Marketing your Private Practice
It is through no small amount of effort that someone becomes a behavioral healthcare provider. Whether it’s therapy, advanced nursing, or psychiatry, becoming a behavioral healthcare provider requires countless hours of study, certifications, schooling, internships, residencies, seminars, and continuing medical education. In short, providers know their craft, and they know it well.
But for those that have lived and breathed behavioral health over the spans of their careers, the realm of business administration may seem foreign. Private practice owners need to know marketing fundamentals in order to be successful, regardless of how excellent they are as providers.
Here, we dive into three best practice principles for marketing your private practice to behavioral health clients.
Clearly define who your practice is and what you have to offer
Your website should include pertinent information such as what types of services your practice provides, the hours of availability, whether or not you offer telehealth visits, the types of payment accepted, and fee schedules. Consumers typically want to have this information upfront, and in behavioral health it’s no different: it will play a large part in driving their decision over which practice to see. Making the practice profile as accessible as possible will produce interest rather than frustration for consumers searching for answers. It is a good idea to create profiles for each of the clinicians, as well, and state the general philosophy of the practice.
You should also consider including this information in your Google Business listing. See how to set up your Google My Business listing here.
As an optional exercise, have a staff member read the practice materials and recite the information from memory. Does the staff member’s account accurately depict the practice? Treat any discrepancies as an opportunity to improve clarity.
Define how you want prospective clients to contact you
A good rule of thumb is that the easier it is for people to connect with the practice, the more likely they will. The internet is commonly used to discover local providers, so having a good website is important. Don’t be surprised if prospective clients have already formed an opinion of the practice based on the website before they even pick up the phone or walk in the door—making a good first impression is key. For contacting the practice through the site, consider using a simple web form as opposed to simply listing the practice’s email address on the site. This eliminates the need for consumers to open their own email server and might even allow the collection of some basic demographics information depending on the format of the form.
Business cards are a must when meeting clients or networking within the healthcare community. They’re relatively inexpensive, are a widely recognized form of authentication as a business professional, and can even serve as a personalized note.
Also bear in mind the importance of keeping the practice telephone line unimpeded. Intakes should always be a top priority for the practice, even if the admin staff are engaged in other activities. If the practice doesn’t have any admin staff, make an effort to call intakes back as soon as possible. Consider having a separate line for current clients if lengthy conversations pose a risk to missing intake calls.
Promote your practice
Establishing a strong referral network will ensure an ongoing stream of consumer traffic. Take the time to get acquainted with the referring providers and hospitals of the local area. Reach out to insurance companies, utilize the inherent network of behavioral health professionals at the universities from which the staff graduated (if possible), and leverage the relationships to improve the practice’s presence and reputation within the community.
Take advantage of promotional listings whenever possible. Ensure a strong presence on Google. Several free or paid lists that can help get the word out about the practice are available. Insurance companies, for example, usually maintain a list of network providers and are often a first touch for prospective patients. Certain free-to-use websites such as Yelp have marketing potential, though it is in the best interest of the practice to monitor online reviews and dispute any inaccurate or inflamatory reviews. If it is within the practice’s budget, paid listings, such as Psychology Today, Good Therapy, or other sites that help people search for providers, are a worthy investment.
Finally, practices should also plan on doing some good old fashioned paid advertising. The key for private practices is to keep advertising local, simple, and (most importantly) measurable. Understanding where the leads are coming from is the practice’s best chance at gauging the success of its marketing efforts. If you are using digital marketing, this information is at your fingertips. You can also ask patients, “How did you hear about us?”, or attach promotional codes to any special offers. Finally, keep abreast with any local events or sponsorship opportunities, and participate in community volunteer work.
Providing quality care is very important to the private behavioral health practice, but none of it will matter if the financial ends aren’t adequately managed. Having a basic marketing strategy in place will allow providers to worry less about business and focus on providing excellent care to their patients. Once you’ve mastered these marketing fundamentals, you can try some of these advanced tips for generating client flow.
Learn more about Valant
Valant’s EHR software for behavioral health allows providers to streamline documentation, increase efficiency, improve the level of care offered to their clients, and enhance the productivity of their practice. Our cloud-based software provides fully integrated scheduling, note-taking, billing, e-prescribing, telehealth, and advanced reporting capabilities in a secure, easy-to-use platform. And unlike other EHR software, our platform is designed exclusively for mental health private practices.
We would love to learn more about your practice and see if Valant might be a good fit.