Running a successful therapy practice requires a combination of strategic marketing ideas. It’s not enough to simply exist as a private practice and hope for a potential client to come in. Potential patients want solutions to their problems, and they want a connection to that person before even meeting them, whether it be in person and face-to-face, or meeting an online therapist.
To be successful and run a thriving private therapy practice, therapists need to be strategic with their marketing strategy.
Over the last 10 years, it has become increasingly apparent that practitioners must develop their therapist marketing skills to strengthen their businesses and attract new prospective patients. Potential clients are less interested in buying therapy and more concerned with finding the right solution to their problems. After all, therapy is an intimate experience. The prospective client must feel connected to the person they see on a webpage or posting on social media.
If therapists wish to help others and maintain a financially viable business, it is imperative to invest time and money in compelling and well-thought-out online marketing. And despite all the potential issues you might face that are taught to you in grad school, a master’s degree does not equal a marketing seminar. Here is a quick crash course with 9 tips on how therapists can market themselves.
It might feel totally foreign to even think about marketing for therapy. You went to school to learn how to help people with mental health disorders, not how to sell products through marketing efforts. However, having the right look, feel, and tone is necessary for any business.
Consider your favorite local small business coffee shop. What kind of look are they going for? Is it eclectic and comfortable, or serene yet austere? Therapists must also craft this image, as therapy client want something in their lives to change, hopefully permanently. Capturing that in a brand or a website design will go a long way towards bringing in clients who are the right fit that you can help.
Another thing to think about as you think of how to market yourself is answering questions you might have. What kind of mental health professional are you? Do you like splitting your practice between private sessions and helping your local community with nonprofits and social work? Are you someone who only wishes to cater to high-end clients? Knowing who you want to target as an audience will help you shape your messaging and tailor it to them. Understand your value as a therapist, and see where you can share that value with the public.
Below is a quick list of easy, actionable marketing strategy items therapists can take to begin growing their practice:
Therapist directories. No one can know you if they don’t know you exist! A very easy and straightforward way to get the word about your practice out there is to register with a therapy directory, such as Psychology Today. You’ve likely already done this, and if you haven’t, now’s the time!
Know your niche. You have developed an area of expertise in therapy. Even if you offer general individual and family therapy services, you probably have certifications or areas of interest that appeal to you most. So who is not getting their needs met? For example, do you have an interest in working with veterans, seniors, or kids? Do you specialize in specific forms of therapy, like EMDR? Can you offer help in specific areas like eating disorders? Make that clear in your services.
Remote vs. Hybrid vs. In-Person. Offering a variety of session formats is important for clients to know about. If you’re only doing remote sessions, this can be very appealing to some potential clients while turning off others. On the other hand, folks in a rural area might find you a great option in your state. Make sure you’re marketing yourself with what you’re offering so that people know what to expect.
Find your people. Think about who you want to target. Who is the ideal client, and what goals for therapy do you want to set? This is who you want to be targeting to make yourself happy. One way to find if the right folks are in your area is to pretend you’re the client. Type what you want in a search bar and see what results come up.
Build your therapist website. This one is a no-brainer, but one that’s often overlooked. The strength of your online presence does not need to just come from social media presence – it also comes from people searching for your name or for therapists in the area. Choose and buy a domain name, or use a website builder like Squarespace. Design it so it’s accessible for everyone – legible text, easy navigation, and so on. Have a site that shows a great photo of you, your location, lists your credentials, and has a page where potential clients can review your services.
Stand out on social media. It’s not going anywhere, and it is used by every business. Choose the platforms that make the most sense to you – many therapists use Instagram, but just as many use Facebook pages, LinkedIn, or even TikTok for their social media marketing strategy. Just make sure you are keeping it professional, stick to a social media policy that works for you, and that you never, ever share information about your clients. In fact, don’t ask to follow clients or ask them to repost or share your posts. Leave them out of this!
Connect with ideal clients. Yes, having a social media presence is highly effective. So is real-life networking. Go to your existing network of mental health professionals and talk to them about what you’re looking for. Visit local health care providers, send emails, make calls, and so on. You need not pester people with incessant requests. Just let them know you’re around and you’re looking to grow the business.
Utilize email marketing. A cost-effective approach, email marketing allows you to retain existing clients and help find new ones. Provide everyone who’s on the list with some kind of value. Write up useful content that can be shared with others via email, or provide links to other work you’ve done recently, such as a blog post or interview elsewhere. Make announcements or share pertinent news. Use it as a space to connect and share in a more passive, less demanding way than social media might ask of you.
No, really stand out on social media with content creation. As an experienced professional, your knowledge base is helpful to others outside of sessions. One way to connect and build your clientele list is by offering content on your website and social media accounts. If time allows, think about creating therapist tools such as informational images, videos, articles, blog posts, podcasts, and/or more that demonstrate your skill set, offer expertise, and show that you understand what can help people. Creating value doesn’t just bring in new clients. It also helps cement you as a trustworthy and expert mental health advocate for your current clients. Answer commonly asked questions, offer advice, and be honest (research and theory-backed ideas will go much farther than personal opinions). Make sure to post with some regularity, and aim to create quality posts over quantity.
Effective marketing is necessary to grow your therapy practice, but remember that it’s all in service to being of service. Making yourself available to prospective clients via online marketing, networking, and so on promotes your ability to help others in your community.
For those opening their own therapeutic practice for the first time, or for those who need assistance in other areas, such as ideas for termination activities for therapy, contact us today and our resource center can supply you with any advice to ensure that you are able to run a successful and meaningful practice.