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Is Your Practice Ready for Paid Digital Marketing? An Interview with John Sanders

An interview with John Sanders, owner of RevKey, about Google and Social Media Ads. Curt and Katie talk with John about the importance of a solid website, effective sales process, and metrics when considering paid digital advertising. We also explore what to expect when you create Google or Facebook Ads. We also talk about why you may want to outsource this and the financial risks for getting this marketing wrong.

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.


Click here to scroll to the podcast transcript.

Interview with John Sanders, RevKey

John is an expert in paid search, specifically, Google Ads (which used to be called Google AdWords). He holds a BBA and MBA, and he has put this education to work in a variety of positions in the marketing field, including inside sales, purchasing, E-Commerce, and marketing management. Once he found Google Ads, John was hooked. He enjoys helping businesses generate leads through Google Ads that will help their companies grow, and he has partnered with businesses in a range of professions, including medical offices, B2B companies, and national product brands. John can help your business achieve its full potential.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Google Ads and other digital advertising (social media for example)
  • The mistakes folks make in purchasing digital ads, typical pitfalls
  • Specific to Google Search Ads: why not to use smart or dynamic ads
  • Keywords and negative keywords
  • The importance of tracking your results and what results you’re looking for
  • The difference between social media and Google ads
  • What a good ad looks like and what page it goes to
  • What’s needed on a website before starting Google Ads (sufficient, relevant content and pages)
  • Service pages and the specificity of the search
  • How social media ads work (e.g., Facebook and Instagram)
  • Building an audience within social media to target with your ads
  • The value of an ideal client or niche when using social media ads
  • Social media is more of a branding exercise than Google Ads
  • Facebook has a lot of specific rules for advertising
  • What return on investment you should expect, the goal of placing ads
  • How to assess what is not working
  • Looking through the full sales cycle to determine where to improve efforts (including answering your phone)
  • The technical savvy that is needed to run and assess these ads
  • The usefulness of Google analytics
  • Determining DIY versus hiring out advertising
  • How to outsource paid digital advertising
  • How to determine the average value of a client
  • Advantage of paid digital advertising versus Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • The potential to lose money if this is done wrong
  • The benefit if it is set up properly
  • Setting up a multitier marketing plan including Google Ads and SEO

Our Generous Sponsor:

Trauma Therapist Network

Trauma is highly prevalent in mental health client populations and people are looking for therapists with specialized training and experience in trauma, but they often don’t know where to start.

If you’ve ever looked for a trauma therapist, you know it can be hard to discern who knows what and whether or not they’re the right fit for you. There are so many types of trauma and so many different ways to heal. That’s why Laura Reagan, LCSW-C created Trauma Therapist Network.

Trauma Therapist Network is a new resource for anyone who wants to learn about trauma and how it shows up in our lives. This new site has articles, resources and podcasts for learning about trauma and its effects, as well as a directory exclusively for trauma therapists to let people know how they work and what they specialize in, so potential clients can find them.

Trauma Therapist Network therapist profiles include the types of trauma specialized in, populations served and therapy methods used, making it easier for potential clients to find the right therapist who can help them.

The Network is more than a directory, though. It’s a community. All members are invited to attend community meetings to connect, consult and network with colleagues around the country. Join our growing community of trauma therapists and get 20% off your first month using the promo code:  MTSG20 at

Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

Relevant Episodes:

Bad Marketing Decisions

The Brand Called You

Creating Relevant Ads

Hostage Marketing

SEO Guide for Therapists

Marketing with Empathy

Clinical Marketing

Branding for Your Ideal Client

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

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Who we are:

Picture of Curt Widhalm, LMFT, co-host of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide podcast; a nice young man with a glorious beard.Curt Widhalm, LMFT

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at:

Picture of Katie Vernoy, LMFT, co-host of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide podcastKatie Vernoy, LMFT

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at:

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

Stay in Touch:

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Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

Transcript for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast (Autogenerated):

Curt Widhalm  00:00

This episode is sponsored by Trauma Therapist Network.

Katie Vernoy  00:04

Trauma therapist network is a new resource for anyone who wants to learn about trauma and how it shows up in our lives. This new site has articles, resources and podcasts for learning about trauma and its effects, as well as a directory exclusively for trauma therapists to let people know how they work, and what they specialize in so potential clients can find them. Visit trauma therapist To learn more, listen at the end of the episode for more about the trauma therapist network.

Announcer  00:31

You’re listening to the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide, where therapists live, breathe and practice as human beings to support you as a whole person and a therapist. Here are your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy.

Katie Vernoy  00:47

Welcome back modern therapists This is the modern therapist Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy. And this is the podcast about all things that therapists face. Sometimes their business stuff, and today’s episode is diving into the world of online digital advertising. Any of us who are working through the pandemic have our small businesses, needing to find ways to potentially reach new clients that we haven’t had to in the past. I know for people like me, I’ve built my practice largely on in person networking and some of those relationships. But it’s as I get asked by some of the listeners of like, I’m ready to start a practice now. How do I develop a practice like yours? And I say, I don’t know, because we’re not allowed to beat people during the pandemic. I don’t know, maybe like find some Google ads or some Facebook ads. They’re like, Well, what works for you. And I’m like, talk to our guest today. John Sanders from RevKey, this is something that he’s going to be able to speak on way better than I am. John, thank you for joining us today.

John Sanders  01:54

Thanks for having me.

Katie Vernoy  01:56

We’re excited to have you here I was so I don’t know what the right word pleased. I’ll just say pleased, I was so pleased when you reached out to connect related to the conference, actually, and I’m so excited that you’re one of our conference sponsors. Thank you so much for your support. But just in talking with you and about RevKey and what your mission is, I am really excited to have you to talk with our audience about this area that I think a lot of folks just don’t know anything about and can be a real great way for people to market their practices. So we’ll dive right in with the question we ask all of our guests, which is who are you and what are you putting out to the world.

John Sanders  02:34

So I’m John Sanders. I’m the owner of RevKey. And I focus on Google ads for mental health professionals, probably 90% of my revenue is generated by therapists and counselors who are looking to increase the size their practice, and get new clients either for themselves or for therapists who are working for them. I started doing this I, I kind of got into this a little bit of a natural way, my wife opened her testing psychology practice. And so I started running Google ads for her while I was also running Google ads during the day doing a day job at a marketing agency. And over time, helping her started helping a couple of her friends. And then 2018, it just became my entire job. And I quit my marketing agency job. And I opened rev key and I haven’t looked back since.

Katie Vernoy  03:28

Nice, I like it. There’s a lot of mistakes to be made in buying digital ads, rather than going networking to a small community where people might be able to get to your physical office or that kind of stuff. Now you’re potentially advertising to the whole world. What kind of mistakes do you see people making when they’re first moving into some of these online ads that if we can save them a few dollars here and there to be able to be more effective with them? What kind of mistakes do you see that people could avoid?

John Sanders  04:02

Sure. So with Google ads, some of the most common mistakes are setting up what’s called a smart advertising campaign where Google really does most of the work for you. But it really doesn’t have a lot of options in terms of customizing different ads, and trying to avoid clicks that you don’t necessarily want. So if you’re going to use Google ads, and when we’re talking about Google ads, we’re talking very specifically about Google search ads. And those are the advertisements that appear on Google after somebody searches something, make sure you’re using the full version of Google ads and not not a smart ad. I’m not a big fan of their dynamic ads that just scan your website, you can end up with all sorts of weird traffic based off of that. We want to be able to go and specifically say these are the keywords that we want to target and then we want to be able to look at the search terms what people are actually searching to come to your website, a couple of other things that that I commonly see when people come to me who are running their own Google ads is not having any what are called negative keywords. And those are words that you put into Google and say, if this word appears in the search, do not show my ad. And probably the most common one that I see is massage. So I’ll see a bunch of people will say therapy near me, and they’ll get a bunch of searches for massage therapy near me, which is what we absolutely don’t want. And then probably the final thing is not really having a good way of tracking your results, not really knowing how many people are calling you, because your ads not knowing how many people are filling out forms. And so you don’t really know if Google ads is working for you if you don’t do those things. So all of a sudden, Google ads just becomes you know, a charge on your credit card every month that you’re just not sure if you’re getting anything out of it. So that measurement piece is super important.

Katie Vernoy  06:00

So there’s different types of ads that I know that you work on. I know you do Google ads, but you also do social media ads. And to me, it seems like most of these platforms are cost per click or cost for per view, or the more people are responding to clicking into seeing your ad, the more you’re going to pay. And so it seems like there’s some nuance there that would be important for people to understand what they should use, which one is better for their practice that kind of stuff. So talk to us a little bit about. And maybe this is way too big of a question. But as far as like, what does a good Google Ad look like? Why should someone think about Google ads? And then also looking at the the social media ads, and when that is potentially the right choice, the better choice a good addition? You know, it’s kind of like, what are we talking about here, when we’re saying digital marketing, online, paid ads?

John Sanders  06:54

Well, let’s start with social media ads. In this case, they are a very different animal from Google search ads in that if somebody searches you on Google, they are at least somewhat through their buying journey already to use a little marketing speak, they have already decided that they need a therapist, and so they type in something like therapist near me or counseling near me. And then you know, we want to show them an ad that really deals with what they’re looking at. So for example, if somebody types in anxiety treatment near me, or anxiety treatment in their city, I want to show them an ad that talks very specifically about anxiety, I don’t want a generalist ad, I don’t want something that includes something about couples counseling, or anything that’s not related to anxiety, I want then them to click onto my ad. And I want to take them to a page on a website that talks very specifically about anxiety treatment, I don’t want to take them to a page that is a bullet point of services, or a homepage that has a whole bunch of other things that they’re not looking for, I want to take them to a page specifically about anxiety. And ultimately, the goal is for them to either call you fill out a form or go to, you know, some sort of scheduling link. And that’s really the process when you advertise on Google that you should think about as every time you’re putting in a keyword thinking, What page is this going to? And how is this going to be successful. And that’s really kind of how you should write your ads. And also be thinking about your website. You know, one of the things that we had talked about previously is that before you start Google ads, really getting a good website going is very key and having what we would call service pages, where you have a page very specifically for all of the specialties that that you do, instead of having that page of just bullet points, because that’s not going to engage customers. Also, Google’s constantly judging our ads. And they’re not going to really see that as a high quality landing page. And so your ads are going to get judged by Google for that. So it’s really good to have those pages in place before you start advertising both from a Google standpoint, and also from a potential user standpoint as well.

Katie Vernoy  09:12

Yeach you don’t want to pay for something and send them to a website that then talks them out of working with you.

John Sanders  09:18

Right, or just doesn’t have any information. And yeah, and I know that it’s really easy to fall into that trap is, you know, if you’re just starting out, you go on WordPress, and you put together your first website, to not include enough content out there. But really the it’s it is very key to make sure that you have that content before you start trying to advertise,

Katie Vernoy  09:41

you know, you talked about kind of being a certain way through the the buying process or the or whatever when they’re searching on Google for a therapist, but when we’re looking at Facebook ads or Instagram ads or any of the social ads, like how do those work and what are those best use for

John Sanders  09:59

So Facebook and Instagram ads are both run out of the same platform. And the way that you target customers is by creating what’s called an audience. And this is a combination of behaviors and demographics and interest that people have. So you can say, show my ads to people who have job titles similar to therapist or something along those lines. And you can put in several different ones. You can also do it based off of behavior have they come to your website before that is what’s called remarketing, although that’s going to get a little more difficult in the next year as kind of that cookie based remarketing that a lot of people have heard about is going to start to go away. So you can target people based off of their age based off of their location based off of particular interest they might have. And so it’s really good to use social media ads, when you have a very specific idea of who your audience is, in terms of those demographics. If you’re more of a general therapy practice, you’re you’re going on a little bit of a fishing expedition, because you’re going to write kind of a general ad towards a general audience. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But we can’t measure it in a lot of the same ways as a Google search ad where they’re already so far through the buying process, you could end up showing ads to people who don’t think they need a therapist, or I’ve never even thought about getting a therapist. And so then it’s much more of a multistage situation where you’re trying to get them to come to your website, and then maybe you serve them some remarketing ads, or you send them an email or something along those lines. And so I really kind of warn people that when you’re doing social media ads to not necessarily hold them to a the same standard as Google, but also to think about a little more as an exercise in branding than what I would call direct conversion.

Katie Vernoy  11:57

You’re saying that direct conversion be more likely if they have a product or a book or or some sort of like an event like something that’s very specific, that’s going to be a better social media ad than, hey, do you happen to be ready for therapy right in this moment, and I’ve targeted you appropriately.

John Sanders  12:17

Right, exactly. And also, with social media ads, you have to be very careful about the wording you use. For instance, you know, if you try to use the word, you in a Facebook ad, your ad could get disapproved, because you’re trying to talk directly to the customer, which Facebook does not like, and Facebook has a number of rules around, you know, the wording and usage it within within your ads, and probably more rules than Google has on that front.

Katie Vernoy  12:48

What makes a successful campaign, you’re talking about getting better results here. How do you interpret whether or not what you’re doing is successful?

John Sanders  12:55

You know, when we talk about it within Google ads, if we are getting 100 clicks for a customer, I want to see how many of those actually turned into phone calls, leads scheduled clicks. And look at that in terms of our percentage, generally, I want that percentage to be at least 5%. So if 100 people click on your ads, I want at least five of them to do something. And then we also have to look at how much you’re spending for each of those leads. And then ultimately, the most important thing is, are those leads turning into customers and revenue for you. If you get into a situation where you’re spending $500 a month on Google ads, you want to make sure that you are getting a good return for for that $500 ad spend. And that’s where kind of tracking get with you know, your assistant to make sure that those people that are clicking on your ads are actually turning into clients is super important.

Katie Vernoy  13:54

When you’re finding that people are not hitting like that 5% What do you see as often kind of contributing to that? Or what kinds of steps do you look at to evaluate where things aren’t converting?

John Sanders  14:06

Sure. I think it depends on the, you know, where people are kind of dropping off in the process. You know, for instance, if you know, somebody comes to me, and shows me their Google Ads account, and they’re saying, I’m not really getting anything off of this. And I find that you know, less than 1% of people are actually clicking on their ads, that’s usually an indication that you have an ad problem, or your ads are being served on search terms that we don’t want to go back to the massage therapy example. If you’re advertising anxiety therapy and somebody types in massage therapy near me, your ads never kind of get clicked on. So that’s that’s one of the first things to to look at. If people are then you know if people are actually clicking on your ads that are relatively recent, right, which I would define as about at least two to 3% of the time. I know they’re getting to your website. Are they spending enough time on your website? If you find find that your average time on your website is from people from your ads is 30 seconds, they’re not spending very long on your website, and they’re not seeing a particular bit of content that that they are looking for, kind of the measure that I have for that is I want to make sure people are spending at least 60 seconds on your website. And to go back to the previous example of the service page that just has bullet points. If you’re running ads to that, typically people are going to look at that and go, and then they’re going to click off under 30 seconds, and you’re not going to end up converting that client.

Katie Vernoy  15:37

There’s a lot of stuff you’re talking about that sounds pretty technical, which is, you know, kind of monitoring the click rate monitoring, you know, and kind of what percentage are people clicking and what percentage of people are actually getting to the website, and how long they’re spending on the website? That seems like a lot to first figure out how you can actually get that information. And then also a lot to try to sort through like for DIY errs Is it obvious if you’re able to get a little bit technically savvy, how to get that data, so you can even look at it.

John Sanders  16:14

Google Ads has a lot of different menus in it. And so that can, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for, can be a little difficult. In a lot of cases, you’re having to pull information from another program called Google Analytics, which even if you’re not running Google ads, you should definitely have Google Analytics installed on your website. So you can see how many clicks overall, you’re getting, how long people are spending on your website, getting information about about those individual pages,

Katie Vernoy  16:42

it seems like people need to have at least some some knowledge and have installed at least Google Analytics to be able to see some of this data.

John Sanders  16:51

Right. And that’s one of the first things that as a common mistake that when people will come to me and they’re they’ve maybe they’ve been running their own Google ads, that they haven’t installed Google Analytics, or they haven’t put on those negative keywords that we’ve talked about. Or you don’t really have any of that measurement, which is not necessarily obvious in Google ads. And in a lot of cases, you have to involve things like Google Analytics, or even third party programs, if you’re looking to track some calls,

Katie Vernoy  17:18

as far as some of the time investment to figure this kind of stuff out. And I’m guessing the monetary mistakes to try some of these things out, see what’s effective or not, is this worth a clinicians time to invest this kind of stuff? Or is this kind of one of those things where the best advice is, have people who are good at this pay for their services and let them do their thing, we don’t want them treating suicidal clients, we want them to refer to us therapists is this honestly, just something where it’s a better use of clinicians time to hire out these kinds of services,

John Sanders  17:58

I would say for the most part, this is something you want to hire out. Much like I hire out graphics design or accounting, I don’t like to do accounting. That’s why I have an accountant. And I could spend my time and try to figure all of this out. But I probably wouldn’t end up doing that good of a job on it. As somebody who professionally does it day in and day out. That’s not to say you can’t I’ve had some very technically minded therapist, especially a couple of them that, you know, maybe used to work in it. And this is their their second job, those guys have been able to understand it fairly well. But for the most part, I would say most of the people who try this themselves, they fall into some of these traps that we’ve talked about. And they potentially end up wasting a lot of money on Google, that doesn’t really lead to any clients.

Katie Vernoy  18:47

Yeah, I think to me, the financial downside of doing this wrong can be pretty high, especially if you set it and forget it. And to me, I feel like this is something that I cannot emphasize enough that if you can get it right. I mean, this is a way to have marketing just happening in the background all the time. And this is kind of what therapists desire, like I don’t have to do anything and I get clients. And so it’s interesting because I think a lot of people are worried to invest. How would somebody identify a good return on investment for outsourcing Google ads, outsourcing potentially other paid online marketing? And and kind of what that would look like? Like, let’s just say a solo practitioner who’s wanting to start or grow their caseload like, what should they expect as far as being able to get something like this set up? And then what would that return look like?

John Sanders  19:46

I think to answer that question, you have to start with, what the average value of your client is, what you’re charging, how many sessions you’re keeping them. And if you can, look at that. data you can figure out, well, I charge, let’s say, $100 an hour, people tend to stay with me 20 to 30 sessions. So we have each customer being approximately worth two to $3,000. And then you have to think about how much would you be willing to pay for one of those customers. And so, you know, we go back to what we talked about earlier, where let’s say you’re spending $500 on Google a month, if you can get one client out of that, who’s two to $3,000. In revenue, that’s a pretty good when and if you get any more than that, it’s enormous. If you can be getting four to $6,000, of revenue off of $500, in advertising spent. And you also do have to kind of keep in mind, especially if you’re, if you’re doing therapy, you have to kind of think about that long term return on investment of what that client is worth, you know, over their lifetime to you, as opposed to on a month to month basis. I think that that’s a mistake that that some people make, they’ll say, Well, you know, in month X, I’m only gonna make x on this. But you have to not necessarily think about month one, you have to be thinking about months 2345 and six,

Katie Vernoy  21:11

how long does it take to reasonably expect a return on is that it I hear clinicians who are like, Oh, I’m hitting a slowdown portion of my schedule, you know, summertime slowdown or something like that, now’s the time that I should be investing in Google ads, are they going to see the kind of quick turnaround to fill up their practice with this kind of an investment? Or is this something that needs to be planned out even more ahead of time on something like this,

John Sanders  21:37

the advantage that Google ads and digital advertising in general has over I would say search engine optimization is that it is something that you can do, and get on the first page. Like if you’re a solo practitioner, who’s just gotten started, if you try to organically grow on Google, that can take six months to a year, for you to really start getting some clicks off of that the advantage Google Ads has is you go tell Google can show these ads for these particular keywords. And you can get on to that first page, really, really quickly. And really kind of that first 30 days for me is is the period of where I’m figuring out in a specific market, you know how much I’m going to pay for each of those clicks. And that’s gonna vary greatly, depending on the market, and what you are trying to advertise. If you’re trying to do couples therapy in New York, be prepared to pay eight to $10 per click. If you’re trying to do general therapy out in a suburb, you might, you know, only pay three to $5 that click. And that is very much based off of who else is there who is trying to advertise? To get an idea of that what you need to be bidding on those keywords? And then also looking at those results. Are you are you seeing the results? Are people staying on your pages long enough? Are they calling YOU ARE THEY filling out your forms, and that’s where you start to to make adjustments, and then over time, you will figure out, you know, I need to change the content on this page, or I need to not advertise in a specific neighborhood that maybe is too far from your practice. And that’s kind of the optimization process. And then also looking at, and I would say that this is probably the most important thing for the DIY audience out there is to look at the search terms that are causing your ads to appear. And if most of them are good, you’re probably going to do really well. But if you see a bunch of nonsensical therapies, and I see all sorts of different types of therapies that come up that we want to add to the negative keyword list, if you’re spending a lot of money on things that aren’t relevant to your business, it’s going to be very hard for you to succeed with Google ads.

Katie Vernoy  23:53

One of the things that I’m hearing and correct me if I’m wrong is that there’s the initial optimization process of making sure that your ad was reading properly, has the right keywords, has good negative keywords. And then it’s driving traffic to a page that actually closes the business, so to speak, and gets people to sign up for consults or call the practice or whatever, and to become clients. So there’s, there’s a part that truly needs to be the therapist or the therapist with a marketing specialist on making sure the webpage that you’re driving traffic to is going to convert and going to be targeting the right people. And then also potentially really looking at what is your intake process look like? What is your call look like? You know, do you have? Like, can you get all the way through the sales cycle, so to speak, but once you get that set up, once you have an optimized ad, you have your page is on fire. You you close the call, and you’re getting clients, it almost feels like it could be a spigot that your turn off and on with Google ads, because you’ll you know, I assume that there’s going to be a job So with algorithms and that kind of stuff, so there’s still a little bit of tweaking after that. But to me, it seems like once it’s set up, then that process of the summer slowdown that Kurt’s talking about would be like, Okay, well, we just need to in about two weeks before we want to get some more clients, we just turn on the Google ads. Am I Am I oversimplifying that too much.

John Sanders  25:19

I think it depends on the practice. I think if you’re a solo practitioner, I think that that can definitely be the case, I have larger clients who, if they’ve got 10 therapists, and all of them get full, they go out and hire two more. And then so those Google Ads kind of continue on going. Or for more of your midsize practice that, you know, is four or five people and they hire a new therapist who is specialized in couples, then it’s okay. For these couple of months, let’s go ahead and run ads for couples and marriage and relationships and really focus on those pieces. So I think that that really depends on the size of the practice. But I think that you are right, in that for smaller practices, you can do that it’s probably the number one reason I lose customers is because they get fault, which is a it’s a high class problem to have. But it’s still a problem.

Katie Vernoy  26:12

So you need more clients

John Sanders  26:14

Well and one of the things I’m also working on right now is is doing a search engine optimization product, because that is the sort of long term planning, and is also another complicated subject of being able to help build practices over the over the long term, like I said, that can take six to nine months for Google to really start recognizing your website with when they crawl it and saying that this is a high quality website and should appear higher up in the search results.

Katie Vernoy  26:42

I think that ends up being a good plan where you start with Google ads, and in the background, you’re building the SEO. So it seems like it’s a natural partnership, for sure.

John Sanders  26:50


Katie Vernoy  26:51

What kind of tips do you have, you know, spending the last moments here of the podcast here of how those two things fit together? I mean, you’re talking about outsourcing this, but for clinicians who are trying to picture okay, I’ve got the ads, what needs to go on to the website in order to keep people there who are engaged, do I just like, put a video that takes 45 seconds to load so that way, they’re going to stay for a minute,

John Sanders  27:18

Google won’t like that at all.

Katie Vernoy  27:21

And if the video doesn’t load, I’m off that page in 10 seconds.

John Sanders  27:25

Absolutely. Google. And Google knows that. I mean, one of the things that when Google’s judging a landing pages, not only is it judging, you know, the content, but it also like if you have images or videos that roll out really slow, Google is not going to show your ads as high up in terms of you know, some of the other things a writer I regularly work with, you know, recommends that you have, you know, four to 500 words on that page. Not only does that give Google enough keywords to grab a hold of and say okay, that this is high quality for an anxiety search. But also, it allows people who are actually looking at it to go yes, this is this is what I’m feeling this is, you know, this is what’s happening with me, and to kind of get them nodding their head, and then you know, hopefully, getting them to take that next step of contacting you somehow.

Katie Vernoy  28:16

I think it’s something where the hard truth for folks that want to get clients quickly, because I think I’ve definitely had consulting clients that are like, should I do Google ads, and I was like, let’s look at your website first. And I think the hard truth is, sometimes there is quite a bit of work that needs to happen before you really can take this into, into your marketing strategy. Because if you’re spending money to send them to a website, that does not reflect who your ideal clients are, does not connect with your ideal clients, and does not show you in the best light. It’s it’s just throwing money in a hole, and it’s not actually getting you results. And it can be very discouraging. And so there may be some work to do ahead of time to get prepared for the calls to get prepared for the web traffic. But once you actually have that in place, it sounds like Google Ads can be a way that you can really, pretty quickly start building a caseload and the return on investment can be very high, especially if you if you have a fee and a length of treatment, typical length of treatment that makes each client worth 1000s of dollars. And you know, even if you’re only getting one client a month, you know, that still ends up being a nice return on investment. And usually I’m hearing people get more than that. Do you have a sense of like, if you’ve got a really good, optimized ad, like you know, and a reasonable spend, you know, how many people are typically getting, how many clients people are typically getting?

John Sanders  29:48

Well, let’s you know, take that 100 Click example. And you know, we talked about 5% Earlier, let’s double that. Let’s say let’s say you’re doing really well and you get you get 10 people who contact you, then it gets down to that, that that close process that that we talked about earlier, are you are you answering your phone is a common thing that I’ll end up talking to clients about who I’ll notice off of my call tracking software, they’re not answering their phone, and they’re getting a bunch of voicemail messages. But if you can take those 10 leads, and you know, you can turn six of those into clients, you know, all of a sudden, your your return on investment, if you’re spending $500, you know, you could be looking at several $1,000, and potential long term revenue. That’s huge. And, um, it is very hard to find a way to do that anywhere else. You had mentioned the work that goes up front, very often, when people contact me, they’ll say, Hey, I’d like to run Google ads. And you know, I really have to tell them, Okay, go work with a content writer, go work with, you know, web designer, let’s let’s get your website in a good place before we try to run those ads. Because otherwise, I’m going to start running ads, you’re not going to get the results and you’re just going to get mad at me. And that’s just no fun. I, I’d much rather do all of that upfront and delay working with a client for three months. And this happens on a fairly regular basis where I’ll refer people out and then they come back three months later and say, okay, my website’s ready. Let’s go ahead and run those ads.

Katie Vernoy  31:14

Yeah. And I would add, make sure that you have a conversation with someone if your close rate isn’t what you’d like it to be if you get a lot of calls, and nobody becomes clients. There’s other folks to talk to about that as well.

John Sanders  31:26

And I think Google ads, especially once you put some of those tracking metrics on there, that makes it very obvious very quickly. For instance, I have some larger practices who will go through those call logs, and they will, you know, really scrutinize those and you know, potentially say, you know, why aren’t these these people closing? If you’re seeing a closed rate of only 30%? You know, you have to start asking those questions about what’s going on with the intake process that’s causing that drop off?

Katie Vernoy  31:54

Where can people find out more about you and your services.

John Sanders  31:57

Sure, if you want to know more about me and what I’m about, go to, that’s And feel free to fill out that form on the website. And I will get back with you really quickly because because this is what I preach to people all day. So you’ve you’ve got to follow up on those leads. So and then, you know, typically what I do is, you know, start with a conversation where we talk about their practice and how many people they have and you know what specialties they they want to run for. And then put together a proposal and send it over to him and hopefully start working with them.

Curt Widhalm  32:35

And we’ll include links to that in our show notes. You can find those at MTSG And until next time I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy and John Sanders.

Katie Vernoy  32:46

Thanks again to our sponsor, trauma therapist network.

Curt Widhalm  32:49

If you’ve ever looked for a trauma therapist, you can know it can be hard to discern who knows what and whether or not they’re the right fit for you. There’s so many types of trauma and so many different ways to heal. That’s why Laura Reagan LCSW WC created trauma therapist network. Trauma therapist network therapist profiles include the types of traumas specialized in population served therapy methods used, making it easier for potential clients to find the right therapist who can help them. Network is more than a directory though its community. All members are invited to attend community meetings to connect consults, and network with colleagues around the country.

Katie Vernoy  33:26

Join the growing community of trauma therapists and get 20% off your first month using the promo code MTSG20 at Trauma therapist Once again that’s capital MTSG the number 20 at Trauma therapist

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