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|The Business of Therapy - Page 3|
And by the way, Facebook is one hell of a great way to sell something! In a medium known for impatience and micro attention spans, Facebook users spend an average of 20 minutes on the site per visit. When I learned this, my impatience with the lack of intellectual profundity in my friends' posts faded as my inner marketer began rubbing his hands in glee. Three hundred million people spending 20 minutes at a pop is as good as it gets in terms of online attention.
There are three ways to turn this attention into referrals for your practice:
(1) Your profile page
You can create a business profile separate from (or instead of) a personal profile, and it can include your website, office address, phone number, and list of services. Putting this information on Facebook gives you plenty of searchable keywords within the system—which is important because many people now do all their Internet searches from within Facebook, not from a search engine—and a well-constructed profile will show up in an ordinary Google search also.
(2) A fan page
The second thing you can do is create a fan page on Facebook. I was turned off by the term fan, which sounded cheesily entertainment-oriented and not professional for a therapist. But the reality is that many businesses are now using fan pages as a way to create a miniwebsite right within Facebook. With a fan page listing your practice information and services, you can again be found in a search within Facebook and Google. The main difference? Much less competition on Facebook (so far), since few therapists have created these types of pages.
(3) Pay-per-click ads
The third and most direct way to promote your practice is with pay-per-click ads. I was familiar with this type of ad, having been a Google AdWords user for several years. To my delight, I discovered that Facebook pay-per-click ads are much easier to set up, provide a more precise targeting of potential clients, and tend to be less expensive than Google AdWords. For example, let's say your ideal client is a married woman between the ages of 35 and 55 with a college degree who lives within 10 miles of Chicago. Facebook tells us there are 54,000 women on Facebook who fit this exact profile. We can create an ad promoting our services that will show up only on these women's homepages.
By creating this type of ad, I quickly added 10 referrals a month to my therapy practice, at a cost of only $30 per referral. The ads paid for themselves on the first session, and the rest has been pure profit.
I'm still puzzled about why some of my friends think I care what they had for lunch, but now that I understand privacy settings, I really enjoy going on Facebook for a quick update about what people I know and care about are up to. And with the added bonus of steady referrals to my practice, I'm happy to say that Facebook and I have become friends at last.
Joe Bavonese, Ph.D., is the cofounder and codirector of Uncommon Practices, a training organization that helps psychotherapists create their ideal practice through the study and implementation of business and marketing principles. The group offers consultations and workshops, and develops websites for private practitioners. Contact: email@example.com; http://www.facebook.com/joebavonese. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at letters@psychnetwork er.org, or at www.psychotherapynetwork er.org. Log in and you'll find the comment section on every page of the online Magazine section.