5 Effective Ways To Market Your Therapy Practice
Whether you’ve just qualified as a hypnotherapist or a counsellor, finishing your course is an exciting time, particularly if you decide to go it alone in private practice.
Working for yourself has lots of advantages and can be a real life-changer. It’s also hard work, however, and as well as being a therapist, you’re suddenly running a business too. That requires specific skills which you will need to develop – being a brilliant therapist doesn’t help with those unfortunately.
One of the most important skill that you will need to succeed in your own practice is marketing. Clients won’t come if they don’t know that you are there, so one of your first tasks is making potential clients aware of your new business. There is a tendency to ‘throw everything’ at marketing - which can be exhausting and expensive - but there are some tried and tested ways which will hopefully be effective for you.
- Network with other therapists in the area. Although theoretically you are in competition, other therapists can be a great source of information, support and help. When you are more established, there are opportunities to refer clients to other professionals and they will do the same for you. A supportive network will also provide friendship and company – working on your own can be isolating sometimes and you will need to find ways to connect with others.
- Advertising. There are lots of different ways to advertise your business. Generally, mail drops are considered to be an onerous and not particularly effective method of advertising while specifically targeted adverts in local papers which have a high readership yield a better result. If you are hiring a room in a therapy centre, some advertising might be done for you via the centre’s generic website. If you have your own website, you can link this so that any visitors to the general site, will then be directed to yours.
- Become social media savvy. Whether or not you are a fan of social media, lots of your potential clients will be so it pays to brush up your skills. Setting up a Facebook business page, for example, is completely free and most people have several supportive friends who will share it on their walls to try and generate interest for you. Posting regularly on your page is a must so that you are ‘out there’ and visible. You can even schedule posts so that it doesn’t take up too much of your time. Try to vary what you post – from quotes to articles to more specific information about yourself and your business. Remember also that clients like to see the ‘real you' – when clients come to you for therapy they want a real person and rapport is important. If you’re brave enough, record some Facebook videos of yourself talking about your business. This helps to build that relationship before they even meet you. You can also pay for specifically targeted ads on Facebook, where you can control the specific criteria of your target audience. Don’t forget other social media platforms too. Instagram is particularly popular with younger people, for example, so if you work with that demographic, it’s worth having an active Instagram account.
- Get blogging! Blogging demonstrates to your potential clients that you know your stuff and, as such, your blogs should offer useful advice and information for potential clients. Blogs are not an opportunity for you to boast about your qualifications or qualities but to demonstrate how you can help others. Readers should be able to ‘hear’ your voice – so don’t produce academic ‘essays’ but instead, write in a conversational way. Again, it’s a way of building relationships and that is what therapy is all about. In offering advice or information on relevant topics, you are providing ‘extra value’ to yourself as a therapist and that is appreciated.
- If you can, get some local exposure by providing talks or participating in local events. Although you will often be offering these for free, it’s also free advertising for you and it’s a good way to raise your profile in the community. Ideas could include talks to your local weight loss groups or parentcraft groups (for hypnotherapists) or more generic talks to local groups such as the W.I. Other ideas include running a free relaxation session and handing out your business card at the end or writing an article for the local paper. It can be daunting to put yourself out there at first but remember, now you have your own practice, you are responsible for your own success, no one else.
There are lots of other ways to market your business. Having a website will be important too and search engine optimisation is an important element of this, so that your business stands out from the others. Starting your private practice is hugely exciting but it’s a challenge. If you’re unsure of where to start, there are courses out there specifically for new therapists to hone their business skills.
Remember to be kind to yourself – this is a big learning curve.