The nature of therapy is personal and vulnerable, and because of that, the traditional way of marketing therapy practices has been very conservative, but in today’s digital landscape that is no longer effective.
People now expect and crave authenticity and transparency. Because of this, modern therapists and their marketing practices must evolve in this direction as well.
However, many people fear that this shift in marketing is potentially unethical. And many therapists can feel like marketing themselves is an unethical endeavor in itself. In fact, this is a frequent fear I hear from therapists trying to launch their practice.
Part of this comes from inner work that needs to be done around confidence, self-worth, and being open to success. Many helpers do struggle with these things and that is why consulting can be so important. Another part is that most therapists have equated “marketing” with “scheming.” That is not what marketing is.
Marketing is exactly as it sounds: putting yourself on the market. It is letting people know you exist and that you are open to providing services for them. While we can’t answer the question “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?” we can answer “if a business opens in the woods and no one hears about it is it even a business?” The answer is no. It is not.
I would like to first convince you that marketing is not a dirty word. Let’s shift the definition from “slimy sales tactics” to “the way people that need my support, guidance, and healing work will find me.” When we consider it that way it changes everything. It suddenly makes marketing NECESSARY in order for us to help the people that can benefit from our skills.
Here are some hesitations therapists may have concerning aspects of modern marketing:
1. Using social media
There is nothing innately unethical about the use of social media to connect with potential clients. In fact, there are many positive aspects of social postings:
- Increasing knowledge and understanding of the importance of mental health
- Making you seem authentic and accessible
- Creating opportunity for people to know about therapy as something that is welcoming to them.
- Relating to your audience on a human level.
- Providing free resources to your social media community
Overall, social media creates an opportunity for people to become more comfortable with the idea of therapy and more comfortable with the idea of you.
2. E-mail newsletters and automations
The purpose of email and automated content is to help audience members learn if the program or service you are offering is right for them, not necessarily to convince, persuade, or pressure (as many unethical marketers do) them to make an appointment or purchase your services.
I like to think of potential clients as being in four categories: (1) Ready to book now, (2) knows they need or want therapy but are uncertain of when to book, (3) is just starting to become interested in the possibility of therapy, and (4) therapy is not on their radar. Newsletters help those in category 2 and 3 to stay connected with you while they are considering whether or not they need your services. When the moment comes for them, you will be easily accessible and remembered.
3. Paid advertisements
Creating paid advertisements is an important aspect of marketing your practice. It is important for you because it reaches a wider audience which means more of your appointment slots will start to fill up. But, I also believe it means much more than that.
Advertising therapy services opens up the door to the people in category 3 and 4 that I listed above. People who don’t know much about therapy and about how it might help them will be exposed to it. Your advertisement might speak to them in a way that encourages them to find support. As long as your advertisements share honest and accurate information and are created with integrity, they are ethical.
There are so many creative ways for people to find you online and to learn about you. I would love to help you do it. you will learn the in’s and outs of private practice marketing. Through a series of videos and homework assignments, I guide you to understand and describe your niche, design your website, track your marketing, and utilize social media.
Learn more here.