It’s spring of 2020, and currently, the world is on pause. COVID-19 has required people to stay home, socially isolating themselves from the unknown. People are talking on the phone more than ever Both Verizon and AT&T have seen a 34% increase in phone calls prior to the pandemic and Zoom calls increased 1900% from just the beginning of the year. Even with all of these conversations, try and find someone whose mental health has not been affected by the current state of the world.
As the year continues on, and the world continues to face an uphill battle back to whatever our “new normal” is going to look like, mental health therapists will be crucial for people’s personal COVID Comeback plans (Read our latest whitepaper here). Tele-health appointments have increased by 65% since mid-February 2020. This number is only expected to grow.
Historically, people have been ashamed to talk about their need for therapy. If there is one good thing to come out of the current pandemic, it seems more people are willing to openly talk about their anxieties and stressors and how they are magnified in today’s climate.
There are so many ways to build/grow your practice’s digital presence so that prospective patients will be able to find you. We have outlined seven steps to getting your practice online and opportunities to digitize your marketing campaigns.
You need a website
This seems straightforward enough. However, have you ever looked around the web? The range of site layouts, navigation bars, and even contact us pages is overwhelming. Who are you going to use as your website platform? You have to buy the domain name (choosing a URL could be a full day discussion in itself!), decide on graphics, and write content.
Maybe you have a site, but it is not performing as well as you would like. Perhaps it has a high bounce rate, or prospective clients are not filling out your contact forms. Is your site optimized for mobile? The odds that someone visits your site from a mobile device are incredibly high – make sure your site and email communications are mobile-friendly. Always remember that a website is an extension of your business that should continue to be optimized for performance.
Ensure your website is findable
There are multiple ways to ensure your site is found:
Creating rich and meaningful content should be the backbone of your marketing strategy. The content on your site is what the web crawlers use to decide how relevant your content is for the current search. Continually adding to your website will make it more robust and easily findable
Blogs are a fantastic way to add ever-green content to your site. Think about your current patients and write blog posts about the topics that come up frequently. Make the content easy to read and understand – patients might not even realize that they are need of better mental health until after reading your articles and realizing they are not as mentally healthy as they thought.
Directories allow you to target the unique needs of your local clientele. Your marketing message and the directories that you list your practice on will help get your name out there. Ensure that all of your listings are the same across every single directory. This will improve your Google My Business listing for all local searches.
Manage your online reviews
76% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Encourage your current patients to review you on Yelp, Google, and other online sites. In today’s world, shoppers for mental health services are researching to see what people have to say about your practice. Many will keep themselves anonymous; however, these reviews still will weigh on the credibility of your practice. Ensure you respond to ALL reviews – positive and negative – and make changes to your process if you see consistent complaints about portions of your services.
Grow your social media presence
Combining both your organic social media profiles, along with a targeted social media advertising campaign, will allow you to reach prospective clients effectively. The targeting capabilities of paid social is unmatched due to the amount of data that is collected on these platforms. This level of targeting will allow you to have minimal waste with your advertising budget. Prospects seeing both your ads and your consistent posts will help cement your authority in whatever subject you focus on and keep your practice top of mind for the future.
Make sure you are networking with doctors in your area. Become the mental health practitioner who these doctors refer their patients to. Do your research and find conversations you can partake in and add insights and commentary. The more doctors that are referring you, the more extensive your network, and the more credibility your practice has. These connections will be meaningful down the road when you are looking to grow even more.
Use newsletters and emails for client and prospect communications
Emails and newsletters are an excellent way to keep in touch. People read emails that are relevant to them. Emails are a great way to promote new content on your website or address general mental health topics that are in the news. Within each piece of communication, make sure that you tie it back to your practice and the services you offer. Always include ways to get in touch, business hours, virtual event recommendations, or online resources so that you are a complete resource for your community.
Ensure that your practice is open when your clients need you. Ensure you have a telehealth option for clients who are socially distancing. Offer office hours early in the morning or late in the evening certain days of the week to accommodate people’s various schedules. Flexible scheduling goes a long way in the hearts of patients.
Therapists need to start marketing themselves to prospects well before their first therapy session. Use these marketing tips as well as the many others we outline throughout our website. The number of mental health practices will continue to grow – ensure yours is staying ahead of your competition.