Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, Addiction Counselors…You Need to Market Your Private Practice Hard, Now!

Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, Addiction Counselors…You Need to Market Your Private Practice Hard, Now!

I am pretty amazed these days, as I read up on the Affordable Care Act, by the level of preparedness of my fellow mental health practitioners for the changes that are coming.  If you have a traditional counseling practice, dependent on insurance billing for most of your income, the insurance companies are about to test the limits of your endurance, because they know the law, and at least in New Hampshire, one company is telling therapists that they can enroll in the new plans for the ACA exchange now, or never get in, which means those who choose not to enroll will be out of network for that plan, and if I can believe my ears, out of network folks after ACA comes online will be making $14.00 per hour.

I understand that even if you are not a medicare provider, that private insurance companies set their rates by what Medicare pays, and Medicare is set to decrease by 2% in 2014, so you can expect fewer $$$ for the same amount of work.  The ACA also moves the field away from fee for service model, and into pay for performance or even capitation,  which means a flat rate paid for all services provided.  Can you imagine a person with a dual diagnosis and you are paid a flat rate for all the services and time necessary.

So what does that mean for mental health folks?  You need to convert your practice to a cash practice now, and marketing will become an extremely important part of your day.

But you already have too little time to market?

And if you are like me when I was practicing, I liked hanging out at my office, and taking care of MY business.

So are social media tools a compromise between too little time to market and the need to have new cash paying clients come in to your office every day?

I believe they are.   In fact, I know they are.  I did a little spontaneous Youtube video of my ex-wife at her office one day, and sent it up to Youtube without any editing and the video is still ranked for our local town and still brings her phone calls.

Imagine what you could do for your business if you had a sequence of Youtube videos of you talking about your specialty, and put them on Youtube, and then shared them to your Google+ account, your Facebook account, and your Twitter account, which you can do from within your Youtube channel.

Then you could sent the link to your local news media folks in the form of a press release, or an invitation to your next speaking engagement.

The video part might take a half hour, the upload and sharing, once every account is set up, and most of them are free, perhaps five minutes, so you can get it all done in perhaps one hour.  (I would recommend not getting too hung up on editing the video, as your market wants to get a feel for the human being in the consulting room).  We have all seen enough slick advertisements.

This is a quick, general overview of a direction your marketing might take one morning very soon.

The insurance companies have already started on the Affordable Care Act, and you need to move now.

You can certainly chat with me about this topic on a Google Hangout, just leave a comment, and I will get right back to you.  Mike

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