What does a brand strategy for private practice look like? When should you hire a virtual assistant? When should the owner step back from the marketing?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Samantha Carvalho all about a full brand strategy for private practice.
Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
In This Podcast
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Samantha Carvalho all about a full brand strategy for private practice.
What would a brand strategy look like for a start-up private practice?
Firstly, you should start with your logo and brand style guide, setting up your website and deciding what to put on it, as well as what social media channels you’d like to use.
Then, set up a content calendar for all the platforms you’re working with for the next month (or year if you can). Try to make it as detailed as possible. Think about what the image is going to look like, and what are you going to say.
This will help you get into a rhythm and understand what day to post what. Make sure when you set everything up properly from the get-go.
When is the best to bring on virtual assistants?
Once you’re satisfied with the amount of clients coming in and you’re seeing results from your marketing, and you don’t have time to work on marketing, then it’s time to bring someone on. It can start small, with 10 posts a month. It’s important to keep your marketing running and not shut it down as it’s harder to build up that traffic again when you stop. Be consistent.
When should the owner step back from the branding?
The owner should always be aware of what is being said about the business, but the small tedious tasks like creating, writing and scheduling posts, can all be something virtual assistants can run with. It’s important to find someone that gets your brand. Once they have a good idea of what your business does and how your business operates, you’ll feel comfortable stepping back and letting them take over.
What’s great is that they’ll be quicker and better at it than you are, as it probably isn’t your speciality. Remember to organise your content properly, so that if people leave your business, it’s easy for someone else to take over.
What would 3 hours a month get you?
Month one could be a logo design, or one to two outputs such as 5 – 10 social media posts. 10 hours a month gives a lot more time to do social media postings, business cards, with about 5- 6 products a month. It all depends on the stage your practice is in.
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This the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 421. Well, I’m Joe Sanok, your host and I have loved doing these series with Jeremy, Alison, Sam, Whitney. They just are a wealth of knowledge information and if you’re interested in working with any of them, connect with them through practiceofthepractice.com/apply. But I want to chat with you about what is happening on January 14th. You’re going to want to Mark your calendar. So, if you are approaching $100,000 and you want to be a part of a retreat that is like no other, Slow Down School tickets are going to open for early birds on January 14th and I want to tell you about Slow Down School. You’ve probably heard about it. We aren’t planning on doing Slow Down School in 2021 and so you’re going to have to wait two years if you miss this because our plan as a family is to be on a mega road trip during that time. So, we want to fill up the 2020 Slow Down School with people that really want to go big in their practice, but also go big in their life.
But they probably need to slow down to figure out what’s the best use of their time. And so, this is what it looks like. On Sunday, July, I think it’s 28th, whatever that Sunday is in late July. Should have had it right in front of me. You’re going to fly into Traverse City, we’re going to pick you up in a big yellow school bus at the Traverse City airport, we’re going to travel out to the beaches of Lake Michigan and go to the Leelanau School, which is this amazing boarding school. It has a river that cuts through the campus, we are probably half a block, like 300 feet from Lake Michigan, and on that Sunday, we kick things off. Then on Monday we go for a hike at one of my favorite places in Northern Michigan. Then we have massages, we have a tie body worker and a massage therapist come and give massages under this outdoor cabana, and then we hang on the beach and we just relax and we let our brains rest. We don’t look at our phones.
Then the next day we do the same thing except we have a yoga teacher come that day instead of the massage therapists. We have some time to just enjoy Northern Michigan and just be in nature. We have an executive chef that comes in and connects locally with farmers. I mean, they tell us exactly where our carrots come from. And then on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning, we run full tilt towards growing your practice., going after your big ideas, your podcasts, your group practice. We bring in speakers that have done it, that can walk with you. We have these things called sprints where we spend 20 minutes just going full tilt and then we stop when we reflect on what worked and people say that they get more done in three of those 20-minute sprints than they would’ve got done in months.
I mean people sketching out seven chapters of a book they’d been wanting to write, people totally restructuring their social media strategy. And I’m there and a number of my other consultants help out and it’s this time where we spend a week together in the woods in kind of dorm style living, not like a giant room, but you know, there’s two people per room and you have a roommate or you can have your own room. It’s up to you. And it’s just this amazing transformation that happens in a week. And so, if you’re ready to go to the next level, this is a small group. Usually it’s around 20 people or so. So, the early bird is $2,500. And I want you to go over to slowdownschool.com to grab your early bird ticket on January 14th.
If you’re unsure, I want to jump on a phone call with you. I’ll call you from my personal cell phone, I’ll talk with you about whether I think it’s a fit for you. You can go over right now to practiceofthepractice.com/apply. If you want to chat before then so that you know on the early bird launch day, we can chat ahead of time so that when those tickets launch, then you know you’re going to get a spot.
But Slow Down School is this thing that, you know, I think back to the very first year when John Clark and Jeremy Sharp were roommates and the two of them have exploded as podcasters. When I think about Michael Glavine who keynoted our Killin’It Camp, he came as a participant in the second year and then spoke. Jessica Tappana who has done for you SEO and makes more from that business than she does from her own practice now. Those all started at Slow Down School and they’ve really moved forward. And so if you are ready to get to a new level, if you are ready to go after big ideas and grow your practice to just a much larger space but want to do it kind of in that sense that it’s in line with how you know, life should be lived, then Slow Down Schools probably for you.
I’d love to jump on a phone call with you. If you want to jump on a call, just either email me, [email protected] or go over to the /apply page and we’ll get some more information from you or just go to slowdownschool.com and opt in before that launches and you’ll get an email. We want to make sure the right people are there and that the right experience happens for everyone. So, wanted to make sure you know about that coming up and without further ado, we have our fifth episode with Sam about branding.
Well, today we have our final episode of this branding series with our chief marketing officer, Sam Carvalho. How are you doing, Sam?
[SAM]: I’m doing well, thanks. And you, Joe?
[JOE]: This is just so awesome to talk through this. We have gone through four episodes already. The first one was all about logos and first impressions, number two was about website and the user journey, third was social media and fourth was print. And today we’re bringing it altogether into a full brand strategy talking systems. So, I never doubted that you are crazy smart but this series has totally just given a new level of appreciation for just how much you think through our branding. It just happens and I don’t have to worry about it and I just want to say thanks. Like, you are crazy smart.
[SAM]: Thanks Joe.
[JOE]: No problem. Well, let’s start full brand strategy. So, let’s zoom out from the individual. So, we’ve kind of individually talked about a bunch of these things. How would you frame out, let’s start with like someone just starting a practice and then we can move into maybe a group practice and kind of leveling up from there? Talk through a full brand strategy. What would that look like for a practice that’s maybe under $100,000 a year?
[SAM]: So, I think once you’ve kind of had your logo and brand style guide created like a spoke about in the first episode, I think from there, you know, it’s kind of how we’ve structured this podcast series. So, creating your logo and your brand style guide, then kind of setting up your website and deciding on what information you want to put there and then deciding what social media platforms you want to be on. I’d say operate like that for a while and then you can look at print, you know, like a few months or a year down the line but I’d say just within that, setting up a content calendar that covers all the platforms that you are marketing yourself on.
So, I’d like to say for the year, but if that seems too much to look at, then at least for the next month kind of what you’re going to be posting on your blog, what you’re going to be posting on your social media platforms and try to make it as detailed as possible and down to what the post is going to be, what the image is going to look like, what the description is going to say, when you’re going to post, what day you’re going to post it. When you have that to work from then you’ll obviously figure out a structure of like, okay, you know, Mondays you post this, Tuesdays you post this. So initially it may seem overwhelming and initially it’s a bit of work, but once you get into the flow of everything it becomes a lot easier. And then, yes, and then obviously creating your posts from there and bigger picture kind of making sure that any events you organize or anything that kind of comes over and above the general stuff that you’re posting that you include that as well and that you have a strategy around how you’re going to promote those things. Things like that.
[JOE]: Now I know that when people first start out, they really try to keep their costs down, their risks down, which is super smart to bootstrap it. At what point do you see people, it’s better for them to bring on a virtual kind of the team, to bring on some brand strategists? When does that start to make sense as someone grows their practice?
[SAM]: So I think from my point of view, once you kind of have a full case load and once you’re kind of satisfied with the amount of clients coming in and you find yourself obviously just focusing on that and not having enough time to do your social media or to do your blogging or to market yourself or put your branding out there, then I’d say it’s time to bring on someone. Again, you know, it can start small where they’re just posting 10 social posts a month for you or something like that and it can grow from there, but I think it’s just important to kind of keep it running as opposed to not having time and then your Facebook or your Instagram or your website kind of shuts down for like a month or two because to get that flow and that traffic going again, it’s even harder than if you had just kept it consistent the whole time.
[JOE]: 100%. I mean, I think that’s how I approach, whether it’s new projects or anything even outside of branding is I want to make sure what we’re working on currently is as seamlessly as possible. There’s always going to be things that pop up moving forward, flowing like it should, consistent and then the new projects that are for me always like the most exciting, you know, launching a new product project and getting it going and then sustaining it and then the next new thing to make sure that the things that we’ve committed to that we do really well before we dive into kind of the next new thing.
[SAM]: Yes, absolutely.
[JOE]: So, when we think through kind of full brand strategy it sounds like the first phase that is really just kind of setting up those basic logistics and then the second phase would be automating it through virtual assistants or systems or technologies. When does it, I guess will the third phase be kind of the owner really stepping back from a lot of the branding or would that be kind of phase three?
[SAM]: Yes, I think so. I think once you’ve kind of, and sorry, just to backtrack on the setting up, just making sure that when you set up your social media platforms that you do it right and well the first time. So, making sure that you fill out all the information with like lengthy descriptions, making sure that you have a decent cover photo, all of that so that you don’t have to come back to that. But then fast forwarding to phase three, I would say that, yes, definitely. I think, and it always needs to kind of be aware of the branding and what’s being communicated about the business, but I think the nitty gritty of actually creating the posts and scheduling them and doing the blog content and even promoting certain events and stuff like that should all be something that the virtual assistant or whatever take over and run with because those systems have been put in place so they know kind of what to do when something new comes.
And I think it’s just important to find someone that gets your brand, and obviously once you feel that that person understands what you want to communicate and that they have a good idea of what you want your brand to look like then you’ll obviously be happy to step away and let them run with it because they have the same thinking as you do. So. Yes.
[JOE]: Yes, and even just looking at return on investment for your time, you know, if you’re a clinician and you’re charging 100 bucks an hour or 200 bucks, whatever it is that you charge and thinking about bringing someone on that can do some marketing for you, probably they’re better at marketing than you are. So, they’re going to get it done faster. Usually their hourly is not the same as you are and just the amount of education you’re going to have to do to do it right, if you were to give that a dollar amount, to me, it’s just a no brainer to have a team of people that are helping you when you’re, you know, even when you’re starting to just approach that a hundred K.
[SAM]: Yes, and as you say, they’ll be able to take it to the next level and introduce new things that you weren’t even aware of. And I think just, I know you’ve mentioned it before, but how you and I work with the Trello board, so you still have visibility into what I’m doing and then so you know what tasks are being completed and that sort of thing. So, I think as long as you have those systems in place you don’t necessarily need to feel like you’re not in control of your marketing. Like you can still pop in to see what’s happening.
Also, something I wanted us to touch on was Dropbox. So making sure that all your marketing or design elements are in a Dropbox folder because I know it also happens, sometimes, people change designers or you know, people in the team change then this person walks away with like the logo files or this person walks away with the content strategy or whatever it may be. So just making sure that all of that is consolidated within one area that kind of stays there, that whoever joins the team then has access to that material.
[JOE]: Awesome. So, I want to go through and say, okay, if someone could, I’m going to give you kind of different amount of hours. So, someone said, “You know what Sam, I can pay you for three hours a month. What are you going to do for me?” What would a three hour a month package, like for a private practice, what would you do with them? What would be some things that you would try?
[SAM]: So, I could design a logo for the one month, the next month, yes, three hours is probably just to give you an idea, like one or two products. Like one or two outputs. So, whether it be a logo or you know, if you’re still in the setting up stages and if you’re in like the posting stages, then three hours is probably like five to 10 social media posts. Yes, so, it’s quite like a minimal output, but —
[JOE]: Now say someone was like, “Okay, I’ve got a budget for 10 hours a month to work with you to amp things up.” Like what would you do in 10 hours a month?
[SAM]: So that’s when things get exciting. So, 10 hours a month, yes, obviously give us a lot of time to do social media posting if that’s what you’re after, create a logo, create business cards. I’d say you’re looking at like five to six products that can come from that. So yes, it also depends on kind of the stage of practice that you’re in. I mean, I think I know you sold the 10-hour package to the people at Slow Down School and they all come with like varying things, but it’s been awesome. A lot of them have asked for logos first but then yes, it just depends on the state of practice you’re in. If you’re at the stage where you want to start experimenting with print material, then you know, that’s obviously what we do. We just do some rack cards. Another thing has been like bios for clinicians, things like that. So yes, it just depends on —
[JOE]: So, bios for like if they want to be on podcast shows or things like that they can —
[SAM]: Yes, just well-designed bios. Yes.
[JOE]: Awesome. Well, if you want to work with Sam and the team head an over to practiceofthepractice.com/branding. That’s the best way to contact Sam and to kind of talk about what you’re looking at. It could be brand style guide, it could be a logo, looking at the user experience on your website, social media, getting some print done or really looking at a full brand strategy. Also, in 2020, we are releasing done for you podcasting services, we calling it Podcast Dominance School. And so, you’ll see more about that. The best way to kind of connect around that is to go over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply and you can apply for Podcast Dominance School. We didn’t talk really about that on this, but basically you show up and do the recording for your podcast and we take care of everything else.
So, if you want to connect with Sam again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/branding. Sam, thanks so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[SAM]: Thanks Joe. I really enjoyed it.
[JOE]: This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one. And special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy. We like your intro music.