Check out Samara's interview with Kelly Hidgon of ZynnyMe.
We had a great conversation about Branding for Private Practice Owners.
Click here to listen now.
Every day, I see mental health entrepreneurs who are struggling to find their place in the world of private practice. Folks that are not really sure what to do, to attract ideal clients in an endless sea of Psychology Today profiles.
I have been looking closely at the huge difference Branding can make when it comes to building your practice. When done properly it IS the one thing that can help you grow a practice that you love in a way that feels natural to who you are.
Oddly enough, most mental health entrepreneurs don’t ever even think about Branding. As a matter of fact, we are often not crystal clear on what branding is. Even if we have a vague idea of what branding might be, we tend to overlook the importance of branding, by putting it off or avoiding it altogether.
But I have witnessed first hand the transformative and powerful impact branding can have on our businesses and private practices when we approach it the right way.
Usually, when it comes to branding, we begin to look OUTSIDE of ourselves through competition and comparison trying to find what works…instead of looking INSIDE to define our brands for ourselves.
Focusing on the “competition”, surveying the landscape in our field to see who is out there doing something similar to what we are doing. Where does that really get us? When we find someone that shares our niche, is nearby in location or has a similar personality, we look even closer to see what they are doing…so we can try to compete. This approach can lead us to an unhealthy and unproductive rut.
Being overly focused on what other people are doing and trying to find a way to outwork them doesn’t give you any time and creativity to work on building what is unique to you. When you are running the Competition Program, thoughts of what others are doing continue to linger in the back of your mind. Instead of creating something that works for you, you keep referring to what others are doing.
Competing is the first step on a slippery slope to what I know for sure to be the most dangerous way to approach your business. Once you develop a tendency to look at others who are doing what you’re doing in your industry/niche…the next natural thought is to compare.
Comparison is the thief of joy, confidence and creativity. It really never helps us grow. We waste precious time and energy comparing ourselves to someone else and try to find ways to compete with them to feel successful.
If your focus is “comparison,” then instead of focusing on who you are and what you bring to the table, you’re only viewing yourself through the lens of what others are doing. You’re looking to them for ideas of what works, and often walk away feeling “less than” because in your mind, you haven’t measured up.
I say that it’s finally time to shift our focus!
Stop looking at the competition because there is no one like you, no one who can do the work like you! These mindsets don’t build confidence, help you become stronger, or grow in the ways you need to grow as an entrepreneur.
But you know what does?
That’s right, contrast.
What makes you different?
How do you stand out?
This is how you will find the contrast you need to spotlight as you develop your brand.
As you’re trying to figure out this whole branding thing, ask yourself the following questions:
With contrast…clarity and confidence follows.
Building your brand to stand out from everyone else is crucial, but it’s hard to achieve this by yourself. To learn more about how contrast can make a huge difference in your business, and get rolling on creating your business’s unique brand, then check out today!
Have you ever seen a Psychology Today profile that felt like this?
Or maybe read an About Page that left you not really knowing anything “about” the person?
Too many private practices suffer from a lack of clarity and confidence when it comes to connecting with their ideal client. I have seen this happen for so many different reasons.
They feel the need to lead with credentials…not realizing that what really draws clients in to working with us just feeling that that they can trust us to help them solve their problems.
They feel the need to be “professional”…when what people want is some that has expertise and credibility, but is also human and relatable.
They feel the need to cast a super wide net so they don’t limit any potential clients from coming their way…but when you have 50 areas of expertise you really don’t have any. When you are trying to connect with everybody, you end up not really connecting with anyone.
All of the situations above lead to what I call “The Bland Brand” a distant, disengaged professional persona that prioritizes credentials over connection. The Bland Brand is one where we have diluted our unique niche, by flooding it with every possible area of focus out there.
If this resonates with you, I want you to know it’s not your fault.
We have not been taught much of anything in the area of business…and we certainly have not learned anything about marketing or branding.
Most of us aren’t really even clear on the difference between the two.
If that’s you, check out the resources at www.bebrandconfident.com that can help you get clear on your Unique Niche and build a brand that truly suits you and your practice.
Ahhh… a full practice!
Imagine that… the phone is pleasantly ringing with ideal clients wanting to work with you. You are in demand and your colleagues refer to you often.You are even being invited to consult on other projects outside your private practice. This is what most private practice owners want.
But the path to getting there is where a lot of mental health professionals struggle.
When your practice isn’t thriving, what should you do?? Seems like the next logical step is to turn your attention to marketing..working with Psychology Today, local referral sources and of course doctors offices to create a steady stream in incoming clients.
Sounds logical, right?
Over the years in mentoring people that are building private practices…I have found there is a huge missing piece that can make or break even the best of marketing efforts.
That missing piece is Branding!
Oddly enough, most folks never think about branding and if they do…it’s smooshed together with marketing as if the two are exactly the same thing. Others think of branding as the logo, colors and business cards that a designer creates in a vacuum. Yes, logos and websites are a part of branding, but these things are more the end result than the sum total of the work.
This gap in our thinking is why many mental health professionals struggle to create effective marketing strategies for their businesses.
WHAT IS BRANDING ANYWAY
Branding is actually the thought process that goes into how you are going to represent yourself in your business. It’s where you get crystal clear on what makes you unique and the reason why you want to do this work, so you can communicate with clarity and confidence when you are out there marketing your practice.
Branding is where you do the inner work of being intentional about what you want people to know and understand about you and the work you do.
YOU ALREADY HAVE A BRAND
Before you start feeling overwhelmed and stressed…thinking you have to find this elusive brand. I want you to relax and know…YOU already have a brand.
Your brand is how you show up in the world right now. It’s who you already are…who your clients and colleagues already know you to be. The work of branding is just the intentional process of turning up the volume of who you are and the work you do so that it allows you to connect with your ideal clients. It’s guiding you in selecting colors, fonts and images that truly express who you are so people can identify easily what you do.
BRANDING SETS YOU UP FOR MARKETING SUCCESS
Once you have done the work of getting clear about your brand and making key choices on how you want to show up professionally, it gets so much easier to get better results from your marketing efforts. When done properly, branding allows you to clearly and confidently communicate to your ideal clients and referral sources in layers. Everything from what they see, what you say and how they experience you is consistent and builds the trust that is so central to drawing in the clients you need to fill your practice.
Visibility doesn’t help you if your message isn’t clear. The first step to a practice full of your ideal clients is the behind the scenes work of branding.
If this resonates with you and you are ready to get the clarity and confidence you need to connect with your ideal clients, check out Becoming Brand Confident, it's the perfect place to start on your journey.