Whether you’re a speech therapist just starting a new private practice or an experienced veteran business owner, patients are the lifeblood of your success. Getting new clients and keeping your current clients is essential to your long-term growth. In this blog, we will outline 10 ways to find private speech therapy clients.
Here’s the problem: Traditional marketing practices aren’t going to cut it anymore. The vast majority (97%) of consumers go online to find local services, 75% of patients rely on search engines to find a a health professional, and 89% use search engines to solve healthcare queries. In addition, 72% of patients look at reviews first when looking for a new doctor or speech therapist.
In this guide, we are going to talk about marketing for speech therapists in private practice. We will walk through 11 strategies to get new patients and grow your private speech therapy practice. These strategies are in no way “hacks” or “shortcuts.” They require hard work, dedication, and timeliness.
Without further ado, let’s review our top speech therapy marketing strategies to help you get new clients for your practice!
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Introduction to Internet Marketing
With the vast competition speech therapists face to get new patients, your private practice needs a comprehensive marketing strategy to get found by patients, find new patients, and retain your current patients.
We understand how hard it is to find valuable information for marketing your private practice. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide with the very best marketing strategies for speech therapists that can take your practice to the next level. This plan can be implemented whether you’re a speech therapist with a new practice or a speech therapist with a more established practice.
Growing your private practice is one of the hardest things about being an independent speech therapist. Your patients likely won’t need your services forever, so it’s important to have a strategy in place to get a steady stream of new patients.
Here’s the problem for many speech therapists: Traditional marketing tactics are costly and aren’t as effective as they once were. Gone are the days of opening the Yellow Pages to search for a local business.
Why Internet Marketing for Speech Therapists?
If you’re not getting patients online, your competitors are taking them from you.
Here are some statistics to think about:
- 97% of all consumers go online to find a local business (BrightLocal)
- 93% of all online experiences start on a search engine (SearchEngineJournal)
- 63% of consumers primarily use a company’s website to find and engage with businesses (Local Search Association)
- 30% of consumers won’t consider a business without a website (SearchEngineLand)
But here’s the good news: Through sifting through data for years, we’ve created strategies that actually work to get quality new patients for your practice. Let’s jump in to the meat and potatoes, marketing strategies for therapists!
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Page
There are two main areas new patients can find your practice. The first area is one of the easiest to set up. It will however, take a considerable amount of time to optimize, but it is well worth the investment. This strategy packs a HUGE punch by allowing your business to be found in Google maps and maps at the top of search.
The maps found at the top of search are called Google’s Local Pack and it attracts approximately 32% of clicks by users of Google locally, according Brightlocal.com.
So now that we’ve explained how important Google Maps are for your business, if you haven’t already, claim your Google My Business page for free: https://www.google.com/business/
The first step in optimizing your Google My Business is by completely fill out the following:
- Your Categories
- Your Main Phone Number
- Your Business’ Description
- Your Hours of Operation
- Your Business’ Address
- Get Reviews from Your Patients (we will discuss this more in detail below)
Now, if you were the only speech therapist in town we could stop right there. But because you’re competing against many (in some cases a multitude) of speech therapists in your city, it is critical to find ways for your Google My Business listing to rise above your competitors.
The next step we recommend is to make sure your business is listed on the major NAP citation sites. NAP stands for “Name Address Phone.” There are thousands of citation sites, but not all bring the same value. Getting a business page on Facebook and other social media sites are great places to include your practice’s name, address, and phone number consistently across the web. Consistency is key, you don’t want to confuse Google by listing different NAPs on different sites. In section 6 we will highlight a few directories you should consider being a part of.
The final step is to link your Google My Business profile to your address on your website.
2. Build a Professional Website
When you purchased or built your practice, did you invest in the interior of your facility? Of course you did! You invested in a high quality waiting room, and a room that makes your patients feel at ease when they speak with you. First impressions make a big difference.
Your website is like your interior, and patients WILL absolutely judge it on how it looks and functions. In fact, 75% of people have judged a company’s credibility based on its website design.
Need some ideas to make your website the best it can be? Here are some elements that you should consider:
- Online scheduling
- Services listed on separate pages
- Messaging capabilities so that potential patients can reach out to you with questions or concerns
- A profile for each team member
- Content that helps educate your patients
But having these elements and capabilities aren’t the only task you’ll need to have a successful website to attract new patients. You’ll need to:
Make your website fast – Patients that must wait for more than 3 seconds hit the back button almost 50% of the time.
Make it secure – It’s a no brainer for speech therapists (and anyone else in the medical field) to provide security on their website
Make it mobile friendly – With more than 50% of all searches happening on mobile, and (according to Think with Google) 77% of all smartphone owners having used their smartphones to find local health services in the past 6 months, building a website that is mobile friendly is a must.
Optimize it for SEO – The best speech therapy websites are coded in a way that allows search engines to find, crawl, and index (or list) your site in their search results. Your website and your SEO strategy go hand-in-hand. Without a website that is properly optimized for SEO, your SEO will STRUGGLE mightily. We will touch on SEO in the next 3 sections.
Make sure it has Schema Markup – Schema markup makes it easier for search engines to find important information on your site. For example, you can markup your physical address.
3. Research Your Competitors’ Keyword Strategy
You don’t need to recreate the wheel when it comes to starting your SEO strategy. In this section, we are going to review how your speech therapy practice can create a winning SEO strategy in your local city. For the purpose of this whitepaper, we will reference a free tool that you can use, Google Ads Keyword Planner.
Finding Competitor Keywords
Finding the keywords your fellow speech therapists’ websites are ranked for is a great place to start your keyword research. The goal here is 2-fold:
- Find keywords your customers are searching for so that you can incorporate them in your website strategy (more on that in the next section)
- Find keywords your top competitors are ranking for so that you have an idea how they are getting their organic leads (leads from Google)
To access Google Ads, a free tool, go here: https://ads.google.com/home/. You’ll need to sign up for an account here. You should use the same email you used for your Google My Business location.
Once you’ve signed up for your free account, Click on the Google Ads Keyword Planner (which can be found in your Google Ads account by clicking on the wrench at the top right, then clicking on the “keyword planner” link on the far left column), you’ll arrive on a screen with 2 boxes. To find keywords your top competitors are ranking for, you’ll want to click on the left box titled “Discover New Keywords.”
Here you can enter your top ~10 competitors. We urge you not to arbitrarily enter 10 websites. Rather, search on Google for “(city name) + speech therapist”. Your competitors that are listed here in the search results (not the maps) will give you a good idea of the ‘best’ SEO websites in your city.
Once you have these 10 speech therapist sites entered, click “get started.” You should see a bunch of keywords that these speech therapists rank for.
Download this list into an Excel sheet. You can do this by clicking the blue link at the top right “Download Keyword Ideas.”
In this sheet, you’ll find all sorts of gems for your business. Take some time to review these in Excel. We recommend lumping similar keywords together. And just like that, you now have hundreds or even thousands of keywords your top competitors are ranking for.
Getting Additional Keywords That Your Patients Search For
While the above strategy for finding your competitors’ keywords is fantastic, you may want to find even more keywords to use in your SEO strategy. To do that, go back to the Google Ads Keyword Planner screen we used above with the 2 boxes. Choose the same box “Discover New Keywords.” This time, instead of using your competitors’ URLs, use 10 broad keywords that define your business. For instance, you can use “Speech Therapist” “Aphasia Treatment” and so on. After you have your 10 keywords listed, press “Get Started.”
At the top left under the Google Ads logo, find where it says “locations” and click on this section. Find your city and click save. Usually, this strategy will generate over 1000 keyword ideas (sometimes up to 10,000 keywords or more). These are actual search queries that your customers are making for specific keywords IN YOUR CITY! It will look like this once you’ve filtered the results:
Export this list again and add it to a separate Excel tab. You can also combine this data with the competitor keyword data, and deduplicate the duplicates using Excel tools. We like to keep this data separate too just so be able to look at the data several different ways.
With these 2 strategies, you should be well on your way to understanding what your customers are searching on Google. But you may be asking, “How do I rank for these keywords?” Well, you need to beat out your competition! To do so, you need to build a website that not only looks good, but targets some of the most important keywords for your business. You also need to Create a content strategy that adds additional keywords to your strategy. Then you need to get more quality backlinks than your competitors. This is the oversimplified answer, but we will touch on several of these in the next sections.
4. Optimize Your Website for SEO
Building a website that looks good is only half the battle. Make sure that you’re using a website company that has a thorough understanding of SEO. We run into clients often who have had a website built but once they are ready to start doing SEO, their foundation is not built correctly and not optimized at all. This requires additional time and resources to fix.
So let’s talk a little about how to optimize a website for SEO. After we know the keywords we want to rank for, creating a structure is vital. We typically follow the mantra “1 main keyword per page.” So for example, if you’re trying to rank for “Aphasia Treatment”, you should have a dedicated service page for it. You can include variations of this keyword such as “Aphasia Therapy.” Once you have your keywords categorized with 1 main keyword chosen per page, now you need to write content for each page.
Some important on-page SEO factors to implement
Here are some important on-page SEO factors therapists must incorporate on their website:
- Your URL permalink should contain the main keyword. Ex: www.yourwebsite.com/services/aphasia-treatment/
- Your H1 (main title) should include the main keyword
- You should only have 1 H1 title
- Your H2 (subtitles) should be ideas that fall under your H1. An example H2 for your “cognitive behavioral therapy” H1 could be “What is Aphasia Treatment?”
- Your content length should be at least 500 words. Typically, the more thorough the better
- Your Metatitle should include the main keyword
- Your Metadescription should include variations of the keyword
- You should naturally include your keyword and other keywords similar to your keyword in your copy. DO NOT KEYWORD STUFF (meaning, don’t try to just list out a bunch of relevant keywords.
- Make your copy as natural as possible
- Use “alt tags” on your images on the page
There are many more guidelines to follow but these are some of the foundational ones. To recap, if you have 30 main services, you should have 30 service pages. Your home page should target your most important keyword(s). If you’re a speech therapist in Charlotte, you should probably target “Charlotte speech therapist” or similar.
But what to do with all of those other keywords we found that could help our business? In section 6, we will discuss how you can create additional pages (in blog form) to add keywords to your strategy so that you can be found more.
5. Start a Blog
As mentioned above, starting a blog is strongly encouraged if you’re looking to rise above your competitors locally. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. The more keywords you rank for, the more opportunities your clients can find you in your city.
Why Blogging is Important for Speech Therapists
Let’s discuss a few reasons why blogging is important for Speech Therapists:
- Creating a blogging strategy passes link power to your service pages – Your blogs are a great place to answer common questions your customers may have, or to discuss in detail your knowledge with the public. Combined with backlinks, your blogs can begin to rank highly. We recommend to strategically link certain words in your blogs to specific service pages you may have. For example, if you mention the words “Aphasia Treatment” add a link on top of those words and use your Aphasia Treatment page as the destination.
- Creating a blogging strategy showcases your expertise
- Creating a blogging strategy connects your business to your customers
- Creating a blogging strategy tells Google that your site is all about speech therapy
In addition to the above steps of creating a strategic website and optimizing it with the right keywords, a blog strategy can greatly help your practice get found in search results. We highly recommend that your produce at least 1 to 4 blogs each month.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of search results + your website strategy, the next section will discuss the importance of directories and which ones you should consider creating a profile for.
6. Get Listed in Relevant Speech Therapist Directories
In addition to optimizing your Google My Business listing, getting listed in directories is one of the most important things you can do to rank on Google Maps.
Aside from the hundreds (or even thousands) of traditional directories your business could be a part of, here are some top Speech Therapy directories we recommend:
- Our directory is also completely free to join!
While the paid directories will certainly help your Google My Business listing rank and may get you a few new patients, it probably won’t make sense to pay for all of the directories on this list. However, you can still take advantage of the free listings listed above! As mentioned, there are hundreds, even thousands more additional citations your practice can be listed on.
7. Connect With Your Customers On Social Media
Social media can be a fantastic tool to reach your customers and bring a personal touch many other marketing strategies can’t achieve. We’d recommend posting content at least 3 times a week on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Facebook will allow you to post links, so posting your blogs is a great way to provide valuable, authentic information to your clients. It will also help your SEO strategies by sending “social signals” when your clientele like and share your posts.
You can also experiment with a variety of post types including: Questions, videos, blog posts, FAQs, and much more.
8. Advertise on Google Ads
While SEO is an amazing marketing strategy to implement, it does take time and a lot of effort to work effectively. You can use Google Advertising to compliment your SEO efforts in the near term while you build out your SEO strategies. We warn you that advertising is not an easy game to play, and it can be costly to optimize your campaigns.
If you choose to go into Google Ads, you can use some of the valuable keywords we’ve already discovered in this whitepaper.
9. Ask Patients For Reviews
While getting found via SEO, Advertising, and Social Media is a big part of our speech therapists’ marketing strategies, having positive reviews is vital to clients choosing your practice. We recommend that you create an internal strategy on your team to ask for reviews from your patients on Google or Yelp to start. It’s important that your clients give your practice 4 and 5 star reviews. If an unhappy customer happens to rank you low (1 to 3 stars), be sure to respond as professionally as possible stating that you are sorry for their experience and ask them to call you personally to discuss why and how their experience could have been better.
Note: Many speech therapist professionals have told us that asking for reviews is potentially unethical. We’d recommend creating the mechanisms on your website to encourage reviews while not asking directly. You can also ask colleagues you’ve worked with to provide you with honest and true reviews about your professionalism and expertise.
10. Create An Email Marketing Strategy
An email marketing strategy can be helpful to your business in many ways. According to medcitynews.com, over 90% of adults want better email communication from their doctor, and similarly their speech therapist.
Here are a few valuable email strategies you can take advantage of:
- Friend referral emails with an incentive to do so
- New products / services
- Tips that benefit your patients
- Appointment reminders
- Latest speech therapy news
- Blog promotions
- Monthly update email
Final Note on Marketing for Speech Therapists
Having seen the power of marketing for many speech therapy professionals, we are confident that the above strategies can grow your practice if you use them over a period of time (6 to 12 months consistently, at least).
To build a strong SEO strategy that allows your clients to find your practice and sign up for appointments with you, you’ll need a strong, optimized website that tracks important analytics. The copywriting on your site needs to reflect all of that hard research you’ve performed.
Thank you for reading our post on the 10 Ways to Find Private Speech Therapy Clients: A Digital Marketing Guide. SpeechTherapyByPro is an online speech therapy directory that connects speech therapy pros with clients in need. If you’re a speech therapist, you can Join our community and add your practice listing here. We have assessments, practice forms, and worksheet templates speech therapy professionals can use to streamline their practice. View all of our speech therapy worksheets here.
View all of our Speech Therapy Practice Forms