As a psychologist with a private practice, you might be at the stage when you realize the need for mental health digital marketing. That’s the right approach — if you don’t advertise your practice, nobody will know about it. Marketing can help you increase your online presence and reach as well as build loyalty and credibility among your target audience to convert prospects into clients.
But how do you market your private practice? Marketing for mental health professionals involves communicating and building relationships with potential clients and referral sources. It requires a basic understanding of marketing approaches that produce good results.
In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about marketing tactics for psychologists to attract clients, tools to convert website visitors into clients in one click, and how to build your image and reputation as an expert. To make it easier for you to navigate, we’ve grouped the tactics into three categories: tactics for professional brand development, online presence, and marketing to improve the customer experience.
Tactics for developing a professional brand
As soon as you start a private practice, you wade into an ocean of specialists who offer the same service you do. You need to stand out if you want to get noticed by your prospects and receive a stable flow of new clients. Branding is the ongoing process of establishing a positive image of your practice in people’s minds.
Here are some tips that will help you position your practice, create an identifiable brand, and get your name out there.
1. Choose a niche
By narrowing your niche, you broaden your reach. It sounds paradoxical, but don’t jump to fast conclusions; take a look at how it works.
You may say, “I’ve already chosen to work with couples, isn’t that enough of a niche?” While that may work in some markets, it won’t work in this one. When people look for psychologists, they’re likely to google “psychologists near me” and get thousands of results. After that, they narrow their search by specialty or specific issue. This is why it’s important to define what problems you can best help with. You should then target your marketing to that niche.
Imagine Matt, a 30-something male who has just found out his partner is having an affair. Do you think Matt will choose a specialist who works with couples or someone who helps post-affair couples to determine their direction, find healing, and rebuild? It’s pretty obvious that Matt will choose the second specialist, as their brand positioning resonates with him.
By choosing one or two narrow niches, you will distinguish yourself as an expert within a particular area and let more people find you based on their search queries.
2. Create your brand identity
Branding makes you stand out among competitors and helps people remember you. Brand identity is the visualization of your brand. Thanks to brand identity, your clients will recognize you at a glance.
Choose a logo, a color scheme, and a name for your practice that looks professional and makes you stand out. Keep your branding consistent, and use this identity across all channels — your website, social media, advertising, publications, and beyond.
Additionally, think about a tagline — the message you want to convey. Your tagline should be simple, direct, and reflect how you can help people. For instance, your tagline might be “Feel better on the inside,” “Healing bodies, healing minds,” or “Recover. Regain. Relive.”
Take a look at how Dr. Chloe designed her website and branding. She has a simple yet eye-catching logo, refreshing color scheme, and easy-to-read font. This is a very elegant solution to branding — the logo is not a sophisticated illustration, but her name, the website template is universal and easy to navigate. There is also a professional photo that helps visitors associate the expert with the name. She uses consistent branding across all channels, her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn with the same photo and logo, so it’s easy to recognize her.
3. Speak at public events
Public speaking provides you with a unique opportunity to build awareness of your name as an expert, demonstrate your expertise, establish a reputation, and engage your prospects. When you participate in public events, seminars, or podcasts as a speaker, you develop and nurture relationships with your prospects without selling them your services. Thus, you create a high level of trust and get noticed by a broader audience.
Monitor and reach out to organizations as well as seminar and podcast hosts to learn about their event topics and offer to join them as an expert.
Tactics for building your online presence
While marketing your private practice, strengthening your online presence across all channels should be your top priority. There are so many platforms that allow you to share your expertise and meet new clients, and you can choose all of them or cherry-pick the most appealing. Whatever you choose, make sure you make the best of it. Here are some tactics you can use in your digital marketing strategy.
1. Design a client-friendly website
To run successful digital marketing for your practice, you need to have a strong online presence. Start establishing your online presence by building a website. It’s a must for your practice as a destination for all the marketing efforts you’ll undertake. When people try to find you across online sources, all paths should lead to your website. Your social media accounts, directory listings, and even personal communications should guide people to your website.
Digital marketing for mental health professionals begins with a clean and distinct website that attracts potential clients and lets therapists do what they do best — help people in need. One of the biggest mistakes specialists make when it comes to their website is making it too much about themselves. Remember that your website shouldn't be about you! Instead, your website needs to be about your potential clients and the pain they feel.
Consider the following recommendations to make a client-friendly site:
- Make your site mobile-friendly. In March 2021, mobile traffic in North America accounted for 50.21 percent of all web traffic. It’s probable that your prospects will find your practice in between their daily chores and work using their smartphone.
- Make navigation easy. If your clients get lost on your website, they’ll never find what they’re looking for and will leave. Clear navigation is your top priority for converting prospects.
- Add a professional photo of yourself. Make sure your photo on your website looks professional. Your site visitors will pay extra attention to the person they’re trusting with their mental health, so consider having a photoshoot with a professional photographer.
- Draw attention. Keep the most important and eye-catching information above the fold so your prospects can see that you fit them straightaway.
- Have a clear CTA. A call to action, or CTA, is an invitation to take a specific action. It’s one of the most important elements of your website. Be clear with what action visitors should take. A CTA might be a button saying “Book a session now,” “Send me prices,” “Download a mental health checklist,” or “Join a webinar.”
- Make it easy to contact you. Your contact form should be easy to notice and quick to fill in. Don’t ask for too many details that take time to type. Usually, a contact form includes fields for a name and email address along with a question such as How can I help you?
- Add a booking widget. A booking widget is a must for your website to convert prospects. It’s an easy way for your clients to see your availability and schedule a meeting with you in a click. The ExpertBox widget can help you deliver a comprehensive client experience at the peak of your visitors’ interest.
- Create FAQs. An FAQ section will improve the user experience by providing quick information to help potential clients make a decision faster. Besides, an FAQ section will increase your visibility on Google and other search engines.
Still not sure whether you need a website for your private practice? In our new blog post , we’ve collected 22 convincing reasons why a psychologist needs a website in 2021. Dive in!
2. Start a blog
You can help your potential clients even before you’ve met or before they come to an appointment. People look for answers to their issues online, so you should meet them there. Be ready to greet potential clients and offer answers to help them understand how to deal with their problems.
On your website or social media page, you can share your knowledge and experience, talk about common fears and problems people might face, and tell potential clients how you can help. Free useful content is not a waste of time and effort but a launchpad for converting readers into leads. As soon as readers ensure you’re an expert who has helped them cope with minor issues, there’s a good chance they will turn to you later.
A considerable part of your marketing should be content. Content marketing is about delivering your prospects high-quality, relevant, and useful content to build long-term relationships.
Thus, your content should be diverse and should address clients’ pain points and answer clients’ questions.
Besides, your blog is directly connected with SEO, so blog content can help you rank higher in search engines. Using keyword search tools, you can find popular user queries to get new topics for your blog. Consider hiring an SEO specialist if you’re interested in search engine promotion.
3. Do guest blogging
If you don’t want to have your own blog or want to reach a wider audience, you can be a guest expert author for another specialist, website, or publisher. Guest blogging is one of the digital marketing tactics psychologists can benefit from. It can help you improve your image and authority and broaden the audience who might potentially be interested your services. Make sure that specialists or publishers for whom you write guest posts have similar specializations but aren’t direct competitors. You should be like cousins, not twins.
4. Reach customers and prospects through social media websites
Social media is your mechanism to engage with potential customers and build your brand and reputation.
Thanks to relevant and authoritative content and social media mechanics, you’ll be able to attract prospects and lead them to the next stage of your conversion funnel. Social media is not about your private or public pages — it’s about conversions. That’s why it should not only inform clients but also sell your services to them — i.e. make them book a session.
Create separate social media pages for your private practice and your personal use. Here is a list of social media channels you might consider when creating a business profile:
Your pages should include the information you already have on your website, such as the name of your private practice or your real name, a short bio, a professional photo, a description of your specialization and methods, and a link to your booking page.
On social media pages, you can share content from your blog to attract and engage your followers. Always include links to your blog posts to lead your prospects to the next stage of the funnel. Facebook and Twitter can attract people who might be interested in your services, while LinkedIn is more about professional networking.
Don’t overlook the benefits that social media offers for marketing your private practice. Learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to your advantage in our guide to social networks for psychologists.
5. Make it easy for clients to make a booking
If you have a booking page, let your clients know. They won’t know how to look for you if they don’t know you’re out there. Add “Visit my website” or “Book a meeting” buttons on social media profiles and your website.
A booking widget is a must for your website to convert prospects. It’s an easy way for your clients to see your availability and schedule a meeting with you in a click. The ExpertBox widget can help you deliver a comprehensive client experience at the peak of your website visitors’ interest.
6. Create your own podcasts
Podcasting is trending, and what’s even more appealing is that it’s less competitive than blogging. For a psychologist, it’s the perfect time to start a podcast. This space suits psychologists more than others, as they deliver their services orally, which makes speaking and podcasting a perfect fit to share their expertise with an audience.
While podcasts allow you to extend your geography, market your therapy practice and even improve your public speaking skills, you can also monetize them. A podcast is generally not a stable and considerable source of income, but you can invest earned money into promoting your practice.
7. Create video content
The point of video blogging is to create educational content and build authority within your niche. According to Semrush, YouTube is the second most visited site in the US. Not a surprise, given that YouTube has high-quality and creative content for all types of audiences. Thanks to video blogging, you can share your expertise worldwide and help people who can’t attend your sessions.
While marketing your private practice, you can start an educational blog covering complex topics or create a vlog for answering popular questions. Just find your fit with your audience and your specialty. Here are the types of videos you can consider creating:
- How-tos and tutorials
- Educational videos
- List posts
- Q&A videos
- Interviews with specialists
- Live streams
Below are some popular YouTube channels on therapy and psychology that use the abovementioned video formats. Check them out for inspiration:
- Psych2Go (5.45M subscribers)
- Kati Morton (1.06M subscribers)
- Inner Integration by Meredith Miller (362K subscribers)
- Julia Kristina Counselling (247K subscribers)
- The Psych Show (135K subscribers)
8. Run a paid search campaign
As your prospects are most likely to look for you on the internet, you should be there to welcome them. Paid Google campaigns are a quick and effective way to drive traffic to your website, and they can be very useful if you target them correctly.
According to Semrush, people in the United States searched for “psychologist near me” 90,500 times in May 2021. Include a paid search campaign on your online marketing list to make sure that next time your prospect googles for a therapist, they see your name at the top of the search results. This tactic can be part of your SEO strategy or exist on its own. In any case, for your convenience, we recommend contacting a specialist who can help you with setting up your Google Ads account and launching a paid search campaign.
9. Claim and optimize online directories and local listings
As you’re building your online presence to bring in more clients, a good place to put some effort is directories. There are both counseling and therapy-specific directories as well as general business directories.
Sites like Psychology Today and GoodTherapy help qualified therapists authentically connect with their target audiences. Used well, they can increase a therapist’s online visibility faster than getting a site ranked on Google. Do your research and find directories that fit your area and specialty.
Here is a list of the most popular professional directories for psychologists:
- Psychology Today
- Open Path Psychotherapy Collective
- Network Therapy
The success of your listing on a directory depends on many factors, and your profile description is one of them. Creating a page on a directory is the same as creating the home page on your site. Here are things to include in your description:
To be more visible in your local area, it’s worth creating a Google My Business profile. My Business is Google’s own directory for local businesses. Any time a prospect googles “clinical psychologist in Philadelphia,” for instance, they will get a list of local therapists in Google search results and on Google Maps.
Tactics for nurturing your relationships with prospects and clients
A positive customer experience and a personal touch is all it takes to get your clients to promote your practice. Here are six simple tactics you can use to drive positive sentiment towards your brand and foster meaningful relationships with your clients.
1. Focus on the patient experience
Your goal as a psychologist is to provide the best care possible to your patients. While marketing strategies and tactics can help you get patients in the door, the patient experience will make them stay and recommend you to others.
Here are some tips for improving your customer experience:
- Have an online booking page. One single tool makes you forget about back-and-forth communication with prospects and frees your time to deliver your services. For clients, an online booking page means they can book a session with you at any time. ExpertBox is a tool that offers online booking functionality.
- Reach out to your clients. Follow-up messages or emails, feedback forms, newsletters, and selections of useful materials will keep you in touch with your clients even if they put their sessions on hold or stop visiting your practice.
- Collect and process feedback. Two-thirds of clients expect you to understand their needs and expectations, which is why collecting feedback is a must. Client insights will show your strengths as well as weak points you can work on to improve the level of customer satisfaction.
- Learn to say no. If you see that a client isn’t a good fit for your expertise and skills, don’t waste their time. Tell them about it and help them find a proper specialist.
- Introduce bonuses. It’s a good idea to offer something special to your clients such as a discount and a thank you email after they’ve been with you for a while. Your clients will appreciate such a gesture and feel more loyal as a result.
Improving the customer experience requires patience and effort but yields great returns in the long run. Online booking software with the right features can catalyze this process and help you win. Read more about how to improve the customer experience with appointment scheduling software in our blog post.
2. Send appointment reminders
Appointment reminders are a small personal touch that helps you stand out to your clients and makes them feel welcome in your practice. In fact, reminders can increase the attendance rate by 23%.
While sending each client a reminder manually is counterproductive, expensive, and time-consuming, special software like ExpertBox can do it automatically. This all-in-one appointment scheduling software will streamline your counseling and take your customer experience to the next level. With ExpertBox, your clients are free to choose how they want to receive reminders (email, SMS, or push notifications) so you can inform them about upcoming appointments without disrupting them with calls. Finally, you can customize the text in reminder messages to show your care and leave a positive impression of your service.
3. Adopt email marketing
Many say that email marketing is dead, but it depends on how you use it. Emails are the bridge connecting you with clients even when they don’t need your services now. Use email marketing to send out routine information like appointment reminders and marketing materials like newsletters, updates, information about upcoming events, and health tips. Remember to include a booking link in your emails to be there when your clients need you.
4. Respond to online comments and reviews
Show that you’re eager to engage with your clients by responding in a professional, thoughtful way. However, remember to never have clinical discussions or debates on social media. The main idea of social media is that you can interact with people but not assist clients. There’s a special and secure place for that — your office. On social media, your aim is to prove your proficiency and build an audience.
5. Network and develop a referral system
Another way to market your private practice is by building relationships and connecting with other specialists to broaden your pool of professional contacts and discover new professional opportunities. Networking can help you develop your skills and get referrals if somebody from your network needs a specialist like you.
It works even better if you have a narrow specialization. People prefer to refer others to someone they know, so develop a referral network of therapists, doctors, and other specialists and keep in touch with them. As it’s a two-way street, you also can recommend contacts from your network to your clients.
6. Get client testimonials
When your clients are loyal, they give you great reviews, refer their friends and family, and spread the word about you. Reviews are another reason to trust you as a specialist. They show your prospects what kind of specialist you are and help them decide if they should contact you.
Also, testimonials will serve as a source of healthy criticism on what you should improve in your work. Ask your clients to leave feedback about the quality of care they receive at your practice after a fixed number of sessions. You can offer them to leave comments anonymously in a Google Form, on your website, on your Google business page, or on Healthgrades.com, Yelp.com, Vitals.com, Wellness.com, or some other site.
The secret of digital marketing for mental health professionals is simple — provide great value to your potential clients even when they aren’t yet your clients. The best way to do this is to offer helpful and knowledgeable content to help people solve their problems. Even posting a link to a relevant article on your blog can be effective enough to make a person stay and become your client. Providing great value to your clients helps you win business and helps your clients win too. This is a win-win tactic. If you ground your practice on this principle, you’ll maximize your chances of having an ongoing stream of satisfied clients.
Now, you have a practical guide on marketing your private practice and ideas to get started. Remember that finding clients for your private practice is a practical enterprise. So take some time to plan your next steps and do the work.
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