42 Transcript

Dr. Jeremy Sharp Transcripts Leave a Comment

[00:00:00] Hey y’all, welcome back to The Testing Psychologist podcast. This is episode 42.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of The Testing Psychologist podcast. It has been quite a while since I have talked to y’all. I think the last episode came out on December 30th. Goodness, that feels like a long time ago. I guess it has only been about three weeks, but good to be back and recording some more episodes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the podcast over the last few weeks and I have some great episodes in the queue I think. Good interviews coming up and have dialed in a few topics through the Facebook group. So I’m excited. It’s great to be back on the podcast today.

Today is a solo [00:01:00] episode. I’m going to be talking with y’all about marketing again.

Now, we’ve talked about marketing two different times on the podcast and had some guests who talked about marketing here on the podcast. John Clarke is the first one that comes to mind. He was just a few episodes back, but marketing, I think is worth revisiting time and time because it’s something that continually comes up and something that people always have questions about. So I wanted to touch back in and do what I would call a marketing roundup.

By a marketing roundup, I mean, I want to run down some of the ways that we can market our practices and touch on some things that might be a little bit more obscure than others, put it all out there here in one episode for y’all to listen to. I have a variety of ideas about how and where to market your practice.

I think this is [00:02:00] timely as the new year gets going. A lot of people are redoing a financial plan or business plan for the upcoming year, setting goals, that kind of thing. And marketing is a big part of that process in gathering referrals for your practice. So, let’s go ahead and dive into some of that.

I’m going to start talking about what I’ll call face-to-face or person-to-person marketing efforts. There are a lot of professions and other folks in our communities that I think we can market to face-to-face or by reaching out and inviting them to meet with us directly. I’ll talk in just a bit about one set of people where it is probably not helpful to try to reach out and meet them face to face, but we’ll save that here for just a little bit later.

In terms of the folks who seem to be easier to meet face to face, there are several folks on that list. The most obvious are other mental health professionals. [00:03:00] It’s easy to go through Psychology Today or whatever local directory you might use, or connect with other people in your community if there’s a community mental health practitioner Facebook group, that can be a great way to identify other practitioners, but that’s a great place to start. 

I always say that it makes a lot of sense to network and connect with therapists who see the kind of clients you would want to be evaluating. It seems like a no-brainer, right? For me, I evaluate kids. I tend to go toward child therapists and adolescent therapists. Other folks, of course, if you’re working with older adults, you might network with people who are doing pain management kind of therapy or relationships, depression, anxiety- adult therapists. It’s pretty straightforward.

The other [00:04:00] mental health practitioners, excuse me, who I tend to meet a lot with our other testing folks. I know that some cities or towns have a little bit more of an air of competition and that’s unfortunate as far as I’m concerned. I think that it’s worth it to go for it; reach out to other testing folks and approach that meeting as if you are trying to build relationships in the community.

There’s sometimes a saturation of folks doing testing in a given community. So there might be a lot of folks to meet with, but that’s all right. In some communities, there might not be very many testing folks. In that case, you can hopefully bond and join together and get on the same page with what it’s like to be doing testing in that [00:05:00] community.

So the idea behind all of this is that eventually, even though it may seem like you’re networking with your competition, one or both of you are going to get full eventually and you’re going to need referral sources. So it really, I think can do nothing but help you to reach out to folks who are also doing testing in your community and try to connect with them.

Now, other folks seem to be good face-to-face marketing people. Psychiatrists tend to do pretty well with face-to-face marketing. They’re also a great referral source for us, for both adults and children. Attorneys, I think are great face-to-face networking sources. They are often not quite as busy as physicians, so you can get face-to-face time with them.

I should back up. When I say face-to-face time, I mean going to coffee, going to [00:06:00] lunch. I think it always makes sense to offer to pay if you’re the one who initiates the interaction. Just to make that clear, I’m not talking about necessarily going to these people’s offices or office hours or whatever, breaking in and trying to meet with them. Sending messages, letting them know what you do, and inviting them out to coffee. I have yet to have someone turn me down for that, at least in our community.

Now, other folks that can do face-to-face marketing. School counselors and school staff I think are great. Again, they can be a little bit busy, but a lot of them at least have a lunch break or would be willing to meet after school. I have found those folks to be great referral sources as well.

Now, one group of individuals who I think are great face-to-face marketing folks are other parents or families. This is something that I teach in my [00:07:00] Private Practice Rocks workshop, which is a workshop I give to grad students here in the community and other professionals too, but it tends to be a lot of grad students. I jump on board with this idea that whether we like it or not, everything that you do in your community is marketing to some degree because everyone is a potential referral source.

What that means is, for those of you who tend to be a little bit more introverted, this is something to keep in mind as you’re out in the community. If you have kids, you’re hanging out at the playground with other parents. If you are spending time with other adults, anyone that you might be spending time with or hanging out with, it seems like the conversation inevitably turns to what people do for work and I think [00:08:00] it’s worth it to get comfortable with talking about what you do and what kind of work you’re performing and find a way to talk about assessment in a way that’s palatable or user friendly for folks out in the community.

I think the other side of that is that you have to keep in mind to some degree that the way you present yourself in the community is going to make a difference in how people see you and how people refer to you. I have been reminded of this many times when I’ve been at a playground with my kids and sometimes it’s around other parents from school, sometimes we’re just out at a random playground or something, and I am always conscious of how I’m interacting with my kids, what people might see me doing and how I talk to them. Not that I’m berating them in private or anything, but [00:09:00] trying to be on your best behavior as much as possible.

This happened to me this past weekend when I had my oldest at a playground. He is a kiddo that I’ve talked about before on the podcast. He is pretty sensitive. He is, I think, a touch anxious and has trouble with emotional regulation sometimes. He’s 6 years old. We’re at the playground. We were playing basketball, playing soccer, whatnot, and he’s just having a rough day. He was crying more frequently than usual, getting upset, and changing the rules of the game. It didn’t feel fair. I was cheating. That kind of stuff. Maybe this sounds familiar to some of you who have kiddos or nephews or nieces or whatever.

Anyway, after a half hour or so of that kind of thing, I was getting a little frustrated. I had taken a break and had walked away from him [00:10:00] and he was following after me and was yelling a little bit and trying to initiate another game. Lo and behold, he sees somebody on the other side of the playground from his school. So he goes on to talk to that kiddo. And soon the kid’s mom comes down to talk to me. We’d been sharing the playground with this family for a while, but it just took him a while to notice that this kid went to his school.

Anyway, this mom comes down and it turns out she is a high school counselor and she works at a school that I have seen a lot of kids from, but we never talked in person. She introduced herself and I said, what’s your last name? That sounds familiar. And she said the same. She’s like, Oh my goodness. I’ve read your reports.

So it was just another reminder that, like it or not, we are visible in the community and [00:11:00] what we do and how we interact with others, it makes a difference.

That was a little bit of a long story just to say that anytime you’re out in the community interacting with anyone, that’s an opportunity to do “marketing”. So, being talkative, being inquisitive, being kind, all of those qualities, even though it’s not explicitly marketing, you’re not trying to make a sale right at that point, it’s still important.

So like I said, if you’re an introvert, you might have to work a little bit to put yourself out there, to approach that group of parents, to break into that group of peers and join the conversation just to put yourself out there.

So, those are the folks that I have found are pretty amenable to face-to-face marketing.

Now the one group of [00:12:00] people who I have found is hard to do face-to-face marketing to are physicians. I think there are ways that you can get in front of them, but generally, when I’m trying to connect with a medical practice, I’m going to go through the referral coordinator more than the actual physicians. Nearly every medical practice of any size will have a referral coordinator. That person is often a mental health professional, like a social worker or a counselor, at least in our community.

You can usually get ahold of that person just by calling the office. So you can call and ask if the referral coordinator is in. If they’re not, you can always leave a message, but if they are, you can get them on the phone, and through that person, you might be able to do any number of things. If they’re the ones that handle all of the referrals, which they usually are, you can say something like, [00:13:00] “Hey, I just wanted to check in with you. I’m a psychologist here in town and I do testing. Not a lot of people do testing. So I just wanted to check with you to see who you’re referring to for testing and if that’s a gap that I might be able to fill?”

I advocate being direct and kind, not pushy, anything like that, but putting it out there and saying, this is what I do. Is that a need that you have? You’ll get varying responses, but that’s a good way to get in the door. If you’re not able to get in touch with the referral coordinator, you can always send a letter to them and then follow up with another phone call a couple of weeks after you send the letter.

Once you get in some contact with the referral coordinator, you might get lucky and they say, yes, that is a gap in our referral sources. We would love to [00:14:00] talk with you more about that. Can you send us more information? And then you’re in the door. Now, if it takes a little while, you might ask that person if they handle the physician meetings or if there’s an office manager who handles the physician meetings.

Often at bigger group physician practices, they’ll do a lunch and learn or a weekly or bimonthly meeting where they all get together and learn about a specific topic or sit down with one another to talk about cases and that kind of thing. I’ve gotten to go down to several lunch and learns with different practices. Sometimes they ask for specific information. 

This big pediatric practice in our area asked if I could bring our entire referral list because they needed therapist referrals, OT referrals, and referrals to different services in the community. So I was [00:15:00] happy to share that with them and we were able to talk about other providers in the community and how to serve people the best we could.

They might ask for something specific like education on a specific topic like anxiety or ADHD or learning disorders or cognitive decline, whatever it might be, and I would leap at those opportunities.

So, like I said, physicians are hard to get in front of, actual face-to-face with the physician, but the referral coordinator is a great way to go. The office manager can also help you out if you ever want to do a lunch and learn. And again, in those instances, be prepared. I would ask on the phone if you get that opportunity to say or to ask rather whether you should buy lunch or whether lunch is provided and just be prepared to buy lunch if you need to do that.

As we move on, I’m going to transition away [00:16:00] from talking about face-to-face or even not face-to-face marketing with people and talk more about well, non-people marketing. This dips into the world of online presence, online marketing, marketing strategy, that kind of thing.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I had John Clarke on the podcast a few episodes ago. John is from Unconditional Media, who is a media company. They specialize in Online advertising and SEO and that sort of thing specifically for therapists. So you can listen to that episode and get a better sense of what I’m talking about here. But just briefly, touch on, I think the online marketing piece is growing more and more important as time goes on. I found online marketing to be particularly helpful in larger cities.

[00:17:00] On the flip side, if you live in a smaller town, I think it can be a lot easier to do face-to-face marketing and build relationships over time. The likelihood is that there are going to be fewer people doing testing. So you might be able to gain some traction a little quicker. I found that with the folks I consult with who live in larger cities, online marketing becomes more and more important. 

When I say online marketing, one of the first things that comes to mind is your website. Your website doesn’t just inherently do marketing on its own, but it forms the bedrock of any marketing effort you might put out there because any marketing effort you do online is going to come back to your website. If you have a website that sucks, you’re not going to probably convert any people who click on your online ads or otherwise find you online.

[00:18:00] So I always go back to that website as a bedrock for your online marketing efforts. What that means is writing your website and designing your website in such a way that it puts testing front and center.

When I do website reviews for my consulting clients, I talk with them a lot about, one, I run into a lot of folks who don’t have testing front and center. And what I mean by that is that if you’re a testing person and you’re trying to put that forward as a primary service in your practice, it should be immediately visible on your homepage, and very clear that that’s something that you do in your practice and something that is a specialty. So that gets into website design, of course, and how you put information out there, but whatever it takes, that’s something that you have to do. You have to put testing front and center so that someone knows within [00:19:00] three seconds of going to your website that you do testing.

The other piece of getting your website in good shape is to make sure that you have a good copy. This is related to the first point that I made that you have to have a… I would have at least one specific page set out for testing services. If you want to do even better, I would separate your testing services into different pages.

So you can have single pages for ADHD testing, autism testing, dementia testing, Alzheimer’s, and learning disorder testing. You can separate all of those into different pages and each of those is going to help you when people come to look for services and testing services. And what that communicates is, Hey, this is something that’s really important. I’ve chosen [00:20:00] to put the time into it to specify all these different types of testing that I do. So making sure the copy is good and that encompasses everything from grammar, punctuation, layout, design, all of that kind of stuff.

There are plenty of people out there who can help you with copywriting on your website. You may even have friends or family who are skilled at that but certainly pay attention to your copy.

Now, the website also gets into branding. I think there’s probably a lot to be said for branding as a testing practice. I’m admittedly not an expert on branding and brand design and that kind of thing. I would love to get someone on the podcast to talk more specifically about that, but what that means is that from your colors to your logo, to your fonts, to your copy.

Everything that you put forward on your website should jive with your [00:21:00] testing services to make sure that everything is consistent. So someone doesn’t come to your website and it says counseling experts or something like that, or EMDR treatment. Those things are great, but you want to make sure that your branding reflects that you’re a testing psychologist as well.

This came up for me in an interesting way in that, I think I’ve mentioned on the podcast that my wife is also a therapist. Her branding for her practice is very different than the branding for our practice. She is more of a spiritual, depth-based counselor. She’s doing I think as far away from the medical models as you could possibly be.

The way that she presents herself on her website is vastly different [00:22:00] than the way that I present our practice, which does go along a little bit more with the medical model and diagnosis and empirically based treatment, things like that. So just pay attention to your branding as well.

The other piece about your website… As I’m talking about all this, I’m like, I need to have a website expert, but these are things I’ve learned over the years from talking with folks who do websites.

One of the other pieces is that you want to make sure that your website guides people in the right direction. I think of it like we have to walk our readers or our website visitors through the behavioral chain that you want them to take so that they will eventually end up calling your practice for an appointment. So what I mean by that is you need to have at least one or two [00:23:00] buttons right on the homepage that says book an appointment now, or call us now, or start your assessment today, something that makes it very clear exactly what that person needs to do if they want to make an appointment, because these days, there’s a lot of research around people spending very little time on webpages, and if they can’t find exactly what they need to do within 3 to 5 seconds then they jump somewhere else. So make sure you have buttons right on your homepage for them to schedule or call, if that’s what you’d like them to do.

Beyond that, there’s a progression, I think of what we generally want our clients to do. Typically, they come to the homepage. We want again, to have it right front and center that testing is a big part of the practice. So then you want them to maybe read a little bit about testing and then maybe click a learn more button. So they go to learn [00:24:00] more. That goes to a specific page just about testing. Maybe it details all the different types of testing you do. Maybe it talks about fees. Maybe it talks about typically who schedules testing what you can get out of testing, and pieces like that.

And then at the bottom of that page or in the middle of that page somewhere, you want to have another button that says Call us now to schedule your appointment, or email us here to ask any questions about testing. So again, it’s walking the person through what they should do on your website to take those steps to schedule an appointment.

There’s a lot to be said on websites. I’m going to stop there. But hopefully, you get the idea that websites are important.

Now, the actual elements of online advertising or marketing are search engine optimization. This is not exactly [00:25:00] marketing, but search engine optimization is the whole process of how you and perhaps your designer, your website person engineer your website so that it is found when people search in Google.

I think a lot of us make the mistake of putting a lot of time and effort into designing the actual look of the website and making it pretty when ultimately I think I would take just a functional, good, clean-looking website over a fancy website with a lot of bells and whistles as long as that clean, functional website can be found in Google.

I talk a lot with people who I consult with about putting money not necessarily into the design so much as the search engine optimization and making sure that your pages are written in a way that Google likes, that your keywords are all set up, and so forth so that when [00:26:00] people search testing for ADHD in Boston, you have a better chance of ranking to that first page of Google.

Again, there’s quite a bit of research around people not moving past the first page. If you’re not on the first page or maybe on the second page, the likelihood is that they’re going to click somewhere else. So that’s search engine optimization.

And then we get into actual paid advertising. Google AdWords is one form of paid advertising. I think it works well for folks who are searching for someone to do testing, especially in larger cities.

AdWords are those ads that pop up at generally the top of a Google search. They’ve made them less obtrusive lately, but if you search for a service in your town, like Plumber Boston or something, you will likely see that there are a [00:27:00] couple listings up at the top of the page that say ad in small font. That’s AdWords.

AdWords is a paid service. Typically, you contract with someone, a professional who’s an AdWords pro who can write the ads for you and make sure that they’re performing correctly. It’s called pay-per-click advertising. The idea is that you write these ads so that individuals who are searching for certain keywords will find your ad when they search on those keywords, and then you pay for every time someone clicks on your ad. Budgeting for this certainly varies. I know a lot of folks who will spend between $200 and $400 a month for AdWords and they have a lot of success with that. AdWords is a [00:28:00] science unto itself.

I can’t remember if I’ve told the story on here about how I lost a lot of money with both AdWords and Facebook ads. This is the downfall of being too independent and thinking I can do everything on my own. I’ve learned a lot over the years.

Back in the beginning, I set up what I thought were pretty good AdWords and Facebook ads, put in my credit card info, and hit submit. Those ads got a lot of clicks and I paid a lot of money. I thought I was doing well until I realized that I didn’t have any idea how to track who was clicking, where they were going, or if they were calling based on that ad or what. So I highly recommend if you’re going to do AdWords, or Facebook ads, which I’ll talk about in a second, [00:29:00] make sure you know what you’re doing or hire someone to do it for you, or you can lose a lot of money pretty quickly.

So, Facebook ads are another paid advertising means. I know that a lot of people do have success with Facebook ads. My sense of Facebook ads though, is that they tend to work a lot better if you already have a pretty visible presence on Facebook for your practice. So maybe you have been building a Facebook business page and you have several likes from, well, this is important, likes from people in the community who are actually potential clients and not just likes from other therapists. I think that a mistake that we make with our business Facebook pages is we can’t solicit reviews, so a lot of people end up getting likes from other therapists, but then other therapists are the only ones that see your content and you ideally would be putting [00:30:00] it out in front of potential clients.

So like I said, I think Facebook ads can work well if you already have a presence and you know how to target individuals who are your target clients. Again, Facebook ads, I think they’re a science unto themselves and there are plenty of people out there who can do them well, but that is another pay-per-click method of online advertising that you could pursue.

So that’s my short little roundup of online advertising. I want to move, at this point, to talk about two other random marketing ideas that aren’t exactly marketing, but they’ve worked pretty well for our practice.

The first one, you’ve heard me talk about, is writing a good report. I’m not going to say much about that because I’ve talked about it a lot but write a good report. Go back, listen to the [00:31:00] episode, I think it was 38 from Dr. Donders about how to write a good report and make it useful because that product is going to live forever in many people’s hands, parents, adults, therapists, pediatricians, physicians, schools, those reports go everywhere. So, make sure you’re editing your reports. They have good content. They’re useful. They’re helpful. They are well punctuated and well proofread. Write a good report.

The other thing that I wanted to mention was following up on referrals with a thank you fax. We put this into place probably 3 years ago, maybe more. And what this is, is, every time I get a referral from anyone, anything besides a self-referral, I ask for that information on the demographic [00:32:00] form, and I also get a release to send a thank you fax to that person. It’s very quick. There is no content to it really at all. It’s just a face sheet or cover sheet for the fax. We have a template and it just goes out to all those referral sources right after the initial interview, and it just says, “Thank you for sending patient’s name to our practice for an assessment. We will be in touch with any important updates and touch base if we need anything from you. We appreciate it.” And that’s it.

That sheet goes out to every single referral source and it has made a huge difference. I’ve heard from so many physicians and other therapists that not many people get in touch. They never hear after they send a referral and that it’s just really nice to have that point of [00:33:00] contact. So that’s one small thing that you can do. It does not take much time at all.

The other thing that I would call indirect marketing is making sure you always touch base with other treating providers. So if you get a referral from a therapist or a physician or a psychiatrist or a neurologist or anyone else in the community, an occupational therapist, speech therapist, tutor, I mean, any of those folks, I always talk with my clients or my parents about who else is working with their kid? Who’s working with their family? Is there anybody else that would be good for me to talk with to get more information for this evaluation? So it goes both ways. It worked well for the parents or the client because they know that you are taking care of them by gathering all these different sources of information. So that’s appreciated.

But then on the flip side, you get to connect [00:34:00] with a very valid reason, again, great for introverts who might not know otherwise how to connect. You get to connect for a very valid reason with all these other folks in the community. The hope, of course, is that through those conversations you might show your knowledge, and come across as a kind, funny, interesting person, whatever adjective you think describes you and your qualities will shine through and people will connect with you. And so there’s that whole thing of getting referrals from people that you know, like, and trust. I think talking with other providers is a great way to facilitate some of that.

That is what I would call my marketing roundup. We’ve talked about a lot of different things today. It was very quick granted, and I think there are a lot of topics that we can [00:35:00] dive into in more detail. But again, here at the beginning of the year, I know a lot of you are probably going through thinking about your business plan, your marketing plan, and what you might want to do differently. I don’t know if that’s a resolution of some sort, but hopefully, you’re able to take some of this info and take a few ideas and think, okay, yeah, I could tweak that a little bit, or I need to add that, or maybe I’ll try this next week. That’s the idea here.

Thank you as always for listening. Like I said, it’s awesome to be back doing the podcast, even though it’s only 2 or 3 weeks away, but I love it. It’s great to see the Facebook community continue to grow. If you’re not a part of the Facebook community, please search for us on Facebook at The Testing Psychologist Community and join our discussion.

Let’s see, coming up like I said, I have some really good interviews coming up [00:36:00] talking about evaluation of sex offenders and forensic evals, talking about testing accommodations for students based on current research. What else? We’re going to be talking about bariatric evals. So, if you do not want to miss any of those, take 15, maybe 30 seconds, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. That’s a great way to make sure that you don’t miss any of the content that comes out in the future.

All right, y’all. Take care. I’m looking out the window. It is super snowy here in Colorado and I am going to be bundling up to head home. So hope you’re all doing well wherever you’re at. Hope it’s warm and we’ll talk to you next time. Bye bye.[00:37:00]

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