Getting Clients

Clients are the life-blood of your mental-health private practice.

If you're a psychologist, therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, or other form of independent mental health service provider, you know that getting clients can be difficult.

Many struggle coming up with marketing ideas or advertising strategies that work. Especially when they are already pressed for time servicing their existing clients...

It was awful...

In my mother's case, for years she had relied on referrals, but as her practice aged she was receiving fewer and fewer inquiries from the friends and family of her existing clients.

She even pondered shutting down her New York City-based psychotherapy office.

Had her skills deteriorated?

Was she really 'done'?

Was she going to be put out to pasture? (Just kidding...)

Was her private psychotherapy practice over?

Was it over?

No! Fortunately, since I had begun working at a startup as a digital marketer in Manhattan, I had some tricks up my sleeve to help grow her psychotherapy practice.

While the advertising strategies on this page may seem overwhelming, you don't need to do all of them. You can choose several marketing strategies to implement and really focus on optimizing their effectiveness for acquiring psychology & psychiatry clients.

In fact, if you just want a simple and effective advertising strategy that doesn't take time to manage, I'm going to lead with that one right off the bat...

The easiest advertising strategy ever...

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of marketing strategies for psychologists and psychiatrists, I wanted to first present the simplest, easiest, most passive way for you to keep clients calling your practice. I call it the "Set It And Forget It Strategy". 

Set It And Forget It Marketing Strategy

All this strategy requires is setting up a Google AdWords account (read more about AdWords further down), and directing people Googling for your services (therapy, psychiatry, psychology, etc.) to your website by bidding on the 'keywords' they are using to search. 

What you'll need

If you don't have a website, read my guide below to get a sense of how to set one up. Otherwise, watch the short tutorial video below to get a sense of how AdWords works. 

How AdWords works

Budgeting $10 a day, for example, will get you under 10 clicks a day to your site. The number and price of clicks will depend on who else is bidding on the keywords, as well as the keywords you've chosen to bid on.

The great thing about AdWords is that if you are interested in attracting cash-paying, as opposed to managed care, clients, you can bid on Keywords and target specific (high-income) locations that dramatically increase the probability of self-paying client queries. (Read a detailed setup guide here)

With great targeting comes great responsibility- your website has to be a simple, modern conversion machine! The goal of your website is to convert these 'browsers' into customers by compelling them to contact you. You do that by writing engaging web copy, publishing professional images of yourself, and most of all by making it EASY for them to contact you.

In other words, include your phone number, email address, physical location, directions to said location, contact forms, links to social media pages, your cell phone number, your pet's tracking id #. Anything and everything!

The number one mistake I see healing professionals make on their websites is neglecting them. They had it built in 2006 and haven't touched it since- now links are broken, it isn't mobile-optimized, and it just looks dated.

Websites need care and attention- they must be lovingly tended so that they stuff your private practice with so many clients you'll have to call up The Google and ask them remove you from the internets!

Don't let this be you...

Don't let this be you...

Online Media Advertising Strategies

A Website

Therapy Marketing Website

Now, this one should be pretty obvious. If you have a website, don't skip over this section as I'll cover some conversion-optimizations you should consider.

But scanning through Yelp therapist, psychologist & psychiatrist listings, I see many actually without websites.

There's no excuse for that nowadays- it's way too easy and cheap to create one.

Your private practice website will be the central hub of your online and even offline presence- you will link to it from your Facebook profile, from your Facebook business page, you will link your AdWords Ads to it, it will appear on your business cards and any other promotional materials you create.

A website is never done meme

When it comes to creating a website, the two main providers that I'm familiar with are Weebly and WordPress. Weebly has a very intuitive, drag-and-drop functionality designed for beginners to create attractive and elegant sites without a ton of advanced options.

WordPress, on the other hand, is a more advanced option. If you enjoy tinkering with websites and require more control over the look and feel, go with WordPress.

How to launch your website

  • Purchase your domain name from Godaddy.com
  • Sign up for hosting with Bluehost
  • Sign up with Weebly using your new domain name, or install WordPress through your Bluehost account

If you just want to create something basic and attractive that's easy to modify and update- go with Weebly. Another way of visualizing it is Weebly is like driving an automatic transmission car, while WordPress is a manual. Essentially, WordPress gives you greater control and manuverability, while Weebly does most of the heavy-lifting for you.

Elements of a conversion-optimized website 

  • Brandable domain name
  • Clear calls to action
  • Prominently displayed phone, email & physical address
  • Attractive photo
  • Mobile optimized
  • Intuitive Menus
  • FAQ section
  • Articulate & engaging content

Live example (margaretnelson.me)

Therapist Landing Page Example

Choosing a domain name

Now, if you have an existing therapy business, you'll likely want to incorporate that brand name into the website itself.

You'll, of course, want to see if the Exact Match domain name is available. Meaning, if your business is called Therapy By Maria, check if TherapyByMaria.com is available. (Ideally, you'll want a domain name that is 2 words. 3 max.) 

If it is, buy it. If it isn't, try using Shopify's Business Name Generator- the generator will produce some quality variations that are highly brandable and have ".coms" available.

Business names example

Therapy Domain Names

If you don't have a business name, or want a new one, you can play around with this Business Name Generator and find something that sounds catchy.

Trust me, I've spent dozens and dozens of hours trying to figure out interesting domain names and using this tool is by far the easiest way to discover something catchy but simple.

Why do you want something catchy and simple? This sort of brandable, moniker makes it easy for your site to be remembered. Imagine if your website was TherapyInBrooklynByMariaMSW.com. Much harder to remember, right?

Plus, this site will be appearing on your business cards, on your office pamphlets, on your social media profiles, and if you choose to use it as an email, Maria@therapybymaria.com looks a lot better than Maria@TherapyInBrooklynByMariaMSW.com. 

Mobile optimized (live example)

Therapy Website Mobile Optimized

​The above is an example of my mother's site displaying on a mobile device. As you can see, even on a small device, the call to action is prominently displayed. Her email and phone number are also prominent. 

Plus, I'm using a WordPress plugin that adds a green phone icon in the bottom right corner. When clicked, it actually calls her business. 

Mobile optimization basically this means that the theme adapts the content of your site to display on narrower smartphone and tablet screens.

So, just be sure that your site is mobile optimized.

You can use this tool to check. Nowadays, 99% of WordPress & Weebly themes are mobile optimized. If you're using an old theme, you'll want to update your theme to something that is mobile optimized.

Google prioritizes mobile-optimized sites in organic search, plus it's more difficult for mobile device users to navigate your website, contributing to higher bounce rates (people visiting your site and quickly leaving). 

Contact info

Make it easy for clients to find your contact info! I can't tell you how often I see this mistake- websites that make you hunt for the phone number, email address, or physical address.

Nowadays, if someone can't find your contact number, they just 'bounce', leaving your site and depriving you of a potential client.

So, make sure your phone number and address is prominently displayed.​ Many sites have options for including your phone number and email address directly in the top-most header portion of the site so that it's always present on every page of your website. 

Site Content

Thoughtfully write website content that reflects your personality and answers the most common questions your clients have. ​

Add a FAQs section to your website- perhaps it's a menu item called FAQs, for example, that leads to a separate page. Or you can use tabs (see example below).

WordPress sites have plugins that allow you to create dynamic graphic elements like below, where I have created a sample FAQ element with dummy text. This makes it easy for users to navigate and discover the answers to their questions. 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Grief

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor.

List out EVERY single question customers have EVER asked you and provide clear answers. This content is invaluable for Google Search- but even better, the more questions you can answer the better you can pre-sell users on your services.

Calls To Action

Create a clear call to action. This could be a telephone number you want users to call or a submission form you want them to fill out. Their should be striking visual elements on your website that tell the user what you want them to do.

See example below:​

Schedule A Free Consult

718-816-****

As well, you should create multiple means of contact. Different people have different communication preferences. Some love picking up the phone, while others find it a disagreeable chore. Others prefer shooting off a quick email, or even texting!

Provide contact forms on the site that submit to your email address.

Provide an email address that users can copy and paste into their email provider.

Obviously a phone number is important, as well.

If you've created social media profiles, include links to those, as well!

Analytics

It is indispensable to enable Google Analytics on your website. Google Analytics reports a host of valuable information to you, the website owner. I use the 

It will let you know how many visitors you get, how long they stay, where they navigate to on your site, where they are coming from. If you integrate AdWords and Analytics (highly recommended), it will provide additional information concerning how your Keywords are performing that AdWords doesn't.

Remember- your website is never finished. That shouldn't be depressing- it should be inspiring. You will want to keep working to improve it, adding new content, optimizing it for the best user experience. Too often, businesses pay an agency to create a webpage, they make a 5 page site, and then it isn't modified for the next decade. You're better than that! The goal is to create an online resource you're proud of- that you can brag about.

Creating a logo

Admittedly, my mother's site doesn't have a logo. It's definitely on the agenda, however. I've been using icons for her social media profiles. You can check out some free, attractive icons here

If you need a customized logo, there are a couple of routes you can take. You can try your hand at designing it yourself using some free online tools.

Or you can use a firm like 99designs to get it done for you. In all honesty, I've tried doing designs myself and they have always come out horribly.

A logo is, in a way, the linchpin that visually unites your brand across the different online platforms you will be active, or at least present on.

This logo will appear on your Facebook business page, your Twitter profile, your LinkedIn Company Page, your business cards, your website, etc.

Creating Content

Writing Content For Mental Health Websites

The dream of every business owner is free leads, right? In order to acquire organic (free) search engine or social-media traffic, you will need to create content.

Broadly speaking, the goal of content is to attract and interest an audience.

Whether you are attracting interest in your video content via YouTube, written content on your blog via search engines, inspirational graphic quotes on Instagram and Twitter, you will need to find the medium that best suits you and begin regularly pumping out quality content. 

Therapy Content Marketing Meme

That said, you don't need to create content to start getting new clients! You can run AdWords Ads to your website and keep your practice stocked full of therapy and psychiatry patients that way.​

However, if you'd like to experiment with attracting organic (free) traffic, the key is in creating content that attracts search traffic to your website through either search engines (Google + Bing), or social media channels.

If you plan on being active on social media, you'll need to build and interest an audience with content that compels them to click and visit your site's blog.  

Attracting organic search traffic

If you want to attract organic traffic, the best course of action is to write content around topics that are less competitive.

Think of each piece of written content you create as opening an entryway for users to discover your website. I'll provide an example of this strategy below. 

An example

For example, writing an article about "the symptoms of depression", you will discover enormous competition from both Advertisers as well as WedMD.com and MayoClinic.org, organically.

You're never going to outrank them. 

the symptoms of depression SERP

But, if you pursue keywords that have less or inferior publishers competing to rank for them, you have a shot at getting some free, organic traffic.

I use a keyword research tool called LongTailPro- the way it works is that you input certain 'seed' keywords and it returns tons of related searches that actual people have entered into Google.

I input "depression", "mental health", "psychology" and "anxiety" and it returned 2,479 search keywords, along with the number of searches for those terms.

For example, the term "mental health charities" has 590 searches a month and LongTailPro assigned it an Average Keyword Competitiveness Score (their proprietary assessment) of 39.

Basically, anything below a score of 40 they advise you to 'pursue'. "symptoms of depression" has a score of 52. Much harder to rank for.

In the case of "mental health charities", you could publish a post that lists 25 mental health charities, provides 200 word write-ups of each, links to each of them, all assembled in a neat and organized manner- this would be an organic content strategy that could attract traffic to your site.

Kicking it up a notch

If you really wanted to kick it up a notch, you could email or tweet, etc., every one of the charities that they are on your list, and have them link back to your write-up. This is a HUGE component of ranking. After content, Google prioritizes 'backlinks', which is to say, links back to your site from other reputable websites. 

The more original and in-depth the content you publish to your site the more likely it will, over time, begin to rise in the search rankings. Google drools over this unique and rich content, so you should either produce it yourself, or hire a firm to produce it for you.

Always interlink

One last bit of advice on this topic- when you publish content, always 'interlink'. That is, link to other areas of your site- this is a highly valuable practice that helps Google understand your site's architecture, and has proven useful for increasing average visit duration, lowering bounce rates (people landing on your webpage and leaving without going to another page), increasing page visits, and endorsing the utility of the page being linked to.

Summary

Your content strategy will vary depending on where you are practicing it. If you are on YouTube, you'll be creating videos, obviously. If you are a writer, you will be publishing on your blog, or perhaps experimenting with blogging platforms like Medium.com.

It's not enough to just create great content- you will have to focus on marketing the content, as well. My advice here is to choose 3 ways to market every piece of content you create.

Click the Read More button below to read more of my content strategies for mental health providers. 

AdWords

What is Google AdWords?

The top results at the top of the page for any Google search you perform are likely Ads. Individuals and companies bid on certain search terms (keywords) that users are searching for and display their Ads.

AdWords Therapist Example

Check out my detailed AdWords guide. 

As you can imagine, if you are a private practice psychologist or therapist, occupying this valuable real estate could be an incredible opportunity for you and your business. Now, it only makes sense to use AdWords if you have a website that the Ads send traffic to. And the website does have to be good (see the above section for more on that).

But this is certainly worth experimenting with, especially considering the average order value (AOV) and lifetime order value (LTV) of a client.

I'm going to walk you through a super-basic, and super-conservative, AdWords setup that is easy to implement and optimize. The components of a succesful AdWords Campaign are the keywords that you bid on, the text Ads that you run, and the website that you link to. This is the ecosystem of an AdWords account.

before the internet we used the yellow pages

Many individuals and businesses over-complicate AdWords by bidding on hundreds of keywords, but the good news for you if you are a therapist is that you only really need to bid on one to get started: "therapist". As well, with geographical targeting capabilities, you can ensure that you only serve your Ad to people in the regions relevant to your business.

Watch the setup video- I'll walk you through creating Campaigns, Ad Groups and you'll see how simple it is. Once your account is up running, with a daily budget, you will need to monitor its performance actively, but once you see that your Ad Groups have solid CTRs (Click Through Rates), that your Ads aren't being triggered by irrelevant Keywords because of your robust Negative Keyword list, that you have Quality Scores for your Keywords that are above 3, and you are actually being contacted by the sort of clients you want to work with, you can let the Campaign run and focus on your private practice. 

Bing Ads

Using Bing To Get Psychology Clients

Bing Ads is very similar to AdWords- so similar that Bing enables you to import your entire AdWords account into it and get it up and running with a few clicks.

That's really handy, but is it worth running Ads on Bing? It does give you broader exposure and in my own experience using it, the clicks are cheaper, but the Impression volume (the number of searches for Keywords you're bidding on) is much lower.

I would recommend that once you get comfortable using AdWords that you experiment with Bing and set aside some time each week to evaluate the performance of both.

Google My Business

Google My Business For Therapists

Google My Business is another indispensable and free way of managing your business' presence online in Google Search and, importantly, in Google Maps.

Many people use their Google Maps smartphone app to locate local mental-health providers.

The way you appear for that Map query is by creating a free Google My Business account.

Finding Psychologists on Google Maps

But you shouldn't just stop there- you should spend an hour optimizing the account.

What does optimizing it mean?

Verify the physical location of your business- Google will send you a postcard with a code on it to use to verify that you actually are at that physical address.

The real win...

The real win when it comes to verifying your psychology private practice location is when people perform a location search like the one below and your business is one of the top 3 picked by Google as the most relevant local businesses to a user’s search (below the map).

Google Map Pack Example

According to Moz.com, you will need to bolster and optimize the following ranking signals to get a chance at this illustrious display listing. 

  • Business Signals
  • External Location Signals
  • Social Signals
  • On Page Signals
  • Personalization
  • Link Signals
  • Review Signals
  • Behavioral & Mobile Signals

This is a bit beyond the scope of this general purpose guide, but in the future I'll dive into how best to position your digital presence to get listed this way.

Funny Google SEO Meme

It will require some elbow grease, but there are also some SEO (search engine optimization agencies) that can help you get there if you're interested. 

Craigslist

Craigslist Marketing For Therapists

Craigslist was founded in 1996 by Craig Newmark. The site gets a mind-blowing 10 million unique visitors per day.

It organizes online classified by either region or city and connects buyers and sellers in more than 300 communities. And, generally, the whole thing is free!

If you search for "psychologist" on Craigslist, it returns a sorted list of keyword-relevant listings, organized by most recent date. This means that it's imperative to keep your Ad fresh- deleting old Ads and reposting new ones, with an emphasis on adapting to seasonal needs, if relevant.

Imagine, for example, posting an Ad in December- you probably are familiar with the sort of issues your customers run into in winter, so writing Ad Copy, with relevant keywords and images, that is adapted to that particular seasonal need could be a real winner.

To go a step farther, instead of just pasting in your Home Page URL- experiment with creating a separate landing page on your site specifically for Craigslist users.

Now, Craigslist might not be the best strategy for your private practice. Craigslist is notorious for attracting a somewhat 'odd' user base- but in the interest of being thorough, I thought it made sense to include. 

Bing places for business

Using Bing To Get Psychology Clients

This is basically the Microsoft version of Google's Google My Business. Bing is Microsoft’s search engine.

Though it isn't as well-known or regarded as Google, it's still used by millions of people when they are searching online for a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.

Indeed, Bing is often the pre-installed, default search engine for a variety of new computers and mobile devices- so it's still pretty vital to have your private practice listed on it.

Go to Bing Places to get started. Like Google, you'll have to verify your private counseling practice listing by either receiving a PIN # at your business address, or by phone or even email.

Yelp

yelp for therapists

Another great, and free, resource is Yelp. (Though you can experiment with Yelp's advertising platform.)

You've probably heard of it, and likely even have a listing. Maybe even one that was created by someone else!

If you don't have one, create one. If you one already exists, make sure you claim it. Regardless, make sure that you have optimized it!

If you have a website, have you included it in the profile? Is your phone number listed? Have you responded to all (good and bad) reviews? Have you uploaded a photo of your business or of yourself? Have you categorized your business so that it's easily found? Spend some time figuring out what's what on Yelp so that your psychology private practice looks great.

All that said, Yelp isn't without some controversy...​

Regardless of whether you want it or not, your business may already be on Yelp. So it's best to roll with the punches.

YouTube

YouTube For Psychologists

YouTube can be a valuable component of your mental-health marketing toolchest.

While there are many health gurus who make a living on YouTube by monetizing interesting and useful videos, that's probably not what you will use it for.

1. YouTube can be a place to host videos that are primarily designed to 'live' on your website and introduce yourself to new clients. 

2. ​YouTube can also be a place where you generate traffic to your site from people on YouTube discovering your content and clicking through to your site. 

Indeed, creating a few videos that you host on YouTube and insert on your site can help convert (ie, convince) people who have landed on your webpage to give you a call or shoot you an email. As well, having a YouTube Channel is another ranking signal for Google (who also owns YouTube).

One other thing- Google has begun to show YouTube videos at the top of the Search Results Page for certain queries- so this is an interesting way to get premium placement for certain queries.

These needn't be super-long or in depth videos- perhaps you assemble several short videos speaking about psychological topics like depression, anxiety, or grief.

It's likely you have a smartphone- and if so, it's not too difficult to shoot a halfway decent video.

Twitter

twitter fot therapists

Twitter is probably another low-priority option, but it can still be useful, especially if you're interested in practicing influencer marketing. 

Honestly, the people who have great success on Twitter are those who spend several hours a day engaging on the platform- and if you are a psychologist, it's probably not the best place for you to be hanging out.

However, setting up a Twitter profile is a great way to capture space in the Search Engine Results Page for your business' name. Say, for example, your business is called "Margo's Psychotherapy", having a Twitter profile that contains those keywords, and a modicum of activity on it, it will eventually rank on the first page for users searching for your business by name.

It is, in essence, a valuable ranking signal and something that boosts the authority and credibility of your business in the eyes of Google and users searching for it on the internet.

Twitter Meme Hilarity

Who knows, though...perhaps you begin using and enjoying it and it becomes your primary means of interacting with customers? I wouldn't rule it out- set it up and play around with it and see how it can be of use to you.

You can begin by searching out users and other area businesses that are in your service area and interact with them.

In my experience, it's best to at least set up these platforms, automate some content on them for ranking signal purposes, but choose 1-2 to truly 'live' on.

It probably makes most sense to focus on creating a top-notch website that you can run AdWords Ads to, as opposed to spending your scarce downtime Tweeting.

Client Testimonials

Getting Therapy Client Testimonials

Getting customer reviews is invaluable. Customers can leave reviews on Google for your business, on Facebook, on Yelp, and a variety of other platforms.

Reviews heighten your discoverability on Google Search, Google Maps, FaceBook & Yelp. At the same time, considering the nature of your mental health practice, it's not exactly ethically kosher to solicit reviews. 

That said, people WILL find you on Facebook and Yelp and Google and leave reviews. So you will want to at least be on top of managing your response to feedback on these platforms. 

Customer reviews have dramatic benefits for ranking in Google, particularly Google Maps, where your business listing will display more prominently if it has a bunch of satisfied reviewers attached to it.

You'll want to respond to all of your reviews, both positive and negative- it is crucial that you always present a positive and engaged face to consumers and searchers. Especially when responding to negative feedback.

Blog Commenting

Blog Commenting For Mental Health Providers

The strategy here is to find some local area websites that discuss the psychological service you provide.

If they have a comments section you can (tastefully) link back to your website after providing a robust contribution to the article you are commenting on.

If/when the comment is approved by moderators, you can expect a trickle of traffic from this webpage, plus this is another quality ranking signal for Google. Google will observe that a local area media website has linked back to you, a local area service provider- a solid win.

As well, Googling your service in your area will acquaint you with what other providers are doing in the area. If the commenting system doesn't provide a field for the URL, you can always paste the URL in.

Make sure you're not too 'spammy', as oftentimes these Comment areas are manually moderated- so your comment will be disapproved if it's not a strong enough contribution.

Question & Answer Sites

Question & Answer Strategy

Sites like Reddit and Quora provide a space to flaunt your expertise on depression, anxiety, mental health, and psychiatric policy, for example.

If you find a question you can answer or a thread you can contribute to, provide a robust contribution and if it makes sense you can include a link back to your site.

You should be careful not to spam these sites with your links- but if you can link back to additional resources that flesh out your answer, this is definitely acceptable.

Again, participating in these sites provides valuable ranking signals to Google and your site will get referral traffic as users check out your website. As well, it embellishes your reputation as an authority in your field. 

Quora, for example, ranks on the first page for the query "can anxiety kill you". Answering this question, especially if you really nail it, will cause your answer to be upvoted, and you will be the #1 response, which means that when people click through to this page from their Google search, they will see your answer, and your website, if tastefully included. 

Can anxiety kill you Quora question

It could be that the next time someone needs a therapist, they'll remember you from the site and become your customer.

Google Calendar

Scheduling Strategy for Psychologists

Another handy tool from our friends at Google- most people are undoubtedly familiar with Google Calendar.

For your purposes, Google Calendar provides a convenient way to schedule time to work on your marketing initiatives.

For example, as I previously mentioned, I used it to setting recurring reminders for myself, every Sunday, to scour Eventbrite for useful networking activities.

Google Calendar tutorial

You could also use it to remind yourself to check in on your AdWords account every week, to audit your website every month (make sure there are no broken links, missing images, broken contact forms, or other embarrassing errors), or to schedule time during the week that you will work on content creation.

Keep Track Of Everything

Analytics For Therapists

Long ago in my digital marketing career, I learned to keep track of all of my online marketing activities.

Every blog comment, every competitor website, etc. In your case, it would make sense to create a Google Sheet (essentially a cloud spreadsheet associated with a Gmail account) and create a collaborative space for yourself to keep track of your marketing initiatives.

For example, it's a great place to store passwords for your website, to make note of competitor websites, to list out local-area directories for future reference, to keep track of all the blog comments you've made, etc. You'll find yourself returning to this Sheet time and again to monitor your progress and to recover useful of information you have stored there.

Google Sheets Tutorial

I've found that it's better to use a cloud-based Sheet rather than an Excel spreadsheet because, if it's on the cloud, you can access it from any computer, or through the smartphone App, and if one computer crashes it doesn't take your spreadsheet down with you. If you're especially security conscious, you can always keep important passwords stored offline.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing For Mental Health Providers

Email marketing is another fruitful strategy. While the nature of mental-health services prioritizes discretion and privacy, some psychologists, for example, cultivate email lists because they are growing a brand, rather than a small, private-practice.

If they are releasing a book, or appearing at a seminar, or holding a large group meeting, or frequently publishing blog posts, these are all valid reasons to collect email addresses to notify interested members of your 'tribe' of what you are up to.

Just make sure that when you collect these email addresses that you are specifying how and why the end user will be contacted. 

A great way to get started is to use MailChimp's free email service- it will get pricier as your list grows, but it's an easy drag-and-drop email builder, great for creating visually pleasing emails, and it's reporting capabilities (open rate, bounce rate, etc.) are also intuitive to interpret. In the future I'll provide a write up of how to add email optins for both Weebly and WordPress- stay tuned! 

Influencer Marketing

Email Marketing For Mental Health Providers

Influencer marketing is one of the trendier options on the advertising market.

Influencer marketing refers to marketing to specific key individuals rather than the target market as a whole. In essence, if you are a private practice social worker or a pyschologist, an influencer could be a mega-celebrity like Oprah, Dr. Oz, or perhaps a local health columnist for your town newspaper.

The idea of influencer marketing is to leverage that individual's relationship with their audience to bring awareness to your existence (and mental health services). It's easy to imagine what appearing on Oprah would mean for your business. You'd need to hire a call center to handle the flood of inquiries if you connect with her and her audience.

Granted, getting on Oprah might not seem feasible, but in this digital age it's easier than ever to forge relationships with more regional influencers that could provide invaluable exposure to your business. How would this work? Essentially, you'll want to identify the people you wish to target, figure out where they 'live' online (Twitter, Facebook, comment sections of their articles, etc.) and begin interacting with them, sharing your ideas, gently exposing them to your existence.

Gary Vaynerchuck, an awesome marketer who runs Vayner Media in Manhattan, New York, talks of the Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook approach. What he means, is that you are 'jabbing' your target with genuine and helpful content, before eventually landing a right hook, which is the Ask.

In practice, imagine you target a Psychologist influencer on Twitter who writes a mental health column for Psychology Today. You will want to infiltrate his world, be the best response to his recently published article, let him know that you have shared it with your audience, reach out to them directly every so often with an interesting mental-health article or study you think they would appreciate, perhaps something you've written yourself. Give, give, give! Eventually you can make an ask- the timing of this is completely up to you.

And, it's important to say, you might not get what you want! This doesn't mean you cower away in failure. Persistence is key. Remain positive and giving and eventually an influencer will gladly accept you to publish an article on their site, begin sharing the content you produce, somehow endorse you to their audience. Yes, it's a lot of work. The rewards, however, can be fantastic.

For example, imagine you get featured on HuffingtonPost- you earn an invaluable backlink to your site that boosts your search rankings, you receive referral traffic from the article that was published, your authority in the mental health space is immediately embellished.

The next time you reach out to an influencer, you'll have greater credibility once they notice that you aren't some random yahoo, but someone reputable that has been published by a prestigious internet property. Perhaps you're savvy enough to parlay that publication into a recurring column. That would be big-league. All of a sudden you're the influencer.

LinkedIn

Linkedin For Therapists and Psychiatrists

As a private practice therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, maintaining a professional presence on the world's largest business-networking site is important.

When people Google your name, LinkedIn will also rank high in organic search- so it has value beyond its own social networking capabailities. On its own, LinkedIn can be a valuable way to be discovered as a private mental-health practitioner.

Because LinkedIn has very granular search functions, it's easy for a user to search for the Keyword "therapist" or "social worker" or "psychologist" and then specify the location, easily discovering a list of those people. From that perspective, it makes sense to optimize your LinkedIn profile as much as possible.

Optimizing your LinkedIn presence

LinkedIn Psychologist Example

As we can see in Dr. Jayme Albin's LinkedIn profile, she has a professional headshot.

This profile photo needs to be in the dimensions of 200 x 200 to 500 x 500. You can always use Canva (a super-simple, online Photoshop) to resize an existing image.

She's clearly distinguished her specialties (CBT, Biofeedback, etc.), and provides a thorough writeup of her experience. That said, I would advise her to add her phone number and email address to really make it easy for clients to contact her.

So, spend time to carefully fill out all of the fields, including inputting your phone #, your website, and writing an engaging summary that describes who you are what you are looking for from LinkedIn. Optimizing your profile this way will help it to rank in LinkedIn's Search.

LinkedIn Groups

An optimized profile will also help you when you reach out to others on the platform individually or join LinkedIn Groups to participate in group dialogues.

LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in your field to share content, find answers, contribute posts and make business contacts, establishing themselves as mental-health industry experts.

In essence, as a mental health professional, you can create a community within LinkedIn that focuses on a particular mental health topic area. You can function as a group creator & moderator, or just join an existing group. There's a 10,000+ member group on Positive Psychology and even larger ones like the Psychology Network with over 225,000 members! 

It's definitely worth playing around with. LinkedIn groups could be an invaluable space to network with other mental health professionals around the globe and to stay abreast of research advances in your field. ​

LinkedIn Company Pages

Like Twitter, creating a LinkedIn Company page for your business can be another valuable ranking signal.

If you are your business, it might make sense to just stick to a regular LinkedIn profile page- listing yourself as psychologist, therapist, etc. However, if your business name is Park Slope Psychotherapy, it's worth having a LinkedIn Company page. 

People who use LinkedIn are a lucrative demographic- white-collar professionals- so client inquiries from LinkedIn can be highly valuable.

In essence, it's another free online resource for you to capitalize on to build up your brand's online name recognition. Plus, if you use IFTT, you can publish content to the page automatically.

Facebook

Facebook Marketing Strategies For Private Practice Mental Health Professionals

If you're one of the more than 1 billion people who have a Facebook profile (Source), you're probably aware that everyone, including your potential clients, are on Facebook. 

When it comes to Facebook, you should create a Facebook page for your business if you don't have one. That is, unless you have a personal Facebook page that you also have been using for business purposes.

It would be best, however, to set up a dedicated Facebook page for​ your private practice that includes links to your website, lists your Name, Address and Phone Number. This is great for organic search ranking in Google.

And as more and more users source service providers in Facebook, it's invaluable to have a digital presence on the platform. Facebook also has an extremely powerful advertising platform. It is a bit different than AdWords in that with Facebook Ads you will craft a visual advertisement that you display to Facebook users that meet your targeting criteria. 

In my experience, Facebook requires a greater investment of ongoing effort to maintain. You will have to do a lot of testing and recycling graphics in and out of your advertising campaigns. Plus, displaying your Facebook Ads to users who haven't actually searched for your service (unlike with AdWords) decreases the likelihood that they will convert. 

That said, ​it can be a powerful advertising channel, particularly if instead of a private practice, you are operating a larger psychological services business. Imagine, for example, if you ran an anxiety clinic. Facebook would be a powerful means of creating a powerful online presence for this brand. 

​You would be able to target and display advertisements to people who follow Facebook pages focused on anxiety disorders, in certain geographic locations, and direct them either to your website, or your Facebook business page, and encourage them to call your practice, join an automated and recurring webinar, or just read the content on your Facebook page.

In a sense, while the goal of AdWords is to solicit a direct response (a call or an email) from the user searching for a "psychologist" or a "psychiatrist", Facebook can be employed to build awareness of, as well as direct response to, your private mental health practice. So, if you are running your anxiety clinic in Orlando, building up brand awareness of your services with Facebook users in that area can help to convert them down the line when they are ready to use your service. 

If you invest in building a Facebook page by publishing engaging content ​on it and, yes, paying to promote your Facebook posts, or running Facebook Ads to your page, you will over time grow an audience of followers who have 'Liked' your Facebook page and are in essence subscribers to your digital content. 

As well, depending on how you structure your Facebook advertising campaigns, the Cost Per Click ​of Facebook Ads can be lower than AdWords (especially if you don't send users off of the Facebook platform to your website, for example). There are some powerful and interesting strategies I have seen businesses use to automate a stream of hungry clients flooding private psychology practices. You can check out one of my Social Media Marketing plans to get a sense of how this works. 

Offline Advertising Strategies

Eventbrite Networking

Eventbrite Networking Strategy For Psychologists

Evenbrite is a tool to discover local-area events. People and organizations can list their events and Evenbrite makes it easy to find them and register for them.

This one is pretty cool- because while it is digital strategy, you will be pressing the flesh with real, live people. You can use it in a variety of different ways.

First, you can just click Search on the homepage and browse through the events that are occurring nearby Today, Tomorrow, This Week, This Weekend, Next Week, Next Month, and even a Custom Date Range.

Take a look around and see what's happening- you can filter by Business events, for example, and pan around the map to see events displayed on the map. Another way to use it is to do keyword searches. Try "chamber of commerce", "small business", "therapy", "social work", "counseling", "mental health", etc.

Once you find something that looks good, register for it (some events are paid), and you will be prompted to create an account if you don't have one. Definitely create an account. And if you have a smartphone- download the Eventbrite app. It will keep track of your events for you and provide important location/address information.

The goal of doing this is to begin routinely attending networking and community events, spreading the word about your business, making casual friendships. Trust me, even an event that is seemingly irrelevant to your business, if it 's decently attended, can be amazingly fruitful networking opportunity.

Once you find an event that you like, in my case I like going to WeWork events in New York City, where I live, you can keyword search for it and register for all their upcoming events in advance- this way you don't miss out if they get sold out.

The way I have organized this in the past is I set a Google Calendar reminder to peruse Eventbrite every Sunday for 45 minutes, looking for interesting local activities and registering them.

Try it out...

Try it out- you'll figure out a strategy that works for you. While digital marketing is great- there's nothing quite like meeting people in the flesh and selling them on your service face-to-face.

As an aside, I haven't touched on backlinking in this guide yet (the practice of acquiring links to your site)- but it is 2nd to content in terms of the best way to rank in Google for important terms.

As any digital marketer will tell you, getting another webmaster to link to your site is arduous, tedious work. I have found, however, that an alternative to begging and enticing webmasters by email for backlinks is to make a positive impression on people in the real world and acquire backlinks from this good will.

This is another reason why networking can be part of an integrated on and offline marketing strategy for your business.

Use Meetup.com

Using Meetup To Get Clients

Meetup.com is a website dedicated facilitating offline group meetings in various locations around the world.

The site enables its members to locate and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies.

To my mind, there are 3 valuable ways to use Meetup if you are a mental health professional.

1. You can attend Meetups that are specific to your profession, i.e. psychologist networking nights.

2. You can attend 'general interest' Meetups that are unrelated to mental health. This will grant you broad exposure to a local audience of individuals who may or may not need your services,, but perhaps their friends or family might in the future. Regardless, just getting in front of people, meeting them, handing out business, is so much cheaper (and more fun) than running paid advertising campaigns! In this context you can truly shine as a sociable professional.

3. For the intrepid, you can even create your own Meetup! Perhaps if you specialize in social anxiety support you could start a monthly Meetup to provide support to anyone that wants to come. Find a local space that will host you- sometimes you can meet at a bar or restaurant.

Check out a local lounge on a Monday or Tuesday and they'll probably be elated to host you. These businesses are often hard-hit during the weekdays and would be thrilled if you could bring in some foot traffic. That said, a 'dive bar' wouldn't be an appropriate venue- obviously you'll have your own instinct about where you can host a Meetup in your area.

The goal isn't necessarily to sell people on your services, but to provide a supportive and valuable community. This sort of outreach can pay you back in spades down the line as the people you have freely helped refer themselves or their friends and family to you down the line.

Office Pamphlets

Pamphlets for Mental Health Professionals

Office pamphlets are basically print versions of your website.

They're a handy way to advertise and teach your patients about all the mental health conditions you can help treat.

Fill them with all the relevant information your clients require- make sure to satisfy those frequently asked questions in this pamphlet.

Business Cards

Business cards for your mental health practice are another essential. And it's probably one that you think you've got covered. However, you might need to upgrade if you only recently incorporated a website and business email address for your private practice.

In my mother's case, her old business card lacked these important elements. So, we did a redesign which you can see below:

PsychoTherapist Business Card Example

We've used Vistaprint and have been pretty happy with the results. Below you can see how easy it is to lay out the elements of your business card. You can select a template (we chose a very basic, professional appearance), input your name, address, email, professional certification, phone number, website, and email, orienting it how you'd like, and then select a paper stock. 

VistaPrint Customization Business Cards For Psychologists

If you need a new business card because you've modernized your private counseling practice, or just because your old cards look dated, I'd recommend experimenting with Vistaprint. 

Summary

The general idea is to create a systematic marketing plan and stick with it. Whether you are a psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist or other 'healing' professional, you can figure out a strategy and even have fun executing it!

It might be that a paid acquisition marketing strategy that you can set and forget works best for you. In my mother's case, her psychotherapy practice was a bit older, and she wasn't interested in networking or influencer marketing.

She just wanted a simple way to get new clients. If you are private practice looking to expand, it makes sense to fortify yourself and your business as a brand by utilizing a more holistic marketing approach.

Combining paid acquisition with dedicated influencer marketing with the goal of publishing awesome content on top-tier mental health sites, getting television appearances, whatever the goal is, exposing your business in different ways to different audiences will solidify you as an acknowledged resource in your field.

Whatever the case may be, don't get overwhelmed! Choose a couple strategies you think make sense for you and execute on them for several months. As you dive into the practice of marketing your psychology or psychiatry private practice you will become more comfortable and discover what works and what doesn't.

Keep in mind that, for the most part, anything can work. That is to say, any of the strategies we examined can work to attract clients to your private practice, the variable is the quality of your execution.