Marketing for Your Therapy and Counseling Practice

Brian James Rawson
December 15, 2023

Marketing probably wasn’t your first concern when you started your therapy and counseling career. But, though marketing and therapy may seem totally different, they’re actually more closely linked than you may think. In fact, whether you’re a doctor or an artist or a therapist, marketing is essential to what you do. 

Marketing is Essential to Therapy and Counseling

Now, you may be thinking, “Of course a marketing agency would say something like that” but just stick with us for a second. See it’s not just you. Marketing is essential to every business, professional service, and nonprofit. In fact, there isn’t a single organization that can exist without marketing because marketing is really conversations. 

Marketing isn’t over priced commercials or modern art logos. Marketing is word of mouth. It’s sparking conversations between you and your clients, and it’s starting conversations between your clients and their friends and family. Marketing is how every organization gets any customers and clients at all. For instance, you can start the most impressive therapy practice, but if no one ever hears about it, talks about it, sees it, or finds it, then it doesn’t matter. 

In fact, like a fish can’t escape water, you can’t escape marketing. You’re doing marketing whether you know it or not or whether you call it “marketing” or not. Every time you talk to a client, it’s marketing. Every time you tell someone what you do, it’s marketing. Every time you send an email, it’s marketing. Again, marketing is conversations and word of mouth, and it’s pretty hard to run a business if you never talk to anyone (and it’s especially hard to do therapy and counseling if you never talk to anyone). So, no matter what you call it, if you’re talking to people, you’re marketing.

Marketing Achieves Your Goals

But, there is a dividing line between regular conversation and marketing conversation. Regular conversations don’t have a plan, agenda, or goal (…usually), but marketing does. In fact, it’s kind of like the difference between regular conversations and therapy conversations. In therapy, you talk with your client, and the conversation has a specific goal. The goal may be to build trust and rapport. It may be to process specific memories and emotions, or it may be to strengthen social skills and coping strategies. No matter what it is, therapy conversations most often have a goal. In a similar way, marketing conversations have a goal, and the goal of marketing is very simple and pretty innocent. Your marketing goal is to grow your business. That’s it. Marketing simply uses conversation and word of mouth to help you reach that goal. Marketing is simply a tool to help you grow your business. 

We very intentionally use the word grow here, because “grow” can mean anything. Yes, often growth means increasing your sales and profit, but not always. Growth can take many shapes and forms. For instance, maybe growth for you is more clients or community impact. Maybe it’s more staff or locations. Maybe it’s more time off and time to pursue your passions without sacrificing your work. Said simply, growth is unique and personal to you.

Marketing is Research and Strategy 

But what makes marketing so good at growing your business? The engine that drives good, effective marketing is research and strategy. 

Just like effective therapy methods are built from clear evidence and specific frameworks, effective marketing is built from clear research and a specific strategy. Good marketing carefully researches your clients, your team, and your competitors, and from that research, marketing crafts a clear strategy to communicate who you are to the right people in the right way in the right place at the right time. 

So if goals are what separate regular conversation from marketing, then it’s these two things, research and strategy, that separate beginner marketing from expert marketing. Just like the quality of a product comes down to the quality of its parts, the quality of your marketing comes down to the quality of your research and your ability to synthesize that research into an effective strategy.


What is Market Research? 

But what does good market research and marketing strategy look like? Well, first, good market research consists of three sections: your team, your clients, and your competitors. Then, each section is split in half with one side being logistics and details and the other being emotions and psychology. 

For instance, do you really understand your team? (even if it’s a team of one). Or on the logistics side, what do you actually do? Can you summarize your services, approach, and vision in 5 words? in 20 words? in 500 words? Sure you can say something like, “I provide counseling services.” But what does that really mean? More importantly, can the person you’re trying to help easily picture what that means? 

Or on the emotional side, what is your team’s ethos, values, and personality? What makes your team different from the thousands of other counseling agencies out there? What makes you you?

And this is just the first section of market research. Next you need to research your clients and your competitors. Just like you research the logistics and psychology of your team, you then need to research the same things with your clients and your competitors. (But we won’t do that here otherwise this article will turn into a novel. However, we do have a whole series on market research, so if you’d like to learn more, check that out: here.)

What is Marketing Strategy? 

Where good market research is the “who” and “what,” good marketing strategy is the “when,” “where,” and “how.” In short, marketing strategy is all about being “right.” Good marketing strategy ensures you’re talking to the right people in the right way in the right place at the right time. 

For instance, you may have an amazing elevator pitch and know exactly how to communicate who you are and what you do, which is great! But what if you’re talking to the wrong person? You can have the best talking points in the world, but if you’re talking to the wrong person, it doesn’t matter. 

And just like a good therapist knows how to attune to each client in order to best communicate and reach them, a good marketing strategy lets you know who to talk to as well as when to talk to them, where to talk to them, and how to talk to them. 

For example, a good marketing strategy lets you know if you should advertise on Facebook or Instagram, if you should attend this networking event or that one, and if you should open a new office in this part of town or that part of town.

How to Apply Better Marketing to Your Therapy and Counseling Practice

So, yes, you’re doing marketing whether you realize it or not, and whether you like it or not, you can’t escape marketing. Marketing is all about talking to people, and you can’t run a business (especially a therapy practice) without…well…talking to people. So instead of avoiding marketing or putting it on the back burner, why not harness it? If you can’t escape it, why not use it and utilize its full potential? 

Well, to do that, you need high quality research and strategy, which, of course, you can do yourself. We’re not the only people who can do this. Anyone with enough time to learn psychology (like you), as well as communication, design, sociology, and research methodology can be a great marketer.

So yes, you can do your own marketing, but do you have the time to do your best marketing? Well, if you do have the time, we do have hours of podcast episodes, YouTube shows, and articles to help you learn everything you need to know to be a great marketer. (Check those out: here.) 

But if you don’t have the time, give us a call, and give yourself the time and space you need to be the best expert you can be in your field by letting us be the best expert in ours. No matter what your personal goals are, no matter how you want to grow your business, we’re here to help you turn your goal into a concrete reality. Again, marketing is essential to what you do, so get the essential support you need. Plus, it takes less than one minute to start your project with us. To start, simply use the link below.

Start your project: here

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