Grow Your Practice: Marketing
This is the first installment in a series designed to assist you in marketing your practice. Part one: assessing your relationship with marketing.
Marketing your private practice is not like selling a car or a vacuum cleaner. Therapy isn’t a tangible product and its customer base is limited to the states where you are licensed to practice. Marketing is more than touting your resume. The key is finding where your potential clients’ needs and your skills intersect, and how to articulate that value in a way that moves clients’ to take the next step.
What’s Your Relationship with Marketing?
A good, first step is to consider your philosophy about marketing. You don’t need to answer each and every question, but perhaps some of these questions will spur you to think differently about your relationship with marketing.
- How do you feel about your own value in the work that you do?
- How do you feel about articulating your value to other people?
- How would you feel about telling your colleagues that you’ve formulated a marketing strategy?
- What does “selling” mean to you?
- What does competition mean to you?
- How do you feel about learning about marketing?
- Do you have a view about how those in your profession “should” think or feel with regard to questions like these?
It is also good to explore your relationship with money.
- How do you feel about providing some of that value in exchange for money?
- How should the amount of money you receive in exchange for the value you provide relate to the costs you incur to provide it?
- How do you feel about making a profit?
- How much of your reward in doing your job is psychological, as distinct from financial?
- Would you be willing to work for free?
- At what point will you need another source of income to augment the income you derive from your caring profession?
- What does financial exploitation mean to you?
- How do you feel about those colleagues who receive more money for their services (or who have more clients) than you do? And those who receive less money (or who have fewer clients)?
Lastly, it is good to identify who your “ideal clients” are.
- To whom do you feel your services should be provided? Everyone? Only those who can afford it? Only those who happen to be the sort of people you particularly like working with?
- What sorts of people do you particularly like working with?
- If you had too many potential clients to see at a given time, and if it were entirely up to you, on what basis would you decide to work with some clients and not with others?
- How do you feel about others in your profession who only see select groups of clients or those who see all kinds of clients?
Your next step
Once you have considered your answers to these questions, you can ground your marketing method on what works best for you. For example:
- Shelve the idea of marketing altogether. If you are uncomfortable with actively marketing your practice, try alternative approaches such as networking at professional workshops and social gatherings. Instead of a marketing framework, perhaps you create a networking framework, establishing relationships with fellow practitioners. This can create an avenue for referrals and may open doors you didn’t know existed.
- Educate yourself about marketing your practice. Learning more about marketing may help you become more comfortable. Is there a colleague who you think is good at marketing their practice? Invite them for coffee. Check out the resources your local library or bookstore have to offer and see which authors speak your language.
- Job it out. If you are uncomfortable with marketing yourself, consider spending resources to hire someone to market your practice. Consider it an investment in your practice. It might even lead to adjusting your own view on self-marketing. As your marketing professional crafts a message for you, you can learn how to better articulate your skills and find your niche in the market.
- Research websites and blogs of others in the community to see what they’re doing. One place to start is to visit the websites of your FSTNW colleagues. Many FSTNW members have included links to their websites on their FSTNW online referral directory listing.
You can also read the next installment of Growing Your Practice: Marketing. It will cover the basics of online marketing.
Reference materials for the Grow Your Practice: Marketing series
Mike Brennan, Brennan Communications, Seattle, WA
Forbes, Marketing the Practice of Medicine
Private Practice from the Inside Out
Supercharge Your Fundraising Efforts with Content Marketing with Steven Shattuck from Washington Nonprofits
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