“Most Effective Ways To Market Your Therapy Practice”
First, it must be stated that you must follow the legal and ethical guidelines for advertising your therapy practice set forth by your licensing board. MyTherapyNet has a free tutorial you can access that covers the “do’s and don’ts” of advertising for therapists.
Secondly, therapists are conditioned to believe that there isn’t much money to be made in the field – that you’re doing it because it is rewarding to help people and it’s enough to get by. The truth is, there are many opportunities to provide your services. However, we know your expertise is in providing therapy, not marketing. That’s why we have compiled resources and checklists for you to use that walk you through how to market your practice – even if you have never before had any experience or confidence with marketing or advertising in the past.
As will be repeated below, therapists have a distinct advantage when marketing their services over many other businesses. The Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) of your clients ranges from $800 to $1200 each on average. If it takes $100 for you to acquire a new client on average, you see an 8x to 12x return on your investment in advertising! You could spend over $400 in advertising to acquire a new client, and you still would make 100% to 300% return on your investment in advertising!
In this tutorial, we will show you the different advertising methods that are working today, and how to implement them into your practice.
The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising
Keeping this simple, marketing is all you do to promote your business. For instance, print ads, search engine optimization, advertising anxiety services, advertising PTSD services, etc.
Advertising is the actual outreach. It is a campaign to rank high in search results for a specific keyword. It’s a social media ad offering anxiety services. It’s another ad offering PTSD services.
If you want to be successful at marketing your practice, the first step is to decide what you have to offer. Create “campaigns” for those offers. Then PROMOTE those campaigns. You may have a search engine optimization campaign for ranking high in search results for the long-tail keyword phrase “Anxiety Therapist in Dallas, Texas”. You may have another campaign that’s a social media advertising campaign promoting “Anxiety Therapy in Dallas, Texas”. You may also have a campaign to provide community talks on Anxiety at your local community center. All of these campaigns are advertising promotions. And they all belong to your overall marketing strategy.
THE PRIMARY WAYS TO MARKET A THERAPY PRACTICE
Word of Mouth
Do great work. Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to expand your practice. Other than doing great work with your clients, you can’t badger your clients into referring you to their friends. However, a subtle way of doing this is to set up an email, website or phone number that is dedicated to marketing to new clients. So, for instance, you could tell your current clients, “if you ever have a friend, family member or acquaintance who may need my services, here’s the best way for them to reach me.”
You can have simple business cards printed with that information. A web address with a “contact” form can be the most effective way to get your current clients to refer you. Pick a simple, easy to remember name for your website domain, i.e. therapyin[cityname].com, or anxietyhelpin[cityname].com, etc. Something easy to spell and remember is best. Within your domain name use a word or phrase that people commonly search for when seeking the services you provide.
The bottom line is, think about your client being in a social situation and someone shares with them that they are having an issue. You want your client and the person they are referring to be able to easily remember your domain name.
Networking with therapists who don’t have your particular area of specialization can result in referrals from them. Likewise, you can refer them clients that are better suited for their areas of specialization. Networking with your colleagues can not only lead to client referrals, but to corporate consulting jobs, coaching jobs and a range of other opportunities that may not be the right fit for them, but are perfect for you.
There are many churches, clubs and organizations that feature guest speakers. Reach out to them and offer to come speak to their members on the topics of the mental health issues you enjoy treating the most. It is always best to focus on one specific area at a time – for instance, “work related anxiety”, “relationship issues” or “PTSD”, etc. The organizations will tell their members about your upcoming talk, and the specificity of the talk will draw people who are in need of that specific type of help immediately. This is called “niching” – you want to most often be very focused on one mental health niche at a time when advertising. Your goal is to speak directly to people having a specific issue in their lives, and show them how you can help them. Another advantage of “niching” is that you can speak to the same group once a month or so, each time on a new mental health topic that draws different members of the group.
Brochures are a bit “old school”, but can work in certain circumstances. If you are designing a brochure you want to follow a very specific process that has been proven to work.
First, introduce the issue. Second, explain how that issue negatively affects people who experience that issue. Third, explain how that issue can be worked on. Fourth, explain how people experiencing that issue have had positive change in their lives, once they have gotten support and help. Fifth, tell them that you can help them, and tell them how to follow up with you.
And don’t be afraid to use the concept of “scarcity”. “Scarcity” is a sales technique that makes potential customers “get off the mark” and buy. As a therapist, you legitimately have a limited number of hours you can provide services. If it’s appropriate, you can include “scarcity” marketing language, such as “I have a limited amount of openings in my schedule, so don’t wait to reach out and get the help you need now”.
People love having a fancy website for their businesses. They want all sorts of links and functionalities. Generally, those kinds of websites are horrible for business and making sales.
You want a website that is SIMPLE. That has ONE OBJECTIVE. If you give someone too many choices, they end up making no choice at all.
Allow me to introduce you to the “Marketing Funnel”. This is a ONE PAGE website that offers ONE SOLUTION and provides ONE ACTION for the visitor to take. Follow the five step process explained in the Brochure section above, and do that on a single web page.
The question becomes, “what action should I be asking for a client to take?” Therapy is an expensive proposition, and a big commitment. While you can solicit the action of booking a session with you, there are better ways to begin the relationship. In general, marketing these days is done best when you provide VALUE first, then give the potential customer / client an opportunity to get more from you. At MyTherapyNet.com, we have “Ask a question”. This is a free service that allows a potential client to tell you what’s troubling them. You then can decide if the potential client is someone you can help, and if so, you provide them with a helpful tip or two, and then encourage them to book time with you. This allows your potential client to begin a relationship with you and begin to bond with you. After that initial bond is made, it is much easier for the client to take the next step and pay you for services.
It’s still good to have them, keep them simple – your name, your professional designation, phone number, email address and website. Make the text big enough so folks don’t need reading glasses to read it.
QR Codes are matrix shaped computer generated barcodes that contain information such as you would find on a business card. There’s no harm in having one, and you can put it on the back of your business card. Some people love them, and they are a quick way to send a potential client your vCard (contains your contact information, like a business card, but for quick storage into your smartphone contact list). What’s great about them is that you can give your business card to someone, and tell them to scan the QR code so they still have your info even if they lose your card.
There are online and print magazines that actively look for new content continually. Contact these publications and offer to provide them with occasional articles on therapy subjects. Generally, they will credit you and provide links to your website or contact information. This is why your website should be built to convert visitors into clients. Typical websites do not do that. You need a website that is built specifically to lead the visitor through the process of understanding your offer and purchasing your service.
Offer Corporate Services
Many corporations regularly provide mental health resources to their employees, especially in the areas of minimizing anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Reach out to corporations and offer your services as a speaker or consultant.
Perhaps the most important thing going for therapists when it comes to marketing is that the Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) of a therapy client is so high. On average, a client will spend $100 per session for eight to twelve sessions. So, the value of a client is on average $800 to $1200. This means you can invest more advertising money than the average business owner. If you follow the proven paths for turning “referrals” into “clients” you can actually do very well financially as a therapist.
Paid advertising is what you want to do. Once you have a campaign that you know will profit you $3 to $8 for every $1 you put into advertising, you have a business that you can scale.
Paid advertising can definitely accomplish this for therapists, especially because the LCV of each client is so high. However, you must have a proven system, you cannot make a “pretty website”, pay for advertising and expect clients to book with you. You must have a marketing plan, and you must have the right kind of website. And having the right kind of website isn’t expensive, it’s actually cheaper than the websites you’ve probably paid for in the past. The difference is, a website that is optimized for selling services will convert visitors into clients. That’s what you want.
Print advertising is still viable for some demographics. Advertising in a church bulletin or similar publications can be effective. Car Washes often have an area for small placard advertisements, which can also be effective. Advertising in magazines is generally cost prohibitive for therapists, even with the high LCV of a new client. Getting a “Yellow Pages” listing used to be a necessity, but now that isn’t nearly as effective as it once was. If you’re going to do print advertising, work backwards. Find a group that you think will buy services from you… if they subscribe to something that is in print, or are exposed to something in print, then consider buying advertising in that publication that you already know they enjoy.
Search Engine Optimization
Coming up first when people type in a search for help with an issue is the dream come true, especially if you know how to convert those searches to leads and sales. But coming up first in a search result is very difficult, takes a lot of time, and generally requires the expense of hiring a professional. However, there are some websites that because of their structure, tend to rank faster and better – especially if you try to rank for a “long-tail keyword”. Long tail keywords are multiple words – and generally they are more effective. Ranking #1 for “Anxiety” is nearly impossible, yet, that’s actually ok, because as a therapist, ranking #1 for “Help with anxiety in Springfield, Illinois.” will lead to more clients anyhow. And it’s MUCH easier and faster to rank on the first page for a long tail keyword, especially if you 1) use a website structure that naturally ranks quicker and 2) update your content every few weeks. And new content isn’t hard or time consuming… one of the most effective ways is to keep a simple blog on your website. Write a paragraph or two every few weeks on a therapy issue. By no means must your blog entry be lengthy. The new content will tell Google and other search engines that there is new “value” in your website, and it will naturally be ranked higher and higher as time goes on.
Google adwords can work, especially if you advertise to the “long tail keywords” and send the traffic to a one page website as described above. Generally, any kind of online advertising requires some “testing” – testing different offers, images and text. Be prepared to review the data you get, and make adjustments to make your advertising profitable.
Social Media Advertising
Facebook and Instagram advertising are by far the most cost effective means of advertising currently available. Again, you need to have a “marketing funnel” to convert your “visitors” into clients, but set up correctly, you can get “leads” for a few dollars each, and a paying client from 5% to 10% of your leads.
Done correctly, Facebook and Instagram advertising is highly lucrative. In fact, consultants and coaches are known for doing very well with advertising on those platforms. The ability to reach people who actually need the services you provide is unmatched by any other advertising platform ever in existence. With over 2.4 billion users, you also have access to an enormous number of people that can benefit from your service.
Because Facebook and Instagram are so effective, they also have very strict advertising rules. In fact, they have specific rules for advertising anything related to Mental Health. You’ll want to review the MyTherapyNet.com tutorial on Social Media Advertising called “Facebook & Instagram Advertising For Therapists”.
A Little Marketing Goes A Long Way
If you want your private practice to thrive, there has never been a better time in history to achieve that goal. The path to a lucrative practice is planning your marketing. At MyTherapyNet.com, we are providing you with the knowledge, tools and plan you need to successfully market your therapy practice.