Providing online counseling services is one way to expand/grow your small business (i.e., private practice). Once you have reviewed your licensing board rules regarding online counseling (which not only differs by state, by also by the type of license you have), acquired any certification(s) that may be required, and selected your HIPAA compliant online therapy software platform, you are now ready to see clients online. However, questions may arise as to how to generate these potential sources of income. Well, not to worry, here are 3 tips that can help you generate more income and obtain online clients.
TIP #1 ONLINE DIRECTORIES
Getting listed in online directories is a great way to introduce yourself to potential clients. I recommend using directories that are not only nationwide, but are also city or state-specific. Doing so can increase your chances of being viewed. When selecting an online directory, provide information that can help you stand out from others. Also, I recommend choosing a directory that can allow you to post pictures of not only yourself, but also of your office space. A part of selecting and providing your profile on these directories involves marketing tactics. It's not unlike your website. Make sure your profile gives the client a glimpse of you, your approach, and your office. The better a client can get a view of your personality, the more likely they are to select you as their mental health professional! Some examples of online directories include GoodTherapy.org, Therapy Tribe, and Mental Health Match (which is a new directory that is intended for Houston clinicians).
TIP #2 ONLINE PROVIDERS
Getting credentialed with vendors or online provider services is another method or tip for obtaining online clients. This is another way to increase your referrals for online clients and getting credentialed with some online provider services can be helpful. Albeit, the reimbursement rates are low with many of them, others are linked with insurance companies so reimbursement is relatively the same or slightly lower than if you were to see the client in person. And some allow you to set your own fees. They vary, but it is worth perusing to discover which one may be a good fit for you. Some examples include MDLive, AMWell, and Open Path Collective.
TIP #3 WEBSITE PROMOTION
Your website is also another way to obtain online clients. If you have not done so, create a separate page on your website that is entitled "Online Counseling". On that page, not only can you put information concerning the pros/cons of online counseling, who it is best for, and important parameters (like confidentiality limitations), you can also provide a unique link or sign up form to request online counseling. To make it even more attractive, perhaps you could do a video on your website introducing them to what they can expect to experience during an online counseling session. Furthermore, writing blog articles, or providing resources on the benefits of online counseling that is objective and not subjective can also enhance the likelihood of getting online clients (i.e., links to articles that tout the benefits of online counseling).
TIP #4 WALL OF IDEAS
Creativity also helps. Create your own "wall of ideas". I use a variety of HIPAA-Compliant Online Software Platforms, one of which is VSEE, although I prefer Clocktree and now Regroup. There is an option on my website for potential clients to request an appointment. When responding, confidentially of course, my signature line actually has a link to VSEE. Potential clients and clients that receive their confirmation of their first appointment via secure email will see this link and a few of them actually sign up. So adding that little feature to my signature line has netted me at least 15% increase in online clients. Another creative option is to put the information on your business cards and when attending networking events, or even when you conduct your intake with your clients, give them your business cards. You'd be surprised how many referrals you may receive from your clients or business colleagues that desire online counseling. And don't forget social media! Advertise on your FB page, and maybe even take out a FB ad to reach more people. Post your online services on Twitter and Instagram as well. Display pictures of your office, put a link to your website for more information (on twitter) or even post a video describing what a client can expect and give them a lived experience of online counseling!
And there you have it! 4 tips on generating online client referrals.
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Also, for more information on how to do this, I will be conducting a free webinar from my Masterclass Webinar Series on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 from 7-8:30 PM CDT. Get one FREE hour of CEUs for Texas LPCs, LMFTs, and LCSWs. Select this link more information and to register.
And finally, if you want to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me to discuss this and other ways I can help you Act Like a Therapist, Think Like an Entrepreneur, schedule an appointment today!