John Clarke Has a Private Practice Workshop and Some Questions | PoP 242

John Clarke from Private Practice Workshop

In this episode, Joe Sanok speaks with John Clarke, in a reverse podcast, who has a Private Practice Workshop and some questions.

Podcast Sponsor


Brighter Vision is a turnkey website solution designed to help health professionals attract more clients and thrive on the web. We offer health professionals the entire package. Amazing website templates crafted by design professionals, lifetime support, Search Engine Optimization and more! Unlike other companies, we don’t just give you a template and send you on your merry way. When you become part of the Brighter Vision family, we custom build you a website on one of our frameworks, adding your unique colors, fonts, textures and images to make it 100% unique to your practice.

Sign up here and use the promo code ‘Joe’ to get one month free.

Meet John Clarke

I’m a licensed psychotherapist and a private practice expert. I’ve built thriving practices from the ground up in San Francisco, CA and Charlotte, NC.

In building my current practice, I had 6 private-pay clients booked for the first day that my doors were open.



In This Podcast


In this reverse podcast with John Clarke, from Private Practice Workshop, Joe gives tips and advice on how to market your private practice. These include how to incorporate storytelling in your marketing, how to determine what phase of private practice you’re in, as well as how to determine your ideal client.

Storytelling Through Marketing

Storytelling is really important due to a concept known as ‘neuro-mirroring’. This involves the same part of the listeners brain lighting up as that of the storyteller’s. Good marketing is good storytelling. We should be aspirational in our marketing.

Instead of promoting yourself, promote what your clients want. For example, write blog posts around solving people’s pains. This will give them insight into a counseling session with  you.

It’s normal to feel like an imposter. Consider thinking what education you need to further yourself in your field. Furthermore, the more your repeat certain activities, the more comfortable you will become in doing them, i.e.: raising your rates. Also make sure you identify who your ideal client is and stick to only counseling them.

Step back and ask yourself: “What do I want to achieve as a private practice owner?” or “How do I want to influence my community?” Don’t let your emotions run your decisions.

“Move forward in the absence of perfect information.”

Three Phases of Private Practice

  • Start-up phase:
    •  $0-50k
    • Boot-strapping
  • Growth phase
    • $50-100k
    • Outsource
  • Scale phase
    • $100k & over
    • Automation

Analyzing Your Marketing

Make use of A/B testing to see what marketing efforts work better than others. Always be aware of the ROI (return on investment) for all marketing efforts.

Knowing who you want to attract through your marketing – your ideal client – is really important. Make sure you are connected to the people your ideal client is connected to. Have general brand awareness through advertising through your local radio / newspaper, etc. If you don’t have enough clients, your marketing is not working. If not, you’ll need to explore new avenues.

“Ask yourself, what is the function of this and is it scalable?”

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.




Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

File: POP 242 – John Clarke Has A Private Practice Workshop And Some Questions
Duration: 0:36:47
[START OF PODCAST] [MUSIC] [SPONSOR TALK] Having anxiety with your website should never happen. Creating your website is a milestone for your private practice and should be celebrated like one. My friends and colleagues over at Brighter Vision know the situation all too well and have come up with a process to make your website experience as easy, fluid and enjoyable as possible. Trusted by thousands of therapists around the world, Brighter Vision is the website solution that your private practice needs. As a gift to my listeners, Brighter Vision is offering a month off of their services. Go over to to get one month free off your Brighter Vision subscription.


This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session #242.

[MUSIC] [WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS] Joe Sanok: It has been a theme recently with a number of my consulting clients supposed to be either don’t know, I do, one-on-one consulting that also has some Mastermind groups. And first I should say, welcome. Welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. I am Joe Sanok, here with the radio center two building in downtown Traverse City. Really, really glad that you are here. Anyway, so there has been this theme amongst my consulting clients and it’s been that like their summers are slower than normal. For a lot of my consulting clients in the past, once with thriving practices, they still had dynamic summers. But we have even seen here at Mental Wellness Counseling that it’s been a little bit slower. And you know what, there’s a signal that things are about to change here in Northern Michigan. It’s when it starts to get chilly. And this morning, I had on my jacket. It was just like a kinda cool suit jacket, but not like a fancy suite jacket. Just to stay little bit warmer. And I was thinking about how seasons in Michigan are just so strong. You know, we have summer in which really the hotness of summers kicks in mid to late June. And then right now, as I record this, it’s late August. So we really get like two solid months of summer. And it’s always a shock to us when the seasons change because it happens really quickly. And it’s like my bones already hurt. I don’t want it to be cold and I know I choose to live here. But with consulting clients, I have noticed that in summer a lot of people are going vacation. They travel. Therapy is not as much of a priority. So in my PoP Culture group which is the private Facebook group just for people that have done consulting with me, we have been talking a lot about what you do during those times as we have taking about reaching out to all the clients and just checking in. We have talked about how reaching out to all referral sources, just getting your year of blogging done, so you don’t have to worry about it. So really productively using that time. And one thing that successful multi six figure practices do is they look at their income on an annual basis so that they know kinda annually how much they are going to make, so that if they have a slow month it’s not big like punching the face. Instead, it’s an opportunity to work on the practice. So if you know that you’re going to have nine months where you just like kick by, then make sure you take your money and spread it out over 12 months so that in the summertime if you have had slow summers, then you can work on things and not feel bad about it or take vacation and not feel bad about it. To base your income on say 46 weeks a year, 44 weeks a year then allows you to kind of know, okay, here’s so much I need to grow during those heavy weeks. Here’s so much I don’t need to grow. It can really be helpful to kind of think through that. And then you can find really innovative things that you can do during the summer that makes rest of year when you are doing counseling still lot easier.

Well, today for the show it’s a reverse interview. I was on the Private Practice Workshop Podcast. It used to be called the Marketing Workshop Podcast with John Clarke definitely one of the rising podcast in the world of counseling and marketing. I met John in person at Slow Down School, and we had a week together. There was this one time when we were doing improv. I was up late, and Jeremy Sharp and Diana – we were are up late, just like having some wine and chatting. We realize that John and I both really like improv. I have actually thought about going to like an improv troop locally. I thought that would be fun when the girls are a little bit older, and Jeremy and Diana came up with these, like, characters and then John and I only knew what our character was and we were driving in a car together and had to like play these characters. So I was a former football coach whose son wanted to be an interpretive dancer, and John was a 15-year-old on the autism spectrum that was obsessed with butterflies and video games. And as you can imagine, this was a rather entertaining improv, but it was one of those moments that just the four of us got to experience at Slowdown School. So without any further ado, I give you John Clarke and I’m having a conversation.

[MUSIC] [INTERVIEW – THE STARTING] John Clarke: All right, Joe Sanok is on the show with us. Joe I am so excited to have you and I know our listeners are excited as well. How is it going today?

Joe Sanok: It’s going great. How about you John?

John Clarke: It’s going well. So Joe, I am actually going to be seeing you pretty soon in person at Slow Down School in Michigan which I am… been really looking forward to and it’ll be the first time I met you in person.

Joe Sanok: I know. It’s so weird. I feel like I have all these connections with people that I have never physically met in person, and I am so excited to meet. A bunch of my consulting clients are coming to the conference, but then even Jamie Jay from Slapshot Studio is coming and I have never met him in person, but I feel like I already had these relationships with people. I do have these relationships with people before we’ve even met in person.

John Clarke: Sure. It speaks to the power of having an online presence, right? Or even… you know, I have been a listener of your podcast for quite some time, and when I first had a consult call with you, it was like, oh, I already know you. I know about your life. I kind of know what to expect and that’s all intentional. That’s all kind of the power of podcasting and having online presence.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, and I think that even with my clients in my private practice, so many of them say, I feel like I already know you before they even come in because I think the average consumer is now is doing a ton of research before they even come into a practice. And so whether it’s me doing my blog and podcast for the consulting side of what I do or just in regards to what I do for Mental Wellness Counseling, I know that clients are really researching the heck out of me before they come in to see me.

[STORYTELLING THROUGH MARKETING] John Clarke: Sure. Joe, you have been doing this quite a while and you are without a doubt one of the top consultants in the country. Something I noticed you doing is that you always seem to include a personal note, or even an anecdote or little story that kind of leads into the content of whatever it is you are diving into. Why do you do that? Why do you make that a point to do that? Why is that so important?

Joe Sanok: Yeah, it’s kind of part of who I just am in general, but then when I read the book, “The Storyteller’s Secret,” that really helped me understand even more the power of story and why we are naturally drawn to story. What happens when I tell a story is the parts of your brain that light up or the same parts of my brain as I tell the story. So there is this thing called narrow mirroring where you feel this connection when someone is telling a story because you know the people that listen to stories and knew where the tigers were and they knew where the lions were and they knew where the food was, and they set on a campfire, you know, thousands and thousands of years ago. Those people that paid attention to those stories and got those details were the ones those survived, and so naturally we still get around a campfire and tell stories that campfire may look like the MacBook that I am looking at right now as I talk to you. But even as we tell stories, that idea of light and then stories happens all around us. You think about a movie theater. We are all huddled around a bright shining light and we are hearing a story. And so deep inside of us is this idea that we learn through story. And I feel like that’s why whether it’s like interviews like this or just saying here’s what’s going on my life, it creates a personal connection, but it also makes it that people say, okay, something is happening here that’s going to help me out. And I want people to feel that when they hear the podcast.

John Clarke: Yeah, and that leads really well into one of our kind of main points for today, which is, you know I want to really help demystify marketing for therapists and kind of take the sting out of that word. You are talking about the importance of stories and in a way I think good marketing is good storytelling, right?

Joe Sanok: Absolutely. I think when people think about marketing, they often think about kind of trying to sell people on something that they don’t want. So for example, when I was in college, all my friends started selling this new tech gadget. And I was like, “Oh, I want to make money off of that too.” And that tech gadget was a vacuum cleaner that we sold door to door. And it was terrible. I didn’t believe in this $2000 vacuum cleaner. I had to like drive my minivan around subdivisions and just knock on people’s doors, holding this stupid thing around. I did not care about the product. It was terrible. It was just ridiculous. It was overpriced and I hated it. Like that’s what I thought marketing was. It was, you have got a product that’s $2000 vacuum that you don’t like. It’s really heavy. It’s really not worth $2000 and I got to try to sell somebody on it. That’s what we think of, when we think about marketing. But I think good marketing is exactly the opposite. It does two things. I think it represents who you are and who you want to be as a practice. But even more so, it is aspirational for your client. So good marketing will show your client what’s on the other side of counseling. So when I see a website, for example, that has all these sad people on it and people fighting, and a couple that has their back to each other, and kids that are having a temper tantrum – people already know their kids have temper tantrums, people already know they are distant from their spouse or their partner. We want to be aspirational in our marketing saying, no, the is hope for you. Let me show you some pictures that look cool and hip and really show you that life can be better for you, that you can enjoy time with your spouse. You can enjoy times with your kids, that you can be happier. And through counseling, we can help make that happen. And so, for example, on Mental Wellness Counseling’s page, we decided intentionally to have an Instagram look. This was probably four years ago when we got really big update done. And we wanted to have that kind of over-filtered look that was people on the beach and having fun and connected to each other – so that it spoke to, we want you to be healthier. We want you to find happiness. We want to help you of a plan for your life, instead of all the kind of negative ads or negative pictures that a lot of people pick just for their website as an example.

John Clarke: So that’s a paradigm shift for us, right? And you are really speaking to the results of therapy. And I think it’s interesting because a lot of amazing companies do this as well. They are connected to their why, to their purpose and also they are able to explain how their product will change your life in a positive way.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, and I think that… I was just listening to a podcast this morning, Donald Miller StoryBrand Podcast…

John Clarke: Oh yeah, he is great.

Joe Sanok: He is amazing, yeah. And he was interviewing. I forgot who he was interviewing, but it was a writer from Hollywood. And they were talking about Steve Jobs and Apple – which is often the go to for a lot of these stories because they did such a good job – where they were explaining how we don’t really know where we end and our product begins because if I pick up my phone or if I… for example, two weeks ago, my phone just died. I did factory resets, all of it, it just would not come back. And for two days, I didn’t have a phone. And I felt so disoriented. I felt like how am I going to text my wife when I am leaving the office. How I am going to get things done? How am I going to take Square payments in my practice? So the extension of where do I began and where does my phone end, it really has become blurry. And so good products integrate with our lives where we say our life would be really different if this was in our life. And so that’s not that we try to manipulate that in counseling. But if we say, wow, if I during that really rough patch didn’t have my counselor, I don’t know how would I have got through that. They gave me such great coping skills. They really taught me some amazing things. They made me a better person and they saw something in me that I hadn’t yet seen in myself. Like, that’s what counseling does and that’s what is inspirational, but it is also aspirational in our marketing.

[STRUGGLES AND PHASES IN PRIVATE PRACTICE] John Clarke: Yeah, absolutely. I find that lot of therapists have a hard time just kind of embracing that. When we are marketing ourselves, we are marketing a product and that product happens to be yourself. Right? Or happens to be 50 minute with you. Why do therapists struggle with just kind of owning that and really being able to look at themselves more objectively like that?

Joe Sanok: Well, I think that the best companies – not just counseling companies, but just companies in general – they have their product, but it’s always about the buyer. It’s always about the consumer and who they are and what they want, and it’s not, “Our product is number one. We are amazing. Come to us because we just kick by all the time.” Like, nobody cares about that. But if it’s, you can kick by all the time, you can be number one, you can have a better family – that’s where really, I think, the good marketing happens. So when we look to how do I stop promoting myself, which a lot of us feel uncomfortable with anyway, and how do I start promoting what my client wants, and creating content around that. So if you help couples, for example, that are going through a rough patch, running blog posts about how to get through that rough patch is really helpful and it’s also really good marketing because you are then demonstrating your skills through blogging that would happen in the counseling session, to give people kind of a peek into that counseling session. So the more that we are really giving people a taste of what it’s like to do counseling and not just doing self-promotion, but really who do you want to attract, what do they have as problems and struggles and who are they venting to. And then how do I make sure that I am in front of those people so that they refer people to me, that then helps us get more clients.

John Clarke: Hmm. Joe, what would you say to a, let’s say, someone in private practice who isn’t yet fully kind of bought into their own value and what they are providing or kind of who they are as a clinician, but they still want to grow, they still want to have a, you know, a thriving practice. How do you kind of get people over that hurdle?

Joe Sanok: Well, I always start with it’s normal to feel like an imposter…

John Clarke: Sure.

Joe Sanok: There’s times that I interview people on the podcast and I am just like how am I even here. Like, you know, a lot of people would probably say, wow, Joe, you have a great podcast. Like I can’t believe you ever think of being an imposter. So I think first I start with, that is very normal. That we all have that internal dialogue and there’s certain times that comes out more. So someone leaves a nasty Facebook comment on your personal page or on your business page. And it sends you into some mental tailspin that takes you back to eight grade. So that’s normal. But then, I would want to look at well, what you have control over. Are you in a specialty area that you aren’t trained in or you need more training in. if you are helping couples and you haven’t been Gottman certified or you haven’t gone through EFT training or extra training, you probably should. That probably would be really helpful for you and for your clients. And so I then go to what education do you need to further help you. And if it’s, I already have, say Gottman level 2 and I still feel like I am incompetent, it may just be that you need to do more of that work. When we do new things, it’s really hard for us. And so the more you do it, the easier it gets. I was just talking to a consulting client yesterday, about raising his rates. And he has never raised his rates in, like, four years. And so he is really uncomfortable with that right now. But I said to him, you know, I raise my rates two or three times a year for new clients. The more you do it, the easier it’s going to get for you. And it’s true. The more you do it, the easier it’s going to get. So I would say, it’s normal. Get some skills and then just keep doing it over and over. And then lastly, really thinking, are you attracting the kind of people that you want to attract to your practice. Because there are certain types of clients that are harder for you to work with. They are outside of who you want to work with. They really burn you out and maybe should only have 2 or 3 of those clients instead of 15. And so really understanding who do you want to attract to your practice I would say is the fourth part that I would really emphasize people thinking about.

John Clarke: Yeah, absolutely. So it’s really important to… we’re not awaiting for that impostor feeling to go away completely. We are kind of moving forward along with that feeling. Right? And I think that’s where a lot of people get hung up, is kind of that we as therapist we want to feel congruent. We place a lot of emphasis on that, and yet we have to kind of push through those feelings and realize that when we push through them, when we raise our rates, when we kind of put ourselves out there, eventually the feelings kind of catch up to the action.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. I mean it’s a whole fake it until you make it kind of thing.

John Clarke: Yeah, that’s it.

Joe Sanok: I was going through cancer treatment in 2012 and I was down at this hospital in Texas, and on the day that I was supposed to go in for my first appointment, my wife and my daughter were there with me, but they got sick. So I had to go all alone to all these first appointments, and then during the billing coordinated of the first person I met with made this insensitive comment towards me and I was in this like mental tailspin. And I remember going down to get blood test done and thinking like what would I tell my clients to do. And I like, okay, tell them fake until you make it. Have some gratitude here and take some deep breath. So I said [Inaudible0:18:01.29] let’s see if this counselor stuff works. So I take some deep breaths and I’m like, what do I have to be grateful for? So I have insurances covering the most of this in Network. We saved up money, so we don’t have to have a spaghetti dinner. We are in a good place financially and outside of this, things are going pretty well. And then I started looking around and saw how bad people’s cancer really was. And you know people there were missing hair or this guy was missing a jaw or this couple came in and I couldn’t tell which of them had cancer. And you know when we allow our emotions to lead things versus stepping back and saying, what do I want to achieve as the owner of a practice. What do I want to have is my impact on my community and influence on my community? That makes it a lot easier to fake until you make it, when we really have a clear vision for where we are headed. Whereas when we just let our emotions kinda take us through things, that makes it a lot hard because we get paralyzed by perfection. All through grad school, we have to write papers and we polish them and we polish them until they are perfect and then we turn them in, and then we get a pass/fail grade. And that’s really not how business is. The things that got us through grad school are the exact opposite of what we need in business. We need to try things. We need to do experiments. Some of those will fail. Some will succeed, and really it’s one of those things that we just have to keep moving forward and have imperfect actions rather than perfect inaction. I think about it like my [Inaudible0:19:23.29] 2-year-old and 6-year-old both are singing like all the time. And they loved the ‘Finding Dory’ movie recently. In that [Inaudible0:19:32.5] like Just Keep Swimming thing. That’s so true for life too. That with our business is like just keep moving forward, just keep swimming and you are going to figure things out as you go. And you will be moving faster than you expect.

John Clarke: Absolutely. It really is about… years ago when I took the GRE, the mentor or the tutor whatever told us we are working these problems, these math problems, where it’s like you’ve got to go, you know, 15 miles and that’s how many kilometers. It’s one of those problems where you just don’t have all the information and you are sitting there, you are raising your hand. You are like, hey, you know there is something wrong here. Like I don’t have all the information I need. And his thing was he would just keep saying move forward in the absence of perfect information and he didn’t know that I was a therapist. So I am like thinking that actually applies so much not only in my client work and I even used that little anecdote with clients, but also with therapists. Right? It is about continuing to move forward despite not having complete information. I find that so many therapists have a hard time just making decisions in their practice. And when we look at marketing, there is so many decisions to make, right – whether it’s… even having a marketing budget which I know a lot of therapists just don’t have, they don’t think about. But then just wondering, okay, why don’t I invest my time and again, which tasks do I take on myself. I see this kind of split between therapist who are pretty ambitious and they are willing to learn new platforms themselves, like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads or something like that. And other folks just say I want to have nothing to do with that, but I’ll pay some more. I just want to focus on seeing my clients, right? How do you help therapists make those decisions?

Joe Sanok: Yeah. I think first you need to look at what phase of practice you are in. There is really only three phases. There’s your startup phase, when you kind of bootstrapping it. You are trying to learn everything. You have to wear multiple hats. That usually takes you up to about $50,000 gross. So really during that phase, you want to focus in your ideal client and you really want to kind of learn as much as you can about things in the practice. Next, you got kind of your growth phase which is where you are going up to about $100,000 and you are really looking at how do I better optimize my time? Is it worth it for me to put time into managing Facebook Ads or is it worth it for me to outsource that to someone? Should I add clinicians to the practice so that I can start to grow a little bit more, and then really at the $100,000, that’s when you move into the scaling phase. And you’re really looking at how do I remove myself from the practice from all of the non-essentials. So if you’re still answering the phone, if you’re still doing the scheduling, if you are still doing your insurance billing, if you are running some of your marketing, if you are designing everything, like that’s not scalable. So either finding other people’s services or technology that can take those things off your plate is where you really need to move through in the scaling. So it depends on which phase you are at. But once we figure that out, when someone is at somewhere in the middle, maybe they are in the growth phase, I think it is important to understand what you want to do because a lot of people will take your money. And if you don’t have a general understanding of what’s going on, those just keep taking your money and you may not get any results.

John Clarke: Sure.

[ANALYZING MARKETING IN PRIVATE PRACTICE] Joe Sanok: As well you want to look at what kind of data you can get from the system, but then outside of the system. So looking at your Facebook analytics, but then also looking at are you seeing a jump on that page that you are sending people to on your Google Analytics. So being able to understand what you want to get out of it, then saying okay, now that I have kind of got going or I have a general working idea, now I can outsource it.

John Clarke: You always… I hear you talk a lot about kind of looking at the numbers, right? And I think that’s such a valuable kind of tool for therapist and something that were not necessarily inclined to naturally in the work that we do and what drew us to this work. Why is it so important to look at the numbers in order to make decisions?

Joe Sanok: Well, let me give you a practical example why it’s important. So couple of years ago, it was like November I think. I decided that I wanted to do a New Year’s ad. And so I reached out to the Traverse City Business News and the Traverse City women’s magazine. And I said to them, “All right. I have $500 that I am willing to put into advertising in your magazine, and I am also going to be putting $500 into this other magazine. I told me them the name of the magazine. What can you give me for $500? So I said to them whichever ones wins, whichever one helps me get more clients, I am more likely to reinvest in. And so both of them gave me a bigger ad, they gave me an email to their email list and like a small digital ad, whereas usually for 500 bucks, you got a small ad in the paper and that’s it. So from that, then I had what’s called an A/B test. So I have two different marketing campaigns going on at once. And then when I got new clients, I would ask them, how did you hear about me. And one of them said , well I saw that New Year’s ad about goals in the Traverse City Business News. And we decided that we would schedule an appointment with you. And then the Traverse City women’s magazine, I didn’t get anybody. So right there, even though it’s just one person that I paid a $1000 total to get, they came – I want to say – 20 times or something like that, and were paying a $150 per session. And so I more than made my money back. And so then I know that theoretically if I do this over time and I can look at those numbers, I may know that for every $500 I put into an ad, I am likely to get at least one new client. And so when you have that…

John Clarke: You are talking about ROI, return on the investment?

Joe Sanok: Right, right. So then if you have just kind of a general working knowledge of that, you don’t have to be like a business major anything like that, but just to know if I put in $5 into Facebook Ads per day over a month, so over that 30 days, you are spending a 150 bucks. I am probably going to get somebody out of that and they are going to come from more than one session, well that’s paid for itself. And so those numbers then inform you on how to best use your marketing money, but also how to save time. So I am not just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

John Clarke: So you mentioned A/B testing in there and I think that’s a really important concept that can be applied to whatever platform you are using. Can you tell us a little bit about what A/B testing is and why it’s so important in your marketing?

Joe Sanok: Sure. A/B testing is basically just running two types of ads at the same time. So could be that you run a Facebook Ad and you have two different pictures, and you looked to see which one’s clicked on the most, or you might run a Facebook Ad for a month for a $100 and a Google Ad for a month for a $100 and see which one works best. So really it’s just have two different things that you are running against each other. And then typically what you want to do is you want to keep whichever one worked and run something new against it. So say Facebook Ads, I spent 100 bucks in a month and I get a new client. Sweet, I am happy about that, and Google maybe I didn’t get anybody. So the next time I run something maybe I will run another $100 ad on either another platform, and might be in the newspaper, might do on Pandora, like… I am going to then look at what would be something else I can test against what is now the established marketing that worked. And then look at those numbers. And so then you are refining where you are spending your marketing money rather than just guessing.

John Clarke: So one of the things I wanted to talk to you about is this idea of how do you know if your marketing is working or out of the different efforts that you are making, how do you know what’s working and where should you continue to invest your time and money. And I think it’s also important to look at the different kind of goals of marketing, one being something like brand recognition, right? Or if you are running Facebook Ads, people aren’t necessarily going to Facebook to find the next therapist. But when your brand is there, you have a blog post there, and they get familiar with it, and then when they start to look for a therapist and they find you on Google or whatever it is, you already have that kind of rapport with them or that recognition. Then you have other kind of short or fast-acting marketing strategies, things that are really intended to convert. Things like Google AdWords or where there is a clear call to action, you are wanting to convert these potential leads into new clients. But how do you know if your marketing is working?

Joe Sanok: Yeah, so first they step back and look at sketching out the ideal client. We really want to know who we want to attract before we start attracting people. And so specializing, knowing who you want to attract… I even have my consulting clients, give that person a name and age. Really what are the struggles and pains that they are dealing with? Who are they venting to about those struggles and pains and then making sure that I am connected to those people that are connected to my ideal client. So if they are going to vent to a pastor or a yoga teacher or someone at the PTA, I want to be in front of those places. So first you kind of got to backup and decide, who is your ideal client and who are you trying to attract to the practice. And then I think you are absolutely right. That then you wanted to be doing that kind of general brand building and that can be through writing for your local paper, that can be being on local radio. There’s a lot of ways to just have that general brand awareness and then you want to do that specialized advertising. But your question about how do you know if it’s working – I mean I think the bottom line is do you have enough clients or do you not have enough clients?

John Clarke: Yeah, that’s correct. It’s super simple. Right?

Joe Sanok: It’s not working if you don’t have enough clients, if you aren’t busy as you want to be. If you are busier than you want to be and you are looking at well, do I refer people out or do I add clinicians, then your marketing is probably working. You should continue doing that. We can get really wrapped up into numbers, but in everything I do I ask myself what’s the function of this and also is this scalable. So you don’t want to create things, like even the guy that I was talking to yesterday that was looking at his rates. He was going to have like a rate sheet and all these other things that kind of went over the rates. And I am like if you change your rates, you now have to update like five different places, like forget that. Like I want you to be [Inaudible0:29:42.18] spend your time in things better than that. So we want to step back and say, what’s the function of this? If you have numbers, just have numbers, forget that. But if you have enough clients that’s a pretty intuitive way to know if your marketing is working.

John Clarke: What’s so nice and convenient about a lot of these digital marketing platforms are that you can turn them on and off, right? Depending on how your practice is kind of waxing and waning, right?

Joe Sanok: Yeah, I really like it. I can run a Facebook Ad. Actually right now, we are running one. Our budget is $1000 for the month, which is a lot of money, but for a group practice if I get one or two new clients into the group, like we’ve made that back. But if all of a sudden we get five new clients in day two, I can just turn that off and say, okay, that worked really well or if it’s not working I can say I want to increase the budget. I want to increase the daily amount. I can shorten the periods or maybe I say, okay, we are not getting as many clicks as I thought we would. Let’s have every two weeks and we will have that $1000 be in two weeks, instead of spread out over a month. And so, it’s really agile how you can work through these online platforms. But it’s important to know how to do that. Because if you say, set up a $50 a day ad, and you forget about it and then three months later, you are like where all my money go because I forgot to turn off an ad. Like Facebook is not going to give you that money back. So you really want to be clear that you know how to turn it off or set kind of that time limit. I never do the ongoing on Facebook, because I know I might get distracted and forget, just like you do it.

John Clarke: (laugh) So you’ve got to have a basic understanding of the platform, right? Enough to kind of get started to know which metrics are important to be looking at, but you know the reality is you try something and you watch it, right? You kind of test the performance or you run an A/B test for a couple of different ads and you adjust. Right?

Joe Sanok: Yes.

John Clarke: You don’t have to know absolutely everything, but you just need to know enough to make these decisions as to, okay, is this a worthwhile investment right now or is this something that’s… it’s not really working or me. The other thing I heard with your Facebook Ads, you know, on one hand you can look at it as how many, again, converted leads do I get. How many clients are coming in the door, saying hey, saw your Facebook Ad. But then also looking at impressions and again going back to brand recognition and saying, okay, well, a 1000 or 1100 people actually saw the AdWords, whether they clicked on it or not, and the Mental Wellness Counseling logo is in their mind somewhere, right? You are getting that brand recognition and it’s… so it’s less tangible, but it is out there. Right? It is still doing something.

Joe Sanok: What’s great about it is if you set it up in Facebook, for example, to only pay when someone clicks on it, then you’ve got all these impressions that you didn’t even have to pay for. And so you want to make sure that you know what your goal is for the advertising too. But I think you are absolutely right – that even if you don’t necessarily get clients from it, you are building that brand by doing some of the advertising.

[SUMMING IT UP] John Clarke: Joe, you have just packed so much value into this interview as I knew you would (laugh). I take you’ve had your coffee this morning?

Joe Sanok: I have [Inaudible0:32:48.16] through. I usually [Inaudible0:32:49.0] one of my mugs though that like keeps like keeps it superhot. So every time I sip it, I am like surprised, like wow, that was warmer than I thought.

John Clarke: It’s like at the first set every time, right?

Joe Sanok: No, seriously, it’s…

John Clarke: Well, I had a cup and a half, just so I can match your energy this morning.

Joe Sanok: (laugh) Well, thank you, John.

John Clarke: So, you know, I thought of you. Mm-hmm. So how do you.. just a kind of summing it up and kind of bringing home, again, I think therapists really struggle with what to do next. Right? Or they are going to listen to this episode and go, wow, there is a ton of things I can take from this. There is so much I can do and I want to try out based on what Joe has said. But I also don’t want to get overwhelmed because then I just back off the whole thing. Or go, I can’t do this. I can’t do private practice. It sounds expensive. Right? So, how do you really boil it down for us today and maybe just throw out some really concrete actionable tips for what people can do next.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, I think people take on too much at once, and then you don’t really know what works. So I would really encourage people to start with one thing at a time. And so if you want to do Facebook Ads, dive into that, set up a time in your week that kind of, it’s a re-occurring thing. You are going to learn Facebook Ads, you are going to go in there, you are going to master it and then you are going to figure out how to outsource it or automate it. Instead of taking on, okay, I need to be on Instagram and Twitter and I need to be blogging, really pick one thing that you are going to work on at a time. I have done this since 2012 when I launched Practice of the Practice and the first year was all about just learning about blogging, writing and then I launched the podcast in 2013. I really wanted to launch the podcast earlier than that, but it wasn’t like, I didn’t have a good habit around blogging at. And so… I say you first want to just enter into one thing at a time really master it and then outsource as much of that you can. Because otherwise your plates are going to get so full and you are going to start to have clients and then you just going to drop the ball and a bunch of things. Rather than, oh, I now don’t have time for Facebook Ads. I need to either outsource that, stop doing it, or somehow automate it a little bit more. And so in regards to how to do that, really simple tip in my phone. I use the notes section. I have a today list and a sum day list. So there is always something you can be working on in your practice and so put that on the sum day list. Don’t work on it today. Just look every day the beginning of your day. What are the two or things I have to do today to keep moving that needle forward? And so that might be, I am going to write one blog post today, I am going to learn about SEO little bit more, I am going to research, yeah, local counselors and then I am going to do counseling with all of my clients. And so really just saying what’s my focus today and what can I realistically achieve today and then everything else I am giving myself permission to not even think about. I say that’s how I have been able to continue to make massive action, is by just being hyper-focused on one thing at a time.

John Clarke: That’s fantastic. Yeah, just such great advice there. Joe, this has been a lot of fun, and I am just so glad that you came on this show today. What’s the best way for listeners to get in touch with you and what do you have kind of going on right now that you want to tell folks about?

Joe Sanok: Yeah, yeah. I have a couple things going on right now that I think people might be interested in. I have been doing these – they are called World Changers Challenges. And so in June – before in June – we had a whole group of people. I think we had about 100 people that went through, that they had a big idea that they wanted to work on for a week and did a daily Facebook live in a small group. And then in September of 2017, the next World Changers Challenge, it is to write an e-book in a month. And so people want to sign up for that challenge. It’s totally free. I am going to be giving tips to people so that they can make an e-book that they can give away to their clients, that they can help change the world for the positive. So they can just sign up for that over at

John Clarke: Yeah, absolutely. We will put that on the show notes.

Joe Sanok: Okay. Awesome.

John Clarke: (background music) Joe, thanks again for being here and well, I will see you this weekend.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, I know. Right around the corner there.

John Clarke: Looking forward to it. Joe, thanks again.

Joe Sanok: Thanks a lot, John.

[MUSIC] [USEFUL LINKS ] Joe Sanok: Now we are a little bit into September already, but if you want to join that World Changers Challenge, you can over to Then you will get all the emails to go with it as well as the Facebook live that we will be sending out. And you can also go in Facebook and just search for World Changers Challenge, but you want to make sure you are on the email list, so that you are getting everything that comes with the challenge that we are doing together. And if you want to check out John’s podcast, it’s a killer podcast, it’s over at Really quality work he is doing. He has got some really cool things that he is coming up with that give solutions to therapist. And then again, thanks so much to Brighter Vision for being an ongoing sponsor of the Practice of the Practice podcast. We couldn’t do without our sponsors. If you need an affordable website that rocks and ranks high, head on over to, and just let him know that I sent you and they will hook you up. Have a great week. Thanks for letting me into yours ears and into your brain. Bye.


Joe Sanok: Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for the intermusic, and this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered, is given with the understanding that neither the host, the guest or the publisher surrender any legal, accounting or clinical information. If you need a professional, you should fine one. See you.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.