Marketing a Mental Health Practice
As a therapist, it’s important to build your mental health practice through marketing. Marketing is the process of creating awareness and interest in your services, and it’s essential for building a successful practice. There are many different ways to market your services, and the best approach depends on your target audience and what services you offer. However, there are some basic principles that all therapists should follow when marketing their practice.
- Define your target audience. Who do you want to do therapy with?
- Complete an ideal client action avatar on who your ideal client is to get clarity on their common objections, fears, goals, and gain a sense of where they spend time
- Complete a market map to identify connections to potential clients
- Come up with a strategy to create relationships and connections to your ideal client
- Build a good reputation by providing high quality therapy to your clients
Define your target audience. Who do you want to do therapy with?
When marketing your mental health practice, it’s important to define your target audience. Who do you want to do therapy with? This will help you determine who your ideal client is and how best to reach them. Here’s the important point – this will help you grow your practice, not limit it. The more specialized you are – the more demand you’ll experience for your services. If you try to be everything for everyone (a generalist) your practice growth will be slower and you’ll have a more difficult time dealing with clients and taking care of yourself.
Remember, this is the work you’re looking for – not necessarily the work you’ll take. When you start your practice, you may find that you’re taking any clients you can get to build your caseload, but if you want a healthy practice, you need a plan to specialize and strategize how to get connected and build a reputation for a specific need in therapy.
Ways to segment potential clients for specialization for marketing a mental health practice
There are a couple of main ways to segment clients into specialties. The most common methods are to focus on a specific issue, or a specific population. You could further specialize by focusing on a specific issue in a specific population – but it’s probably best to hold off on getting that specific until you’ve had some experience working with
Segment by issue
One primary method is to focus on a specific issue. Here are some example issues:
- Life Transitions
- Emotional Regulation
- Identity / Self-Image
- Spiritual Concerns
- Substance Abuse
- Play Therapy
- Perinatal Mental Health
- Trauma Recovery
- Family Therapy and Parenting
- Grief and Loss
- Couples Therapy
- Anxiety and Panic
Note: We didn’t list depression and anxiety because they’re the most common, and frequently associated with other more specific issues, so it can be difficult to ‘specialize’ in that as an issue from a marketing standpoint.
Segment by population or relationships
Another primary method is to focus on a specific population. Here are some example populations:
- Adults / Individuals
By targeting the right audience, you can build a reputation in that space which will lead to attracting more clients and building a successful mental health practice.
Complete an action avatar for your ideal client
When marketing your mental health practice, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your ideal client. This action avatar will help you determine who you want to do therapy with and how best to reach them. To help you get started, complete a persona document for your ideal client. This document should include information about your ideal client’s age, gender, marital status, occupation, income level, education level, and any other relevant information.
It’s also important to consider your ideal client’s common objections, fears, and goals. What keeps them up at night? What are their aspirations? Knowing this information will help you tailor your marketing efforts and connect with potential clients in a way that resonates with them.
This document is always a work in progress. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the answers to all of the questions, or if you feel a bit fuzzy on what the correct answer is. There is no right or wrong answer. This document is just a way for you to get clearer on who this ideal client is and how to find and interact with them.
Complete a market map to identify connections to potential clients
Once you have your ideal client clearly defined. You’ll need to start working on ways to attract those clients to your practice. When you’re trying to attract new clients, it’s important to identify specifically how to connect with them. A market map is a great way to do this.
Start by brainstorming all of the places your ideal client hangs out. This could be online, in person, or a combination of both. From there, you can start to identify connections – people, organizations, events, etc. – that you can use to reach your target audience. Put down all of the ideas you can think of here, not just the good ones that you think will work for you. Identifying how you’re going to do this comes after laying out all of the ways you can connect with this type of client.
It’s important to note that this process is always evolving. As your practice grows and changes, so too will your market map. But by starting with a solid foundation, you’ll have a strong foundation for marketing your mental health practice.
Use your market map to come up with a strategy to create relationships and connections to your ideal client
Once you have a market map outlining all of the places your ideal client hangs out, it’s time to start thinking about how to create relationships and connections with them. This could involve attending events where they’ll be in attendance, networking with people who know them, or reaching out to organizations that they’re affiliated with. Think about what you’re most comfortable with, and see which place sticks out to you the most. Are you comfortable with social media? Do you like attending events? Maybe you like to write – and you find that your ideal client spends a lot of time reading certain blogs, local papers, or other medium.
Find what will work best for you. There are always many different ways to connect with an ideal client, but you should focus on the method that you’re most comfortable with so you can fully show up with your ideas and build your reputation by connecting in a quality way with your ideal client.
Start creating relationships and making connections
It’s important to be creative and think outside the box when it comes to marketing your mental health practice. The more connections you can make, the more likely it is that you’ll find clients who are a good fit for your services. For instance, this might include printing brochures and dropping them off to local doctors, schools, and churches. Use your marketing map to identify ways you can get exposure and promote yourself.
Sometimes therapists can wrestle with marketing and self-promotion because it feels ‘salesy’, but remember, the more you make yourself known and available, the easier it will be for someone to find you who is in need of your services. You’re not doing yourself (or potential clients) any favors by not making yourself known and expecting them to discover you.
Remember, building relationships takes time, so start small and build gradually. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others either – you might be surprised at how willing people are to lend a hand if they understand what you’re trying to do with your mental health practice.
By following these tips, you can create an effective marketing plan for your mental health practice that will help you attract more clients and build a successful practice. Put in the work upfront and it’ll pay off in the long run! Good luck. We’re rooting for you!