This is a guest post, by Lynn Lochlynn, from Brighter Vision.
The two Brighter Vision links in this post are affiliate links to a two-week free trial. If you choose to become a Brighter Vision customer, I earn a small commission to support this blog.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone lives a portion of his or her life online. And for some people, it seems like they never get off-line! The point I’m trying to make is this: if you still think you’re reaching the maximum number of clients that you can by handing out business cards and posting up flyers, then you’ve been leaving clients on the table like you wouldn’t believe.
To make the most of your marketing efforts for your practice, you should be putting them to use on the web first and foremost. In order to attract your ideal client, you have to take your marketing to them instead of assuming they’ll find their own way to you.
However, moving your practice online for the first time can be intimidating. The world of online marketing has become even more complex and confusing in the past few years, and that can leave anyone feeling like they have no idea where to start. The good news is that all of that nuance and diversity means there are even more ways for you to market yourself strategically to your ideal client.
(Struggling to nail down your dream client? Try giving this Ideal Client Quiz a spin!)
This article will be less of a “step-by-step” and more of a whirlwind tour of the many resources that you could be using – most of the time for free – to attract your dream clients. We’re going to pack the next few minutes full of value, so let’s hop to it before we waste any more words!
How to Market Your Practice on the Web
Unless you already have a reserved spot on a website for your insurance panel, group practice, or other network, you need your own website. Period. Without a website or at least a blog (we’ll get to those in a moment), you’ll have no place to send your potential clients when they see your marketing.
For example, without a website or a blog, how would people find you through a paid ad they click or from an article they read by you online? In order to convert potential clients into actual clients, you need to provide them with a place to learn more about you and reach out.
Now, the quality of the website can be up to you and your pocket book – you can go dirty, quick, and deliciously free by doing it yourself with a service like Wordpress or Wix; pay a professional in one-and-done lump fee to both design and create a website for you; or you can hire a monthly service like Brighter Vision to design, build, search engine optimize (SEO), and manage the site for you instead.
Not only does your website act as the central hub for your practice marketing, but it gives you access to unique marketing options that would be way too difficult without it.
Testimonials. If it’s legal in your local area, adding limited testimonials to your site from current or past clients can be a powerful persuader to a potential client who has never had a therapist before and is nervous about choosing one.
Mobile optimization. Get your marketing straight into the palms of potential clients on their coffee breaks by ensuring your site is mobile optimized (when being viewed on a mobile device, the site changes to a slightly different format that is then easier to read and navigate). The easier and more convenient it is for interested visitors to learn more about you and your business, the more likely they are to pick you.
Get on the board with Google. It’s an unfortunate fact of business nowadays that if Google doesn’t know you exist, then the rest of the world probably won’t either. With a website, you’ll finally have a horse in the race and you can start building up your SEO, inching towards Google’s first page of search results.
Here’s the thing about Google and its search rankings – they really like new stuff.
Even if you built the best site in the world before handing it over to Google, if you don’t continue to add new content, then Google will slowly rank you lower and lower in the search rankings over time. When you blog regularly (say 2-4 times a month), you feed Google’s hunger for fresh material, and your site’s SEO will benefit majorly as a result. And good news – when your blog is already a part of your practice website, your practice website will get all of those SEO benefits at the same time!
Not only does blogging give your SEO a big, free boost when you do it regularly, but it a) presents you as an expert in your field, and b) gives you a platform to talk directly to your potential clients and persuade them with your expertise and experience.
The great news is that blogging is totally YOU-powered, so as long as you select a free hosting site, you won’t have to spend a dime! Try out Wordpress (again!) or Blogger when looking for a free place to start.
While we’re on the topic of writing for your practice, have you ever considered starting a newsletter? A newsletter is a good option to tack onto your website and blog as a way to keep visitors interested when they might’ve otherwise forgotten they had visited you in the first place. One brief motivational and/or educational email a week can help you keep in touch with your interested visitors in a new, more personal way.
Podcasts / Audio recordings
The days of “multi-media” being a dirty word to amateurs are gone– anybody can hop on their smartphone’s microphone and create a professional podcast or audio class!
Audio recordings are for much more than just talk-show podcasts. Have you ever thought of marketing your practice with an audio series of self-help courses or illness-management exercises? What about giving a motivational lecture in your pajamas?
Expanding into creating multi-media online can open up whole new ways to promote yourself an your practice as industry experts! To try it out for free, start with a free account from Soundcloud, or SanoMind.
The same goes for online video! With the convenience of Youtube making it possible for everyone and their mom to upload videos to the web straight from their phone, it’s quicker and easier than ever to create an online video presence for yourself. And, you can post your videos straight onto your practice website!
Video is also a great format for courses and exercises, but it has the unique advantage of showing your face, allowing your potential clients to “meet” you when they visit your site. Consider using video to provide your bio on your website, or as a way to give the viewer a more personal look into your practice’s specialties and services.
Have you ever looked into actually paying Google or Facebook to advertise your practice? Since both services have sliding payment scales when it comes to how much you want to spend, it could be far more affordable than you thought.
Paid advertising with Google has the unique luxury of being the only way to cut the SEO line. If you want to show up on the first page of search results but don’t want to wait many months for your SEO to “mature,” buy yourself a fast-pass by ponying up for some paid ads.
Chances are you’ve already heard of Psychology Today, but did you know that there’s a whole world of therapist directories out there that might be a better choice for you? It’s definitely worth taking some time to explore what’s available on Google, but if you’re looking for a concise version, Jeff Guenther wrote this wonderful comparison post that explores multiple therapist directories and whether or not they’re right for your practice.
Social Platforms (Yes, Facebook!)
Just because online marketing can be so much more than Facebook doesn’t mean that it’s not still a useful tool!
Having business accounts on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can not only help to increase the amount of traffic headed towards your practice website or blog, but it helps you stay in touch with potential clients who have only been partially persuaded so far.
Twitter and Facebook are great platforms to provide personal feedback to your readers, as well as promote any other content or material you publish on the web. Instagram is better for putting out imagery, so it’s a great choice for motivational images that you think could benefit your target client.
As you see, there’s so much for you to start exploring! If you’re looking for a place to start, I would recommend beginning with a website or a blog at the very least – an anchor point on the web where you can always direct your potential clients to learn more about you.
Otherwise, the worldwide web is yours to conquer! Get out there and start claiming your dream clients. : )
Lynn works as the content marketing strategist for Brighter Vision, the world’s best therapist website design service.
Decide to grow your practice by becoming a Brighter Vision customer today, and we’ll build a beautiful Search Engine Optimized website for you and your unique private practice.
Give us a try and sign up for a FREE 2-week trial of Brighter Vision by reaching out here.
- How are you using your website to market?
- What one question do you have about building an online presence for your practice?