Uplevel your marketing and grow with these marketing tips
Marketing is a skill we are not taught in grad school, yet essential for both educating the public on our value and growing our speech therapy private practices. Much of marketing is like gardening. You plant the seed, give it some water and little attention, but it takes time to really be effective.
How to use this guide:
Different techniques work in different markets and specialties. Choose a few to implement now, and add a few to your planner to implement next month.
1.Get a website! Websites are a long-term strategy as it takes weeks, months for search engines to recognize you and decide that you are important enough to show in search results. Linking to your business website from a directory listing may help improve your search engine rankings. www.SpeechTherapyConnect.com is my favorite directory for speech therapy private practices.
2. Get Social – Claim your business name on social media platforms. Put in the essentials, then decide on 1-2 platforms to focus on. Which to choose? Short answer – wherever your ideal clients are. I go into more details for how to choose on the resource page.
3. Email Marketing. Start collecting email addresses of website visitors. A popular method is to offer a free PDF or other free information, when they join your email list. You can set up an automated email sequence for subscribers; send them your promised information, then every so often, send them more useful tips. This keeps you at the top of their mind so when they are ready for speech therapy, they will contact you.
4. Google My Business. Set up a Google My Business page and put a note in your planner to update monthly.
5. Host a Webinar – Provide a free presentation, but online to increase your reach!
6. Keyword marketing – up your “findability” on the web with search engine optimization tips and tricks.
7. Have pages on your website devoted to your niche. Showcase your knowledge and expertise.
Potential clients are more likely to contact an expert in their concern, rather than their concern just being on a list of 20 specialties. Some directories encourages the use of filters to highlight clinician’s specialty niches. Be sure your listing highlight’s your expertise.
8. Speaking of directories, get listed! Directories are great resources for families looking for experts.
9. Create specialized landing page. If you list yourself in a directory for a specialized niche (e.g. LSVT LOUD), use that listing to direct potential clients to the LSVT page on your website. It’s more convenient for your audience, you’ll get less website “bounces”, and it will be easier to track how people are finding your website.
10. Try out YouTube! Put webinars, as well as short clip videos with tips and helpful information.
11. Research your competitors, as well as those in related industries, both local and in other states. What does their website and social media look like? What wording do they use? What do you like? What don’t you like? Make a list or a swipe file of screenshots – images, verbiage. Do NOT copy, but use it as inspiration and a word bank as you update your own online presence.
12. Learn about and run Google Ads on Google Academy
13. Learn about and run Facebook Ads with Facebook BluePrint
14. Be sure your practice is linked to your personal Facebook profile. Then go in related local and regional facebook groups. Do NOT market (it’s a good way to get banned), and DON’T diagnose/provide therapy, or any of those other unethical things. DO offer information, answer questions, give tips. If you sound knowledgable, they may ask you for more information, or click on your profile to find out who you are. From there, they see you are an SLP who owns their own private practice = referral!
Example groups – parenting, babies, related professions, teachers, picky eater support, homeschool, specific diagnoses like Parkinson’s or Autism
(Speaking of your personal FB profile, consider checking the privacy settings and what content you want to be shared publicly vs privately.)
15. Revise your website. Is it clear? Focus on who you are, who / how you help and include a call to action?
16. Attend Networking Events – Look up networking groups in your community; look for other professionals who may be good referral sources, from daycare providers to CPAs to estate planners, people talk. The more people that know who you are as a person and like you, the better.
Before you walk in, make a goal for how many people you will meet / get their business card. Choose an achievable goal that feels good for you. If you are new to networking, aim to meet 1 person. If you thrive at these events, then aim for 5-10+
17. Make sure it’s a 2-way street. Find out about the CPA, attorney, lactation consultant’s job, and personal interests. Ask questions. You can be a referral and information source for them.
18. After you meet people at a networking gathering, follow up with them individually. Say hello at future gatherings. Connect on LinkedIn. Email or call to invite them for coffee to learn more about their business and who you could refer to them.
19. Referrals – If you can send a referral their way, don’t just pass on the name. Offer to send an introductory email. It takes 2 minutes and everyone benefits.
20. Keep track of your connections. Who was receptive? Who might regularly send you referrals?
21. Choose those who may be your best referral sources and be sure to maintain the connection. Every month or so, make contact with them, e.g. send an interesting article that may help them professionally, while also reminding them of your expertise and how you solve problems.
22. Offer Free Consultations. On your website, social media, in person chats, offer a free consultation. It’s a great way for potential clients to be more comfortable and confident with hiring you, as well as you can refer out any who may not be a good fit.
23. Join LinkedIn – a wonderful marketing tool if done right, this platform is growing and evolving fast!
24. Join your local Chamber of Commerce for networking and publicity opportunities
25. Leave “Helpful Tips” rackcards in coffee shops, libraries, with your hair dresser, anywhere you can.
26. Do you have company pens? Make sure your website is on them. Carry them with you and “forget” them wherever you go, banks, daycares, playgrounds, stores, etc.
27. Send flyers, referral pads to local pediatricians, doctors, ENTs, neurologists offices, PT/OT clinics. Focus on your expertise and how you can help solve their client’s problems.
28. Free Presentations – Offer your expertise on a topic in your niche. Yes it takes time, but it’s an opportunity to showcase your expertise. Bring some flyers and watch the word-of-mouth spread. Don’t promote your practice / sell directly. Leave cards with helpful tips / take-home points that they can refer to in the future, that just happen to have your website / contact information on them.
Locations ideas- your local library, aging and disability resource center, that popular preschool, the YMCA, Parkinson’s support groups, church parenting groups, assisted living facilities, Mommy and Me groups, community centers.
29. Volunteer! Volunteer at various charity organizations. It’s a great networking opportunity to get your name out there and be known in the community.
30. Follow up with previous clients. Send them a note 6 months to a year after discharge. They may need more help, or know someone else who they can refer to you.
31. Contact the media – share a story or offer to share your expertise; either a story idea pitch or follow up on another story that they recently published.
32. Host a booth at a child / heath / niche-related expo.
33. Focus on Client experience. Are you providing premium, professional client experience? Little touches can make the difference so your business stands out among competitors and will get your name mentioned in facebook groups, on the playground, and in coffee shops.
34. Learn about your ideal client. The more you know about your ideal client, the more you can cater your marketing to their lives, the more you’ll attract their attention.
35. Accept insurance. Yes, it’s more complicated and reduced reimbursement, but increased referrals make up for it.
Time for Action!
Step 1: Review your current strategies
What’s working? What’s not?
Which are long vs short-term plans?
How much does it cost?
How many clients has each strategy gotten you?
Step 2: Make a Plan
Select a few strategies to try.
Take out your planner – Schedule timeslots to work on marketing.
Schedule a “launch” date for implementation.
Step 3: Progress Review – Track your Results!
Turn your planner to 4 months from now.
How many referrals came in?
Where did they come from?
How many turned into new clients?
Rinse and repeat. Keep the strategies that are cost-effective and working. Tweak the strategies that still have potential. Toss the strategies that failed and replace them with new ones.