So, you’ve decided to take the leap into starting a private practice. And, now, you’re faced with the often daunting task of marketing it. Well, we’re here to show you just how doable it actually is. Here are seven ideas to get you started in marketing your private practice.
Let’s start at the very beginning, setting up a website. If you’re tentative to take this step, here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a website. Unfortunately, in todays day and age, it’s a necessity, not an option. And, because of this, there are many ways to set up a simple website quickly. Initially, it doesn’t need to look exceptional, but it must be professional and easy to navigate. It should also be informative to the user visiting. Here are some basic pages to include in the beginning:
- Home Page: make sure to make it crystal clear what services you offer and what niche you operate in. Be sure to include this as well as a call-to-action button to book an appointment above the fold, i.e.: in the initial screen a user sees when landing on your website before scrolling. Be sure to include your contact number in the top right corner of your website, or somewhere where it is visible and stands out. Consider including a short video that describes what you do on your homepage, visit Cupla Media for more information on their ‘practice shorts’.
- About Page: this is the area where you can get personal in a way that helps potential clients relate to you. Be sure to introduce any relevant people in your team here as well. Also, include a professional headshot that best conveys who you are.
- Contact Page: be sure to include all of your contact information here, i.e.: physical address (and directions), phone number (again), email, social media pages, contact form.
- Services Page: this is your chance to go into detail about all of the services you offer and what the potential clients stands to benefit from each of them. Try to include as much information as possible, including the amount of time each service requires.
- Downloadable Forms: this isn’t necessary from the get-go, but it is a nice addition. Have all required forms that clients need to fill out when booking a session with you available for download on your website. That way, they can download, print, and fill them out, all before even stepping foot into your practice.
- Blog: although you may feel you don’t need to focus on a blog initially, we recommend getting your blog up and running as soon as possible. Again, it can be basic in the beginning. But, blogging once a week (or even once a month) will help you start to get a ranking on Google which will ensure more visibility for your website. Here is a guide on how to use the Keyword Tool to help you incorporate high-volume search terms in your writing.
2. Social Media
Step two after setting up your website is creating some sort of presence on social media. When deciding which platform/s to make use of, ask yourself the following two questions:
- Which platform/s does my ideal client spend the most time on?
- Which platform/s am I most comfortable using?
If you still aren’t sure after asking yourself these questions, the safest route to go is, most likely, to set up a Facebook Business Page. Be sure to fill in all the information requested in the ‘About’ section as well as include a well-designed profile picture (usually your logo) and cover image. It is free to set up a Facebook Business Page, but you will have the option of setting up paid Facebook ads in the future, should you wish.
Social media is a great way to build an online network of potential clients. Don’t feel, however, that you need to be speaking to the entire world. Instead, focus your targeting on your local area to ensure maximum impact. Be sure to make use of relevant hashtags relating to your region and niche. That way, your practice will come up when people search these hashtags. Also, be sure to follow and interact with local business that are, in some way, related to your niche or ideal client, i.e.: where your ideal client spends their time. LinkedIn is also a great way to connect with other professionals.
You will soon realise that your email list becomes your most valuable asset within private practice. To build up your email list, collect emails on your website, or via Facebook or Twitter. You can do this by making use of plugins such as Hello Bar and SumoMe. We recommend offering something in exchange for the email, i.e.: a free downloadable resource. This helps build credibility and will provide a greater incentive for the user to sign up to receive your emails.
Once you have built up a substantial email list, you can begin sending emails. See a few pointers on this below:
- Don’t overdo it. Once a week is more than enough.
- Ensure your content is interesting and not just promotional, i.e.: include links to your latest blog posts or an interesting infographic.
- Promote specials or any upcoming events that your clientele may be interested in.
- Use mostly text to avoid your email landing up in ‘Spam’.
4. Online Advertising
Once you have set up your online presence in the form of a website, social media, and email, you can start venturing into other forms of online advertising. First and foremost, be sure to register with ‘Google My Business’. It’s free to do so and will ensure that your business appears in the directory when someone searches for a local business. By registering, you will also improve your chances of landing up in the ‘snack pack’ which is the top three businesses displayed above the usual search results.
You can also consider making use of Google Ads, through Google Adwords. Although this does cost money, you are completely in control of how much you wish to spend. This is monitored through their pay per click (PPC) system. You can set a maximum amount per day, and once that amount has been reached through people clicking on your ad, your ad will no longer be displayed until the next day. Be sure to be strategic about what keyword phrase you include in your ad as this needs to coincide with what people might search for. For example, consider making use of your type of practice + your city name.
Finally, consider signing up for online directories like Psychology Today for an increased online presence. Most of these directories will have a free trial period which will allow you to test it out and see whether or not it is worth spending a monthly fee on.
While some of you may cringe at the term ‘network’, it is necessary when it comes to marketing your private practice and it’s easier than you think. For example, you could follow and interact with local radio and television stations, and newspapers, podcasters, and publications (print and digital) on social media in an effort to be interviewed by them. You can also email them offering your services. Another option would be to join HARO and then actively respond to their requests.
Arranging speaking engagements is another great way to network. Get in touch with local businesses and find out if they would be interested in having you come and speak. Many businesses are interested in enriching their employees lives in such ways. Once securing a slot, be sure to adapt your expertise to the needs of your audience. For example, you could speak on ten ways to relieve stress when working in a customer service profession. Also consider reaching out to local schools, community centres and colleges, churches, youth groups, and camps.
Although considered less impactful in our digital world, don’t underestimate the power of a simple flyer. You can design one yourself using Canva and can print between 20 and 50 from your office printer. Do this every months and then distribute them around your city, particularly to local businesses with community boards. You can also consider making use of a postal mail box service for more reach.
7. Your Practice
Again, don’t underestimate the power of marketing your practice from your practice. For example, consider putting up an “Accepting Clients” sign on your front door. You could include your website URL where people can go for more information. Or, you could even have a brochure box hanging next to it with a few of your flyers inside. You’ll be surprised at how many people may walk past your practice and pick one up for a friend.
If you’re new the area, you could also host an ‘open house’. This could be a way to interact with all the people you’ve encountered through your social media and networking efforts. Be sure to invite as many people as possible to ensure a decent turnout. And, mention free food in the invite. That’s bound to peak most people’s interest.
Samantha Carvalho is the Chief Marketing Officer of Practice of the Practice. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband and kitten. Over and above Practice of the Practice, she is passionate about women empowerment, fashion, and animals.