The prospect of relocating to a new city can evoke all kinds of different emotions. Whether you are contemplating moving your current practice to a different city or starting a second (or third, fourth, fifth, etc.) private therapy practice in a new location, this post delves into both scenarios, specifically addressing the marketing considerations for your practice. Keep reading to learn what you need to do when building a private therapy practice in a new city.
Which situation applies to you? Jump to a section:
Want in-depth information on starting a new private practice? Be sure to read our starting a private practice checklist.
Option 1: Moving Your Therapy Practice to a New City
If you own an existing practice and are moving it to a new city, this section is for you. Let’s dive into the things you should be doing from a marketing perspective:
Marketing for a Therapy Practice Moving to a New City
This section of this resource is dedicated to mental health professionals who have an existing practice but are moving it to a new city. Let’s dive in!
Update Your Google Business Location
When you move your practice to a new city, it’s critical to set yourself up for success. One of the best strategies a therapist can have is SEO, or search engine optimization. This strategy allows your practice to be found in search engines on the maps and in the text results.
To be found on Google Maps, it’s important to create a Google My Business if you don’t have one, or update your location. We highly recommend using a physical location rather than using a service area.
Here is how you can create a Google Business Location if you don’t have one:
While it takes a considerable amount of time to optimize and climb to the top, 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 clients (we will discuss this more in detail below)
Now, if you were the only mental health professional in town we could stop right there. But because you’re competing against many (in some cases a multitude) of mental health professional 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 7 we will review more than 40 top mental health professional 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. You can also add a map to your website by embedding it.
Update Your Website
After you’ve updated your Google My Business page, it’s time to update your website. We’ve put together a guide you can use to build your best therapist website strategy here. Not sure if you need a new website? Read our guide on 10 signs it’s time for a new therapist website.
So what needs to be updated on your website anyway? Let’s review the bare minimum:
- All mentions of your location should be changed to your new city
- All service pages should mention your new city
Another question to ask yourself is “Were clients finding my private practice in my old city?” If you were receiving a steady stream of new clients contacting you via Google, then the answer is probably yes. However, if not, it’s time to build a marketing strategy to get new clients. We highly recommend SEO, or search engine optimization, for therapists to grow their practice organically and long-term.
Update All Listings of Your Private Practice Online
The next step to moving your private practice to a new city is to update all external website listings, or citations, to reflect your new address and phone if applicable. An example of a citation is psychologytoday.com
We typically build hundreds or even thousands of citations across the web for our clients. To get your map listing found and receive calls monthly from potential clients needing your services, building citations are a necessary step. Your citations should exactly match the business name, address, and phone number you used for your Google My Business.
Reach Out to Clients In Your Old City for Virtual Sessions
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, virtual is a required part of our world now more than ever. There are many different ways you can have teletherapy sessions with clients, so if legally allowed to do so, you should try to reach out to clients in your old city to do virtual sessions with.
Option 2: Expanding Your Therapy Practice in a New City
Now that we’ve discussed moving your private therapy practice to a new city, let’s review the option of expanding your private practice beyond your current city to a new city. This is a great way to expand your practice to an entirely new market. We have worked with group therapy practices who expand to multiple cities, and it’s a great way to grow. But to grow, you’ll need to understand some key marketing tactics required. Let’s dive in:
Marketing a 2nd Therapy Practice Location in a New City
For private therapy practice owners looking to add more locations to new cities, I will review what you’ll need to do from a marketing perspective.
Make Changes to Your Website
When you’re at the point of expanding to new cities, you need to rethink your website strategy. No longer are you only serving clients in 1 location, but multiple.
I’d recommend the following:
- Add pages for each city, including your original city. For example: “sunshinetherapy.com/locations/dallas-tx” and make sure each page lists a summary of your practice, services you offer, and other important items. If you have 20 locations, you should have 20 city pages
- Create pages for each therapists, if you haven’t already
- Make sure you link your city pages on all your service pages
- Add your locations in your footer
Add a New Google Business Location
When you’re adding multiple locations, you should create multiple Google Business locations.
I’d recommend the following:
- Keep the same name as your original location. If your practice’s name is “Sunshine Therapy”, your business name on location 1 should be “Sunshine Therapy” and your business name on location 2 should be “Sunshine Therapy.”
- You should have a new phone number for your new location, and ideally it should be a local number.
- You can add your location page as the website page. For example, if you’re building a new city page in Dallas, Texas, you can link your website’s page “sunshinetherapy.com/locations/dallas-tx” to your new Google Business listing.
- Create a new listing for each therapist you have working for you, use their name only. You can add their page on your website to their profile, as well as the location phone number to their profile.
- Repeat this same process for more locations and therapists
Build New Citations Across the Web
For each location you have, you should create citations across the web for each location. A citation is a mention of a location on the web, such as creating a new therapy listing on TherapyByPro that includes your Name, Address, and Phone. This can be a very tedious process but if you plan on ranking your new city Google Business locations on Google maps highly, it’s vital.
Other Considerations When Moving a Private Therapy Practice to a New City
Up to this point, we’ve focused heavily on the marketing aspects of moving your practice to a new city. Here a few more things you should consider:
Office Space or Online or Both?
Many mental health professionals we speak with are debating where they should offer their services: In an office, online, or both. Let’s review each option:
Therapy In an Office
Therapy in an office has it’s benefits and negatives. Let’s review some benefits and negatives of doing therapy in an office:
- Human interactions
- Higher rates can be charged typically
- Much better Search Engine Optimization
- Higher costs
- Less convenient for the owner
There are many factors to weigh when deciding if you should get an office. I would highly suggest getting an office for your marketing strategy.
Offering therapy online was a necessity during the earlier months of the pandemic. Some therapists love the idea of being able to work from home and still operate their practice. Let’s review some benefits and negatives of doing therapy online:
- Lower costs
- Very easy to operate sessions
- Your SEO is hurt by not having a physical location
- Many patients want in-person sessions
Offering Both in Office and Online Therapy
The final option for you as a new therapy practice owner is to offer both in office and online therapy, the best of both worlds! Let’s review some benefits and negatives:
- You can offer more flexibility to your patients
- You can benefit more from SEO
- Higher costs
- More technology services needed
Across the United States, therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals are often required to participate in continuing education (CE) credits, also known as CEUs to stay licensed. Professional licensing boards typically outline requirements mental health professionals must fulfill each year. You can read our post on Continuing Education Units (CEU) Requirements by State.
Every state and local municipality has their own business regulations. Speaking with a business lawyer is a good idea so that you can follow laws where you want to open your therapy practice. Some important considerations include:
- Insurance for malpractice and professional liability
- Incorporating your business
- Determining if you need a business license
- Zoning laws that dictate where you can open a practice
- Any other therapy practice concerns
Legal aspects of your private practice can be confusing, it’s best to speak with a knowledgeable professional.
Final Thoughts on How to Build a Private Therapy Practice in a New City
Thank you for reading this resource on building a private therapy practice in a new city. Whether you’re moving your private therapy practice to a new city or adding a new therapy practice location in a new city, there’s quite a few things you need to consider. We wish you the best of luck on your exciting journey in a new city!
TherapyPatron.com helps mental health professionals better serve their clients. Our (editable, fillable, printable PDF) therapy worksheets can help you streamline your practice, effectively deliver different types of therapy, and support your clients be the best version of themselves.