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Is it possible to use AI in your marketing? Can you use ChatGPT to help you write your blog posts? How can you combine your professional skills and interests with new technology to launch a successful side hustle?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about using AI for SEO in growing a group practice with Craig Alsup.
Podcast Sponsor: PsychMaven Webinar
Starting with 2021’s Killin’ it Camp, we started hearing from so many of you about your
dreams of creating new sources of income outside of the traditional practice setting.
Particularly, we saw a lot of interest in learning about new income streams that could really
So, with all that in mind, I wanted to see if you might join me live for a free webinar next
week! Dr. David Hall with PsychMaven was a recent guest of mine on the podcast and in our
episode, we talk about David’s passion for doing therapist continuing education trainings,
and how these can provide an amazing, scalable income.
I’m going to be live with David for this exclusive Practice of the Practice webinar, it’s called
“Three Therapist Secrets to Making Money Through Continuing Ed Trainings”. It’s how
continuing education income from in-person and online offerings is way more achievable
than you might think.
It’s going to be live on Thursday, April 13 th 2023 at 2 o’clock Eastern, 1 o’clock Central, noon
Mountain, and 11 o’clock Pacific, and it’s going to be hosted by PsychMaven. And even if
you can’t make it for the live webinar, we are going to have replays available. David is an
expert in this area and I’m so excited to be partnering with him on this!
Please sign up over at joe.mavenwebinar.com.
Meet Craig Alsup
Craig Alsup is a seasoned entrepreneur renowned for his dedication to simplicity and efficiency. He is the owner of a successful 13-therapist Group Counseling Practice in Texas, and leverages his extensive experience to coach business owners and entrepreneurs across the United States and globally on the creation of strategic plans for system efficiency, marketing, and finding freedom in practice.
Craig is also an author, having written books and guides, including the Grow Your Practice Workbook and the Private Practice Google Business Optimization Course and Workbook.
In addition to his coaching and counseling practice, Craig provides marketing consulting services such as Search Engine Optimization and Google Business Optimization.
Visit Live Beyond Counseling and connect on Facebook. Email Craig at email@example.com
In This Podcast
- Tips for owners: when to hire
- Tips for owners: how to get full
- Expand on your natural skills
- Using AI for SEO
- Craig’s advice to private practitioners
Tips for owners: when to hire
When everybody gets to about 70% full, I start the process of trying to get resumes in, trying to reach out to people that have already applied [to see] if they’re still interested … and start the process of hiring at that point.
Start hiring new clinicians into your group practice when your existing therapists are around 70% full.
It takes time to find the right people, train them and onboard them, so by the time your new hires can start to see clients, your other employees will nearly be fully booked. So, don’t wait too long.
Tips for owners: how to get full
Some of the essentials for successful marketing include:
- Having a great website
- Uploading good content on the website that describes the services that are offered
- Avoid being too broad or general in your wording and in describing your services
- Use great-quality headshots and authentic photos of your clinicians
- Write 500+ words per page on your website
- Optimize your Google My Business
It’s just been great because as a local practice that clients often come to, Google Business is probably the best way to get in front of those people that are super hyper-local to your practice.
- Be specific with your community networking
Expand on your natural skills
If you have had something on your mind – but you’re holding back because you feel unprepared – can you move regardless? Taking the first step and moving before you feel completely ready is often the key to success.
Are there different aspects of business that you’re really good at? Which skills or strategies come more easily to you than to other clinicians, and can you teach them? How can you set up a side hustle that comes from your side hobbies?
I think I’ve been doing that my whole life. It came a little naturally to me to just go, “Okay, I know a little bit. Let me see if I could help somebody and find a way to monetize it”.
Using AI for SEO
There have been some exciting new developments with ChatGPT, especially when it comes to using it as a tool for business and marketing.
I’m looking at [using AI for SEO] as sort of an option for building outlines for blogs and coming up with great blog post titles … I think that a lot of the leg work on research … can be shortened by using ChatGPT [although] I think we have to be very careful to not copy-paste.
Use ChatGPT and AI tools as methods for boosting your own creativity. Use them as guidelines or helpers in setting up the guidelines for your work, and then complete the actual creative work yourself.
Often, it’s the small details that trip us up when it comes to letting creativity flow, so let ChatGPT do the heavy lifting for you while you focus on writing what’s relevant and true for your marketing and your clients.
Craig’s advice to private practitioners
Growing a group practice is a step-by-step process, and once you have a great roadmap that you can follow with accountability partners and mentors, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Craig Alsup – Grow Your Practice Workbook
Craig Alsup – Private Practice Google Business Optimization Course and Workbook
Sponsors mentioned in this episode:
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
Check out these additional resources:
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
Feel free to leave a comment below or share the social media below!
Right around the corner, on April 13th, 2023 at 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time. I am partnering with Dr. David Hall on Three Therapist Secrets to Making Money in Continuing Ed trainings; how continuing education income from in-person and online offerings is more achievable than you might think. It’s going to be live, April 13th at 2 o’clock eastern and it’s going to be hosted by PsychMaven. I’m so excited about this. Please sign up over at joe.mavenwebinar.com. Again, that’s joe.mavenwebinar.com.
This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 858.
Well, welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. I hope you’re doing amazing. Last week was Level Up Week where we did over 20 webinars all around starting a practice, growing a practice, when to grow into a group practice, when to leave your practice and go do all sorts of other things, big infusion of people joining our communities, leveling up in our communities, and just a ton of knowledge. So if you were a part of that, thank you so much for being a speaker, a participant, however you were involved. We know that it was successful, even though we are recording this ahead of time, we know it was successful because you were there. A bunch of people were served. Already at the time of this recording we’re still quite a bit out from that March 20th through 23rd at the time of this recording.
We have, for some of our webinars, we already have 50 people registered and I think right now we’re about a month out from that. So that’s pretty amazing because we haven’t done very much promo around Level Up Week. So we know that a bunch of you in our communities leveled up, a bunch of you outside of our communities will have joined us and we’re just so excited to have brought together so many just amazing speakers on things like Profit First, on how to market your business, how to grow directories, all those things that were covered. To be able to get access to all of those recordings, they’re all in our libraries for our membership community as well. So if you’re in Next Level Practice, Group Practice Launch, Group Practice Boss, or Audience Building Academy, those are all a available to you as well.
Well, today I am really excited that we are going to be talking with Craig Alsup. Craig is a husband, a father, a group practice owner, a marketing expert, and he’s based in Fort Worth, Texas. He provides coaching and marketing support for practice owners wishing to grow their practices through SEO, Google Business profile optimization, systems improvement and more. He’s also a group practice owner. Craig, welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. So excited to have you here on the show today.
Hey, thanks so much for having me, Joe. Excited to be here and excited to get talking.
Well, I’d love to start with when did you go from solo to group practice and would love to dig into first just what’s your group practice like? How do you do time management? How do you know what to focus on? I’ll actually ask questions, not just dump them all right now, but when did you start your solo practice and when did you level up into a group practice?
Yeah, I actually got into this a little bit different route than many people take. I actually worked for a group practice in Missouri before moving to Texas and five years ago, actually a little over five years ago, decided that I wanted to launch a group practice. But I launched a group practice from day one, basically without me ever sort of stepping in and doing the solo thing first. Just launched as a group, started hiring other therapists and really did the marketing piece and the administrative piece to get those therapists full without me being sort of bogged down in solo practice or bogged down and seeing clients myself.
Wow. So, and I have sort of a similar story. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure I was going to do a group practice, but when I worked for Dr. Larry Beer, who ironically, we actually just brought on as a consultant here with Practice of the Practice, he had I think a 40 plus person clinician practice. Then I think by the time I saw it was around 50 clinicians, the same sort of thing where I saw in a model by working at a group practice, oh wow this person’s making a lot of money outside of their own time. So you went in right away with the lens. Like how long did it take you from when you set up the business to your first clinical hire between set up and then your first hire?
Yeah, exactly that. Joe, I basically looked around the practice that I was working in and I started to see like, ok, these are some things I would do differently, these are some things I would do the same, and this is the opportunity. We actually, it’s funny, we came up with the idea to launch a group practice, my wife and I, about a year prior to actually launching. So throughout that year, basically I learned how to build a website and do a bunch of the marketing stuff. Built all that and then January of 2018, we made our first hire and we actually launched officially on February 1st, 2018. So we made a clinical hire about a month before we actually launched. She was working elsewhere and so it was a good transition time for her. Then within about a month or two after that we hired again and then it’s just grown since then.
Wow. So where are you at right now with your numbers?
We are at 12 therapists right now. We actually just lost one who moved to start her own practice. We have four different locations right now multiple offices in each location, so yeah, just sort of plugging along and growing, not as quickly as some practices. We are private pay only, so it takes a little more time sometimes to get full that way. But really just doing it as it comes, not trying to take on too much at once or make a whole bunch of hires at once.
So I know one thing that oftentimes I get as a question when we’re talking group practice is when to hire that next person. Like, oh, the people I currently have aren’t full. They might get jealous and feel like they’re not going to get as many clients. How do you think through when to make that next hire and those questions of does everyone have to be full before you hire or do you worry about people getting jealous? Do you focus on special specialties or niches? How do you think through that next hire?
Yeah, I don’t know if it’s a sort of a law or rule that anybody has follow, but sort of what I do is I work with everybody’s schedule and when everybody gets to about 70% full, I start the process of trying to get resumes in, trying to reach out to people that have already applied and see if they’re still interested and really just start the process of hiring at that point. We found that to be sort of a sweet spot so that everybody’s pretty happy, everybody’s relatively full and then by the time we actually get somebody onboarded, we do their training and all that stuff, everybody’s even closer to being full. Then it sort of all just works out. The other thing that we do to balance that is we hire for specific offices and we hire for specific days and times. So if we notice a whole lot of calls coming in that really want to be seen on Friday or Saturday or Tuesday afternoon or whatever then when I’m the hiring process, I’m specifically asking those people, “Hey, can you work at these days and times?” Really hiring to the times that we need people for has been a real good thing for us.
So when you’re looking at those times early on, were you focusing on times as much or was it really just let’s get the group practice going?
Yeah, early on it was more, hey, let’s just get this thing going and let’s start to feel out when our busiest times are. Of course, after 3:00 PM between about three and 8:00 PM our busiest times throughout the week but then we even notice like on certain days, Friday’s not as full for us, but Mondays and Wednesdays stay really full in the afternoons and evenings. We also have some people that start work at 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning and do a good job of keeping their schedules full throughout the week. Really it was quite a learning process just to sort of figure out when most people would come. We are closed on Sundays all day but we work about half day on Saturday. Some of our therapists do. But really looking for those times when, okay, it seems like we’re getting a lot of calls for these days and times. Let’s go ahead and get somebody else in and try to up the ability and availability for those times and then also up our office utilization rates so that we don’t have offices just sitting empty too much of the week.
Starting with 2020 ones Killin’It Camp we started hearing from so many of you about your dreams of creating new sources of income outside of the traditional practice setting. Particularly we saw a lot of interest about learning about new income streams that could really scale. So with all that in mind, I wanted to see if you might join me live for a free webinar. Dr. David Hall with PsychMaven was a recent guest of mine on the podcast. In our episode we talked about David’s passion for doing therapist continuing education trainings and how these can provide an amazing scalable income. I’m going to be live with David for this exclusive Practice of the Practice webinar. It’s called Three Therapist Secrets to Making Money Through Continuing Ed Trainings. It’s how continuing education income from in-person and online offerings is way more achievable than you might think. It’s going to be live on Thursday, April 13th, 2023 at 2 o’clock eastern, 1 o’clock Central, Noon Mountain, and 11 o’clock Pacific. It’s going to be hosted by PsychMaven. Even if you can’t make it for the live webinar, we are going to have replays available. David is an expert in this area and I’m so excited to be partnering with him on this. Please sign up over at joe.mavenwebinar.com. Again, that’s joe.mavenwebinar.com. Also, it’s free.
Now the other question I often get is how to fill up a group practice. So when you think about filling up a group practice, what are some of the marketing strategies you found that worked the best for your group practice?
My favorite things to do for group practice are first you’ve got to have a good website. You’ve got to have good content on the website that speaks directly to your services that you offer. Not to be super general or anything like that on the website, but to have specific service pages that speak to couples, counseling, anxiety counseling, EMDR, whatever you offer, kids counseling. And again, to make those pages really build those pages out with the right photos that match sort of the clientele you’re shooting for as well as 500 plus words per page. So that’s huge. But then secondary to that is Google Business optimization. For me it’s just been great as a sort of local practice with offices that clients come to, Google business is probably the best way to get in front of those people that are super hyper local to your practice and that are right around your practice that are searching for, hey, I need a counselor near me. So those two options have been really good for me. We’ve not done a whole lot of community networking. We’ve done some very specific community networking where we’re reaching out specifically to concierge physicians and things like that because they tend to be more private pay similar to us. That has worked out well for us. We’ve also got some schools that refer to us as well as churches that refer to us.
And I know that you were saying before we got rolling that at a certain point some of these skills of SEO, Google Business optimization that some peers reached out to you and that’s how things started. Will you take us through how you went from just being a group practice owner to then starting to do some coaching?
Yeah, it’s interesting. Probably anybody that sort of listens to this and recognizes me or my name they probably learned it from some of the different Facebook groups out there that are for therapy practice owners. I tend to want to get on there and sometimes maybe overshare a little bit, but share some tips and ideas and ways for people to market and stuff like that. So a few years ago I was doing that in a group just sort of giving away a bunch of free information basically and I had a therapist message me and say, “Hey, can you help me with my website and some SEO work on my website?” I was like, “Sure, I guess.” So I think I was a few steps ahead of her as far as knowledge on what to do with SEO so I just threw a price out there, a really cheap price, and then jumped in and did her SEO and her practice started growing. Then a couple other things, Google Business optimization for her and some coaching and her business basically took off. She started referring friends to me and along the way I continue to learn more, continue to listen to podcasts like this one, continue to read blogs on marketing and take courses on marketing and stuff like that. I’ve gotten a whole lot better with these things but really it just started out real organically with people just messaging me and saying, “Hey, can you help me,” and me going, “Yeah, ok. I’ve got a little extra time on my hands to do that.”
Well, and I think there’s a couple things that I want to underline that you just said. One is that you were just a couple steps ahead and I think that oftentimes when you’ve been in the consulting world for a while, you really sometimes miss just how simple it is and how simple the pains are. And when you’re just a couple steps ahead, it’s a lot easier sometimes to say, oh yeah, I remember what it was like to not even know what SEO meant and that was six months ago, or that was a year ago. So to just really start before you’re probably ready is something that I definitely would reiterate to people as you’re saying that. Then secondly, to just throw out a price to say, okay, what’s a price that I would be over the moon excited for also maybe is below what my competitors are and letting these people know that I’m pretty, I’m new at this, or I am newer at this and I would love to get feedback or testimonials or really know if it’s working well or if it’s not working well to give it a whirl.
Then I mean, if you screw things up royally, you can always refund somebody’s money. You can always say I thought I was good at SEO and clearly, I’m terrible at it and I’m going in a different direction. You can always have that option also. So to move before you’re ready I think is such a great piece of advice. Now, was that something that comes natural for you or did you have to push into that and say, well, I’m going to give this a whirl even though that’s not my natural inclination?
Yeah, I think it’s funny because I think I’ve been doing that my whole life. It came a little naturally to me to just go, okay, I know a little bit, let me see if I can help somebody and find a way to monetize it. So I think I’ve done that since I was probably a teenager, starting out and doing little entrepreneurial stuff along the way and so it was a little more natural to me, but it’s a thing where I think anybody can really look and go, hey, there is something that I’m good at out there. I think of one therapist that I work with in particular who is great at Gestalt therapy and that’s her thing. She quickly realized that, hey, not a lot of people have that sort of background and that sort of knowledge and so she put together a website, put together a little course and is just killing it and doing an incredible job training therapists to do what she’s good at. So I think most therapists probably have the ability to look at what they can do and what they do know, and to be able to monetize that, be able to make that work in their favor.
Awesome. Well, I want to drill into some of the things that you found that really helped you and your consulting clients. I do want to apologize to the listeners. Craig is in a co-working space and we are getting a lot of background noise. We’re not going to take the time to go and rerecord this but thank you for listening and putting up with that background noise folks. Usually, we try not to have as much of that, but we wanted Craig to jump in here and do this episode. Craig, when you think about SEO I want to first, because right now like chatGPT and using AI for writing. How are you thinking through AI when it comes to SEO and what maybe the work is that you’re doing with people?
Yeah, that’s, there’s definitely some exciting stuff happening with chatGPT and some of the different AI builders and programs out there. I’m looking at it as sort of an option for building outlines for blogs and coming up with great blog post titles. I think that a lot of the legwork on research and stuff like that can be shortened by using chatGPT. I think we have to be really careful to not just sort of copy paste what chatGPT spits out as far as blog posts or as far as content as a whole. But I think if you are asking chatGPT and giving it the right inputs then you can come up with some really creative titles, some really good content outlines, some really good paragraphs and things like that that you can then sort of rework and make human and put it in your voice and your style. So I think there’s some really cool stuff happening with that. I think there’s some big potential that people will be able to do a whole lot more blog posts and things like that, which will help their SEO if they can learn to use those and not just use them in a copy paste fashion.
Now, what are some either case studies of clients you see using AI well or ways that you’re using it, just in maybe like step by step, maybe three to five steps of what that looks like for people? Because I’ve been testing it and looking at it and I’m pretty amazed at least the first round of what some of the AI is doing, but like how step-by-step are you seeing people use it?
Yeah, I think you can get on chatGPT, really just Google search chatGPT and find their program there. You can get on and really just start asking it questions. The best way to sort of learn is to poke around on it, I found, but really just get on the and say, hey chatGPT, I want you to act as a blog manager or blog writer, content writer, something like that, and then say, write me 10 titles for a blog on infidelity in relationships or something similar to that. chatGPT will then spit all out within about 30 seconds and then as you go through and ask more questions chatGPT is basically learning from what you’ve talked about before, and so it can really start to dial in on exactly what you’re wanting it to want to accomplish. So yeah, I’d say the first step is just jump on there, Google it, jump on chatGPT and start asking a question, start telling it, “Hey act as a content manager, content writer, things like that,” and then really just work through that process of asking questions, seeing what you get from it. You can even say please rewrite that last paragraph, or please rewrite that last title or whatever and it’ll do that. It’s pretty amazing the stuff that comes out of it.
So awesome. Well, Craig the last question that I always ask is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now what would you want them to know?
I would want them to know that growing a private practice is really, it’s a step-by-step process and that with the right support along, the right lessons learned sometimes the hard way along the way, you can definitely do it. It’s not rocket science. It’s not something that should be this sort of insurmountable wall. It’s something that you can do. If I can do it, you can definitely do it. Man, I’m just excited to, excited I’ve gotten to be here to chat with everybody.
Awesome. And if people want to connect with you what’s the best way?
The best way you can just shoot me an email at Craig@livebeyondcounseling.com.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice Podcast.
Yeah, thanks so much, Joe. Thanks for having me.
Well, right around the corner we have got our joint webinar with David Hall, which I am so excited about. You can register for this over at joe.mavenwebinar.com and it’s pretty exciting. We are going to be covering the Three Therapist Secrets for Money Making in Continuing Education Training. In it you’re going to see how you can have continuing Ed income be something that you do from in-person and online offerings. It’s a lot more achievable than you think. We’re going to be hanging out on Thursday, April 13th at 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time. We have so many great skills. We have skills in trauma, we have skills in Gestalt, we have skills in all these different areas. And David Hall is just, he’s been offering CEs for years and I’m so excited for us to be able to be partnering with PsychMaven. Again, you can register for that over at joe.mavenwebinar.com. You’ll get all the details there. You can sign in for that April 13th webinar.
Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music.
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