One of the biggest issues of a new therapist just starting their practice and even therapists who have been in practice for years is getting clients. There are many clients out there who would benefit from your services. The problem is getting clients to hear about your practice and know that you are a quality therapist who has something to offer them. Learn how to use online marketing to build your practice.

Therapy Directories

A great way of online marketing is to be listed in an online directory. I found that I get a lot of referrals from Psychology Today. People trust Psychology Today and believe that the therapists on their site have the qualifications that they advertise. In fact, Psychology Today does verify your license before running your profile. They give therapist a profile in their directory for a monthly fee which offers a lot of information about your background and your specialties. This offers a potential client more information that a listing in the phone book. If you are a member of the American Counseling Association, they offer you 6 months free on Psychology Today. This is a big help to a new therapist just starting out.

There are many other therapist directories available that you can try. Some of them are more expensive than others. You have to decide how much you want to spend on this form of advertising. A few others are Psychology.com, Good Therapy, Network Therapy, TherapySites, TherapistLocator and Theravive.

Health Provider Directories

There are some directories that specialize in health care. Healthgrades, Vitals and Doctor Directory allow health care practitioners to register for free. While they are designed for doctors, these sites often let therapists register their practice. Many people use these directories to find a health care provider. Plus, the more places you are listed, the easier you will be to find online.

Business Directories

Manta  is a business directory that offers a free business listing and a detailed listing for a monthly fee. It is not specifically designed for therapists but I believe it has a good record for bring views to businesses’ profiles. It offers you a detailed profile and shows you statistics of how many people have viewed your profile. You can start out by claiming a profile for free on this website and perhaps move to a paid profile in time. The advantages of a paid profile are that you have a larger listing and are at the top of a search for your business category. I believe Manta is reputable and offers a good service. They also have a great newsletter with many free tips for new businesses. I have gotten a lot of useful information from their website and newsletter.

Other sites that offer free business listings are Google, Bing, and Angie’s ListYext can scan all your listings and find where corrections are needed. You may have used a different address when you started and didn’t change it on all the directories. They have a service where they will correct all of your business listings across many different directories although it is expensive. If you can’t afford their service, you can still use the site to find the most popular directories and submit your information yourself.Or see where correction need to be made.

There are many other websites available that you can claim a free listing on as well. Be cautious though because many of these companies will begin calling you with high pressure sales pitches trying to get you to upgrade your listing to a paid version. Some of them are disreputable companies who only want your money. Any company who calls and asks you to upgrade but doesn’t seem to want to give you time to look at their website before you decide isn’t worth your business. I had one company who I told I wanted to look at the website and do some research first. The salesperson persisted in their pitch so I said I wasn’t interested and then I hung up. The salesperson immediately called me back trying to re-engage me in his pitch. That is a big red flag to stay away from that company. Any company that backs their product will not mind you looking at their website before purchasing any advertising.

Networking

Many referrals can come from online networking. Join several social media sites to advertise your business for free. Start by setting up a Facebook page. When you begin a Facebook page, your first “likes” will mostly come from friends and family. However, word of your page will spread when people who like your page share, like or comment on your posts. You can also create a like exchange with similar pages. Search for other therapists, like their page and post a link to your page asking them to reciprocate. Most people will be willing to do this.

You will also want to start a twitter account. Search for other therapists, follow them and ask them to follow you in return. You never know when a local therapist will have a client who needs help outside their specialty and they will refer them to you. Build relationships with the people you meet through social sites. Talk to them and find out what they specialize in. Offer to refer clients to them if they specialize in areas that you don’t.

Join LinkedIn and begin networking with similar businesses in your area. The same principle applies as with Facebook and Twitter. You want to build relationships and connections to get referrals. You can join groups that are connected to your specialty to meet more people. I joined a group for exchanging likes on Facebook. Anyone who likes my page, gets a like in return. This expands the network of people who see your posts.

Website

Start a website for your practice. Write about yourself and what you specialties are so people who are looking for a therapist with a specific background will feel comfortable reaching out to you. Post some videos that give free advice and tips related to your area of expertise. Write a blog that includes topics that you might cover with your clients. For example, as an addiction counselor, I have written about managing cravings, triggers, writing a recovery plan, going to meetings and many other addiction recovery topics. You want to develop an online presence which will establish you as an expert in your specialty. This will make people feel comfortable trusting you when they need a therapist.

Social Media

You can use social media both to get clients and to get people to your website. Many clients have found me on social media, went to my website and then called for an appointment. People are more familiar with how therapy works today. They don’t want to just go to some stranger their insurance sends them to. They want someone they know they will feel comfortable with. A Facebook page and Twitter account can help people get to know you before they even make an appointment. They can get an idea about what kind of therapy you do and how you think and believe. This helps them know if you will be a good fit for them.