Referrals are the lifeblood of any online or offline counseling practice. You may have already noticed that the biggest challenges to creating an online practice often do not involve technology, legal issues or even reimbursement. The biggest challenge typically is creating a consistent flow of client referrals. My hope is that the illustrations provided here will either work for you or that the principles will help spark other innovative ideas for you.
A Programmatic Approach.
For marketing to be successful, it must be consistent. Even poor marketing methods performed consistently generate results due to market exposure. In the same way, great marketing ideas often flop because they are only performed once, poorly executed or performed inconsistently. A referral program is a step-by-step process by which clients go from the referral source’s recommendation to seeing you on the screen in your online counseling venue. It’s a system for generating client referrals and ensuring that they show for their first appointment. Many great therapists start a private practice and soon go out of business just because they are starved for clients. They didn’t know how to (or didn’t know they needed to) develop a referral program. Lacking local advantages, online practices have an even bigger need for a referral program.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.
Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Innovative Online Counseling Referral Programs (Part 2) article.
Jay Ostrowski is a Telemental health and marketing innovator with www.BehavioralHealthInnovation.com. BHI created www.telementalhealthcomparisons.com to help professionals choose technology. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.
Access TILT Magazine archives: http://issuu.com/onlinetherapyinstitute/docs