How do you attract your ideal client? How do you market a faith-based private practice? Can I find my ideal client in a faith-based practice?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Whitney Owens about how to attract and find your ideal client with a faith-based private practice.
Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counsellor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.
In This Podcast
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Whitney Owens about how to attract and find your ideal client with a faith-based private practice. Let’s dive into it.
Decide who your ideal client is
Look at what are your strengths are and where your skillset lies. Who do you see that benefit the most from your sessions? Is it marriages, younger children, teenagers or specific issues?
Realize that you have this skillset, and decide that is who you want to continue working with.
Attracting your ideal client
A lot of references come from Psychology Today, so there is a lot of value being on the platform.
Your faith-based practice should have a website that is tailored towards it. The language should have undertones indicating that you are faith-based.
Think about where your ideal client is hanging out. It could be churches, bible studies, etc. Speak at a local event, or join those groups.
Word of mouth and personal connections are powerful tools with faith-based practice. Talk about what you do to a few key members and you’ll gain referrals quickly.
How do you avoid dual relationships?
When you are involved in groups and churches it can often be hard to deal with dual relationships. Surround yourself with like-minded therapists that can help with your decision of taking on clients. If a potential client might be too close to home, you can refer them to these other therapists.
Thanks For Listening!
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Well welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast and all you YouTube viewers that are out there watching this as well. We are talking all about faith in practice during this series and we have Whitney Owens who is one of our consultants here with Practice of the Practice. As well, she has her own practice. Welcome to the show Whitney.
[WHITNEY]: Yes, glad to be here.
[JOE]: Yes, I’m really glad to have you here. So today we’re going to be talking about attracting your ideal clients in a faith-based practice. Before we dive into that, I want to just hear a little bit more about your practice, about how you’ve integrated faith into your practice.
[WHITNEY]: Yes. So, I had a practice first in Colorado for a few years and then came here to Savannah and started the practice in 2015, started solo for a few years, then I just saw that there was such a need to grow. And so now there’s six therapists, including myself. I also have an assistant that helps. So, it’s kind of where the practice is now, and ever since the beginning I’ve kind of been making faith or part of everything that I do. Some people can see that outwardly, sometimes it’s more of an inward thing and it all kind of depends on the types of clients that come in. So always finding ways to integrate faith and other things that I’m doing.
[JOE]: Yes. And I think in the branding interview, in a couple of interviews, we’ll go into kind of more of how you do that. But what are maybe some of the front-end challenges that people deal with when it comes to launching a practice that has a faith base to it?
[WHITNEY]: Yes, there’s a lot of challenges on the front end with any practice, especially faith-based. So, figuring out how do I want to communicate my message, how strongly do I want to communicate faith when I’m advertising, when I’m branding or do, I not want to make that the main thing that I’m talking about? Do I want to make clinical part what I’m talking about more? So, it’s trying to find that balance between clinical and faith and the things that you’re doing.
[JOE]: Yes. Well, let me kind of share with you guys where we’re headed in this YouTube series, but also in this podcast series. So first we’re going to be talking about attracting your ideal client. then in the second one we’re going to talk about the vision for your practice. Next, we’re going to be talking about marketing and branding, a faith based-practice, then we’re going to talk about marketing specifically to churches and then adding clinicians. So, kind of that natural flow of a practice, you know, figuring out who you want to attract, then the vision, then the marketing, branding and marketing the churches, then adding clinicians. So today is all about your ideal client. And so, Whitney, when you, because I know you also work with clinicians that do this, when you work with clinicians or even when you are setting up own practice how do you think through your ideal client in regards to a faith-based practice?
[WHITNEY]: Yes. So, when I’m thinking about my own ideal client, I’m thinking who’s the client? When they come in, they bring me joy, they make me calm a lot. They give me energy when I’m meeting with them and I see that good things are coming out of the relationship, like I’m seeing them progress in their therapy. And those are all the questions that I ask my clinicians too in considering which specialty they want to go into. We’re always looking at kind of a direction that we’re going in with specialty.
[JOE]: Yes. Oh, sorry. Like, so how do you really kind of determine some of those demographics with your ideal client?
[WHITNEY]: Yes, I mean I think it is kind of the same situation. How am I growing this client? How am I moving them forward? So, am I really good at working with young children, am I really good at working with teams or making adults flourish? Am I seeing that my skills are a lot more with marriages? And I think specifically for people who do go faith-based, most counselors that are faith based or involve them, some kind of religious organization so, considering how do you maybe already volunteer at church or at another place, and then how do you do with that population? So maybe you’re a therapist, you’re trying to figure out your ideal client that you have found and you’re really good at working with fourth and fifth graders at your church. Well, maybe that’s a good population to consider working with. It doesn’t have to be just in the clinical room. Where are you gifted at outside of the room?
[JOE]: Yes, I know in my own work I found when I worked at a runaway shelter during undergrad and grad school, I just loved working with these punk rock kids that were from tough backgrounds and I felt like I connected with them and that they were just fun to work with because it took so long to breakthrough. But then when you did, it was like you had this ultimate trust and you could just call them out on things. And that kind of mental challenge of building that trust was, for me, I really enjoyed it. Other people say I don’t want to work with teenagers ever. And so, finding that ideal client that just kind of lit me up was so important in my kind of early-career to just decide who my ideal client was.
[WHITNEY]: Yes. I have a similar experience working with teenagers.
[JOE]: Yes, what was yours?
Right out of college or right in college and coming out of college I did youth ministry and then I volunteered at a church for summer and people just always were telling me, “Oh, you’re good at working with teenagers. You’re great with that.” And then the teenagers were kind of telling me how much they enjoyed hanging out with me and I was like, “Wow, that’s unique.” You know, teenagers want to hang out with an adult? So that was how I started with, so my first ideal client in private practice was teenagers and working with parents.
[JOE]: Well, and so how did you develop that? So, you know, you realize you have this skillset and then you first start working with teenagers, what did that look like to try to attract that ideal client?
[WHITNEY]: Well, talking about it, not just verbally, but like through the website and through Psychology Today. So, I had so many hits through Psychology Today at the beginning, because my first couple of sessions were ideal for parents of teenagers. So, the parents would read it and be like, “Wow, she really gets it.” And they would call.
[JOE]: Yes. I think having the decision-maker be the one that you focus your language on, like not a lot of teenagers are probably like combing through counseling websites, whereas you know, the moms and dads often are the ones that are doing that. So, what else would you say in regards to the ideal clients are things to consider as people are just saying, “Okay, who do I want to focus on? What kind of population should I work with?”
[WHITNEY]: Yes, I think from the faith-based perspective, considering what kind of population you want to work with. Like do you have a type of denomination that you enjoy working with, are you preferring people that are very devout in their faith or are you preferring people that aren’t about in their faith? Or maybe it’s not really a population you fully want to work with and you’ll kind of see what comes in the door. So, considering that in your marketing and in your branding, reaching out to that ideal type of client.
[JOE]: Yes. And once you kind of establish that, what are some kind of tactics or approaches to attracting that person? I know we’re going to get into kind of churches and branding and all that, but is it language on the website, is it copy, is it kind of reaching out to your denomination? What are some of that kind of quick tips that might be helpful around ideal clients?
[WHITNEY]: Yes, well you just briefly touched on all of them. So, the website, even in my practice, a lot of the language on my website is not overtly Christian, but it definitely has Christian undertones to it. And so that ends up bringing in different types of clients and clients that are devout but then some clients that aren’t so much, maybe clients that are jaded by the church. It’s actually a population I really enjoy working with. So, I feel like the website kind of tailors to that in a unique way. So, I think the wording is really important.
And then thinking about where are these people hanging out? Like where do you find the really devout people? Will you find them in church, will you find them in Bible studies, will you find them in MOPS group, Mothers of Preschoolers? So, you go to those types of groups and get involved. Maybe even you attended or you offer to speak at an event like I’m speaking at a couple of MOPS that are super easy to get in with and speaking at churches, things like that.
[JOE]: So how did you get into speak to a MOPS group?
[WHITNEY]: Well, that actually ended up being super easy. I have a friend whose sister teaches MOPS and the friend knew that I was a therapist. And so, she said, “Hey, you got to get this girl to come,” and so she reached out to me and then that led to another MOPS one because these ladies are all talking to each other. And so that’s kind of how that happened.
[JOE]: I think it just shows how it’s those personal connections, especially when you have a faith-based practice because I think rightfully so, people that are in charge of groups want to make sure those that are educating them, align with kind of what they’re teaching as well. And so being able to have someone vouch for you and have those connections and know who you are, even if you have a different faith perspective, to know that you’re at least generally on the same page. At least I think that that tends to make it easier to speak to those communities.
[WHITNEY]: Yes, a relationship is so important and like we already know that in the clinical world, but I think in the world of ministry it is so key because no one’s going to refer to you if they don’t trust you and believe that you can do it. But especially like in a church setting. And so having those relationships and talking about what you do, like everyone at my church knows that I’m a therapist, so then when something comes up, I’m getting clients through that and I don’t even really have to do anything other than to talk about the fact that this is what I do and that I love it
[JOE]: Well, we might talk about this when we talk about marketing to churches, but how do you, and if we’re going to talk about this in a future episode, then we can defer the question, but how do you avoid that dual relationship because no one wants to be in like a Bible study with their therapist, and especially if you’re in a smaller church, how does that work for you or even when you advise people and do consult [inaudible 00:10:04]?
[WHITNEY]: Yes, that’s a really good question and we have to ask ourselves that question all the time. So, part of it is definitely being surrounded by other counselors that are likeminded so that we can kind of talk about it and that when I do have a decision to come up like, “Oh, should I take this client? Should I not?” We can kind of discuss that because sometimes our little critical hearts want to reach out and take them all, you know, and help them all. And that’s really probably not best for you or your client. That is one of the reasons I did a group practice because I was getting referrals from a church and I couldn’t see all of them or I didn’t want to see them because I didn’t want to see them on a Sunday morning and that could get kind of weird. So, I’m able to refer them to the other clinicians in the practice, and it’s also great because the organizations that they attend, they can send clients to me. So, we’re kind of going back and forth in that way, but yes, you have to be super careful and I always suggest don’t see them. If it’s someone that you would speak to a church, don’t even try to see them.
[JOE]: Yes. If you want to have them over at a potluck, probably not. So, if you guys are looking for more resources, we’re going to have webinars, we’re going to have an email course. We’re going to have a number of different things. Head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/faithinpractice. Our most current resources will be there. I don’t want to tell you what they are right now because if you listen in the future, then it might not be the next thing. So, we are going to have what exactly is there right now at the end of this podcast, but if you hear it in the future head on over to ‘faithinpractice’; is our forward slash for Practice of the Practice. Tomorrow we’re talking about setting the vision for your faith-based practice. We’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Whitney, that was such a fun interview there and we have a webinar coming up on November 12th, 2019 at two o’clock Eastern, one o’clock central, 12 mountain, and 11 Pacific. It’s all about faith and practice where you’re going to go deeper talking all about these issues, but then adding more or doing some Q&A. What sort of things are you excited about in regards to this webinar?
[WHITNEY]: Yes, well, I’m excited to answer your questions. I know that starting a practice and growing your practice is not only a lot of questions but then when you’re specifically talking about how do I make my space a part of that, we’re talking about a whole new world. So being able to kind of meet people where they are in that and specifically address this.
[JOE]: Yes, so if you want to register for that webinar, head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/faithinpractice. And when you do that, you’ll go right to that registration page and if you happen to miss that webinar, we’re going to redirect to something awesome in the future and maybe the email series and maybe future webinars. So, if you heard this after November 2019 fear not. There are lots of resources there for you to talk about ‘Faith in Practice’.
Also special thanks to Therapy Notes as a sponsor of this podcast. You can get two free months of Therapy Notes. Just use promo code [JOE]. And we love the band. Silence is Sexy. Thank you for that intro music. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, the guests, or the sponsors are rendering, legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.