5 surefire ways to market yourself and your practice

marketing-roadmap

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.

5)      Network

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!

Happy Marketing!

Tracy Cooper, MA, LPC-Intern

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Helpful tips to writing a professional profile

If you are thinking of or are in the process of creating a profile on a therapy directory such as Psychology Today here are some helpful tips to creating a professional profile that attracts clients:

  • Describe your philosophy about counseling. Ask yourself, “What are my beliefs about counseling?”

Share your beliefs about counseling without focusing on your academic and professional achievements. A potential client is usually not too interested in your achievements, but rather focused on how counseling may be helpful and or if you can help.

  • Describe your counseling approach. Ask yourself, “How do I help people?”

Make sure to talk in everyday terms to potential clients; try and avoid going deep on theory. As a reminder, most clients are unaware of counseling theories and approaches.

  • Describe your target population. Ask yourself, “Who do I help?” or “Who do I want to help?”

Again make sure to talk in everyday terms to potential clients; most clients are unaware of diagnoses. If possible try and avoid the use of the word “client” or “patient”.  For example, “I help people who feel depressed.”

  • List your fee. Ask yourself, “What are my services worth?”

Make sure to list your fee, insurances you accept, and or if you work on a sliding scale.

  • Share your contact information.

Make sure to list your phone #, email, and website. If you do not have a website, I strongly encourage you to create one. This is another way for a client to get to know you better. Check out my previous post here about creating a website.

Most importantly, be yourself!  Share who you are, what you do, and how you can help.

Need to see an example of these tips, check out our profiles. Click on our names below to see each of our profiles.

Tracy Cooper

Tiffany Frias

Virginia Gonzales

If you have any questions or need help writing your profile, leave a comment and I will respond to you as soon as possible. Also if you have any helpful professional profile writing tips, please share-we want to hear from you!

Good luck and please share your completed professional profile with us!

Tracy Cooper, MA, LPC-Intern

Website building…

I decided to start a website (insert excitement here)! Unfortunately, starting a website has been far less exciting than I thought and more overwhelming than anticipated. As a novice website builder, I was unaware of what was needed to start a website. Through research, I learned that I need a webhost, website design, and domain name. This is a lot to consider when starting a website; therefore, I thought I would document the process in hopes that you will have an easier time when creating your website.

Below are the steps needed to create a website:

  1. Find a webhost. Webhosting is where you keep your webpage. The purpose of having a webhost is to ensure that your website is available all the time, anytime.
  2. Create a domain name. A domain name is your website address. Here is an example of a domain name: www.lpcinterncounselor.com. It is recommended that you choose a domain name ending with .com as it is easier to locate on the internet.
  3. Pick a website design. Most website builder sites will include multiple options and templates.

In an effort to help you obtain your website needs, I have reviewed the following sites for webhost, domain name, and website design information:

  1. Catalyst Theme– offers website builder/design for $127 (onetime fee)
  2. TherapySites- offers website design and hosting for $59/month
  3. GoDaddy– offers domain names, hosting, and website design-prices vary due to different package options
  4. GoogleSites– offers pre-built templates for web design and hosting for FREE
  5. Wix– offers web design and hosting for FREE
  6. Bluehost– offers web hosting and domain names for $6.95/month
  7. Domain– offers domain names for $9.99

If you’re interested in what I chose, I decided to create my website through Wix and obtain a domain name through domain.com.

If you are a LPC-Intern and are planning to create a website, the board has a few requirements that must be included. Here are the requirements for your consideration:

Rule 681.52 (e) All billing documents for services provided by an LPC Intern shall reflect that the LPC Intern holds a temporary license and is under supervision. On all advertisements, billings and announcements of counseling treatment by an LPC Intern, the intern’s name shall be followed by the name of the supervisor in the same type size and font.

Hope this information was helpful for you when creating your website. If you have already created a website and have tips to share we would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading my blog post and happy website building!

Tracy Cooper, MA, LPC-Intern

App Review: Tactical Breather

Do you have a client dealing with stress? If you answered yes, then this app may be right for your client.

Tactical Breather app guides a person through a deep breathing exercise in order gain control over physiological and psychological responses to stress. This is done with a four count method of breathing with visual prompts and spoken dialogue to assist you when inhaling, exhaling, or holding your breath.

This app is simple, portable, and an effective way to help clients create a relaxation response when stressed. Best of all, this app is FREE and is available on I Phones.

We encourage you to download this free app and browse around for yourself. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this app.

App review: Bipolar Disorder Connect

Bipolar Disorder Connect is an app that offers support to individuals with Bipolar Disorder. This app is FREE and is available on Android and i Phones.

We found this app to be of similar format to a support group as it offers support and personal stories of challenges and successes from individuals with Bipolar Disorder.

Since some of our clients lack resources to gain community support, this app may assist them in obtaining necessary support. This app will allow clients to read up on topics such as mania/depression symptoms, treatments, therapy, family issues and work/career issues.

The Bipolar Disorder Connect app is informative and easy to navigate around. We particularly enjoyed browsing and reading their news articles. The news article feature shares articles on medications, therapies, and research.

We encourage you to download this free app and browse around for yourself. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this app.