It’s hard to be a therapist these days (or hard to be a therapist who wants a full private-pay caseload). In the post-pandemic drop-off of clients no longer starving for mental health services—using that income instead for vacations and nights out—it’s likely that your schedule just isn’t filling up the way it used to. With large tech companies taking potential clients away from small practices (we’re looking at you, CareDash), we understand the desire for stability you feel as a business owner. We invite you to take a step back and reevaluate your strategies as we explain why the marketing tactics you’re using may not be delivering results.
If you’ve landed on this blog, you probably feel like you’ve tried everything to grow your client list or waitlist as a therapist. Maybe you’ve begun social media marketing, revamped your website, or looked into SEO for therapists, spending valuable resources all without the results you expected. Lead generation for private practice is a delicate balance of many factors dependent on your niche, location and situation. Here are five common mistakes that therapists can make in marketing, and what to do instead.
Many forms of marketing are a long game, especially when it comes to marketing for therapists. For anyone, taking the step to pursue therapy can be a massive emotional and financial decision. And once an individual finds you through an online platform, they must build trust in you. In order to get the phone ringing and the emails coming in, you first need to attract visitors, convert them into leads, often engage with them through marketing multiple times, and then they may take the final step of reaching out for a consult.
So how long will it take until you notice results from your digital marketing? Generally, it can take up to six months or even a year to see growth in your traffic or platform. The real answer is, it depends. If you are completely new to a digital marketing platform, it will take research, trial of what works best for you, and time to build an audience.
Lead generation in private practice takes planning. First, structuring your next campaign, focus on generating real engagement and building community instead of solely trying to get calls or consultations. Second, when you begin a new marketing strategy, set realistic goals for where you want to be in a month, a quarter, six months, and a year. Revisit your goals at each milestone and reassess your plan.
You may have heard the theory that “content is king,” meaning that content is the most important facet of your marketing strategy. As a content marketing company, we believe in the power of content, but your content has to be shared in the right place. If you’ve put a lot of effort into creating images, blogs, resources, and other content but you’re hearing crickets in response, you might be posting to the wrong platform.
If you have not yet defined your niche or recently re-evaluated your ideal demographic, do that before moving forward with any marketing strategy. Knowing your ideal audience and their online habits is key to meeting them where they are online. For example, if you want to reach college students and Gen Z, Facebook would not be the best choice. If you specialize in serving other therapists or corporate professionals, LinkedIn marketing could be an excellent strategy to explore.
Furthermore, think about where you have the best chance of connecting with your ideal audience. If you are trying to reach individuals facing transitions later in life, consider leaving brochures at your local senior activity centers or a mailing campaign to independent senior living facilities in your area.
Finally, avoid blindly reposting the same exact content across multiple platforms. It can seem ingenuine to the reader, and most marketing channels have preferred specifications for content. So, graphics or video may need to be resized and captions may need to be edited for brevity.
As therapists, we are accustomed to reports and paperwork, keeping a professional tone of voice. This tone doesn’t translate to many digital marketing platforms well. It can feel stale or straight-up boring for the reader.
There is a careful balance of remaining professional while being entertaining. On your blog or social media channels, followers want to get to know you. On platforms like Instagram or TikTok, the more personality you can include in your content, the better! This might mean getting comfortable with posting videos or photos of your team, your space and what you are passionate about.
Furthermore, take a look at the accounts you follow on these platforms. What do you love about their content? Do they speak from the heart or feel like a real-life friend? Do they make you feel at ease? Consider how you would like your followers to feel and how you can bring those emotions to your tone of voice.
Far too often we see therapists address everyone and anyone who needs therapy in an effort to connect with more clients. The problem is, the strategy of trying to connect with everyone ends in connection with no one.
Think about it this way, wouldn’t you respond better to a message that felt like it was speaking directly to you rather than a message addressing anyone? You can attract ideal clients by zoning in on your specialties and what makes you unique. Consider the following:
For example, your messaging could speak to executive-level men facing workplace stress and burnout or college students and teens dealing with anxiety. Marketing for therapists is most effective when potential clients feel seen, heard, comforted or put at ease in some way.
Marketing for one or two specific areas not only makes your messaging effective, but you will be happier in the long run, working with clients that you are truly passionate about!
For the therapy-seeker, the dozens of similar therapy websites they come across can quickly become homogeneous. Many therapists actually use the same templates from services like Simplepractice, making them appear similar in design.
For an industry as personal as mental health, people want to get a good read on your demeanor, your therapeutic style and your personality. In marketing for therapists, you should research competitors and be aware of what other therapists are doing. However, your personality should be clearly present in your website, your social media, your blog, and every other aspect of your marketing plan. If you own a solo practice, include plentiful professional photographs of yourself. If you are part of a group practice, include a webpage for each therapist and social posts about what it’s like to work with them. Weave your life experiences and passions into your messaging. Plan a clear visual brand that is reflected aesthetically on all channels.
Have you been seeing high traffic but low conversion or click rates? It’s time to make your call-to-action more enticing or easier to understand. Calls-to-action are prompts for the viewer to click, visit your website, book a consult, subscribe your newsletter, download a resource or take other action. They should appear multiple times on each page of your website, linked in your social posts and mass emails, written on printed materials, and anywhere customers interact with you. However, if the focus of every single social post or email is “book a consultation,” there will be no reason for people to follow you.
You must provide value in your content to encourage leads to take action. Instead of saying “book a consultation,” repeatedly, express what they will get out of the consultation. This could look more like “take control of your stress today,” or “begin making your way to your best self.”
Also, link to your helpful blogs or resources as your calls-to-action. There is a better chance that they will explore these than immediately book with you. So, this will help move your audience along the acquisition funnel and closer to converting in the lead generation for your counseling practice.
We understand that you want to spend your time serving your clients and running your business. Whether you have marketing questions or would like the Theory About That team to step in and help, we invite you to contact us or schedule a call.