In this raw, un-edited interview, I chat with April Lyons, a therapist in Boulder, Colorado about how she doubled her practice in one month. This interview was held on April 29th, 2015.
You can learn more about April on her website: www.aprillyonspsychotherapyboulder.com
You too can follow the steps she took to gain clients quickly! She credits most of her success to her solid website foundation (built using our Smart Therapy Websites Program) and her Adwords campaign. The complete transcript of the interview is below.
If you have questions for April, please feel free to post them in the comments section below!
As promised, here is the pie chart (also know as Lambert’s Pie), mentioned in the interview:
Here is the full transcript:
Becky: Okay, everyone. Becky DeGrossa here and April Lyons is with me, you’ll see her in one second. We are very happy to have you here today. The title of today’s interview, if you will, is 7 New Therapy Clients in 1 Day! Let’s see how she did it. Okay. And so I’m going to be interviewing April Lyons, who is a new therapist in Boulder, Colorado. And we’re going to talk with her about how she pulled this off and how it’s going for her and all that good stuff. So April, can you say hi?
April: Hi, hello.
Becky: All right. So you’re at home, right?
Becky: Okay, at home. All right. I have a list of questions that I thought I would ask and I don’t know the answer to any of these. So it’s all going to be brand-new info for me, too. But I have a list of questions, so I’m going to be looking down at that occasionally, so that I remember to ask everything that I’m going to ask. But what I would also like is that if any of you have questions that come up for you while we’re talking here, please put them in the chat and then when you do that, we’re going to go ahead and just open it up for questions at the end. We’ll go through the questions that were entered into the chat first. So first questions get answered first. Okay? That’s what we’re going to do, so off we go.
All right. So I guess, April, let me just start by asking you when did you get your degree and graduate? And then what did you do right after that? Did you go right into private practice or did you work for a while, or what?
April: Yeah. So I graduated in 2011 from Naropa University and spent, I guess, about three years. I was at three different agencies the whole time. Working with eating disorders, kind of an outpatient facility. And then I was also at a psychiatric hospital and then I was working in-home with families and children. Yeah, so doing a lot. My education led me to those, my internship and whatnot that I had studied. And I was working with kids and people with eating disorders, so I wanted to continue that.
And then I just felt like working at a psychiatric hospital. I would just get to see everything. And I didn’t want to jump into private practice blindly without having a lot of experience and having a lot of supervision and getting training and getting my license and stuff like that.
Once I got my license, I was ready to start private practice. I still contract a little bit at agencies. But I’m trying to just have a full practice and not have to do that, because it can be pretty exhausting and agencies don’t pay that well and it’s a lot of work.
Becky: Yeah, and exhausting doing both, I guess, right? Private practice and agencies? After your practice starts growing?
April: Yeah, it is a lot doing both. But my energy has mostly been private practice and I think that’s really paying off.
Becky: Okay, great, good news, good news. All right. And so then, when did you actually really focus on your private practice? So you did three years of agency work and when did you actually really start that?
April: I started in September is when I decided to commit to doing my private practice. I just put a profile on Psychology Today to start with and then started working on my website. Actually, that was in August when I started working on the website.
Becky: Okay. And I know you did your website with us, with Counseling Wise. Before I even get into that process, one of the questions I always have for therapists is what made you even decide to do therapy as a career? I think that’s helpful to understand where someone’s coming from. Do you have an answer for that? Do you know what made you decide that as opposed to being an account or something or whatever else?
April: Yeah. I did a lot of other things before I decided to do therapy. I worked as an emergency medical technician right out of high school and studied different things. But it really feels like a calling to me. It really feels like it chose me, I didn’t really choose it. You know what I mean?
April: And I’m just following what my calling is and it’s been amazing. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I love just being with people when they’re going through things or when they’re self-actualizing. Yeah. I can’t even imagine anything else.
And you know, I had my own struggles and going to therapy myself and realizing, “This is amazing. And I want to do this.” So I had that part of it, too.
Becky: Yeah. Like I think a lot of us, right? Yeah, awesome, great. Okay, all right. So you decided this was your calling, you had done other things before. It sounds like somehow you got . . . what was your undergrad in?
Becky: Oh, okay.
April: Then I started another master’s degree in public health. And that’s when everything just kind of fell apart for me because it just felt like it wasn’t the right thing and just started having a lot of anxiety and that’s when my path started.
Becky: Okay. And so then you ended up at Naropa, you got degree from there. I understand in the somatic program, right?
April: Yep. And that part is really important to me, too. Just that part, just really bringing in the body. We do a lot of cognitive behavioral talk therapy, but I think just having access to the body, too, is so important for people struggling with eating disorders or post traumatic stress order. And then I’ve also been doing a lot of play therapy and trainings and stuff. So I work a lot with kids in that modality.
Becky: Cool. I spoke to the somatic department last night at Naropa. I was invited to go in there and speak. It’s kind of cool to be able to talk to them and then say, “Well hey, tomorrow I’m interviewing one of your alums.” Anyway, probably some of them are on today to hear your story.
Anyway. Okay. So then you started your website with us in August and then maybe listed yourself on Psychology Today in September. How long did it take you to get your website done?
April: Well, I wanted to make sure to have it done in two months because I think . . . I mean, I would have wanted it to go up immediately, but two months was about as fast as possible is what I was told. So I just really wanted to get it done and work really hard on it and it took two months. We launched right at the date that we had planned.
Becky: Great. Two months is for us . . . since . . . anyone doesn’t know what we do, it’s very content-heavy, our websites. Which we believe is the key. So it does take a while because you can’t just force-fit writing, right? It takes a while, unfortunately. The darn writing thing. So what was the process like for you? From beginning to end, what was it like? What stood out for you in that process? What were the highs and lows? I mean, I’m not here to say we’re perfect. So how was that?
April: Well, it was a great process for me and I think that’s one reason I wanted to share. I just felt so supported the entire way. It was like this little family came around me and just helped me every step of the way. And I think three things really stood out for me. One was you give modules where every single page . . . they’re short modules. But they really explain how to write and you also give a lot of examples and I really appreciated that. And then also just really helping. You really helped me get into my potential clients’ shoes and to see what they would be needing and I felt like I just learned how to talk directly to them and just really felt what they were feeling. So that was a really good part; the content part was really helpful.
The other part was my technical guy. I guess I’m not exactly sure what his role is. Kevin, he was the one that just put my website together. He kept me on track. He really just calmed me down a lot. He set a schedule up for me that would really work. Kept me accountable to that. Answered my questions immediately, even on weekends.
Becky: Proud to advertise that [chuckles].
April: And then the other part of it was my editor, Katie, she was like a big sister to me. She just really helped me so much along the way. It wasn’t just editing. It was really asking me to go a little deeper and explain things more. It just felt like she really . . . I felt just really helped by the entire process.
Becky: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So yeah, some people . . . I just realized I have Skype up and it’s making noise in the background. Let me just close that, sorry. Some people do their own writing as you did and then have our editors edit. And then some folks have us do the writing. We interview and then do the writing. So you obviously made the choice to do your own writing. Did you watch the training on how to write a specialty page that we have?
April: Yeah. I bought all the modules that you sent. Yeah.
Becky: Yeah, yeah, okay, all right. So how was that for you to actually do it the first time through? Did it feel weird? Because it’s a different kind of writing, right?
April: Yeah, it’s very different. You did a good job giving me an outline, lots of examples. The first specialty page was probably the hardest, because it was the first one I did. But then, the second, third, I just flew through them. I couldn’t even believe how much I had written and that I had written it, really.
April: It really felt like it came from me and from my heart.
Becky: That’s great. That’s great. And I think that the . . . you said that you were able to get really in touch with your client and I assume that was through that Dig Deep exercise? Where you really tune in to what they’re feeling and what’s keeping up at night and all that kind of stuff. Was that the part that helped you get in touch with them?
April: Yeah, that exercise, I use, still, when I write blogs or when I go back through and want to change anything. The exercise is the one that helped me really dig deep and get into my clients’ shoes and, yeah. It’s something that I continue to use.
Becky: Cool, awesome, that’s great. Okay. So I know that you are practicing in Boulder, Colorado; here, where we’re located as well. So what’s Boulder like in terms of the therapy landscape? Competitive or wide open, what would you say?
April: Oh, man, it is so competitive. There are so many talented therapists here and so many amazing, cutting-edge modalities and trainings. The market is really saturated. A lot of people get intimidated that it’s not possible to start a practice here. Because it’s a somewhat small town, but sometimes, it feels like there’s more therapists than actually people that could use it. Yeah, yeah. So it’s competitive, for sure.
Becky: Yeah. I remember hearing once that Boulder had the highest per-capita number of therapists. I don’t know if that’s still true. Maybe it’s been surpassed by maybe Portland or Ashland, wherever that is. Where is that? In North Carolina or something. But yeah, somebody said the other day, “You could swing a dead cat and you’ll hit therapists while you’re doing so.” I was like, “Whoa, that’s a really weird thing to say.” But it’s like yeah, that’s the way it is.
Let’s see. Oh, one other question before we get into just how things have gone for you since you launched your site and all of that. Are you on panels?
April: You know, I’m not. I tried to be on every single panel. I already applied for every single panel and everyone told me that my ZIP code is just too saturated right now.
Becky: Wow. Okay.
April: The panels, that’s not an option for me at the moment.
Becky: Okay. So you just had to make it work with private pay?
Becky: Okay. That’s back up against the wall, right? No easy clients coming your way. All right, okay. So let’s see, what else do I have here on my questions? Okay. So you launched the site. And when did it go live?
April: It went live in the end of October.
Becky: Okay, end of October. So that was about . . . well, of course, right in time for the holiday season which is always the low time for therapists to get new clients. So November, December, January. Okay, you’re almost at six months then? You’re right at six months, I guess, right?
Becky: Yeah, since launching the site. So how did it go? Right after you launched the site . . . obviously, we do SEO, we do the on page SEO stuff and in Boulder, that’s going to take a while to take effect. So how did things go? What did you notice right after the first couple of months?
April: It wasn’t bad. My practice was growing pretty fast. People were finding me through Psychology Today or different referral sources like that. But mostly, people were seeing . . . when they would see my website, they felt like they knew me and I was getting about probably three calls a day, and one or two of those were sticking. Not a day, sorry. A month.
Becky: Oh, I was going to say, “Whoa, wait a minute. Right afterwards?”
April: It averaged about three calls a month. Maybe one or two of those clients would stay. I had done a few different panels and stuff like public speaking, which helped bring in a few clients that way.
Becky: Okay. How did you get hooked up with that? How did that work out? Was it eating disorders from previous internships or?
April: Yeah, it was eating disorders. I spoke at the Front Range Community College. Someone I know, a colleague I know, asked me to be on that panel. That was one of the panels that I did and I had a pretty good response from that. I got a few calls.
Becky: Great, great. Okay and Psychology Today?
April: Yeah, I was getting a few clients from there and just a couple other referrals. Yeah, I was at least getting probably one client. Up until March, I had about six clients.
Becky: Okay, so you built from scratch. It sounds like the first four months, you got six clients altogether?
April: Yeah, that’s right.
Becky: Okay, okay. And even that, that’s pretty sweet. Six clients in the first four months. That’s pretty sweet, really. Compared to a lot of therapists that are starting out, that’s great. So what do you attribute that to?
April: I attribute it to my website. People can go and they can look at your profile or whatever. When people would see my website, they just really felt like I was relating to them. They would come in and . . . I even had a client, he recited a part of my website that really spoke to him and it was almost like they knew me right when they came in. They knew they wanted to work with me. They weren’t searching for other therapists. Yeah, really, I think that’s what it was and it was growing; my practice was growing faster than the average. So I felt really good about that.
Becky: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And by that time, you probably weren’t even ranking yet at all, were you?
April: You know, I didn’t start checking ranking until March. So I’m not sure if I was ranking.
Becky: Okay. Okay. So maybe you were, maybe you weren’t. Didn’t we look at that a while ago when you were still at the bottom of page one, if you were ranking at all?
April: Yeah, I’ve seen to this day, between seventh place and ninth place is at the bottom. So I go between seventh and ninth.
Becky: Okay, okay. So yeah, that’s a really competitive market, that’s very common. If you didn’t have specialties . . . and you know, I don’t know that we even talked about what your specialties were. Why don’t you go ahead and talk about what they are?
April: Yeah, my specialties. I work with eating disorders and with PTSD, people suffering with PTSD and also child counseling.
Becky: Okay. So those are the three specialty pages that you have on your site?
April: Yeah, yeah, that’s right.
Becky: Yeah, okay. And so, pretty competitive in Boulder, certainly. If you were just trying to rank for “Therapist Boulder” or “Counselor Boulder” or something like that, there’s no way in the world that’s going to happen. Way too competitive here. But with niche-ing, it sounds like you were able to get at least a couple of those. Maybe ranking low page one or the top of page two or something like that. Is that where it’s at now?
April: Yeah. I’m still ranking on the first page for “Eating Disorder Treatment Boulder” and “PTSD Treatment Boulder”. Yeah, yeah. So I’m still ranking. It’s staying up around seventh place. And then child counseling, I haven’t ranked on the first page yet for that, but it is moving up.
Becky: Okay, okay. All right. And I think it’s important to say, regardless of whether you were ranking or not, if you’re at the bottom of the page, it’s hard, right? Even if you’re on page one. If you’re at the bottom of the page, it’s tough, right? To get a lot of traffic that way. And so I know at some point . . . Let me ask a little bit more about the website. Were you blogging? Were you doing any social media? Were you doing that kind of thing? What were you doing? Right after it launched, what did you continue to do to keep things moving for yourself?
April: Yeah, I’ve really committed to blogging twice a month, so I do that. And I was doing a lot of social media at the beginning, but I’ve kind of backed off just a little bit on that, because I’m trying to see if that changes anything. But yeah, mostly just blogging is what I’ve been doing. I’ll change my website here and there, I’ll add some photos or something like that, but nothing much else.
Becky: Okay, so just blogging for the most part in terms of growth?
Becky: Okay, all right. So launched in October, went into November and December when not a whole lot happens. And so by March, you had built up to six clients just through Psychology Today referrals, that type of thing. And then I know at some point, you decided you were going to do Google AdWords. So what made you decide that and how was that process for you?
April: Well, I actually had a pretty low point in March, kind of the end of February and the beginning of March where I wasn’t getting any calls and was starting to feel like this isn’t moving fast enough for me and might as well try AdWords since I think it’s really important. I have such a great website and I just felt like maybe people that were looking for me couldn’t find me.
So yeah, it just really made sense to put myself on the front page of Google just right there. That’s where everybody looks. If you want advertisement, that’s the way to go. So yeah, I went ahead and decided to try AdWords. I figure it couldn’t hurt. I was kind of skeptical that it would really bring clients and it definitely can be expensive with paying for clicks and whatnot. So, I went ahead and decided to do AdWords the middle of March, decided to go ahead and do that.
Becky: Okay. You did the silver plan with us for Ad Groups?
Becky: Okay, all right. And what was that process like? I know there’s a lot of people who say, “Oh, I tried AdWords, it didn’t work.” And they feel that way typically because they tried it themselves or they had someone do it that didn’t know what they were doing, at least in the therapy space. So what was your experience in working with us? I know that you have to fill out a form and say what you want to do and all of that. What was that like?
April: Well, it was really easy. I felt, like I said, “I’d like to do AdWords,” and then the next day, I was doing AdWords. It really happened like that. I think I decided to do AdWords on March 13th and it was up on the 16th. It just was a few days really, yeah. It was not painful for me at all. I just gave some information on the form, it was a really short form and I was up and running.
Becky: Okay. And did it work at first or did we have to do some fine tunes for you? I don’t know what ended up happening with yours?
April: No, it definitely worked. There was no problems or anything like that. I remember asking you to just check with, I think Rocco [SP], is the one that does the AdWords and just check with him to make sure everything looked good. You all sent me some videos just to watch of how to read it, read my analytics and whatnot. That was easy to figure that out.
And you checked with Rocco and he said everything looked like it was going great. I was getting clicks, but I didn’t get any calls all through March until the beginning of April. So it took a while, for some reason.
Becky: Interesting. Yeah, it sounds like it took a couple weeks. Because it was up and running on March 16th and then it didn’t really start delivering for you until April?
April: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, I got my first call April 8th. That was the day that I got seven clients, on April 8th, yeah. So all of a sudden, AdWords took off and apparently, people were finding me organically and it all hit at once.
Becky: Wow, okay. Okay so let’s talk about this seven clients. That was your first day of an AdWords call, but that day, it rained and poured, right?
April: Well, this month, it rained and poured. That was the start. I’ll tell you more [inaudible 00:24:52].
Becky: Okay, I’m excited. I haven’t heard these stories before. Okay, so let’s talk about the seven in one day thing, because that’s pretty . . . I don’t know that I’ve heard that before. I know that a lot of people build fast, especially when they have a really good site and a really good AdWords campaign, but I don’t think anyone has ever said to me, “Hey, I got seven clients in one day.” So does that mean that you just got seven calls or does that mean you had seven new clients or what does that mean exactly?
April: Well, I got seven calls and they all scheduled a consultation.
Becky: Wow, okay. So on that one day, April 8th?
Becky: They all scheduled a consultation?
Becky: And do you do a free consultation?
April: Yep, I do.
Becky: Okay. So they all came in? They all showed for their consultation?
April: I had one no-show.
Becky: One no-show? Okay. Okay. So six came in, how many ended up becoming clients?
April: I got that . . . four. Four became clients.
Becky: Okay. Four became clients?
April: Yep. I had two consults and four became clients and then one was a no-show.
Becky: Okay, okay.
April: The two that did consults, they just said they wanted to wait a little bit, that they would be back in touch with me. So I don’t know what that means, exactly. But it definitely felt like they still have me in their radar.
Becky: Okay, awesome. Awesome. Okay. April, the other thing I want to say is that there’s also skill involved, obviously, in closing them, right? Because a lot of people will come in or talk to you on the phone. But if, for whatever reason, you’re not really tuned into them, they won’t actually become clients. So you must be doing something right there as well. So can you speak to that? What do you do in a consult?
April: Well, I really feel like I’ve worked so hard to get them to call with my website. And a lot of times when they call, they already know what I have to offer and they’ve related to my website and they’re actually repeating things that I had said. I try to keep it pretty short in the call and listen to them and get what they need. And then I let them know that there’s a free consult and sign up and we’ll see what happens. And that seems to work. So yeah.
Becky: And so then when they come in, what do you there? Anything differently? How do you get such a high close rate?
April: You know, I just really try to tune in to them and attune to them. I think a lot of my somatic training helps and just to really validate them and hear them. I really try to not put pressure on clients. Let them know, “You’re not locked into this. You can leave anytime you want. You don’t have to even make an appointment for next week.” Just really help them feel like it’s their choice.
But I just try to be myself. And I just feel like if they want to stay and they feel it’s a good connection, then they’ll stay. Even though I am just starting my practice and really want clients, I try to not let that show in the session.
Becky: Yeah, not let the urgency or the, “Oh, I really hope you come.” Yeah, you don’t want that to show. Okay, cool, that’s great. Okay. So you just said things continue to go well, so what does that mean? It was more than just a flash in the pan day, huh?
April: Oh, yeah. I’ve got 13 calls this month already. I might get more before the month’s over. Who knows? But there’s no doubt in my mind that I won’t. So yeah, I’ve done a lot of free consultations this month. And my practice doubled in one month. So I took 12 clients now that are staying.
Becky: Wow. That are staying. So let’s talk about that. I know that some people say . . . some people who get referrals and they’re used to referral clients. Sometimes, when they go online and they talk about getting clients from online, whether it’s from Psychology Today or from the Internet or whatever, they say that there’s a different quality sometimes with clients. That they might not end up staying as long, because it’s not through a referral and the trust isn’t as high or whatever. I think that happens for some people and not for others, but what is your experience with that? Does it seem like they’re staying? Does it seem like they’re solid?
April: Yeah. I mean, the clients that have come in off the Internet, I really feel like my website has been such a great referral source for them, that they already feel like they know me, they’ve heard me. They’re just as strong as the referral clients that I get from colleagues. The ones that haven’t really stuck around are people that want to use insurance and just are really stuck on that. Those ones even will come in for a consult and think about that and then the financial part gets to them a little bit. But yeah, I think the online ones seem just as strong as any other.
Becky: Okay, good. And I’m going to ask something that you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. But do you mind telling us how much you’re charging per hour? And don’t if you don’t feel like you want to.
April: Yeah, I don’t mind. Well I do a sliding scale right now just because I’m starting out. So I charge between 60 and 90. People that say that they want to use insurance or say that they are worried about paying, I’ll let them know that I have the sliding scale. But a lot of clients seem okay paying the rate of 90. So yeah.
Becky: Okay. All right. And that’s a pretty decent rate to start with, I think, for sure. That’s great. Okay. Let’s see. Let me see what other questions I have that I haven’t asked yet. Oh, I know. I know that you have a list building capability on your website with free reports and also, you have blog posts that show relevant blog posts on the relevant pages and all of that. And then I’m assuming that if anyone gets on your list, you’ll be sending blog posts to them. So how has that part gone? Have you got very many opt-ins or are people just calling?
April: Yeah, I haven’t had too many opt-ins. People just have called. Up until April, I had only one person opt in. But this month, I have actually gotten three people. I change the titles and change it up a little bit just to test to see if maybe that had anything to do with it. That part’s been a bit of a struggle and I’m really trying to figure out . . . I want to grow a list and I know that it’s important. So I’m willing to test different titles out and find kind of the sweet spot.
Becky: Yeah, okay. Maybe – just thinking off the cuff here – maybe one of the things that you could try is one of those interactive quizzes or something. Just see if that helps. Some people are using those. Like, “Do you really have PTSD? Try this quiz and see.” And then you have them answer a bunch of questions on your site, so they stay longer. But then also, they put in their name and e-mail to get a printed report. So I don’t know. That might be something that we could try.
April: Yeah. Also, I want to say another thing, too. The really great thing about AdWords is you can see what people are searching. It shows you everything someone searches and what ads they click on. It’s really good information. It’s helped me write blogs. And it is showing me what people are looking for. A lot of people with PTSD really want to know if they have it. With eating disorders, they want to know how to treat it, stuff like that.
I’m learning. AdWords not only is a great marketing thing, but I’m getting more information which is really helpful. Because with organic searches, you won’t get to see that. You won’t get to see what people are actually searching for.
Becky: Yeah, that’s right. Google took that away and it’s mostly not provided in your Google Analytics account these days, unfortunately and of course, they say that’s for privacy concerns. But funny that if you pay AdWords, they give you that data. So I’m not sure if it’s for privacy concerns [chuckles]. They really want you to pay to get the data, I think. Anyway, yeah, that’s the way that goes. But that’s good. That’s a really good point, because you can see it and you can see exactly how they’re wording their searches.
And yeah, you can see bigger differences, kind of meta differences with, “Oh okay, for eating disorders, they’re looking for treatment and for PTSD, do I have it?” But also, the actual wording of the search phrase that they’re typing in is, I think, quite informative at times as to what they’re really struggling with or looking for. So that’s a great point.
Let’s see what other questions I have here. So the reports are a little slow. That’s not happening a whole lot. Your list is pretty small. So you’re still trying to fine-tune that. Yeah, the whole idea of fine-tuning, my experience is that when I put up a website, I have to see how the world interacts with it. And I have to keep looking at it and pondering. And for instance, maybe in Google Analytics, if I see that there’s a page that’s getting traffic, but it has a high bounce rate and people aren’t staying there, then I’m going to look at the page longer and figure out what I can do to massage it, so that people are really staying there longer.
To me, it’s like an ongoing process of tweaking and testing and improving. And it sounds like you already have that mindset yourself with these reports, anyway. Can you say anymore about that?
April: Well, I mean, I think I’ve certainly learned that from you a little bit. Just coming to you. Because that’s another thing about the whole website is I haven’t been alone. You guys didn’t just do my website and then are like, “See ya.” I’ve really just asked lots of questions and came to you for topic ideas and even to just look at my website and just read it over again, see if there’s little things I can tweak here and there. So yeah, I haven’t just been alone with this because I’m not a marketing genius. I wouldn’t know exactly. This is the first time I’ve done this.
Becky: Yeah, okay. Yeah, and I was wondering also, had you ever launched a site before?
April: No. This was a big deal.
Becky: Okay, okay, yeah. A lot of our folks really, probably more than not, the folks who come to us are people who have already launched a website once and it didn’t work or twice and it didn’t work and they come. So you’re a bit unusual in that you came to us right out of the gate with your first site. Most people have to experience some pain first before they’re willing to plunk down that money. Because it’s not cheap, right? It’s not cheap. Maybe you could talk about that, like all-in with Psychology Today and starting a new practice and your website and AdWords and what you’re spending with Google. Do you have any idea of what you’ve invested at this point?
April: Yeah, I’ve invested a lot. I put the cart before the horse a little bit in that I just jumped right in. I probably invested about I would say $5,000 with the website and AdWords and advertising. So yeah, about $5,000. And I also want to say, too, that I had got a referral to Counseling Wise from a friend of mine who did her website with you all in Portland.
I was just impressed at how . . . she just did the website and didn’t do the marketing part. But I feel like her practice grew really fast and she’s always getting calls. So I already had that. It wasn’t just like, “Oh, I’ll give all this money.” I had a referral source, too and I did feel confident that it would be the right thing.
Becky: Yeah, that makes a big difference. It makes a big difference. And you also got to save yourself from the one or two websites that didn’t work, so that’s great. Okay, so I think I’m getting close to the end of my questions and pretty soon, we’re going to open it up to everybody else and go through their questions and see what they have already typed in. But the other area is going forward plans. So what are your plans going forward? Do you have other ideas of things that you want to do? That you want to change up on your site or in your marketing? What are your thoughts on that?
April: Well, I just took your webinar course. I just finished that yesterday, which was great because I produced a webinar and [inaudible 00:39:15] that course went.
Becky: You did?
April: Yeah, yeah.
Becky: I didn’t know that, awesome.
April: Yeah, so I did the webinar. I mean, I haven’t actually done it, but it’s made. It’s ready to put it out there.
April: I really feel like that’s going to be huge for people to actually hear me and see me and just hear what I have to offer. Not just read it. I can’t even imagine how important that will be. It’s great. I feel like it’s just a great networking opportunity as well. Yeah, that’s my next thing that I’m going to really push myself to do, even though it’s a little bit scary.
Becky: Yeah, it is scary. Scary at first. So what is it on?
April: I’m doing that one on post traumatic stress and I have the title here. Well, I’m not exactly sure what the title is at this moment, but yeah, just how to work with post traumatic stress disorder, really.
Becky: Great, awesome. Well that’ll be neat. I want to see it. I want to see it. Okay. And then the other thing is, if a therapist came to you and said, “Hey, if you were starting out, what would you do? What mistakes should I avoid and what should I definitely do?” Sitting where you sit, what would you say?
April: Well, I would say find someone that you trust that can help you, like I did with Counseling Wise and with you, Becky. And just stick with that. I feel like you offer every single dimension of this whole process and I put blinders on a little bit. Because there’s just so much you can get overwhelmed with and everybody has this amazing way to get you on the first page of Google. “Do this, do that.” I just know that so many people get overwhelmed. Yeah, I would just say find someone you trust and stick with it. And try not to get overwhelmed.
Becky: Yeah, yeah. Okay. And what about mistakes to avoid? Were there any that you made that you would say, “Ooh, I wouldn’t do that the next time around”? Or do you feel like you didn’t, really?
April: Well, one, I would have started AdWords sooner, because that could definitely not have hurt. And then another one I don’t think I told you, but I did try another marketing strategy that just fell flat and that one, I was in a contract for six months and couldn’t get out of it and didn’t bring me one client. So I think I just got really scared and jumped right into that one. Yeah. And I knew right away it wasn’t right.
So yeah, I would say, that came out of fear and I feel like everything else, I really had time to think about it, to sleep on it. To really understand how this could help and what the big picture really is.
Becky: Okay, that’s good. I have a lot of folks that I talk to who are locked into contracts and stuff. So I think that if I were talking to someone, I would say, “Get referrals,” which you had already had a referral coming to us. Get referrals and check out what these companies are saying, who’s successful with them, talk to their clients and also maybe avoid contracts where you’re locked in. If it works, why would anyone lock you in, right?
Becky: And it sounds like you had a feel about that right away. So trust the old gut, right [chuckles]?
April: Yeah, definitely.
Becky: Okay, good. Well, is there anything that you want to share that we haven’t talked about before we go to the questions that people have?
April: No, I think that’s it. I don’t think we said a lot about SEO and the long-term picture. And I think AdWords is my short-term thing where I’m waiting to get my SEO in a good place. And my website is still pretty new and I’m still pretty new, so it’s going to take time. But I definitely have my eyes with doing webinars and doing blogs. That kind of stuff is really the big picture.
Becky: Yeah, very good point. Very good point. So yeah, just to expand on that a little bit, obviously, Boulder is very competitive and some other areas, we’ve had clients in smaller towns where we do their SEO and they pop to the top and they’re there and they’re good and they get phone calls regularly and all that. But that is certainly not going to happen in Boulder and it’s certainly not going to happen in San Francisco or in New York. Those places are really crazy.
But, over time, the idea is if you keep blogging and your site keeps growing and it builds domain authority in terms of both content growth, number of pages, and time – Google really trusts sites that have been up for a while -then, the idea is you’re going to bubble up with SEO. And then you may decide you don’t need AdWords at some point. You can stop that, because the organic hits that you’re getting are really what’s working. You may also decide AdWords is still worth it. Some people just keep them both running, because it’s still a good return on investment for AdWords for them.
So either way. Yeah, but your point is that, over time, this can fill this gap while SEO is growing.
April: Yeah. My whole practice has already paid itself off, too. I just want to put that out there, too. Within six months. At first, it was discouraging because it was taking time and I was still feeling in debt. But I’m glad I did it this way. It really paid itself off.
Becky: Awesome. Awesome. Okay. Can you see any questions in the chat?
April: I cannot.
Becky: April, you cannot. Okay. So we don’t know why that is, exactly. But I will go through them. So everyone saying, “Hi” in the beginning. So Hi, everyone. I’m sorry we didn’t say “Hi” earlier, but I’m checking it out here. Megan was saying “Hi” for us, that’s great. Megan was supposed to be here asking questions today, but she’s not feeling well, so she’s the typer in the background. Okay, so I’m trying to get to the questions, let me see. Let’s see. Okay, someone has a question, Claudia has a question: “How do you structure a consult?”
April: Oh, a consult? At first, I didn’t have, really, a structure. It was more just, we do some paperwork. I do have a structure now and I’ll explain that. So we do some paperwork. All while I have the structure, I’m just validating them and syncing in with them. Then I ask them what they’re coming in for. I ask them if they have any questions for me and then I like to describe a pie chart that shows . . . statistically, it shows what clients become successful. That’s . . . 40% of it is the client’s motivation, 30% of it’s the relationship and 15% of it’s the technique and 15% of it’s hope. With each part of that, I explain to them what that means and how important the relationship is and it’s not all about what technique I’m using.
One thing I do that I think really helps is towards the end of the session, I ask them, “How did this feel like it went for you?” If it didn’t go well, I feel like there’s a chance to repair with the client and listen to them instead of them walking out the door and then I didn’t get to hear what didn’t go well and didn’t get to repair and then I don’t see them again and I don’t know why. So I think that’s really helped a lot.
And I do a half hour . . . the first consultation is half-hour, so it goes pretty fast.
Becky: That’s great. Showing that chart, I think, is really great. I think we’ve all seen that chart, but I’m not sure how many people use it. I don’t know that I’ve heard of people actually using something visual in the consult, so that’s neat. Yeah, that’s great. Also, I think that’s a really good point about it’s good for both you and them that you check in at the end because then, you know what’s going on and you can improve, too, with your consults going forward.
Becky: Cool. Somebody asked . . . Jay says, “I checked in late. You may have already answered if you have a home business or are you renting a space?”
April: I rent a space. I share with another practitioner, another therapist.
Becky: Okay, all right. There’s another question here. I see part of it and I can’t quite get to it for some reason. Sorry about this, folks. Let me see. I thought there was another one up there, but I can’t see it now. If somebody put a question in that ended in something about “professional” there it is. Jay again, “Do you collaborate with other mental health professionals?”
April: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I do. That’s most of the networking that I do. I do supervision groups with peers. I do supervision. I still work at an agency, so I collaborate with them. Yeah, I have another colleague that we meet every week to talk about our goals and what we want to accomplish that week. So he’s been helping me getting this webinar stuff done, motivating me. Yeah. So definitely, I really don’t want to feel isolated and also, my office is in a wellness center as well, so there’s lots of other practitioners there. Chiropractor and massage therapist. And I do some networking there as well.
Becky: Great, great, awesome, okay. Somebody else is asking, “How long are your consults?”
April: They’re 30 minutes and they’re free.
Becky: Okay, good, good. So this is so interesting. This is a new system that we’re using this time and for some reason, I’m having a hard time seeing these questions. Someone says, “They are not around here, is this a unique service you offer?” I’m not sure what they’re referring to. Oh, “Are free consults the norm for your area? They are not around here. Is this a unique service you offer?”
April: It’s not unique for Boulder. Most people do offer them. Not everybody offers them. Some people do phone call consultations. But yeah, it’s pretty common. It’s pretty common to do them here. And that’s because a lot of people . . . there’s so many therapists here and a lot of clients just want to shop around and find a really good fit and don’t want to spend a fortune doing that.
Becky: Yeah. I think that a lot of folks have noticed that when they’re . . . I hear this and I want to check in with you on it. When their website content changes, that they get fewer shoppers and more people that are more ready for them, already feel that they know them. Have you noticed a change in that? Did you used to get shoppers or?
April: Since I started my practice, I’ve always had the website. I actually don’t get a lot of shoppers compared to my colleagues who feel like that happens a lot. People are committed, they want to come in and work and they’re ready. The consultation is sort of . . . to me, it just feels . . . it’s short, they don’t have to pay. There’s just not a commitment right away and I think that really helps people. Once they come in and we can feel that there’s a connection, then they want to keep coming. I think it’s a real great service.
Becky: Awesome. Awesome. Okay, Sherri asks, “What is the name of the pie chart that you use in your consults?”
April: I’m not sure I’ve got it. I did trauma informed care through an agency that I worked with and the chart was in there. Yeah, I could post it somewhere.
Becky: That would be great. What if you send it to me and we can send it out with the replay? So that folks could get it and see what it is?
Becky: Are you willing to do that?
April: Yeah, yeah. I don’t think it would be copyright or anything like that. It’s just the facts and you could probably Google it and find it, too.
Becky: Okay. Somebody asked, “Can you post your website so we can look at it?” Do I’m going to do that right now. It’s AprilLyonsPsychotherapyBoulder.com, is that right?
April: That’s it.
Becky: Okay, there we go. There’s that. Oh, Megan did that, too [chuckles].And what I’m having to do is I’m having to type things into the chat, so that it scrolls for me. This is rather irritating. But I can’t figure out how to see if there’s any other questions at the top. Megan, can you see the whole screen? If you could type into the chat and let me know if you can see the whole chat screen, that would be great. I’m just not seeing any more questions, but I want to make sure I’m not missing any.
Maybe Megan can’t . . . oh, well there’s a delay, so she can’t hear me yet. So if you see me typing “Space” into the chat, that’s because I’m trying to get it to scroll down. Okay, I’m thinking there’s no more questions. Let me just go ahead and say if you do have any other questions, type them now so that we can get those last ones in before we go. And again, April, is there anything else that you would like to share before we go? I really appreciate you being here. I think that everything that you shared is just awesome.
April: Yeah, I’m doing this because I just want to really share my experience and how it’s just been really helpful and I’m really just doing it to give back and to thank you, Becky, in a lot of ways, for all the help and all the support. Just your team is wonderful.
Becky: Well thanks, I really appreciate that. And I was just so excited to hear that you had such success and I thought, “Oh man, we got to get her out here, talk about this and tell people what’s happening.” Thanks so much for doing it, for being willing to take the time to do it, that’s awesome. And for sharing the chart that you’re using. I think that a lot of it is . . . you could get folks in, but if you can’t connect really well and have them say, “Yeah, you’re the right fit for me,” then it’s a waste of time for everybody. So thanks for being willing to share that, too. That’s really neat.
April: Yeah, yeah, of course.
Becky: Okay. I see one more thing that I can’t quite read. There are no questions that I can see. Great, thanks, you guys. Thanks, Elena. Okay, new system here, we’ll get used to it over time. But thanks so much, April. Really appreciate you being on. I’m sure that everybody appreciated everything that you shared. And we will have this replay out for everybody and I really look forward to seeing what’s next. I want to see that webinar that you created, April, and see what you do going down the road, too.
April: Yeah, yeah, great. Well, thank you.
Becky: All right. Thanks so much. Take care. Bye-bye, everybody.
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