Marketing Activities 
Online Marketing

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Online marketing: a step-by-step guide

Online marketing are words that strike fear into the heart of most people with a new business.

Online marketing is almost impossible to define, because it doesn’t mean just one thing. It’s a term used to describe a whole range of marketing activities, all based around the internet. They include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), email marketing, pay-per-click, directory registration, online advertising....the list goes on. And on.

Don’t panic

Online marketing can seem a bit of a maze. You may be tempted to rush in, going in all sorts of directions, getting hopelessly lost (and spending money in the process).

It’s up to you to decide what online marketing activities you will use to promote your private practice. But we’d like to help you get on the right track.

Here are the KEY things that we think you should be doing, right now:

Get on Google Maps

It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s free - and it works. Most people search for local businesses online. When Google recognises that a local search is being carried out, for example ’psychotherapists in Worcester’, it will bring up results based on a map. These results are placed above the standard search engine results listings.

Go to http://maps.google.com/ and click Put your business on Google Maps. Do it right now.

Tip: as well as Google Maps, you should register your private practice on Yahoo Local, Free Index, and as many free industry-specific directories as you can find. You can read more about this in our article about advertising.

Get listed on industry specific directories

Make sure you’re listed on relevant therapist directories such as the UK Therapy Hub (which is currently being updated, watch this space!). You can check and update your listing, or create a new one. Get started now. You will also find a full list of directories within our members’ only section by logging in here. You can become a member here (it’s free).

Get a website

If you have a business, you should have a website. Whether or not you sell something online, you need to have a presence on the web so that potential clients know you exist. With a good website, you’ll be able to tell people why they should choose your private practice and how they can get in touch. And if you want to be taken seriously, don’t fall into the trap of getting a cheap, poorly designed website. Find out how to get started here.

Tip: SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a vital part of website design if you want to get more visitors. Find out about SEO here.

Get in touch

Email marketing is one of the most effective and affordable ways to promote your private practice and generate referrals. In our opinion, email marketing should be one of the key components of your marketing strategy. Good email marketing is NOT spam. Find out how to connect with clients by email here.

Get social

Social media is the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth. It’s a great way to engage with your target market. If the thought of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook fills you with dread, read our article about social media now. Another way to build your reputation and create awareness is by contributing to forums or discussion groups. By helping others you will demonstrate your expertise and build your brand.

Want some more online marketing ideas?

How about the following...

  • Pay-per-click. PPC advertising (using a service such as Facebook or Google Adwords) can be a great way to attract people to your website, but does require some research first. 
  • Blogging. A blog is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and build your presence online. However, writing blog posts takes time, and building a readership is a slow process.

The most important thing to remember is that not all online marketing activities will be suitable for private practice. Do the four things we have suggested, and you’ll have made a great start.

Take action

  • If you havent yet registered with Google Maps, why not?
  • The same goes for industry specific directories (you’ll find a list in our members only section)
  • Start planning your website by reading our article about getting a great business website
  • Start gathering email lists of existing clients or business contacts - make sure that they have opted in to receive emails from you. Read our article on email marketing for more advice
  • Read more about social media here
  • Make a list of forums and discussion groups where you might be able to demonstrate your expertise. Don’t just list those where the readership are fellow clinicians - what forums might your target market visit?