8 Top Tips On How To Build a Successful Private Practice


Starting in private practice can be a daunting challenge, but is also a very exciting opportunity with very rewarding outcomes. I think it’s fair to say, being a talented and skilled counsellor /psychotherapist (mastery) is only half the battle – knowing how to turn your skillset and personal achievements into a desirable service that will attract your ideal clients (marketing), that’s a whole different set of skills.
So … how does a keen business owner do this?
Jennifer Broadly – a Human Givens psychotherapist with two successful private practices in Aberdeen and Dundee would like to share 8 Top Tips for marketing yourself and your private practice.
1 – Stand Out Online
Make sure people can find you online. With the power of the internet, everyone is used to finding what they are looking for instantly. A high volume of these searches are people seeking help and advice so make sure your practice can be found. How?
Do some quick market research. Pretend you’re a client and carry out a quick search online for ‘psychotherapist near me’,  ‘psychotherapist in (your location town/city)’, psychotherapist specialising in (PTSD). This is an easy way of identifying your competitors but will also highlight the directories ranking for these terms.
– Step 1: add your profile to the directories (make sure they are trustworthy sites as they are likely to ask for personal details).
– Step 2: if you decide to create a website, make sure you use the key search terms that your ideal client would use to find you in your website copy / blog content such as  psychotherapist specialising in trauma. You can even ask your clients what they searched for to find you when they enquire.
2 – Be Yourself
Your unique selling point (USP) is you! How you speak and how you deliver your products and services. By showing your personality and tone of voice throughout your marketing, you can break down barriers to get potential clients to move from interest to action. Video is a great way of showcasing your personality. Short and informative video clips (less than two minutes) will help a client to get a sense of you and allow you to showcase some of your skills and knowledge.
3 – Socialise
Social media is a great way of marketing.  It’s free and doesn’t need to take up too much of your time – but which platform should you use?
– LinkedIn – Professional online CV for business to business connections and relationship building
– Facebook – An open discussion network for detailed posts and videos
– Twitter – Short discussion, news bulletins posts and videos
– Instagram – Image and video focused platform for inspiration posts
– Youtube – video content
I would recommend focusing on one platform at a time – decide on a strategy and create a strong following. Research your competitors.  What are the market leaders doing, what is working well for them (what posts are getting the most likes, shares & interaction) and how can you adapt this to work for your business? Use tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck so you can schedule all your posts on all platforms in one place once a week. It’ll save you so much time.
4 – Referrals Are Key
When a client has benefited from your service, ask them to take a few of your business cards to pass to anyone they know who might need help with mental health and emotional distress. Ask them to give you an anonymous testimonial for you to add on your website as these are very powerful conversion tools on any website.
5 – Be Professional
Produce professional marketing material. It needs to clearly explains who you are, the type of therapy you use, the areas you can help with and your contact details. Circulate it as widely as possible. The more the better. As design and print costs can be expensive, make sure you have a strategy of where your leaflets will go or else you’re in danger of them sitting in boxes on the floor.  Remember it should be simple, client focused with a clear call to action: ‘if this sounds like you, email me now to book a first session’.
6 – Talking Helps
Offer to give talks about things that will affect people such as  ‘coping with the stresses and strains of parenthood’, or ‘how to stop children and parents becoming stressed and depressed’. Building relationships with heads of local schools or membership organisations can help you to take every opportunity to display your services. If you have a large audience, ask your peer group for volunteers to come along for moral support, to hand out your leaflets and talk to interested members of the audience. You can reciprocate with your peer group and perhaps form a co-operative. Above all, always carry your business card and make sure everyone who expresses an interest is given some.  Word of mouth is the best advertising you can have, but accurate contact details are also very important. Alternatively, ask the person who’s interested in your services for their contact details. That means you don’t have to wait for them to call you, you can contact them the next day and perhaps speed up their decision making process.
7 – Be In The News
Write articles for newsletters, parish magazines, local and national newspapers, magazines and  offer to give speak on local radio. When you do, make sure your name and contact details are printed or given out on air.
8 – Be Proactive
Make a list of all the complementary therapists in the area who are not direct competitors. Call them and ask if they will exchange leaflets and cards.  Meet with those who are happy to reciprocate to make sure you’re happy with they work and vice versa and swap your therapy marketing material (leaflets, posters, business cards).
If you want to know more about how to market your practice, you can join Jennifer’s one-day workshop How to build a successful private practice. It’ll take you step by step through the process of setting up a private practice and explain how to make it a success.