Our economy took a turn for the worse in 2008, stock market crashed, and many companies were forced to downsize. It was a hard time for many Americans, financially and emotionally. And yet, during this same time frame, my practice Wasatch Family Therapy experienced exponential growth. We steadily acquired new clients. opened two additional locations and grew from half a dozen therapists to over 20 therapists.
So how did I do it? I put time and energy into creating and maintaining a strong online presence.
1) I used a website as a way to introduce myself and to serve my community
As an early technology adopter, I had a website (or webpage) in the early 2000's. As social networking expanded in the mid-2000's I saw the incredible possibilities for reaching out directly to potential clients. My website not only acts as an introduction to my clinic and my therapists, but also allows us to serve and educate through videos and articles about important issues related to mental and emotional health and well-being.
2) I used social media to have meaningful conversations with people
Social media has played an invaluable role in acquiring and retaining clients. I estimate that we gain about 80% of new customers through Google and the internet. The importance of having an online presence cannot be overstated. It changed my business forever, and Wasatch Family Therapy continues to thrive to this day. Here's a rough time frame of my social networking journey:
- 2002 Started solo private practice Wasatch Family Therapy
- 2004 Webpage
- 2008 Joined Facebook
- 2009 Joined Twitter
- 2009 Started blogging on practice website
- 2009 Employed 4-5 therapists
- 2009 Joined LinkedIn
- 2010 Started YouTube Channel
- 2011-12 Joined Instagram, Pinterest
- 2013 Joined Google+
- 2014 Currently employ 20+ therapists with 3 locations
3) I created consistent and meaningful content on reputable websites
I caught the vision of providing quality content to educate and serve the public. My professional Facebook presence, blog, and other media projects were ways for us to get my name out there, establish trust and reliability, and connect with readers and potential clients. I started blogging for PsychCentral's Ask the Therapist in 2009, Private Practice Toolbox blog in 2011, Sharecare and Daily Strength in 2012, and became the Answers relationship expert blogger in 2013.
4) I sought out media interviews and learned to leverage them
Once I started creating content on larger websites, I started seeking local and national media interviews. As a result of my blogging and media interviews established news and lifestyle websites began quoting me and linking to my website. This led to even more traffic (readers coming to our site), which in turn meant building trust with more people. It’s been very encouraging to see the fruits of my labor pay off in the growth of my clinic, and the ability to employ amazing therapists.
Never before have therapists been able to serve potential clients before ever meeting them and to educate our community without leaving the house. Through developing your strong online presence through an effective website, an engaged social media following, creating helpful content, and seeking media interviews, you can maintain viability and keep your practice strong, even when the economic climate is less than favorable.
What strategies have you used to survive and thrive in an uncertain economy? Please share your thoughts below!
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