Becoming Independent: how to promote an independent SLT practice

Therapy setup

People have asked me how I advertise my practice. When I ask clients how they found me about half say someone they know recommended me. Some tell me they found me via the ASLTIP directory, and the rest searched google and found my website.

Encourage Personal Recommendations

Happy clients tell their friends! I’ve worked with a former client’s next door neighbour, been contacted by a woman who said her sister’s friend suggested me, and had parents recommended me to their child’s classmates.

I told people in the NHS and education department where I used to work, that I was leaving to work independently, and I’ve had enquiries and recommendations from them. I also tell people I meet that I’m a paediatric SLT – I once worked with my yoga teacher’s son! So carrying business cards is useful, I have these mini ones from moo.

I receive personal recommendations from other independent SLTs in the local area. Several friends work on a part-time basis, or specialise in particular areas of therapy. When these therapists receive an enquiry from a family they don’t want to take on (for various reasons) they recommend the family contact me. And I signpost families to particular colleagues if I think they’ll be a better fit for the child.

Use the Directory of Independent Speech and Language Therapists

I am a member of the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice so have an entry in their directory. Parents who find me here often haven’t seen my website, so they aren’t always aware of how I work and my prices.

Finding My Site by Searching on Google

I haven’t tried paying for google ads. I attempted to make my site findable by thinking about what parents might search for and including relevant content. I write blog posts about things I hope parents will be interested in, and I added myself to google maps. You can use a free or low cost service, like Squarespace, to make a website without having to hire a designer.

What didn’t work?

I haven’t had much success with adverts. In 18 months I’ve had two enquires from a (free) advert on netmums. I spent £20 on an advert on a local parenting website (I think they also included me in their newsletter) which didn’t generate any interest. I’ve written articles about communication development that were included in local parenting magazines, but again these didn’t lead to any enquiries.

I emailed around 25 local nurseries to introduce myself and explain what I could offer, attaching a pdf of a flyer I’d made. This led to me meeting one nursery manager, and then assessing one child and running a staff training session. So, it wasn’t a complete waste of time, but didn’t keep me very busy.

This post is part of a series about Becoming Independent. Next up, choosing where to work.