practice niche

Should You Send Out An Online Newsletter?

You’ve got a long list of marketing activities you intend to get to. This article might just help you cross one off of your list.   

Should you send out an online newsletter?

Newsletters are a common tool in online marketing. For coaches and other service providers who work remotely and serve people everywhere, online newsletters are almost always a good idea. An online newsletter is not always a good strategy for a therapy practice, especially if the therapy you provide is all or mostly local and in person.

As in all marketing decisions, your bigger purpose and goals will tell you what to do.

The purpose of an online newsletter is to stay in touch with potential clients, give them something of value regularly, and to make it more likely that they will eventually hire you. When a client is looking for a therapist, there is usually an immediate need, and the potential client will decide right away whether to call you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide whether to create an online newsletter:

1.     Do you plan to offer something besides therapy?

If you are planning to offer a workshop or class, having a growing list of people you can reach out to who are interested in your services makes sense. When you launch those services, you’ll have some potential participants.

2. Do you serve an easily definable niche?

If you are serving an easily definable group of people, sending out a newsletter might make sense. You can serve your list by giving them valuable content over time. If, on the other hand, you are serving a niche that is more general or hard to define, a blog without a newsletter might make sense.

3.    Do you have a lot to say to your potential clients?

Your newsletter should give valuable content to your people. You don’t want to ask people to opt in to a newsletter, and then only send out a newsletter when you are trying to sell something.

I’ll use my therapy practice as an example. My therapy practice, The Bay Area Relationship Center, is a center providing couples therapy and couples workshops. I offer a free audio and send out a newsletter for people who opt in. If we look at the 3 questions above, you’ll see why. We offer half-day workshops, so it makes sense for a potential client who is considering a couples workshop to be reminded of our services. Our niche is easily definable: Couples who want to communicate better. I post regularly to the blog, so I have more than enough content to share with my people.

If you’re serious about growing your therapy practice, and you think it might be time for individual or group coaching, apply for a free consultation now.



The Third Part of Worry Free Client Attraction: Support

Support is the third part of Worry Free Client Attraction.

(You can read last week’s article about the first 2 parts.) When you’re challenging yourself to build your practice to the next level, you need a higher level of support. So what do I mean by support? You need support that is both kind and challenging: someone you can turn to when you’re feeling discouraged who will offer you empathy and then help you get back on track. For some of you, support can come from a colleague who is motivated and comfortable with the business side of running a private practice. You might create an accountability partnership with this person in which you each check in about your strategy and support each other in owning your value.

For some of you, you’ll need to step up your support and work with a business coach individually or in a group.

If you have a clear sense of your value and pretty good strategy and you still aren’t filling your practice, you may need some professional support. A kind and challenging business coach will see where your blind spots are, where you need to take more action, and will hold a bigger vision of your business than you do.

I’ll give you an example. I worked as a business coach with a therapist who had a decent private practice but wanted to bring her income up. Her strategy was good, and she had a sense of her value, but she had hit an income plateau. I challenged her to step up her activities, hold a stronger vision of herself as an expert in her field, and I held her accountable with deadlines. When unexpected illnesses and family problems came up, we adjusted her strategy, and then each time I supported her in getting back on track. In each session, I took a stand for the bigger vision that she wanted for herself. She was able to push past that plateau and fill her practice while also raising her fees.

Consider what kind of support you’ve got right now for your business. Here are some questions to consider:

1.     Who are the top 3 people you call when you run into a business dilemma or problem?

2.     When you are discouraged about your business, who is kind to you?

3.     When you are discouraged about your business, who challenges you?

4.     Who holds a bigger vision of your business than you do?

5.     What would you do differently in your business if you had more support?

To learn more about Worry Free Client attraction, sign up for my free webinar on September 18th here. If you can't make it live, you'll receive a replay. 


Introducing Worry Free Client Attraction

Worry Free Woman

On September 18th, I’m offering a free webinar in which I’m going to introduce you to Worry-Free Client Attraction. One of the hardest things about building a private practice is the worry, anxiety, stress, and self doubt you can experience. I help therapists build their businesses in ways that help them feel more peaceful, confident and optimistic. I’ll tell you a little bit about Worry Free Client Attraction right now, and you’ll learn more on the 18th.

When you’re implementing Worry Free Client Attraction, you own your value. You are so clear on what you have to offer and how it helps your clients heal, you don’t spend much energy doubting yourself. You know that when you work with the right people, they benefit immensely and you feel great about the work you do. You know who your people are, so you don’t worry about the fact that you’re not for everyone. When you put yourself out there in authentic ways, it attracts your people. I’ll tell you a story on at the webinar about how a therapist got to the other side of this and learned to own the value she offers her people.

Another part of Worry Free Client attraction is knowing the right strategy to build the private practice you want and deserve. You get so clear on your strategy that you stop worrying whether you’re doing the right things or whether you’re doing enough. Of course practice building still takes work. This isn’t work free client attraction. You have to do certain things consistently. You know for today, for the next week, and for at least the next three months, exactly what you have to do and why. With this clear strategy, you don’t worry every time you get a cancellation or the phone doesn’t ring for a week.

You feel like the captain at the helm of a solid ship, and those waves that move the ship around are just waves. You know you'll move through them. When your practice has a dip, you see that as part of the process because you have the big picture in mind. You know that you’re doing the right things to get what you want.

I’ll tell you a story at the webinar of a therapist who through our work was able to cut through all the clutter of the things she was trying to do and I'll tell you how we created a clear and streamlined strategy.

Next week I’ll tell you about one more crucial part of Worry Free Client Attraction.

Make sure you sign up for the webinar right now because space is limited. 

Is It Hard For You to Claim Your Expertise?

I'm no expert

One of the best ways to build a robust private practice is to become an established expert in one area of specialty. When you choose an area of specialty and then become known for that by writing, public speaking, and talking to colleagues about that specialty, your practice will grow quickly. Many therapists get uncomfortable about this and they say “I don’t want to claim to be an expert.” If you’re thinking this, maybe you need to adjust your thinking on what it means to be an expert.

If an expert is a person who knows everything about a certain issue, can help any person solve problems around that issue, has 20 years of experience, and has none of their own problems with that issue, well then perhaps you can’t be an expert. Let’s question that definition! Here’s a secret: some of the people you think are experts probably doubt themselves too.

Here’s what I think an expert is: a person who is passionate, knowledgeable, and regularly engaged with a particular issue; someone who perhaps struggles with that issue as well, and has a lot of both personal and professional experience with the issue; someone who has a lot of ideas and questions about an issue and likes to be in complex conversations about that issue.

In order to be seen as an expert, you never actually have to say “I am an expert.” As you stand tall in your knowledge, skills and point of view in your area of expertise, others will recognize that you are an expert. Perhaps your clients will recognize that you are the kind of expert they can get real help from, the kind who doesn’t claim to know everything and is open to different ideas.

The Top 10 Questions Therapists Ask Me...#8

This is part of a series of blog posts: The Top 10 Questions Therapists Ask Me.

#8: What kind of website works to attract clients?

Once your potential client is on your site, what works to attract them to your practice? (You also need to be concerned about getting people TO your site, but that is a different topic). I’ll give you 5 places where therapists often mess up, and how to do them right.

1.     A great headline

You need to reach your client in the moment when they are in pain, looking for a therapist. You need to know who you work best with and enjoy working with the most, and create your headline to speak directly to that person. This headline will be a question or a statement that speaks to what they are feeling or needing in the moment when they are searching for you.  For example, you don’t want your headline to be “My office is a safe place.” That’s not speaking to their pain. Your headline will be something closer to: “Do you feel like depression has taken the energy and hope out of your life?” Your headline as well as the rest of your website will NOT speak to everyone, and it shouldn’t.

2.     A great photo

The photo is even more important than the headline. Your photo should be warm, welcoming, and show that you’re happy to be doing this work. Look at the camera and smile in a way that is natural. Think about someone or something that makes you happy so that you capture your real smile. Hire a photographer who has some headshots you like. It is an investment, and it will pay off. If you’re in the bay area, check out Portraits to the People. They photograph a lot of therapists and make the experience painless.

3.     A clear call to action

Tell your potential client what to do next. Make it clear that the next step is to sign up for a free consultation, or to call you or email you. Make that bold and easy to follow. Don’t hide your phone number at the bottom of the page in fine print. I recommend having a clear place they can click to set up a consultation. It can either lead them to an online scheduler or to a contact submission form on your site. These are actions people can take in the moment when they are on your site.

4.     The 80/20 rule

Eighty percent of the content on your site should be about your client: their experience, their pain, and the hope they are looking for. Only twenty percent of the content should be about you: your methods, your credentials, and why you’re the best therapist for them. They want to know that you get them and what they are dealing with.

5.     Your superpower

Your site should reflect who you are. Your superpower is that thing that makes you different from every other therapist out there. Make sure that your site reflects that. Let it come out in the way you write, in your photo, in your about me page, and even in the colors you choose.  Don’t avoid turning some people off. That’s part of attracting the clients who are right for YOU.


Next week I’ll answer the question: What numbers do I need to track in my practice?

The Top 10 Questions Therapists Ask Me...#4

This is part of a series of blog posts: The Top 10 Questions Therapists Ask Me.

#4: Do I Have to Have A Niche?

Usually when therapists ask me this question, they are afraid that choosing a niche or a specialty will limit the clients they get to work with. They fear that they won’t get enough clients because they will exclude so many people.

What I see happen over and over again is that therapists who don’t choose a niche struggle for longer and work harder to build their practices. Often they fail. Therapists who choose a niche and focus their marketing efforts in that direction have much less work to do.

I am defining a niche here as a problem or a population. Sometimes a niche will encompass both. For example, infidelity is a problem. Couples are a population. A niche could be infidelity, couples, or couples dealing with infidelity.

Having a niche makes your marketing easier.

You stand out to other professionals. 

Let’s pretend you are meeting 2 different therapists at an event.

One says:  “I like to work with a lot of women, but also with some men, both individuals and couples. Sometimes I work with adolescents too. I help people work through their relationship issues and recover from past traumas. I also work a lot with people recovering from depression, and I work with people dealing with anxiety a lot too.”

The next says: “I specialize in helping people recover from depression.”

Then you’ll go on to meet many more therapists before the day is over. Who will you remember at the end of the day? Most of us would remember the person who only mentioned depression. Our minds do a lot of filtering to avoid overwhelm, and we do better with less information at one time.

All your marketing efforts are competing with a smaller number of therapists.

You can be among a small number of therapists known for the particular work you do. This works when clients are finding you on the internet and when they are looking for you through referral.

Here’s an example: Think for a moment about who you know who specializes in work with adolescents. Now think for a moment about who you know who works with everyone.

Your first list was shorter, right?

You can also try doing an internet search for “therapist” with your zip code “therapist for adolescents” with your zip code. Those therapists who specialize in working with adolescents have had a much easier time showing up on the first page in that search.

You can establish your status as an expert in your niche quickly.

You can blog, speak, give workshops, and have one on one conversations about your area of expertise. You can be the go-to person for your colleagues about your niche. You can’t do that as a generalist. 

But what about that fear that you’ll be limiting your practice?

It doesn’t work that way. Many therapists who market themselves in a particular niche actually have general practices. Others find you through word of mouth. When your clients and other professionals know that you’re a good therapist doing good work, they refer you all sorts of clients and issues.

In my therapy practice I have only marketed to couples for over seven years, and a large percentage of my practice is individuals.

Many people who market only to LGBTQ clients also end up seeing many straight identified people too.

But how do I choose?

You need to choose something that you feel excited about. You should feel like you could write or speak about this topic every day and not feel bored by it. Make your niche narrow enough that you aren’t trying to include everyone, but wide enough that you have enough to say. This will be a commitment for a few years, not forever. You may change your niche at some point in your career as other things become more interesting to you.

Choosing a niche can be tricky, and I don't want you to get stuck in that process. I can help you to make sure you're making a choice that is both interesting to you and also profitable. Set up a free phone consultation now

Next week I will answer question #5: Does my marketing have to be cheesy?



How To Make a Good Decision


You're stuck on a business decision. You may be deciding whether to invest in additional training, pay for a service, raise your fees, move your office...There are so many decisions you may get stuck on. Maybe you are able to decide and then a day later you doubt yourself. Here's a way to get grounded and clear. Think about your bigger purpose. Think about why you are doing the work you do. Remember what your message is and what your unique gift is.

Now with all of that in mind, look at the decision again.

Will this choice bring you closer to your bigger purpose, or will it be a distraction? For example, if you move your office, will you be better able to serve those who need you? If you purchase that training, will it help you get even better at what you're here to do? Now you're asking the more important questions. And you'll know the right answer. 

What I Learned In a Tourist Trap


Whenever I have passed through pier 39 or walked past the line for the cable cars at Powell Street here in San Francisco, I have thought, “these tourists need to know about the more interesting parts of San Francisco. I should really tell them about my neighborhood and all of the other interesting spots they should visit instead of these tourist traps.” I’m an introvert, so I’ve never actually offered this unsolicited information. Today I walked by pier 39 on the way to a Ferry, and I looked up at the people’s faces. They were having a wonderful time! Almost to a person, they were smiling, chatting with their companions, and appeared to be enjoying the moment.

Not everyone is craving what I have to offer. That’s true about my advice to tourists, and as a business owner it is true about what I offer my clients. For my ideal clients, my services and my message are spot on. And there are people looking for something else. Not everyone is craving what YOU have to offer either.

Every customer or client or consumer is driven to get what he or she likes and need right now. It is your job to offer your unique gift to the people you understand best, and who are hungry for what you have to offer.  Let’s pretend you’re a spot in San Francisco. If you’re still reading this, you are probably not pier 39. You are more likely a small quirky café or bookstore frequented by locals as well as some tourists. What you offer isn’t appealing to everyone, but YOUR people love you. So don’t waste any energy conforming to what you think most people need, or trying to reach out to people who aren't looking for YOU. Focus your message towards the people walking around looking for you.