3 Reasons Why Content Marketing is the Absolute Best Way to Improve Your Online Presence as a Mental Health Professional
There are many ways to market your practice, and the most important technique for mental health professionals is content marketing. If you’re not familiar with the term, content marketing means attracting clients by providing relevant and valuable information. It comes in many different forms, but the most popular are newsletters, blogs, ebooks, Youtube® videos, podcasts, and infographics.
Content marketing is the first choice for professionals to build their practice because of its many benefits, including establishing you as an authority in your field. Lots of businesses have interesting content, but mental health professionals have a higher calling. Why? Because your content can help hundreds - even thousands - of people, most of whom you’ll never meet.
Let’s say, for example, you specialize in treating anxiety disorders. You could:
Ebooks do double-duty because you can give them away on your website and also sell them on Amazon!
I recommend giving away content on your website because it’s the best way to build your community… and the marketing research backs this up. People visiting your site would easily find a sign-up box requesting their email address so they can receive your valuable content. Aside from this raising your expertise credentials and increasing the odds of being referenced elsewhere online, you’ll be building a community of people (your platform) who might potentially be clients or refer new clients to you. The next step is to start sending a newsletter two or three times a month, to those addresses you just obtained, using an email marketing service like Constant Contact (the one we use). You’ll soon see your practice grow while simultaneously build your reputation. It’s very important your sign up box makes it clear their email address will not shared and that they will continue to get free information from you by way of your newsletter. Newsletters should primarily give people new valuable content, as you have promised. It can also be used to announce an open house, a lecture you’re giving, provide a link to your book, and so on. All of the email marketing services will tell you who opens your newsletter and who clicks on your links. This data will help you refine your new content and may even provide additional direction for building your practice.
As an example, we build our own newsletter list by giving away the eBook Insight, which is a collection of 52 worksheets for therapeutic homework. If you go ahead and sign-up, you’ll see how it takes you to a page where we welcome people to our community and start an ongoing dialogue. You can do the same thing on your websites, and it is particularly easy when using a website builder like HelpingSites.com.
Finally, there is the underlying and largely invisible value of your content marketing: Search Engine Optimization. SEO refers to the placement – i.e., the order - of where your site shows up on the search results page when people search for the types of services you provide. Have you ever noticed which sites comes up first when you do an online search? It’s no accident. It’s directly related to those sites having a very high SEO. No matter what kind of material you provide, it should be optimized so that the content (and your website) will come up with a high ranking in a Google search and be as close to the top as possible. I’ll talk more about how to optimize content in next week’s blog post.
In the meantime, start creating content!
*You can find a wide variety of therapy tools to put on your site and even giveaway as content at BetweenSessions.com and the Therapy Store. The tools you get at these sites include permission for you to use them for both your clinical and practice building needs.
Anyone with a marketing background will tell you that the most common way to get new referrals is through your website. But the truth is that your website is just the first step. Even if you have a great looking website that clearly indicates who you are and what you can offer your clients, a single visit to your website will not often result in someone contacting you about therapy. The most basic rule of marketing is that people have to come in contact with your "message," six or more times before they really start thinking about your services.
Filling in the form should immediately take potential clients to a Thank You page, which will give them a link to the free product and remind them that they have enrolled to receive your newsletter which will consistently give them important information regarding how they can work on their problems.
Now you've started a conversation with your potential clients, which can last months or even years. Through a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter, using software like Constant Contact (that's what we use for our newsletter), you can soon be an important part of the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people. Some of these people will become your clients. Others may recommend you to their friends. There are many others who you will never hear from, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped scores of people you have never met.
You may be thinking that this is somewhat of a "one-sided" conversation, and that is true, but that is the reality of all marketing. You are doing all of the "talking," and your potential clients are doing the "listening." But don't forget that in your reader’s minds, they are making a connection with you. When people wish to engage you in a true dialogue, they will contact you and take advantage of your professional services.
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