There’s a lot to think about when you’re going into private practice. One of the biggest (and arguably most important) considerations, is marketing.
Developing a solid marketing plan is a key step in launching and building a successful private practice. Although these skills may not come as second nature to you (unlike your role as a therapist), it’s important to remember that you are not just a practitioner, but also an entrepreneur! Making key decisions that will help you grow your business is an essential part of the job.
So where to start with your marketing plan?
In my Build Your Private Practice Mastermind Course, and in my one-on-one Business Mentorship work with practitioners, I always recommend starting with a website. This is a space online that you own (meaning you aren’t at the mercy of social media algorithms and outages), and in a highly digital age, your website acts as your virtual business card and resume. All other channels (Instagram, Facebook, Psychology Today, etc.) should point to it.
Your website will be a place where prospective clients can learn about you, your business and services. Depending on how you set it up, your clients can also book appointments or contact you through your website as well which makes for a user-friendly client experience!
Think of your website as a way to establish your place in the industry. Many people are looking online for practitioners, so not only will your business be visible to prospective clients, you’ll be steps ahead of your competitors who aren’t focusing on their online presence! It’s important to remember that without a website, your business is invisible to anyone using search engines to find services. This is especially true if you run your business out of your home or offer online sessions, as you may not necessarily drum up business from foot traffic.
The good news is that there are many different options available to create your own website even if you have minimal technical knowledge or don’t have coding experience. Being able to build your own website using free templates and user-friendly platforms (such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.) is a cost-effective option for your marketing budget. Starting your website with a customized domain name can cost as little as $70 per year!
For an easy way to get started, check out the Do-It-Yourself WordPress Website Course here.
If you’re still not sure if a website is necessary, consider that it can also help you attract ideal clients through search engines like Google. It’s important to have some knowledge of Search Engine Optimization when creating your website so that your website and content can rank higher in your target client’s search.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
In the simplest terms, Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) is about using words on your website that your ideal client is searching for online. By ensuring that you are incorporating these keywords on your website, you will be able to increase the quality of web traffic and grow your brand exposure through organic (unpaid) search engine results.
Search engines (like Google) evaluate all of the content on the internet to determine what is most likely to answer the query of the user. The search engines scour webpages, PDF documents, images and videos looking for content that the user will find valuable and informative. With a strong SEO strategy, your content has an opportunity to have a high ranking on search result pages and your traffic will snowball over time.
The first step to including SEO on your website is to research keywords that your ideal client could be searching for. In the case of private practitioners, it could be useful to use keywords that include location to drive traffic specific to the area in which you operate your business. For example, including the words ‘Calgary marriage counsellor’ in your content will tell search engines that people searching for those keywords are likely to find what they are looking for on your website. In turn, your content will be ranked higher and will be more visible on search result pages.
Be sure to audit all of the content on your website to ensure that it is search engine optimized. This includes your blog content, all of the headings and subheadings, internal links, blog post URLs, anchor text (the text used in hyperlinks), all written copy, and images.
In most cases, you can optimize your own website, but if this just isn’t your cup of tea, you can also hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) to do this work for you. Many websites like www.upwork.com and Facebook Groups like the Virtual Assistant Tribe Job Board showcase hundreds of VAs, who generally work for a very reasonable rate, who can do this work for you.
To learn more about marketing and launching your private practice, check out the 8-week Build Your Private Practice Mastermind Course.
For personalized Business Mentorship & Coaching, you can check out the options for working with me here.