Getting Paid: How Your Email Signature Can Get You More Clients & Referrals & Create a Positive, Professional Image
When therapists talk about how to make their practices more successful, the first thing they want to know is how to get more clients and referrals. Good question, right?
The best answer about how to get the word out about you, your practice, and your work so you can get more paying clients, is to make sure your practice and contact information is clear and readily accessible to potential clients, colleagues, and referral sources whenever they need it. It’s a well-known fact that prospective clients and referral sources will only contact you if they know what your services are and they can easily locate your phone number to call or text you—or your email or social media page to write or message you.
Pre-Covid, when professionals did a lot of face-to-face networking, business cards usually did the job of getting a therapist’s name, services, and contact information in front of people. Online, websites, directory listings, and social media pages did the heavy lifting of providing the therapist’s contact details so people could connect with them and make an appointment.
With just about all professional events happening virtually now, it’s rare for therapists to exchange business cards, flyers, and practice swag—pens, note pads, Post-its—so a clinician’s contact details aren’t always close at hand. Yes, the information is still online for people to look up with Google or another search engine but that takes another few clicks and more time. People are impatient these days.
Think about how many times someone has emailed you or you read an email and wanted to contact the person by phone or text or look at their website or social media and none of that information was available, sometimes not even their last name because their email address didn’t include their full name either. Did you do a search or did you skip it? Most people skip it so these referrals and opportunities are lost.
What can a therapist do today to get their practice information and contact details out and in front of everyone’s eyes so their services are always top of mind and people can easily access the details whenever they have a question, want to connect, send a referral, talk to you about an opportunity or schedule a session?
Here’s where email signatures shine bright today. Email signatures are the savvy clinician’s new secret weapon for convenient online professional networking and practice marketing. Think about it. How many emails are you sending and receiving these days? Each person you write or reply to professionally or in your community has the power to become a referral source or a client—but only if they have the right information about your practice and how to contact you.
Today, the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to disseminate your contact information, let people know about your work, and fill your practice, is to make the most of your email signature. Email signatures are the new business cards. They’re one of the best ways to present you, your services, and your contact information so it’s available whenever needed.
A thoughtfully crafted email signature is a small but powerful marketing tool that makes it easy for people to know more about you and what you offer—and to contact you or refer someone to you. It’s a recurring thing that recipients of your emails see over and over again and that develops trust and recognition.
What contact info needs to be in an email signature so that prospective clients and potential referral sources can contact you or refer someone to you? Email signatures should include all the ways there are to contact you professionally. Here are some examples.
The Basic Email Signature:
Include each of these.
The More Complex Email Signature:
All the above 1-6 plus any of these that your ideal clients, colleagues, and referral sources use and make it easy for them to contact you.
As you can see from the lists above, the information on your email signature can take many different forms. Depending on your target audience and preferred clients, you can also list new services, special offerings, free consultations, event information, specific blog content, awards, professional association positions, etc. Anything that delivers value to colleagues, prospective clients and referral sources, other professionals, community members, and, yes, even friends, neighbors, and relatives, can be embodied in an email signature.
It is absolutely amazing how much value can be put into such a few lines at the end of an email. Crafted with your client, services, and profession in mind, your email signature holds the power to create a positive, professional image, and reinforce and extend your branding and marketing efforts.
An added bonus is that you don’t have to hire a graphic designer or an app developer or a coder to put together your email signature and add it to your email footer. Additionally, there are plenty of excellent templates, generators, and editors to explore, many which are free.
Have some fun exploring other clinician’s email signatures and then crafting your own.
When the vacation or holidays are over, it's time to focus again, and get back to work.
I bet you could use some tips, inspiration, and encouragement to get your networking and marketing going so that you can fill your practice.
So, let’s get right to it!
1. Set Aside Time for Networking and Marketing.
Tip: Track what’s working and then do more of it—repeat what works. Quit what doesn’t work or work well enough.
2. Networking is simply making professional friends and acquaintances.
Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, make yourself targeted opportunities.
When going to a networking event or a lunch or meeting, decide on your networking goals before you arrive: Who do you want to meet and talk with? How many new people do you want to get to know?
Tip: Read How I Came to View Networking Events as Social Meetups
Tip: Make list of 10 contacts you want to meet—people you want to know or be known by in your community. Then find ways to meet and develop mutually beneficial relationships with them.
Tip: Find others who might be in contact with or serving your ideal client from other professions; find allied professionals who serve your client population or ideal client. Get to know them and let them get to know you, the services you offer, and the type of work you do.
3. Marketing is what you do to help clients—and referral sources—find you, and to get clients coming to you instead of you running after them.
Remember that people are not going to look hard to find you or to find out more about you. Make it easy for them.
Tip: Follow the Two Golden Rules of Therapist Marketing:
1.) Make the act of marketing energy producing instead of energy draining;
2.) Only do marketing activities that fit for you, your client population, your type of practice or service—and ALWAYS within legal & ethical guidelines.
Tip: When clients go to your website, directory listing, and social media pages, what they are really looking for is: Who are you? What can you do for me? How can I contact you?
Make sure your content on your website, directory listing, and social media pages addresses that.
Tip: To market effectively, you need to know two things: what you offer and who needs what you offer.
Think about what you want to be known for, the treatment options you want to be known for, and the target populations you want to attract as clients. Share this content in a way that will get it—and you and your practice—noticed and that will help you build your practice.
3. Referrals: Don’t just rely upon clients, friends, colleagues or potential referral sources to automatically know that you welcome their referrals.
It’s up to you to let them know and to educate them about who are good referrals for you and your practice.
Tip: Directly mention that you welcome referrals by using a brief, and thoughtfully scripted, phrase or statement. This can produce significant results for your practice. You can say things like:
Okay, reading time is up. Now it’s time to get out there and increase your visibility in the community so that your new clients can find you when they need you! Happy practice-filling.
If I’ve learned anything from attending networking events and hosting a monthly practice development lunch, it’s what licensed and pre-licensed therapists and related professionals want.
Top of the list are: full practice or good job; work they love; ideal clients; enough money to support themselves, family (this doesn’t have to mean having a partner or children), and practice without struggling too much; a reasonable number of hours along with time away from work for personal and family life, vacation, networking and professional development, as well as for other individual or professional pursuits
Therapists are willing to work hard for all the above—starting with graduate school and continuing through gaining hours for licensure, and post-licensure or certification, then through the accruing of years working, and the maturing of their career.
How can, and do, professionals attain these highly-desired benchmarks while still serving clients, the profession, and the community?
The good news is that it can be done with any type of practice that suits you best: cash pay, insurance, sliding scale, part-time, online, coaching; day, night, weekday or weekend; rent your own office, share, sublet full day or half day or hourly, etc. It’s your choice. In fact, having the successful practice you want depends largely on the practice being suited to you and the clients you work with.
So how do you grow and fill a practice?
Consistent, effective, and ongoing, local networking is the best way to get known in your community and the fastest way to grow a practice and keep it filled.
What is local networking and how does it work? Local networking is one of the most natural ways of interacting with people—and most professionals find this a comfortable way to get known in their community.
Local networking means raising awareness about your services and getting the word out about how you help people and doing this by regularly connecting with everyone you know and keeping them up-to-date with what you’re doing in your practice or career and maybe even inviting them to check out your website, social media, blog, article or podcast.
Local networking means letting those in your community know what you do and how you help people—relatives, friends, neighbors, social and community contacts, colleagues, those at church or temple, people you worked with at previously or were in graduate school with or a placement—don’t forget professors and supervisors.
Each one of these people is a potential referral source for your practice. Find a way to keep in contact with them and to keep them current on you and your practice. Building your contact list, e-mail list, referral sources, and resource list is a long-term project. Start today!
Getting the word out about what you do and the services you offer to the community also involves meeting new people and making new friends as you increase your practice’svisibility and grow your network.
Who you know, those who know you, and those who refer to you are valuable resources for filling your practice with clients who need your services and will pay your fees.
Think about it this way, when people know about your practice, and are familiar with your services, they can find you or refer to you when a therapist with your skills and abilities is needed.
This type of networking is viewed as a community service, so make sure your community knows how you can be of service to them. The more people, businesses, organizations, and professionals in your community who know about the work you do the faster your caseload will fill.
Local networking can take a variety of forms, in person, online, digital or print advertising, talks, blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, and any type of social media or online forum. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you, your practice, client market, available time, and budget. Take your pick. You get to choose. Try things out, then see what works best for you.
Local networking also means becoming familiar with your community and how your potential clients move through it via churches, schools, sports programs and teams, athletic and country clubs, theater arts, colleges, yoga centers, hospitals, libraries, parks and recreation, employee assistance programs, and many others.
Understanding the needs of potential therapy clients in your area and how those needs are being or not being met makes practice building easier.
Since therapists are an important part of every community, it’s important that we be visible so that our clients can find us when they need our services. The therapists I know who have a full enough practice with a consistent influx of clients are those who are known in, and know, their communities and keep up regular contact.
Local networking also includes getting known in your professional community. Joining and attending your professional organization is a great way to get connected with other professionals in your area and to develop and maintain relationships and friendships as well as referral sources for your network.
Through monthly networking events, workshops, member events, newsletter articles, classified advertising, and e-blasts, special interest groups, support groups, and special events, Professional organizations provide many networking opportunities for therapists and related professionals to get known in the community and develop themselves and their relationships.
As you can see, filling your practice with the clients you’re meant to work with requires that you find a way to connect with your community and let them know, on a regular basis, that your practice exists, what services you offer—and how people can go about contacting you when they desire your services.
This success formula for attracting new clients, filling your schedule, earning enough income, and having vacations, consists of raising awareness about your private practice in your community.
So, go ahead, announce your presence to the world and raise community awareness about your private practice. Be sure to keep me posted about your progress. I look forward to hearing about your success — and your vacation!
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
For 10+ years Lynne Azpeitia has helped therapists to live richer and happier lives through her workshops, private practice and career coaching, and her practice consultation groups which train, support, and coach licensed therapists, interns & students how to create and maintain a successful, thriving clinical practice and a profitable career