Counselors spend their lives helping others sort through the maelstrom left behind in the wake of affairs, divorces, PTSD, and child abuse. It’s a difficult job and unless you have a strong desire to help people, it probably isn’t the career for you. However, once you have completed your online masters in counseling and set up a private practice, it is time to start thinking about marketing your services to potential clients.
When you first set up a private practice, your appointment book will be empty. You may have earned your counseling masters degree online, but it doesn’t mean clients will be beating a path to your door. If anything, the opposite will be true. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can attract new clients and get your name out there in the local community. It will take time and effort, but eventually your hard work will pay dividends.
Build a Brand
Brand is very important, so start as you mean to go on and build your brand from day one. Decide what type of area you wish to specialize in and work hard at putting the word out there that you can help people with XYZ problems. Have a professional logo and letterhead and use them in all of your correspondence, including emails. The end goal is to have people recognize your logo and name, and know immediately who you are and what you do.
Create a Website
Websites are extremely important since some of your referrals will come from online marketing. Work with an SEO specialist and build an attractive and functional website. Your website needs to contain a range of information, such as your specialisms and qualifications, plus details of how clients can contact you.
Be Active on Social Media
Do not underestimate the power of social media, particularly when building your brand. Social media is a very cost effective way to market your services. When used effectively, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are a great way to direct web traffic to a practice website. Some of these visitors will convert into clients, so be active on social media as often as possible.
Undertake Voluntary Work in the Community
When you are first starting out, it will be helpful to do voluntary work for community groups. For example, if you want to work with children, agree to work one or two evenings a week for family charities. This type of work is good practice and a useful way of building your reputation among people who might later send referrals your way.
Network with other Professionals
Networking with other professionals in related fields is crucial. Spend time building professional relationships, online and offline. Connect with colleagues on LinkedIn and do public speaking events at industry seminars. If you make the right impression, these people will refer clients to you.
The more you put yourself out there, the easier it will be to find new clients. Eventually you won’t need to market your counseling practice at all, as clients will come to you under their own steam.