How To Market YOUR Private Practice

Marketing…. What Works?

by Andrew Harvey

last updated: 21/04/2022

What works, when it comes to marketing private practices? 

That is a good question and one which frequently comes up in discussions with private practitioners.  However, I believe a better question is “What works for you?”.  This is what I seek to explore in my workshops and in my business coaching with counsellors just like you.  I feel it’s really important to recognise and understand how your marketing works for you and your practice.

What Works For You?

It’s a question that can have many answers (thankfully!).  This is because, there are many things that work in Marketing, so it’s possible to find the ones that work for you. When I say work for you, I mean they fit with your ethics, they are within your budget and skillset, they are achievable and sustainable for you, they fit with your practice, and most importantly they bring in clients. 

When we start exploring what might work for you, we start by exploring your strengths as well as looking at  your available resources and opportunities.  Another important avenue to explore is your marketing mindset; your psychological and emotional blocks.  Identifying psychological blocks can open up the whole process for you allowing you to focus on how to do YOUR marketing. 

Why Isn't My Marketing Working?

If marketing is not working, it’s usually because it’s either the wrong type of marketing or the right marketing done ineffectively. For example, online directories can be hugely effective in providing a low maintenance, low cost, regular source of clients.  But for some, the monthly fee yields nothing. To understand why, we need to consider the specifics of the counsellor in question.  A counsellor working mainly with corporate clients or specialising in an older demographic are unlikely to find their ideal clients through online directories.  This would be the wrong format of marketing.  However, even someone who works with a broad range of presenting issues targeting adults and young people may find directories do not work for them if they have not taken the time to create a good profile.  That would be the right type of marketing, but ineffective. 

If your marketing is not working well, take a step back and ask yourself what is working?  it may be that some forms of marketing are working better for you than others.  If you can identify what is working (even just a little), it may be possible to focus on that area.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile investing in some training or coaching to help you improve.

Lets take a closer look at 2 forms of marketing.


As I mentioned above, directories can be an excellent source of low cost, low maintenance referrals.  However, writing a good directory profile is not always easy.  If you are not receiving referrals from your directory, it’s worthwhile taking some time to work on your profile.  Most of the directories have their own guides on how to write good profiles for their platforms.  

Here’s my referral link for Counselling Directory which will give you a free month on the directory

Network Marketing

Receiving referrals from other counsellors is often referred to as network marketing. Think about your current network.  This could be counsellors who are physically close to you and may wish to have details of other counsellors for clients they can’t accommodate.  It could be counsellors who work in a similar field for you and need other counsellors to refer on to.  If you have a niche or a speciality, it’s important that other counsellors are aware of it so they can pass your details on where appropriate.

Ways to increase this form of marketing might include thanking people for the referrals and inviting more; asking other colleagues if they are interested in reciprocal referrals; building a larger network of referrals, maybe by participating in peer groups (or even setting one up).  Who else do you know that might be interested to know that you are open to referrals? Think about related fields, like physiotherapists, chiropractors, beauty therapists or even hairdressers.  Other therapists who work with different client groups and/or modalities? It might be a little uncomfortable to ask for referrals at first.  You could start by saying, “I currently have space for new clients and welcome referrals.  Please feel free to pass my details on.”

Thanks for reading, and by the way, both Linzi and myself are open for referrals.  Linzi works with adults and offers in person sessions at her office in Worcester Park, Surrey and I work with adult clients both online and here in Nottingham and welcome referrals.  We are always happy to have a chat with you if you do to? (see what I did there). 

Leave a Reply