While we are certainly fans of inbound marketing for therapists, inbound techniques alone, especially if you’re starting a new practice, take time to work. It’s always a great idea to have some great “handout” marketing collateral with you at all times that will help you promote your private therapy practice. This article will share some tips and suggestions on how to prepare effective therapist marketing fliers to promote your practice and help you get new clients interested in your awesome services.

We’ll discuss three key areas:

  • Content: capitalizing on your niche (or inventing one.)
  • Call to action: what action do you want your reader to take?
  • Design: how to design your flier around your value proposition

Content and inventing your therapy niche

The vast majority of behavioral health practitioners are generalists. They might see clients for anxiety, relationships, children’s issues, anger or mood disorders. We’ve all heard the expression “A jack of all trades and a master of none.” In marketing your therapy practice, you could rewrite that to read:

“A marketer of all specialties and successful in none.”

That doesn’t mean that you’re an unsuccessful therapist if you market “all specialties.” That means you’ll be unsuccessful in marketing those specialties.

What therapists can learn from construction contractors

Let’s take an example from a similar type of business to the private practice therapist, the residential construction contractor. Therapy and construction, believe it or not, are very similar in their marketing challenges. Both are highly competitive businesses with quality ranging from barely competent to the level of having TV shows and book deals. A good contractor, like a good therapist, can generally take on any sort of job. They’re trained in the major areas and are perhaps really good in those areas. But let’s compare two contractors’ business cards for a moment.

Contractor A:


 

Jack Williams

Residential Contractor

The best prices and the best work.


Contractor B:


 

Jack Williams

Kitchen Flooring Expert

Call me to design your perfect kitchen floor


 

 

Which contractor do you think is going to get the most calls and ultimately be the most successful?

I’m sure you know the answer I’d choose. But, let’s think about why Contractor B will be most successful.

First, let’s think about the main objection that some of you would have to Contractor B’s content.

“It’s too specific, I’ll miss out on money from people that want to remodel a bathroom.”

Perhaps paradoxically, the specificity is exactly why Contractor B’s phone won’t stop ringing. Think about medical doctors. Who makes the most money? Name three famous general practitioners? Now, name three famous heart surgeons? General practitioners, no offense, but they’re a dime a dozen. Skilled heart surgeons — much rarer. Cosmetic surgeons might be an even better example, they could all do a face lift or a tummy tuck, but if it’s your body under the knife, are you going to call a generalist or the best “facelifter” around? Board certified cosmetic surgeons are trained at a comparable standard, yet through simple marketing, they become far more in demand than their “all purpose” brethren. Then, as their marketing starts driving to them a specific type of patient, they actually get better and better, thus their marketing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to even more business.

Marketing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Specificity taps into the perceived scarcity of a particular specialty. What that means is that when I want a perfect kitchen floor, I’m going to call the best kitchen floor guy (or woman) I can find. I’m going to ask my friends who did their amazing kitchen floor. And, I’ll pay a premium because that kitchen floor contractor is amazing. Also, how many “kitchen floor guys” are out there versus a “residential contractor.” Not as many, that’s for sure, thus it’ll drive up the price, despite them being identically skilled!

It’s possible that kitchen floor contractor is also great at doing a bathroom remodel, so when he’s on the job, I might ask him if he knows anyone that can help. Of course then he can sell his generalist abilities — but his foot got in the door through his reputation as a superior kitchen floor creator. However, if he’s smart, he’s refer you to his friend who happens to be the best bathroom remodeler in town. Then the two contractors can refer back and forth improving both of their businesses while allowing them to gain even more marketshare within their niche. If you’re interested in Game Theory, this is loosely related to the Nash Equilibrium.

You definitely want to read our post Marketing Planning for the Therapist Entrepreneur — it goes into detail about finding an under served therapy niche and how to cement yourself as an expert.

The Call to Action

Assuming you have a niche (or at least a point of view other than “all purpose therapist,”) next you’ll want to think about how to communicate that. In our contractor example above, you can see that Contractor B did two important things:

He established he was an “expert” and then he had a clear call to action. The call to action was “Call me to design your perfect kitchen floor.”

Contractor A, on the other hand simply make a statement: “The best prices and the best work.”

That isn’t a call to action. It doesn’t ask the reader to act. That’s the purpose of a call to action.

A call to action is asking the reader to perform an action to achieve a goal.

When writing your flier content, start with two questions:

  • “What action to I want my reader to take after reading this?”
  • “What goal does my my reader want to accomplish by contacting me?

Write your call to action first

“Email me today to help you become the confident person you know you can become!”

After the call to action is written, then work backwards, thinking from the perspective of that “ideal” client who desperately needs your skill.

Think about some of these questions:

What barriers would keep this person from executing the call to action?

What are the most powerful emotional triggers that will lead to your potential client feeling absolutely compelled to book a therapy session with you?

If we take the example of you, being the expert therapist in confidence building, we might start with something like the following:


 

Are you too shy to ask for a raise? Do you get frightened with even the thought of giving a presentation to your colleagues at work? Do you doubt your abilities?

It isn’t you. It’s how you think about you. I can help you just like I’ve helped many others just like you.

I’m the Confidence Therapist and it’s my mission to help you discover that you can be powerful. You can stand up and be heard. You can be the person you really are.

Take the first step and email me today to get started with your new life.

You might be too shy to even email me. Don’t be. It starts with a simple email. Once I’m on your side, you’ll have a caring expert right there with you.


 

Of course, that text isn’t perfect — it’s to illustrate how you can tap into the emotions of your potential client. I started with some thoughts that I know that many unconfident people have. I dug into the problem and then I provided a rope towards the solution.

Identify the problem, sell the solution.

Notice how it was extremely specific. It’s going to speak very, very loudly to those that lack confidence. Of course, the objection to that type of content is that you potentially exclude patients that don’t have confidence problems. However, here’s the secret: if you speak to everyone, you’re speaking to no one. You’ll be ignored just like you ignore conversations at the airport unless you hear your name. One pointed stick is better than a thousand small rocks.

Also notice how I addressed the barrier to actually contacting me. I acknowledge the reason they might not want to contact me and then I overcame that reason with an even stronger reason: If you email me, you’ll have an expert on your side.

So, think about your niche, identify the “perfect” client and then talk to them. Don’t forget the call to action!

Designing your flier around your value proposition

What do waterfalls, zen gardens and fields of flowers have in common? It seems like every therapist uses them in their marketing materials.

Stop. Please.

I’ve visited literally hundreds of therapist websites. I’ve seen everything, except perhaps baby panda photos or kittens. Actually, I have seen kittens.

What do these clichés of tranquility do?

They make you look like every single other therapist. Remember my advice to find your niche? Your niche, unless it specifically happens to be Zen meditation, has nothing to do with waterfalls.

If you market like a cliché you are doing it wrong. The reason is that you are not differentiating yourself from the thousands of other therapists doing exactly the same thing. So, on your fliers — skip the waterfalls. Be creative. Have a style that fits with your niche. If you’re a marriage counseling expert, why not create a flier that looks like a wedding invitation? It could be something like, “You’re invited to rediscover the love in your marriage.” Or something like that. You get the idea. You certainly don’t need a darned waterfall picture!

The following is an ultra simple design that will stand out. Someone without confidence will be unable to resist picking it up; it speaks to their need.

On the back you could put just a big, friendly photo of yourself. Photos sell! You’re providing a simple, clear value proposition, a strong call to action and a stark design that grabs attention. My quick design won’t win any awards but I guarantee you it will get read.

Interestingly, this problem-based marketing approach is the foundation of inbound marketing for therapists. The idea is that people are searching for answers to a question. They aren’t searching for you. If you put the answers where they’re looking, you win and perhaps get a new client.

Published by Brian Dear

Brian is the cofounder and CEO of iCouch, Inc. He has an extensive background in software engineering, inbound marketing and mental health practice management.

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