A few months ago, Shannon Wilson joined in the conversation on How to Identify Your Ideal Client to Build Your Private Practice. She said . . . .
. . . I am new to private practice (just celebrating a year in a few weeks!) and keep pretty busy as a ‘generalist’ but am also working on developing my niche area in maternal mental health/perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, but am wondering if you might have some advice.
I’m struggling to actually REACH these women.
I have reached out to local OB-Gyn docs, a few family practice physicians, chiropractors, labor and delivery social workers, etc but am finding this to be an incredibly difficult population to reach.
I also run a free postpartum wellness group twice monthly and have advertised that using social media and reaching out to physician’s offices and clinics.
So, I guess my question would be do you have any ideas for getting the word out about a ‘specialization’ area?
I don’t see myself as an expert by any means, but have worked with a significant number of women and have done/am in process of doing some continuing ed to further my knowledge in this area as well.
I think the most important thing though is that I feel so passionate about it and I feel like I’m really working with my ideal client when I do work with these moms!”
At the time, I asked you guys to chime in with your thoughts about her concerns while I gathered some of my own to share.
What I remember is that Shannon already had a very clear picture about who her ideal client was – women dealing with perinatal mental health – so my intent was simply to help juice up her marketing brain.
Here’s some of what I would tell her and what I would tell you if you were in her situation . . . .
Tell Yourself the Truth
Shannon was already doing a lot of things right by reaching out to allied health providers who often deal with the mental health needs of pregnant women.
But, I wanted to back up for a moment . . . to check with her to make sure that “reaching out” meant that she is building relationships with these physicians, chiropractors, and social workers. [ ADD NETWORKING LINK?]
One of the groups that therapists with this specialization often overlook is the hospitals where these clients eventually end up.
If Sharon has been building relationships with these professionals that are specifically perinatal-focused, then they will certainly have connections to their local hospitals.
Use those connections.
Ask for introductions!
Getting Your Practice Found Online
While Shannon stated that she wanted to work with clients with perinatal issues, her website in general and her bio, in particular, didn’t really reflect that interest back then.
At the time, I wondered if she might have some fears (about not attracting clients) and if that, in turn, had led her to put up a generalist’s website online even though she already knew that it was pregnant women and new moms that she was most passionate about working with.
Perhaps some of you have struggled with similar fears . . . ?
What I do know is that it will always serve you (and your clients best) to give yourself permission to tell yourself the truth.
It’s likely that you will stay stuck in this place if you don’t tell you the truth.
And, if Shannon does a reality check and decides that pregnant women really are her ideal clients, then her website – at least the portions that pertain to her – need to reflect that interest in and passion for working with these issues.
(By the way, if you check out Shannon Wilson’s website today, you will see that she has already revised her bio to better reflect her clinical interest in this population.)
Build Your Credibility Online
Because Shannon has such a specific niche and focus, it is possible for her to build her credibility online surprisingly fast.
One way to do that is to add a blog to her website that is focused specifically on this niche.
(If you are new to blogging, I’ll have another round of BlogStart for Therapists starting soon and would love to have you join me!)
Blogging is the best way I know to get people to find your practice online.
Right now, Shannon’s website is not even ranking in the USA on Alexa (meaning that she is not yet getting much traffic to her website).
By creating and curating the best information online about all things perinatal, Shannon’s website and practice can become the go-to place in town for moms that are expecting.
Getting Known in Your Community
And, finally, I checked to see what Shannon might be doing in her own community these days with pregnant women.
Here’s what I found with a quick search online.
- She has spoken to The Corridor Birth Alliance about self-care for the postpartum woman;
- She has taken the initiative to actually connect with her local hospital and has started their first Pregnancy and Postpartum Wellness Support Group;
- Her group practice chose to be one of the sponsors for The Conscious Birth Summit where she also presented a workshop;
- She has been a guest speaker for the International Cesarean Awareness Network of Northeast Iowa; and
- She has been interviewed by The Gazette, her local newspaper, about postpartum concerns.
In other words, she’s been busy!
But, here’s a few other places that moms might show up in Shannon’s own community . . . .
I love her idea of offering a wellness or support group to her ideal clients.
She might also consider also offering her professional services to other support groups and charities in her community like Birth, Baby, & Beyond.
She might also offer to come in as a guest speaker, provide on-site assessments, or even facilitate support services in their spaces rather than in her own space to make it even easier for referral sources and new clients to connect with her.
She might consider partnering with a local chapter of a charity or other businesses that focus on pregnant and new moms like March of Dimes March for Babies, Iowa’s Perinatal Depression Project Beyond the Blues, or Iowa City Doulas.
Lots of Right Ways to Build a Private Practice
See what I mean?
Shannon has lots of right ways to build a private practice focused on perinatal clients!
And, for each potential contact she’ll want to focus and create a year-long strategy for building strong relationships.
Shannon, if you don’t know how to put that marketing plan together and need help with this, give me a shout!
I’ve always got room to work with another highly motivated therapist and I’ll be happy to show you how to put a plan together with the steps necessary to do just that!
And, I’m hoping that you’ll get some more great ideas from everyone else reading this post, too!
[Thanks, Shannon, for letting me use you as a case study!]