Q&A was part of Next Level Practice, the most supportive community for therapists starting a private practice. In this video, Joe answers the question based on how to build a private practice.
Teresa: Long story short, I am no longer at my previous job. So I am working full-time in private practice. We don’t have any clients yet, so would love suggestions for running full-time on building my practice.
Joe: So, tell me, you don’t have to go into all the details if you don’t want you about losing your job – sorry to hear that.
Teresa: Oh, it was a choice. There were some unethical things that were going on that I found out about – including that they weren’t paying me and things like that. So I needed to get out of there. Luckily, my husband is the main breadwinner and is super supportive of it. But, now I need to build up my practice.
Joe: Well, let’s start with, so you have no clients right now. But what kind of infrastructure do you have in place?
Teresa: I have my website. It needs a lot of altering, so I’m going to continue to work on that. I’m a little bit nervous about my niching. I work with women who are going through, or have experienced, divorce. So, that’s on my homepage. My fear is, with that being on my homepage, that people may click off if it doesn’t apply to them.
Joe: Okay, so I see your website here. So the first thing I want to start with was looking at your website, because that’s going to be one of the first points of entry. People usually find people either by knowing someone that knows you, so it could be a doctor, or a pastor, someone that is somehow connected to you, or just a Google search. So your website is going to be one of the first entry points.
Tips to Improve Website
Clear phone number: One thing that I would say is under your logo in the upper left, let’s put your phone number right there so it’s on every page in your header.
Break down services: Under services, I might build that out a little bit. So have a page that’s ‘individual counseling’, ‘couples counseling’, and ‘women’s counseling’. Break down some of the services you offer.
Don’t date blog posts: I would eliminate the date from the blog.
Blog topics: I would focus less on ‘what counseling is like’ and really focus on your ideal client. Like, ‘what is anxiety?’. And then, think about what all the things are that you could go into around anxiety and life transitions. Things like, ‘what to do when you find out your partner’s been sleeping around?’ So all the things before divorce, in the middle of divorce, after divorce – if that’s your specialty. I would, during this period of extra time, just create a ton of content there on the blog and then schedule it to go out at least weekly.
Avoid ‘double clicks’ to contact page: If I click on ‘take the step’ it takes me to ‘start the journey’. I would say ‘take the step’ should go right to your contact page, because that’s a double click, and you only really want one click.
Contact page: On your contact page, I would again start with who your ideal client is, before we even get to your phone number, etc.
Blogging and Internal Links
Teresa: I’m trying to figure out how to get traffic going to my website?
Joe: So, the first phase is we want to make sure your website looks good. Then, we really want to get blogging going, which is going to do a few things. It’s going to help you rank in Google, a lot better, with every blog post. As a rule of thumb, you want to link to three or four other pages on your website. So, if you have one that’s ‘what is anxiety?’, and you write three other blog posts, i.e.: one is ‘depression’ or ‘life transitions’ or ‘what to do when you find out that your husband’s been sleeping around’, you want to then link, based on whatever you’re trying to rank for, over to that page. So, if you’re trying to rank for ‘what to do after divorce’, you want to have the anchor text as ‘what to do after divorce’ to link to that page. Then, when you have five or six or seven blog posts all linking to that page saying ‘what to do after divorce’, then it’s going to rank higher in Google. Then, in your bio at the end of each blog post, you want to link back to your home page with things like ‘Charlotte counseling’, ‘Charlotte divorce counseling’, ‘post divorce counseling’ – a variety of words. Google doesn’t like it when you always have the same keyword you’re linking to the home page with.
Teresa: I’m also trying to network with other therapists. Sometimes, I don’t know whether it’s worth my time and money or not.
Joe: No, it’s definitely worth your time. I’d say now especially because you just lost that other source of income. I would do things like see if you can bring coffee to their office, or bring Kombucha tea to their office, rather than go out to a bunch of lunches. I would frame it around ‘I’d love to see your office and hear more about your practice to see, as I have clients, if they are an appropriate referral for you’. People are always interested in getting more referrals. So frame it around what’s in it for them.
Joe: Do you have a Psychology Today profile?
Teresa: I do.
Joe: Okay, are your first couple lines as clear as your About page was and do you have all your new pictures there?
Joe: Okay good. And what about your Google My Business, is that set up?
Teresa: I’ve had some issues with it, for whatever reason, the card never shows up at my door.
Joe: Okay, so I just keep working on trying to get that going. Then, as soon as you get verified, try to get as many people to rate and review – that aren’t clients, friend, colleagues, or family members – that just say that you’re a good quality person and they’re really excited about you having a business. I would also be doing a lot of Facebook Lives. So, pull out your ear buds and just go live and talk about a blog post you just wrote. You can use the same three points and then put a link to that blog post in the comment section.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC
Joe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI. To link to Joe’s Google+ .