10 Outrageous Tips For Marketing a Mental Health Or Psychotherapy Private Practice
No introduction, you want the tips:
TIP #1: Put All Clients on Your E-mail List
Keep an e-mail list of your clients, both current and former. Get permission to send them a dead-simple newsletter from your private practice–one page! NOT TWO! And, heavens to murgatroid–not four.
Encourage clients or patients to print, forward, and distribute your newsletter to friends and family. Make this simple newsletter nothing more than mental health tips, seasonal stories, common sense right thinking, and articles so good that readers hesitate not to fold it up into their pocket.
If you e-mail your clients, send the newsletter to yourself and “blind copy” clients. Only your e-mail address will show to avoid violation of patient confidentiality. Don’t make a mistake in doing this procedural step.
A safer and better way is to print and mail a copy of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to your clients. Studies have shown that postal mail in an envelope is read 15 times more often than e-mail! Consider doing both.
TIP #2: Send Your Simple Dimple, Yet Powerfully Punchy Newsletter to the top 50 (and 50 only) Recreation, Mental Health, and Community Centers.
Send it to half-way houses, adult protective services, and other social service agencies. Only 50. Forget massive coverage. 50 will cost is $.44 x 50 in postage plus envelopes. The key is do this each month–no breaks. You are building powerful top-of-mind visibility and newsletter is going viral. Viral marketing is the passing along of sale information from human to the next. Recreation and community centers frequently post health and wellness information on their lobby bulletin boards, and may be happy to post your newsletter.
TIP #3: Ditto A Few Other Places
Grocery stores — try them too. Many small businesses with customer waiting areas like Jiffy Lubes, etc also post on visible bulletin boards. These include oil change and car repair centers, hardware stores, coffee shops, and more. Keep copies of your newsletter with you in your car for sudden insights and posting ideas. (Don’t forget to keep a mini-stapler in your glove compartment — one of those little red jobbers.)
TIP #4: Promote Presentation Topics That People Want And Will Eat Up
At the bottom of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter, give visibility to the topics that you are willing to speak on for FREE. Get a boost by mentioning your expertise in specific terms and offering presentations with yourself as the speaker, especially on seasonal or hot topics.
Read that again. Season, or HOT TOPICS.
Do this: Go to “Google AdWords”. Find the “Key Word Tool”. Google “Google AdWords Key Word Tool”. Now, type in “Problem with” and see what comes up. Or, to the same thing with Twitter. You will find what the world is worried about. You will discover the most common searches that begin with these few words. (Writing this article for you, I just did this exercise. Problem with – brought up “men” “women” “money” “teenager” “food” etc. Now do it again, and expand. You will discover what people want hear from you. Put together five presentations that last 25 minutes each. You will promote these 25 minute presentations (not 30, but 25 minutes) at the bottom of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter.
TIP #5: Keep Copies in Your Waiting Room.
Keep copies of simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter in your waiting room. Clients will pick it up, stuff them in a purses and pockets, give them to friends, and pass them around at work. This will put your newsletter in motion with leverage. This is called viral marketing.
TIP #6: Distribute Copies to Your Doctor, Dentist, and Other Medical Practices That You Patronize.
Ask if you can place your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter in the waiting rooms of your doctor. (A few copies on a coffee table, for example.) Put one copy in a clear plastic, top-loading sheet protector. This shouts “DESK COPY” even without those words written on it. When clients and patients see this copy, they almost never walk off with it, thereby leaving it for scores of other people to see in the course of a month. These medical professionals who you patronize owe you. Don’t ask the nurse or the front desk secretary for permission. Ask the doctor or medical professional in the middle of the anatomical procedure you’re paying for. No, I am not kidding.
TIP #7: Cooperate and Make Money While Increasing Referrals
Offer the bottom section of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to allied professionals as advertising space that includes one line of text. These should be professionals with whom you do not compete. These professionals would love to pay you for the exposure. Trade with them so you get exposure to all of their clients and patients. You have just formed your own “linked-in” group. One or two lines of text will do the trick. Have enough space for five to six advertising lines, and widen your distribution. Everyone wins, especially you. We suggest holistic health professionals, therapeutic massage professionals, chiropractors, even vitamin stores! Your local Walgreens may buy advertising space. It will improve the “stature” of your newsletter and you can make money to cover your newsletter’s cost.
TIP #8: Send Hard Copies to Media Outlets Locally.
Your local community has media outlets-radio, television, and newspapers. The reporters of these outlets scramble in desperation to find any warm-bodied mental health professional that they can interview when a crisis occurs or a national news event affects the psyche of the nation. The crisis at Fort Hood is a good example. It is happening as I write this article.
Other topics include stress, downsizing and survivor syndrome, or depression and the current 2009 economy crisis are good examples. They need experts. That’s you. Send your newsletter to a reporter or “news desk” contact every month. When a pertinent news event hits, phone your contacts I-M-M-E-D-I-A-T-E-L-Y! Say, “I am expert on ____. I am available for an interview if you need it.” You may be on TV or the radio within hours. I’ve done this–believe me, it works. (You will be happy you read this article for this tip alone.) If you do a good job, and it is an a.m. radio station, ask if you can have your own hour once a month to answer mental health questions from the audience.
Keep phone numbers of media outlets in your cell phone or taped to the dashboard of your car because that is where you will be when you hear a news story you will want to crash. Call this “crashing a news story”. You’ve heard of crashing a party?
TIP #9: Send Copies to Your Competitors.
Am I nuts? No. Every mental health professional in private practice refers clients or patients to other therapists. Whom do they choose? Most of the time the choice is made based on familiarity, as much as expertise. Reputation as well. And where does a reputation come from? One place – familiarity. Don’t kid yourself. You know this is true. The name you hear the most is the best guy. Everybody thinks like this to some degree. So, exploit reality. Your name and face must come to mind. These professionals will enjoy the newsletter and you will achieve “top-of-mind” visibility. It will take six months to achieve this effect. Then, Katie bar the door.
TIP #10: Send simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to EAPs.
EAPs are great referral sources, but it can be hard to get an appointment with them to discuss your services. And you need more than one touch to get noticed. Let your newsletter do the talking for you. Contact the Employee Assistance Professionals Association at 703-387-1000 and discover where the local chapter in your area meets. Collect business cards and send your newsletter to these folks. If you join EAPA, you will find their addresses online. After a few issues to these folks, it will be easier to obtain a face-to-face appointment. Recipients will feel like they already know you. They will think you are a celebrity. That’s because of repetition and seeing your name and your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter.