By Jade Pruett, SEO Strategist at Mind Over Marketing, an agency specializing in marketing for therapists.
Today, I’m going to show you exactly what marketing tactics therapists should care about in 2021.
In fact, these are the exact tactics I use to help therapists build their private practices and become fully booked within months.
Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents:
The World of Therapy is Changing
As if 2020 didn’t come with enough curve balls, the world of mental health counseling has been changing right under our noses.
With mental health awareness on the rise, virtual therapy becoming everyday practice, and legislation altering where therapists are allowed to practice, online marketing for therapists has never been more important.
However, it has also never been more intimidating. There are thousands of tactics to choose from, a million “experts” telling you exactly what you should be doing, and marketing budgets that may not seem up to the task. But marketing doesn’t have to be scary, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Marketing for Therapists: Why Is It Important?
We could sit here and talk all day about the reasons marketing yourself as a therapist is important. There’s brand recognition, building a following, domain health, and a thousand other buzzwords we could throw out there.
However, the real reason marketing for therapists is important is because no one would know you exist without marketing.
Therapists need marketing to find new clients. And not just any new clients, but clients that are a right fit for their practice. Marketing is a tool to find the clients you can best help. And that’s the entire point of being a therapist, right?
Tactic 1: Get To Know Your Perfect Client By Creating Client Personas
The start of any good marketing strategy is deeply understanding who you are targeting. And you might be thinking, “I’m just targeting people who need therapy.” However, targeting everyone on the planet who could use therapy is a lofty and often fruitless venture. Additionally, you probably don’t need 8 billion clients.
One of the best things you can do for your private practice is to niche down.
Start by writing down exactly what type of client you want to serve and where they are located.
Do you serve clients struggling with anxiety in Atlanta, Georgia?
Do you want to focus on play therapy in Columbia, South Carolina?
Then, you can get to know your ideal client better by building a client persona. Start by asking yourself these questions.
What is their demographic?
- – How old are they?
- – What is their gender identity?
- – Are they married?
- – Do they have kids?
- – What is their household income?
- – Et cetera
What are their needs, behaviors, and challenges?
- – What is their occupation?
- – How has the pandemic affected their lives?
- – What are their fears when it comes to therapy?
- – Why are they interested in therapy?
- – Have they been to therapy before?
Once you have brainstormed what your ideal client might be like, you can create your ideal client persona. You can even name them and assign a photo to give them even more personality.
Here are two examples of ideal client personas you could arrive at.
Therapy Niche: Eating disorder therapy in Atlanta, Georgia
Demographic: Single female between age 21-30 with no children
Household Income: $30-50k/per year
Employment Status: Employed Full Time or College Student
Education Level: Some Undergrad to Bachelor’s Degree
Used to work in an office, but is now working from home.
Spends most of her days alone, now that she isn’t in the office.
Knows she struggles with food, but isn’t sure if her problems are bad enough for help.
Knows therapy is a good idea, but has had bad experiences with therapists in the past.
Feels overwhelmed by her choices when it comes to finding a new therapist.
Health insurance doesn’t cover therapy
Is worried she can’t afford a good enough therapist
The process of finding a good therapist to be streamlined
Relatively affordable therapy
Therapy Niche: Therapy for Anxiety in Marietta, Georgia
Demographic: Married woman age 30-45. Has children between ages 5-10
Household Income: 150-300k/per year
Employment Status: Employed Full Time
Education Level: Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree
Used to work in an office, but is now working from home.
Due to the pandemic, she is also homeschooling her two children in two different grades.
Husband still works in an office, so the household responsibilities fall on her during the day.
Since the shift to working from home, she has been dealing with a lot more anxiety and depression.
Self care is typically not a top priority in her busy days.
Is finally ready to give therapy a try.
Has never been to therapy, and doesn’t know where to start.
Does not have much time to herself during the day
Doesn’t know what therapy would be like
For finding a therapist to not be another large stressor
A virtual therapist who understands her
Once you have created your client personas, who can build your website and all of your marketing materials around their demographic, challenges, needs, and behaviors. Creating client personas helps you target clients who are perfect for your private practice, all while helping your ideal clients find you much more easily. It’s a win win!
Tactic 2: Build A Website That Works For You
Creating a solid website might be something you’ve been avoiding. I get it. It can be time consuming, confusing, and intimidating. However, it’s 2021. Your website is the hub of all of your marketing efforts, and it is your client’s first impression of you. That means your website is a reflection of your entire business. If it isn’t in good shape, it may break trust with your ideal client.
On the other hand, a well-constructed website can build trust with your future clients before they ever request an appointment.
And it doesn’t have to be overly fancy. Check out the screen grabs from Intuitive Eating With Claire, a website I designed for a client. It’s simple in design, but easy to navigate and perfect for her niche.
Here Are The Features Every Therapist’s Website Should Have:
- – Your services listed
- – A photo of you
- – A paragraph about your expertise and personal connection
- – An contact form
- – Instruction for how you want clients to contact you for an appointment
Nothing too complicated here. This website was designed in Squarespace in an afternoon, but it does the trick every time!
Tactic 3: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a collection of tactics that helps your website show up in Google searches. That means if you’re a play therapist in Atlanta, and someone Googles, “Play Therapy in Atlanta,” you would be on the first page of search results.
SEO is a complicated marketing tactic that can take months to pay off; however, SEO is one of the most profitable marketing tactics for therapists.
“And why is that?” You may ask.
When a person decides to look for a therapist, what is the very first thing they do?
Do they go to Instagram and start sifting through hashtags?
Do they go to Facebook and hope an ad for a therapist shows up?
They Google “Therapist Near Me.”
If a potential client is serious about finding a therapist… if they are ready to commit to scheduling an appointment… they are going straight to Google.
So, how can I make my website show up in Google?
The depths of SEO are endless. There are hundreds of tactics experts can use to help your website reach the front page of Google for your ideal clients. However, there are still a few tactics you can start working on today to help your website show up higher in Google search results.
- – Find your target keyword
Your keyword is what a person will type into Google to find you. For instance “Addiction Therapist in Atlanta” or “Marriage Counselor in Marietta.” To find your perfect keyword, simply add your niche to your location like we did above.
- – Make your keyword the heading of your website
Google looks at your heading first. Be sure to add your keyword to the heading of your homepage, about page, and wherever else makes sense.
- – Start a blog
The benefits of blogging go far beyond SEO, and we will get into those in a minute. However, blogging is incredible for your SEO because it helps you show up in more searches your ideal client is Googling. To optimize your blog for SEO, start by thinking about what questions your ideal client is asking. Are they worried about how to find the right therapist in your niche? Are they asking about what your type of counseling is like? Create blog posts that answer those questions, so you will be who they find when they ask them.
Tactic 4: Utilize Google My Business
Google My Business is an incredible feature that everyone should be using. It is the special blurb that shows up on certain Google searches that gives you all the information you want about a business right on the Google search results pages.
If you have ever searched Google for a restaurant or local business, you know how important Google My Business is. It makes what you are looking for almost too easy to find. And, like with SEO, if you are who comes up when someone searches for your target keyword, you are going to get A LOT of business.
Here is what you need to do to set up Google My Business:
- – Set up your account at https://www.google.com/business/
- – Be sure to fill out part of your profile, even if it isn’t required
There are quite a few sections to go through when creating your Google My Business. However, be sure to take the time to fill everything out thoroughly and accurately.
Pro Tip: Be sure you are using the same address and phone number (down to the way you write it out) on your website and Google My Business. Google is extra sensitive when it comes to detecting fraudulent information. Be careful!
– Once it is set up, maintain it by adding new photos to your profile every month
Keep your Google My Business fresh with new content every single month. This will show Google that you are still active and taking care of your profile and business. Additionally, when a client finds your profile, they will like seeing all the photos and information you have added.
– Answer any questions you are asked by potential clients.
When someone asks a question on your Google My Business, be sure to answer it. If you aren’t getting a ton of questions, you can even ask yourself questions monthly to build out your profile. Like we did with SEO, think about questions your ideal client would be asking, and add them to your Google My Business.
– Request reviews from current or past clients, and respond to them
Of course, not all clients are going to be comfortable writing a review about your services. However, having reviews on your Google My Business will greatly help your marketing. There is nothing better than a positive review and a few extra stars by your name. When a client leaves a review, whether it is positive or negative, be sure to respond to it on Google My Business to show that you are thankful for the feedback and willing to make wrong things right.
Tactic 5: Email Marketing
We all get those emails from businesses in our inbox every morning. Sometimes it can be annoying or aggressive (when done poorly,) and oftentimes, they just get deleted before they are even opened.
From a user perspective, it can be hard to believe that email marketing is successful. But, in fact, email marketing has the highest return on investment of any marketing tactic that exists.
A study in 2016 found that email marketing has an average return on investment of 122%. That’s a huge jump from social media, which comes in second place with an ROI of 28%.
So why is email marketing so successful?
When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. The people who are receiving emails from a business made the choice to be on their mailing list. At some point, they entered their email on that business’s website to opt in to the newsletter. Now, that business is allowed to show up as often as multiple times per day in that customer’s personal inbox. Even if 90% of their emails get deleted without being read, they are still getting their message in front of that customer every day. And sooner or later, that will most likely result in a sale.
How does email marketing work for therapists?
I would not recommend any therapist flood a potential client’s inbox with pointless and annoying emails. However, creating an email list can help you build trust with future clients. It can help you share your new blog posts, advertise new groups or services, and simply stay in your ideal clients’ minds. In short, if a person is not quite ready to commit to being your client, but they are receiving your emails full of helpful and pleasant information, you will be who they choose when they finally decide to schedule an appointment.
Here’s how to get started with email marketing:
– Create a free account with an email marketing program
You can use whatever you are comfortable with. MailChimp is my personal favorite.
– Create a place on your website for people to sign up
Most domain hosts (Squarespace, Wix, et cetera) will have a simple drag and drop option to add newsletter sign up to your website. Just add that to your homepage, and you’re good to go!
– Optional: Create an enticing freebie to inspire people to sign up
Simply putting “Subscribe to My Newsletter” may get you a few new subscribers, but an enticing freebie can really help inspire people to join. Freebies could be a free consultation, a piece of content they would find helpful, or even a discount to your services.
– Create awesome content!
Once your email is set up, all you have to do is create content your followers would like to see. You can use your email marketing to promote new blog posts, let everyone know you have an opening, or advertise a new service you are offering.
Tactic 6: Blogging
As if we haven’t mentioned blogging enough in this… blog. Here we go again. Blogging is simply creating written content that your ideal client would be interested in reading.
Blogging is a great way for your clients to get to know you better before committing to scheduling an appointment. It gives you an outlet to showcase your expertise while also giving your website a personal touch.
Blogging doesn’t have to mean disclosure
As a therapist, it is very important to set good boundaries when it comes to disclosing personal information to clients, so be sure to maintain that when it comes to your blog. You can still create personal and valuable content without disclosing more than you are comfortable with.
To review, here are a few ways blogging can help your marketing as a therapist:
- It is a great way to build trust with future clients
- It helps you showcase your expertise
- It is a great way to optimize for SEO
- It gives you more content to share in your email marketing
Tactic 7: Referrals and Networking
Even in 2021, no online marketing tactics can beat referrals. That is because nothing will ever be as powerful as getting a recommendation from someone you know and trust. Because of this, networking is vital to the success of your practice.
Who should therapists be networking with?
In short, anyone can be a good resource for a therapist. People often find their therapists through recommendations from their friends, neighbors, and coworkers. This means you don’t need to be looking for a specific type of person to network with when it comes to finding people who will refer you.
However, networking with doctors and other therapists can be extra beneficial. This is because if someone is referred to you through their primary care doctor, they are more likely to trust that recommendation and follow through with scheduling an appointment. Additionally, if a therapist turns out to not be a good fit with a client, they can easily refer them to you. Since the client is already committed and interested in therapy, they are also more likely to follow through on the recommendation.
Network based on your niche
When considering who you should be networking with, be sure to think about who your ideal client might be interacting with currently. For instance, if you are a play therapist, it may be beneficial to make connections with local elementary school teachers. And if you are an eating disorder therapist, local dieticians who work with your ideal clients might be a great resource for referrals.
Networking in 2021: Easier said than done, right?
Because of the pandemic, networking events are not what they used to be. However, if you are a therapist looking for networking opportunities, there is still plenty you can do.
Here are a few places you could network in 2021:
- Online meetups
- Facebook groups for therapists in your area
- Your Nextdoor App
- Other forms of social media
Tactic 8: Sign Up For RightFit Counseling
No marketing for therapists list would be complete without mentioning RightFit Counseling. This new platform is all about matching clients to the right therapist based on a variety of important factors that are often missed by other therapy platforms. That means, just by joining and completing your profile, you will find more of your ideal clients.
Since RightFit is still new, it is an extra exciting time to join. Because there are not yet hundreds of therapists listed, you will appear in even more searches made by potential clients. Be sure to sign up soon to get your first 3 months on the platform for free.
Those are the top 8 tactics every therapist should know in 2021.
Did any of these tactics stand out to you?
Which tactic will you try first?
Let me know!
For any questions or help, be sure to reach out to me, Jade Pruett, at Mind Over Marketing. I look forward to hearing from you.
Jade Pruett is an SEO Strategist who specializes in marketing for therapists and counselors. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her therapist husband and corgi, Loaf. You can find her at www.mindover.marketing.