Yesterday, I stumbled across an ad for what might be the coolest company ever (and yes, I say that as the head of growth for a company that matches people with therapists, which is a definite contender for coolest company ever). This company lets you solve mysteries by sending you letters and clues through the mail.
The child in me that stayed up late reading detective stories and loved every piece of mail she received is doing backflips in my heart. It is many of my dreams come true.
But, I never would have known this company existed if I didn’t see their ad.
Why am I talking about this random ad I saw? It’s because we are so quick to think of marketing in terms of the bad experiences we have with it. The text-heavy, scammy ads in newspapers. The single ad that plays during every commercial break until we can’t get its jingle out of our brains.
However, marketing is also made up of good experiences. It is the key way that we can learn about products and services we love and need. Through other’s marketing, I’ve discovered the mystery letter company, tried snacks from all around the world, and learned a lot about online marketing tactics. And, in one of the moments when I was struggling the most, I came across an ad for my therapist’s practice.
Yes, I’ve been on the other side of your marketing and advertising, and it changed my life.
When we’ve had so many bad experiences with marketing as a society, it’s natural to worry that we may make others uncomfortable or upset with our marketing. However, done right, your marketing can be an immense relief for your clients. It can help them move forward and start therapy. It can help them start to address challenges that are impacting their lives.
Your marketing can give your prospective clients hope that they can feel better.
The best part is that you’ve already done most of the hard work of marketing well. You have gone to school and amassed so much clinical experience to help others grow. You are already marketing a service that is valuable and life-changing, and that is the most difficult part of marketing. Now, all you have to do is make sure that your marketing materials show the level of care you can provide.
There are a few simple ways to make sure your marketing provides good experiences for your clients:
I know, I’ve written a whole email and a blog post on this theme already. I keep coming back to it because it is the single most important concept to grasp if you want to support, affirm, and even delight people with your marketing.
To make sure your marketing helps others, think about what your prospective clients are experiencing right before they start therapy. Are they trying to convince their partner that couples therapy is a good idea? Are they wondering if they are “suffering enough” to go to therapy? Are they worried about how others might view them for seeking care, or what it will mean if they go to therapy and don’t feel better?
You can even think back to your first conversations with clients about what brought them to therapy and why to figure out what prospective clients may be thinking.
Once you have a sense of the barriers keeping your prospective clients from therapy, you can use marketing to help them solve those problems. For example, our content manager wrote a post for therapy seekers on how to tell if they’re “suffering enough” to start therapy (spoiler: if you think that therapy might be right for you, it’s right for you! You don’t need to be suffering to go).
If you solve problems for your prospective clients, you can convince them to work with you AND introduce yourself in a positive way through your marketing.
One of the most frustrating marketing experiences is getting an ad, article, or pitch for a product you can’t use. Luckily, the internet has given us marketers a number of tools to reduce the audience we’re speaking with and make sure that our audience can use our services.
For example, if you are a therapist who focuses on working with engaged couples to manage their stress and questions around getting married, you can run ads on different online platforms that specifically target people who have recently gotten engaged. If you focus on helping high-achievers with burnout, you can target professionals in challenging industries.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of opportunities to market to people who are as close to your ideal customer as possible. This will help people have better experiences with your marketing, bring you more clients who are the right fit for your practice, and save you money on ads as an added bonus!
If marketing still makes you feel “dirty” or “scammy,” it’s okay to start slowly with forms of marketing that may be more comfortable. One of the best ways to market in a way that feels helpful rather than salesy is blogging. The main idea behind blogging is to write helpful articles on how to overcome the roadblocks that keep your clients out of therapy and/or conditions that encourage clients to start therapy, and get those articles to rank in search engine results.
Marketing can help clients find your practice, and gain life-changing mental health support, tools, skills, and insights. The work you do is valuable, and, with a few marketing best practices, you can make sure your clients are excited to learn about you.
Match with the *right* clients for your practice while growing your professional community.
Mariah was Head of Growth at MyWellbeing. She is a marketing expert in the areas of content strategy, digital advertising, business growth, and anything related to helping therapists grow their practice.