Learning how to market yourself as a therapist, and mainly how to market yourself online wasn’t a huge priority of your graduate program. But, now that you’re stepping into the professional world and building up your private practice, it’s inevitable you become familiar with the basics of online marketing.
Advertising yourself as a therapist doesn’t necessarily have to be as complicated as you’d think. There are three basics channels you need to cover. First, you need to establish your online presence with a website. Then, reach out to your potential clients (and employers) through social media and professional networks such as therapist directories and specialized referral services for mental heal professionals.
Let’s delve into details on how to market yourself as a therapist.
Create a website for your private practice
Building a website for your private practice nowadays is practically an online alternative of a brick-and-mortar shop. We all spend a considerable portion of our day online, so it’s only natural a potential client will look for you online.
While the technical side of creating a website might seem daunting to you at first, it really is not. Services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace offer intuitive and easy-to-use website builders that give a professional look and feel. If you consider yourself an extremely un-technical person, on the other hand, you can hire a developer at a very reasonable price through online platforms.
Invest in a website that has an attractive design to catch the attention of the visitors but try keeping things simple. Your potential clients should understand precisely what you offer, what qualifies you to provide those services, and how can you be reached.
The key question to keep in mind when deciding on what to include on your website is:
“Will this encourage someone to book a session?”
More tips on what to include on your private practice website
A professional photo, inviting description of how your sessions look together with testimonials from your previous clients and a call-to-action for a reader to book a session are a must.
Your private practice website doesn’t necessarily have to include a blog, but if you choose to write one, it can be an excellent way to get you noticed. Write high-quality content that contains the right keywords, regularly; a good frequency is once a week. But most importantly – write content that is valuable and relevant to the people who need your services.
In short, if you don’t have a professional website yet, make that a top priority. And of course, don’t forget to advertise your site by adding it to your email signature, post comments signature or your forum comments signature.
Make the most out of social media
We live in an era in which social media are not only viral but are also a primary source of information for many people. As a therapist, you are limited by ethics principles on what you can share, and that goes without saying, however, you still have plenty of space to maximize your exposure on social media ethically and reach new clients.
Here are tips on how to market yourself as a therapist:
You can join groups on Facebook
created for people interested in your niche. Groups in which people are talking about their mental health and they are looking for help are the right place for a therapist, and not only for the advertising purposes. You can help people who need professional input and make a difference in their lives. By doing so, you will also have an interactive relationship with your future clients before they actually become your clients, which can only positively impact your collaborations.
Create ads to advertise your services.
All social media networks offer the possibility to create ads that will reach just the right type of audience you need. Facebook Ads, for example, provide a precise targeting relevant to your region, or you can filter people who will see your ad by their interests and habits. These are paying ads so, you should expect to invest a minimum budget in them. How much you decide to spend depends on your possibilities as well as on your needs and expectations.
You can also choose to advertise through Google or Bing Ads. These advertisements are displayed together with the search results, and, typically, to get a consistent flow of clients from search advertising at a reasonable price, you would need to consult a professional.
Retweet and share the content you publish on your blog.
If you blog regularly, you need to share your content. Otherwise, it’s like talking to an empty audience. Of course, you don’t want to come off as spammy, so write and share the content that is relevant to people who are following you. There is little point in sharing your latest blog that deals with nuances of different therapy approaches to a group of close friends or family who have nothing to gain by reading it.
Expand your professional network with Linkedin.
Sharing a blog from our previous example on Linkedin, where other therapists can read it, would have a completely different impact. If you’re connected with other therapists (which you should be), they’ll be interested in learning your thoughts on the topic, leaving comments and remembering you. Later, they might refer you to clients they can’t manage at the moment.
One final piece of advice on social media as a way to market yourself as a therapist. Always evaluate the time and effort you put into building up your following and maintaining multiple profiles versus the clients you get from each source. This way, you’ll be able to turn your attention elsewhere before you lose too much time on something that just doesn’t work.
How to market yourself as a therapist on therapist directories
Therapist directories are old, but a consistent way to be noticed by a potential client. While listings on established services like Psychology Today cost about $300 yearly, there are no guarantees your listing will bring in any clients unless you make it appealing.
To make your listing stand out, a professional photo is a must. Next, you need to optimize your headline and description so that person reading it can get a sense of who you are and what you do. When writing a summary, just as when you’re writing for your website, always consider what does a specific sentence says to a person looking to book a session.
With all these technicalities in mind, you also want to avoid making your listing sound “too salesy.” The best way to do this is to show your potential clients you’re a compassionate person, who is open to helping them. One way to communicate this is to include anonymized and a very brief story of the client that moved you the most. Or, you can tell your potential clients your reasons for becoming a therapist.
Incentives is a specialized referral service for mental health professionals that came to be as a direct result of chronic patient’s needs for therapy. To make it easier for Reachout App users to find a therapist, Incentives offers mental health professionals to create a listing, at the cost of two therapy sessions. You can read more details about the Incentives program here.