A Short Marketing Guide to Start and Build Your Therapy Business
Practical ways of attracting more ideal clients for your therapy — For mental health professionals
As a therapist, you master the skills of knowing people. You are well aware of psychology and human behaviour.
There are no classes on marketing as a therapist or a counsellor.
And, so I’ve found most therapists struggle with marketing themselves and their services.
Some of them are uncomfortable doing it. Some feel like an imposter while marketing themselves. Some don’t know where to start. Some are overwhelmed about what to do.
If you have ever felt that, this guide is for you.
I’ll try my best to make sure that you’re confident aggressively marketing yourself after reading this.
Here’s what you will learn
- Understanding your target audience
- Where should you start?
- Having your own website
- How to build your authority on the internet (How to build your authority as a therapist)
- Your social media strategy — How to pick the right channel
- Blogging for your website
- Content strategy for your therapy website — Blogs, Podcast, newsletters
- Why should you consider building an email list?
- What should you send in your email newsletters
- How to Plan Content and Generate Content Ideas for Blogs, Podcast, Social Media, and Newsletters
So lets start…
Understanding your target audience
First thing to understand when you’re marketing anything is to understand the ideal target ‘buyer’, that’s the target audience.
Start by being clear on your target audience.
Here’s an approach that will help you figure it out quickly:
Ask these question:
- Who am I trying to help?
- What is their age?
- What’s their profession?
- What are the problems they are having?
- Would they consider seeing a therapist?
- Where are they hanging out — on social media
This will make you clear about your ideal buyers. This is the first thing we do with marketing anything.
Having a clear target audience helps us focus on marketing strategies that work.
To give you an example:
If you’re practicing for divorced women with depression issues and your marketing and communication is talking to 14 year old teenagers. It won’t work.
Even with an amazing website, content and copy strategy it won’t talk to the right people. When it doesn’t talk to the right people how do you expect them to take action — as in contact you.
Once you’re set with a target persona, now let’s move on to strengthening your online presence.
I don’t think I need to elaborate about the importance of good online presence.
There’s an old saying which I’ll come back to again in the chapter where we talk about picking your social media platform — it is — Be where your customers are at.
All your clients are online.
They are either looking for you through online searches, or they are seeking help through their social media feed. Some of your customers need to be aware that they need your help.
Eugene Shwatz, marketing legend and copywriter decides the communication and messaging for marketing in 5 different types.
- Unaware of the problem
- Aware about the problem
- Aware about the solution
- Product aware
- Most aware
Your prospective clients are at any of these stages and you have to target according to these.
We’re not going to get very technical here, the steps I’m about to share will be practical implementation.
Where should you start?
There is nothing too right or too wrong.
You can start anywhere and go right.
Some therapists have built their complete online presence through social media, some have built it after they published an eBook, somethough Newsletters, podcasts and Blogs.
If you are starting from scratch.
The website is like your online home. So it’s better if you start here.
A Website helps you in building authority, connecting with your audience, establishing credibility and attracting more clients.
If you are just starting off, you might be tight on your budget.
I can hear you thinking “I’m low on budget, I can’t invest in a website designing service at this moment”.
That’s alright. You can build your website yourself. It’s completely fine if you don’t have a dime of knowledge about coding. Your investment this way would be significantly less and it would work for you well.
On a side note: If you’re having a good budget, it’s better to hire a website developer.
How to make your own website?
Here’s how to make your own website as a therapist or mental health professional:
There are tools available — website builders that make it easy for you to build your own website.
I’ll share three of them here, the best ones, there are more services available.
- Wix (My website is on wix)
Squarespace and wix have ready to use templates that you can edit and make it best to suit your therapy business.
Having your own website
Let us look at the different pages you will have for your website:
These are the essential menu sections in the most basic website.
If you have free resources like an ebook or a video training or something, you can add that here too.
This is where your prospects land at the very initial stage.
Your home page has to communicate what you do in the simplest terms.
You want to avoid jargon here. Your prospects don’t understand what hyperactivity disorder means. Remember how we discussed the level of awareness?
When a prospective client is looking for a therapist, they don’t know their problem. They don’t know the technical jargon you’d normally use.
They might not even understand the problems they’re having. You help them understand.
My point is, having complicated jargon on your website, LinkedIn or Psychology Today profile will not help.
What would help?
Talking to them in their language.
Now, how do you define that?
Start by thinking of two of your best clients.
Recall (or go through your notes) about what they said on the very first therapy session.
Yes. That’s the problem we’re talking about.
Now, use that to explain how you can help.
What are the essential elements of your homepage?
- One headline that grabs your prospects and introduces you/your services the right way.
- One paragraph explaining your services.
- If you’re an individual therapist at your center then include your photograph. if you’re more than one include the photographs in the about section. There is no rule to this, if the layout allows you, there is no harm in having photographs of your team in the homepage.
Note: Photographs are important because they help you build trust.
- Talk more about the problems of your target audience.
- Tell them how you have the solution and understand their problems.
- Include testimonials — if any of your clients are comfortable sharing.
Your ‘about’ page is not just about your qualifications. It is more about why they should choose you.
It’s about subtly selling yourself.
Some good ideas here are to:
- Share your purpose of being a therapist
- What drives you
- What makes you unique
- Best way is to share some story that gets them a little emotional
- And then your qualifications and stuff like that.
Services page is about where you communicate about the kinds of services you are offering, the different kinds of therapy you offer and the description about it.
For example: Your services could be
- Couples Counselling
- Group Therapy
- Individual Therapy
You can include the pricing details in this section, sharing the pricing on your website will help you save time. It will keep leads relevant to your pricing.
Contact page is where you share your contact details.
It is recommended that you don’t have many contact forms on your website in other pages, when you ask them to contact, you use the form in the contact page.
Share all your contact details here.
We’ve an entire chapter dedicated to blogs. Here you share blogs, these help you build connection with your audience and rank well in search results like google etc.
Other optional Pages:
Here is where you share your free ebook or any free videos.
You can create a forum, or a community of your target audience on your website.
How to Build Your Authority as a Therapist
Building Authority is because you want to position yourself as someone who knows what they are doing and are possibly an expert in that field. This also builds more credibility for you. This differentiates you from the rest and shows why you are different.
There are therapists from unregulated institutions that take care of mental health!
You have better qualifications and strategies, you don’t have to compete with them, they aren’t worth it. You have to differentiate
Also, this is like a shortcut if you’ve been working with another hospital and just now you’ve started your therapy clinic.
Create Your Buzz Piece or Lead Magnet (Ebook)
This will help you establish your authority and expertise in your target market. It will create buzz about you and it will help you attract potential leads. A good buzz piece works as a lead generation machine for your business.
How to think of a good idea for your buzz piece or lead magnet?
Think of the problems your target audience has and help them solve it.
For the sake of understanding, let us assume you are a therapist for top level corporate executives.
What are the problems you can think of, that they deal with?
I think managing teams, staying productive and making high level decisions creates stress and sometimes causes burn out.
So your idea for a buzz piece would be “10 Proven Ways To Help Top Level Executives Stay Calm, Energetic and Productive”.
Write down 7–10 (the more the better, I recommend 25) different ideas like these and pick out the best one that does two things:
- Solves a problems of your target audience
- Build your authority about the subject and the niche
Some other formats for buzz piece or lead magnets are:
- Short eBooks
- Create a free video
- Audio training
- Create a free email
If you want to go a step further, you can mix them up and include a video, an eBook and an email course.
Once you’re done creating your bizz piece, it’s time to promote it. You should promote it on social media, or through different communities on reddit. When anyone asks for your eBook, you can ask them to subscribe to your email list and send them newsletters.
Setup an Email automation
Now setting up automation with an email service provider is not as complicated as it sounds. You have to follow the instructions as you sign up.
Here’s the list of popular email service provides:
With these services you can set up an automation to send the buzz piece once anyone subscribes to your list.
Other ways of building authority and expertise is by:
- Social Media
(To get people in your email list, you have to give them something, that’s what you did with the eBook- buzz piece).
Your Social Media Strategy — How to Pick the Right Channel
It can be quite overwhelming when you think of all the things, being active on social media is a whole other game. And, it’s tedious.
If you’re starting, I don’t recommend going all in on all social channels.
Find one and focus all your energy on that one channel. Once you’ve good hold on that you can think and plan to move on the other channels. You have to understand that every social media has a different vibe to it and a different context to it.
For example: when I’m scrolling through linkedin, I’m not looking for cat videos. And, I’m certainly not looking for job postings on instagram.
So, how do you figure out which social media would work best for you?
Again, let’s go to the first part of this blog post, the one with the Target Audience. (There was a reason why that was the first topic covered)
Now, you have to figure out where your target audience is and plan accordingly.
If you’re a therapist for corporate professionals, executives dealing with stress, you certainly should go ahead with LinkedIn.
If you are targeting teenagers who are trying to quit addiction, go ahead on Instagram.
If you’re targeting divorced single parents you should search for forums and communities on Reddit, or Facebook.
Here are some profiles you should look at who have got it right:
Twitter — https://twitter.com/DrJessTaylor
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/drjuliesmith/
Facebook Group — https://www.facebook.com/groups/199418986881710 by Sarah Ockwell Smith
Content Strategy for Your Website — Blogs, Podcast, Newsletters
Why should you share blogs on your website?
Blogs help you with:
- Building Authority
- Connect with your readers
- Help your prospects make decision quickly — if you guys go good together etc
- Rank higher on search results — Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo etc.
Should you consider having a podcast?
If you love to talk and share value with your audience, go ahead and have one.
After you record the podcast, you can transcribe the same and edit it to a blog post and later to your newsletter too.
There is nothing wrong in sharing your content on different platforms. In fact there is a whole concept of content distribution, which means to promote youtube content and get more views on it.
All of this comes down to one thing now, how do you plan this amount of content effectively?
I can hear you thinking, how do I come up with ideas and keep rolling with them consistently.
In the last chapter of this eBook, I’ll share my hack to come up with ideas for content for the whole year in less time — like an hour or so.
Why should you consider building an email list as a therapist?
Your email list is YOUR email list. These people are willing to read your work and stay connected with you.
Moreover, if you ever plan to launch a video course or paid book or anything paid for that matter. You already have an audience that loves to invest in your work. This helps you with attracting the right (Ideal) kinds of people for your therapy too.
I know, this all might be getting a little overwhelming to implement if you think all of this is a big chunk of work, but if you’re going to do this, the payoff is worth it and all of this is not that difficult to implement.
Where should you build an email list?
You can go with MailChimp or ConvertKit. Mailchimp gives a free plan up to 2000 subscribers. ConvertKit gives up to 1000 in the free plan. I use Mailchimp. But I recommend you go ahead with ConvertKit, because it has some other advantages. (There are other platforms too, as we discussed above these are popular ones)
What Should You Send in Your Email Newsletters
Once you have your target audience as your email subscriber, you already have their trust and a little bit of rapport built because of the free value you have provided. Now your subscribers are waiting to hear more from you.
I know it sounds like a time consuming drill to send an email newsletter.
But here’s what you need to know. I recently took a course by Robert Lucas, an expert copywriter for high ticket coaches. He says you don’t have to provide content filled with value everyday. Even stories from your daily life work.
People want entertainment.
Russell Brunson, author of Dotcom Secrets calls these as Seinfeld emails, When he used entertainment in his strategy, he notices increase in open rates and more conversion.
Robert says people are nosy and they want to know what is going on with everyone’s lives and so they like it.
As you’re starting off you can also send newsletters with:
- Links to posts you shared on Social Media
- Valuable links you found across the internet
- Share something from any book that you’re reading
(These are some ideas that won’t take much of your time, else you can plan more ways, using my hack discussed in next chapter to create more content and keep your list engaged)
It is completely fine if you send them once every week as long as you’re not aggressively marketing. Else it is recommended to send more.
If you’re launching a course/product or offering discounts on your services — you should send more emails. Follow the 3:1 ratio, three emails packed with value or entertainment — one promotional email. Or, you could use the same formula in this way — send 9 emails packed with value or entertainment and then 3 emails consecutively selling your course/product.
How to Plan Content and Generate Content Ideas for Blogs, Podcast, Social Media, and Newsletters
How to generate more content ideas for therapy or psychology website in less time?
(This is my favorite section in this blog)
You can use this technique to generate ideas for:
- Social Media
Start with asking:
Who’s my Ideal reader? (aka target audience)
Let’s assume you’re a therapist for divorced parents with young children.
So your ideal reader is a 34 year old mother with a 4 year old kid, who’s recently divorced.
(Even if you have broad target audience, narrow down to one person for this exercise)
Second step is to ask:
How can I contribute to this one person, make them well-informed about this subject and give them maximum value?
The ideas will start pouring in.
- How to deal with depression after divorce
- How common is depression after divorce
- Here’s how to ensure good mental health of your kids after divorce
- How to talk to your kids about divorce
You could take one mega category and create a subcategory of ideas.
Examples of Categories:
- Trust issues
If you do a little deep thinking you could come up with at least 5 content ideas in each of this category.
That’s how you generate ideas for months to come in one sitting.
Hey, Thank you for reading.
Now, it’s time to take action.
About Me — The Author
My name is Noman Shaikh. I’m a freelance copywriter and content strategist. I’ve been writing and marketing for 2 and half years now.
Am I a mental health professional? No. I wish I was. Psychology and mental health is something very close to my heart. I was diagnosed with Bipolar back in 2017. And since then I feel like contributing towards better mental health across the globe, And, me helping therapists is one way to do that.
I’ve worked with different niches, I’ve worked with mental health professionals, creative startups, SaaS products and more.
I’ve worked as a ghostwriter for marketing influencers and mental health experts. And, I’ve enjoyed every bit of my work.
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