Growing Your Practice

Create a Marketing Plan for Your Private Practice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taBfSX08Z5Y

In this webinar replay, Cory Miller walks us through the steps needed to create a strong marketing plan for your therapy practice.

Webinar Transcript

Speaker: Cory Miller

0:06
Everybody welcome back to another AllCounselors.com training and live event. Today we’re gonna be talking about something that’s near and dear to my heart, your 2021 marketing plan to grow your practice. And I’m really excited about this because I want this is going to be highly interactive, highly practical. So I need you to hit the chat button and dialogue back and forth with me I’m in fact, I’m gonna have a couple polls here, just so we can, I can figure out where you’re at and give you the best help. And as always, at AllCounselors.com we want to be very practical. So post questions whenever you want, where I’m going to be watching that throughout the webinar.

0:47
So let’s get started. So my name is Cory Miller, I’m founder of–co founder of AllCounselors.com. My past is I have a multimillion dollar started and grew to a multi million dollar software company in 2008. Until 2018, we were acquired by a bigger company. And this is chapter two, for me helping out therapists and counselors and clinicians. I love to talk about entrepreneurship and I love to talk about digital marketing. So that’s perfect for today’s webinar. And then, you know, part of doing this for counselors is we at all counselors want to help eradicate, obliterate the stigma around mental health so that others like me, (I’m in counseling, I have a counselor I meet almost every two three weeks) can get help and begin their healing journey with professionals like yourself. I’m also married to a budding counselor, she’s graduates this month, and be studying for her tests and certifications and all that in 2021.

1:54
Thanks to Integrative Life Center, you can go check out integrativelifecenter.com and integrativelifenetwork.com. They’re our gracious sponsors for today’s webinar.

2:08
Okay, some real quick outcomes I want, I wanted to put this webinar on the schedule, because if you’re like me, wait till the last minute and then start thinking okay, marketing, I need to grow my company like, I’m just trying to get, you know, things going and finish 2020 strong. And now Cory, you’re talking about my 2021 marketing plan. But I’m really excited that you all have registered for this and come to this. And if you’re watching the video later, that you’re interested in the subject, I want you to get inspired. And I want you to have just two to three ideas that you’re going to put into place for your practice to grow it in 2021. But as I said in the beginning, this can be highly interactive, I need you to hit the chat there and share some answers. And I’ve got some interactive polls to make it even easier, because I want to help.

3:02
I need to know where you are, what you’re interested in what lies ahead for you What problems and obstacles are in the way to give you the best help. And I’m going to reserve a ton of time This isn’t just going to be me talking to you but ton of time to get to specific questions that you have in this webinar today. So I hope you’ll open up the chat button at the bottom of the zoom app and get ready

3:24
Okay, so first question is, you know, how do you want to grow in 2021? What I mean by that is, there’s something that you want to do you’ve arrived here today something you want to achieve and if I boil it down to it all it’s all that mostly all of us want to make more money well and I put revenue here but you know, we have a philosophy at all counselors which is do good in the world, and you should do well in the world to do good. So it’s what you all do every day in your practice. And I believe you should be very well compensated for it you should make great money and awesome money. And so is that more revenue? Is it more clients is or referrals? Or is it you know, I put it up here even start to potentially start publishing or something like that. I’m going to put a poll up now. Real quickly, just fill that poll out and tell me what you’re looking for. To do in 2021. So click that real quick and we’ll go on and this is these polls are trying to help you as a group to get more focused from my experience and expertise to give you tips and strategies that you can use.

4:44
Alright, so we get more revenue and more referrals.

4:49
Okay, thank you so much for doing that. And more clients more revenue in the top one was more referral was definitely go back to that. So great, great, great stuff. Thank you all for doing that.

5:04
Okay, now, I know and by the way, hit the chat. And if you want to add more context of this, please do that and share it to panelists and attendees if you could. So we can all see that but Okay, so more referrals. Absolutely. So, I always think through, okay, you take your plan, and you go, this is what I want to do in the next 365 days. And there’s typically something in the way of that. And so I like to talk about obstacles because they are the keys to actually getting things done. So here, here’s my question for you. What are the obstacles in your way? time? skill, knowledge, money, energy and effort? Sometimes that’s mine. Like I might have time, I just don’t have energy. You all are with clients. Likely, I’m gonna guess doing a lot of telehealth right now. probably tired at the end of the day, so I get that. So if you could answer this poll for me, and then we’ll keep moving on to so No, okay, too. Yep. All right. Energy, I totally get that. Okay. With that in mind, we’re gonna, I’m gonna try to help. Do the thing. share things that maximize your time and energy? Okay, skill, knowledge, money, energy. Thanks so much.

6:24
Okay. All right now. So real quick, I’m just trying to get to this so I can get you better. Better? Help. The third one is, what do you have more of? So I just asked, the opposite of it is what don’t you have? But what do you have? Some of you said energy, but what do you have more of? Okay, skills, knowledge. And also put time, money energy.

6:59
Okay. All right. The skills and knowledge, I’m curious about you that have said skills, knowledge and time, that the skills knowledge, we’re talking about therapeutic practice, or do you know, specific marketing skills? If you could put that in the chat? That’d be awesome. But thank you so much for that.

7:17
Okay. Now, now, this one I don’t have a poll for but I’m kind of curious. So most things in private practice, come back to clients, you know, one on one clients, or maybe you have a group, group product or something service that you do. But I’m curious, how do you get new clients? now from the work we’ve done at All counselors and discussions we’ve had with many counselors is you built your business probably at the beginning through a lot of referrals. Maybe there was a psychologist or another therapist that was booked up and needed to refer work your way. And that’s how you got started. That’s the one we typically see I didn’t put a poll up for this. But if you want to put that in the chat, that’d be awesome.

8:05
The reason why I asked the How do you get new clients question is because if you want to grow your practice, I boil it down to you want to make more money. That is fairly simple right now: it’s more clients, you can either charge more, or you can get more clients, right? Those two options. But so it’s key for me to know or to you to know more so is how do clients get to you in the first place? Can you track those sources back? Is it one therapist in your city or hometown? Is it directory Listen, listings? Do you get a lot of people coming from your website? And even with your website? Maybe somebody has unless you’ve done search engine optimization? Well, somebody has referred you and you know, given your email or their website or something like that, if you could share that, that’d be awesome. But I’m going to go with it. Probably it’s referrals, which is going to make some of the suggestions I have in this webinar. I think even better for that.

9:03
Okay, thank you she. Maria. Nella says I get referrals from diverse sources. That is awesome. That’s a bedrock I think of any business, it’s word of mouth or referrals from good trusted sources. Okay. So I just want to mark I just want to cover the base and not assume that you’ve been doing this or you know, these things I don’t want to assume anything for now. I want to help you grow your practice and so carpet covering the, the essentials, the foundation are these things. Now, some of these I’ve heard some of these just know as a business person in the world, referrals or word of mouth is huge. And then know that specifically for private practice in mental health, for sure over and over. I hear that at number one and word of mouth, or referrals is absolutely key in almost every business that I can even think of that you want people to recommend you or refer you to others. I do that quite a bit.

10:00
So building that network, I think should be, especially if you’re early on always be building relationships and networks with other professionals in your area. And so, you know, just to say on your plan is like, reaching out and growing, or starting new relationships with people that do what you do in the world, you might even know, a certain psychologist or therapist, clinician is super, super swamped and busy, might be time just to reach out, Hey, I know you’re busy, you’re taking any, if you’re not taking any clients, you know, I’ve got a little bandwidth over here. But just starting those conversations, I know is absolutely huge directory listings. And in fact, I found my counselor through psychology today. So are you listed on those directory directories that you know about that you’ve gotten, you know, clients from?

10:47
And then I talked about this in another webinar at all counselors, but do you have your Google My Business profile listing setup, one is set up and two does have enough information to be updated, it went in there and link that and now the Google My Business thing is just basically that is that, you know, if I type in plumber, I can type right? You know, I’m gonna get this little map here. The same same goes for therapists, your Google My Business profile is basically that And the best news of all is free. Now, you can see like, this one has some reviews, this one has some reviews, you need to keep your Google My Business profile up. And I’m gonna give you a link in the chat right now. But if you just say Google My Business, this is where you can go get that free profile. And now I know, you know, because of the there’s a stigma already out there. And the sensitivity and confidentiality is, you know, clients probably won’t, aren’t maybe reluctant to give you reviews. But I’ll tell you, these reviews. It’s part of Google’s algorithm currently, that if you have reviews, yeah, that’s part of their ranking strategy to its geographic based, specifically. But if you get reviews, that definitely helps you.

12:10
Okay, so, Google, my business listing, if you just didn’t have it’s just table stakes, even in the era of telehealth and COVID, by the way, Google is updated Google My Business to include COVID updates. So if you’re doing telehealth, one, you know, they can book through your site, make sure you’re linked, and all that is updated on your Google My Business profile.

12:31
And then the last is a simple website, you know, I just did a training on a one page website, just to get you started. It’s in the AllCounselors.com vault. So you can go back and look at that, look at the slides and everything. But I share some tips about that. But making sure you at least have some semblance of a website. So whatever your name is, you know, for instance, I own my own domain name, or whatever your practice name is, making sure you at least have something on the web, that’s going to be your digital headquarters. Now you might have a social profile. But I never tell people to only have that. Those are what we call social outposts. Having social media profiles out there. Maybe you have a Facebook page for your practice, that you need an online home on your own domain name. And the difference is rent versus owning. you own your website, your domain, your hosting, all that kind of stuff if you use WordPress, or Squarespace or something like that, but you rent your profiles on your social media networks. So just know like, things can change algorithms could change in fact, that ad paid advertising person I work with got his facebook account disabled last week, and it’s blowing everything up in his his world. Because you’re you’re renting over there, you own your website.

13:51
So those are some of the covering the marketing basis. Now. So I’m gonna do this next poll poll before Well, let me share, I’ll just share you this here. I think one of the best ways therapists can get your name out there and grow your practice is to press publish. Now, I asked earlier about your you know, do you have Do you have time? Do you have these type, you know, skill sets, all that kind of stuff? Do you have the energy and things like that? Now, this, this cost time and effort, a little bit of money, but it costs time and effort for you? So here’s some of the things I’m going to say I’m gonna put a poll up and right after I kind of unpack these to see which one’s interests you most. And if there’s another area you’d like me to go to and talk about, please post that in the the chat or the q&a button right below the zoom on the bottom of the zoom app here.

14:42
But I say press publish. I’m actually that’s part of my story, why I’m here today. In 2006, I started a blog that was in my area of expertise at the time, which was basically communications work for a nonprofit. And so I started a blog started pushing publish, I got past that the perfectionism and also the worry about the trolls and the critics online. And I pushed publish. And I’ll tell you, I, most of my career and business success has come from that bold step of just pushing, publish and keep pushing publish. Now, I think it’s one of the best ways to establish your name, your credibility, your authority by doing it consistently. So you might say, I want to be interviewed by the media I want when they talk about a mental health subject, I want my local TV station to be to think of me. if you’re pressing publish, consistently through these different channels that I mentioned, that I’ve listed here, you have a more, you’re out there, you know, in the world, pressing publish, and I’ve been on the other side of this where that particular news outlet is looking for someone that they know can be coherent and share their expertise on the subject. Well, if you’ve been publishing regularly at, let’s say, a podcast, they can go back and go 30 40 50 podcast episodes, oh, man, this person knows what they’re doing.

16:04
Same thing with online video, I put Instagram or online videos. So for instance, like, you’re just good at, you know, you talk all day with your clients. But if you’re good at just the spoken word, and you’re it’s a little bit tougher for you to write, then cueing up, you know, you could actually do this with zoom, I’ve done YouTube videos with them, or zoom or I pull zoom up, start a press record, start, start talking, and then stop and upload that to YouTube or whatever, you know, channel you want to go on. But doing publishing consistently in all these different specific areas, I’ve got blogging here, talking about my own story, writing an E book, doing a podcast, all those type of things are just and if you do them consistently are the ways to get your word out there. Now, think about this. in year two of my business, my software business, we were very early in, in WordPress, actually, it was a WordPress product company, software company. And we helped build add ons for WordPress. Well, in year two, we put all these products out, people started saying are these are these guys and gals still in business kind of thing. And it hurt us because we were working. But they didn’t see us working every day. And so what we did was we started publishing, and we did a live show every Tuesday at 11 o’clock. And we just turned on the live stream, started talking about what we’re doing. And that was our way to just say we’re still here and relevant in so many ways.

17:37
You know, blogging, posting on social media, let’s say Instagram, or Facebook or whatever venue, you choose podcasting, all those things, just continue to share the world, to the world that you’re out there and still doing good stuff by offering good tips, good, things that come out of your practice, maybe you see themes consistently within your practice. Publishing through any of these scenarios can be a great way to just multiply your expertise. And what I love about the internet is just like today, we do this once you get the recording, get the slides, you can do all kinds of stuff with that. So you might like to do webinars too. I think I put that in here presentations. We’ll be doing more on writing an E book, and then building to the writing a book book. But I’m just kind of curious. I’m gonna launch this poll. What should these stand out to you? And I’m asking more questions than I’m entering right now. Because we need to get I want to help you all think through what things interest you with things you might areas might be great, impactful when for you to do.

18:54
So I’ve got the poll up there if you’ll just real quickly press and record whichever one you’re interested in. So I see podcasting, building my network of referrals. I love that that one I think needs to be absolutely base for sure. Okay, okay, I’ll leave that up for a second. So let’s get okay podcasting and being interviewed. So I probably should have broke being interviewed out but I’m sure you’re used to in your practice speaking and sharing that doesn’t come that’s not a surprise to me. Okay. Thanks for sharing that. So podcasting or being interviewed that is excellent. Okay, so if you want to nuance and tell me is it you know, you really intrigued by doing a podcast or if you want that the biggest Interview part out, let let me know in the chat here so I can help really focus in.

20:05
But here’s some tips, I think well, you know, as I mentioned, I built my entire career continued to do it on developing great content and pushing publish. And all counselors, you see that too. And we’ve got, we’ve got our engines working for writing, sharing presentations like this, and, and actually doing podcasts, too. So we’re doing several of the channels we’re building to that I should say we haven’t done just yet.

20:33
So here’s some tips on publishing. Since a couple of you were interested in podcasting, in particular. So first, you know, you’re probably in this you don’t recognize this and think, unlike some of your strengths, you may gloss over another No, you’re actually the expert on that you just are so good at it. You don’t, you know, interface with a lot of people that, that you might see that this is a strength, but you know, what are the areas of expertise in your practice? You know, do you focus on young adults? Do you focus on married couples, or relationships? What are those areas of expertise? Are you you know, really, really, you know, deep in trauma work, or depression or anxiety, or eating disorders? What are those areas of expertise, and you’re welcome to put those in the chat here. But this is when I started, when people were interested in publishing, particularly online, I asked some of these questions. And then actually, what do you want to be known for? So think through, you know, the Channel Four has called you. They want you to speak about this subject that you’re very passionate about, what would that be? you’re a subject matter expert, and you’re experts on things that are always part of our life, mental health, but even more exaggerated and exasperated as a part of our pandemic we find ourselves in. But so if that, you know, TV producer is calling you what is the thing that they want you to come talk about. And that probably those are two quick questions to just think through and find an area that you might be interested in, to keep publishing consistently enough to be found.

22:15
just a quick sideboard by doing these type of things. One time, I think I wrote about social media and narcissism, quick blog posts, and basically said, I leaned into it a little bit, because people want, it’s the air of personality, you know, internet personalities. In particular, I didn’t even know that was the thing. But so I did that. And then cnn producer from CNN called me and interviewed me live on the air. And then, you know, just putting things out there about specific topics, especially if it’s a form of something like, you take depression, but it’s a here’s a subset that, you know, those specialty areas within a specialty, are pretty key to because you might end up on somebody’s doorstep. I actually interviewed a psychologist earlier this year, who really works with school counselors in school psychology. And so I interviewed her because we had this phenomenon going, where it’s all these, you know, kids that are typically in school, in traditional in home seats, and desks, and all that kind of stuff. And then the pandemic hit, and now it’s all remote learning. And so we talked to some of those things. That’s exactly what you want to be positioned. When something happens, you want to be that subject matter expert for, for your area.

23:32
And one, the third question I’d ask is what frustrates or even angers you, like what gets you just fighting mad about mental health. Whatever your area of expertise for all those things. And if you find yourself with all of these, like you talked about it quite a bit frustrating things you want to change. That’s a great thing to champion in a podcast or a blog, or a video series, maybe through Instagram.

23:58
But I’ll tell you publishing is just like working out just like exercising, start small and consistent. So think through what is the minimal consistency I can do. Let’s say you start with a podcast is that once a month or twice a month, and then back it up from there, but think realistically and start small and graduate to bigger and more. But just know like, there’s no such thing as an overnight success. You’ve heard that 100,000 times but everybody starts somewhere and start where you are now. Like maybe you only have five people on your email list or what you know, your website traffic is, you know, 150 people a month. That’s a great place to start from you but start where you are and know that you have all of these, you know relationships and contacts. You start putting things out in the world don’t build from there. But again, again, I say consistency is key. But passion and interest. That’s why I started with the questions I did. Keep you consistent. And always, always, always This is the biggest trap every professional and just mental health therapists and clinicians make. It’s It’s my own, I have to fight with is perfectionism, that, that you’ll think you start recording your first episode. And you’ve got to be, we’ve got to be perfect. That’s why I like doing live stuff. You can be perfect. You can practice, you can rehearse, you can prepare, but you can’t be perfect, you’re gonna mess up just like I have today.

25:26
So, I want to switch gears for a second, I’ve asked some of the questions here to kind of formulate, but I want to, I want to make the next part of our webinar, really highly interactive and answer your questions. There’s some good questions put into the the forum said, What do you want to learn today, and I want to get to those and make sure I cover as best as possible. But these are some things I’ve just thought about how to help you think through your own marketing plan. But I highly suggest for 2021, pick three, pick 1 to 3 things that you can work on. Don’t eat the elephant, take it one bite at a time. And don’t try to do every single thing. Pick the top three, most effective and tactics to help build your your practice and employ those and participate through Don’t try to do everything. And as always, please share this with with us at AllCounselors.com we’re here for you. We’ve dedicated this company, this business of what we’re doing the community membership to you. Real quick before I start taking some questions. You can sign up for your free membership today at allcounselors.com/join. We’re going to be putting out more live events and training like this. We’re here for you, you hit our contact form. And we’re here for our members to help you grow your practice in yourself. And on that note in 2021, early 2021 we’re working on CEUs for all counselors. So be sure to sign up for our free membership today and we thank you for doing so.
Growing Your Practice

Google My Business: An Easy Walkthrough for Therapists

https://youtu.be/v6VpVlxC_pc

Google My Business is one of the most important digital marketing tools you can use to bring more clients to your therapy practice. In this webinar replay, Rebecca Gill brings over twenty years of digital marketing and SEO expertise to this deep dive into setting up Google My Business for mental health professionals.

You’ll learn to:

Set up a Google My Business accountCreate a profile that will attract new clientsEngage with existing clients through reviews

Webinar Transcript

Speakers:  Rebecca Gill, Ani King

Ani King 0:03And the recording starts automatically.

Ani King 0:06That’s good.

Ani King 0:08I have my printed out checklist of things. Looks like we’ve got some folks coming in now. Let a couple more people get in here. And then we’ll talk about how to ask questions and so on.

Rebecca Gill 0:27Okay.

Ani King 1:29I was mute for that wasn’t I,

Ani King 1:32folks who are just starting to come in, go ahead and get settled. We’ll get started in a couple of minutes. In the meantime, as as you are getting settled, if you have any questions that come up throughout the webinar, you can just hit the chat button or the raise hand button. And once we’ve got a few more people in and get started, I’ll introduce myself and our guest today, and then we’ll get started.

Ani King 2:41All right, I think we’re ready to go. Everyone. Thanks so much for joining us today. I am Ani King. I’m the COO with allcounselors.com. And in just a minute, I’m going to introduce Rebecca Gill, who is an SEO and marketing expert of the highest caliber, and she’s going to help us understand better how Google My Business can really help you with getting more clients in the door for your practices. As you’re coming in just a reminder that if you have any questions while we’re going through this, you can hit the chat button, or you can hit the raise hand button. And we’ll be happy to answer those questions live as we’re talking.

Ani King 3:17I’d like to also make sure to thank our sponsor, integrativelifecenter.com they do a wonderful job in working with folks who are working towards recovery from addiction. And I would definitely recommend that you check them out. Again, that’s integrativelifecenter.com. Rebecca, I think we just give one more second. We’ve got a couple folks coming in then and then I’d love to have you tell us a little bit about yourself and what we’re going to talk about today.

Rebecca Gill 3:43Okay, excellent.

Ani King 3:47Awesome. All right. Actually, I think we’re I think we’re good to get started.

Rebecca Gill 3:51Okay, well, everyone, thanks so much for joining us today. My name is Rebecca Gill. I founded a digital agency back in 2009. And have been running that sense doing website design and search engine optimization with clients. I’m also an educator of SEO for end users, like yourself as well as agencies and other consultants. My background is with sales and marketing, which I have about 20 years of that and on the side, I am also an alpaca owner and I own an alpaca farm that is a local business. So kind of a blend. And I will be using that knowledge when we talk today about Google My Business because from the SEO side of me and the agency side, we’re worldwide but my alpaca farm is locally focused like you all are. So that really keeps me very tied into the local market which definitely helps with Google My Business. And I will tell you that with Google My Business I have always had a love hate relationship with it. So if you currently have a profile and you are not in love with it, you are not alone. I have the same feeling However it is really it’s a must have in today’s world, it really dominates a lot of search. And I’ll show you as we get started, why you know how that is and why it’s important. And I’m glad you’re here today, because as you know, you are a local business and you serve clients locally, it is imperative for your business to be able to have, you know, Google My Business. So we’ve got to have it, we need to embrace it and love it. And I’m hoping today, when we’re done, you’ll love it a little bit more than you did when you came in today and feel a lot more comfortable with it. You’re muted, Ani.

Ani King 5:35I’m going to keep doing this.

Ani King 5:38So just to kick us off, could you help us understand a little bit about why Google My Business can help clinicians have you know, any licensure any type in any location, get more clients into their practice?

Rebecca Gill 5:51Absolutely. So in and I’m going to show you this, but so when you know, Google has its search wit, you know, it’s it’s a search engine, it has a big index of content, which just means it’s like a big database of content. And it basically breaks that out in between between national activity like across the United States. And then local, being local to a specific city or area could even be a few blocks. And so it breaks up the search between those two. And it knows that when I’m looking for like a marriage counselor, that is a local type of search, it’ll educate me with some information, but it’s really going to push people towards the utilization of its maps, and that local activity. And so that is what you know, Google My Business does, it feeds all of that data and feeds all that information. So it’s really critical to being able to show up in the map, and I’ll show you that, as well as it just gives Google a better understanding of who you are and what you do.

Rebecca Gill 6:50Google is driven now by artificial intelligence, and it’s a lot smarter than I was when I started doing SEO 15 years ago. And you know, the more we can give Google data points, to better understand who we are and what we do, the better, you know, better it will serve us. And when I say serve us, that means it will know how to match you up with prospective clients that are looking for your services. And I will tell you, you know, I’m a mom, I have a son who has ADHD. And you know, I’ve been in the situation of looking for someone to diagnose him, and then someone to treat him and an ongoing basis. And I really struggled in our local area, because there wasn’t a lot of information, I ended up going to the local hospital to the, you know, the department head to say, could you please help me, I’m not finding the information that I want. And he had to actually guide me and the providers that I went to the one didn’t even have a website or Google My Business or anything, you know, I had to go off of the hospitals recommendation. And that’s kind of as a, you know, the patient or the patient’s family, the loved one, it’s frustrating. And we want to take as much of that frustration away as we can and give them easy ways to find you. And that’s really what we’re trying to do today is just make sure that, you know, you know how Google My Business works, why it matters, and then the details that you should be filling out inside the profile, as well as like just what stuff you can ignore, because some of it, you can just ignore. And I’ll walk through all of that today.

Ani King 8:21Awesome, thank you for walking through that. You know, I definitely relate to the experience of trying to find somebody in the mental health profession to get help with things and not always being able to find someone just through Google or having to go through different backchannels. So I think that that’s definitely an important takeaway here of the easier it is for someone to find you and know what services you offer, the easier it is for them to become a client if it’s a good fit. One of the things you said that I thought was really interesting, as you mentioned that, you know, folks didn’t have a website. So I’m curious, for folks who are going to be setting this up, do they need to have a website to use Google My Business?

Ani King 9:06They do not no, you know, Google is Google understands that not every profession, not every business is going to have a website, it tries to be flexible with that, It even gives you the ability to kind of set a website up inside of the tool, which I’m not a real fan of I you know, you really need to control your own domain, you don’t need to have your website set inside Google have Google control that, you know, be a be a master of your of your domain and your home and, you know, own that property. And you know, so that you can control it and not be relying on Google. It’s the same thing with like Facebook, you know, people have always said, Oh, no, I don’t need a website, I have a Facebook page. No, no, Facebook owns the page. Facebook lets you use that page right now. And if something happens, we know that Facebook could boot you right off of it and then you have no presence whatsoever. So I do feel like a website is always a good idea. Even if it’s Just a simple one page website that you control and Oh, so yeah, so to answer your question, it was a long winded answer. But to answer your question, you do not have to have a website, you know, to have a Google My Business profile.

Ani King 10:13Awesome. And I think my one follow up question, and then I’ll let you do your thing is, do you know if Google give gives any preference to people who have a website for their practice versus people who don’t?

Rebecca Gill 10:27So it is going to give preference because it has a better understanding of what you do. And I can show you some examples of that, too. So don’t let Don’t let us lose thought of that. Because that’s a good, that’s a good question. And that’s a good way to kind of just show you ways that you can amplify your profile. And you know, really what matters, you know, to that. So, let’s dig in. So we can start to show some examples. And this is all by the way, there’s no slides or anything. Today, I’m walking you through examples online, as well as going right inside Google My Business and looking at those settings. So first, let’s just start like what happens when I go to Google and I’ve put in a marriage counselor, notice that I didn’t have

Ani King 11:04real quick, can I just have you increase your screen size a little bit? for anybody who is on smaller screens?

Rebecca Gill 11:11Yeah, how is that?

Ani King 11:12That’s great. And if anybody’s having trouble seeing or you have any questions, again, feel free to hit that chat button, hit the q&a button, raise your hand, and we’ll be sure to help you

Rebecca Gill 11:22Please. Yeah, just cut me off if that happens. Okay. So notice I’m coming into to Google and I just put marriage counselor, I did not tell I didn’t say near me. I didn’t say where I was located or anything else. And just in case, you guys are wondering, as you see the maps pop up, I am in northern Michigan, right? Let’s see, what am I like right around the pinky. So I’m like northern northern lower Michigan. So Google doesn’t need me to actually put in the fact that I’m in northern Michigan, Google already knows that based on the technology that I’m using. And it doesn’t also need me to put in the city or anything else. Because it knows if I’m looking for a marriage counselor, I’m going to most likely want something close to me, right, as opposed to a search where it really wouldn’t matter. I mean, maybe I’m trying to think, I mean, I could maybe be looking for some shoes and the shoes could be close to the shoes could be from Zappos, right? For each different type of search, Google tries to do its best to make a good decision for the human. And in that case, it says, Okay, well, my human would want a counselor close by. So they really don’t need to put in any type of geographical information, don’t even need to put near me even though I suggest it because I know they want somebody local.

Rebecca Gill 12:32So this portion of the screen right here is the ads, you know, people are paying for the ads. And right underneath that, the next thing that we’re going to see is content being driven from Google My Business and the map information. And that makes for local searches, it extremely important that your Google My Business profile is good, because it’s dominating the screen there. You know, Google also has a lot of clutter these days. You know, when I first started doing SEO, you know, so, so long ago, the screen was so bare, and it was so beautiful, you know, from a marketing standpoint, because it was easier to us to control it. But now Google puts like all of this stuff on so you have to fight through the clutter. And one of the ways to fight through the clutter is to make sure your profile is strong. And so the map shows up first, and then underneath it, Google starts to go some crazy stuff like this.

Rebecca Gill 13:24And then we’ve got people also asked, which is common questions it knows that people inquire about, then we start to see more listings, these listings could be local, or they could be national. And at this point, I don’t even you don’t have to worry about any of that. I wanted you to know that from a real estate standpoint of the search engine results page that the you know, human searchers See, your most valuable content is right here. And this is all coming from Google My Business. And that’s why it’s so important.

Rebecca Gill 13:56Now, if I were to search for pathways, the path to Partnership, which is a local company, and I use their name to search, which I did right here, notice that this box comes up on the right, in addition to like these, the other information, this box comes up, this box is also coming from Google My Business, you know, so and it’s associated with the the search specific for the brand, or the company or the name. And it’s called a knowledge panel. But that’s coming from Google My Business. So if you search for your name, your company name or you know, however, and nothing comes up there, it’s either because your profile is not filled out enough or you don’t have a profile, and Google’s not connected all those dots. And so the more we love on our profile, the more information we give to the search engine, you know, the more it can utilize us in results. And that’s what we really want.

Rebecca Gill 14:50So a couple of things I want to point out here. So when Google’s going to display these results, it takes a couple of core data points. There’s a lot of other little things, but really, there’s only a few core information, you know, pieces that Google cares about. First one, what did I search for? I searched for a marriage counselor. Next data point is where am I physically at like me the searcher? And then where is the therapist physically at? Like, how close are we together? Right? Because it would prefer to show me people closer to me than people an hour away for me. But then the other thing that that’s going it’s going to use for the data is how many reviews do people have, because reviews are super important in Google My Business, and we’ll talk about reviews later. You know, because it is in depending on what type of practice you have, it can be challenging for you to get reviews from your patients or your patients loved ones because of what you do. And we’ll talk we’ll talk about that later. But the one data point I want you to take away is, is the reviews do matter. And you see the people that are showing here have reviews, right, they’ve got 118. And typically, Google’s gonna want more reviews, the better but also positive reviews. And it kind of takes it into account.

Rebecca Gill 16:11So now notice that right here, in this result, you see this information showing up. And I searched for marriage counselor. And Google has actually highlighted and bolded relationship, because the artificial intelligence in Google knows relationship and marriage kind of go together, right. And it’s actually pulling this this company, right or it’s coming. My default is company, by the way. And I apologize for saying that, because it’s not really what you are, I’ve just been doing this so long. But this profile actually mentions that relationship and a review. And so Google is not only just looking at the data points of, Oh, you know, you’re located close, I think that’s what you do. And you’ve got some reviews, it actually goes to look at the reviews and the words, people are saying, to see if it wants to match that up. And here’s another point, as we were talking about, like the website, if I talk on my website about specifically that I have I do marriage counseling, Google’s artificial intelligence actually kind of does that path, it goes all the way to the website and says, Okay, see, marriage counseling, or counselor or you know, relationship, whatever mentioned on the website, and it starts to connect all of those pieces of information, so that it can present the human with the best results. And, you know, again, there’s a lot of things going on. But it is just a few core pieces of information that truly matter. And that’s the distance between you and the searcher, the reviews that you have, and then the language that you’re using within your profile, and within your website. And you know, kind of blends all of that together. So that’s, you know, how Google makes that those kind of decisions.

Rebecca Gill 17:52So I don’t have a therapy profile to show you because I can’t actually show you any clients, when I go to Google My Business, but what I can do when we’re doing training is I can show you my business profile. And you know, kind of like this, I’ll use that for the setup. Real quick, though, before we jump into that if you are on here, and you don’t have a profile setup, all you do is go to google.com/business. And that will take you to the right place and where to set up a Google My Business profile. Because that’s like, the first question is like, if I don’t have one, where do I go? Google tries to make it easy for you. And that’s where you’re going to go to set up.

Rebecca Gill 18:31But for today’s training, we’re going to use a company called web savvy marketing, which is the agency that I’ve owned for over 10 years. And this is my little knowledge panel that shows up towards the right when you search for my name. And you can see that it gives the key information like how many reviews Do I have the stars, links to my website, a phone number, the hours of when we close? If there’s any questions and answers that could be associated with it. And then like it starts to show reviews, right? Right front and center, which if you’re looking for someone who does what I do, and you come in here, and you search for my name, and this shows up and it says oh, I highly recommend her services if she is a true experienced expert or anyone’s website is in good hands right with her, that gives the human a good warm and fuzzy about me and that’s what Google wants you it wants to create that positive experience. So those reviews not only help you rank inside that little box, it also helps convert the people that see your profile online and go, you know what, you know, she has good reviews, I feel like I can trust her. So but you know, it’s it’s a double when they become very powerful. Also notice that it has my company description down here, which is something that I’ve put in my profile, and then some posts that appear and we’re gonna again we’re going to go through these settings but I wanted to show this the output so as we go through the settings, we can kind of try to mash that stuff up together. And if I need to flip back and forth between those, just let me know. And I’m happy to do that because I want to make sure everything’s you know, sinking in.

Ani King 20:08Thanks so much, Rebecca, just to reminder to everyone that if you have any questions, you can raise your hand down at the bottom of your, your zoom screen, or you can hit the chat button. And we’ll be happy to answer that question. And just a quick answer. This is not a cu webinar, this is just a learn how to get your own practice out there. So still valuable, maybe just not in the same way.

Rebecca Gill 20:33Okay, is this big enough for people? Or should I keep zooming in?

Ani King 20:37That’s probably good, right? This is good. I’ve also dropped the link, so that you can get to Google My Business to set up your account in the chat. So go ahead and save that. And we have a question from Barbara, neither of us work for Google or Google My Business in any way. This is just a service that we have found is extremely important and extremely valuable as you’re doing digital marketing. And now that we are especially in a time period where telehealth is really important, making sure that you are accessible to potential clients is an even bigger deal as people are looking are looking for help.

Ani King 21:17Yeah, absolutely. I don’t work for Google, I’ve, you know, been working with Google’s property and search for a really, really long time. And you know, you I don’t know how companies can exist today without having some type of presence online. Because human nature is to go vet people, it’s to go find people online, vet them, you know, as a provider before they ever reach out. And when your digital marketing is done, right? It’s your salesperson, right? It’s putting information out for people to be able to find to feel comfortable with you. So when they do call to pick up that phone to make an appointment with you. And to see if you’re taking new patients, they already are bought into you, like they already feel have a comfort level with you. And they want to engage with you and from, you know, a revenue standpoint, that’s pretty powerful. Because they don’t, they’re not coming in as suspect as they would be otherwise, because they’ve been able to find information for you. Younger generations extremely important. If you are trying to service, you know, older teens or 20-something. They’ve heavily rely on the web and technology. And they would be highly suspect if they couldn’t find anything about you online, because that’s the world in which they’ve, you know, they’ve been brought up. But so when we come into

Ani King 22:38just real quick, sorry to interrupt. We’ve got a question from Nancy, just asking if we can quickly explain what search engine optimization is.

Rebecca Gill 22:45Absolutely. So Nancy search engine optimization is this process of making sure the things that you do online, make it very easy for the search engines to understand who you are, what you do, and then use like your website in search results. And it’s basically saying, okay, so if I were to come in here and search for like the marriage counselor, and if I’m doing things right, search engine optimization, takes me from, you know, maybe page seven, which is way down the path where no one would ever find my results. And it brings me up into this first page, and tries to position me as high as possible so that I get the most views by people who are searching for my services in my offering. And you know, at the heart of it, it’s just trying to make the search engines easy. It’s just, it’s just understanding kind of what they do. And, and giving them the data points that they need to help send people our way. And we don’t expect you as as counselors or therapists to be experts in search engine optimization, but we you should know what it is. And you should know that people do search for for what you have and that you like Google My Business or you know, having information on your website about what your you know, what you offer and your specialties. It all kind of goes together and helping people find you.

Ani King 24:15And a quick follow up question to that one, which I, I think will probably have a longer answer than we can dig into that into today is can you pay to raise your number which Nancy, I believe means just to kind of raise your ranking?

Rebecca Gill 24:28Gotcha. So what so Nancy, there’s two different types of search, there’s the search, or excuse me two different types of search results. There’s the ads, which are right here, these are driven by what’s called pay per click, and that’s you paying Google money to show up in this section. That is completely different than the organic results of this. You know, that this little map or anything down here. Even actually anything like right here to all of us what’s called organic and that means it’s happening naturally. Because of what Google finds on your website, and you know, decides that you are a value, that has nothing to do with any ad spend, it’s just, you’ve done a good job at, you know, helping the search engines find your content and knowing how to use it. So two different completely different types of things. My specialty has always been the free, I’m always about like doing the free things, because I refuse to pay people money, when I think that you can go the other route. And you know, from a local standpoint, it used to be really, you know, there’s a lot of tricks and things we had to go through to show up in search. before Google, my business showed up. But then once it showed up, and we’ve got this map, and it’s there’s a profiles, it’s so much easier to get yourself, you know, displaying on search, and having people actually, you know, have a fine, easy time to find you.

Ani King 25:50Thanks so much for that.

Rebecca Gill 25:52Okay. So when we go into Google My Business, there’s first this, notice that there’s navigation on the left, and this is after I have a profile setup, I can’t really go in and start creating a profile. Because Google will stop me because I can’t validate it, right, there’s a process that goes through, what I will tell you and I should have started here is if you don’t have a profile, you’re going to, you know, you’re going to create a Google account, if you don’t already have one. And you’re going to set up a profile, it is free to have a profile. And Google will want to validate you by sending you a postcard to whatever address that you’re using, you know, for your listing, which is most likely a physical office that you go to, and you typically would see patients in a non COVID basis. And it’s don’t be intimidated by the postcard request, it takes, you know, like a normal, non COVID timeframe, like five days to get to you. And there’s a little number and you’re just going to come back to the that gives you a website address that you type in, up here, you come back, you put the number in, and it says okay, you’re all good to go. And then you your your profile is going to be active. So that is a process that you go through. And then once you go through that setup process of just and it’s really it’s like, what is your business name? What is your address, what is your phone number. And that’s like, really what it takes to get started. Not much else besides that, and the postcard goes out. And once you validate that postcard with your like four digit code that it gives you now we see this, and what we see this, this is just like kind of the homepage with lead with navigation and options on the left.

Rebecca Gill 27:25I typically don’t really pay much attention in here, because I especially with set up, that’s all you know, on the left hand side that we’re going to get to so this is kind of like once you have your profile, it’s an overview, how many views have people seen within my profile? What was my last review? What do I look like? You can actually click over here and say, Okay, what do I actually look like on on search or on the maps? And so how do I share my profile with my clients to ask for review. And that’s what this homepage is, we’ll come back to this because I want to get into the actual setting up of the information.

Rebecca Gill 28:00So when you first have your profile, the biggest and most important section is the info section. And you come in here, and it’s going to have information about your address and, and things such as that. But I will tell you, you know, the word you’re going to trip yourself up the most or where you can do yourself the most favor is by having a right category. And that’s what this is right here. So when I come in here, and keep in mind, this is for my business, right? Google wants to know, like who I am, what do I do, and notice that you have a primary category. And then you have additional categories. And so the primary one is the most important, you want this to be exactly like as close to what you do as possible. And then any kind of ancillary or no additional categories that Google offers that might match up to you. Those would be right here. And on your you’re going to put a list of those in the chat that we pulled out for them.

Ani King 29:05Right. And so one of the things to kind of keep in mind that I think Rebecca is going to cover is that primary category really is the most important thing. And so making sure that that matches up extremely closely with the services you offer, that’s not always going to be the same thing as looking for something that matches your credential. So it’s okay for you focus solely on marriage, counseling therapy, you know, if you work very specifically in addiction and recovery services, taking the time to find what is the most appropriate primary category is going to really serve you a lot there.And I will

Rebecca Gill 29:46and you can start typing things in and it will start bringing up things that match right and so then you can select and then go on to the next one and keep walking through that and I went through this morning and Create and found a list of any that, you know might be applicable to what I think. So Ani could give you this list and so you can have it readily available. And so once you have it in the chat in just a second, okay. And once you have these, you’re just going to go again, put your most important one in the primary, and then you’ve got your additional categories, you don’t have to have additional categories if nothing else applies, if only one applies to you only put one in, right if more apply, put more in. But you don’t have to feel like you have to fill these up at all. Because this is this is what Google you know, in addition to like what it does find a new website. And if you have one and things like that this is like the most important data point, because you’re telling Google exactly what you do.

Rebecca Gill 30:45Next, there’s what is called service areas. And service areas are for people who actually like go out to customers location, say like a plumber. So a plumber would have a service area, because they may go into like a tri state area or you know, something like that. But for most people with what you do, you would actually ignore this section entirely. Because it really doesn’t apply to you because patients come to you or you’d be doing telehealth services. The next one data field is your hours and hours. Okay, so this is really important. Because when you’re looking at Google My Business, and you do a search, look at this one right here says it’s open now. So when I did that search, it’s saying, hey, it’s open now. And it’s open to 530. Here’s the phone number, like go ahead and call. So it’s trying to encourage me to call and Google knows these, these opening hours, because I’m telling it in my Google My Business profile, right. And so that’s where it’s pulling it from. And it will actually I’ve noticed, if so say, you know, there’s there’s 10 available listings for that marriage counselor in my area. And three, say that they’re open right now and five, say that they’re closed, Google wants to give preferential treatment to those three that are currently open. Because so you know, I’m just gonna, it’s gonna serve the human better, they can pick up the phone and call me. Right. So you know, think about that, like, as in you’re doing your hours. If you have standard hours, don’t skip over this, definitely fill those out, because those will be beneficial to you. I will help you show

Ani King 32:24real quick. And since we’re focused a little bit on location, we definitely already had a couple of questions about whether or not you need to have a physical address listed. And that’s sort of like we had talked about before, you know, for folks who have moved to solely providing telehealth, who definitely don’t want to put down you know, their physical address, is that an issue? How would you suggest that that should be handled,

Rebecca Gill 32:49so you do not have to have your physical address showing, you’re going to have to tell Google your physical address to prove out that you are a real human, and that you actually do physically live in the area that you say that you live in, right, or that you service in the area that you save it is service, and Google is going to send you a postcard to that area. But you do not have to have that address showing on online, you know, in the Dr. Address area, you can say please don’t show like there’s an option to say please don’t show. So you don’t feel like you have to write and don’t let that don’t let that stop you from from creating a profile. Now, alternatively, say you’re listed or you say like I’m in Traverse City, and I want which is like Northern Michigan and say, I want to be able to show up in Google My Business in Detroit. Right? Can I set up a fake address in Detroit and fake this out to get telehealth, you know, patients down there? And the answer is no, you’ll get in really big trouble if you try to create fake addresses, like, you know, UPS boxes and things like that, to fake out the search engines, Google has very little tolerance on any type of activity like that. So it’s definitely you know, don’t do that if you have to, like, like, like your Telecom, like, if you have to question what you’re going to do, and you have to think about whether or not it’s right or wrong, it’s probably not right, or excuse me, it’s probably not, you know, it’s not the right thing to do. So like, just don’t do that.

Ani King 34:11Now, this is actually really relevant to a question we have that just came in, which is, if you are licensed in a number of different states, you know, do you have advice for how to make sure that you can show up in those searches?

Rebecca Gill 34:26So yeah, so that’s actually that’s more of an SEO thing. And it’s outside the scope of this. Like I can’t quickly it’s it’s a it’s a search engine optimization technique. And it would be technical, and it’s much more in depth than I can go into at this time. But it is possible, right, given to try to, you know, educate the search engines about that. I’d like to answer it, I just will confuse everybody.

Ani King 34:54Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great question. And it is something that you know, maybe Come up for more clinicians. So that’s something we’ve got on our list to do a little bit of research into and, you know, present that information to y’all at a future date, too.

Rebecca Gill 35:07Yep. Okay, so I have my phone number, obviously, we want to have a phone number there where people can reach you. And this should if you have a website, and you have a phone number on your website, this, this should match up. This right here, this is just like, what is a short address that people can reach me and I actually created this, Google will actually suggest something to you, if you don’t have anything and you go into edit it with a little pencil, Google will make suggestions to you. But you can try to, you know, keep it short, you don’t have there’s you’re going to learn that you there’s some things you have control over and some things you’re going to put in. And Google’s gonna say, No, I don’t think so. This is a better, this is a better option for you. It’s like a parent. So it’s definitely set this up so that you have a you know, a shorter URL, this guy right here, the globe, not very, you know, informative. What this is, this is just what is your website, if you have a website, remember you don’t have to have one. But if you have one, just put that in. And then this is appointments, if you have, again, you don’t have to have it. But if there’s a page on your website, or you have software or a program that you’re using, that allows potential patients or current patients to go set appointments up online, or even request appointments, do you like a contact form, that’s the link that you would put right here. And this for me just goes to my my contact page on my website that has a form and you know, my phone number and things like that. So the next one is probably we have products and we have services now in Google My Business, I don’t think you would have many products. So, you know, for the most part, you can just ignore this one. But services, you might have different services. services could be you know, maybe you specialize in ADHD. Maybe you specialize in adolescent you know, mental health or marriage counseling, or family counseling, or, you know, there’s there’s a lot of different things that could be there could be the modalities that you have, or trying to think of the other options, it’s really good,

Ani King 37:09I was gonna say, if you’re doing anything like EMDR, or brainspotting, or something that is very specific. People do search for that. And so when you can list those modalities and areas of specialty in your services, that does increase your chance of people finding you, especially if they’re looking for somebody who specializes in EMDR, because they’re looking at doing trauma processing. So the more time you can kind of spend even just ahead of time listing out what are the things that you do, it’ll really help you fill this section out.

Rebecca Gill 37:42Correct. And notice that these there’s a there’s the bolded. And then there’s not bolded. The bolded means it comes from the category at the top, right. And then the unmolded are things that I just free typed in, like these are things that I do, I do website audits, you know, I do on page search engine optimization, so you can put in anything you want there. And again, you just want it’s it’s it’s what you do, but I would tell you to do think about two things, you have the clinical and the professional phrases for things. And then you might have also the normal person like the mom who’s you know, looking for something. So I might have my own search phrases, they can mean the same thing. They can just be different ways to say something. So as you’re filling your profile out, like with these descriptions, and things, keep those in mind, right, because, you know, normal humans that are going to be your patients might not know, everything that you do. So like I you know, I maybe there’s a special phrase for marriage counselor, right. But I would search for marriage counselor, because that’s what I would think that I would need. And I wouldn’t necessarily know the advanced option. So if you have any special information, like I’m a woman lead business, any health and safety things, fancy things, service options, you can add them in here, I’m not sure if a lot of these would apply to you. The big thing though, is this description. Not only does this help search engines in the search engine know more about you, it also shows up in my profile right here for the humans to read. So you’re putting that in for the search engine in the human. So again, make sure it describes who you are and what you do. But also make sure it is in human friendly language for patients. Right so that they can easily digest it and and understand you know what that means? So this is just my open

Ani King 39:43real quick. I’m going to interrupt again. And we had a question asking about, you know, how would you indicate in a Google My Business profile, you know, if you take a specific type of insurance, like Medicaid or Medicare would doing that in your description area be the best way to do that, or?

Rebecca Gill 40:02That is an excellent question, whoever asked that, that is an excellent question. Thank you. So you could put it in your description. But what I would tell you a better place to do it is in this guy called an FAQ, this question and answer, you can actually answer ask your own questions. And one would be, what type of insurance do you take? And so you post that question, and then you come right back in and you answer it, you know, I accept or bla bla bla bla bla, and you answer that question, and that people are going to want to know that right? That was one of the first questions I asked, you know, like, what do you specialize in? What type of insurance do you do you take? Are you accepting new patients, that could be a great FAQ and Ani, I will tell you as a takeaway, like a worksheet is to come up with all the questions that might be really good for there, and then send that out to people not to give you more work, I that would be a great thing for attendees or any you know, anybody that that is, you know, in the membership.

Rebecca Gill 41:04Okay, so notice that I have my services here, right. But I also, if you look over to the left, have my services right here. So they’re kind of in both spaces. And so this is kind of cool, because even though I saw the shortlist of my category remember it was bolded. And then website audits, notice that there’s actually language here. So I can come in and type in 300 characters of a description. Now, you know, it’s, how much does the does the humans really see this, I don’t think they see it really at all. However, I do think that Google is using this to match it up to the searches. So take the time to come in. And if you say like that you do marriage counseling, put a little description of what that means. I you know, however, I can’t come up with ’em for your, you know, your industry, I just don’t know enough about it. But, you know, create that take the time to do that on every single one, you can put a price if you have to, or if you want to, but you don’t have to. Right, it could be free. It could be fixed. You know, per hour, it could be from and up. I, I typically when I’m filling this out for clients, I don’t put any price in, it’s more important that there’s the service. And then there’s the description. Okay, and so you just notice that they’re all of these. And again, I can create anything that I want. Like I could come in here and say that I am the star of you know, the the rainbow kids or anything I want, because it’s completely freeform. So make it your own and make it again for the humans and matching up to things that they might search for.

Rebecca Gill 42:41Okay, so this website guy right here, you’re gonna think that is a link to the woods where you put a link over to your website. No, that is Google trying to get you to create a website on their platform. And again, I’m going to tell you don’t do that own your destiny, right, don’t let Google Own your destiny, we utilize their tools, but we do not rely on their tools. So I’m just going to tell you just don’t do it. Don’t do it.

Ani King 43:08And just just so folks know, we do have a webinar replay available for members that walks through setting up a one page website, and just some of the components to think about. So if you currently do not have a website and are starting to think, you know, maybe it’s a good idea to set one up, you know, we’d love to help you out with that.

Rebecca Gill 43:27Okay, so this tab right over here is called reviews. And this is so you can come in and see any reviews that people have left, you can expand them out. You can leave like clients and patients can leave short reviews, or they can leave, you know, kind of pretty long reviews. And if you want you could come and reply. So I could come in to Michael from Kirk in Las Vegas and reply to this, which was kind of funny, he left this review for me, probably five months after it’s not five months, like five years after we work together. Like I totally forgotten what I had done for him. And it was but you know, it’s just sweet. So I want to come in here and say it was a pleasure working with you, you know, something like that, you know, you can do that. I typically don’t do that.

Ani King 44:11I was gonna say Do you mind if I jump in here real quick, just because I know that reviews when you are working in mental health can be really tricky. And in fact, there are I don’t know if he would call them laws or statutes or whatnot. But essentially, if you are a psychologist, for example, you cannot ask for reviews. You can’t solicit them. You can’t say hey, you know, if you really like coming to my practice, please say something. And so that probably does mean that there is some nuance around whether or not you can reply to a review. There are some ways you get reviews for your practice or for yourself as a practitioner. And one of those is to work with specifically a therapy practice, review business. There are people out there who will go out and find reviews or do reviews or put those together. So that you’re not in either an ethical or legal dicey situation because neither of those things are great. One of the things that can be helpful is if you do have a website, then you can have a link that is an option for review. But you really can’t say, hey, it’d be great if you would review me. And if you do reply, and I see that Helen just also dropped an answer in there. If you do reply, that’s almost certainly going to be breaking confidentiality to some extent,

Rebecca Gill 45:29so.

Ani King 45:29So the review thing I understand can be tricky. There are ways that you can work with companies and with agencies that go out and work on building reviews for these. But for the most part, it’s really just about making sure that you have Google My Business so that if people choose to review, they can do that. Or if you have a Facebook page, you know that they can review that. But the interaction piece is really just a, you can’t do anything about that. So that does add a layer of complexity that doesn’t necessarily exist in other industries, or even within some areas of you know, just health and wellness. But that doesn’t mean that people won’t or can’t leave reviews. I know Rebecca, you and I talked earlier about being much more likely to leave a review for our child’s therapist, for example, than necessarily maybe our own. And especially if you you know, work with extra vulnerable people who are in addiction recovery or other services, the likelihood of getting reviews could be pretty varied. As you saw, when Rebecca was pulling up some of those examples of marriage counseling options in her area, people do leave reviews. So it’s not just a matter of, you know, having to go out and solicit them or even respond to them, it’s simply making sure that there is a way for folks to leave a review, if they choose to do so.

Rebecca Gill 46:59And you can see, like I just did a search for addiction therapist, and the first review has the first result has no reviews at all right? So in Google does have, like I said, it’s got that artificial intelligence, it is smart enough to filter that out. And to understand that, you know, certain, like a restaurant is clearly going to have a lot more reviews than a therapist. And it might even put weights to that where like in your industry, it is very difficult to get them and it might discount those reviews and how those results? I don’t know for sure. But it’s not enough to do that. And it does count from an organic search, like in the results below that. I know it handles different industries, different ways. So it wouldn’t be surprising to me, if it you know, took that into account. Thank you. Yeah, sure. Notice, though, right here that there is a drop down for hours. Right? Remember I said the importance of that. So that is, you know, I just noticed that you’ll find with Google My Business. It’s an evolving tool. And things pop up all the time new. And you know, Google is because it’s continues to try to serve that human better and better all the time. It will continue to add some things and you know, to be able to do that, you know, to service it better.

Ani King 48:23And then one last question about reviews. Sorry to interrupt again. We’ve had a question asking, Is it possible to turn off the review feature, which I believe the answer is no. Accurate?

Rebecca Gill 48:34There is yes. No, there’s it is? It’s not possible? Nope. Yeah. Okay, so the next section is photos, and the photos, I would definitely encourage you to leave for to have photos, right, you don’t have to have a ton of photos. It can be like your logo, if you have your practice has a logo, it could be photos of you, it could be photos of the outside of the building that you’re in, but definitely have some photos because that does help everybody, you know, feel a little bit more comfortable about the the profile and the people behind the profile. Let me get rid of that. And you know, it’s very easy to update or you just do the little plus, and then you can drag photos or it can you know, pull them from your hard drive. So nothing difficult there whatsoever. Now, you might be asking yourself, Well, what if I like I don’t want to deal with this. But if I want somebody else to deal with this, you actually can come down to the users. And you can invite people to help manage your profile for you. So I have a number of clients over the years that I’ve helped with Google My Business and that’s one of the reasons why you didn’t see my main screen coming in because I’ve got like just a bunch of companies listed. And they don’t want to be shown on on webinars. So you can get help so don’t feel like you. You can’t you know, it’s it’s, it’s available. So now we’ve kind of like talked through some things You’ve got the insights. So after you’ve got your profile set up, Google does try to give you some information. So you can now see, you know, where is what kind of activity is happening? You know, with with people coming directly to you? Are they doing searches for like your brand? are they finding you through a search for a keyword phrase? Then you can start to see activity over time, like, did you pick up at certain times of the month versus, you know, other days? Is it within search? Or is it within maps, because remember, Google has Google Maps, Google Maps, where you can go and look for things on your phone.

Rebecca Gill 50:39So you can see the difference there. And then it actually gives you information so that if you come in here, and you’ve got your profile, and you’re showing up, did people click from your profile in Google Search over to your website, that’s my greens, did they call you know, so like, in the business that I do, they’re not gonna typically just pick up the phone and call and if they do, for me, that’s always a red flag, because it means they have no idea what I do, like, it’s not at all qualified, I want them to click through to my website and see if we’re a good fit for each other. So that’s why you’re like seeing zero calls, but you’re seeing visits. If I were to go to my farm, my farm, that would be completely different. People are going to call and you know, share your hair you open today, can we come see some alpacas? So it really varies by you know, the practice and the industry and things like that. But the point here is, is there’s lots of information that you can kind of come in and see like, when is the most active? You might be wondering, like, should I be changing my hours? Right? Or should I like be open Monday, cuz I’m not open on Monday, well, you could come in here and start to see like, the most popular days of the week to know whether or not people are looking for you on Monday, you know, and whether that matters.

Rebecca Gill 51:46Google also does benchmarks. So it will actually show you like on my little farm site, it’ll say, here’s your photo of us. And here’s photo views for everybody else. And you know, other other types of sites like yours. I don’t know who they are, but it will compare me to others within my industry. And it’s different, again, like it’s not doing it for this profile, but it does it for the other profile. And I said earlier that Google’s probably smart enough to know reviews are hard for you to get. It’s smart enough to know that different industries are using data differently. And as it rolled out products and services some time ago, and I can’t even remember when it could have been over years, like it rolled it out to certain industries first, and then it wasn’t available to other industries, it knows that a restaurant would want menus, as opposed to products, it’s more enough to know that. So the more Google learns, the more it changes the settings of Google My Business to try to, again, help the humans. And you know, you definitely want to love on your profile, and you want to make sure that you’re setting things up.

Rebecca Gill 52:53And the one thing I just remember that I haven’t covered yet, are these guys down here, like what the heck are these, right? So these are actually coming from posts, posts are right here, can’t believe I almost forgot to cover this. So posts are your way of putting anything in, it could be a special you’re running, it could be an open house that you’re going to have, it could be a COVID-19 update, I will say Google has been very good about trying to adapt their services to this world that we found ourselves in this last year. And just to try to make sure that people are being helped as much as possible. And literally, you can come in here and you just create a post. And like this one was a client, we launched a website for back in October, and I just have to launch day, right. And I shared that information. And it was try, you know, I did it for the client. So actually, Google would know about this brand new website, because it’s a brand new company, but it could be anything. This was our 10 year anniversary for the company. You know, I don’t do these very often. But I do once in a while. You can put anything you want for content, not a ton of content, but content, you can put links over to things. And then Google starts to give you data on how many people actually came in and looked at it. But keep in mind, it’s really easy to come in and add a post, you know, just like add an update, you bring in your photo, you write some text, if you want to add a button, like learn more, or buy or call now, right? You can do that. And then you put the phone number in and then publish. The one thing to know about these is they’re only going to be really getting pushed to people for seven days. And then Google kind of wants to move it on and keep things fresh. So it will tell you. Here’s the interesting point. It’ll say, it’ll send you an email and go your profile or your excuse me, your post has expired. It was published seven days ago. Well, here’s the funny thing isn’t really Google because it’s sitting right here still.

Rebecca Gill 54:49So it does tell you that and it’s just trying to get you to love on your profile. share information with those who are searching for you. Help them learn more about you. You know, that type of thing? And again, you know, Google is a company to make money, how do they make money by people clicking on ads? How do they get people to click on ads by making sure they have the most positive user experience possible when anybody comes inside to do a search. And so they’re trying to just give us tools to help make that happen. And those are those kind of emails and those notifications that you get. So those are all wrapping up all of the things that we want to talk about only do we have questions that haven’t gotten answered by people.

Ani King 55:31The one thing I just want to spend a couple of seconds on, since we are just a few minutes away from the top of the hour, with regards to reviews, you know, you absolutely cannot solicit from your clients. But one thing that you can do is work with colleagues, or with you know, mentors or people who know that you are highly skilled that you have, you know, that you have these abilities with EMDR brainspotting. Or that, you know, you’ve been working as a marriage counselor for a long time, or that you are extremely skilled in helping people with eating disorders. And that is a good way to work within your network, or even to build a network of colleagues where you trust each other. You know, if you know another therapist that you refer to regularly, take a minute and leave a review for them, you’re not going to violate any client confidentiality, and you are supporting another person in the same profession. And it is okay within your professional network to ask people, you know, hey, we’ve worked together a long time, we’ve referred a lot of clients back and forth, you know, would you be willing to give me a review, and most of the time, people are going to say yes, and sometimes they’ll say, Hey, I don’t have time, and that’s okay. But that is one way to get a little bit more of that review power behind Google My Business, and it’s not unethical, and it’s not going to put you or your clients in a bad position.

Ani King 56:53It looks like we have. So a question about what to do and dealing with a negative review. And Rebecca, I think our answer is probably going to be very similar, the answer is nothing. The answer is that you let it sit there, you can’t ethically respond to it, but you don’t necessarily want to anyways, and

Rebecca Gill 57:14so on in other industries, I will tell you to respond to it, and then try to find resolution, if possible, but in your industry, because of what you do, and you have those ethical boundaries that you you know, it’s like a it’s a box, you’re like, you’re in a very small box, compared to if you’re a restaurant or something like that. You know, so for you, it’s definitely different. So yeah, for for this, this industry, I would tell you, you really can’t reply. However, you know, for others, that would be a different answer.

Ani King 57:49Yeah, which is, you know, it’s tricky. But I will also say, coming from, you know, a long background of customer service, sometimes the best thing you can do is just let that sit. And either if it is ethical to do so, which again, this is really kind of a very difficult area to be in, to respond privately. You know, I think one of the things that you will probably find, and I went through a lot of different reviews of different, you know, therapy practices and individuals, very few of the negative reviews happen. And when they do, it’s very hard to identify people. And I think that you all probably have a better understanding around the ethics of would you even address that with a client in person in session or not? And while I hate to say, you know, I want to send you somewhere else for advice, this would be a really good thing to seek some advice from, you know, if you have a professor from when you were in school, or if you have a colleague who has dealt with this before, how did they handle it? What was the right response there?

Ani King 58:58Just a couple more minutes here. And so if there are any last minute questions, again, feel free to raise your hand, feel free to drop into the q&a or chat button. You know, Rebecca, I really appreciate you being here today. I think that Google My Business has such a capability to help a lot of folks in the mental health profession be more accessible to people who are looking for help, especially right now. I think that some of your questions around looking at different locations. How do you make sure that people know that you’re able to service them through telehealth or other reasons in different locations have given us some things to look at for future conversations or webinars. Just a reminder, we offer a free membership at allcounselors.com that gives you access to webinars like these and more and we will be rolling out CEOUs in the second half of the year. So we’re going to have quite a bit going on and we’d love to help you build your practice. Grow your practice, grow yourselves because what you’re doing is so important to the world. So we are here to help however we can. Anything else, Rebecca, you want to make sure we cover?

Rebecca Gill 1:00:07No, I think that we’ve really covered everything. And I guess I would tell you, like I said, it Google My Business and all of Google’s properties, it comes with features and things are new and don’t stress when you see them, like if something new pops in there, don’t fear it. Don’t feel like you have to jump on and start using it. You know, the biggest thing is, is that you have a profile, it’s been validated. You know, you’ve got your description in there, you’ve got the right categories, and you have the primary category, which is the most important one for you. That’s the biggest thing, right? You put your hours in there and everything else is gravy. It’s like frosting in your cupcake. So you know get those cores in make sure that those are there and you know and and be good with that right? Because I think that that that will serve you because your industry is very unrepresented online, and it can help you position yourself above your competitors.

Ani King 1:01:02Absolutely. And just so folks know if you think of any questions after this webinar, you are welcome to shoot me an email. It’s just Ani@allcounselors.com. And I will either answer your question, or I will find someone who can. Helen, the easiest way to get on the allcounselors.com mailing list, let me just drop a link in the chat here. If you are a member, then we automatically add you to our mailing list. And you can always unsubscribe at any time if you want to. We will never spam you. We will only ever send you information about how to grow yourself or your practice. We have a really easy membership to sign up for. And that is a link right there. And let me make sure we’ve got all of our questions answered.

Ani King 1:01:57Okay, it looks like we’ve got all these questions answered. And yes, Helen or anybody else who is interested? Make sure I sent this to the right place because I did not. Come join us at allcounselors.com. You are welcome to email us anytime. And we will help you as however we can. Thank you again so much, Rebecca, I really appreciate you being here today. And thank you to everyone who took the time to come and ask questions. And to help us make sure that you know we know how to help you better

Rebecca Gill 1:02:31Thanks, everybody.
Growing Your Practice

5 Key Steps to Marketing Your Counseling Practice

https://youtu.be/93Db7oRfGKM

Digital marketing is key to reaching new clients and you can learn how to market your therapy practice using skills and tools you may already have. In this webinar replay, Cory Miller and Brad Osborne as they show you the best, inexpensive digital marketing options available to therapists right now.

Webinar Transcript

Speakers: Cory Miller, Brad Osborne

Cory Miller 0:06Hey everybody welcome to AllCounselors.com another webinar where we talk about marketing and business stuff that relates specifically to clinicians mental health professionals in the world and so thanks for joining us. I’ve got my friend and colleague Brad Osborne he’s going to be chiming in and sharing some techniques and tips about how to grow your practice. every webinar we do at all counselors we want it to be highly practical move you forward and helpful so at the bottom of the of the Zoom app is a Q&A button if you have questions for us as we go please post those in the Q&A button and we’ll weave those into our presentation. every webinar we do we try to reserve some time at the end just for open q&a so get your questions loaded for that but i’m going to dive in and i want to make the most of our time together

Cory Miller 0:54so this is five steps to growing your practice in 2021 and the thought here is just practical things that you can do and implement to start grow build your therapy practice so next i’ll share and i’m sorry brad I didn’t get your bio up in time-brad joined last minute not always love his input he is i’ll let him introduce himself in just a second. so my name is cory i’m the ceo of AllCounselors.com i this is part of my life mission i am not a mental health practitioner i am not a therapist i am someone that believes in mental health for myself i’ve been talking openly since 2015 about my own story well in the past to help eradicate and obliterate the stigma of mental health on the earth and to help get more people to you–our mental health awesome clinicians and therapists and counselors in the world. my background is I started in 2008 as a software company built it over 10 plus years and then it was acquired in 2018 and my next chapter is doing this right here like i want to make a dent in the universe i want to make an impact and part of the way we’re doing that through AllCounselors.com is serving and supporting clinicians like you brad oh in my emphasis is business but also marketing and everything we do around all counselors really focused on helping you grow your business through really good marketing techniques Brad you want to give a quick quick who you are to our crowd here today

Brad Osborne 2:25yeah joined corys team as a marketing specialists a little while ago and have been working on projects for all counselors i’ve been in the digital marketing space now for over 10 years. worked in a lot of different companies behind the scenes and i’m also very excited to help the message of mental health reach more people so i’m i’m happy to apply you know my lessons and experiences in the marketing world to help all of you to grow your businesses

Cory Miller 3:02and the techniques we’re going to talk about today both brad and i have he’s gone very deep in a lot of different marketing techniques and i my software company actually built software for website designers and specifically on a platform called wordpress so you’re in the right spot if you’re looking to use marketing to grow your practice.

Cory Miller 3:22so i’m gonna dive into five steps and brad you chime in as you want and have commentary but the first is so i hope you’ve got a you know pen and paper or somewhere you’re taking some notes not to quote cory or bread but two specific items you can make some forward progress in your practice. the first is discovering i say discovering because brad and i are our expeditionary entrepreneurs we we find what the person we’re trying to serve needs and we pair it with what we can do so when I talk about ideal client profile what i want you to think about and i’d love for you to share that in the chat share some of these questions i’m asking i want this to be very collaborative or participate and to get the discussion going but when i say discovering your ideal client profile if you’ve already got a practice or you’ve practiced at all you’re in that phase right your licensed you’re helping people think back and go who are the type of people one who are the type of people i tend to that tend to gravitate toward me in my practice.

Cory Miller 4:28so that could be demographics that could be geographics all those types of things just think about for a second who are the type of people that you tend to serve when we talked to a person that was on in new york and they they do mobile mental health for basically senior adults was really easy it’s like well who do you serve most and that that practitioner said you know senior adults that are typically homebound okay that’s that’s great that’s a start now we know that we want serve people, potentially everyone. But this helps. I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t serve whoever you want to serve. But what are the types of people that gravitate towards you? Because this is going to matter in our messaging and our marketing when we talk about the next steps. So who are you serving?

Cory Miller 5:18And then what kind of themes and issues might you hear about most now, I could probably assume that anxiety, depression could be some of those, particularly during social isolation, particularly during the pandemic. But I want you to think about that. And think about the the types of people that might gravitate toward your practice and wherever you’re located. And then the types of topics or issues that you might see consistently is it infidelity. Is it work, prop work, stress? Is it relational with a marriage? Is it parenting type issue? Do you serve just youth? And you know, some particular treatment and things like that? How do you how do you work with people? We’ll talk about modalities in a second, but I want you to be again thinking about that. If you want to participate and share in the chat, please do so. So Brad, I do we do this, because if you know who you’re who you serve, and sometimes it takes a while, who kind of one may, you know, have the money to pay for professional counseling, licensed counseling, of course, that’s our group. But you know, this ideal client profile, I think it’s so key to know, the kind of target of the people you best serve in your practice.

Brad Osborne 6:34Yeah, that really helps with all of your other marketing efforts, at least to you know, establish a, you know, when we start talking about things like keywords and how Google sees your business and your website, it can be really important to call out some of those, you know, those special ideal clients in the content that you put on your website and things like that.

Cory Miller 7:01Yeah. And the messaging. So we’re gonna talk about websites next, and Google, we’re gonna include that we got those two, because those are your two takeaways, by the way. But I don’t think a lot of clinicians I talked to even think about this, I realized you have ethical and licensure and all that standards that you should go by, right? I’m never gonna pretend to do that area. But this is so helpful in any business and your practice is a business at the end of the day, you need to get revenue so you can support your life. And we have a mantra at all counselors do good. And do well. If you do good in the world, which you all do. As mental health practitioners, we love you in your work in the world, if you do good and what you should do well, too, and we want to help you with that aspect of the do well part.

Cory Miller 7:49So okay, there’s some questions. That’s our first step is just writing down who who do I kind of anecdotally, you’re not trying to probably not put anything down like specifics? And you got to be careful with that. But like, who do you typically is drawn to you in your practice? And who are you drawn to? Some things you could think about are underserved groups of people. And veterans, we talked about that minorities, people of color, LGBTQIA+, you know, any people or themes that you kind of tend to focus or gravitate toward and they gravitate to you put those down in your notes right now, it’s gonna be very helpful coming up here in just a second. So that’s first step.

Cory Miller 8:27Second step, just like Brad said, I hesitated to put my business on here, but it’s Google. So if you think about it Google’s kind of gone into the nomenclature, how we talk, it’s become a verb, it’s a noun, it’s a company name, and all this stuff, but there are people, hundreds, perhaps 1000s of people every day, every week, in your area, dependent on the size of your area, that are that are typing in just like you do for a plumber, you type in plumber into Google, they’re typing in therapist, or counselor or psychotherapist, or you know, let’s say you’re particularl you specialize with youth, you know, psychology, and something like that. Think about those. That’s why we started with the ideal client, think about what they might type. It’s different than the jargon we use, you use in therapy work, but think about what they’re actually looking for therapy, you know, marriage therapist, relationship therapist, relationship counselor, whatever your ideal ideal client, excuse me. You’ve done that first step. Think about how they might the terms they might use specifically in your practice to find you.

Cory Miller 9:38Brad, this is, you know, Google My business is one of the we call it local SEO, local search engine optimization. But this Google My Business is huge, because it’s a way that Google uses to to find restaurants, plumbers, all that, therapists, and it’s an avenue that we work with all the time at all counselors because it is one, free and second, extremely effective. So it’s, it’s free to get an account and start setting it up. You need an office address all that you can use your home and hide it. We but Google my businesses that Google itself is huge platform for Google My Business is insane.

Brad Osborne 10:17Yeah, in the last few years, especially Google has Google, I’m sure you noticed, if you use Google, for yourself on your phone or your computers, you’ll notice that it gets better and better at finding more and more relevant results for your searches. And in the last few years, what they focused on with this product called Google My Business is, they are really, really good at knowing you know where you are. And so if you type in hamburger, it’s not just going to send you to the global headquarters of McDonald’s, it’s going to see that you’re close to, you know, it’s gonna find your closest hamburger restaurant. So that’s in the last few years, especially, it’s become even more important to work on this piece, because Google is using this as the way to sort out who gets shown for, you know, people needing help in specific areas. So it’s a very powerful tool.

Cory Miller 11:14So if you’re a therapist or counselor listening today, you need a Google My Business profile, particularly in the United States, but it would apply outside of the United States too because Google still the biggest platform on Earth right now to find. And this is their way, like Brad said, to find it. So you need to be there. And the beauty of it is it’s free. Taking this first step and doing that getting your free profile and and setting it up is so key, and one of our big steps. But do you see how we’re building and we’ll talk next about websites. But first is get get, start thinking about your ideal client who is drawn to you and you’re drawn to them, and that you help best in the world. And then when we come to Google My Business turning into place your profile out about how you get found.

Cory Miller 11:59So we want you to be found by the people searching. You think about this, when you type in Google, like you said, Brad burger, I’m in the mood, I’m ready to buy. I’m a buyer of a burger. If I typed that in, you know, if somebody types in therapists, we want you to be found there in your area, we want you to be in I know COVID and telehealth has expanded your potential area, you know, to your state in the United States, at least. But we want you to be found because those are people, those are the best. We typically in e commerce and other online business work will say those are the most ready to buy buyers. It’s almost like money in hand. If I type in red dress, or plumber, or Burger, I’m looking for something ready to buy something then Same goes with therapists. So we want you to found there, and that’s how you get found. So that’s, that’s one piece.

Cory Miller 12:46And I hope you’re taking notes as we go along. because something’s gonna stand out. And I’m gonna give you some homework at the end, I’m gonna tell you what it is take one step today and do it today, one of these things and do it today to make progress for your practice.

Cory Miller 13:00Okay, the third step is getting a simple website going. And the reason why is not just because we think websites are cool, it’s because websites are the home base, the hub, if you think about all the different things you could do in your, in your practice to market your practice, the website is the hub, and everything else is spoke that should lead back to it. Because your website is open 24/7, 365 it has your phone number, critical questions about your practice, do I take insurance? Do you know? What kind of insurance? Where do I go? How does it work? You have even maybe intake forms on there. It’s your about section to show off who you are. If you talk to you and you did your work on the ideal client profile, it’s the way to share. This is who I work best with and I’m a magnet part. You know that whole magnet part? website is absolutely vital. We suggest we love and suggest WordPress for that. But there’s also other platforms out there like Squarespace and Wix, that are great for building a website. But think about it. It’s it’s the thing, if somebody’s trying to refer to you, where do you tell them to give me your number, business card? Hopefully, if you’re sharing a business card or an email or something like that? How do people refer to you? And that that’s why we believe websites are the critical home base for all of your marketing efforts. And you need a website, not just your Psychology Today listing, or not just a Facebook page, but a website you control and you can do things with.

Cory Miller 14:37So Brad, we talked to you like from a marketing perspective, on our website and in our messaging, we want to show off not we need to answer the question Don’t we of What’s in it for them? What are the questions we need to spin our perspective around and go What is a potential new client into my practice asking what are they wanting to learn? And those help us Think through some key aspects of what we put on our website, which by the way can also be put on a Google My Business profile page.

Brad Osborne 15:10Another great piece about the website is that Google is so smart that it can, it basically is always reading what’s out there on the internet. So if you put up a Google My Business profile, and you have a website, and those two things, have the same information on that Google gives it even more thumbs up, it says, Okay, this is legitimate. This is, you know, I can, it can correlate those two pieces of data. So it adds more power to both they both power each other up the website and the Google My Business listing.

Cory Miller 15:45Thank you for saying that. It’s, it’s, it doubles as a home base for everything your marketing efforts, but it’s the power up with it’s the one two punch with Google My Business and website, you’re absolutely right. And I appreciate you mentioning that. Some things you want to think about when you put on your website are who you are, you know, I’m a real human, you want pictures of yourself, if you’re if you are taking clients in a practice, maybe a really nice picture of your office location at some point too. But if you’re like me, I want it Brad, I want to do business. And I want to specifically with therapy, and my counselor, when I was researching and found my counselor, I wanted to see who the human on the other side was that I could potentially be connected to. That’s why it’s critical to have, you know, some bio information that says Like, I’m a real living human. And I care about what what you’re going through. And I’ve been trained professionally to do this, like I’ve taken this as a career. What are some other elements in that website and kind of mirrors Google My Business that you think about that we want to put we want to make sure counselors therapists psychotherapists include on their website,

Brad Osborne 16:53again, those those specialties are really, really, really big deal. I know, I, myself have been looking for a therapist in my area. And that was, the main thing that really drove me to the groups of people that I was looking for was that the things that I’m looking help looking for help with. And if those were, you know, listed on their profile or on their website, then that gives me more confidence that they’re going to be able to help me with the, the unique thing that I am looking for help with. And, you know, it didn’t have to be that’s their only one thing, right, it was just one of the things that they, you know, thought it was important to list as a specialty. And that happened to connect with the thing, I’m looking at that other specialties too, but me as the as the person on the other side, I want to know that they called out that specific need.

Cory Miller 18:01When you’re building your website, it’s so good that you get a fresh perspective to share to hear is that you need to think like what Brad’s trying to share you share with you is like a client that doesn’t know what CBD means. Yeah. And by the way, that could have another connotation for most people. If that’s all you list on your site. So you need to think like a prospective client and answer their questions with your website. And the websites best way to do that. Because you want to lower that bar, Brad, we work all the time on lowering friction. And what we do our counselors and our other projects, lowering the friction to someone being able to say, I want to become a new client, I want to in our terms, and some of the e commerce projects is like, I want to I want to buy that product today. Taking out that friction.

Cory Miller 18:48Okay, so that’s website, and by the way, and all counselors, we can help you with both your website in your Google My Business profile, and sync those up and use some best practices for digital marketing to help you score those new clients. So we’ll talk about that the end, how you can contact us and get a, get a discovery session going but who you are, what your degrees and your certifications are and don’t just put LSAT or LDAC, put what that actually means, you know, you might put the credential somewhere, but explain that underneath licensed, you know, clinical, whatever those designations mean. And if you’re putting your modalities on your site, to which I think you should, the type of modalities you use, don’t just put cognitive behavioral therapy CBT Sorry, I said CBD or CBT. put that in parentheses too. But then share what that might mean on your site. You know, what does that actually what is that modality? We know them as modalities and only do because I’ve worked with Clint, we work with clinicians all day. But what does that mean to the prospective buyer? Does that resonate with you, Brad, you know, to you know, if I throw all these little acronyms there, just really industry jargon what is that you know what does that really mean to you like if if brad goes struggling with anxiety i want to find a practitioner and goes to the site he’s looking and he says you know cognitive behavioral therapy okay well how does that help me with my anxiety you know that’s the kind of things i think about from a customer perspective you have any other thoughts on that brad

Brad Osborne 20:21yeah with that kind of stuff i just think it’s important to have both right because from the what google calls it is authority right google’s really good at reading through the the words on your pages and matching it up to all the other billions of words they analyze and so they’re really good at figuring out if you are who you say you are for the most part and so i think from that perspective it’s important to have the technical terms but then have a follow up you know like maybe a little sentence or paragraph thinking okay cognitive behavioral therapy and then how that helps you or how that helps my clients or patients or whatever so that would be my my take is both are important right like it’s important for google and for you know people you know to make sure that you’re you’re qualified properly but also important to explain in a human you know a normal person way how is this helpful to you

Cory Miller 21:27yes and i think the three: the full modality the abbreviation and then what it actually means so someone’s looking for addiction recovery work you know spelling out your licensure for that particular maybe emphasis and you know we work i work a lot with you know those recovering from substance abuse addiction or i specialize in eating disorders or whatever but all three because there’s some people that might have been in therapy and are looking for those but out like they want to see cbt they want to see you know emdr you know they might look for those things and by the way i’ve been in those spots too.

Cory Miller 22:09okay so that’s your website that’s the hub that should be the centerpiece where you where you when we talk about referrals and second you share hey you can refer clients to my website right here which has my phone number all that kind of stuff okay now step four. i almost hesitate to put this but i think it’s so vital because it’s not just some of the type of techniques you can do from a technology perspective using digital marketing, but i think you should every therapist should use digital marketing techniques to help you connect the people that are looking for you and the healing that you can help guide them through but i think often this little base level referral network this is in any type of business but i want to translate it for practice brad is you know it’s word of mouth but you know when i think about referrals i i’ve tried to put some things here for everybody to think through. like who in your market in your I say market who in your geographic region that you serve this may be already full like they just can’t take any clients and you have some something to reach out and see why you might if you don’t know ’em might put the contact form say i’m just trying to find dr dr miller or i’m just trying to you know let you know here’s my website i do that if you’re not taking on new practice i’d love for you to prefer my way i deal with see back to ideal client i emphasize my practice emphasizes these things and you got the website next time there’s a potential person that can refer you’re on the top of mine.

Cory Miller 23:46but i think about brad one is just going back to colleagues that may be you know my wife is actually just graduated with her degree her counseling degree master’s degree and i can’t remember the actual name off top my head but she’s getting ready to study for her tests and things but she’s in contact with her colleagues and that’s a ripple effect so i think you know first step is just think about your colleagues the people you know I put in here to a supervisor so if you’ve been under supervision or you know a supervising therapist around there those are great connections to to make because oftentimes they really have a heart to help you build your practice and things like that but those are some of the thoughts i had originally brad about building your network spending you know a couple hours a month an hour a week and just going okay here i can build my network i can reach out to these people it doesn’t cost me anything but a text or phone call or a ping to their website what are some thoughts about this referral network do you think is as our clinicians look at leveraging this tool and our fourth step

Brad Osborne 24:54i think you covered it pretty well my one thought is that it’s easier than ever to get in touch with people via social media, if you do have colleagues or, you know, supervisors, etc, you know, there’s, there’s so many ways to get in touch with people in a way that’s, you know, very accessible Instagram or Facebook or email or text or call or, you know, send send them a postcard or something too you know,

Cory Miller 25:23handwritten letter goes a long way. And business card that has linked back to your website and your phone number.

Brad Osborne 25:29Now we’re back to the hub, right? Yeah, all these things.

Cory Miller 25:32Yeah. I think about to Brad is adjacent type of businesses. So if we’ve done our work on step one is we’ve thought about our didn’t our ideal client, think about the adjacent services. So I had a clinician one time, say, a lot of rehab, physical therapists, you know, like physical therapy. I’m blanking on the term, but they oftentimes refer to his practice, because it’s not something they do, but it’s an adjacent mark, you know, service industry, that, that that would be a ultimate referral, like, hey, by the way, you know, maybe you sell wheelchairs, they sell wheelchairs, and you happen to hit with a senior, or a crowd that’s recovering from, you know, big therapy or something. You know, that’s another idea I thought of, can you think of some other adjacent type work, ways that they could just use that ideal client to, to help them grow their referral network?

Brad Osborne 26:29Well, my sister is an occupational therapist, actually. And she does refer certain clients that she works with to mental health professionals, if that’s, if she feels like that’s something that occupational therapy can’t fully address then. And I asked her, you know, what’s her method for who she refers to, and she basically just kind of refers them to an organization. But if she had a contact with a specific person that she knew was, you know, trustworthy and a good fit, and she’s happy to recommend that specific person, I think she would, she just hasn’t and nobody, nobody’s come in contact with her yet, so that she can put a face to that place, or that part of her, you know, serving her clients. But so yeah, the more other, I think other professionals in that the health industry would be a great network to build. And, you know, networking isn’t always everyone’s strength. But if it is something that is your strength, then this is a very easy way to, you know, make friends and meet people. But also get some more business coming your way.

Cory Miller 27:50Yeah, you made me think and of course, we’re recording this while still COVID we’re still in the pandemic, but, you know, networking type events, or even adjacent networking events? Where is there something you’re interested, you know, you might add some value and learn something the same time but get to meet people, you get your business cards there that point back to your hub, your website, you know, and be like, what do you do, you know, that’s oftentimes the meetups and things like that space. Our principle at all counselors, Brad, as you’ve helped us formulate to is be, you want to be found everywhere you can. It’s like putting these little seeds, planting these little seeds out here, you’re getting shown up and giggle, you got your website as your home that points back, you’re showing up at maybe a networking event, you know, maybe it’s for entrepreneurs. And like, you know what, I’m an entrepreneur, too, I have my own practice, I’m gonna show up but you also go. Like, maybe that’s a ideal client you focus on or you just, you’re in the spot to be found. And that’s where all these strategies build over time.

Cory Miller 28:53And again, most of this is time, you know, and for everything else, where we got your back at all counselors, okay, that’s step four. Now, five, this is something that you might put on your calendar every now and then it’s just if you got a psychology today or some other profile on a site, to just or you have a Facebook page or, you know, some profile, we call, okay, if the hub is the website, these are the outposts. So if you’ve got a Facebook page, that’s an outpost out here, that’s pointing back to your site, and you might even twice three times a year. I don’t know what your thoughts about this Brad is put on your counter to go. Is everything back up to date? Have I mentioned that I’m fully telehealth right now, if I mentioned I’m, I’m mostly seeing clients or I’ve mentioned I add Saturdays or whatever those things might be is going do a quick update of those outpost profiles and directory listings and social profiles out there.

Brad Osborne 29:49Yeah, once again, just the behind the scenes of how Google works, it loves fresh updates. It loves to know that you’re real that you’re responsive especially During the COVID pandemic, they rolled out special features for local businesses that were addressing the questions that people have about COVID requirements. So if Google sees that you are, and again, Google kind of sees everything we do, they can, you know, they can correlate your website to your psychology today, to your name and all that stuff. So they see like, they get a little blip that says, Oh, this thing changed, this thing changed. And this thing change, it will, you know, likely their algorithm will go and check and update everything. And this is my feeling, I can’t say for certain, but you know, having worked in digital marketing for a long time, is that you get a little boost. In your Google, Google gives you a little boost for being a responsive business, and, and helping out that your potential customers or clients.

Cory Miller 31:04Yeah, and again, we want those profiles to link back. So if you’ve got an Instagram, you’ve got 50 people following me, to me, that’s 50 more 50 people, we’ll start where we are today, make sure that profile also links back to what your website hub all your marketing. So that’s a little to do list item, go and update those profiles. Today, you might have pulled on a new continuing education thing and got a new modality share or some kind of treatment option. Oh, now I’m certified in EMDR. Brain spotting. Now I work with this particular group of people, I didn’t, make sure everything is synced up like Brad was saying, Google, and this artificial intelligence goes out there and goes, this is the picture of Brad, this is the picture of Cory, this is the picture of you our clinicians and counselors. Okay, so there’s There are five steps. I’ll go back and repeat those Just a second.

Cory Miller 31:57But I wanted to add a bonus. Now, I don’t want to put too much on your plate. I want you to take one thing from today and go work on it. Is it updating my profiles? Is it just thinking through the website or buying my domain name or whatever that is? Is it starting my free Google My Business account, whatever those things are just taking one step from today that you can move forward, we want you to always be moving forward at all counselors to grow your practice to reach more people to create a well world.

Cory Miller 32:28But the bonus here is content creation, this one of our favorite In fact, Brad and I, in addition, this record something else earlier, and its content creation. Now, make sure you get your base, the things I just shared about that’s your base, we call it the marketing tree is this level, the way you you know, you build your base of the tree with a website, you know, then you stack on Google My Business, then you stack on these things, okay, called the marketing tree. But if you’re like many of us who have more time than money, content creation can be a great way to get new clients too. So just giving a bland example for a second anxiety, Brad goes, Okay, I’m looking for anxiety. I’m in Michigan, you know, that kind of thing. And your practice, you specialize in anxiety and depression? Well, a way to to leverage your unique experiences and connect with people is to say, Here are five things or here’s the things that you probably end up talking with clients, majority of time, the things that really help people, or the lightbulb moments or the move forward things, those can be fodder for an Instagram post, you know, using some like Canva canva.com as a tool, we’ll be doing some training on that too, that you can use to build really good social type, social type pictures that could go on Instagram or Facebook post. And so you might say, you know, a quote, quotes are the best, books, things that help people in their social in their lives that connect back to what you do and your ideal client or ways to draw people in and say, This person is for me, Brad’s looking for this, that, that this clinician, this person, she gets me, he gets me, you know. So but Brad, just like anything. Consistency is the key. If you get into this, this, I almost hesitate about putting in there. But I wanted to give you a bonus one. This is like graduate from this first five steps we said then you can start thinking about content creation. But consistency, Brad is is the absolute key when creating content.

Brad Osborne 34:37Yeah, and this is another place too to just check in with your strengths and the things that you are good at and that you like right so you maybe being on social media is not your thing. It’s not really my thing. I don’t spend much time on Instagram or Facebook, but I really like to talk. So Cory and I have started a podcast and there’s, if you if you like talking, then a podcast can be a really great way to put some content out in the world, to help people to find new people. And again, to keep building up that credibility in Google’s eyes, you can put it on your website as a just a free, you know, value add to people out there, sharing your, your advice. Um, anchor.fm is a tool that I just set up a podcast Cory and I are doing today. And it’s amazing. I can’t believe how simple and easy it is to make a podcast now. It’s literally like three clicks. I have created podcasts in the past, I didn’t know how easy it had become because it used to be really hard. So same, you know, if you like being on camera, many people do not at all. But there’s very simple, easy ways to record YouTube videos. Or, again, we don’t want to overwhelm you. But I would just say, start thinking about the medium that is comfortable to you. If that’s writing, if it’s words, then we can talk about blogging, we can help you with some strategies for blogging, if it’s or Facebook posts or Instagram, right, if it’s pictures, you know, you’re visually creative, Instagram is a great place. If you are good at video, if you like video editing kind of things, then YouTube could be good. So again, not trying to overwhelm you just it’s it’s a good place to lean into discover and lean into your strengths and the things that you’re comfortable with.

Cory Miller 36:37That’s I’m so glad you you mentioned that Brad. And that’s such elegant advice that I hope you all take for now. So anchor for instances you mentioned anchor.fm has an app. So if you have an iPhone or an Android, they’ve got an app. And it’s this easy. click a button. So if you say podcast, I can do this, this easy. Click record, start talking about subject. And by the way, do a first version of it, meaning your rough draft, just start publishing. And you might just test it out and see how it goes. But that’s how easy anchor.fm and the tools that you mentioned, Brad, so good. That’s excellent advice.

Cory Miller 37:13Okay, so what we’ve talked about today, I want to go over this again, one is start with your ideal client. Think through the type of people that are attracted to your practice. Think back about the clients you’ve had in the last six months, just try to find some themes of the type of people that resonate with your practice most, okay? And then pair it with who you want to work with. You may say it’s just teens, or it’s just senior adults, or it’s married couples, your LMFT, I believe is the designation. So like, think of all that, get that that’s your first step, then Google, specifically, it’s called Google My Business. Having an account there, if you have an office, this is one reason you might consider keeping your office, by the way, because it looks like where I’m at in Oklahoma City is kind of different from when Brad types in therapists, because Google knows where you are, they know, surprisingly, scarily more than want to know, then Google, by business that all builds to a website with a website is the hub of your market. I want to make a mantra that you know, as much as you do your own modalities and treatments and things like that with clients I want you know, my website is my marketing hub for all my efforts growing my practice. Then we talked about referrals. We talked about some ideas for building referrals that you can do that’s virtually free. It just takes some of your time. But getting out there and meeting people maybe there’s people meeting online. And then we talked about number five I just blank because I’m thinking about content creation. But number five wraps it all up. And it is. Oh my gosh, Brad, I blanked today. It’s been a day, huh? Oh, updating, you’re updating your outposts. I want your social profiles directory. Next time, I’ll note I have a slide here that says recap of all the five.

Cory Miller 39:02Take now I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. I want you to take one thing from today you go I can do that. Whatever that is. And take that step today, right after you in this webinar. Get off this webinar and take a step if you have some time or over the weekend and make forward progress for your practice. I’ll tell you, there are people out there hurting I’ve been I am and have been one of them that need to be connected to what you do have been spent a huge part of your life training for preparing for and now it’s what you do in the world and need to be connected to you. These are ways to get connected. And if you need help doing all that stuff. We want you to know what we do at all counselors is this right here. You do that we want you to do the therapy. We want you to work in the healing, helping people heal, guiding them with all of your training and all of your experiences. The world needs you.

Cory Miller 39:55We want to take at all counselors, the heavy lifting of the marketing side of you the technical know how all this kind of stuff you can book a discovery meeting with us our team go to allcounselors.com/contact there’s a contact us button there’s a schedule and everything or you can just hit the contact form and start the discussion. We want to work with you. We love what you’re doing the world and I want to say a big thank you. That’s what we should lead with every webinar with us. Thank you for what you have, have dedicated your career and your life to do in the world. We need more of you out there. And we’re here to help you connect with people hurting Brad you have any parting thoughts before we take some questions and release everybody to go do their homework?

Brad Osborne 40:35I think you’ve covered it pretty beautifully. Cory excited to hear some some questions.

Cory Miller 40:42Okay, so we’re gonna now we’re gonna step into the q&a period, but again, come to allcounselors.com hit the contact but button and please, let’s start a conversation with our team. We’re here to help you. We love what you do in the world. But if anything, you can take some of these things that makes for progress and in your counseling business.
Growing Your Practice

Free Calculators for Marketing Your Counseling Practice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqZ9bC9kSy8

These two calculators can help you determine how many clients you need to see in order to meet your monthly revenue goals, and how much a single client brings to your practice. These calculations can help you make decisions about your marketing and other business strategies or costs.

How many clients do I need to hit my goals?

How much is a new client worth to your practice goal?

Calculators: How many clients do I need to hit my goals?

Your Session or Hourly Rate
*

Average Number of Session per Client
*

Just anecdotal … “I bet each client has XX sessions”

Estimated Average Revenue Per New Client

Entry Key

Calculators: How much is a new client worth to your practice goal?

Monthly Salary Needed (Before Taxes)
*

Monthly Practice Expenses
*

Telehealth software, office rent, insurance, etc

Session or Hourly Rate
*

Number of Clients Needed Per Month

Entry Key

How many clients do I need to hit my goals?

Calculators: How many clients do I need to hit my goals?

Your Session or Hourly Rate
*

Average Number of Session per Client
*

Just anecdotal … “I bet each client has XX sessions”

Estimated Average Revenue Per New Client

Entry Key

How much is a new client worth to your practice goal?

Calculators: How much is a new client worth to your practice goal?

Monthly Salary Needed (Before Taxes)
*

Monthly Practice Expenses
*

Telehealth software, office rent, insurance, etc

Session or Hourly Rate
*

Number of Clients Needed Per Month

Entry Key

Do you prefer spreadsheets? Get the Google sheet here.
Growing Your Practice

How to Get New Clients with Google My Business

We are halfway through 2021 and it’s clear some changes are staying. One of them is the increasing percentage of people who are looking to Google to help them find help for mental health online.

So it’s more important than ever to make sure that your name shows up when potential clients are searching for a particular type of help that you provide.

What Is Google My Business? Why is it Important?

Google My Business is a free Business Profile that business can set up with Google directly. Google my business allows the business to:

Manage their contact information and ensure its accuracyLink to their websiteProvide users with easy access to answers to frequently asked questionsShows reviews, which are the word of mouth of the digital age

Getting the Most Out of Google My Business

Learn how it works. There are a lot of great resources on Google and Youtube if you are unfamiliar with GMB.Set up your Google My Business account with complete, current, and accurate information.Be as specific as possible. Your specialties are your advantage when it comes to Google, since the more specific they are, the less competition you will have for those terms. That makes you more likely to come up #1!Include as much information as possible. Google rewards using as many of the available features they offer as you can. For example, Google gave a boost to businesses that updated their COVID policies, or teletherapy policies over the past year.Fill in all the information. Even if it doesn’t seem immediately relevant, the more information you fill in, the more likely it is for Google to increase your rankings, which will increase your traffic, and then your business.Ask colleagues for reviews. See if those who regularly refer clients to you will write up a quick review. You can make this quick and easy for them by using our email template and providing a direct link in the request.Stay up to date. Google My Business is not a one and done task. Google really rewards businesses that check in periodically and keep their information up to date. We recommend checking in once a month to give yourself the best boost in search results.
Growing Your Practice

Request for Google My Business Review Email Template

Hello <Name>,

I hope this email finds you well. I am currently updating my practice Google My Business and would appreciate it if you would write a review for me. 

Reviews like yours will help patients/clients find me easier when using Google. 

To leave a review of my practice please:

Visit <Link to your Google My Business> Click on the the Reviews under my nameClick on write a Review

When reviewing my practice, it would be helpful to include:

That we are colleaguesHow we know each other What you appreciate about my approach

Thank you for taking the time to help me with my reviews. Your honest feedback and support is very valuable to me. Please let me know if I can return the favor.

Thank you,

<Sign>
Growing Your Practice

Common Mistakes Therapists Make With Their Websites

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC3fDyQESNg

In this recorded webinar, Cory will share the key things he’s seen therapists do that minimizes the effectiveness of their website. Cory has been building websites since 1999 and built a multi-million dollar software business helping web designers over 11 years.

This insightful webinar will cover:

Common mistakes you might be makingKey components to include on your siteIdentifying your audience

Webinar Transcript

Speaker: Cory Miller

00:05Hey, everybody, welcome back to another all counselors webinar, I’m excited to share with you today, five mistakes therapists make with their websites. Over the years, I have, over the last year in particular, looked at a bunch of therapists and counselor websites, and made some notes. And by and large, I want to say before we even get started, I’m excited that therapists have websites and domain names.

00:31That’s that’s a key, just having a website is a key. If you don’t have a website, that’s part of what we do at all counselors.com. And I’ll be sharing that here in just a second. But if you have a website, that’s awesome, I want to try to help make it better. So along the way, if you have a website already, and would like me and our team to review it posted in the chat, we have time to the end of this, I’ll go over that and give you some suggestions.

00:58So my name is Cory Miller. I’m the founder of all counselors calm and my prior prior career from 2008 2009 teen was building a software company and started in 2008, built it up to we had about 25 people more were acquired in 2018. And in 2019, after we got the team transitioned, and all that left the company, my company that started and was eventually required and settled on this next adventure for myself, which is trying to make an impact in mental health.

01:33And one of the key ways we do that, and I do that, personally and professionally, is by serving and supporting clinicians like you. So I am not a software developer. But I have been building websites for a very long time. I guess you could go back to 1999 when I created my first website, but my software business was actually building tools for website designers, most of the tools, same tools we use at our counselors to build websites for therapists.

02:00Here is my email, if you want to get a hold of me, you’re welcome to email me at cory@allcounselors.com and you can also hit the contact form at all counselors.com and it’ll get to our team. So okay, I want to dive right in. And I want to leave some time to answer questions. And then also, if you have a site for review, please post that. And we’ll try to look at that during this next hour.

02:24Okay, so when we’re talking about the five websites I see most therapists making on their website. Number one is they don’t design it for their clients. And what I mean is, you spend all this time and this isn’t this isn’t not, this is just trying to help you improve and get better. But you spend all of your time in school, then you go into supervision. And then you’re talking to clients and things like that. But you spent all of this awesome education, being very academic about it.

02:52But what we ended up doing is take that jargon, so to speak, and put it on our websites, and our clients don’t know what that really means. And so I’m not a clinician, so I’ve benefited of saying like, I know more than maybe a typical client, because I’ve been around clinicians for a long time, I live with the clinician, I serve and support you all. But when you put things like MDR, or CBT, or whatever, on your website, don’t assume the biggest mistake we make is we assume that our clients understand what that means.

03:25And so cut out the jargon on your site, and say, if you know, you want to think about who you serve your ideal client profile, and you want to think about who that is, right? The if it’s demographics, if it’s certain kinds of issues, and translate that and say I help, you know, teenagers, I help couples work through that. And some of the tools or methodology I use are this, if you say EMDR, CBT, or whatever, those act, those things, and here’s what that means.

04:00That’s the kind of stuff you want to make sure and put on your website. So many times, we’re just talking to other conditions, so to speak, that if you all see each other’s website, you go yes, I know what that means. But our clients don’t know that. And so on any site. In fact, we had a pure 100% ecommerce operation for 10 plus years. And so we didn’t have face to face, we didn’t even have a phone at the time. We tried to interact. But if we had to use just jargon on our website, we wouldn’t have sold as many products as we did.

04:30And so you got to get down to the common denominator, which is your client, not fellow clinicians. And that’s the biggest thing I could say the first mistake I see people make is you’re not unpacking it for the lay person. You’re impacting it where another clinician can really easily do that. And what when we say design it for the clients design it with the end goal is you want them to book with you. You want them to come in, see if you’re right fit, maybe that’s a consultation. And but ultimately hopefully it’s come in or Do telehealth or whatever that however you’re delivering your therapy. That’s the end goal of your website.

05:06And so too often I see people, in fact that talk to a clinician a couple weeks ago, and I was giving him some advice about the site. He said, Well, I really don’t want to change the site design, I go, okay, you’re not your website, your, your practices website is not for you. It’s for the clients that you’re trying to pull into your practice. And a big mistake we make is thinking it’s an art project or design project. And it looks, you know, I spent all this time building this cool website, that is cool to me.

05:36But the end goal is we want you to connect with the people that are hurting, and pull them into your practice. And your website should be a vehicle for that, primarily. And first and foremost should be a marketing website for your practice. In fact, the packages we do at all counselors, that’s exactly why we’ve designed the package the way we did, it’s not to be a cool fancy thing that you can, that the only goal is to show off to other people.

06:02The goal is to help you get clients to help you find the people that are looking for you and your work to find you connect with you learn more about you overcome the obstacles that they might have to determine if you’re the right fit for them, and then get therapy get help through you. So that’s one of the biggest thing we we see is that we don’t think about it from the clients perspective, we think about it from our own perspective. And by the way, that’s an ongoing thing, that’s even something I have to remember to do is like, we’re not doing this for me, we’re doing it for the people that are going to be on the website that we want to convert into customers members, or in your case clients.

06:41So number one,don’t just design it for yourself, design it for your clients. The second I see quite a bit is we don’t make it easy for clients. Once I’ve gotten to the site. If we’ve done our ideal client profile, we’ve messaged appropriately, where we shared what this does what this modality does or who you’re serving better. We don’t make it easy for the clients, or prospective clients to take next steps.

07:08This is as simple as making sure the telephone icons or buttons on your side, if you take phone calls like that you want people to call your your office number that they aren’t clickable in a mobile browser that could just instantly call you even some of the biggest sets of have been on don’t have this foundational feature where you know, if I’m on my mobile phone, I’ve seen this before, click on the little fun button, it should pull up a little dialog on my iPhone or my android that says want to call Yes, I shouldn’t have to copy somehow or redo those numbers make it easy. Now that’s a very small example. But I see it time and time again.

07:46If you’re still if you’re taking clients in your office, making sure there’s directions to your office, where to park, my counselor a year ago, was in a cool part of Oklahoma City where I live. But parking was really restrictive, you actually have to park like there’s three spaces in front of his office that he shares. And you have to actually Park like in a neighborhood, I would highly suggest if you have something like that, no, don’t cause more anxiety for someone trying to get to their counseling practice, whether that’s in an office, for instance, showing a map how to park or online, if you’re doing telehealth, make sure they know where to find the zoom link or whatever video platform you’re using. Make sure they have those details out.

08:31In fact, the counselor I’m working with now, personally, I have to always go back and find the link or our meeting or the video. And it should be easily accessible. Or you should have some servers where you can send reminders about where those links are because having a hunt that it’s just anything in the way can you see the kind of recurring theme here. Anything in the way of someone getting into the office with you or doing a telehealth thing is an obstacle you need to try to overcome as best you can. And one of the best ways to do that is through your website.

09:08So another thing I see with counselors is not making easy book and scheduling options. It’s usually I remember the first time I worked with the the therapists here in Oklahoma City. We went back and forth three or four emails just saying when when are your next appointments? I’d much rather see like, be able to book it myself. Then go back and forth. Well, well, Tuesday at two o’clock work well, Wednesday at 6pm work where you know, making that so simple and easy for someone to book with you again another recurring theme here.

09:44I’ve already talked about what to expect and or expect on your website. That’s typically it can be accomplished through an FAQ section for Frequently Asked Questions section on your website. And then again, is to be mobile friendly. Don’t assume that your clients are on this desktop. I’ve got a nice, I don’t know, 24 inch, you know screen right here. Most people are going to be using a phone to find you. So how can they click and, and Can they see all the information on your website easily held mobile responsive on an iPhone or Android or a tablet, making sure that your website is, quote, mobile responsive is absolutely key.

10:24So I’ve talked about Mistake number one. therapists don’t design it for their clients, they design it for themselves as mistake. Step number two, they don’t make next steps easy. If the ultimate goal is to help get you booked up, then step number two is absolutely critical. Make sure you take away any obstacle for them contacting you. And starting the process, including your intake forms, including the process for parking and getting on zoom, or whatever it is.

10:52Number three is a big one. Now I’m going to give you term and only to share that this is a huge, multi billion dollar industry and why Google exists really is called the mistake I see is that you don’t therapists don’t optimize their websites for Google. And I understand it’s hard to keep up with technology and marketing. And the algorithms, even Google changes their algorithms quite frequently.

11:16This is one of the reasons why we’re taking that pain point out at all counselors an offering done for you website service. But not optimizing for Google is a huge Miss. If you have a website. Great. Now, let’s get you optimized for Google. What I mean is when someone you know, let’s say I’m sitting here in Oklahoma City, probably about five miles from downtown. And I go into Google and I think I’m having problems I want to find a therapist and I type in therapist in a Google, you should show up if you’re in my area, and being optimized with your website.

11:47So you’re shown if you’re a counselor marriage in therapy at marriage and family counselor in Boulder, Colorado, when someone in Boulder, Colorado and adversity types therapist or counselor, we want you to be found by them. And it’s a big Miss if you’re not done. This whole industry called search engine optimization, SEO. And specifically, we’re talking about local SEO, it’s geographically based, is a huge industry.

12:12And for good reason. Everybody from your plumber to restaurants and you therapist should be optimizing your websites for local SEO to get found when someone types in. Now, when I say Google, it’s just not just the search engine rankings, part of your website that you want to it’s like Batman and Robin or Shira and Wonder Woman is you want your website to be local SEO. So someone in your town in your geographic area when they’re talking to therapists finds you.

12:40And then second, Google My Business when you type in therapist or plumber, whatever. These are the results that it’s called Google My Business, it’s basically the map. We want you to have a Google My Business account for your clinic for your practice that syncs with your website. And they’re Batman and Robin Shira and Wonder Woman, they’re sidekicks to each other. They play Yin and Yang. And it’s another way to be found.

13:05Those are critical essential pieces, one having a website that you control that you have can and that is optimized that is talking to clients and not to fellow clinicians. A second is having that Google My Business account. If you just type in wherever you’re at, just create a new browser tab and type in plumber, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about that map or therapists actually, if you’re in your office, and see who pops up, you want to be found in those rankings for people in about a five mile geographic range area for you to be found.

13:38That’s called Google My Business, I’ll put a link in the chat to where you can sign up for Google My Business account another thing, another service that we do, and all counselors for you. So not optimized for Google huge mess, see it all the time. Just It doesn’t mean cramming the keywords into the page. That means some elegant ways to share with a user you are the person they are looking for in the geographic region that also is optimized for search.

14:07And for Google, and also Google My Business is a key part of that with your website. As we go, if you have questions, please post those in the chat or the q&a function. I’ll get to those as soon as we can. I want to leave some space for reviews and open any questions to help you make progress on your websites and your marketing. But here’s another big thing is I see it’s maybe if conditions have a website. It’s not part of a cohesive strategy. At all counselors, we believe your website should be the hub.

14:41And everything else is a spoke coming back to and from that hub, which is your website. Your website should be your center business card, so to speak digitally for everything you do in your practice. And if you think about it, when you’re talking to potential clients, you’re given a business card out you’re talking to her referral person like a doctor primary care, you want to be able to give them their card, and then make it easy for them to refer people back. And what’s the best way to do that is an email introduction.

15:11But even better is like, here’s your websites, they can go check you out, get these answers the first three things that we’re talking about, or specifically the first two things, answer the objections, make sure you’re right fit and make it easy for them to book a consultation or a session. But I see time and time again. It’s just Well, someone told me I needed a website.

15:32We believe that all counselors should be a part of a strategic cohesive system. But the website is the foundational thing. That’s why we started with the service to offer clinicians, therapists and counselors, a great marketing website for their practice, because it’s absolutely foundational and central, and everything else, whether it’s a directory listing, business cards, you put out there a flyer, just telling somebody at a restaurant, what you do should come back to your website that is your full on 24/7 365 days a year, brochure salesperson to help people see what you do and how you can help them and not making that part of this cohesive strategy. or putting one above it, like making something else the head is a grounds for ineffectiveness, and potentially disaster.

16:21It’s great to have social outposts like Instagram, if you’re prolific on Instagram, I’ve got a business partner, actually, that has 40,000 followers on Instagram. Well, that is great. But she doesn’t own that account. A website with a domain is something you own those outposts should be part of the spoke, you should do that curate your audience use that as a vehicle to publish content. But it should ultimately push them back to your website where they can find out more about you and book a session. The ultimate goal is to get you booked up with the people that are hurting.

16:57The next and last mistake I see people make is wasting time and and sometimes money trying to do it yourself. In if you have expertise with this, by all means go do it. But for most people that we talked to, you want to do therapy, you don’t want to do digital marketing, you don’t want to be a web developer. That’s why we offer the service at all counselors is to take all that out, where you can basically just say, here’s the information. Now go optimize it for me. And I want to pick out my design Cool there, you can use our library to do that. But we want to take out all of this time and effort and offer it at an extremely affordable price.

17:37So that you can get your practice out there. So you can be found by the people that are hurting that need you your help and your healing in the world. And so a lot of times just like it was actually a psychiatrist talking to you. I can’t imagine what he bills, you know, but I know it’s significantly more than the output of doing his own website, I want him thinking about going to awesome continuing education. I want to I’m thinking about like psychiatrists, particularly when I’m thinking about the new medicines that are coming out that could help integrated with other people, the therapists in the community, I want them to think about that not thinking about website technology and digital marketing, if it’s your hobby and passion, cool.

18:20But I see a lot of therapists trying to go to Wix or Weebly and try to figure out themselves, it’s great that you one have priority to have your own practice website. And you can do great by searching out there. And we try to put resources if you want to do it yourself. But I think how much is your hourly rate, what is your session rate, I want you to continue to work on that with your credibility and authority and experience out there to continue to charge more to connect with the people, the ideal clients that you need to help in the world that you help best in the world with your particular tools, and modalities and treatment options and things like that.

18:58And I want you spending more time there and worrying less about technology and digital marketing that changes consistently. This is what I’ve made my career of the last 15 plus years is marketing and website development specifically. And the new technologies that come along. I actually part of another project that I have is teaching digital marketing.

19:18So I I kind of I used to at our my previous software company would kind of like put my head on my hand on my head when I’d see like a dentist that would purchase one of our products and try to do it all themselves. And I thought I get it sometimes it’s hard to find the right vendor to help you. But it’s like that dentists can charge way more than what they could hire to somebody else to build a great site that connected. We’re trying to put all those pieces together for you in a box and all counselors calm.

19:49Okay, so that’s my five mistakes and give you some takeaways about that. I’m happy to answer more questions in the chat or q&a. I want to pull up the chat here real quick, make sure I didn’t miss anything. But let me go over the the five mistakes I see therapists making on the website.

20:09Again, number one, they don’t design it for their clients, they design it thinking of the jargon in your head. And that’s tough. Sometimes it’s tough to translate the jargon, the, you know, modalities and the acronyms and all that for your clients. But it’s absolutely essential. And it’s part of running your practice marketing practice, and being successful, to sign up for your clients, not for yourself.

20:31Make it easy, I’m going to flip these mistakes into the admonitions make it easy for prospective clients, and current clients to take next steps, book another appointment, find your find your place, know how you work, how much you charge, what services and what people you specialize in. Please, please for sure, do that. So don’t make it easy. Or I’m starting to make it easy for people to take next steps.

20:57Optimize your website, make sure your site is always optimized for Google, for people typing in therapists, that that is the most from a buying perspective, a business perspective only people that type in plumber, people that type in therapist, Counselor, child psychologist, those are the most ready to buy buyers, those are the hot buyers. That’s why it’s so important that you’re optimized for Google, you have a Google My Business account, or profile. So you’re being found by those hottest, most ready to buy clients.

21:32Number four, make sure it’s the hub like the center of your universe for everything you’re doing for your marketing your practice. Everything else if you have a Facebook account, or page, if you have an Instagram, that’s very active that you’re pushing back to your website. Ultimately, that’s where you want to make those easy to buy bought options you should see now I hope hub and the spokes the hub is the website spokes are all the other things that come back to it.

21:55Like your directory listing and psychology today or for another free directory. We’re working on those at all counselors calm to By the way, in the next two to three weeks, we’re going to be launched that you should have a profile on those those are outposts, though that should point back to your website so they can book a session with you. And then finally is I see therapists spinning their wheels wasting time and effort on of doing it to themselves?

22:21The tools are out there. They’re awesome if you have a proclivity if you’re interested in like it’s a hobby to you and you like learning these things by all means go do it. Wix Weebly, Squarespace are great options for that and WordPress too. That’s what we use internally here at all counselors calm and what I’ve spent my career doing. But Wix Weebly, Squarespace are all great options. If you decide to do it yourself, I just always say, what’s that cost benefit?

22:46Can you be out doing more sessions, hire somebody that can help you do all of these things better. And instead of trying to learn stumble and fumble over those things, and I want you to be able to connect to the people that are hurting and need your help. So that’s the five mistakes, keep this short and sweet. So I can get on to q&a and reviews of your website if you’d like. We want you at all counselors to continue to focus on and hone the therapy to help you do in the world.

23:18And we want to take the marketing off you so you can book a discovery meeting with us free 25 minute I think it is discovery call Kayla our awesome clients success director, myself, Ani King, our CEO, and others are all here to help you take next steps to market your practice to help those that are hurting, looking for you in the world. So that you can build a practice that could do good in the world and do well in the world as well.

23:46So I’m gonna end the recording so we can get on to our q&a session. There might be a couple questions here. But thank you so much for being here today. And if all counselors can help you lead, please let us know. We have a currently a special for building your websites. I’ll put a link here in the chat. And you can go there. We’re right now through the end of June, offering $67 a month instead of charging you $5,000 for a website. To build a website. We’re doing it we’re trying to make it as economically affordable and effective as possible.

24:25So we’ve got the $67 a month, no setup fees, all that kind of stuff. You can see all the things we do here for you. You can look through our some of our designs and pick one that matches your brand and share what you’re doing. reach people on Google, get them booked. do all the things that have been talking about today. We’re here for you at all counselors.
Growing Your Practice

Writing a Marketing Letter to Physicians

Many people initially turn to their trusted primary care physician when they have a mental health concern. It’s natural for them to seek help from the doctor they already know and trust. These inquiries put physicians in a unique position to help you grow your counseling practice. One way of attracting more referrals is to write a marketing letter to physicians.

What a Marketing Letter to Physicians Accomplishes

Physicians are a valuable source for new patients because they can prescribe medication, but they can’t offer therapy. Therefore, if you establish yourself as a trusted mental health resource with a specific medical practice, the doctors will send you patients. But to establish this trust, the doctors first have to know about you and your practice. 

A marketing letter to physicians helps you introduce yourself and your practice. It also provides an opportunity for you to tell the doctors more about what you do and the patients you serve.

When writing your marketing letter to physicians, consider:

Strong Writing. Physicians are busy. They don’t have time to read through a long, complicated letter. On the other hand a letter is more persuasive and personal than a pre-printed brochure, which is likely to end up in the trash. Just remember to keep your letter short and well written.Avoid Jargon. Yes, a physician likely could understand the more technical aspects of your counseling practice, but they shouldn’t have to. Be clear about precisely who you are and what you’re offering. Avoid industry or insider terms that may look like you’re trying to show how smart you are instead of being helpful.Contact Wisely. Tell the physician why you’re contacting them. You should make contact because you know their patients and your potential patients are the same people. Do your research. You shouldn’t send a letter to a pediatrician if you specialize in veterans’ mental health care. Be Specific. There are a lot of counselors out there with excellent credentials. Don’t just write about who you are. Write about the benefits of your practice, exactly who you work with, and how you serve them.Offer to Meet. Physicians may want to meet or talk with you further before they recommend you. Offer to have a call or meet them at their office to discuss your practice more. Be sure to have your pitch memorized for that discussion.Follow Through. Be sure to follow through with every contact from a physician. It’s not helpful to send physicians letters if you don’t respond to their inquiries quickly and begin building your relationship. 

Benefits of Physician and Counselor Collaboration

Physicians do more than recommend patients for counselors. Physicians and counselors who have strong relationships work together on behalf of the patient, giving them better, more well-rounded care. 

Some of the benefits of physician and counselor collaboration include:

Improved Patient Care. A physician sees a patient for an average of eight minutes per appointment. Counselors see their patients for an average of 45 minutes. They also see them on a regular, more frequent schedule. This face time means that counselors gather a lot more information from patients than physicians typically do. Counselors can provide insights to physicians about medication changes, patient symptoms, or any other clinical concerns.Training Opportunities. A partner counselor can provide mental health training and continued education for physicians and their staff. This training might include helping patients cope with terminal illnesses or delivering difficult medical news in the most sensitive way.Financial Benefits. While patient care is your primary concern, medical practices can earn revenue from these partnerships under the Affordable Care Act. Medical groups can receive bonuses from insurers for meeting patient goals like lower hospital readmissions and reduced emergency room use. Counselors can help physicians reach these goals by assisting patients in establishing better habits and providing mental health treatment while physicians manage patients’ physical health concerns.

Marketing letters to physicians are just one tool you can use to help grow your counseling practice. The letters help you establish strong professional connections with physicians who serve the same people you do, ultimately benefiting patients.
Growing Your Practice

How to Advertise Counselors’ Services

People are searching online for counselors perhaps more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in mental health concerns, leaving more people seeking counseling. You can help people find your practice online by understanding how to advertise counselors’ services.

Strategize Before You Advertise

You know there are people out there who need your help, and you wouldn’t be in this business if you didn’t want to help them. But before you throw money toward advertising, you need to strategize about who you want to reach with your message.

If done well, promoting your counseling services can:

Help clients find a counselor who best fits their needsHelp you serve those clients who most need your specific servicesAllow you to focus on clients instead of financesAssist you in meeting your own financial needs

A lot of good can come from advertising done well. But if you don’t strategize, you could throw a lot of money at advertising with minimal (if any) results. That doesn’t help you or the people who need your services.

So before you advertise, think about who your ideal client is.

To help identify your ideal client, ask yourself:

What is your expertise? Are there people in need of services in that area? What are other services existing in your area of expertise?Are there groups of individuals who other counselors aren’t serving who you can help? For example, veterans, teens, seniors, or other groups who need specialized care.What is your ideal client’s age group?How does your ideal client identify?How much do you want clients to pay?Will your clients be local? The answer to this question also informs how you will provide services. If you do in-person sessions, your clients have to be local and have the ability to come to your office. If you provide virtual sessions, your clients can be anywhere, as long as they have internet access.Is there a therapeutic approach you’re interested in that isn’t readily available? For example, art or equine therapy.Is there a dominant mental health issue in your geographic area that needs focus?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll have a good idea about the services you want to offer and the clients you’re seeking.

Plan Your Marketing

Now that you know what services you’ll offer and who your ideal patients are, it’s time to think about how you’ll reach them. Perhaps equally as important, you should consider how your ideal client will find you.

Most people turn to the internet when trying to find a new service. Counseling is no exception. People are likely to use Google to find a counselor to fit their needs. Therefore, you need to have online tools that help them find you.

When planning your online marketing, make sure to:

Launch a Website. You need a strong, professional online presence that introduces you and your services to potential clients. A potential client likely will get their first impression of you and your abilities from your website. Based on this impression, they’ll decide whether you’re someone they can see themselves trusting. Use targeted landing pages on your site to generate leads from ideal clients. These pages will explain your services and help you direct potential clients to do just one thing — provide you with their contact information.Use SEO. Search Engine Optimization gets search engines, like Google, to list your website when potential clients use certain words or phrases in their online queries. Most people only look at the first page of search results. You want your site to appear there when they type words you want to associate with your practice. Make sure to optimize your site and all of its pages and posts for SEO.Optimize for Conversion. You want a website that makes visitors take the next step, which probably is a conversation with you. Your site’s goal is to get information from visitors so you can follow up with them. To generate these types of leads, you want to have a clear Call-To-Action front and center on your site. Your CTA probably will ask clients to provide their information so you can contact them for a consultation. Build your site around one or two clear CTAs and make sure everything leads back to those actions.Enroll in Directories. A straightforward way to generate leads is to enroll yourself in the various online therapy directories. This will help you reach potential clients with minimal effort. Directories rank high with search engines, so potential clients see them when they Google for counseling services. Directories are an excellent supplement to other marketing efforts. However, they aren’t too helpful alone since your services may get lost among the others there.Use Google. It makes sense to use Google if you want people to find you via Google searches. Create a Google My Business account. The account will include a business listing, a free business profile, and it will make your service appear in Google maps. Since it’s a Google product, Google My Business listings appear at the top of search results.

Create Content

Potential clients will decide when they visit your website whether they think they can connect with you. They’ll also judge your expertise. As a trained counselor, you know a lot of information that you can share to help others. Writing blog posts will help your site appear in search results and establish you as an expert who can help solve problems.

Other benefits of content marketing include:

Getting Noticed. Producing content regularly gives your site more of a chance for SEO ranking.Building Relationships. People who visit your site will learn about you and what you represent. They’ll begin to feel like they know and come to trust you, even though you’ve never met them. As a result, they’re likely to return to your site repeatedly and even become clients.Establishing Expertise. Your blog posts will demonstrate your knowledge, experience, and training. You’ll show potential clients who you are, what you stand for, and how you can help them.

There are many benefits to content marketing, but creating content may not be so easy for you. The goal of your posts should be to create value for ideal clients. What do you know that can help them? What will encourage them to connect with you?

When writing blog posts:

Answer Common Problems. What do your existing clients ask you most? What do your ideal clients need to know? Write blog posts to help people with those things. Think about the types of advice you frequently share with clients. Could that advice benefit others? If so, it becomes a blog post.Post Regularly. A website won’t help people or grow your business if you post once, then abandon it. Instead, decide on a realistic posting frequency when you launch your site and stick to it. It’s better to post consistently a couple of times a month than to post sporadically.Engage Readers. Make your blog’s title something that people are likely to click on. Then draw them into your piece in the first paragraph or so.Be Accurate. Make sure you check your posts for accurate spelling and grammar before you publish them. Back up your writing with facts, statistics, and research.Break It Up. Most people visit websites from their phones. It’s difficult to read large blocks of texts on small devices. Instead, break up information into small paragraphs. Use bullet points, numbered lists, and subheads to make the text easier to read.Use Keywords. Think about what potential clients are likely to search for when looking for the information you’re providing. Use those keywords throughout your blog post, including in the title, subheads, and the first paragraph.

Advertising your counseling services to people who need your help means strategizing, planning, and creating content. Since most people start their search for a counselor online, you need to have an online presence.
Growing Your Practice

Creating a Business Plan to Grow Your Counseling Practice

Have you heard the saying that a goal without a plan is just a wish? You don’t want your private counseling practice to be just a wish. You have goals to establish and grow your practice. And the best way to accomplish them is to create a counseling practice business plan.

Why You Need a Business Plan

You’re ready to start your private counseling practice. Or maybe you started your practice and now you want to watch it grow. Either way, you need a counseling practice business plan to help strategically guide your practice. A business plan is basically a roadmap for your practice. It helps you set goals and determine strategically how you will meet them. It’s a good practice to think about these aspects of business and document them so you can track your progress and continue developing.

You need a business plan to:

Show Commitment. A business plan shows you’re committed to strategically growing your practice because it forces you to think through exactly how you’ll grow and sustain it.Plan Growth. A business plan will help you plan growth milestones for your practice. Most businesses don’t just grow by accident. A formal plan will help you think through how you want your business to grow, by when, and what you’ll do to make that growth happen.Understand the Environment. Your business plan will help you better understand the market you’re practicing in and the people you serve. You’ll define your therapeutic niche, research others with similar practices, and outline who your ideal patients are and how to reach them. You’ll also be able to think through and articulate why your practice is different or better for your ideal clients.Be Realistic About Finances. A business plan requires you to think about exactly how much your practice will cost and how you will generate that income. Setting up any business without fully considering the financial implications is irresponsible to yourself, your staff, and your clients. Establish Your Brand. How do you want people to think of you and your practice? How will you establish and market your brand? Your business plan makes you think through and document these critical components of success.

Components of Your Counseling Practice Business Plan

You’re convinced you need a business plan. Now what? Write the business plan. If only it were that easy, right? The good news is that business plan formats are relatively standard. You can use the components described below to understand what to include in your counseling practice business plan. Knowing the components frees up your brain space to really think about how to apply them to your business. 

Mission Statement – Who do you serve? What do they need? And how do you fulfill those needs? These three questions are the components of a mission statement. Spend some time thinking about them. Then state them in the simplest, shortest way possible. Write and rewrite your mission statement until you are happy with it. It should be easy to understand and remember, so you and your staff can use it to guide the decisions they make within your practice.One-Year Goals – You have to start setting time-bound goals. Thinking about and documenting what you want to accomplish this year in your practice is an excellent place to start. Set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. Your goals should challenge you while still being achievable. For example, you probably aren’t going to see 50 patients a week in your first year, but could you see 25? If so, that becomes a SMART goal worth working toward. Once you set your annual goals, think about and document what you need to accomplish each month to meet them. Review these plans monthly to ensure you’re making progress.Products and Services – Define the products and services you offer. Name and explain the services exactly, including how you will perform them. Also, outline the pricing structure for these products and services.Operations Plan – How will your private counseling practice run day-to-day? You’ve probably thought about this plan a lot and have most of it in your head. Now it’s time to take these plans from intangible to tangible. Putting operations plans on paper solidifies them and helps others follow them too. It keeps everyone on the same page. When thinking about operations, consider:Facilities – This part of the plan should address your location, furniture, technology, and any other tangible items that help your office function.Front Office – This part of the plan refers to interactions with potential clients and others who come to your business. How do you want things like intake, phone calls, reception, scheduling, and in-person payments to work?Back Office – What do you want the patient experience to be like during and after their visit? This part of the plan includes documenting patient notes, prescribing medications, making insurance claims, and billing.Your Team – What roles do you want on your team? Include job titles and descriptions. You also may want to think about what’s realistic now and plan for the future. You probably can’t start your practice with a full staff. So, outline what your staff needs to look like now and what your ideal staff would be.  Financial Plan – You need a strong financial plan for your counseling practice to survive, grow, and thrive. Document a detailed plan about how you’ll make money and where that income will go. Include a spreadsheet of startup costs, and fixed and variable expenses. Make a budget for this year, then provide a projection for five years from now. How will you get there? Write down those plans. Be as specific and detailed as possible, adjusting when necessary.Market Research – Include and explain your research showing the need for your services in your community. If you haven’t done this research, you need to. You shouldn’t establish your private counseling practice just because it’s a dream to do so. You also need to know how to carve out a niche where it’s needed so your practice will succeed.Marketing Strategy – Your clients won’t just come to you for the most part. You’ll need a plan for finding them. Consider what platforms you’ll use, like a website or social media, to attract clients. How will you advertise your counseling services? What message do you want to communicate with potential clients? What do you want them to do as a result of receiving these messages? Create specific plans for how you’ll reach clients and grow your business through marketing. 

Creating a counseling practice business plan won’t necessarily be fun, but it is essential. This plan helps you set goals for your practice and think strategically about reaching those goals. It means you’re planning, not just wishing for your practice to grow and succeed. Since most people start their search for a counselor online, you need to have an online presence for your business to thrive. 
Growing Your Practice