Now in fairness, marketing and entrepreneurship aren’t taught as part of the curriculum for becoming a social worker or therapist.
However, that’s not to say that these things can’t be learned! All growth comes from taking a hard look at what we do, why we do it, and how we can do it better.
With that in mind, here are the 4 biggest mistakes I see therapists make in their marketing. (And yes, my background is in marketing, not in therapy).
1. Try to impress with their credentials.
No one, I repeat, no one is impressed by the fact that you might have an MSW, PhD or anything else after your name. Today’s consumers don’t care what school you went to, if you were on the honour roll or if you had a double major. They care how you connect with them. They care how you make them feel. Gone are the days when credentials alone get you clients. We’re now in a post-credential world where they only really matter to claim insurance benefits… not to draw in, or retain, new clients.
2. Use language their clients don’t understand.
Most clients barely know what CBT is, if at all, let alone the plethora of other modalities that are tossed around. And even if clients know what something is, it doesn’t mean they understand how it might or might not help them. Your job is to connect with clients in a way that humanizes your technical knowledge. So instead of focusing on the trajectory of care, communicate what the treatment will do for them as you work together.
3. Use unconvincing graphics and imagery.
Today’s consumers are the most marketed to in history. We know what’s sincere, what’s fluff and what’s just nonsense. Much of the imagery used by therapists are redundant, if not fake. Lots of greenery, water, holding hands, tender babies, new love… all of that. It’s not real to us. Find imagery and a way to illustrate your services differently! Originality goes wildly far in this market.
4. Don’t focus on a core audience and offering.
This industry is incredibly competitive. And in any competitive industry, new players must focus very strictly on promoting one product to one audience. That’s not to say that other people won’t be attracted to you, but it is to say that focusing on who you serve with clarity on their demographic and psychographic profile AND how you can help them is essential.
How can all of these be addressed? Well, we can help with that in the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned!