In this guide, we’ll go over the importance of advertising mental health services to the people who need them.

Mental health has increasingly become a significant part of the national conversation. More people are opening up about their struggles with mental illness and talking about the importance of looking out for themselves.

There’s been a drastic increase in adverse mental health conditions like depression and anxiety during the pandemic. As the world starts to open back up, your mental health services are as vital as ever. As a mental health services provider, you need the right tools to let people know that you’re here to help. 

If you’re struggling with ways to market your clinic or practice, these tips will help you get started.

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Your guide to advertising mental health services‌

People looking for mental health treatment will start in the same place most of us turn to first: the internet. They’ll use a search engine, likely Google, to find and explore options nearby. 

This is where you want to meet them. Often people will travel down the rabbit hole of self-diagnosis. This is the time to step in and provide valuable information while offering them a chance to contact you directly for help. 

So, how can you get in front of these people? Advertising mental health services involve setting up an easy-to-navigate website and investing in strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and more. Here’s how to get started.

Build a quality website

You may have heard this before, but it bears repeating: every business needs good site design to be successful, especially when many of us spend so much time online.

Design your site for ease of use. Have a cohesive theme — including fonts, colors, and graphics — that isn’t visually overwhelming. Use clear headings and large call to action (CTA) buttons to let people know what you provide and where to find it. 

When people arrive at your site, they need to be able to navigate it easily and intuitively. Make sure your specialties are prominently displayed so people can see what you do immediately. Make it easy for them to book an appointment or consultation call. 

Design for mobile, too

Your site should also be optimized for mobile. Test it to be sure the graphics load correctly, the text is readable, and your links aren’t broken. Many people will be browsing on their phone or tablet, and you don’t want to lose them to slow load times and blank screens. 

Follow an SEO strategy‌

Optimizing your site for the user is half the battle — the other is optimizing your content. Good SEO will help you climb the search ranks and get seen by people searching for your business. It’s like free advertising for your mental health services.

There are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page. A good SEO strategy needs both. On-page SEO includes the things you can control, like: 

  • The content you post
  • Keywords
  • Internal links to other pages and content on your site
  • Alt tags and meta descriptions
  • Titles

Off-page SEO is more about directing people back to your page through:

  • Links to your page from other sites
  • Shares on social media

Alt tags and meta descriptions are unseen elements of your website; they’re part of the code Google reads when it’s determining how to categorize your page. Make sure these are filled out properly. The more information Google has about what your site is for, the more able it is to show it to the right audience.

Keep in mind that it can take months to see a big change once you start working on your SEO. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so work on it in tandem with other strategies. 

Use keywords effectively

Research the keywords in your industry and how people are using them. Free online tools like Answer the Public are great for this, as they take a keyword and extrapolate search terms you can optimize for. 

In Google, enter keywords that have to do with your industry and look at the “people also ask” box. What questions are there? Chances are your site can answer them, and if it does so effectively, you’ll boost your rank.

Create valuable content 

One excellent way to boost SEO and authority is through useful pieces of content. That can be via blog posts, videos, ad campaigns — anything that has to do with your field and provides value.

American backpack maker Jansport’s “Lighten the Load” project, for example, centered an ad campaign around relieving the weight of our mental health struggles through talking about them with others. While Jansport may not be psychologists, they used content effectively to get people talking about their mental health.

Think about ways you can use content to connect with your audience. Maybe that’s sharing psychology tips to YouTube or going live on Instagram to take questions on mental health issues. 

It could be as simple as writing a blog post a week. The only requirement for content marketing is that it provides real value. 

Need help coming up with ideas? Go back to your keyword research. Those questions in Google’s “people also ask” box can be made into separate pieces of content. You might even be able to turn this into a series if the subject is complex enough. 

Update your Google Business Profile listing

If you haven’t already, set up a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing. Fill it out as completely as you can with contact information, photographs, snippets, and a short description. This will be invaluable for bringing in more local clients. 

According to Google Trends, Google searches for “therapist near me” jumped up to 300% in the last year. Complete GBP listings help you show up in those local “near me” searches. Google wants to give people the most relevant information to them as quickly as possible. 

The more complete your profile is, the more likely your services will show up in search. Make sure that your address is filled out correctly, your specialties are listed, and you include any other important information that differentiates your business. 

Encourage people to leave reviews

Reviews also play a large role in your GBP listing. After a “near me” search, the first thing people do is look at the businesses with the highest reviews. To guarantee you’re one of these well-viewed businesses, encourage people to leave reviews if they’re happy with your services. It’ll help more people find you and make your business more legitimate in the eyes of newcomers.

Complete other business profiles on Yellow Pages and Bing

Not everyone depends on Google. Be sure to fill out a business profile on other prominent sites like Yellow Pages and Bing. Every complete business profile you have builds authority and can help you rank in unexpected areas like local voice search.

For example, a complete Bing profile could even make Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant prioritize you in results.

Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads

PPC ads can run on social media, Google, or both at the same time. You negotiate a price to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. You will only pay for the clicks you get.

PPC has advantages and disadvantages depending on the platform and can get pricey, so you’ll need to figure out how much you’re comfortable spending. However, one of PPC’s advantages is its considerable reach. 

Google and Facebook reach billions of daily users, and the data they collect (especially Facebook) means those ads can be highly targeted. You can create a persona that might be searching for a particular keyword, then target your ads to that group — say, single dads in California that make $65K and up. 

When buying targeted ads, think about the nature of your business and where your ideal customer spends most of their time online. People usually look for mental health specialists when they need help, and Google ads can put you there to meet that search.

Social ads can help, too. Many accounts on platforms like Instagram are centered around discussing mental health. If you see that a lot of people in your target audience follow those accounts, you may find it worth advertising your mental health services on Instagram.

Focus on social media marketing

Don’t ignore social media — it’s a great tool for building your brand and community. You can use channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to your advantage in different ways. 

Whether it’s raising awareness around a particular mental health issue or explaining common misconceptions, you can establish authority in your field through social media. Gradually, you’ll bring together a community of like-minded people that can benefit from the services you provide and from each other. 

Depending on the kind of content you’re making, you can often repackage single pieces of content for distribution across multiple channels. Just make sure it makes sense for each specific platform. For example, a YouTube video could be broken up into shorter clips shared on Instagram. 

Business social channels can also serve as a message board to your community. You can update people on policy changes or let them know when you’re hosting events. 

If you decide to implement a social media marketing strategy for your mental health business, don’t forget to engage with people. If someone leaves a thoughtful comment or raises a concern, reply. This will show that there’s an actual person behind the brand — and that person is a mental health expert.

Take advantage of email marketing

Email is the most direct form of communication you have with your audience today. It’s personal, cost-effective, and can be a great way to convert leads from your site into clients.

For mental health professionals, common forms of email marketing include newsletters and digital health pamphlets. But that’s just a starting point. Here are some more ideas for advertising mental health services via email: 

  • Introduce the staff who work at your clinic or practice.
  • Update people on changes, like special hours or construction.
  • Discuss common topics in the mental health space.
  • Update people on new services and procedures available at your business.

Email marketing can also be a way to ask your current patients for referrals if they feel comfortable doing so. If they’re new, you could send an automated email thanking them for their business and asking them to leave you a review if they’re satisfied with their visit.

Health pamphlets are quick guides that can be useful to your current patients or people in their lives. These can include tips on starting a meditation routine, making healthy meals, or implementing coping techniques for stress. Your email newsletter can even be a way to connect people with resources they might need outside of your practice, such as a crisis line. 

Experiment with multiple formats. One week you might choose to have a conventional, blog-style newsletter and the next, you may want to send out a video instead. If you invest in a good email marketing platform with analytics data, you’ll be able to see which style people like more.

Time to get the word out

As a mental health professional, it can be tough to know where to start when it comes to advertising your business. Take advantage of the wealth of resources available to you. 

You can use everything from Facebook to an email newsletter to get the word out to past clients and new visitors. As long as you respect people’s privacy and don’t annoy them with spam, email can be a great way to stay in contact and let clients know they’re appreciated.

Social media groups and pages can help build awareness around your business while establishing a community of supportive people. Make sure you stay engaged on these channels to let people know you’re there. 

Meanwhile, PPC ads can do wonders for your reach and get you to the top of searches. Research the price range for your industry and see if it fits into your marketing budget.

Remember that content is key and a valuable tool for establishing your expertise in the mental health field. Decide what content best suits your business and expertise and organize a campaign. That could look like blogging, a video series, or infographics on Instagram — the only limit is your creativity. 

No matter which options you choose, meet people where they are. Talk to them like people, not customers. Advertising mental health services doesn’t have to be salesy or aggressive. 

For more tips on marketing for healthcare professionals, check out the Constant Contact blog and this handy downloadable marketing guide.