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5 Beginner Tips for Marketing Your Practice Online

5 Beginner Tips for Marketing Your Practice Online

Whether you’re new to private practice or have been a clinician for decades, we all face the challenge of bringing in a steady stream of new clients. This gets even more complicated by the quickly changing landscape of online marketing. No matter how comfortable you feel with using online marketing tools, social media, and your practice website, it seems as though the “rules” for making this as cost and time-effective as possible are everchanging. In this article, we’ll highlight some essentials in the online marketing world that can help you reach your ideal client and fill openings on your calendar.

1) Many mental health consumers turn to the Internet to help them in their search for the right therapist.

Whether a consumer is searching for a therapist in their area or looking up a therapist they’ve been referred to, research indicates that an integral part of this process is using the Internet to learn more. It is essential that you have some online presence, including a well-developed website and ideally one or more social media accounts specific to your practice. This allows consumers to learn more about your practice, your specialty areas, and anything they should expect regarding cost or setting appointments. Developing a website and building social media profiles can take time, but without them, you run the risk of consumers simply moving on to the next name on their list.


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2) Your website isn’t just a landing page of information about you – it’s also a tool for reaching consumers more effectively when they cold search therapists in a specific area.

Anytime you look up something on a major search engine, most of us look at that first page of results. But how do search engines know which websites to list there? It’s based on something called search engine optimization (SEO), an algorithm that sites like Google and Bing use to rank relevancy of search results. Your goal is to be on that first page anytime a consumer searches for “mental health treatment in Anytown, USA.” You can accomplish this by getting your website is as complete as possible, making it more likely that you’ll have the keywords needed and generate enough clicks to get people viewing your site, which over time improves your SEO.


3) Writing a regular blog is one of the best tools for boosting SEO.

While blog writing might fall pretty low on our priority lists, this tool adds another layer of online engagement and SEO improvement for your practice. Not only does blog writing give potential consumers a more complete view of your personality and voice, but it also gives you a forum to embed organic keywords into your website, something that search engines account for when ranking and helping move you closer to the top of a results list.


4) Social media has the power to drive your practice to new places.

If you just stick with a great web-site design and blog, you’ll be in a better place than having no online presence, but more and more consumers (especially millennials) will also be curious about your social media accounts as well. Instead of looking solely at your webpage, they’ll search for your practice on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms. They key here is to develop social media pages and profiles that are specific for your practice (not you individually), make these complete and consistent across all platforms, and provide regular engagement. If you’re just starting out, focus on Facebook and Twitter, as these are the most user-friendly and frequently used platforms.


5) Social media is designed to be social – regular interaction and knowing how to reach your followers is essential.

It can’t be overstated – just having a profile with no other updates may leave a consumer wondering if you are that engaged in your work. So what should you write about? On Facebook, post updates about new things going on with your practice, inspirational and motivational images, and any other content that reflects who you are as a practitioner. Don’t just provide links back to your website blog – not only is this less engaging, but Facebook algorithms rank off-site links lower than other content, meaning that even people who “follow” your page will be less likely to see these updates in their newsfeed. On Twitter, follow other therapists and practice organizations and tweet content that you find especially relevant for your audience. Don’t be afraid of using hashtags – in fact, using a trending hash tag that’s relevant is a wonderful way of attracting new followers on this platform. For both, take a look at other therapist’s who’ve built a large social media audience. What content do they share and how often? Consider replicating what’s worked for others.

The world of online marketing for therapists can be daunting, especially given how often algorithms and social media usage shifts. At OpenCounseling, we’re hoping to share with you the tools you’ll need to be successful in engaging and bringing in new clients with this and future articles. If there’s something specific you want to learn more about, let us know in the comments!

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Jennifer N.
Posted on 06/10/2017 by Jennifer N.

Jennifer is a writer for OpenCounseling. She has worked at a number of state and non-profit organizations, providing counseling, training, and policy development


 

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