Starting or growing a private practice means taking on the role of a business owner. And, your business, like most others, depends on how consistently can you get new clients. This is where marketing for therapists and marketing-related activities like building your online presence come in.
When asked about what is the one burning problem in their private practice, finding new routes of referral always comes up on a number one spot on the practitioner’s list.
While it is completely understandable you want to focus on what you do best, i.e. helping your clients live a happier and healthier life, sooner better than later you’ll also need to figure out which marketing option works best for you and your practice.
Let’s take a brief look at the conventional channels marketing for therapists relies on nowadays:
Therapist directories, such as Psychology Today or Goodtherapy offer their visitors a search through therapist’s profiles so they can choose the therapist they think best matches their needs. As a therapist, you have an opportunity to create a profile that highlights your availability, location, and specialty, together with a choice to publish articles. They both cost about $300 a year, and there are no guarantees of how many clients will the listing send to your office.
Print media advertising
A tried and tested way to get your name in front of the wider audience, the print advertising is slowly on it’s way out as a choice in marketing for therapists. The high costs of running a print ad even if your business could handle them often do not bring any return for one simple reason: print ads target a too wide audience, and with the rise of social media this audience is diminishing each day.
Digital advertising (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads)
In an answer to the rise of digital media, print ads were replaced by Google and Facebook adverts. These two are the most common places on the internet visited on the planet, but their paid advertising programs work differently.
In the simplest form, while Google AdWords enables you to purchase a top spot in Google search results for a specific keyword tied closely to your business, e.g. “marriage counselor in Tucson,” Facebook Ads enable you to target groups of people who belong to a specific demographic group, share a specific interest or belong to specific areas.
Social media marketing
Even a newer form of online advertising, social media marketing aims to make marketing messages more organic, so they look like any other user-generated content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. In a way, social media marketing comes as a natural extension of modern demands for a business to have an online presence that includes a website and profiles on relevant networks.
Whether it is your prior clients recommending your services to their friends or relatives, or your peers referring the clients to your practice, word-of-mouth recommendations remain one of the primary sources for new clients for every therapist.
Since mental health is a private topic, people are more likely to trust their friends or experts in the field than an advert, simply because it’s less personal. Social media marketing sometimes can gap this bridge between the personalized recommendation and offering your potential clients a chance to know who you are and what you do.
Each of these marketing channels isn’t inherently better than the other, but let’s take a look at
Where conventional marketing for therapists usually fails:
#1 High costs and high competition
The paid advertising, especially effective paid advertising costs money. Even though it might seem like it isn’t a complicated science to set up a promotion for your Instagram post or to run a simple Facebook ad, there also aren’t much to be gained. That is unless you know what you are doing when it comes to targeting, monitoring performance indicators and investing a budget into your campaign.
When you look at the alternative, for example, if you want to run an AdWords campaign on a keyword like the one we used in our example, “marriage counselor in Tucson” you quickly discover that you have to outbid your competition who is trying to promote their business using the same keyword. Hiring an agency to handle this for you is a good choice, but again this option can cost upwards of $200 per client.
#2 High time and knowledge investment
While you can grasp the basic concepts of digital advertising or social media marketing fairly quickly, you soon find out that doing each of these on a professional level isn’t a result of a crash course but years of experience people put into running digital ad campaigns.
The “DIY” approach works for writing your blog or sharing a few posts on social media that establish your reputation and get your practice out there. But there comes a point when you have to consider whether the two hours of your time are better spent on working with the paying clients instead of speaking to an uninterested crowd.
#3 Ineffective targeting
Whether your marketing strategy is low or high cost, a primary goal remains the same: your advertising needs to be seen by the people who are most likely to book a session.
Getting your message delivered in front of the people who are looking for begins by narrowing your specialization. Next, it takes a bit of research and strategizing to discover who your potential clients are. Finally, you need to establish your reputation and showcase your practice to your targeted audience.
Effective targeting enables you to book more clients with the least investment in advertising.
When we take a look at the conventional marketing channels for therapists and compare them by the targeting options they offer, we see that you have almost no control of targeting with word-of-mouth referrals. As you move to print and digital advertising, your targeting options get better, but the costs rise as well.
How Incentives change marketing for therapists
The Incentives program introduces innovative marketing for therapists that aims not only to reduce but to remove the expense of advertising for new clients for your therapy practice.
How is this possible?
When we started the Reachout App as a platform of support groups for chronic patients, be it mental or physical health, there was one question that always came up in our user’s discussions: “Can you recommend me a good therapist?”
We do not offer medical services ourselves, instead, we provide a platform where people can connect and support each other. The Incentives is our answer to our users’ needs. By partnering up with therapists and therapy practices we are connecting clients who are ready to start working on their mental health issues with specialists who can help them.
Your expertise is showcased to paying clients and they select to work with therapists based on their preferences and therapist expertise, and the only thing we ask in exchange is two hours (2 free sessions with a client) of your time.