Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

How to Attract Clients to Your Mental Health Private Practice

So, your long-term training is over and you feel the strength and desire, and most importantly, the ability to help people and make their lives better. Perhaps you have had a therapy practice for a long time, but all your clients were referred, and no new ones have come your way.

Or it is any other way that the question arose before you:

"Where does a psychologist look for new clients?"

Any private provider faces something similar. There are few clinicians in their field who are also excellent marketers. This is because they cannot make successful marketing efforts without interrupting their main activity, continuous professional development and study.

Fortunately, in our age of the Internet and social networks, attracting clients has become quite feasible for everyone. What to choose and how to find a client? We'll talk about it in the article.

Learn more about actual preferences of your patients and make right decisions via Management Reporting Module at Medesk.

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Potential Clients

Before creating a private practice, it is necessary to clearly define the topic in psychology in which you feel most confident and competent. One of the most ideal niches for a psychologist can be a problem that he has successfully solved.

For example, a worthy career pathologist can be a person who has changed several professions or even fields of activity. This person has studied many professional areas from the inside.

Psychoanalysts who are successful have undergone a long process of psychoanalysis themselves, not just as a formal requirement for their profession, but to reach their own deepest problems.

To cut it short, you need to decide on your target audience.

Who is your target audience

Someone likes to work with children, but he is afraid of adult clients, and another does not tolerate children at all, but he deals with adults with a bang. There are those who like, for one reason or another, to cope with very severe mental injuries, grief of loss or severe crises. However, most specialists avoid working with such clients due to the huge resource consumption. However, this does not prevent them from being good specialists when faced with neuroses, phobias or family conflicts, for example.

The correct definition of the target audience will depend on the channel of attracting a client: Facebook, a specialized publication, contextual advertising or something else. It makes no sense to write an interesting post on a website for parents if your therapy client is a young businessman with unresolved career ambitions. He spends most of the day on Facebook.

After you have identified your potential client, you need to understand where he lives. It is there that it makes sense to advertise, write a post, or actively comment, in general. This will let you tell people about yourself and your services.

To build a successful practice, build relationships with your potential customers and partners


Free Consultations

Very often, novice specialists are afraid to take money from clients, not feeling competent enough to ask for payment for their services.

In order to increase and strengthen confidence in your own abilities, there is always an opportunity to consult for free. This is, for example, by consulting on forums or conducting free demo consultations on social media accounts.

There is another plus to such work. These are grateful clients who readily agree to leave a review about your work, which is a helpful referral for you. In the future, people will contact you more willingly, since they will already have formed trust in your professionalism.

"We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve." Bill Gates


The First Steps: Word of Mouth

The most stressful thing, perhaps, is the first consultation with the first client. This usually happens at the stage of study, often for free or for a nominal fee. But this type of client is still a special experience.

The easiest way to hold a consultation for the first time is with the help of word of mouth. If you have graduated, then surely your acquaintances, friends, and relatives know that, and they have their own friends, acquaintances, and relatives, and they can recommend you. This way you will be able to find your first real customers at no extra cost.

One of the options would be to get a job in a psychological clinic. They usually work with specialists for a percentage of the payment. But, in large centers, there are often high requirements, including three years experience. Perhaps public clinics can be a good option and a place where you can gain experience.

Now let's talk about what to do when you have mastered the profession a bit, gained experience and helped several clients and thought about getting enough clients.

Advertising in Context

The first thing that comes to mind is advertising, the engine of trade. Yes, a good advertisement certainly attracts customers and is a good way to declare yourself. One of them is contextual advertising, i.e. advertising in search engines such as Yahoo or Google. You can do it yourself or hire a marketer who will configure, optimize advertisements, provide search engine optimization (SEO) and then track the results, change settings, etc.

The principle of working with contextual advertising is as follows: you create a short ad with a description of services, select keywords for which the ad will be displayed in the search engine. Set up a daily budget.

Further, if the customer's query matches the keywords you selected, your ad appears above or to the right of the search results. Users click on your ad and get to your website or landing page. For each click, the system debits funds from your account.

Make sure to thoroughly study how to use pay per click effectively and wisely, or else you risk losing a lot of money.

If you decide to use this strategy, start with a free course at Google Ads Training. It is simple and understandable even for novice users.

Disadvantages of contextual advertising:

  • It is expensive, as the competition at these sites is great
  • The result is by no means guaranteed (it is worth saying that the result of advertising is never guaranteed), but in this case the attempt will be the most expensive of all possible
  • It requires knowledge. You will either have to figure it out yourself, or pay someone to do it for you.

Unique Selling Proposition

So, how to attract a client to your practice? What should be in the advertisement so that a person becomes interested and wants to learn more about how they can help him?

It is very helpful to register the USP - i.e. a unique selling proposition right in the ad or banner.

Yes, it sounds somewhat utilitarian, but in conditions of huge competition and so-called "banner blindness" (this is when a person is attacked by advertising from all sides so that he simply stops noticing it) it is imperative to quickly and briefly convey the essence of the proposal. The client should immediately understand what his benefit is, why he should turn to you, and not read between the lines of vague messages.

You should sit down and think carefully:

  • What can you offer your target audience
  • What makes you different from other psychologists
  • What is the uniqueness of your approach? Perhaps you studied with a famous teacher, or developed a unique technique
  • How quickly can someone feel relief after getting rid of the problem? Although every situation is different, at least approximate dates should be provided.

Now that you have packaged your message into a few succinct, precise phrases, think about the visual component and you can promote your ad on your chosen referral source.

Online Directories for Psychologists

Perhaps one of the finest ways. There are various options for cooperation, but one thing unites them:

  • Almost no one takes money from psychologists in advance. Usually the site's profit is a percentage of the payment
  • They are looking for a client themselves
  • Work online and can be both full-time and part-time jobs, depending on the number of clients.

Minuses

The requirements are generally high, in most cases not only higher psychological education, but also qualifications in one of the psychotherapeutic techniques, and at least 3 years of work experience.

Personally, no one advertises you, and it is to you that customers do not lead. As a rule, on such sites there is a preliminary filter questionnaire for the client. The algorithm, or a site employee, selects a psychologist based on your results, and if you are a man and most clients prefer communicating with women, you can sit for a long time without consulting.

We can recommend such therapist directories as Goodtherapy, PsychologyToday and CounsellingDirectory. You can use these platforms as guest blogs, not only to offer your services directly, but also to write guest posts.

Blogging and Personal Website

This is a great way to tell about yourself in more detail. The market for psychological services is overflowing, it is flooded with self-taught psychologists, people who have completed three-month courses, and clients who already have a huge amount of doubts, blocks and defenses are generally afraid that they will not be helped, and they will spend money in vain, but will do a lot of harm.

To begin with, you can make a website yourself. Now there are many free or inexpensive website designers where you can build a website based on a ready-made template or hire a designer who will redo this template to suit your needs.

We like such platforms for their ease of use and the ability to make any changes to the site easily and quickly on our own. This eliminates the constant dependence on programmers, saves money and time, and, more importantly, preserves nerve cells.

Over time, when you get comfortable with technical issues and your site requirements increase, you can switch to a more professional platform, for example, Wordpress.

Take note of the main mistake people make on the web: they don't know what they want from visitors, i.e. for what the website was created, and if they do know, they don't know how to get it.

Checklist for a super website

In a personal blog, you can tell in great detail about your education, show diplomas, describe what problems you are working with and which you are not, show yourself as a person. Online presence is very critical.

Understand that the blog will not immediately lead to a client. Many will read, get to know you, make a decision. A consultation may even take a long time from the first contact. And all this time you have to write, tell and demonstrate your professionalism. A personal page is a long-lasting promotion tool, but it's worth it, and in our time of social media, no professional can do without it.

Due to the individually customized reports at Medesk, you can always understand which articles and blog materials engage paying patients.

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Start a blog on Facebook, or LinkedIn. We advise you not to use more than two platforms, because you'll waste your time.

Professionals talk about their work convincingly, clearly, and inspiringly. They infect with their energy and ideas. People want to listen to them. It's a pleasure to read them

Advantages

  • You can remove almost all the client's objections by writing posts about it (use podcasts and live feeds)
  • You can demonstrate your professionalism
  • You will attract only people who are close in spirit, which is important for establishing a connection
  • If you can write well, it's free

Disadvantages

  • Huge competition
  • No platform will show you to a large circle of readers for free, no matter how good your blog is. You will either have to set up targeted advertising yourself or pay a professional
  • For a long time, if you do not have a large advertising budget, it will take a long time to promote in social networks.

Organize an Affiliate Network

In this case, we call partners specialists who offer non-competitive services to your clients.

Start with those you know. This may be a massage therapist, yoga coach, lawyer, family doctor, school psychologist, hairdresser, veterinarian / dog handler (for example, it is difficult for his client to survive the loss of a beloved pet), etc. In general, people who work with your prospective clients.

Think about where to find them and start getting to know them. Make a list of the most talented specialists in different fields. Recommend their services to your customers if they need them.

If you specialize in some specific field (people with autism, people suffering from clinical forms of depression, gifted children, etc.), tell your colleagues about it at professional events.

However, if you want to work with the same clients as your colleagues (for example, an intelligent, motivated and wealthy housewife who has raised children and wants to engage in self-development), place more emphasis on non-psychologist partners.

Find people you like to collaborate with and strengthen your relationship with them step by step. As you know, healthy relationships take time and effort, but this is an investment that will definitely pay off.

Public Appearance

Public speaking, in our experience, is one of the most effective strategies for promoting a business owner. Subject to three conditions.

You should clearly understand:

Public appearance

The rest is a matter of technique. Find venues where you can speak to your current clients and potential ones. These can be conferences, festivals, women's clubs, business schools, lecture halls, interest clubs, art cafes, coworking etc. These are effective platforms to hand out business cards.

Idea: Local businesses always welcome speakers who can talk about relationships and business psychology in an interesting and useful way!

Not all sites can be found using Google search. Ask colleagues and friends about events where you can speak. Make a list of at least thirty, preferably a hundred venues where you plan to perform in the coming year. Think about exit strategies for each of them.

Perform for free or for a small fee. Ultimately, your goal is not to make money on the performance, but to convey to your potential customers information about how you can help them.

You should not miss the opportunity to speak just because you will not be paid a lot, since even one client from the event will bring you a lot more profit.

Take care in advance of ways to keep in touch with the participants. New clients rarely sign up for therapy on the day of the event. You need to build a trusting relationship with them and give them the opportunity to get to know you better. Offer them a report from the event, a video recording, an e-book or a certificate for a free 30-minute session, online or in-person.

Webinars

If you do not want to pay for the rental of premises or establish partnerships with event organizers, you can conduct webinars.

A webinar is an online meeting over the Internet in real time. It allows your clients to actively participate in the event without leaving home. In addition, you can immediately address a large number of listeners from different cities without investing in rent and organization.

That’s a good way to find clients for online group therapy.

Provide customers with the opportunity to communicate with you via the maximum number of channels. At Medesk, setting up an online appointment link in social networks or advertising will take only 15 minutes!

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Disadvantages

No matter how hard the speaker tries, he rarely manages to establish the same close emotional connection with the audience as with live communication. In addition, with the appearance of countless so-called infobusinesses, information noise has been created in the Internet space, making it very difficult to be heard and to interest a potential client. The proposed material must stand out for its high quality, good presentation, and clear benefit.

Whatever you choose, the main rule is regularity. Don't expect to complete the practice with one or two public appearances. They have a cumulative effect. And the most valuable thing that you get from the participants of the events is not an appointment for therapy. Instead, you get acquaintance with you, the desire to continue it, and therefore the opportunity to build strong relationships with your target audience and get their contact information.

Summing It Up

So, what should you choose as a psychologist in order to attract clients? And not just anyone, but an interested person who wants to change his life and is ready to start therapy. Ideally, it is worth using all the opportunities that modern technologies provide us.

  • Create a website
  • Register in most well-known social networks with regular posts
  • Place ads in context, on profile sites and portals
  • Launch ads on Facebook and Instagram
  • Conduct webinars
  • Give public speeches.

As well as continuously updating ads and seeing what works the best, and after a while gradually abandoning what does not bring the desired result. This will leave only successful tools.

At the same time, you need to understand that most specialists will have to attract customers in various ways, which word of mouth may not be able to do. If you live in a small city, for example, you may reach a ceiling in terms of paying for your services. Therefore, if you want to grow, you will need to get online and find clients living in large cities.

You can definitely do it. Just don't bite off more than you can chew. Once again consider the menu of marketing plans, choose 2-3 options that most closely match your strengths, and work with them.

To help you with this, we are running our blog. We are sharing our experience and knowledge on how to make your workflow easier with the help of modern electronic solutions. Because the profession of a psychotherapist is worthy of being in demand.

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