"Helping people who help people"

I am pointing out Psychology Today ads for three main reasons.  One, they’re one of the largest out there, but my information pertains to all advertising.  Two, they allow groups to join rather than just individuals.  Three, they’re open ended as far as the type of therapy you can do to be listed. 

In no particular order, when advertising for a general therapy ad:

Make sure if you have a website, it is LINKED!  And secondly, make sure the link WORKS!  If it doubt, ask a friend  to go to the site and click on it to see that it works.

If you are focusing on a particular client-base, and you talk about that client base on your website, think about linking NOT to your homepage, but directly to that client groups page.  Help them do one less click to get where they are interested in!

Do not tout your resume, or otherwise “repeat” what is listed on the factual stuff around your profile statement.  That little area to write is meant to draw people in, not regurgiate what they can already read.

If you are in a group, I, a prospective client, don’t care!  I found YOU doing a search for MY needs.  I see YOUR photo and want to know about YOU.  I don’t care that you have five colleagues, or what they do.  Write your ad for YOU, and link to the group website, but don’t use precious ad dollars talking about what everyone does.  When I’m not even in relationship with you yet there is no way you’re going to sell me on OTHER strangers (your colleagues.)

Have a photo!  And have the best photo you can possibly get.  I’d rather see a REALLY good photo of you in casual clothes than a photo that looks 30 years old but you’re dressed up.  Remember there are some good lookin’ folks out there and your photo is what brings a boring web profile life, energy, and emotional connection with your prospective readership.  (I joke that my photo, as seen on this blog, is my “after”, but I live in a “before.”  Professional hair, make up, and professional photographers make a HUGE difference!)    My husband takes bad photos so the one he uses on his website was randomly taken at a fast food Chinese restaurant.  We cut out the kids, have a happy face, and there you go!  One trick I’ve learned by doing it is to look AWAY from the camera until JUST as it’s being taken. The smile comes off much more naturally.  You may also want to experiment with using black and white.  Sometimes it’s shocking what a difference removing color can make to a photo!

Even if you just do this for my mental health, since it’s one of my biggest therapy marketing bugaboos, DO NOT say things like, “I work with children, teens, adults, the elderly, individuals, couples, families, and groups.”  That basically means if your client is a homo sapien, they’re “in.”  You might as well not say that at all for how “useful” it is!  Same goes for things like, “I do play therapy, addiction and recovery, geriatric care, GLBT work, baby boomer blues groups, eating disorders, trauma, sexual abuse, singles groups, divorce groups, marriage groups.”  Oh my!  Too much diversity makes you either come across as desperate to please everyone, over-extended, or possibly less of an expert because the profile next to yours is someone with 25 years working almost exclusively with the prospective clients problems.

NEVER leave your profile statement blank or ask people to just go to your website.  They’ve likely already used their mouse 4-20 times before they arrived at your profile.  They are weary and just don’t care.  If you can’t bother to say “hi” in an ad you’re spending good money to have, your prospective clients can’t be bothered to click through to your website.

I have a lot more but will stop for now!  I encourage you to share my blog with your colleagues.  If you like what you read, help me connect with newsletters in your organization.  I love writing for the Minnesota AMFT newsletter and have gotten really great responses over the months.  I write like I talk and am not a sales person (a risk many newsletters have letting “non therapists” write.)

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