Whether you are an established counselor or haven’t even started your private practice, you eventually have to figure out how to get more patients. Most likely, this isn’t something you love to think about and work on, but let’s be realistic, being able to attract and retain clients is the single most crucial factor that determines if your practice will be successful or fail.
How do I market myself as a therapist?
Long answer short.
To get more patients for your private practice, it must be easy to find you on Google Search and Maps. Most people nowadays search for local businesses and services through Google. If you aren’t on the first page of google for “therapy in your city,” you are leaving money on the table.
Since you might not be aware of this, let me quickly explain why SEO and especially Local SEO is so important for your business and any other local business for that fact.
According to Statcounter, Google dominates the search engine market with a market share of 91.46% as of July 2022.
You might think that this is only a temporary trend and that it is too late to jump on the bandwagon. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over the past two years.
Google search isn’t going anywhere. Optimizing for this should be your priority if you aren’t fully booked already.
Google search has become what phone books used to be. If you weren’t listed in the telephone book back then for your service in your town, most potential customers ended up contacting your competitors instead of you simply because they couldn’t find you.
These days exactly the same happens with Google Search.
If you aren’t listed on the first page of google for your service in your city or town, Potential customers will not contact you but your competitors who understand that ranking on the first page is crucial.
How Do I rank my therapy or counseling private practice on the first page of Google?
There are two ways to rank on the first page of Google, and you should utilize both.
1. Optimise your google my business account to rank in the map stack.
2. Create localized, SEO-optimized content that answers all the questions your potential clients might have to rank in the conventional organic google search results. These are sometimes referred to as SER, i.e., Search Engine Results.
I know this is a lot of terminology specific to the SEO industry, and you might have no idea what this means. Let me break it down for you.
What is the Google Map Stack?
The google map stack is what you see up top on the search engine results page when you make a localized search, such as therapists near me, therapists close by, or therapists in x city.
To rank here, you need to create a Google Business Profile. Not long ago, this was called Google My Business.
How to create Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business)
I could write an entire post on this, and I might do just that at a later stage, but for now, the best place to inform yourself about setting up a Google Business Profile is to source your information straight from Google. Here is where you can find their Guideline. They also provide best practices for setting this up, so make sure you follow all of their recommendations.
What are Conventional Organic search Results or SERs?
Conventional Search engine results are the blue links you get served when entering a query into the google search bar. There are usually around 8-10 search results on the SERP (Search Engines Results Page), but this can vary, and Google loves experimenting with this.
How to rank a private practice on Google, i.e., the search engine results page?
First of all, you will need to have a website. There is no way around it. If you don’t have one, feel free to contact us, and we will help you set everything up.
Anyhow, just having a website won’t guarantee ranking on the first page of google for therapy in your city or any other city for that fact.
Remember that business is always a competition between you and the other business offering the same or similar service in the same area.
Every private practice wants to rank on the first page of google in their area, but there are only 8-10 results on the first page, and usually hundreds of therapists in a city.
So how does google determine who gets to be listed on the first page and who doesn’t?
This is where SEO comes into play. SEO stands for Search engine optimization, i.e., making a website rank higher in google by improving its user experience, technical factors such as core web vitals and content relevancy, accuracy, and helpfulness.
It is also vital that your website looks good on mobile phones and not just on Desktops. It is not only a google ranking factor, but 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.
Also, keep in mind that these days the far majority of searches are made on mobile devices.
How to create a content strategy for a private practice in the mental health space?
Once you have taken care of all the technical factors, you can start creating a Content strategy.
At this stage, you must take enough time to think it through and double and triple check if your strategy aligns with what your Counselling, Psychotherapy, or psychiatry private practice is trying to achieve. If you get this wrong, you will waste plenty of time over the following months only to realize in a year that you have to start from scratch.
Creating High-quality content is a lot of work. If it’s easy for you to create, it is probably not helpful to your potential customers.
Don’t be lazy! Nothing life or business changing is easy.
You should be well aware of this as someone working in the mental health space.
At this stage, you should also ask yourself the following questions:
Where are you offering therapy?
Do you offer online therapy or teletherapy?
How can I stand out from all the other therapists?
Are you more expensive, similar, or cheaper than your area competition?
What you should avoid when creating a Content Strategy to promote your private practice:
If you are anything like me, there are a million things you would rather do than write a bunch of 2000-word blog posts. But it’s very important to apply yourself and not get lazy in your content strategy just because it means having to write 20000 words of content.
Yes, you heard right. Twenty thousand words. And that’s even on the low end. I have clients that I have published millions of words of content for.
If you aren’t willing to do that, you should get in touch with an SEO agency to take care of this for you.
Spoiler alert, we are an SEO agency, and you can contact us right here to take care of this and much more SEO-related tasks for you.
Because Writing content is so much work, many businesses try to write for very large areas like their state or country.
Their thought process goes along these lines:
“If I write a post targeting my state, I am targeting every city within that state.”
Let me save you a year. This will not work for you!
People don’t look for therapists in their state; they look for therapists in their city, town, or even suburb.
What should psychotherapists, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists write about to get more patients?
The number one objective of your blog posts should be to help your potential customers.
The best way to do this is by answering all the questions that they might have.
Here are some of the most common questions your potential patients might have:
How much does therapy cost in (your area)?
Does insurance pay for therapy?
How do I know if I need therapy?
How long do I need to be in therapy?
How do I know if therapy is working?
How do I find the right therapists for me?
At this point, you should familiarize yourself with the Customer Journey concept.
This marketing term describes what steps a typical customer has to go through to find your business and sign up or purchase.
Long story short, in your case, it usually starts with a search that follows this structure:
“Service/Service provider” near me
“Service/Service provider” Close by
“Service/Service provider” in “X City/Town/Suburb “
Psychotherapists near me
Mental health counseling close by
Couples therapy in New York
Then they Click through to the piece of content that you wrote for them, and they will read a bit into it.
In the content, there will be CTA’s, i.e., Calls to action (Book a session now, Find out more, contact me)
If you are doing everything right, some people reading your blog posts will click on the CTA’s to get in touch with you.
At this point, you have what we call a lead in marketing.
A lead is the contact information of a potential customer or client. More specifically, in this case, you would have a warm qualifying lead since they could be a potential patient or customer and already know who you are and what you offer.
All you need to do now is to convert them into a customer.
Not all qualifying warm leads will turn out to be customers, which is normal.
Here are some things that can help you increase the percentage of qualifying warm leads that convert into paying customers:
- Get back to them as fast as you can (If you can, within 5 minutes). The longer you keep them waiting, the more time they have to sign up with your competitors.
- Offer them something for free. In your case, this could be a free 30-minute session.
- Show them that you care from the first moment!
- Get a phone number so you can follow up if they don’t get back to you.
I know this can all be very confusing if you have never done it before. That is why I have listed some examples below to help you understand what you should do to get more patients through organic search.
Content Strategy example one:
You are a psychotherapist in Omaha and don’t offer online therapy.
All your sessions are in your office.
In this case, you should write these blog posts:
Psychotherapist in Aksarben Village, NE
Psychotherapist in Applewood, NE
Psychotherapist in Armbrust Acres, NE
Psychotherapist in Baker Place, NE
And so on.
Of course, you should start with the suburbs closest to your office and don’t write posts for areas that are too far away.
Content strategy Example Two:
You are a couples therapist in New York and don’t offer online therapy.
All your sessions are in your office.
Big cities are usually very competitive. Especially capital cities, as there is a lot of money to be made here. Your best option here is to niche down. The more niche you go, the less competitive it gets. Just make sure you don’t niche down too much, as there won’t be anybody searching for it.
In this case, you should write the following blog posts:
Couples therapist in Manhattan, NY
Couples therapists in the Bronx, NY
Couples therapists in Queens, NY
And so on.
Again start with the suburbs the closest to your office.
Content Strategy example three:
You are a therapist in Redding, CA, and offer both in-office and online therapy. You are licensed for the state of California.
In this case, you should write a post for every big enough city in California. I usually cut it off when I get to towns with a population below 50k. But If you are worried that there might be too much competition for you, these lower-population towns can be a great way to get your foot in the door, as very few other therapists will be targeting these areas.
Remember that you can combine this with the strategy of example two. If you specialize in a specific type of therapy like anxiety therapy, depression therapy, PTSD therapy, etc., you can use this to niche down and reduce the number of competitors you have to compete with.
If the above is similar to your situation, you should write these blogs posts:
Psychotherapist in Los Angeles, CA
Psychotherapist in San Diego, CA
Psychotherapist in San Jose, CA
Psychotherapist in San Francisco, CA
Psychotherapist in Sacramento, CA
You can quickly come up with topics for more than 100 pieces of content, with this approach. Each post should be around 2000 words of high-value content. Don’t add any fluff or storytelling. Just straight-up information that is helpful for your potential patient.
In this case, this would be 200k words of high-quality content to write. Do you understand now why this might be something you need help with?
If you do want help, feel free to reach out to us, and we will gladly assist you!
How long does it take to get clients for your Private practice with SEO?
Getting results in SEO can take between 4-8 months.
Many factors can speed up the process, but if you haven’t done this before, it is best to manage your expectations.
SEO can do great things for your business. It might even be the only marketing that you will ever have to do. But it takes time to see results.
I know this can be annoying but see it positively.
If ranking in google was that easy, everybody would try to do it, and there would be a ton of competition.
Why do you offer all this information for free?
I believe that we live in a world of abundant opportunities. Your success doesn’t diminish my success.
I genuinely think win-win is the only way to do business sustainably.
Also, after a few months of doing your own SEO, you will most likely realize how much work it is and that there is no way you can do this on the side of taking care of your core business.
At that point, you are more than welcome to contact me and let me take some of that workload off your shoulders!
Furthermore, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Those are just the SEO basics. They are powerful and can do a lot for you, but a lot more can be done to improve your SEO. You won’t believe me now, and that’s ok. The more you learn about SEO, the more you will understand how little you know and how much there is to it.
I understand that you will have to figure this out yourself, and that’s ok. In the meantime, I will be here cheering for your success! You are making the world a better place by helping people with their mental health.
I am very grateful that I can play a tiny part in that!