It might feel like you’ve taken all the bootstrapping DIY self-directed (free) advice that’s out there, you’re not full yet, and you’re feeling a time crunch like there’s not enough time in a day to get done what you need to do. Let’s say if you’ve utilized all the cheap or free marketing strategies and recommendations and haven’t gotten full, I am left with a lot of questions. By cheap, obviously we’re talking low price tag, right? I don’t know of any totally free marketing strategies that can fill your practice. Sending letters to doctors offices introducing your practice is close enough to free that I’d count it as such but I’m pretty sure 99.9% of those letters get glanced at then recycled.
If you’ve tried the networking and the DIY website building, I’m not surprised you aren’t full. Those are great first steps. They’re not the only steps.
When most clinicians hit this point around building their practice, they want to start tossing cash at advertising and SEO. Before you throw money at ads and Google, I’m going to recommend my free training, How to Fill Your Practice Without Being Salesy and Spending Money You Don’t Have. It can feel like you’ve tried everything and not to sound harsh, just because we’re trying doesn’t mean we’re doing it effectively. We don’t know what we don’t know, right? And if you don’t know how to network effectively or how to write an online listing so that people call, no amount of advertising is going to work. I’ll mention briefly for those of you who are like, I just wish I had someone walking me through this 1:1, someone to look at my stuff, give me pointers, we do just that in the Inner circle which opens its doors in a couple weeks, so keep an eye out.
So let’s talk paid advertising & SEO. I’ll share my personal experience with google ads: I have hired three different companies over the years and have never gotten a decent return on investment. A decent return on investment is making at least five times what you spent. I don’t know if it’s my niche, which is Eating Disorders, the combo of my niche and my city, or the fact that I’m competing with treatment centers that have a much bigger advertising budget than I do. Regardless, it’s never worked for me and I’ve paid thousands over the years. I know a lot of people outside my niche who swear by them, but they aren’t a cure-all. If you do decide to dabble in Instagram ads, I recommend hiring a professional instead of DIY’ing.
General FB & IG Ads-like in general about your practice- aren’t usually effective. If you have free content like a blog or vlog that really connects with your ideal client and has a strong call to action, it’s worth testing. Make sure the title is clear and alluring and the ad image is eye-catching. Make sure you’re showing your ad to the right people in your targeting. Like if you work with young adults who have failure to launch issues, I’d target their parents, not them. My favorite resource for learning FB & IG ads is Social Lab Marketing. They did a training for us in the Abundance Party.
I recently invested in SEO with Simplified SEO Consulting. I had an associate in my group practice whose caseload had stalled & I don’t have the time and energy to do my usual marketing for the practice right now. Their SEO worked really well as an addition to the groundwork we’d already laid in the community and that clinician is now full. So if I had to choose between the three, l’d choose SEO but only if I knew my website converted well among the people who found it. I definitely wouldn’t want to spend so much money to get people to my site and have them click away.
Free, DIY, and cheap resources are great! We’ve all gotten great advice, product recommendations, and reassurance from freebies or low-cost trainings. It’s important to remember that not all freebies and cheap fixes are created equally – there’s still a monetary or time (or both!) investment at the end of the tunnel.