Copyright 2010 Deah Curry PhD, updated January 2015
Just starting out in private practice, or moving from agency work to be out on your own? Haven’t had to market for clients before and don’t know where to start?
There are 3 tools and services you need to function as a business owner who relies on web presence for attracting clients for one-on-one counseling, coaching, or naturopathic healthcare.
a website that really attracts & converts visitors into clients
your own domain name for website & email
a email address collection & autoresponder system
They are as important to your business as electricity is to your home. And, the nice part about spending for these services is that it’s all tax deductible as a business expense.
1. A Client Attracting Website for Your Practice
It’s a well known fact now that most people who have computers do an internet search first when thinking about needing our services. and in 2015, many are doing that search on their phone or tablet. In addition, many allied professional want to check us out before referring, and want to see our website. If you don’t have one, it’s like announcing to the world that you aren’t ready for prime time.
You don’t have to pay a designer thousands of dollars to have a website. They really aren’t that difficult to create on template-driven webhosts. I now exclusively recommend WIX as the best do it yourself web-builders. If you don't want to build your own website, I can help. Check out my portfolio of websites built for practitioners like you.
2. Your Own Domain Name
Rather than having your website address be something like yahoo.com/TopekaTherapy it really is better to buy just Topeka Therapy.com. It’s more memorable and clear, and looks more professional, like you are serious about your work and the success of your business.
Many webhost / website builder companies will also have domain name registration as part of your package. Some charge more than they should, but many make the whole process very easy. Wix provides the first year of domain name free with a paid website account.
Once you have your domain name, configure your personal email software (such as Outlook) to use a business email address that uses your domain name.
3. An Email Collection & Autoresponder System
To build relationship with potential clients who aren’t yet ready to make appointments and commit to therapy or coaching, you’ll want to be able to provide them with a useful piece of self-help in exchange for collecting their email address. In the beginning before you have more than 50 names on your business email list, you could manage this manually with your personal email program.
Once your list goes beyond 50 names you really will need an account with an email broadcast vendor such as Constant Contact, MailChimp or Aweber. But another great thing about Wix is that you can collect email subscriptions in a data base right in your account, and even send blast emails from your Wix dashboard.
Short information pieces — such as tip sheets — or a series of short articles, these can be delivered by your personal email, but will tend to get blocked from delivery if you send to a group larger than 50.
The best solution is to pre-program an autoresponder to send your self-help tip sheet or special report on request. Constant Contact is the easiest for that and for a slight additional fee you can load your attachment onto their server, then embed a link to it in your broadcast email. Aweber sends actual attachments for no extra cost, and it is much easier to configure than it was just 3 years ago. All broadcast email services provide a sign up box you can install on your website.
Need help with these minor techie things? I have a service that can teach you how to accomplish and manage these basics for yourself. See the Techie Skills Coaching page.