5 Effective Advertising Strategies for Mental Health Practitioners
Smart Advertising Strategies Working for Mental Health Businesses
When it comes to new client/patient referrals, mental health professionals have their “go to” and “bread ’n’ butter” strategies. These strategies are “tried and true” methods that have been established for a long time. We call these referrals methods the “traditional referral sources,” and they include, peers, other practices, physicians, pastors, rabbis and social service agencies, just to name a few.
"But what if you are looking for new referrals mechanisms? Even for busy practices, it’s always wise to cultivate new pathways of connecting with those who need and want your particular services."
Mental health practices are just like any business and need to advertise. But, advertising in the mental health arena can be tricky. Practices and programs need to grow, and a diverse marketing and advertising strategy are essential for long-term success. If you want to grow your business you are wise to look at the non-traditional referral sources that only come through advertising.
The question is... "what 'mental health-friendly' advertising options do I have at my disposal?" If you are unsure and struggle to answer this question, we have some good news! Below you will find effective marketing and advertising recommendations to grow your mental health practice or program by broadening your referral base.
Perhaps you have already tried some of these ideas. If you have, we are interested in hearing about your experience. However, if these fresh ideas are new to you, you might want to take a look. Below we offer you some cool options that actually work for many savvy behavioral and mental health businesses.
Native Advertising - Share Your Story with the World
Native Advertising is a form of free or paid media where the “ad” is an article in the form story, opinion, editorial, expert advice. This can be in the form of a magazine or newspaper article or an online web-based article or blog published on a related website.
The best native advertisement is a success story about your practice or program, describing your therapeutic theory, philosophical approach, and treatment modalities. More importantly, effective native advertising for mental health professionals is a written piece of high-quality content, podcast, or video depicting a real-life experience. What’s more, native advertising is a powerful promotional mechanism if it has a message of hope embedded within the story.
"Basically, native advertising an article, blog post, or video where you share a real world success story that is relevant to the publication’s audience."
Native ads cannot be a blatant “advertisement”, meaning the "story-ad" must be a meaningful real-life story based on human interest, achievement, encouragement, compassion, empathy, or even stories of miracles. When using native advertising for mental health businesses, it's all about sharing your unique “story” that best represents you, your practice, or program.
Examples of companies using native advertising effectively are Intel, Netflix, Puma, BMW, and much more.
Coaching Note: When publishing native advertising stories, always include your bio, credentials, contact info (email or website) so that people looking for your therapeutic services can find you.
Social Media and Curated Content
Social media goes hand-in-hand with native advertisement. Social Media operate on the same valuable principles found with native advertisement - good information that offers value to the audience. As a matter of fact, your Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or LinkedIn accounts can be the best place to promote “curated articles” that serve the public.
Curation is the processing of gathering and sorting through meaningful content found on the web and posting the best pieces to your social media channels. Curation of good content involves a process you probably already do anyway.
"As you read through your professional sources start sharing the best stuff (most useful) to your SM pages."
Curated articles are typically news articles or blog posts that can be found on websites or news syndicates. If your practice focuses on “couples” you might want to find the best articles related to marriage from PsychCentral.com. You might find a great article from the Huffington Post or even Therapy Insider. If an article has value to your clientele and is in alignment with your practice or program, post it! Become the source of good content.
Public Speaking Engagements
Public speaking engagements are any social or professional opportunity where you get to share your expertise. There are so many ways in which to share your professional experience, but public speaking engagements are the best.
You just need to make yourself known and available for public speaking opportunities. Many of these events are voluntary positions, philanthropic in nature, and supportive toward a worthy social cause.
For example, you might act as an advocate for a local elementary school, offering the school’s teachers a monthly in-service training on subjects like bullying, RAD, PTSD, or even domestic violence.
"Public speaking engagements are defined as any opportunity to share your professional story as you provide a unique value to a captive audience."
Public speaking is an effective platform for educating people on touchy subjects related to mental and behavioral health. It’s not about self-promotion as much as it is about being an influential help agent. Sometimes, a powerful public speaking engagement is an opportunity to rouse the public’s interest in a subject that needs attention or awareness.
Free Mental Health Screenings
Once every other month you might consider offering “free mental health screenings.” Announce your proposed screenings through press releases to local media (radio, newspapers, government websites, etc.), and it won’t cost you a dime. Free Mental Health Screenings are typically viewed as a public service announcement and syndicated to the public for free.
The key to using free mental health screenings is figuring out the best location that will enhance the possibility of reaching your target market. For example, your practice might specialize in treating struggling young adults. Therefore, a college campus would be the perfect location to offer free screenings for depression, PTSD, or eating disorders.
Specialized Local Publications
Create cool graphic advertisement and place them in local publications that cater to your specific audience. For example, your practice might offer “sports psychology.” A great place to place a low-cost ad for sports psychology would be in any publication ass
ociated with high school sports.
Perhaps your high school football team sells a team program on game days, or the girls basketball team has a website or Facebook page. Simply make an ad and pay a fee and your practice is directly in front of your target market. The idea is to get your business out in front of those who would most likely represent your patient.
Most movie theaters play short advertisements before the movie. Depending on where you live, movie theaters might be the perfect place to place a low-cost ad spot. Movie theaters typically work with a local ad agency that can help you produce the perfect ad that targets your particular audience.
Behavioral and Mental Health businesses have all kinds of effective low-cost ways to promote and advertise their practice or program. The only limit is your imagination and willingness to serve the community. Be creative and think about being the "thought leader," offering unique value propositions to the general public. Using the Internet, newspapers, and specialized publications is a good place to start.
Therapy Insider Partners with Mental and Behavioral Health Businesses
Therapy Insider is uniquely positioned to help mental health practitioners and programs cultivate new streams of referrals through native advertising and social media marketing. For more information, click here.
"Therapy Insider provides professional behavioral health businesses with the tools and acumen to leverage high-quality content as a strategy to build enhanced referral systems."
By providing professionals with advertising, “best practices”, “how-to guides”, “realtime analysis”, and “curated content” Therapy Insider makes it easier for practitioners and programs to achieve cost-effective results through native advertising.
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