When I was a teenager , whenever I heard “sales”, I immediately thought of the sleazy car salesman stereotype. When I heard “marketing” I immediately thought about huge corporations selling things that no one needs.
After building my own successful private practice as a marriage and family therapist and as a business coach, and after helping other counselors and coaches to do the same, I know that A. Marketing and sales are your best friends if you want to actually help your clients (they need to find you and they need to decide to work with you), and B. for helpers only one type of marketing and sales work: authentic.
In this video, I’m talking to Nicoletta Abatte, a participant in our private practice accelerator The 6-Figure Practice about the path that potential clients go through when they look for a therapist or a coach, and about the kind of authentic marketing process you need to have in place for your private practice to thrive.
About the 6-Figure Practice Program:
The Six Figure Practice with Sasha Raskin, is an online program and community for helpers such as counselors and coaches, who are building their private practice. If you’re looking for a clear, step-by-step road map for creating and marketing your private practice, you’re at the right place!
Free resources to grow and market your counseling private practice or coaching business:
Free 22 minutes crash course – “How to Create a Thriving Counseling / Coaching Private Practice”: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/free-22-minute-crash-course
Free resources about marketing for therapists and marketing for coaches: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/blog
Free 30-minutes strategy session with Sasha Raskin: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/schedule-a-free-30-min-strategy-session/
Our accelerator program for creating a 6-figure business:
The 6 Figure Practice Program: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/the-6-figure-practice-program-accelerator/
More ways to connect:
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2174406112863019
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/the6figurepractice
Chat with me on messenger: https://m.me/the6figurepractice
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCITSmYvj-vpwuWrOuwqYr5w
My name is Sasha Raskin. I’m a Number 1 Best Selling Co-Author in 12 Countries, a Doctoral student in Counseling Education and Supervision, a coach, a psychotherapist and an adjunct faculty at a graduate counseling program at Naropa University.
One of the things I’m enjoying the most is helping other therapists and coaches build their successful private practice so that they could actually help the clients they were taught to help, and thrive themselves. I’m almost always fully booked, so my ability to work with individuals is limited. That is why I’ve created this program to deliver powerful results and create a community where you will feel supported by each other!
This program’s primary goal is to help you build a thriving private practice, in a fun and authentic way. Counselors and coaches invest an incredible amount of time, money, and effort into building their helping skills. However, when their training ends, they usually find themselves lacking the business skills that are needed to start and run a successful private practice, feel isolated, discouraged and not knowing where to start.
I believe that to be truly helpful to others, therapists and coaches have to learn to thrive themselves and definitely know how to get clients whom they can help.
This is where this program comes in. If you’re willing to learn and work hard, a 6-figure private practice is within your reach in a year – 2 years. This program will give you a clear outline, and detailed instructions on how to get there.
Online Marketing For Therapists
Counselor: Hi, Sasha.
Sasha Raskin: So thank you for being here and helping with this training.
Counselor: Thank you.
Sasha Raskin: And I’m glad we’re doing this in a conversation way instead of just me talking to the camera. And I think it’s helpful because when clients work with me on marketing their businesses, private practices as therapists or coaches or freelancers, when they just start they think that online marketing is this whole different beast that is very different from everything they’ve been doing all their lives. And it’s actually not, it’s just a conversation, and we’ve been talking all our lives so it’s just a different way of talking.
So maybe you can tell me what is the goal for you with online marketing? Or, what would you like to achieve, what’s the end goal?
Counselor: I suppose I said therapy still has never worked online. I’m really starting with a blank slate and no presence online at all.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, so you want to be found, right?
Sasha Raskin: And you want to build a private practice. So I think it would be important to think for a second the way that a potential client thinks, right? If you would be looking for a therapist, what would you do, what would be the first thing?
Counselor: I suppose maybe the first thing would be a Google search with keywords like therapist in the area. And if I’m looking for a specific orientation.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, so you would search what you want on Google.
Counselor: Intuitively so probably.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah. Okay, let’s say you find a few different results, what would you do next?
Counselor: I will go to their website if they’ve come up as results. And sometimes in my experience I have also found links to like therapy today or journals online or professional bodies that somehow that feels a bit of a guarantee. But even then I will go to the website because I want to see them and I want to have a sense of the person and what message they’re conveying.
Sasha Raskin: So you either go to their personal website or to a directory where they have a listing.
Counselor: Usually both.
Sasha Raskin: And when you at a directory listing or their website, what are you looking for? What’s the first thing that you’re looking for?
Counselor: As I said, if I’m looking for a specific orientation …
Counselor: If I’m looking for a couple I might say that or if I want somebody’s personal center or emotion-focused therapy or something like that.
Sasha Raskin: So you might be more specific and you might be looking for keywords that you already know, when you already know what you want exactly you might be doing a more narrow search.
Counselor: Yes. And I’m thinking some kinds if I look on their issues like trauma, anxiety, depression, probably that’s another way of finding a therapist.
Sasha Raskin: So they might be thinking about the problem, right?
Sasha Raskin: And they might not be searching a service provider specifically but they might be searching their problem, right?
Counselor: Yes, yeah. Because I think as a therapist I’m thinking of orientation, but in my experience most clients don’t really care or know much about your training or orientation.
Sasha Raskin: So for example if I’m having difficulty with my family members I might say … what might I say in Google search?
Counselor: Family issues or family therapy.
Sasha Raskin: Or I might look for family therapist in Boulder, Colorado, right?
Sasha Raskin: So location is important as well. So statistics show that people usually spend three seconds on a website, so you need to make a good first impression, right? For you when you search for a service provider even when you buy something on Amazon, what’s the first thing that you want to know?
Counselor: That it’s reliable.
Sasha Raskin: That it’s reliable. Why is that important?
Counselor: Well, the specific case of an object, I want to know that I’m making a good purchase, right?
Sasha Raskin: Yeah. And with a service provider.
Counselor: I would have a sense that they’re professional, they do what they’re talking about, and there is some solid background, and they’re not just improvising something.
Sasha Raskin: How can you know? Because the content was written by an interested party, right? The photos, they can be done by a good photographer. How would you know that the person is reliable?
Counselor: Well, I suppose this is a bit multifaceted, right?
Sasha Raskin: Of course.
Counselor: Because for me the first thing is the feel of the website, that’ll really makes me feel if I’m aligned or not.
Sasha Raskin: What do you mean by feel?
Counselor: There are some websites that just looked improvised and they don’t give me a sense that somebody was putting enough care in this.
Sasha Raskin: And that you feel the feel even before you read the content?
Counselor: Uh-hmm. And I can actually go away, even if the images they’ve chosen are good.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, and that’s a great point, because it’s good news and bad news – if you look for a therapist in your hometown for example, you will probably see that 90% of it might look like MySpace, so very old …
Sasha Raskin: … fonts that are … it’s hard to read, right? It’s not very usable, photos that are not professional. You can’t really find your way around and you don’t know exactly what is this about, right?
Sasha Raskin: What other elements might impact the way that you don’t really feel good about the website?
Counselor: Also if the copy is too dense, too long.
Sasha Raskin: If it’s too long.
Counselor: Verbose. I kind of want a strong immediate message, and then if I want to know more I want to have the choice to go and know more.
Sasha Raskin: So you want to have a strong and clear message before you even start reading.
Counselor: Yeah, before I invest time in it. We’re all under a lot of time pressure, right?
Sasha Raskin: Yeah. So the good news is as you build your online presence, you can stand out by having a professional website with a clear message and by learning good ways to be found online, right?
Sasha Raskin: And in a way it translates for people, for potential clients, as experience, right?
Sasha Raskin: Because if I see a website that’s professionally built, and in the case of a therapist for example – I want to make sure that they have their life together and that they will take care of me like they take care of their business, right? So that’s a good sign for me. Well, they put the time and the effort to making sure that their website looks good, for example.
Sasha Raskin: Why is it important for you to have a clear message right away?
Counselor: Well, mostly because I want to know what they are about immediately if I choose to go beyond. It’s like you’re saying, you know, in a meeting we sort of immediately choose who to invest in in a social situation and if you want to bring the dialogue forth or not – that’s the same with a website. So both the pictures and the aesthetics of the website and their copy and what they’re saying, everything signals to me – this is somebody I want to enter in dialogue with or not or deepen the understanding and the knowing of this.
Sasha Raskin: So you’re saying that the first thing you want to know that what you found is what you were looking for, right?
Sasha Raskin: If you were looking for a family therapist, you want to see this is family therapist right way, right?
Counselor: Yeah, true.
Sasha Raskin: And maybe something strong that would give a first impression of the person.
Sasha Raskin: Okay, so let’s say you had a good first impression, you stayed on the website, what will you do then, what’s the next step?
Counselor: Go to service.
Sasha Raskin: Services.
Counselor: What the offering are?
Sasha Raskin: Why would you go to services next?
Counselor: Because I want to know if what I’m looking for is there. So are they offering couple therapy, are they offering teenager? So I want to know what they offer, if they offer one-to-one or groups or if there are events on the website. If there’s any free material that I can access like a YouTube video, so then I can get more sense.
Sasha Raskin: So let’s say you’re looking for couple’s therapy, so you go to the service page. Then what are you looking for when you look at the service page, the specific one?
Counselor: Well, do you mean in terms of the menu? What I look at that once I’m already there?
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, exactly, once you’re already there, what’s important for you?
Counselor: Well, just that it’s very clearly spelled what the offerings are, so couple therapy and what kind of couple therapy they do, what kind of trainings they have, and how they approach this type of therapy.
Sasha Raskin: So you want to see expertise.
Sasha Raskin: What else is important for you?
Counselor: Then it would be important the way in which they approach this and what’s their philosophy behind this.
Sasha Raskin: How would you feel if besides the expertise and the trainings and the education and all of that, while you read the information you get a sense that the person knows exactly what you are going through?
Counselor: Oh, yeah, that would be for sure the first selling point for me.
Sasha Raskin: Why?
Counselor: Because I would feel this person knows and feels me intimately and knows what I’m going through, and it’s almost like there is an immediate sense of contact already established.
Sasha Raskin: Contact, exactly. So you already started the conversation with the service provider, a therapist in this case even before you talked to them, right?
Sasha Raskin: So this is the thing exactly, this being a conversation if the person is just talking about their education – it’s kind of like you’re having a conversation with a friend and the friend is talking for hours, you have no space to say anything, right?
Sasha Raskin: But what happens if they ask you how you’re doing? What if they can empathize with what you’re going through? What if they share something that’s related from their life, right? What if they’re being vulnerable? And how will that make you feel when connecting to a therapist on their website?
Counselor: Well, of course there’s a sense of being felt and empathically met. And as I was saying, there’s a sense of establishing contact even before meeting them.
And then also the thing is like if this person is now going to approach it just as an expert, they’re actually going to bring also their humanist to this encounter that somehow you’re sharing, and they know intimately what they’re talking about through expertise and through their own personal journey.
Sasha Raskin: How would you feel if you would compare those two examples, one Nicoletta got her degree from Naropa University, she has been working with couples for the last five years, she uses this and this approach, she understands that … and so on. And the second example – do you keep on having the same fight again and again and again? Do you find yourself in an endless loop of disconnection? And then I’m Nicoletta, I’ve been there; I know how it feels like.
Sasha Raskin: I use my education from Naropa University and my training with emotional-focused therapy to help couples reconnect, because it’s something that’s really important for me. So how did you feel with the first example, how did you feel with the second example?
Counselor: The first is very flat and there’s not …
Sasha Raskin: Flat.
Counselor: Flat. There’s a flat affect. And the second one is inviting me in immediately, both bringing in my experience being interested as you were saying in the experience of the dialogue with a friend, and they’re sharing of themselves.
I think this is why somehow the therapeutic websites are less endearing than the ones of coaching. There’s a lot of people out there that use what you’re saying and they feel so much more like taking you in, because they reveal more of their own journey and how they became the experts in it.
Sasha Raskin: And I really believe that today is a very good day to do marketing, because it’s all about authentic connection. I think that even huge brands are starting to shift towards human connection.
Sasha Raskin: And towards connecting with specific people.
Sasha Raskin: And it’s important for therapists, of course, to show yourself in an authentic way.
Sasha Raskin: And I think it’s important for any business in terms of … I work with a person, right? It doesn’t really matter what the service is. I just want to make sure that I can trust the person and they get me, they get what I need, and they know how to solve my problem, right?
Counselor: Yeah. I think there’s an inherent fear as a therapist to market in that way because we have been in some form of trainings more than others but there’s this thing of not (beating?) the blank slate, but surely the disclosure of self in therapy has been for a long time questioned and how much do you deal with that. So there’s this fear for us of being it’s a bit of a threshold for us.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s the same … very truthful therapists, but the same thing for any business, right? If I’m a photographer and I want my photographs to speak for me, why should I be telling about myself, right?
Sasha Raskin: And as a therapist you expect others to trust you to tell their most intimate stories, but you on the other hand can’t do that for them on your website in a way.
Counselor: It’s a paradox, isn’t it?
Sasha Raskin: Yeah. It doesn’t have to be. So what happens … let’s say you’re convinced, you spent the time on the website and it feels like a potentially good fit, what will you do then? What’s the next step in your search?
Counselor: I was going to say call them, but truly I wouldn’t because I really feel … like for me personally and for clients, I imagine how hard it is to make that first call. So before I make the call I would probably look at their blog and get a sense of what they’re blogging about. Testimonials – how have the other people who worked with them felt with them.
Sasha Raskin: So the more information you can get the closer you will feel.
Counselor: Yeah. [Unclear 17:58] step, so to even relieve a little bit of the anxiety of knowing this person.
Sasha Raskin: It’s like a second date and a third date, right?
Counselor: Right, yes.
Sasha Raskin: And you want it to be easy, right? You don’t want to be searching going outside again to Google and searching maybe them in a directory, right? It all should be fast and easy within a website, just click a blog, read a little bit of something that catches your attention. If they have testimonials, tap on the menu, just click there, right?
Sasha Raskin: And it all takes seconds. If they have links during the text, let’s say on the couple’s therapy, that takes you to … let’s say I got my education form and they can click on education and it just goes down to it. So you basically allow a dynamic conversation with you, right? So that they can ask you questions without you being there.
Counselor: Uh-hmm, yes.
Sasha Raskin: So what do you do then? Let’s say you read some blog post, it feels like they know what they’re talking about and you like the way they talk about it. You saw some good testimonials from clients, and they’re all, let’s say if it’s a therapist, they’re all anonymous so it’s also ethical. What do you do then?
Counselor: I was going to say probably sending a message will be less scary than calling, so have a possibility to reach them like that at first. And I’m wondering if they offered like a 15 minutes consultation which I can book myself without having to do that booking on the phone or something, at least for me it relieves my anxiety.
Sasha Raskin: So if they give you the option (a) to find in an easy and fast way a way to contact them without just calling them, that would be helpful?
Sasha Raskin: And if you can pass this whole thing of sending messages back and forth and just go ahead and book a free phone consultation, right?
Sasha Raskin: Which is nice gesture any way, right? That makes it even easier for you, right?
Counselor: Yes. It’s more likely for me and the anxiety feeling. It would be more likely for me to actually book a consultation than to have to go through a phone call or even sending a message, because there are moments in your life when you’re like, “What am I even going to write in this message? How am I going to tell them what I’m looking for?”
Sasha Raskin: So it’s really a lot of work, time and commitment on your end as a client to go through this whole process of looking for someone, going to their website. And you didn’t say it but I’m assuming that this therapist wouldn’t be the only person you would be looking at, right?
Sasha Raskin: You might compare their website to other websites.
Counselor: Yes, for sure, yes. I would do some shopping around.
Sasha Raskin: So let’s say you book the call and you’re on the call, what do you need to hear from the therapist to actually schedule the first meeting?
Counselor: I don’t know if it’s what I need to hear. I think the first thing would be that in-person sense or if this person feels really available and welcoming and genuinely interested in what I’m bringing.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, so it’s kind of like with the websites it’s about the first emotional connection, right?
Sasha Raskin: And if you feel welcomed, then you continue the conversation, right?
Counselor: Yes, yeah, for sure. So it’s the first impact of that contact, how does this feel – am I feeling heard, listened to, felt, emphatic, attuned? All those qualities, it’s more than what I hear.
Sasha Raskin: What else is important for you to happen on this consultation call so you would feel confident that, yeah, it’s worth a try?
Counselor: I think that for me would be a little bit twofold, like on one point there needs to be an invitation to come into their space, so their relational offering. And at the same time also the respect for my time of choice, and so if I feel that they’re not pulling me too strong but also respecting that I will need some time to reflect and extend that sense of respect with my own choice.
Sasha Raskin: So that’s interesting, you don’t even talk about details about how they work, all of that, that’s not what you’re looking for, right? You’re looking for to see if you can connect on a human level, right?
Counselor: Uh-hmm, yeah. And it’s strange, when I have chosen a therapist I think very rarely I have chosen them on the basis of their qualification. I think I’ve really chosen them from the heart and the (back?).
Sasha Raskin: It’s funny there was a research that’s been done on how interviewers make their decisions about employing people, and I don’t remember the exact number but I think they make the decision within the first few minutes, right?
Sasha Raskin: So you heard about this as well.
Sasha Raskin: Why do you think it’s so fast?
Counselor: Well, I also think that there are languages that we don’t even speak about, that there’s communication that happens between our bodies that goes way beyond the level of communication, this meta-communication happening. And instinct, I mean, it’s almost like an animal thing, there’s probably smell and who knows.
Sasha Raskin: So we’ll communicate on different levels. Why does it happen so fast? It’s obviously not enough time for the interview to get a clear understanding of their skills as a potential employee.
Counselor: Yeah, I do believe it’s an instinctual … it’s like a survival mechanism.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, it’s very fast emotional decision, right?
Counselor: Yeah. All the emotions precede cognition I think.
Sasha Raskin: And those are great news for you when you market your private practice or any business, because you are in complete control of this first impression that people get to see. And it’s constant, so the website that one person will access tomorrow will look exactly the same in three days from now to a different person. So once you created something and it feels good, it would work in the same way constantly, and you can always improve it and improve it and improve it.
Counselor: And I’m also thinking that in a way it’s also … like if I really represent myself with that authenticity that you’re inviting into this part, it’s also like I’m going to actually attract the right people to work with me.
Sasha Raskin: Exactly.
Counselor: And other people will be attracted to other form of therapist for whom that match is going to be much better for them.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, that’s a great point. So it’s not just a way for the potential clients to filter their service providers, it’s a way for you as a service provider to filter out the potential clients, right?
Counselor: Yes, it’s not like you have to look for create your market niche, and the moment in which you present yourself with that authenticity you are sort of automatically carving your niche.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, and we’ll be talking about this one, we’ll be building your website and the content for it. Because at the end you want to enjoy your work, right? You want to be helping the people you want to be helping, and if you fill your time with working with your perfect clients you will probably be doing it for longer, you will enjoy it more, and you will be helping people better, right?
Counselor: Yes. They really have that resonance with their work.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, perfect.