My name is Traci Ruble, CEO of PSYCHED in San Francisco therapy center and Managing Director of a Sidewalk Talk, a nonprofit community listening project. I am a longtime fan of Mentegram and will be a monthly contributor to this blog. Thank you for reading my first contribution.
A little more about me. I came of age during the high-tech boom in the Bay Area. I was a tech sales and marketing professional. I learned a lot about business, but I didn’t know how to run my own business. Now I lead a clinic and magazine, as well as a nonprofit with 600 volunteers globally.
I am busy in all the best, most life affirming ways. But that leaves me always looking for efficiency.
Let’s bring this back to you. You already know it is a lot of work running your own business (something most psychology grad schools fail to mention to therapists coming up). In the early days of first launching a private practice, the most important piece of your work is marketing yourself so you can fill your case load and keep a revolving door of referrals coming back to you.
When I first started marketing my practice I wanted to know, “What do therapists with full practices do to market themselves?” I was already internet savvy at the time. I was an early adopter in creating a website and a Google Place Page, but I wanted to go talk to those who came before me, so I crafted a survey and sent it out to my city-wide list of therapists. One hundred responded. Here is what I learned.
You will be surprised how the therapists I surveyed used the web.
Therapists with full practices had two things in common across the board. First, they were on LinkedIn. Second, they had a presence either on Psychology Today or Good Therapy. Half of them did not have a website (gulp!). Your website, unless you are going to pay for an expensive SEO person or buy a lot of advertising, isn’t going to show up on search results. Instead, the website is more like a business card for therapists. Most people find your website because someone referred them directly to you. So it is imperative you think about that when you write content for your site and the tools (like Mentegram– eh hem) you use to make it easy for referrals to engage with you.
What was the #1 thing these therapists did to get referrals?
The number one thing therapists I surveyed did is develop collegial bonds with other clinicians. And no, not the wine and dine kind. They had regular consultation groups and trainings, and in those trainings, clinicians get to know one another’s “therapeutic style” and skill. The trust they build in one another’s work leads them to start referring to one another. What a relief to not have to go to a therapist meet and greet, right?
This is also where Mentegram comes into play. This kind of time investment adds to your already busy life. So investing in technology that saves you time enables you to do the #1 thing successful therapists do – engage in regular consultation and training. It is a fun way to be in community, grow your skills, and now you know it is useful marketing, too.
Looking forward to talking to you all next month.
Traci is a therapist and the CEO of PSYCHED & Managing Director of Sidewalk Talk. Her therapy work is centered around working with couples and individuals working on their relationships. Her many years in corporate life make her a good match for executives and leaders.