September 16, 2012

Marketing your forensic practice

This blog doesn't focus a lot on marketing matters, but I thought I'd pass along a link to a new overview that's packed with practical tips. Authored by Bill Reid, a prominent forensic psychiatrist and past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL), it was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice and is available for free online. It's most useful for those just starting a forensic practice, but has a few reminders for more seasoned practitioners as well, including regarding the Internet. The tips are as relevant to psychologists and other forensic mental health practitioners as to psychiatrists, the target audience. Here's the summary abstract:
William H. Reid, MD, MPH, fisherman
"Marketing" refers to the entire process of bringing a product or service to the public and creating a demand for it. It is not simply advertising. There are good and bad ways to market one’s practice, and some that are distasteful or even unethical. The quality and credibility of your work are your most important marketing tools. Reputation and word-of-mouth among attorneys is the largest referral source for most private forensic practitioners. Your professional and business practices, the quality of your staff and their interactions with clients, and your day-to-day availability are all critical. The Internet is important for some practitioners. Practice websites are inexpensive, but they should be carefully constructed and avoid appearing sensational or overly self-serving. Research the basics of websites and website traffic, and don’t expect great results for the first year or so. A Web consultant may be helpful, but avoid those who charge lots of money or make grand promises. Paying for advertisements, listings, or brochures is rarely fruitful. Your primary marketing targets are likely to be attorneys, but may include courts and certain government agencies; clinicians are not usually a major referral source. Patients and potential litigants themselves are off-limits; marketing to them is generally unethical. 
The article is the third in a series on "Doing Forensic Work." The first two parts are also available online: (1) Starting the Case and (2) Fees, Billing, and Collections. Dr. Reid's website also has more useful information on forensic psychiatry and related topics, including for students and early-career professionals.

Hat tip: Ken Pope


Reidpsych said...

Thanks for the nice feature, Karen!

For completeness, these short articles are based upon chapters in my upcoming book DEVELOPING A FORENSIC PRACTICE: OPERATIONS AND ETHICS FOR EXPERTS (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis in press).

Bill Reid

Karen Franklin, Ph.D. said...

Sounds like a good book!