4 Steps That Will Make Your Therapy brand Stand Out
As a therapist in private practice, you need to cultivate a brand that sets you apart from other mental health professionals and attracts the clients who fit your practice best. Here are 4 key steps to help you develop a unique therapy brand that reflects your professional identity, values, and strengths.
Despite the demand for mental health services, the mental health professional field is still pretty competitive. Psychologists have competition from other psychologists as well as licensed clinicians.
Additionally, there's indirect competition from people who are not licensed, and who offer services that have something to do with mental health but don't require training and education.
I am not saying here that this type of competition is unfair, but it can definitely create confusion for the people looking for help with their mental health.
The trouble is that for the general public, all the nuances of training, expertise, and specific education are not really known or even matter that much.
So if you are thinking that the level of your education and training is enough to differentiate you from your competition, you might be unpleasantly surprised.
what makes you stand out as a therapist?
I know what you are thinking right now. "My work is what makes me different". That's true. Your work, style, perspective, and method are the things that make you unique.
But this is not enough, because, for someone to recognize your distinctiveness, they need to know you already. They need to spend some time getting to know your style, method, and perspective. They need to be your client.
What I'm talking about, is standing out from the crowd of other therapists before your potential client even meets you.
How do you do that? By creating a strong therapy brand.
There's a very simple strategy that I recommend following. It fits every practice as long as it's consistently executed and practiced and it involves the following 4 steps:
Focus on your Ideal Client. This is the number one priority for any business and especially a therapy business. If you don't know who your ideal client is, you can download a free worksheet I created for my clients, the Ideal Client's Profile Worksheet. The reason I put this step as a number one priority, is because all your marketing messaging and efforts need to be directed at an audience, a specific audience that experiences unique problems and looks for specific solutions that are relevant to their lives. Without knowing who your ideal client is, your marketing will be general and lukewarm and won't connect with anyone. In this scenario, you will be left to compete with other therapists based on price, location, and convenience alone.
Define what you want to be known for. When you have a specific problem with your house, your car, or even your health, you will most likely seek out the service of a specialist. Right? When I had a problem with a window in my bedroom, the first google search I did was "window repair in my area". And although the service that you provide is very different from window repair, people are still looking for it in the same way they are looking for a window repairman. They search on google, ask people they trust, and read reviews. The biggest mistake that you can do is not to take people's journey to find into account. So now that you know that people will search for very specific services and solutions, ask yourself what you want to be known for. Here're some questions to ask yourself: - What kind of search will your potential client do to find you fast? - What kind of issues are you working with (men, teens, couples)? - What are your areas of expertise in working with clients? (multicultural families, immigration issues, divorce)? Defining what you want to be known for will help you stay in people's minds and come up on search engines.
Define your main message. Your main message (or core message) is the elevator pitch of sorts that communicates clearly who you are, what you do, who you work with, and how you can help them. Breaking it down to these elements will help you understand your own role better and it will help you position yourself as an authority on a specific subject.
Be generous. I don't mean to give away your services at a discount or for free. I would not recommend that event to a starting practitioner. What I mean by generosity is, making it easy for the person who's looking for help to find the right information quickly. Being generous means anticipating the questions that your ideal client may have before they contact you and answering them on your website, social media, or a piece of content that you are creating. It means directing the person who needs help to get help as soon as possible by responding quickly when they contact you, or by referring them to another source if they are not a good fit for you. But one thing I want you to keep in mind is that you should be the one deciding on the form your generosity will take, otherwise you will find yourself spending a lot of time on phone calls that don't lead anywhere and responding to messages without booking the clients that your practice needs.
The biggest mistake that you can do is not to take people's journey to find into account.
Clearly, these are not the only ways to stand out from your competition, but these are the first steps that you should take. This is the foundation for building your therapy brand and uniquely positioning yourself as a mental health provider.
Standing out from your competition does not require any special bells and whistles. It doesn't require being extra inventive with your marketing approach. But it does the ability to stay focused on your audience.