The goal of their conversation was to discuss what it takes to connect behavioral health specialists with the right tools to market their practice in the current era of online information. Raymond introduced Lisa, who has been in the field of marketing for over 25 years, first in corporate marketing and later in private practices as the founder and owner of Woz Marketing. Lisa has focused on helping private practice owners develop and implement successful marketing strategies designed to grow their client base.
This was not always Lisa’s focus. As she explained, Lisa chose to leave corporate marketing in 2014 and set off to create her own marketing firm but struggled to find her specialty or niche in the market. Explaining how a difficult family situation brought her to where she is now, Lisa said:
“We had a family member come down with just a really debilitating case of clinical depression... and that was my first exposure to the mental health industry. We were so grateful for these folks in finding how … to ensure that [this family member] was getting the care that they needed. So I just fell in love with the industry.”
Lisa’s gratitude for mental health providers over time led her to see how she could support them in their work, and that’s when she discovered something. Lisa said that “in digging a little bit further, one of the things I found out...is that mental health professionals aren’t given a whole lot in their education...in the way of marketing and business development.”
Raymond Barrett, as a behavioral health practitioner who trains other practitioners, agreed that often “[mental health practitioners] do not get that education, and it’s a specialty in and of itself, and it could be such a burden for a lot of people that want to be in private practice...They say ‘It’s not worth it. It’s too difficult.’ Some people are very successful and others just struggle with it constantly.”
Raymond continued, asking Lisa to list the most common mistakes she has witnessed people make in setting up or building a private practice.
First, inaction. Lisa responded saying that “one [mistake] is not taking any action at all. Sadly some folks think that just hanging up the OPEN FOR BUSINESS sign is enough, and that’s all it’s going to take.” Lisa links this mistake to the mindset some have that when a medical professional opens up their practice, they have more business than they know what to do with, so this ought to happen to them.
Second, going overboard. Mentioning that one of the strengths of the mental health field is that practitioners are often “focused on helping others who need them,” Lisa went on to say that “they don’t want to toot their own horn. So when they muster up the gumption to go ahead and talk about themselves online, they tend to go overboard a little bit and...to ‘sell’ too much...which tends to turn people off...and people just don’t pay attention to you anymore.”
Lisa’s advice pointed toward finding that balance between talking too little and too much, as well as knowing what aspects about you and about your practice are really going to sell and fit the needs of clients searching in your area. Regarding online presence, Lisa said that “utilizing keywords is very important. So it’s a matter of telling your story. If you use a lot of ‘tech speak’ (brain-spotting, EMDR, etc.) in those descriptions, again, you get a wall up, and people don’t pay attention because that doesn’t resonate with them.”
“You have to remember that marketing is a long game!”
Third, consistency! Lisa provided the comparison to a television commercial asking “How many times do you see a commercial before you even pay attention to the name of the company or whatever it is that they’re trying to sell. That’s consistency in action.” Lisa encourages her clients not to view marketing as an overnight process but to remember that it takes time and that people need to get used to seeing your name out there. Lisa said, “The biggest piece of advice I want your followers to take away from this: you have to remember that marketing is a long game!”
Lisa gave us some practical tips for marketing. One was to know what works in the market in your part of the country. Find out what Keywords really bring visibility without needing to compete with too many others in your field. Woz Marketing “gears folks towards more of a presence on social media…. Some [social media sites] work better than others depending on what your strategy is going to be. So, for example, Facebook is really great for getting clients, LinkedIn is very powerful for getting referrals, and if you have a private pay practice.”