How many of you hate marketing? To tell you the truth, marketing is my least favorite thing to do. There are so many components to marketing that it makes a novice business person, like myself, struggle to grasp the least and most important concepts of marketing to pursue.
Also counseling does not prepare us for the business side of our profession. I often hear, “why didn’t we learn this in graduate school?” I agree, why wasn’t this taught to us? Nonetheless, not learning this in graduate school has forced me to learn this on my own. This process has not only taught me how to market, but it has taught me about the guaranteed and total busts when marketing.
In an effort to help my fellow colleagues, I have put together a list of reliable ways to market yourself and private practice and reduce your time spent on ineffective marketing strategies. Below are 5 surefire ways to market yourself and practice:
1) Create a website
Let’s face it most of our clients will find us online. Therefore, having a well designed and easy to navigate website is essential.
A website is an effective form of marketing. This is your online “elevator speech” as it allows your clients to learn more about you and your counseling practices.
If you do not already have a website, do not go another day without a website. If you are unsure how to create a website, click here to learn how.
2) Brand your practice
Why is this important you ask? Well, our clients are surrounded by choices, so to set yourself apart from other counselors, you must brand yourself and your practice.
Branding is a great way to promote the recognition of your practice. This can be done by developing a niche. Since I am still in the process of developing my niche, I do not have all the answers on how to do this, so check out this article to learn more about developing a niche.
Another way to brand your practice is to create a logo. Having a logo will help with brand awareness. An example of an effective branding company is Target. When you see the dog with a red bullseye you are aware of the company the brand represents, which is Target.
Not sure how to come up with a logo? Check out website, http://www.designcrowd.com/, to assist you in making a logo that fits your needs. Don’t forget to put your logo on all of your marketing swag—business cards, forms, website, email signage, and etc.
3) Start a blog
If you are like me, you may think, “A blog is not for me. What would I have to share and or write about on a blog?” The answer is lots! A blog is a wonderful way to connect on a more personal level with your current and future clients. Blogs also provide a way to engage and help your clients as well as bring more traffic to your website.
If you want to start a blog, but are struggling with what content to write about, join Julie Hank’s blog challenge. Julie comes up with the topics for you —what’s easier than that? So are you in? I am. Check out my blog here.
4) Join an online therapy directory
Online therapy directories are a widely used online marketing tool for therapists. These directories are easy to set up and helpful in attracting clients and creating an online presence. Some online directories that generate a lot of traffic and clients are Psychology Today and Good Therapy. If you are already on these directories and are looking for more online therapy directories, click here.
If you need help with writing your professional profile, check out our blog post here with helpful tips.
The single most effective way to get new clients is when they are recommended by others. Creating and keeping clients is all about developing and maintaining your business relationships. The better you nurture those relationships, the stronger your practice will become. What are you doing to better your business relationships? How often do you network with other counselors? This is important and can be done in several ways to include joining a networking group and or becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce.
If you have any other ideas or suggestions for other marketing strategies, please share them with us all by leaving a comment in the box below!
Tracy Cooper, MA, LPC-Intern