Therapists, counselors, and psychologists in private practice have a special marketing challenge for their small businesses. While some small business owners can count on satisfied clientele to go out and evangelize for their company to friends and family, word of mouth marketing is far less dependable in the mental health field.
Unlike a patron who can’t wait to tell everyone they know about a great new restaurant they found, or the fantastic nail salon they just went to, counseling clients are unlikely to broadcast how much their therapist has helped them lately.
However, as the stigma that was historically associated with seeking mental help abates, people are becoming more likely to share their experience in the form of online reviews. While telling friends and family might still be a few years away, sites like Yelp allow therapy clients to review their practitioner in a less interpersonal way.
How can you take advantage of this resource? Make sure that your business has a profile on Yelp, first of all. You’ll also want to make sure you’re listed on Google Local, which is growing in popularity as a place to clients to leave reviews. One of the best ways for businesses in general to get reviews is to ask for them. If you feel uncomfortable doing this as a therapist, you can let your clients know that you are on Yelp without ever bringing it up in person. Think about having a badge on paperwork, your check-out desk, your emails, and especially your website.
Speaking of your website, this is another invaluable tool for a small counseling practice. Just as people are hesitant to offer up unsolicited reviews for therapists, others are just as unlikely to ask around for psychologist recommendations. This is where your website – and more importantly your search engine optimization – comes in. If you’ve set up a great website, submitted it to Google for indexing, and used good keyword-rich content on your pages, search traffic could be your number one marketing tool for people actively looking for a talented therapist like you.
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