Most therapists don’t think of themselves as good at marketing. But most therapists – at least those in private practice – need to constantly market to new clients to compensate for turnover and keep their business rolling. See the dilemma?
Don’t worry – this article will teach you 6 quick, effective ways to get more therapy clients. But first, let’s try to understand the challenges facing therapists who want to market their online practice.
Therapists who are reluctant or unable to promote themselves just won’t reach the clients they need – and who need them. So why is it so hard to get yourself out there? There are two main reasons:
1. You think marketing is complicated and difficult
Often, therapists think of marketing as a complex, alien realm, full of jargon, buzzwords, and statistics they don’t understand. But you don’t need to be an expert to make an impact. We’ll teach you simple, time-efficient, and cheap or free ways to get the word out to your ideal clients.
2. You think marketing means flashy self-promotion
Many therapists say they feel uncomfortable with marketing practices. This is usually because they think marketing involves hard-selling clients and creating inauthentic hype around their practice. But the best marketing strategies don’t mean telling clients how great you are. The best strategies focus on the client, their problems, and how you can solve them.
This post will guide you through 6 effective and authentic steps to market your practice. You can also check out our step-by-step advice on how to start an online therapy practice if you’re creating one from scratch.
Need a tool to help you get more clients and effectively manage all aspects of your therapy business? Try Nuna – it’s free to get started.
How do I find online therapy clients?
Developing an authentic marketing plan means doing some deep thinking about who your practice is for and why you do this work. These pre-marketing techniques will strengthen your business focus before you jump into promoting yourself.
- Determine your niche
One common mistake therapists make is offering generalized, vague services that don’t differentiate them from other mental health practitioners. It’s great to show clients that you have a broad range of knowledge and expertise. But you need sharp messaging that lets them know what’s different about you.
That means you should clearly define why you’re doing this work and get specific about the problems you can help with. Instead of just telling clients you can treat anxiety, for example, tell them which particular issues you’ll help them to face – panic attacks, insomnia, or concrete anxiety disorders, whatever the case may be.
By getting clear on the outcomes you want to offer your clients, you can find your Unique Selling Point (USP) – the qualities that make you stand out from other therapists.
- Define your ideal client
Once you’ve determined what defines you, think about what defines your ideal client. Your ideal client will be someone who needs the particular, unique services you can offer. But you’ll also want to consider other factors.
Do you want to treat individual clients only or do your services extend to groups, couples, and families? Are you okay with irregular drop-in sessions as needed, or do you want to target clients seeking a regular course of therapy for a fixed amount of time?
Getting as precise as possible can help your marketing content reach the right people.
How can I promote my therapy business?
Now that you’re clear on your messaging, niche, and ideal client, it’s time to get started with the concrete strategies you should use to promote your online therapy practice.
1. Use Nuna: a therapist directory for online marketing and more
Therapist directories are powerful tools for connecting with clients. Clients can use directories to browse listings of therapists who specialize in a particular topic or are based in a particular location. Nuna’s therapist directory has three key differences from the standard directory sites:
- It’s totally free.
- It’s all online so you’re not limited by geography.
- Nuna provides suggested “matches” between clients and therapists, so you don’t have to worry about your profile getting lost in a crowded directory site.
To make sure you stand out, ensure your Nuna profile page includes your specialties and highlights the real, active ways you’ll help clients with their issues. Nuna’s public therapy marketplace isn’t the only way to get exposure on the site – you can also be featured on Nuna’s blog for therapy clients to get extra publicity.
Nuna is much more than a therapist directory, though – it’s an all-in-one platform, with video conferencing capabilities and features like appointment booking, client notes, and invoicing. Check out our previous guides for a breakdown of the best therapy scheduling software and practice management software for therapists.
- Blog shareable mental health content
Writing relatable, informative blogs on different mental health topics is a great way to market yourself. Potential clients who read your blog will get to see your expertise in action, and if you pitch it right, they may share your content with friends.
To be shareable, blog posts need to offer clients real value. You should provide concrete tips and strategies your readers can try, real-world examples they identify with, and lists they can scan easily.
You can write guest blogs for websites like Nuna or contribute to lifestyle blogs or women’s health magazines online. Podcasts work similarly – check out popular mental health and wellness podcasts and offer them an interview based on your niche angle.
Another option, if you have a website, is to start your own blog that potential clients can consult to get a sense of your approach. If you offer advice on common wellness topics, people who search for these online may also find your blog and hear about your services. We’ll give you key tips later on making your online presence search-engine friendly.
3. Take advantage of social media
Social media is an amazing tool that can help you connect directly with your target audience. The platform you should choose depends on the kind of client you’re trying to reach and the kind of content you plan on sharing.
One easy option to get started is Twitter – it’s quick and easy to engage in key mental health conversations by retweeting leading voices and sharing your opinions and tips.
But more and more clinicians and psychotherapy practitioners are getting creative with social media to stand out and get the word out on the issues they help with.
The most popular therapy profiles on Instagram have a strong visual aspect, but they’re not always picture-perfect wellness accounts. Often, social media users find it refreshing to hear mental health issues discussed in down-to-earth, relatable, even playful ways.
You could think about sharing behind-the-scenes Instagram stories that relate your psychological wisdom to your own life, or you could get savvy and share therapy memes for a light touch.
You could also share short, snappy videos on Instagram or Tiktok, raising awareness around a mental health topic or offering a quick technique your viewers can try at home.
Another key way to promote your therapy business is by getting involved with social media groups and forums. There are tons of Facebook groups and communities based on specific mental health and wellness concerns, and these can be good places to share your tips or blog posts with an interested audience.
You could also answer questions on sites like Quora as well as online forums, to establish your expertise and find online therapy clients.
- Use client testimonials and referrals
Word of mouth gets lots of people to offline therapy – and it’s even more important in an online context, where there’s more of a need to establish trust. When clients show they’ve benefitted from your services, it adds credibility to your online therapy presence.
Current clients can leave you direct reviews on your therapy directory profile or your practice page on Google if you have one, and you can share a link asking them to do so. If your clients engage with your social media posts, they may also leave positive comments.
Since some clients may not want to post publicly, you can ask them to give you key quotes on how you’ve helped them to post on your Nuna profile, website, or social media accounts. You can use their initials or first name only or leave them anonymous if they prefer.
You should make it as easy as possible for your current clients to offer testimonials. Include a link to your review pages in your email signature or ask clients to fill out a feedback form after a certain number of sessions as your standard procedure – you can use this to assess your approach and, if they agree, there may be choice quotes you can use to promote your practice.
Make it easy for clients to recommend you to others, too, with an easily accessible link they can share with friends. You can let them know when you’re offering new client promotions, in case they want to pass them on to their contacts.
5. Make your online presence client-friendly with SEO keywords
We’ve already mentioned that blog posts about key mental health topics can help people find you on search engines like Google.
There are specific techniques you can use to make it more likely that people who search for specific words or phrases find your page or blog – this is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
First, you should determine which common search terms people use to find out more about the issues you deal with. An easy way to start is by looking at Google autocomplete results. It’s simple: start typing a query into Google’s search box and see which other suggested queries automatically pop up, showing what other users typically search for.
For example, if you search “best therapy” you’ll get suggestions like “best therapy for anxiety”, “best therapy for depression”, “best therapy tips”, and “best therapy apps”.
That gives you hints that, if you address anxiety and depression, you should include SEO-friendly content on your web profiles, blogs, and pages that directly references the “best therapy for anxiety/depression”, or use common search phrases like “therapy tips”.
But you don’t just want to reach the clients who have already decided they want therapy and type “best online therapists” or something similar into Google. You also want to get to the larger potential client pool of people who are searching for solutions to the kind of problems you help with.
If they reach your blog, the information you share may convince them that therapy is the best option for them – and if not, you may get a new follower that will expand your online presence.
So, you should also include keywords related to the specific issues you focus on – see what people are actually searching for and design your content to address those queries, using the exact phrases people type into search engines where possible.
Often, these will be “how to” phrases, eg. “how to manage ADHD”. You can use the Google autocomplete method above, or go deeper, by using an SEO checker – there are lots of good free options online.
6. Set up an email newsletter with wellness tips
Establishing a strong online presence is really important for reaching a broader audience. But you also need to convert that audience into new clients.
Email marketing has by far the highest rate of converting followers into clients when compared to other forms of online marketing – with a conversion rate of around 15%.
That means that getting potential clients onto your email list is one of the most effective online marketing strategies. Since going to therapy for the first time is a major life decision, influenced by many factors, it may take several months before someone who searches for therapists or mental health content feels prepared to take that first step.
Sending a regular email newsletter is an excellent way to remind potential clients of your services so that when they’re finally ready to start therapy, you’ll come to mind.
Like blog posts or longer social media posts, your email newsletter should contain engaging and above all useful content.
Offer wellness tips, include some visuals and make it relatable. Include a call to action link to sign up for your newsletter in your therapist directory profiles, social media accounts, and website – everywhere you can.
How can a therapist get more clients?
Many therapists have a mental block when it comes to marketing – but finding new clients online is easier than you think. You don’t need to be a marketing expert or engage in flashy self-promotion practices to market your online therapy practice.
It’s best to keep it simple and authentic. That means before you start, you should brainstorm to figure out what makes you different, what your niche is, and who your ideal client is, for clear, effective messaging.
Once you’ve done that, get started by:
- Using Nuna’s therapist directory to reach potential clients.
- Blogging shareable, relatable mental health content.
- Taking advantage of social media – and getting creative.
- Using client reviews, referrals, and testimonials.
- Learning the basics of SEO to boost your online presence.
- Sending an email newsletter with wellness advice.
Offering therapy online means you can connect with clients anywhere in the world.
It may take a bit of extra effort to stand out and reach potential clients but it’s well worth it to establish yourself as a credible online presence and find a steady stream of new therapy clients.
And you don’t have to do everything all at once. Choose one of our strategies and start taking your therapy practice to the next level – today.
Need a tool to help you get more clients and effectively manage all aspects of your therapy business? Try Nuna – it’s free to get started.