Working with self-funding clients who have specifically chosen to work with you are, in my opinion, the best type of referral; they tend to be more motivated and engaged and the therapeutic relationship gets a head start.
Working with self-funding clients also allows you to take a client-centred approach to therapy. This means that you can focus on the needs of the client rather than the requirements of a third-party payer or referral agency. You both decide on the sessions required without limits.
Trying to stand out in the marketplace can feel daunting, but all it takes is some investment, time and consistency. Here are my top tips…
Should you niche? YES! – Understanding the type(s) of client you want to attract means you can tailor your content to them directly. Often, therapists focus on appealing to everyone but end up appealing to no one because their messaging is so confusing. You can read more about Niching here: Should I Niche My Private Practice
You need a website – It doesn’t have to be all-singing, all-dancing, but a proper online home for your private practice is essential. Without one, it’s very difficult to build your visibility. Pockesite.co.uk offers cost-effective services for therapists to get started, but there are many platforms and providers to choose from.
As well as creating a website, you need to ensure it can be found through search engines such as Google. This is known as having good SEO (search engine optimisation). Without it, your website can be invisible, so I recommend downloading this free SEO guide. Ensure your contact details are also clearly listed on your website and repeated across all the platforms you use so it’s easy for potential clients to get in touch.
Clarity is key – Be really clear about what you offer to whom and how. When people are looking for a therapist, they’re often stressed and overwhelmed, so less often, more in terms of copy and content. Don’t forget clear, consistent branding, too. it doesn’t have to be expensive but the time spent in this area will be worthwhile and is often neglected. You can download a free branding guide here: Pocketsite Branding Identity Guide.
Make it personal – Choosing a therapist is a personal and individual decision. Including photos of yourself on your website and social media platforms can help people feel more connected. The About page on your website is often one of the most visited, so it’s a great opportunity to show up and share how you work and what your values are as a therapist.
Word of Mouth – One of the most effective ways to get new clients is through word-of-mouth referrals. You can ask your current clients, colleagues, or other healthcare professionals to refer clients to you. Let people know you have availability to take on new referrals and when you are busy, pass on new referrals to colleagues and they will return the favour.
Online Directories: You can list your private practice on online directories such as Psychology Today or the counselling directory. These directories allow potential clients to search for therapists in their area based on specific criteria.
Content is king – If you want to attract self-funding clients, you need to invest in creating content through which they can get to know you. Writing a blog, posting educational videos on YouTube or Instagram, starting a podcast or sending an email newsletter are ways to share your work and personality to build the ‘know, like, trust’ factor with your audience.
It’s vital your content is useful and relevant to your niche. Ask for feedback and encourage communication. The more you understand the needs of the people you are looking to work with, the better you can support them.
Social proof – Knowing other people are using your services can help sway potential clients and encourage them to get in touch. Testimonials are a great way to demonstrate your effectiveness as a therapist and attract new clients. You can share them on your website and on social media. Adding your private practice on Google My Business and keeping it up to date is another form of social proof.
Networking – Attend networking events, conferences, and workshops to meet other professionals in the mental health field. You can also join professional organizations like the BABCP or the Compassionate Mind Foundation to connect with other therapists.
Outreach – As well as showing up on your own website and social media channels, you can use other platforms to increase your visibility. In most communities, there are business directories you can register with for free. Paid advertising can be a great way to drive traffic to your website. Writing articles for magazines or providing guest blogs should have the same effect.