There’s a ton of marketing advice for therapists wanting to launch, grow, or sustain their private practice. It makes sense if you feel overwhelmed and like there’s just too many things to do.
You gotta make a great website, optimize your Pinterest pins daily, engage in professional LinkedIn groups, learn how to do SEO, get new pictures taken for your directory profiles, and find the time to start a YouTube channel even though you hate being on video.
It’s simply… overwhelming.
But the internet told you these things are all important! So they must get done?
To help with it all, you may have started consuming marketing content. You’re no longer in the, “I don’t know anything about marketing” phase and instead, you’re now in the, “I know a lot about marketing and don’t know what to do” phase or the, “I’m doing it all and it’s exhausting” phase.
These phases set in when you start to see just how many marketing options are out there. And how all of them can work. Instead of not knowing any options for getting clients, you almost know too many options, and are left feeling unable to chose or choosing them all.
The Antidote To Marketing Overwhelm Is Self Assessment
If you find yourself overwhelmed, it makes sense. But it may also point to an under-focus on you.
If you can discover what marketing tactics are the right-fit-for-you, it allows you to release the rest. Knowing what marketing tactics you can disregard is powerful because it frees you up to focus on what works for you.
While there are indeed hundreds of ways you can attract clients and grow a brand, there are far fewer options when you consider who you are and what resources you have available.
The marketing that works is the marketing that you can show up for consistently. So as amazing as x,y, or z marketing tactic may have worked for Dr. Betty Boop down the road – it may not work for you.
Additionally, if you have less money and more time, or more time but less money, it may also heavily dictate what may work.
Your unique goals can also impact what way to go. Marketing looks different depending on what you want that marketing to achieve.
Here’s how to do a you-turn, access yourself, and start narrowing things down so you can go from marketing overwhelm to marketing ease and flow.
Self-Assessment Questions To Help You Find Right-Fit, Private Practice Marketing Tactics
What stage of business am I in?
Some marketing tactics are more aligned for businesses that are in early stages rather than mid and later stages.
Early stages would include therapists who are starting to do marketing for the first time or have just launched whereas mid and later stages are when a practice has been open for a year, two, or more.
One of the biggest things to be aware of is the different goals that may be targeted throughout the years. Early-on, goals are often around establishing a brand, getting seen, testing things out, and getting clients consistently.
Later on, some practices have laid the groundwork for attracting clients and have already established their brand. They may have a strong referral network and more income to reinvest into marketing. Goals may shift towards things like getting better quality clients and more consistently, sustaining the presence that they have, or expanding services or the practice itself.
Not only do goals shift as you move through the stages, self awareness shifts too.
As you grow to mid and later stages, you have already figured some stuff out. Often marketing may not be about doing something radically new to grow and sustain but rather to figure out how to increase the volume of what’s been effective.
That’s not how it works for the sprouting private practices though. For the about-to-be-launched and just launched practices, they may be completely new to figuring out the marketing thing.
Knowing what stage you are in can help you navigate the overwhelm of marketing advice: you can disregard marketing advice that is for practices at a different stage than you are in! What a relief.
What Are My Unique Goals?
There are times in your practice where you’ll want to attract a ton of clients and other times where you may not need or want to.
There are times when you may want to really establish yourself as the leader of a certain niche in your city or state and other times, where that isn’t so much a focus.
Different sorts of marketing achieve different sorts of things. For example:
- Designing a beautiful website helps you connect with website visitors but it doesn’t get visitors to visit your website
- Creating TikToks expands your brand and visibility but doesn’t turn your audience into clients
- Doing SEO drives traffic to your website but doesn’t help visitors understand who you are and how you help (you need to have an awesome website for that)
Really, there are three things that marketing can help you do: get seen, get clients, establish a brand (sustainability).
The marketing advice takeaway here is that you can disregard all marketing advice that would help you achieve a goal that isn’t your current goal. Define what it is you want and then eliminate all marketing advice that doesn’t align with achieving what you want.
What Are My Unique Interests And Skills?
Not every therapist loves writing blog posts or wants to become a geek about their ad analytics.
As solo businesses, many private practice therapists have to wear the “marketer” hat. And the best way to hire yourself as the marketer is to interview yourself about the unique interests and skills you have that can translate into enthusiastic and consistent marketing.
What if you found a way to enjoy marketing? What if it was life-fulfilling instead of a chore? It’s possible to find marketing that you are passionate about.
The lesson here is that you can disregard all marketing advice that includes stuff that isn’t aligned with your unique interests and skills. If you can’t imagine consistently doing it, then keep searching for your marketing match.
What Is My Budget?
Marketing doesn’t have to cost anything. But it can. Some of the main costs that therapists may spend on marketing include
- Directory profiles
- Website (design, redesign, writing, photos, hosting, domains, etc)
- Ads (facebook ads, google ads)
- Physical Mail (postcards, etc)
- Gifts, coffees, lunches (for networking)
- And more
But determining if you can to do any of these will be limited by your budget.
For most small and solo businesses, they should spend around 5% of their gross annual budget on marketing. Spending less than that is considered conservative and more considered aggressive towards growth (so it’s also a matter of risk appetite too).
If you are just in the very beginning stage of building a practice, you may not have any budget at all and will prefer to use only free, or very low cost, marketing tactices. But if you are at a later stage, you may have a bit of a budget to invest.
Having the budget to invest isn’t the only question though as it’s also a matter of: does it make sense to invest?
The key though when it comes to helping with marketing advice overwhelm is that you can disregard any marketing advice that requires a spend of money that you don’t yet have. Since there are plenty of ways to do marketing for no money or low money, you can use these tactics to start generating the income you need to reinvest.
How Much Time Do I Have?
Do you have 30 mins a day? Or two hours a day?
The amount of time you have will influence what could be the right-fit marketing tactic for you.
Marketing takes time. Either your time or the time of someone you hire (and even when you hire, you are still likely going to need to be involved).
A general rule of thumb is to set aside the number of client hours you wish to fill. Let’s say, you want to fill 15 client-hours per week.
If right now, you only have 5 clients, that means you have 10 additional hours that you can spend on marketing.
Until those 10 hours are full, those 10 hours should be 100% spent on getting them full.
But what about if you’re already full? Well, that’s when this question of time becomes even more critical. Layered with the questions of what your budget is and what your goals are, you will find that you may need to shift daily priorities to align fully with new goals asking, “what’s the optimal amount of time for me to continue to invest in marketing to reach my new goals now that I’m full?”
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the marketing advice out there, know that you can safely disregard any marketing advice that requires time that you don’t have. And in fact, extremely time-expensive marketing tactics may not always be the ones with the best results anyway. So drilling into what tactics have the best results for the least time-spend is a worthy path of inquiry to venture down.
First Figure Out Yourself, Then Figure Out Your Marketing
Hopefully one thing is clear: successful marketing is a success when the therapists is taken fully into consideration. Not only their unique skills and interest but also what stage their in and what budget, time, and other resources they may have.
Going out into the world and consuming marketing advice without the lens of you is a surefire way to be overwhelmed. It will all seem like “have to dos” instead of “could dos”
And the best way to narrow things down is to look through your own lens, keeping yourself in mind.
Now go out there and market 🙂 It’s fun.