This is the sixth and final article in the series written for Private Practice Hub by Phil Hulme of WebHealer the specialist provider of websites to professional therapists. The series started in July with an overview of AIDAN, WebHealer’s approach to helping their customers grow their therapy practice and this article goes deeper into step five – Nurture.
Nurture your client relationships
Progressive businesses are increasingly seeking to establish relationships with their customers. Even the makers of Heinz Baked Beans, Kelloggs Cornflakes and Coca-Cola have websites which provide recipes and encourage visitors to follow them on social media. They hope to increase loyalty to their brand in the hope that people will share the link and eat or drink more of their products.
This might seem a long way from the therapy world, but the appeal of relationship marketing to companies is that existing customers are the best advocates of their product and service and also that prospective customers can be nurtured towards becoming paid up customers. When handled with appropriate sensitivity this approach is just as valid in the therapy sector.
Clients who have visited you and left with a positive experience can be fantastic advocates for you as a therapist. Rather than saying goodbye and wishing them well, you might offer them something that makes it worth their while to stay in touch even if only very loosely. Following you on social media is one example or subscribing to your newsletter. If you post something that prompts them to share with others it will have a lot more influence being from someone who has used your therapy.
Another option is to enhance the value of your therapy service by providing ongoing resources even after the client has finished their treatments or sessions. This needs to be low cost to you of course to be viable, but if for example you set up a special section in your website restricted to clients you could store materials such as:
– downloadable guides and information leaflets
– worksheets used during and after therapy
– reading list suggestions which you maintain, perhaps even with your own review comments
Access can be via a password given to your clients when they complete their therapy sessions. After care such as this does a lot to increase your integrity and the chance of word of mouth referrals.
We explained in the Action section how you can establish relationships with prospective clients and build a list of social media followers or subscribers to an email newsletter or blog. The way in which you communicate with these prospects needs to be carefully considered of course. Special offers and discounts might be appropriate for body therapies but a more low key approach is needed if you’re a specialist in relationship counselling. Perhaps keep an eye on the latest self-help books and update a blog with brief personal reviews. As long as the material is relevant and interesting you are kept in mind in a positive way when the time is right for your prospect to make an appointment and the material may also be shared with others.
WebHealer is a specialist provider of websites to private practice therapists and is preferred supplier to members of leading therapy associations.