How to Grow Your Private Practice: 6 Tips for Counselors and Healthcare Pros

Your clients are out there. Sometimes, when bookings are slow, it can feel like that isn’t the case. Let’s reiterate—your future clients are out there. All you have to do is find them.

Sounds easy, right?

It is, actually. With a target customer in mind, a solid plan, and a little assistance in the digital marketing space, you’ll see your client base grow in no time.

1. Define your ideal client

Before you can begin even the smallest of marketing pushes, it’s a good idea to think about who you’re talking to. Take a look at the patients that you have right now—who do you make the best connections with? Who most benefits from the services you provide?

Now, take it a step further.

Take some time to write some profiles for fictional, ideal clients. Think about their work, their income, their interests, and their priorities. This should go beyond simple demographics to personifying the customers you’d like to reach.

2. Polish up your web presence

While social media platforms like Facebook can be a great place to connect with prospective patient, they’re no replacement for a real website. Your web presence must be professional, credible, and easy to use. If your budget allows, have a professional build your website with usability, SEO, and online booking capabilities in mind.

Next, consider starting a blog on your site. This blog could be written by you or one of your staff members. It will give your site constant updates, search engine terms for Google to find, and content that is easily shared on social media.

Finally, when polishing up your web presence, be sure that your information is current and correct with Google My Business. When someone searches on Google for your type of service, you’ll want to ensure that not only do you show up but that your listing is accurate and contains enticing, professional photos for them to check out. Link your Google My Business profile to your website and the bookings will come in.

3. Target social media

Do you know why people follow businesses on social media? There are two main reasons: either they want to know about promotional events or they want to learn.

Set up your social media’s voice to talk to the people you defined in your ideal client. Create posts that would interest them, based on their hobbies and social standings. Teach them things they didn’t know about mental health or the human body. Also, ensure that you or a member of your staff respond to messages quickly. Your social media followers don’t want the corporate experience—they want a personalized, human interaction.

4. Throw an open house.

Celebrate with your current and potential clients. An open house is a great way to get people into your office and allow you a chance to meet with them face-to-face. Offer a service that could entice a new client, like an educational seminar, quick medical screening, massage, or consultation. Provide food, music, and a lively atmosphere.

You’ll want to advertise your open house, but don’t go overboard on your budget. Focus your efforts on social media and direct invitations extended to your current and previous clients. Give them an incentive to bring a friend—referrals are one of the best ways to bring in new customers.

5. Ask for referrals

Ask your clients for referrals. Your long-term patients are your biggest fans—they’re happy to refer their friends. Sometimes, all it takes is asking. People tend to spend time with people who have similar interests and income levels, which means their friends and family could be an excellent fit for your practice. Offer clients discounts or special promotions in exchange for their referrals, and they’ll be happy to oblige.

If there are other professionals that could refer clients to you—doctors, specialists, therapists, related businesses—try and build relationships with a few key referrers. Provide them with branded handouts, your services, ideal client, and a clear referral process.  These referrals can work exceptionally well when you collaborate together to help a client.

When it comes to building relationships with potential professional referrers, don’t be afraid to be a little bold. Invite them out for lunch or hold an open house just for them. You want to build a solid foundation, and a simple flyer or email alone can’t do that.

6. Simplify bookings and cut down on no-shows

As you continue to develop your web presence and referral base, you’ll want these potential customers to convert. In today’s busy world, sometimes it’s difficult to find time to pick up the phone during work hours and make an appointment. It’s also so easy to forget appointments you’ve made.

Use your website to your advantage and utilize online booking apps that will allow clients to book an appointment with you the moment they land on your site—even if it’s 3 a.m.

Then, don’t let them accidentally ghost you. Using services like Appointment Reminder, you can easily send email and SMS reminders to customers who have booked appointments with you. As their appointment date nears, you can have a confirmation message sent to them automatically, which will not only serve as a reminder but allow you to know if they’re committed to coming as well.

Your marketing efforts, both online and off, require a strong human connection. In the end, people want to do business with companies and practices that make them feel safe, understood, and connected. Utilize your online presence to build a strong brand and provide insight to your clients. Throw an open house or reach out for one-on-one conversations with potential professional referrers. Then, once you get them in the proverbial door, make sure your new clients remember their appointments and arrive to be wowed by your professionalism and kindness.

It sounds like a lot, but if you build up your marketing initiative step-by-step, your connection efforts will pay off in no time.