I’m addicted to stats. I hated them in undergraduate and graduate school, but I really have fallen in love with them. Actually, it’s started to cause some issues. I found myself checking my phone and computer over and over to see the numbers.
I’m actually getting help, not so much going to a therapist for my stats addiction, but setting boundaries. I’ll get into that later.
Why you need to get addicted
So maybe I’ve gone overboard, not maybe, I have gone overboard. But after months maybe even years of dreaming, planning, writing, and thinking about this blog and my private practice, I feel like that sweat equity is starting to pay off. Here are some of the hunches I had in the past and the results I am now seeing:
Designing a good website with great customer service will lead to more clients. Being a “expert” in my community will lead to more clients. Asking clients what they like/don’t like will lead to more commitment in therapy and internal referrals
I am currently full and have brought on another counselor and hope to bring on another counselor soon. I made twice as much in 2012 as I did in 2011 by working only about 30% more.
Launching a website around private practice topics that gives away a lot of free information will lead to more visits and loyalty, and when those counselors want to grow more, they will work with me.
On April 16, 2013 I launched Practice of the Practice. There were 122 visits to the site in April (most of which we probably me). Within two months I was hovering around 1,000 visits per month. I’m still trying to figure out how to grow it even more.
Publishing a podcast would help with SEO and drive more traffic to the website.
I’ve had 167 downloads of the podcast this month and 275 overall. More people are going to the website. As soon as I launched the podcast, I ranked on the front page of Google, Bing, and Yahoo for the search term “counseling private practice.”
Writing two e-books would help build passive income with the infrastructure in place.
I’ve only made a few hundred dollars for the hours and hours of work that I put in to writing them. I’m not saying it doesn’t serve some value, but it has been an underwhelming experience.
What does this all mean?
When I create something that has fueled a passion, part of doing the creative process is the process itself. However, in business, I have think about how well my time is being spent. This is especially true having a young family, a wonderful wife and daughter, and with the medical concerns I have dealt with/am dealing with.
I want my time to be the most effective and profitable, while also being fulfilling and exciting. As a result, I watch my statistics carefully. If I find that the podcast is bringing in 10x the traffic and income as my e-book, I will put more time into podcasting. Whereas, if no one downloads it and it doesn’t help with SEO, then why would I keep doing it?
It’s exciting when things start to take off.
Here are the basics stats you should have as part of your overall review of your private practice:
- Google Analytics: You need to set up a Google Analytics account to know how, why, and where people are going on your website. As a direct result of this, I have changed some of my strategies. For example, I saw that some othe top ways that people were coming to my website was through Googleing “how to name a private practice” or other variations of that. I was ranking on the front page, without even trying! So, I wrote another article, to try and drive more traffic to the website. I never would have known that without Google Analytics.
- Amazon Associates: If you are recommending books, Amazon can give you a commission for any product you recommend and the person buys in addition to that product. You can then see how many clients are following through on your recommendations
- Any time you start something new: You should have some sort of automated measurement to track success. Sometimes it takes some thinking, but there is usually a way.
Give your brain a break
Once you have all of these statistics set up to know how efficient your marketing efforts are, you’ll be able to have a quick snapshot whenever you want.
That’s the problem.
Most of these numbers only mean something after a period of time. It doesn’t matter so much that yesterday I had 49 podcast downloads and today I have 27, it may be exciting or disappointing, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is whether over time, is my audience growing? Are more people coming to my website and becoming clients and getting the help they need?
The major trap is that it feels like work when I check my stats. But it is not. It only helps if I do something with that knowledge and if that knowledge is actually worth using.
I know that I still struggle with checking daily (sometimes multiple times a day) how my e-book, e-newsletter, podcast, etc. are doing statistically, but really, this is only distracting me from taking an extra 10-15 minutes working on something else that could actually generate income.
My first step is to write about looking at stats too often. Now you know and you can ask me how I’m doing. Secondly, I am starting to create more boundaries, such as doing no work on Saturdays and putting my cell phone on the counter when I’m playing with my daughter. They are small steps, but I hope to form habits that will help me be both efficient and a great dad.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is working to reduce how often he checks the statistics for his businesses. He owns Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City, MI and www.PracticeofthePractice.com. He is also the author of Mental Wellness Parenting | A remarkably simple approach to making parenting easier. To link to Joe’s Google+ .