Marketing

How to Increase Your Social Proof : Part 1

February 5, 2022

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I'm Aisha — private practice strategist for mental health therapists looking to ethically blend their clinical skills with entreprenuership without burnout. 

Meet Aisha

What can private practice therapists do to increase their social proof?

In comparison to businesses outside the healthcare industry, when it comes to marketing a private practice, therapists are somewhat limited in how far they can go to attract their ideal client.

Beyond the healthcare industry, entrepreneurs can request testimonials from their clients and place their reviews directly on their website with the clients name and photograph.

However, due to confidentiality expectations, HIPAA laws, and ethical standards, healthcare providers cannot solicit reviews from their clients, let alone feature direct quotes from past or current therapy clients with names and photos.

This leaves therapy practices at a disadvantage as 87% of consumers check out reviews of local businesses online to help them determine their next steps in the purchasing process.

No Testimonials? No Problem!

Some therapists choose to request reviews or testimonials from well-known colleagues that can genuinely speak to their work as a therapist and others choose to request reviews from individuals and organizations that have hired them for professional development trainings, clinical supervision, case consultation, or any other service that is not defined as a clinician-therapy client relationship.

But what about the therapists that have yet to diversify their income streams, build a reliable referral network, are just getting started in private practice or therapists that feel uncomfortable with asking colleagues to provide a review?

There are many ways that you can increase your social proof but there’s one that has the power to not only highlight your skill and expertise as a mental health provider, it also has the potential to exponentially increase your chances of reaching your ideal client population, has deep meaning to your reliable referral network and can open the door to even more lucrative opportunities down the road.

Increase Your Social Proof through HARO

If you were ever curious to know how people acquire the logo banners, like the ones I have featured on this website and within my media kit, most of the time HARO is the culprit.

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a resource that connects journalists and sources from around the world so that media outlets can have an endless supply of validated information to share with their respective audiences.

Reportedly, HARO connects about 75K journalists and bloggers to over 1 Million sources from around the world.

To sign-up as a source through HARO is pretty simple and currently, sources have the opportunity to sign-up for the HARO digest at no cost.

Sources can subscribe to a variety of digests by topic of interest and area of expertise and even select how frequently you’d like to receive the digest throughout the week.

Hurry Up & Wait

Now, when it comes to marketing, you should know that nothing is instantaneous. They don’t call marketing the long-game for nothing. And the same goes for HARO.

You shouldn’t expect that after being featured as a contributor to one source that you’ll become an overnight success, that your practice will be full with ideal clients all of whom pay your full private pay rate, and that people will be lined up around the block to hear your thoughts about the most cutting edge details in the mental health field.

In fact, there’s no guarantee that a HARO submission will turn into a feature at all and here’s why.

Remember, HARO features over 1 Million sources and so the odds of you being selected for a feature are dependent on how you have positioned yourself in the market.

If a journalist was to stumble upon your website, would they be able to determine your niche and ideal client?

If not, they may move on to the next submission.

To make things even more interesting, sometimes you’re completely unaware of who’s publication you’re submitting a contribution to.

That’s right.

Many of the well-known publications intentionally withhold where the contribution will be posted, because they want to feature sources that are passionate and well-versed in the source material, not those who are willing to do “whatever it takes” to align their business, with their polished publication.

These publications aren’t looking for just anyone. They’re looking for sources that not only have a validated specialty aka niche, but they also want a source that will connect with their audience, their ideal client population.

Sound familiar?

No Guarantees

Just like many things in life, there are few guarantees and yet again HARO is no exception.

Let’s imagine that you’ve taken the time to make a short list of all the publications you’d like to be featured in– based on your niche and ideal client population.

Even if you determine your ideal marketing strategy ratio, organize your quarterly content planning sessions, and determine how many HARO contribution requests you’ll submit.

There’s still no guarantee that your contribution will be selected.

Why?

Because you’re not the only one who has something to say about mental health these days. There’s also no telling how much of your contribution they’re going to use. There have been times, where I’ve submitted over 3,000 words, answering pages of questions or spending 45 minutes on the phone with a journalist, all to have just one sentence was selected for a publication.

At first, you may think. WTF, Aisha? I don’t have time for this. I don’t want to dedicate all that time, to come up empty-handed?

I hear you and yet, let’s take a moment to see things from a different angle.

Remember, marketing is not only a long-game, it’s an opportunity to connect, a chance to serve and put people first.

And in my opinion, there’s no such thing as wasted time, when it comes to building relationships.

Take the time to recognize that the journalist that you encountered has the challenging role of sorting through tons of submissions, as well as having to advocate for their piece to be featured at all, let alone include your contribution.

Another thing to keep in mind, especially for written contributions, whatever is not used in the final published piece, can be repurposed for the marketing material that you have complete control over.

Your website, your blog, your podcast, your e-newsletters, your directory profile, and your social media content.

When you’re the making the effort and taking the time to connect with people, it’s not a waste of time. It’s time well spent.

Conclusion

If you’ve ever felt starry-eyed at the idea of being featured in a major publication, keep your sights high. There’s nothing wrong with having aspirations, just keep in mind that there may be many steps to take between where you are now, and where you want to be.

Having reviews and testimonials is one way to go about it, but you can also accomplish your goal of building your Know, Like, and Trust (KLT) Factor by contributing your voice to reputable publications via HARO.

But at the end of the day, the key to having a flourishing private practice is to have a consistent marketing strategy. Your consistency and clear messaging will open so many doors for you, will allow you to connect with your ideal client and help you to fulfil your revenue goals with more ease and less burnout.

Remember, marketing is not only a long-game, it’s an opportunity to connect, a chance to serve and put people first.


Want to learn how to consistently market your private practice? Join the hundreds of therapists that are committed to learning how to ethically blend their clinical skills with entrepreneurship without burning out and subscribe to my weekly newsletter – where you’ll receive transparent and curated guidance and more delivered to your inbox.

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