Attending skills: Your Marketing superpower to your ideal clients

September 16, 2022

I could run down a list of marketing tools and strategies, but the key to every marketing strategy is a foundation in knowing & understanding your ideal clients. 

Although it may be tempting to believe that everyone needs your therapy services, one of the best aspects of owning your practice is that you have control over who you find the most joy in working with. 

It’s easy to give a side eye when you hear the phrase ideal client, “sounds fine, but I work with everyone, so this isn’t for me. I’m an eclectic Counselor and I’ll just focus on everyone.” 


Think about the restaurants you frequent. Maybe you value cost effective locations, places with delicious bread rolls or spots with amazing customer service. No matter the reason, if a restaurant puts effort into an aspect they value and you also value that aspect, then you are that restaurant’s ideal customer

…and they are marketing to you. 

Without directly speaking to your ideal clients in your marketing strategy you’ll likely find yourself adjusting and readjusting content, only to find that it’s not bringing in any more clients than the last time you changed your content. On the other hand you may have an influx of clients, but these clients miss the mark on who you enjoy working with most. 

With either result you’ll be left with frustration and an increased chance of reaching burnout in the beginning stages of your Practice. 

Concentrating on your potential clients and creating content just for them won’t cause you to lose clients. In fact, choosing who you want to work with and who you are a good fit for, will increase your income, you will enjoy the work that you do even more, and you will spend less time marketing your therapy private practice.

What is an Ideal Client? 

Your ideal client is the person you wish you could copy/paste over and over again, just to work with them exclusively. They value the services you provide, your training & skills, and your style of work. They connect with the message, values, and goals of your mission. And they will happily carry a sign around saying, “I am so & so’s client at ABC Therapy.” (Of course we would never ask them to do that).

How do I get to know my ideal clients? 

Create an ideal client profile. It describes the characteristics of your ideal clients; their demographics, their struggles, the words they would use to describe their concerns, their hobbies and even what they may be searching for on Google to solve their problems.

When a potential client is unable to find the words in your content that speak to their issues the result will be your potential client feeling you are not a good fit and they will locate another Provider.

When you meet clients on their level and speak their language, you spark a conversation and establish trust… and people call people they know, like, and trust.

Are you looking for support in a clearer marketing massage that you feel confident about, so you can connect with more ideal clients? Fill out one of our forms and be connected with one of our coaches. 

Your marketing content is about your clients and less about self-promotion.

When you consider marketing your mental health business ideas, you may feel uneasy and nervous about what you believe you should do. You may believe that you are supposed to promote yourself and say nice things about the work you do. 

However, that is not what marketing is all about.

Marketing your therapy private practice is about your potential clients, not you.

Focusing your content on what courses you took in graduate school or that you completed Internal Family Systems training is unimportant to a potential client if you are unable to explain why or how your expertise will help them.

Consider the difference in a website “About Me” content:

  • I completed training in Internal Family Systems. A modality created by Richard Schwartz that combines a system of thinking and sub-identities. Over time it is expected that you will synthesize these identities and create a more fulfilling life.


  • I utilize Internal Family Systems to give you a deeper understanding of the roles and relationships that are blocking you. By understanding your Self concretely, it’s expected that you will create more fulfilling relationships between yourself and others. 

Using your Attending Skills 

I’m sure you’re a great listener. It’s likely one of the top reasons why you are in the mental health profession. You pay attention not only to the content of your clients’ words, but also to their emotions, body language, and the different interpretations of what they say. The attending skills you learned in graduate school are transferable in your marketing strategy. 

Take note of what potential clients say in their conversations with you. Listen carefully to what they say during the initial contact and the first face to face session. After the meeting simply make note of the words they use.  Then use these keywords in your marketing content. (It goes without saying, always keep in mind ethics & never use words that can identify a client).

You’ll know when you truly understand your ideal clients when you can quickly write content without using Therapist jargon. 

The better you are able to speak to your ideal clients in your content the better your marketing plan works for you. You will find that you do not need to update your Psychology Today profile as often, your website content will create requests to book intake sessions rather consultations, and you will have a waitlist of potential clients waiting to meet with you.

Use this list to jumpstart your Ideal Clients Profile

  1. How old are they?
  2. What are their pronouns?
  3. Couple Status? Married or Cohabitating? 
    1. How would they describe their coupled life?
  4. Kids? How many? Ages?
  5. Are they Single?
    1. How would they describe their single life?
  6. Socioeconomic status? 
  7. Living situation. House or apartment? Who lives with them?
  8. Occupation? What industry?
  9. Who is in their close network? Who do they call when they have good, bad, neutral news to share?
  10. How would they describe their family relationships?
  11. Who do they trust most?
  12. What brings them joy?
  13. What are their hobbies? What do they do outside of work?
  14. Where do they get their information? How do they stay up to date with current events?
  15. How would they describe their concerns? What negative thought loops keep them up at 3am?
  16. What holds them back from calling for an appointment?
  17. What would they hope to gain from therapy with you?

Assemble all your responses into a single document that you can consult with whenever you are creating content for your private practice business center. Don’t forget to return to your ideal client profile and edit it when your ideal clients adjust. The longer you are in your Practice your ideal clients will evolve and morphe. Consider your profile as a living, breathing document that develops together with your Practice, much like your small business plan.






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