Have you started your therapy business, but are finding it challenging with how to grow your mental health practice, especially online? Like any other entrepreneur, the most important goal you have is to grow your mental health practice, whether it is a solo or group practice. However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
As you work to grow your mental health practice, you require a lot of grit, patience, and business know-how to thrive. The earliest stages of owning a private practice require the most attention; unfortunately, this isn’t what your education, training, or clinical hours prepare you for.
When you grow your mental health practice, it will require for you to work as both a business owner and a therapist simultaneously. Many therapists thrive in the latter and fail at the former. You need to follow several essential steps to grow your mental health practice.
Below are five steps to help you grow your mental health practice so that you can become a successful business owner & practitioner.
1. Understanding your Business’ Digital Footprint
The world we live in today has become almost 100% digitized, so there’s a need to pay attention to your business’ impression online when you grow your mental health practice.
Also referred to as an electronic footprint or digital shadow, a digital footprint is the trace of data you leave behind when you use numerous aspects of the internet. It comprises the websites you visit, the emails you send, and every piece of information you submit online.
A digital footprint is substantial because it can be used to trace a person’s activities online. It’s also important to point out that your digital footprint can be created both actively and passively.
When consciously trying to grow your mental health practice, your digital footprint matters a lot. It says a lot about your business and how much of your client’s information can be shown without your permission.
It’s essential to pay attention to your business’s digital footprint for the following reasons:
With these, you understand the need to protect your business’s digital footprint when attempting to grow your mental health practice. It protects your online identity and that of your clients. To protect your business’s digital footprint, do the following:
If you genuinely are working to grow your mental health practice, you must make your clients feel safe around you, with their conversations with you and their data.
2. Online Marketing Strategies
Grow your mental health practice online means you need to plan and budget for an online marketing strategy. Every thriving business or practice you know today has a foot, if not both, on the internet.
Business success is determined by how well you know how to navigate the online space. Some strategies that you need to utilize to help to grow your mental health practice include:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the system of constantly optimizing your website for higher rankings in the organic search results, especially with a focus on Google.
SEO is beneficial for content marketing, design, branding, public relations, user experience, and so on. SEO allows you to create content that will help the right clients find your website and, in turn, you. SEO is a primary key to grow your mental health practice organically and make it thrive when you have an online business.
Be mindful, SEO can take months to over 2 years for your content and website to start showing up on the first results page of Google. Therefore SEO is considered a long-term marketing strategy.
Pay-per-Click, also known as PPC marketing, is a model of online marketing that allows business owners to advertise their product or service by paying a fee each time one of their ads is clicked.
It will enable you to buy visits to your website instead of trying to secure the visits organically through the long-term strategy of SEO. You must take advantage of this marketing technique while working to grow your mental health practice.
Make bids for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links and ensure that you appear at the top on the Google results page.
Content marketing is another marketing strategy you can use while you grow your mental health practice. It’s an approach that can attract, engage, and retain your audience.
When you create and share relevant media like articles, videos, or podcasts, you can establish yourself as a mental health expert and keep your business top of mind for your potential clients.
Emails can be a helpful marketing tool when you grow your mental health practice. Getting the email addresses of your clients and potential ones is relatively easy, only that you need to learn how to use it to get them aware of your new free consultation offers or additional services.
Video marketing is another avenue that has fast become a popular and effective marketing outlet. Technology has made it easier for you to make videos, reach out to a broader range of audiences as a means to grow your mental health practice.
Influencer marketing can help you grow your mental health practice considerably. Influencer Marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements from individuals who have created a niche for themselves in a related field on social media.
This can serve as a high-yielding avenue, considering how much people trust influencers and require social proof for their decisions.
Using social media platforms can help you as a counselor connect with your audience, build a brand, drive traffic to your website, and increase booked sessions.
You’ll need to create social media business profiles on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok and any other relevant social media platforms to your niche.
Ensure that you constantly create content and engage your followers, as that’s the key to grow your mental health practice.
3. Online Reviews &/or Testimonials
Another form of social proof that’s very useful when trying to grow your mental health practice is using reviews and testimonials. Before now, there’s been much debate around the legality and ethicality of using testimonials of past clients in a health/counseling setting when you grow your mental health practice.
However, the rules around soliciting, obtaining, & responding to online reviews are consistently changing. Counselors, social workers, therapists, & psychologists all adhere to their specific professional code of ethics, which guides their responsibility to protect client confidentiality.
While not all code of ethics restricts soliciting reviews of testimonials, it is important for private practice practitioners to understand how best to generate and respond to reviews when you grow your mental health practice.
Interestingly, testimonials and reviews aren’t only for when you grow your mental health practice. They’re also an excellent way to connect with your client and provide the best help for them. When people give their reviews of their experiences with you, it helps you attract the right kind of prospective clients your way.
It enables you to establish a brand that visitors can see beforehand and decide if your services are genuinely for them. When it comes to how to go about getting your testimonials, there are several ways you can handle them.
You can decide to ask if the client will be open to sharing uplifting stories about their experience of services, or you can provide a section on your website for past clients to adequately provide their reviews, testimonials, and feedback upon their discretion.
Best Practices to Generating & Responding to Reviews
Getting reviews and testimonials takes some effort and understanding of both your professional code of ethics and HIPAA policies.
If your code of ethics indicates that you cannot solicit reviews from clients, then what you can do is ask past coworkers or providers to leave you a review. Their reviews can be used to speak on your skillset in helping clients with their presenting issues.
However, if these ethical codes do not apply to your license, then you are more than encouraged to simply ask clients if they are open to leaving you with a service review.
To do this, simply ask them during their final session or send them an email (if reaching out to past clients) informing them that you are working to improve your online presence by gathering service reviews.
Doing so, will help inform the local community that your service exists and has been shown to be helpful towards others with similar issues. Your hope by gathering reviews is to increase your ability to service more clients in need of your service.
Be mindful, that your client always has the right to decline leaving a review. Plus, depending on which review platform they use, they need to be fully aware that there is a possibility that their identifiable information may be at risk of being shown.
There are, however, certain sites that can allow clients to leave anonymous reviews to help alleviate this concern. Your goal with review listings is to build a positive online reputation of your service and practice.
Once a review is left for you, you need to be mindful of how to respond in a HIPAA compliant way. Whether if it’s a positive or negative review, you need to thank them for their feedback, do not confirm whether they were a client of yours, and share your continuous efforts to improve patient service experiences.
Keep your response short & concise. An example of a HIPAA compliant response to a positive review can be, “Thank you for your review. This means so much to us as we strive to provide everyone with quality service and care.”
4. Online Networking
On a surface level, this may appear as the most challenging step in the way for you as a counselor when you grow your mental health practice. However, online networking isn’t as tough as it’s made.
It’s as simple as making an introduction of yourself, what you do, and how the person listening can benefit from your services.
Learning how to effectively navigate online networking comes down to using the right platforms, engaging strategically, and attending suitable virtual events.
If you’re wondering about how effectively you can navigate online networking when you grow your mental health practice, here are some tips for you:
LinkedIn has quickly become the networking hub for professionals today, and you can use it when you grow your mental health practice. LinkedIn has more than half a million active monthly users who are there to market their businesses, find jobs, or find professional services.
To effectively build a network on LinkedIn, you should.
As you may already know, social media is one of the most fertile places to build an online network when you grow your mental health practice. However, the key is learning best practices on how to navigate social media networking. Here are tips you should follow:
5. Hire a Business Coach
Sometimes, even therapists need a coach to help them better understand the business side of therapy.
Growing your mental health practice can feel like much work but finding people who have walked the same path can put you on the right way to follow.
With a good business coach, you’ll get the support you need to achieve your goals and the blueprint to succeed.
You’ll gain the right tactics, skills, and insight you need when you grow your mental health practice.
Here are some salient reasons why you need to hire a business coach when you grow your mental health practice.
A good business coach will support you while you grow your mental health practice.
However, the same way we have good and bad therapists is the same way we have good and bad business coaches.
The best way to go about hiring a good business coach is to decide the specific area you need coaching for, then find a coach who’s exceptionally skilled in that area that knows what to do when you grow your mental health practice.
Growing your mental health practice can indeed be a roller-coaster process.
However, knowing the proper method to follow can undoubtedly make the process easier to go through.
It’s possible to do good business and still be unable to scale up to when you grow your mental health practice.
It involves a good level of time, skills, expertise, and know-how to take your business to the next level truly.
No matter how many marketing tactics you put into your work, if you don’t do a good enough job, there’s no way you’ll be successful trying to grow your mental health practice in the way you need it to grow.
Learn more information about what a business coach for therapists can do for you or when you’re ready, book a coaching consultation session with Online Private Practice, LLC!
When you’re ready to learn how to get more clients to your online practice, click below to schedule an initial coaching consultation session.