibly social media ads).
Take a few minutes to list some of your strengths, and write down 2-3 ways you could use each strength to tell more people about how your practice can help them or their connections.
(If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, check out our handy guide to nine of the most popular marketing techniques for therapists or take our quiz to figure out which form of marketing might work best for you!)
Not only is there a whole universe of different marketing options out there, there is also a parallel universe of different goals for your marketing.
Do you want more followers on your social media accounts? More visitors to your website? How can you tell if a post “worked” if it got more comments than likes?
It is next to impossible to know how well your marketing worked if you don’t set a clear goal for your campaigns. Let’s keep things as simple as possible. For the vast majority of therapists, your marketing goal will be to get more clients for your practice.
It seems so simple to say that. Of course I want more clients! However, defining a goal truly simplifies your marketing efforts by telling you what to prioritize.
For example, let’s say you ran two campaigns: one on Google and one on Instagram.
From your Google campaign, 250 people joined your mailing list and you got five new clients in a month.
From your Instagram campaign, you got 10,000 new followers and one new client in a month.
Which campaign should you continue?
If your goal is to get more clients, then you should pick the Google campaign which brought in 5x more clients (even though Instagram brought in so many more followers).
What is your marketing goal for your practice? Write it down, and we will move onto the next step.
Once you have listed a few ways you can use your strengths to market your practice and your marketing goal, it is time to trim the list! Your goal is to identify 3-4 different types of marketing that you can try to see how they impact your practice.
The most successful marketers will tell you that a significant number of their campaigns and tests fail. It is part of the field, particularly as you learn what resonates most with the people you are trying to reach. We recommend that you try 3-4 different types of marketing at first to increase your chances of finding a strategy that works relatively quickly.
Even if you are confident in a particular strategy, it is still worth testing a few ways of getting clients. In my career, I worked at two companies who sold the exact same coaching product, but the forms of marketing that worked best for each company were drastically different. Similarly, what does not work for other therapists may work for you, and vice versa, even if you all have similar specialties and backgrounds.
What 3-4 techniques will you try?
(Not sure how to get started? Attend one of our free business trainings for therapists!)
To know which techniques work best for you, you need a way to measure your marketing performance. If your goal is to get more clients, you should put together a way to tell where your clients are coming from so you can put more time and resources into the work that brings in the most clients.
Your measurement strategy could be as simple as asking clients where they heard about you in your intake paperwork. If you have a website, you can also use tools like Google Analytics to provide a more nuanced picture of where potential clients are coming from.
If you are using ads, it is essential to use conversion tracking to tell you how your ad campaigns perform, and help the ad platform optimize your campaigns to reduce the amount you pay for each new client and maximize the number of new clients you get. Conversion tracking shows you which ads sent new client leads to your site. Here is more information about conversion tracking in Google Ads and conversion tracking in Facebook and Instagram Ads.
Finally, when you have tried a few strategies and figured out which ones work for you, it is time to focus in on those strategies. How can you improve on what you are currently doing to get even more clients? What changes can you test within the campaigns that are working to make them work even better?
This whole cycle is driven by the philosophy of less is more. When you have very little time to market your practice, identifying and focusing on the strategies that bring you more clients can help you do more with less time so you can spend your time on providing therapy or coaching, supervising associates, or following other dreams for your practice.
Choosing a marketing strategy for your practice can feel overwhelming, but it can also be invigorating. To turn marketing stress into serenity (and dare we say, joy?), simplify the process and narrow marketing down into the small collection of techniques that are best for you and your practice.
Mariah was Head of Growth at MyWellbeing. She is a marketing expert in the areas of content strategy, digital advertising, business growth, and anything related to helping therapists grow their practice.