Generating Leads for Your Private Practice: 4 Ways to Grow Your Client Base or Waitlist

Generating Leads for Your Private Practice: 4 Ways to Grow Your Client Base or Waitlist

General Marketing

Have you ever found yourself struggling to fill the schedule at your practice? Or, you’ve hired a new clinician and need ideas on how to help them build a client list? Maybe your practice is full, but it is always a good idea to work on building your waitlist. As a therapist, it’s always a good idea to re-evaluate how you are generating leads and consider new approaches!

The Basics of Lead Generation for Therapists

Lead generation is the process of attracting, nurturing, and converting clients. Over time, a strategic lead generation plan will ensure that your practice is prepared for situations like losing clients or losing clinicians that take clients with them. 

The lead generation process for therapists differs from other industries. The overarching goal is to transform a stranger into a brand advocate. First, someone completely unfamiliar with your brand becomes a visitor when they are initially attracted to your content for the first time (or when they hear a friend rave about your services.) The visitor is converted into a lead when they take action to form a connection to your brand. For example, after they fill out a form on your website or visit a landing page you shared on social media. They will remain a lead until they take the step to become a therapy client. But, the process does not end there. Clients should still be engaged with or “nurtured” through marketing until they become a vocal advocate for your brand. A brand advocate will leave positive reviews, tell their friends about your services, and share your content. Loyal brand advocates can be so incredibly valuable for your business but can be difficult to cultivate due to the private nature of counseling. 

1. Offer a Free Resource

One way to collect information from your audience while providing them with valuable content is to offer a free resource. Using a simple form, you can collect their email address to build your email list as they opt-in to receive the resource.

However, just because your resource is free doesn’t mean users will instantly trade their email for it. Your resource content must most importantly solve a problem for your target audience and you must communicate that solution clearly for them to opt-in. The chances are that if someone is interested in personal development enough to download a resource, they are the type of person likely to seek therapy. 

To form the topic for this resource, consider your niche, your specialties and offerings, and what you are an expert on. For example, a private practice focused on couples could generate leads with a PDF titled The Ultimate Worksheet for Setting Goals with Your Spouse. There are many formats in which you could offer your free content. We’ve listed some of the most popular options below to give you some ideas.


Usually delivered in the form of PDFs, e-books can be anywhere from a few pages to the length of a standard self-help book. They can be made up of only text or include elements such as images, graphics, checklists, journal prompts, and more for added interest. 

Check out this e-book campaign we recently designed!

Worksheets & Lists

If you are looking for a resource you can put together more quickly than an e-book, a worksheet or checklist might be your answer. Design this to help your client work through a problem they regularly face, or to inspire or motivate them.


Who doesn’t love to take a fun quiz to find out which movie character they are when it pops up on social media? Creating a quiz on an entertaining topic can draw your audience in in a playful way. The final slide of your quiz could include the answer, along with a tie-in to your therapy services and a call-to-action.

Webinar or Video Access

If you are confident in your public-speaking abilities, a live webinar or pre-recorded video could be your answer to making that initial face-to-face connection with a potential client. With a live webinar, set a specific date and time in the future and promote registration. You can use calendar integrating software to suggest registrants add the event to their calendars. With a pre-recorded video, you can record your content, edit it, upload it, and offer ongoing free access. For the actual content, pick an attention-grabbing topic and consider having a guest speaker or expert on the topic join you. Consider forming your discussion points around relevant topics, for example, managing mental health challenges as a mother around mother’s day.

2. Garner Organic Traffic with Content Marketing


The power of blogging for therapists is real. If it's done correctly, new followers will find your website through search engines, existing followers will develop a deeper connection with you, and you will provide tangible resources to readers. To successfully generate leads from your blog, make sure to add at least one call-to-action, a contact form, or a sign-up form. 

Website Optimization

Your website isn’t solely where clients can learn more about you and reach out for a consultation. Every page on your website is content, and if you want search engines to optimize it as such, there are a few things you should do. Include keywords and try to include at least 600 words of copy on each page.

Wherever a user lands on your website, their next step should be clear. A navigation bar on the top and/or bottom of your site can help ensure users don’t get lost. Try incorporating links to those free resources we talked about and multiple calls to action on every page. 

Social Media

Social media channels are excellent for building and nurturing an audience, but there are many ways to directly generate leads on social as well. Because of HIPPA concerns, therapists should not collect personal information on social media. However, the conversation can begin here and be transferred to other places like email, a form, or a landing page.

Automate conversations

On Facebook Messenger, you can set up an automated chat with frequently asked questions. This way, when a user visits your page, the chat box will pop up, drawing their attention to starting a conversation with you. On Instagram and Facebook, you can save commonly used text as an automated reply

Distribute Content 

Social media can help you promote your blogs, the free resources you create, your email newsletter opt-in, and valuable pages on your website.

3. Networking & Referrals 

Online Networking 

For those in the professional mental health space, platforms like LinkedIn can help you connect with leads. LinkedIn’s search feature allows you to filter by industry, company, and geographic location. Think about the industries where you could form mutually beneficial relationships. If you mostly serve clients in person, stick to making connections with those in a drivable area. If you offer online counseling, your pool of valuable contacts is even larger. After you search for and find these individuals, start a conversation and make an effort to form a genuine connection.

In-Person Networking

You might be under the impression that face-to-face networking and trading business cards is dead, but this is one of the most effective ways to get people to know and trust you and your brand. We understand that as a busy clinician, it’s not always easy to get out of the office and into your local community to meet new people. However, taking the time to introduce yourself to other industry-adjacent businesses in your neighborhood could give you surprising results. 

Similarly to how you would approach online networking, be strategic with which types of organizations you should connect with. If you’ve created a free resource, maybe even have some printed and ask to leave them with these other local offices. 

If you are having trouble seeking the professionals you want to connect with, find out if your town or county has a Main Street organization or Chamber of Commerce. They often have a directory of local businesses sorted by industry and hold networking events. 

4. Target Them with Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the one way you can show your content to only the demographic you’re targeting online. You won’t be wasting your time and efforts on users outside of your ideal audience. Furthermore, you can collect data on your leads, their behavior, and what content performs best with them.

Paid Social Media Ads

The power of Instagram and Facebook ads allows you to execute a campaign to capture leads at any point in the customer journey. If you’re looking for brand new or “cold” leads, try an awareness campaign focused on brand awareness or reach. If you have a quality list of leads, try a conversion campaign to encourage them to finally reach out to you or schedule a consultation.

Paid Search Ads

Google search ads appear when someone uses a search engine to look for therapy in your area. To encourage users to click, try adding your free resources and valuable blogs as site link extensions in your ads.

Generating Leads for Your Practice Doesn’t Stop Here

After you have set up your lead-generating processes, don’t forget to continually nurture and engage with your audience. Send a weekly or monthly email newsletter, consistently post to your social media, and engage with other accounts. Share blog posts to keep leads coming back to your website.

As a busy clinician or private practice owner, outsourcing your marketing efforts to an expert can take a weight off of your shoulders. At Theory About That, our team specializes in marketing for those in the field of mental health. Contact us or schedule a call to find out how we can help!


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