Are you stumped for ideas on how to get people through the doors of your private practice? Ever wondered how successful private practice owners market their business? Do you know how to re-purpose content?
In this reverse podcast episode, Perry Rosenbloom asks Joe Sanok some difficult questions about running a private practice.
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Meet Perry Rosenbloom
Before founding Brighter Vision, Perry built a number of outdoor-oriented, Internet based businesses that currently send over $1,000,000 in annual sales to REI, Backcountry, Amazon and other major brands.
Perry Rosenbloom’s Story
Like every good startup story, Brighter Vision begins in a coffee shop. Pekoe Sip House, at 1225 Alpine Ave in Boulder, CO to be exact.
It was the Summer of 2008 and founder, Perry Rosenbloom, had just received his $300 stimulus check via George Bush’s stimulus check. Using that money, he bought 1 year of very expensive hosting and started a website on Glacier National Park, where he spent 2 summers working in a pizza shop through college.
Years later, it is the largest and must trusted independent website on Glacier National Park. The $300 stimulus check turned into a 5 figure website, which was used to bootstrap Brighter Vision.
In This Podcast
In this reverse podcast Perry Rosenbloom asks Joe Sanok some difficult questions about running a private practice, Joe reveals some techniques and tactics he has not spoken about anywhere else.
Getting Creative With Marketing
Have something that’s intriguing, a little weird and interesting.
Joe needed to get clients through the door so he started a promotion called ‘Dinner and a Counseling Session’. This afforded him the opportunity to get free marketing as a spin off from this one idea.
- Trend-jacking, find those things that are currently trending and curate your content around this
- Approach local newspapers/radion stations
- Host a talk at your local library
Things To Think About When Trying To Get Your Practice To 6 Figures
- Build your infrastructure and your systems
- Bootstrap as much as you can
- Make sure you’re using your time well
- Outsource your phones and schedule
- Look at the gaps in services
Content Creation Methods
Know who your ideal client is, what their pains are and what they want.
- Blog regularly – this helps with SEO
- Facebook live – Facebook favors this, you will reach a lot of people and you get comfortable with public speaking, it also helps you create content you can reuse
Re-purposing Content With Facebook Live
- Write down 3-5 points of what you want to address in the Facebook live
- Download the video and upload it to your YouTube Channel for your practice
- Pull the transcript from this YouTube video and convert it into a blog post on your website and embed your YouTube video
How To Share This Content
- Think about the things someone needs to know before they come to see you
- Create opt in’s on your website and build an email list
Increasing The Lifetime Value Of Your Client
Make sure to focus on giving ongoing support to your clients after they have finished their sessions.
What Type of Giveaway Is Ideal To Create For Your Website
- Think about how your audience consumes information
- Authoritative guides
If you’re growing and scaling a practice above $60k then click here to join Next Level Mastermind.
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!
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PERRY ROSENBLOOM ASKS JOE SANOK SOME DIFFICULT QUESTIONS ABOUT RUNNING A PRIVATE PRACTICE
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok – Session Number 318.
INTRODUCTION[JOE] Well, I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m so excited you’re here. If you’re new to this podcast, we’ve got tons of new people. We have doubled our numbers since the beginning of 2018, emerging between 50,000 and 60,000 downloads per month to over 100,000 downloads every single month. It’s crazy. It’s just blowing all of our expectations out of the water. And, our team continues to grow. We’ve got Sam and Sam down in South Africa.
They are helping plan Slow Down School and are doing some amazing kind of visual work. We’ve got Emily, the Director of Details. We’ve now got Bella who’s doing some virtual assistant work for other therapists. Our team is just amazing. And, we’ve also got our consultants, Allison and Kasey who both have group practices, and me. If you’re looking to get involved, if you’re looking to get support, we would love for you to reach out to us. There’s a couple of ways that you could do that. Head on over to practiceofthepracice.com/apply.
That’s a great way to just connect with us so you can apply to work with us to have this work with you. Or, you know, just drop me an email email@example.com, myself, or Emily. We’ll help figure out for you what your next best steps are. Well, today, on the podcast, we are diving into another reverse interview. This one, Perry Rosenbloom interviewed me for his podcast a little bit back in talking about IO clients, talking about private pay, all sorts of different issues. In this interview, I revealed some techniques and tactics that I don’t think I have talked about to anywhere else. So, you got some behind the scenes with Perry and me. Hope you had a great day and let’s dive into this interview.
[PERRY] Hi, everyone. Welcome to Episode 3 of the Therapist Experience: miniseries on writing your way to six figures where we interview industry experts on their experience, guidance, and advice on how to write and produce content in a way that will let you grow your private practices, bottom-line, in dramatic ways. To listen to previous episodes of this miniseries, please head on over to brightervision.com/six figures.
Our guest today is my good friend, Joe Sanok, who has been on the podcast numerous times before. And we have known each other for about four or five years. Joe, how are you today?
[JOE] I’m doing great, Perry. How are you today?
[PERRY] I’m doing really well. I’m so glad to have you back on this show, Joe. You have been such an inspiration to all the things that we do here especially from the podcast and marketing sides. So, thank you for being on the show and taking some time out of your day to share your advice with our audience.
[JOE] Oh, yeah, absolutely. I love doing this.
[PERRY] So, for those, in our audience, who are not familiar with Joe, let me give you, guys, a quick overview of who Joe is. And then we’ll hop into today’s episode.
Joe Sanok is a private practice consultant with the number 1 podcast for practice owners, The Practice of the Practice podcast. With over a million downloads, the podcast covers innovative ideas to start, grow, and scale a practice. Joe is a TEDx speaker, has been featured in Forbes, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur On Fire. He is the owner of a private pay group practice in Traverse City, Michigan named Mental Wellness Counselling. He’s also a father of two and loves stand up paddle boarding with his wife, Christina.
Joe, give us a little overview of you there. While don’t you fill in the gaps from the introduction and tell us a little bit more about you personally and about your businesses.
[JOE] Yeah. So, I have two businesses. Mental Wellness Counselling is my group practice. It really started as a side gig to pay off student loan debt. And all the insurance panels were closed at the time and I said, “Well, I still want to launch a practice.” So, I launched it. And it started to fill up and had to learn really a lot about marketing because when you have a private pay practice, it is pretty tough to get clients just find you compared to if you are on insurance panels. So, I figured out some really innovative ways to get people in the door. And then as a guru just started adding extra clinicians to it. So, in 2014, I left my full-time job because the practice was going so well and so is my consulting business.
It was amazing to see how when you start with that mindset of I have to find my clients myself, I have to go out there, it really created some great habits. And then, the other side of what I do is I have the practiceofthepractice.com. And, through that process of starting that group practice, I realized so little of what we learn from grad school is applicable to a business, the clinical side of course. But, the actual marketing, how to find clients, innovative ways to come up with just how people find you were all brand new to me. And, as I learned it, it was really exciting. So, I just started to blog about it and podcast about it. And now, this is what I do all the time.
[PERRY] It was great to have Joe. I have no idea that Mental Wellness Counseling was a side business for you when you got started.
[JOE] Yeah, it was just, you know, when I see a couple of clients in the evenings, and then, when Christina got pregnant with our first child who just turned 7 yesterday, you know, she wanted to do aqua aerobics. So, instead, of me working 4 nights a week after my full-time job, I paired it down to 2. And, I realized, “Oh, my clients shifted more than I thought they would.” And, I was just working 2 evenings a week and thought that there are still more people that want to come in here on Tuesdays or Thursdays. And, that’s where I brought in extra clinicians.
There was a year that I was walking down into the basement of my full-time job at the community college after just leaving my corner office of the view of the water, and I realized, “What am I doing here? I’m spending 40 hours a week in the basement.” And, I’m making more outside of here than I am in my full-time job. And, that’s when I really had to sit down with Christina and say, “How do we make this work in a way that reduces risk but also allows me the opportunity to see how big I can experience this thing?”
[PERRY] So, you weren’t on insurance panels to start with and you’re still not. You said you had to get creative with marketing. What were some of the creative things you did to help get those clients to the door?
[JOE] Yeah, one thing was I went to my favorite fancy friend’s restaurant and talked to one of the owners and said, “Hey, is there any way that you’d give me a gift card at a discount?” So, you could give me $50 gift card for $40. And, they looked exactly the same as any other gift card. And, I started a promotion called Dinner in the Counseling Session, where it was $100 and people got $50 gift card to this fancy French restaurant. So, I was making $60, you know, and really pitched in as an alternative to dinner in a movie, where you actually got, you know, some therapy did instead of going to a movie and staring at the screen together. And, we only got one couple that actually did it. They became a couple, though.
They came probably 20 times. But, the added benefit was the amount of marketing that I got for free out of it. It was nuts. I had the local newspaper interview me, local radio. We had this thing called the ticker which is like a big kind of daily business email about local business. We got in there. And so, the promotion side, even if the actual thing wasn’t a “success,” it still totally was because we had a couple that came like 20 sessions probably from it.
[PERRY] What did you do to get that into the local papers and all the local publications to help get promoted and get the word out about it?
[JOE] Yeah, you know, one thing anyone can do in kind of any town is there’s always those free newspapers, the local family magazine, the local business news, and we have the Northern Express in our regular newspaper. There’s always an editorial section in there with the editor’s email or like local news. Usually, news at whatever their website is, and so, I just had gathered all of those emails and I sent out an email that said, “Press Release: Dinner on a Counseling Session” in the subject line. And, that’s compelling enough.
The people are like, “What? Dinner in a counseling session?” Because right away, they’re doing it in a restaurant or how does that work? So, I think, having something that’s intriguing and a little bit weird, definitely, gets the attention of the news agencies because they’re always looking for things that are different. They don’t want to cover the same old sport that is going out locally or same old businesses that are again building another building. They want things that are kind of weird and kind of interesting. And so, if you can tap into that, it really can help you get out there more.
[PERRY] Having something that’s intriguing, a little weird, and interesting, how does that apply to an individuals’ private practice? We’re trying to figure out how to market themselves, how to narrow down their focus. Would you recommend trying to have that kind of mentality when you’re trying to brand yourself and you’re trying to write the content on your website itself?
[JOE] Yeah, so, there’s a number of things especially when you’re trying to get to that six figures mark that you want to think about. The first thing is what’s trending locally already? So, for example, a couple of summers ago, we have a National Cherry Festival here in early July. We have anywhere between 500,000 and a million people to come down our town. We have the Blue Angels do their airshow. So, we have this event where we have the Blue Angels were here. And, the day after, there’s so much trash in our water that this local photographer took all these pictures of it. They’re a beautifully artistic way but still, it’s trash.
They started trending on Facebook among all my friends about how this has taken these pictures. It was in the paper. And so, I saw that trend and I took it. That’s called trend jacking. And so, what I did is I wrote a blog post. It was called Pure Michigan, the Psychology of Trash. We have this whole Pure Michigan like getting people to come to Michigan. And so, I’ve played off of that and I talked about the psychology of trash, about how people took more than 50 steps they’re more likely to drop on the ground if a trash can is overflowing. Then, here’s kind of different things that people know that they’re just going to throw on the ground.
I went through the psychology of trash positioning myself as an expert in psychology and trash. But, even more, so that I’m up with current events. And so, finding those things that are hot issues locally, when you create that content, that blog post, I, then, reach out to a local radio station where I had a connection I developed. I said, “Hey, I just wrote this blog post. It’s the middle of the Cherry Festival. People have seen these pictures took, I’d love to come in and talk about the psychology of trash.” So, then I go in and did this half-hour piece all about trash. But, throughout that, it’s Joe’s an expert on helping with mental health issues, and psychology, and all these other areas. So, once you create that content, then you can use those media sources to get out there and be a little more innovative.
[PERRY] Oh, that’s such a great idea.
[JOE] Well, in most towns, there are always a ton of events going on that are applicable to everybody. And so, if you can just even host every other month a talk at a local library, it might cost you $50 to rent the room. Typically, we’ll see 5 to 10% of those people that come will convert into clients. So, even if you just talk about the basics of anxiety, or adult children of alcoholics, or whatever your specialty is, you’re then creating content again that you can use for that even. But then, you can reuse that in other ways too. So, for example, all the times that I was on the radio, I’ll create notes for the person that’s interviewing me.
Here are my five points about trash so they could sound super smart and direct the conversation in the way that I want it. I saved all of those notes and I created a book called Mental Wellness Parenting. The name of our practice is Mental Wellness Counseling. And so, I just took all these blog posts and put them into the book, create Amazon, and then launch a book released. And, it’s a great excuse to have a band played at a local bookstore, to buy some wine and food for my friends. It then got again is a free advertising for Mental Wellness Counseling.
[PERRY] Wow, Joe, that was about 3 minutes, maybe 4 minutes of just such jams there. First, the trend jacking, hop on a local trend, reach out the news agencies, and then create notes for whoever’s interviewing you and you can save those notes and create a whole new different content from it.
[JOE] Yeah, I think that’s one thing that people miss is they think that they have to create new content every single time they write a blog post or a tweet, or they’re on social media, or they interviewed locally. The average person doesn’t know what you know about psychology, you know about therapy, and so we know that about 8% of our nation has a master’s degree or higher in the United States. That means if you have a 100, statistically, only 8 of you will have a master’s degree or higher.
Now, we think about those 8 people. Of those 8, what’s the likelihood that another one is a therapist, counselor, psychologist? They could be lawyers. They could be attorneys, all sorts of other master’s degrees, MBAs. So, in any given situation then, as a therapist, you have the training on what you have now.
You’re probably the expert in the room unless you’re like on an ECA conference. So, understanding that you don’t have to get as complex as you did with your grad school papers on your blog post, what you’re writing on your website, your About page, talking to the newspaper. Really basic things like how you set a goal while you first think about your goal, and then, you decide what the goals are going to be. Then, you decide how you’re going to measure it, and then you do it. That’s mind-blowing to some people. To us, that doesn’t feel mind-blowing but that’s because we already know the stuff.
[PERRY] So, Joe, you had said that there were a couple of things you think about when trying to get to your practice to six figures. You touched out one already. And, that’s what’s trending locally. What were some more on that list?
[JOE] Yeah, so when you’re looking at six figures, I think first you want to understand the kind of 3 phases of practice. There’s the start phase, the growth phase, and the scaling phase. Start phase is about 0 to $30,000 or $40,000. The growth phase is usually $40,000 to $100,000. Scaling phase is over $100,000. So, really quickly during that start phase, you’re really looking at building your infrastructure, building some systems, you’re bootstrapping a lot. But, you also want to make sure you’re using time well so that you’re outsourcing things like the website, a little bit about marketing, maybe a little bit about design.
You want to have some of that so you’re not doing all of that. So then, once you get all that logistics set up, you start seeing your first couple of clients, when you really get into that growth phase, that’s where we want to look at which hats are you wearing, and should you be wearing them. So, that point you’ve been wearing the hat of an accountant, marketer, intake coordinator, all these different things. So, the first thing really that you want to look at is probably outsourcing your phones and your scheduling. Because if you’re in session, if you think about every single person you lose, you have a value.
If they call you and they don’t answer, they just move on to someone else there’s a value to them. Say, you charge a hundred dollars and your average client comes 6 times, and then, maybe they come once or twice after they just come back a few times after some kind of a checkup. Maybe their lifetime value is $800. If you miss one phone call, with someone that wants to work with you when you’re in a session, that’s $800 loss. So, hiring someone that’s going to answer your phones and do your scheduling for you almost always is cost positive, meaning that it’s not an expense.
It usually makes you more money than you pay out because if you’re paying someone $15 an hour and they scheduled two people, and you know your average client is worth $600 or $800, there’s no way that those calls are going to add up to that. Beginning to start to take those hats off, to add those levels of professionalism. Next, oftentimes, they’re going to look at, what were the gaps and services we’re referring out? And so, if we look at your office, even if you have a single office, it’s just you.
If you’re doing even 20 sessions a week, there’s a ton of session opportunities that you’re not there. And so, if I was a hotel, your occupancy rate will be really low. So, even just having someone that fills in on a Tuesday night, or a Saturday morning, whenever you’re not there, that sees someone that’s a little different than your ideal client is a really good use of your time. So, if you see, for example, angry teens but you don’t do couples counseling, maybe you can add a couple’s counselor that can help with some parenting or some couple support of those angry teens to keep more of those finances in-house and serve more people.
[PERRY] So, Joe, when are you opening up a Therapist MBA Program?
[JOE] I love it, Perry.
[PERRY] In all seriousness, I mean, you do a lot already with your groups and with your coaching. But, holy cow!
[JOE] It’s funny you say that. Next Level Practice which is our membership community we just opened earlier this year. We really wanted to be from start to scale for practices. So, we started with a cohort of 50 people that are starting practices. We’ve developed webinars and teachings for people that are in that start-up phase. Within 2 months, a good third of them already started doing group practices because they grew so fast. They’re full. And so now, we’re developing content on starting a group practice. Really, for this monthly fee that’s cheaper than any grad school, people have that support and that ongoing connection with us to be able to keep leveling up.
[PERRY] And, we’ll have links to that at the show notes at brightervision.com/sixfigures3. Joe, you mentioned a variety of content here from blog post to getting on radio stations. And, of course, you have your own podcast and mentioned lectures. What do you believe is the most effective content creation method for therapists trying to market their practice?
[JOE] So, I’m going to… I’ll take you to a process that I think really works but before that, I want to make sure when I say that there isn’t a magic bullet because everybody’s specific ideal client is different. So, if you’re focusing on stay at home moms that are looking for parenting advice, then, you definitely need to be on Pinterest. Whereas, if you’re helping empty nesters that are still in their career, it might be LinkedIn or Facebook. So, I don’t think that there’s a necessarily specific place that you have to be creating content. But, I would add the caveat that you want to be blogging regularly on your own website because you want that SEO to be coming back to you and do something that is yours.
Because if you put a bunch of content out on Facebook, it just stays there. So, with that said, you first need to know who you are the ideal client is and what they’re paying are, and what they want because Facebook is the most common kind of central feature for most people with regard to social media. I want to start there. I would say that most clinicians should be doing Facebook Live more than that. So, if you don’t know what Facebook Live is, instead of recording a video then you upload to Facebook, you go on to Facebook and you record it live. It’s just like Live TV. You don’t edit it. You can delete it after you’re done. But, if people see it live, they’ll see it live. So, this is great for a number of reasons. One, Facebook loves Facebook Live.
They’re really trying to push it more. So, they let your entire connection list know that you’re Life or have been Live. So, it reaches a lot of people. Second. It helps you become comfortable with public speaking. When you’re in your office, or at the beach, or wherever you’re at, and you pull out your phone and say, “Here are 3 quick tips to increase happiness.” It helps you to be able to formulate how you speak about your kind of business avatar, what your ideal client, and what their needs are. And then, third, what it does is it helps you create content that can then be reused. And, that’s the flow I’m going to take you through on a second. But, doing those a couple of tips on a Facebook Live is just write down 3 or 5 main points, put them down on a post-it note, type those points out into your Facebook status before you go Live so that you’re all there. And then, link back to an article that’s applicable from your website. So, you’re driving traffic back to your website.
People will share your Facebook Live. They’ll comment. They’ll get involved especially if it’s good quality content. So, after you do a Life, so you do your 3 or 5 points a couple minutes long about something that you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s anxiety, how to be happier, how to improve your marriage, whatever your specialty is, then, you want to go in a couple of minutes after you’re done. Go into that video and download it. And so, you download that to your own computer. Now, you have that video to reuse in a different way. You can upload that then to a YouTube channel for your practice. You can pull the closed caption for free off of that. And then, use that whole transcript as a blog post on your own website. You, then, embed that video into. So, now you’re creating more and more content off of just 3 to 5-minute Facebook Live.
[PERRY] So, in other words, you spend 5 minutes creating a few bullet points, spend 5 minutes creating a Facebook Live video, and then, another 30-45 minute repurposing that content. And, you have a video on Facebook. You have a blog post on your website, and you have a video on YouTube all, essentially, for an hour-sort-of-work.
[JOE] And, I won’t even say an hour. As you start to grow, you really will be able to just do the Facebook, upload that to Dropbox, and have an assistant do all the rest of that. So, right now, I’ll do 5 minutes of the Facebook Live. And, Sam, she’ll do all the rest of that. She’ll put it on my email list. She’ll optimize it. And, you know, you’re going to pay someone $12-$15 an hour to do that. And so, it’s a great use of your time and money to create multiple streams of content.
[PERRY] So, after that content is produced, how do you actually go out to get the word out about that content?
[JOE] Yeah, I think there’s a number of ways. One thing is to have an email list. The list would be not just clients and potential clients, but, just people in your community that opt-in and say, “I want to know more about that.” So, you kind of wants to think about your practice as a sandwich. And, so, what are the things before someone comes in for counseling with you that people need to know or might be thinking about? So, let’s take for example that same… you help angry kids. And so, what do parents of angry kids need to know before they pick up the phone and say, “My son keeps getting kicked out of school. I want to bring him in to talk to you about something.”
Well, there might be checklists. There might be ways that the school can support. If they have an IEP at their school, maybe, it’s how to go into an IEP. And so, we want to create a content before that person comes in. And so, that’s an opportunity to create content within your website. It might be 10 questions to ask during an IEP or it might be 5 questions to ask a primary care doctor if your child keeps getting kicked out of school, something that’s going to provide value. So then, as you build that email list, then, if you have speaking engagements, if you have other opportunities that you have, you can reach out to the local community and say, “Hey, this is going on, please let people know about this.”
[PERRY] I think my fingers are getting sore already Joe from all this typing of notes. So, when, you’re trying to… it’s something that you do incredibly well on both Practice of the Practice and to Mental Wellness Counseling is a variety of freebies and giveaways both for Mental Wellness Counseling and for Practice of the Practice. And, I never heard articulate so clearly to a therapist. I hope our entire audience listen to this. And, if you didn’t, here goes again. Always drive back and relisten to it. But, what are the things that someone needs to know about your practice when they come to see you or before they come to see you? And, being able to figure out what those things allow you to create that opt-in. I mean what questions are they trying to answer? You know, when in that research phase, do I need to come in for counseling, getting a checklist, getting a tooltip, a worksheet, something that’s going to allow them to figure out how and why they need to come in to therapy is how you’re going to build that email list and really make the most of all of your content. Did I rearticulate that properly, Joe?
[JOE] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you think about any service that any of us pay for. Say, you were considering, instead of doing your own dog grooming, “Hey, should I hire a dog groomer?” To look into what’s different is that dog groomer had all sorts of different things about yeah you can do it your self but to do it right, you have to do all these things and you’ll realize, “Wow, that’s a lot of work. I’d rather pay someone.” If they gave you all the answers to the questions that you had before they came, you’ll be likely to work with that dog groomer. And so, the same thing’s true with counseling, if we can answer people’s questions before they come in and help them understand that there’s some hope before they come in…
When they’re on your Instagram page, when they’re on your Pinterest, and they see an infographic you put together about anxiety and they experience relief just from that infographic, who are they going to go to when they really want to start working on a deeper level? Well, they’re going to go to you because they print off that infographic that sits next to their desk that reminds them to take deep breaths every day. So, the more that you’re creating this quality content, the more it helps people in the front-end. And, I think, the other missed opportunity is when people are done with counseling with you, what’s that next step after that? And so, it could be that you have an email list after therapy or after someone who’s kind of going through one of your courses or speeches. Maybe you have an e-course that people can purchase on one of their last days of counseling. And so, thinking about the things that are before counseling and also the things after counseling is where a lot of people leave money on the table, but they also leave a lot of people that could get additional help from you on the table.
[PERRY] Think of what happens before and after counseling. Joe, I don’t know if they’ve ever said this before but to think about it, you want to always increase the lifetime value of your clients, you know. If you’re going from seeing a client 6 times for $100 a session on average, that’s $600. And if you’re able to provide an e-course to allow them to get extra value out of their work with you and be more successful in their post counseling life, then, not only are you providing more value to them but you’re also increasing the lifetime value of your over-all clients which is going to allow you to invest more in marketing. It’s going to allow you to invest more in additional resources to help get your practice from that growth level of $42,000 to that $100,000+ with all such important details to be thinking about. I don’t know if they ever said to think about the post-counseling experience of their client. It’s always about the pre-counseling experience.
[JOE] Yeah, I think one of our Next Level Practice people has an EMDR focus. They focus on trauma when people have been through really severe things. They’ll say, “Well, but, my people they come. They get fixed really quickly. There’s probably six times they come. They’re good.” But, when we drilled into it, “Well, what kind of ongoing support they wish that they’d had after those 6 sessions?” “Well, they want to connect with me, but they don’t know EMDR and I don’t want to do counseling.”
After the next step, then, for that person was, what if you had a support group that you run, you know, 90 minutes every other week. And then, you slowly feed people in. And then, in the first counseling session, you say, “I’m suggesting you do at least 6 EMDR sessions.” And then, after that, we have this group that you’re welcome to join. But, you have to start with the counseling before you can jump into the group. That then feeds the EMDR, but it also feeds the group. So then, people move into that group. It’s a lower cost there than other people that are working on similar issues. There’s a sense of community. And then, what will be the next step after that? You just kind of keep asking in just what you said in increasing that lifetime value of a client. I would say ‘lifetime value’ financially for you, but also, lifetime value for what they’ve received from you as well.
[PERRY] Exactly because getting that support after therapy is so crucial no matter what you’re going to therapy for. To help make sure that you’re going to succeed and your clients would be as successful in their post-therapy and post-counseling life as possible.
[JOE] Well, yeah. When you think about how often you hear clients say, “Oh, I made so much progress when I was working with you. But, boy, the follow-through when I didn’t have that accountability.” Well, then, how do we increase that accountability? It can be something like an automated sequence that they just get an email every other week after they finish their counseling with you where you say, “Here’s my tip of the month or here’s my action of the month, or here’s a podcast I love. Go listen to this other person’s podcast I’m into or a book that I’m into.” It’s just increasing that service, and through that, they’re more likely to then refer their friends and family to you as well.
[PERRY] My mother-in-law who just had on episode 100 of the Therapist Experience podcast, she runs a group practice down at Jacksonville, Florida, and they have 17 clinicians, 7 support staff, 3 offices, and one of the things that were so successful at their private practice is they do a lot of addictions work. Every month, they have a pizza party for everyone through their IOP program. You’re welcome to come. It’s just free pizza party. I went to one and witness one. It was such a powerful event. They were at least 40 to 50 people there, and this is just a monthly thing with free pizza. People are coming and hanging out, supporting each other. Not only does that provide value than for their clients and there, you know, life-long work towards freeing themselves of addiction. But, also, it builds that goodwill towards the counseling center, towards you as an individual therapist, towards your group practice. Yeah, they are going to keep you in front and remember to refer people to you, loved ones when they need help.
[JOE] And also, for your own referral sources, whether that’s a thank-you note or a thank-you gift, or other things. To not even feel like you have to brand all of that stuff, so frequently, there’s branding that’s all over a card that you write someone. It’s like it doesn’t feel like the same thank-you when you have this highly branded thank-you note, to just say, “Hey, thanks a lot. I appreciate the referral. I’m really glad that you’re apart of what I’m trying to do here.” That could go really long way. It’s just liked a nice thing to do. You don’t always have to do anything just for business. You can also just be nice. Well, I think that’s an important thing that counselors oftentimes are very sensitive. “I don’t want to be slimy. I don’t want to be sales.” Good! You’re in the perfect position to not be slimy or sales because you have a great product. It’s you are doing counseling and changing lives. And so, if you just talk about kind of what you see, not confidential information, but what do you see, what’s the change, what’s the hope. How do you articulate that in a way that’s natural and authentic, and connects with your ideal clients? Then, you’re not going to be sales. You’re not going to be that slimy salesperson.
[PERRY] Is there a particular type of gift in a way that you really recommend for private practices? Do you see quizzes as being really successful or PDF giveaways, or infographics, how do you go about figuring out which type of giveaway to provide on your website, to generate leads for that email list of yours?
[JOE] I think it’s going to depend first and foremost on who your ideal audience is. If your ideal audience is a bunch of commuters, they’re not going to be meeting a PDF or an infographic. They might want to have an audio training. So, you might have a 5-part audio training that’s just 10-minutes each that you put into gumroad.com. They download it there or somewhere else so that it’s really easy for them to consume. First, you want to think, how do they consume information? With that said, creating infographics off of an audio or video training is really easy to just have 3 or 5 minutes, whether it’s a Facebook video or just a regular video. It’s super easy. Say, here’s my 5 main points to a designer. Have them quickly make an infographic and then hand that out. In general, one of my favorite ones is an authoritative guide. So, for example, An Authoritative Guide for Principles to Help Kids With ADHD, or A Grandparent’s Guide to ADHD.
Absolutely, that’s very specific to a specialty. But, you can then replicate. Because if you make a parent’s guide to ADHD, turning that into a grandparents’ guide is not very hard but it’s just changing a few of the different way they speak about it. Or, a principle’s guide to turning that into a teacher’s guide, oh that’s pretty easy. And so, if you have that mindset of, “Okay, by the time this school year comes around this fall, I want to create A Teacher’s Guide to ADHD.” Well, now, you have your blog scheduled figured out between now and September because if you do a weekly blog post, that’s just 500 to 1000 words about something with ADHD that’s in a planned and systematic way, you’re going to have the written content by September to put that together in a larger free e-book. And so, it might be that week 1 is one of the basics of ADHD. Week 2 might be common treatments of ADHD. Week 3 might be what does it look like in a classroom. What does it look like to the parents of those kids? So then, you now have a step-by-step guide over the next 20 weeks, 15 weeks, to write this authoritative guide that you can give away in the Fall.
[PERRY] It allows you to create exactly what your schedule needs to be and gets you on track to writing and producing content. That’s going to be targeted towards your ideal clients and provide value to them and allow you to grow your practice.
[JOE] Let’s say, you know, quizzes really are taking off. That’s a really good way. We’ve seen them on Facebook like answer these questions and find out what town you really should live in. The Gottman Institute has this checklist of questions that therapists can ask a couple to find out how close they are to having an affair. So, we took that which is free to use. We weren’t infringing any copyrights. We acknowledge it is their work. We turned that into a quiz. We gave each one a different weight to it. The quiz was called “How likely are you going to have an affair quiz?”
Not necessarily something people would share on Facebook but in the first two days, we got over a thousand people to take this quiz. And so, there are a lot of people that are interested in, “Oh, how close am I to having an affair?” And so, from there, then, when you know, okay these are people that are healthy not very likely, you can then redirect them into a page that, “Hey, way to go. You’re doing great things.
Do you want some extra tips on how to make your marriage even better?” And then, the people that are struggling, “You really should jump on the phone sometime today.” And then, you can get them scheduled then too. So then, you can really segment out the needs in how to be more personalized. And then, your opt-ins are going to look different to that couple that’s doing really well. You might have a, you know, 50 questions to ask on date-night because they assume they’re going to do date night. Whereas the struggling couple, they’re going to be like, “Date night, what’s that?” You know, I want to know how to stop screaming at my spouse. And so, you can then create content that actually applies to people, which then increase the likelihood of them working with you.
[PERRY] Joe, how long do these authoritative guides need to be?
[JOE] I would say, if you’re going to call in an authoritative guide, I would say as long as it needs to be to feel like you’ve covered what an authoritative guide is. But, typically, you wanted to be at least 12 to 20 pages long. I’d say, if you’re going to have to be shorter than that, I would just call it a guide because when you say an authoritative guide, it should really be all-encompassing to do the best of your ability without overwhelming your ideal client.
[PERRY] Joe, any parting word or advice, anything our audience should know before we wrap up this incredibly informative business coaching class here for a therapist?
[JOE] Yeah, I think, the big thing is we’ve covered a lot of grounds today and it’s easy to be paralyzed by perfection you think you need to do all the stuff all at once. And, you don’t. With Next Level Practice, we say, “Here’s the next one thing you need to do.” And so, when you listen to this podcast, I would say, “Don’t do most of what I just said.” Pick one thing. What’s the thing that resonates with you that you can take massive action on for the next 2 weeks? Start there. Do it really well.
Then, move on to the next thing because when you see all these options in front of you, you’re likely to do nothing. But, I’d rather, people just say, “Okay, what’s my next reasonable step?” Maybe, it’s going to be that I’m going to be on Facebook Live one extra time per week and I’m going download those videos. But, I’m going to do nothing with them. Awesome, you were doing more Facebook Lives now. Good for you. And so, rather than gets paralyzed by perfection, I’d say, just pick one thing to do, you can do something like Trello just free to do project management to keep track of what you’re going to do and what order. And then, from there, just wait for the next thing. Take one step in front of the other. I didn’t do all of these things all at once. I did them over years of time. And so, pick one thing to do it and do that really well.
[PERRY] Joe, thank you so much. It’s always such a pleasure to have you on the show. You provide so much value in so much insight and knowledge to our greater community as a whole. So, thank you so much for dedicating your time to us today.
[JOE] Oh, thanks so much for having me, Perry.
[RICHARD] So, when my wife and I were pregnant with our first kid, and she was pregnant, and I was cheering her on. At 31-week, she collapses, so I’m on my residency at the time and she’s at work pretty far away, about 45 minutes from where I am. And so, we get her off to the hospital. We’re feeling the worse. She’s in tremendous pain, can’t get up, can’t move.
[JOE] So, to hear the rest of Dr. Richard Shuster’s story and to hear what he did after what happened with his wife, you’ll have to tune in next week. We’re so excited to have Therapy Notes as a podcast sponsor. Head on over to therapynotes.com. Use promo code ‘joe18’ to get 2 months free. Try it totally free. It’s an amazing electronic medical record. Thanks for letting us into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day! [This podcast is designed to provide accurate and intuitive information in regard to the subject matter covered. It’s given to the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinic, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one. And, thanks to the band Silence is Sexy. We love your intro music!]