Marketing comes from a place of service. When you start your private practice, getting your services in front of people who need you (and who you do great work with) is one of the most important things you can do. The other important thing you can do is have a reliable referral network and process for callbacks once your practice is full and busy.
Can we all agree it’s so hard for potential clients when they’re finally ready to get into therapy and therapists don’t call back? It’s the worst. So how do we mitigate this at each stage of your practice, so you’re making the most of your time and not over or under marketing?
Let’s start with how and where you should market as your practice starts to get full. Data collection is the most critical piece of this stage of your practice. If you know where your clients are coming from, you can make more strategic marketing plans. For instance, you can tell your most frequent referral sources (doc’s office, LMFT, former group practice besties) that you’re full and then let them know when you have availability again. You can turn off an online listing or put “not accepting new clients” on your marketing assets like your website.
When I was full, I kept reasonably quiet about it on my site and provided referrals to people who called. But, I also had more time in the past than I do now. If I were still in solo practice, I would likely make it known that I didn’t have availability everywhere I could and provide referrals to the smaller number of people that will call anyway. Having dedicated callback time in your schedule is the absolute best way to make sure you get back to people.
All the marketing hustle at the beginning is to get to this point where you’re enough of a marketing machine that you can back way off the blog posts and cold emails and focus on your practice, clients, and building the cool as hell life you envisioned when you got this private practice party started.
If you aren’t going to call people back because you’re short on time, full, hate the phone, whatever, plaster it on your website, put it loud & clear in your voicemail, have it as an automatic email response, and also make it clear on any online listings. Yes, it may slow you down when you are ready to take on more clients, but it’s better than leaving someone who needs help hanging. Come up with a plan for returning potential client contact now (even if you’re not full), so you’ll have good administrative and referral hygiene when you’re full and busy with other parts of your business.
There’s more advice and system help in the Full Practice, New Problems course in the Abundance Party!