Q: What are some common mistakes that you see people make when it comes to marketing their psychotherapy practices?
A. Evan: When people start their practice, they usually say , “I need a brochure. I need business cards, I need a blog, I need to Twitter, etc.” What happens in this situation is that are are putting the cart before the horse. Think of the type of referral that would be in the best position to refer clients to you. That is step one.
Here’s how to put the horse before the cart.
- Identify your potential type of referrer (physicians, other therapists, etc.)
- Craft a message to that group, in terms of “what’s in it for the physician and their patients”
- Determine the best vehicle to communicate that message to that group (email, snail mail, brochures, etc.) .
A. Gail: For example, I’m originally trained as a sex therapist and early in my practice as a sex therapist I wanted to promote sex therapy. I identified gynecologists. The message I wanted to share was that my practice conducts sexuality groups for women. We knew this was going to be a valuable resource for the gynecologists. What we did at that time was created a brochure and mailed them twice a year to more than 400 OB GYN’s. My practice began to develop a reputation among OB GYNs as someone who does sex therapy. Over time we got a lot of referrals and still do.
Q: How do you determine for each referral source, what their preferred medium of communication is?
A. Evan: The most effective way to reach other therapists is through networking (at in-person events or online on psychotherapy referral listservs). We know that physicians do not respond to email. Clergy respond to email as well as snail mail.
Q: For someone just starting out, what advice would you give them in terms of prioritizing their marketing efforts?
A. Gail: You must have a place where people can find you on the internet. I think it’s essential that people have some kind of online presence. However, the public is probably the hardest market to tap into. It doesn’t seem to be that the most efficient use of your time marketing online to the public. Online presence could take the form of listing yourself on Psychology Today or on your local professional association’s referral list.
Evan Leepson, MSW, MBA has more than 30 years experience creating and implementing effective marketing programs.
Gail Guttman, LCSW. As a therapist with more than 30 years of experience, Gail Guttman’s goals in therapy are to help clients live their lives, realize their potential and remain in positive, loving connection with their most important relationships.
Readers can purchase Evan’s book at Critical Connections: The Step-by-Step Guide to Transform Your Business Through Referral Marketing
Evan and Gail also offer a one-day workshop entitled, Build an Action Plan to Create or Transform Your Psychotherapy Private Practice.