This week I was asked if I could help with developing a bio for a new psychotherapy practice and deciding where to spend energy developing referral sources.
This post is about the first half of the question: Your professional bio. After you’ve completed this exercise, then, where to spend energy (and time) developing referral sources will become more clear. The second half depends on your bio and your ideal client. I’ll post on possible places to spend energy developing referral sources next time.
Here’s the marketing exercise:
Write a letter of introduction. This is an exercise in brevity and specifics. After you have a written your letter, then you can modify it according to the audience (the agency or person you are sending it to) and use it for the foundation for online sites like Psychology Today and Helppro.com.
It will also help you when you talk to people about your practice (they don’t want the long story – just the bullet list, the elevator speech).
Keep in mind your “ideal” client. For example, mine is an older adult on Medicare dealing with issues of aging. There is a multitude of issues older people are dealing with, making this is a broad enough net, but specific enough that it helps guide where I market myself (and how I screen out clients I don’t resonate with).
The following is a basic structure (use letterhead) you are free to copy. You can modify however makes sense to you, but keep it succinct. Your reader will skim and you may only have their attention for about 9 seconds. No joke, but probably you have a sense of how short our attention spans are.
Dear (so and so),
I am writing to introduce myself and my new private psychotherapy practice in (location).
I provide treatment via (HIPAA Secure online video conferencing and telephone, in-office, assisted living, home) to (adults, minors).
I offer (individual, group, couples, family sessions,…).
My special interests are (eating disorders, issues in aging, LGBTQ, attachment disorders in kids, domestic violence, relationships, caregiver stress,…). (If you use the word ‘trauma’ be specific because it is too broad and you probably don’t love to work with ALL types of trauma)
My experience includes (relevant types of places you’ve worked – but keep it brief e.g. county mental health, trauma medical center, residential substance abuse treatment – OR you can use names of agencies,…).
I have special training in (EMDR, hypnosis, CB,…). (Remember that special training is great and looks good on paper, however, it is not the key to success in treatment or growing your referral base – the relationship is the most important part, so essentially you are selling your unique style, not that you have mastered a specific treatment.)
I accept (list insurance panels you are on, Medicare/Medicaid, cash pay, etc.). (I handle the billing so the client can get the help they need without the stress of reimbursement issues.)
(something that makes you stand out, if it is relevant – when you were licensed, grad school you attended, years of experience doing psychotherapy, insurance panels you are pending a contract with)
I am looking forward to connecting with you about any questions or referrals you have.
- Phone number
- (include a number of business cards according to how you see them distributed by the referral source – don’t send too many. Include a few flyers if you have one, but, again, don’t send too many and don’t worry if you don’t have one.)
While I don’t consider myself a marketing expert, I do know what worked for me and my colleagues who all have full practices. Like me, they turn away referrals consistently.
Writing this letter will help clarify things in our own mind and that will help with every piece of marketing you do.
I hope this helps as you figure things out. Follow my blog by Email so you don’t miss the next post.
I offer a free Q&A Hour to anyone who purchases the A Quick Guide to Starting Private Practice.