Listen. I know email marketing is a completely unglamorous topic. These days people talk about marketing your practice through Instagram, Facebook, and SEO. And those are all GREAT tools. But email marketing really is kind of the mothership of marketing tools, regardless of what kind of business you run. And email marketing for therapists in private practice is no exception!
So what’s the deal with email marketing? What even is email marketing? Isn’t it just a bunch of extra work with no fruit? The truth is, for any business an email list trumps all other forms of marketing when it comes to growing your sales. This applies to us therapists in private practice as well!
In this article, I cover the “why” and some of the “how” of email marketing for therapists in private practice.
Why Email Marketing?
A few months back I did a quick poll on Instagram, and 96 percent of respondents didn’t yet have an email list for their private practice, let alone an email marketing strategy.
Let’s clear something up first: growing your email list is incredibly valuable. It’s far more valuable even than growing your following on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube OWN your followers and can change their algorithms whenever they want. But with email marketing, you own your email list and you can contact them at any point, even if your Instagram totally loses traction.
So if you just take one thing away from this article, let it be this: the best way to reach your target market with your content is through email marketing.
In case you need a little data to drive this point home: on Instagram, each time you post to your page it only gets viewed on average by SIX percent of your followers. That means 94 percent of people who opted to follow you will never see that post. You might have the most fantastic post ever and some of the people who want to see it most will miss it.
In contrast, my email campaigns consistently average over a 40 percent open rate. That’s more than SIX times the percentage of people who see my posts on Instagram! Here’s a little preview of the open rates of my most recent email campaigns:
Email Marketing for Therapists in Private Practice
You might be wondering how email marketing could make a difference for therapists in private practice.
By being in the inbox of your networks of current and past clients as well as people you’re connected with (even friends and family!), you will be top of mind when someone is looking to come to therapy for the first time, return to therapy, or recommend a therapist to a loved one. Being inside people’s inboxes with helpful tools every week helps to build trust and makes you the go-to person people refer to.
How to Launch an Email Marketing Strategy
Okay. So now the seemingly daunting task of starting an email list. (it’s not as daunting as it seems).
1. Pick an Email Service Provider
This is the service that collects email addresses for you and allows you to design and schedule the emails you send to your list. There are many options out there, but I’ve found MailChimp to be super user-friendly, and it’s free to use for up to your first 2,000 subscribers.
2. Create a Freebie
Once you have an email service provider set up, the question is: how do you get people to subscribe? Do NOT add people to the list without their permission. The land of the internet has strict rules about this.
Giving away free & helpful content in exchange for someone’s email is a great incentive for people to sign up. You want your freebie to be relevant to your niche as a therapist. For example, with Private Practice Skills, I’m all about helping people start and grow their private practice. So I have a big freebie of the complete checklist to get started in private practice. I also make smaller freebies such as handouts that I create to accompany blog posts or videos that people may want to download.
If your freebie content is in line with the content you regularly send out to your email list, they are likely to want to open your emails and glean the great content you’re sending to them!
3. Create a Landing Page
How do you make the link between your freebie and getting people on your email list? Landing pages are the ticket. With a tool like MailChimp, you can easily create a landing page. A landing page is a link affiliated with your email service provider that allows them to collect emails.
You can take a look at my own freebie as an example. When you click the link for my freebie, it takes you to a landing page affiliated with MailChimp. (here’s a link to that again so you can find it: Free checklist to start a private practice in counseling). You can even have a landing page without having a website! Just link to it wherever you might be advertising your services, such as through the link in your Instagram bio.
4. Create a welcome email
Once people sign up for your freebie, it’s best if they hear from you right away in their inbox. Create a message that automatically sends when someone signs up for your list. In your message, let people know what to expect from you in their inbox and how often they can expect to hear from you.
5. Find places to market your freebie
This is called a call to action. Put a link to your freebie everywhere: in your blog posts, on social media, on your website, in your email signature.
Make sure the freebie you link to is relevant to the content you’re sharing on a particular post. Otherwise it can start to feel overly sales-ey.
6. Send regular emails
Come up with a routine for how often you contact your email list – whether it be weekly or monthly. A great tip is simply to recap your latest blog posts, instagram posts, or other work you’re putting out into the world.
Make sure the content of your emails is relevant to your niche, and that the same person who might be interested in your first email is also likely to enjoy the content in your 50th email. This is the key to keeping people engaged with your emails, which is the whole idea!
Future pro tip:
If you ever want to expand your avenues of revenue in the future, you now have an ever-growing list of people listening to what you have to offer. If you have an e-book, e-course, workshop, or other items to advertise in the future, you can send a launch campaign to your email list.
Bonus if you give your email list special privileges when you launch a product. Maybe they get access to special discounts or a bonus feature that you’re not offering to everyone else. If your email list can feel like an exclusive club, it will help build trust and engagement.
Ta-da! Now you have what you need to be on your way with email lists. You don’t have to get it perfect to start with. Start small and don’t try to take on too many items at once.
I hope this article sparks interest in using email marketing as a strategy for building your private practice!
Want to stay in the loop with my emails? You can sign up for my emails here! (See what I did there? I sent you to a mailchimp landing page ☺️).
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well!