So, you’ve finally completed your therapist courses, you’ve created a website and you’ve found an office. This is where the hard work really begins – now you need to find some clients.
This guide will run through 5 effective online marketing strategies for therapists. The first thing we need to cover is SEO. If you know enough about SEO, feel free to skip to the marketing strategies.
You’ve probably heard of the term SEO, if you’re not sure what it means you know it’s important. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the things you can do to push your website to the front of the queue when someone searches for a relevant term.
Figures suggest that there are around 38,000 psychologists in the UK. How many of these mental health professionals have websites we can only guess, but it’s probably a fair few. Whether you’re in London or Loughborough there are lots of therapists all fighting to get on page one of Google. There’s lots of competition.
SEO isn’t a one-off job, but an ongoing task. If you dedicate a few hours to it every week or month, you will see your website and your business grow as a result.
To give yourself a fighting chance it’s important that you work on your backlinks. These are the other websites that link to you, and they play an important part in how well you get ranked on Google.
Say you have a friend called Dave who runs a community centre website in your local area. On his website he lists local therapists in Devon. On that list is your website – and that counts as 1 backlink.
When someone searches on Google, it looks for relevant websites. Your site has 1 backlink, but Jenny, your competitor down the road, has a therapy website with 10 backlinks. Chances are Google will rank Jenny’s website higher.
Curious about the number of backlinks you have? Search online for backlink checker and try one of the free tools to see your statistics. All of the sites linking to you will be listed, with the highest rated sites at the top.
Before you start getting any sneaky ideas, listing your site anywhere and everywhere, there’s a strict hierarchy of websites. So, a link from an authoritative website like the BBC will hold lots of ‘link juice’. A link from a spammy Chinese website will hold zero, and could possibly have a negative impact on your site. Saying that, there’s a whole industry dedicated to dodgy backlinks, but that’s another topic.
So – you need to build lots of quality links. As a new therapist with a new website, you’ll have none. You will need to build trust before Google trusts you. It won’t be easy – it will take time and effort. You may not see any tangible results for 6 months or even a year! But keep at it, and it will work.
The next question you’re asking is how to build links. If you looked at the site here, you will have noticed that the number one ranking factor for Google is content. The written stuff that people read, that educates, enlightens and entertains them.
If you’re struggling to think of ideas to create content and get some backlinks, there’s good news – you’re a therapist! Why is this good news? Because, some industries really don’t lend themselves well to backlinks and content. If you worked in in the lightbulb industry for instance, you’d have to be a lot more imaginative with your content. You’ll have no such problems in therapy.
New developments in therapy occur all the time. Mental health issues are regularly reported in the news. There are forums dedicated to the various problems that people are suffering with. This is a great opportunity for you to build a presence online.
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Just because you’re not on page one of Google doesn’t mean that you can’t work with the people on page one. 9 times out of 10, any websites on page one will be there because they are trusted websites with quality content. So, add to that quality content by guest blogging – i.e. writing articles for these sites.
All websites are on the lookout for great content that their readers will love. Find popular websites in your sector. Email them with a proposal, outlining the content you have in mind. If they don’t respond, no harm done.
If they respond, do your research and create some great content that is topical, relevant and informative. They’ll post it – and you’ll have a new backlink which points to your site. Hopefully this content will also drive traffic your way.
Another avenue to explore is guest blogging is through online publishing platform Medium. It is a place where people can read about all sorts of topics from politics to programming.
If you do have a great idea for a post, there’s no point getting your story published unless you get traffic. Benji Hyam is a writer who managed to get 10K views in 4 days. He discovered that stories that go viral on Medium share a number of characteristics:
- They take you on a personal journey.
- They are emotional and often show the writer in a very vulnerable state.
- They may be controversial.
If you’ve got a story that is inspiring or provocative, you’re off to a great start.
Chances are you haven’t got a following on Medium, so you’ll want to leverage the followings that publications have. The biggest Medium publications have thousands of followers. Successfully submit a story, and these people will be able to read your article.
Google Medium top publications. Search through listings to find the publications which you think you will be a good fit for. Each publication will have different submission guidelines, so read these before you pitch.
Benji says that 100 is the magic number of recommendations you need, if your article is to get any traction. So reach out to friends, family and anyone else you can think of to read the article and click the recommend button.
You can also create your own blog which will link back to your main site. Many people subscribe to blogs, but the vast majority of people stumble upon blogs when looking for answers to a specific question. With mental health, people will be asking all sorts of questions.
You want to create an authoritative piece of content for a question such as “How can I get rid of my intrusive thoughts?”. Get it ranked highly and you will increase traffic to your site.
Most people write blogs, then eventually give up because they’re not getting any traction. It is hard building and growing your audience, especially if you are new. You’ll have a much better chance if you put some effort into the research and promotion of the articles you create.
Each article you produce needs to be valuable, informative or interesting. I know – this can be hard. There is a lot of content out there on the web, and the vast majority of it doesn’t even get read. A lot of people are saying the same old, unoriginal things.
If you’re struggling to stand out, taking a contrarian approach is an excellent strategy. Eliza Gabbert is a content writer who helped her company double their search traffic. She says you should first ask yourself these questions:
- Does the topic resonate with people in your industry?
- Is there an apparent consensus?
- Do you disagree with anyone? Is there more to the story?
- Do you have a unique perspective that other people haven’t thought about? Can you use real life examples or data to back up your claims?
If you answer yes to all these questions, then you’ve got a great topic to write about.
Maybe everyone thinks X is the best way to treat depression. You’ve been treating a patient and you have found Y to actually be the best kind of treatment.
If you’re a therapist specialising in depression, would you want to read that? Absolutely.
Don’t post your blog article and forget about it. The bare minimum you need to do is share it on social media channels like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve got a mailing list, send it to all your subscribers as well.
Post to forums and discussion boards such as Reddit. Of course, it will look spammy signing up and linking to your own article, and you’ll probably be prevented from doing that. So, join a community and take part in discussions before you start creating your own threads.
When you do post on a forum, don’t copy and paste your article. Write a well thought out post that highlights the best bits from your article, with a link for further reading.
If you feel brave, then you can even reach out to people in your industry. If you think any therapists or people involved in depression would like to read your article, message them. Reach out to people who have written about depression and tell them about your new insight on an issue.
It might be tempting to spam everyone with a generic message, but people respond much more to something with a bit of personality. Craft a unique, interesting and non-pushy message. Tell the person that you wrote about something that might interest them, and you may even get a tweet or a mention.
You don’t have to promote every article you write. However, when you have created something special, it is important that you give it a bit of a push.
Are you a therapist looking for help creating an affordable business website? Contact us at DotGO for a friendly chat. We help small businesses just like you grow online.
Mental health is regularly in the news because it affects so many of us. Naturally, journalists are always on the lookout for insightful commentators who can provide observations on new developments.
Sign up to twitter and follow hashtags #helpajourno or #journorequest. You will see journalists and writers asking for help on a range of topics. If any journalists request help with a mental health issue, then get in touch as soon as you can to start a dialogue. Hopefully the journalist likes what you said and will provide a link to you in their article.
There is also HARO (Help A Reporter Out), which is a free subscription service for companies that would like to feature in news articles. You’ll get daily requests from journalists asking for sources for stories.
You’ll have to wade through a lot of irrelevant requests. Weeks or months might go by, before you see anything suitable for your needs. However, it should only take a few minutes in your day to read through the requests.
When you do find a request that matches your expertise, respond quickly with a unique, exciting pitch. If it is a well thought out piece in an authoritative publication, it should drive some traffic to your site.
If you want to be a bit more proactive, then approach journalists and publications directly. If you find a mental health writer, they will want to know about your new and fresh insight on depression.
Journalists get bombarded with pitches everyday. So, write a personal message and pitch something that is engaging and compelling. They’ll be more likely to respond if you are a credible source, so build your reputation first before you reach out.
Think about the target audience you’re aiming for. If this particular demographic is on social media then you can focus your marketing here. If you work with busy professionals, you create a LinkedIn profile. Or maybe you work with lots of women. 71% of Pinterest users are women, so you could target this platform instead.
Crystle Lampitt is a social media expert currently undertaking a masters in therapy. She says that whatever platform you choose, the most important thing is consistency. If you can post 3 times a week, that’s great. If you can post once a day, even better.
Pick your social media platform, and tailor your posts accordingly. If you’re on Instagram like Crystle, people want snackable soundbites that they can consume easily and quickly. Don’t repost generic quotes, but create your own original content in your own authentic voice.
If you’ve got time and are confident in front of the camera, explain concepts in detail on video clips. Marketing for therapy is about building trust and engaging with your demographic. Respond to everyone with thoughtful comments to drive up user interaction and participation.
Don’t just focus on your own blog. Like, comment and follow other therapists. Watch what they’re doing and understand how they interact with their followers.
Whatever you do, Crystle advises against buying likes or followers. Not only is it obvious but it will hurt your credibility in a field built upon trust. Granted, it might take months before you see any engagement. However, put time, effort and consistency into your therapy marketing, and you will develop a following.
Quora is an excellent marketing platform that is perfect for therapy. Users ask questions and people respond, it’s as simple as that. Not only does Quora have over 300 million active users, but questions are searchable through Google.
This answer has had 108K views, 124 shares and 47 comments, which would be amazing for any blog post. People will always look for ways to combat depression so this kind of content is timeless.
The first thing you need to do is create an amazing bio. If you’re a PTSD therapist answering a question about PTSD, your answer looks credible. Include links in your bio as users will visit these when browsing your answers.
Browse the list of industries and topics on Quora and follow the ones most relevant to you. The next step is to find the questions that you can answer. Don’t bother answering a question from two years ago which already have a convincing answer. Make sure you only search for questions from the last few weeks so your answer gets some visibility.
When you’ve found a relevant question crying out for a high quality answer. It’s your chance to shine. A short paragraph won’t cut it. Answer in your unique voice and with authority. Add insightful data and compelling evidence to support your answer. Provide real value and you will see your answer viewed, upvoted and shared.
After a week or month of answering questions you will be able to view your statistics. You’ll be able to see how many views, upvotes and shares you got. Use this information to modify and improve, your therapy marketing strategy.
There are just some of the marketing strategies which you can employ. Whatever you choose it’s important to stay organised and consistent. Regularly doing one activity for a year is a lot more effective than trying everything for a month or two.
Annie Schuessler is a business consultant for therapists. She says you should ask yourself:
- Will the marketing activity feel fun, or at least okay?
- Will the marketing activity help you communicate with the clients you want to work with?
If the answer to both of these is a yes, only then should you focus on it.
Make sure you schedule in some time every week and month for therapy marketing. Formulate a strategy with clear objectives in mind. After a few months, assess whether your strategy is working and what changes you need to make.
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