Online Marketing Trends for Psychotherapists

Is one of your goals to grow your practice in 2018?

Maybe learn how to attract more private practice clients online?

If so, then watch out for these 7 trends that will shape online marketing for psychotherapists over the next year.

1Content Marketing.

Smart Insights considers content marketing to be a “MegaTrend” for 2018. I agree! As a profession, we’ve been a little late to the party on this one, and it’s high time we change that.

Content marketing is THE BEST way for psychotherapists to market themselves.

What exactly is ‘content marketing’? Well, it’s providing great FREE content (like articles, podcasts, and videos) so that your potential clients fall in love with you before they even meet you in person. Your content positions you as a trusted authority, and you stand out from the crowd with your marketing.

If you’ve yet to dip your toe into the content marketing pool, this is a great time to do so. Why not start with one or two simple blog posts? It gets easier as you go. Promise.

If you’re already experienced with content marketing, something to consider for 2018 is to pay attention to less content and pay more attention promotion. What’s the point of a great article that nobody ever reads? I know how discouraging this can be. You may want to produce less content and focus more of your time on making sure you get in front of your potential clients. Some of the biggest content marketers are now recommending new content twice a month, rather than every week.

2. Social Media.

In 2016, something significant shifted with social media: It became a primary source of news. Not just news from your college friends, but actual news news. What does this mean? People are getting more invested in social media, spending more time on it per day, and consuming more information from social media.  This is expected to continue, and you want to make sure YOUR news also shows up for your clients.

Social media has also gotten more crowded. The number of therapists using social media to promote their practices has grown significantly over the past two years. That means in order to be successful attracting clients on social media, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd.

(RELATED: Social Media for Psychotherapists: The Ultimate Practice-Building Tool)

3. Marketing Funnels.

Marketing funnels have been tested and proven in many industries over the past few years, but as psychotherapists, we tend to be “late adopters”. If you aren’t familiar with a marketing funnel, its a marketing system that develops and nurtures relationships with potential clients over time. Why is this so important?

Because clients don’t make a spur-of-the-moment decision to see a therapist. This is a process that happens over the course of several months. Based on our data from our “done-for-you” marketing program, we’ve learned this process takes 6 months on average for couples. If you’re right there with the client during that decision-making process, you become the “go-to” person they call when they make the decision.

How does a marketing funnel work exactly? It ties together social media, email, and a few specially designed web pages to provide valuable information to the clients and develop the relationship over time.

[RELATED: Click here to learn more about our “Done-for-You” Marketing Program for couples counselors.]

4. Native Advertising.

According to Forbes, native advertising will “explode in popularity”. This is GREAT news for psychotherapists.

Native advertising provides an interesting, value-added experience. This is a far cry from a traditional promotional advertisement like pay-per-click.

Traditional practice-building ads go something like this: “There’s hope to treat your depression. Call me for therapy.” What we’ve learned is that these ads only work for a small percentage (around 3% according to HubSpot) of your potential clients. In addition, these ads are the most expensive ads to run. I’ve heard of therapists paying $12 per click for this type of ad on AdWords.

What about the other 97%? Those potential clients that are interested in your services, but don’t respond to those traditional ads? They want ads that can provide them something of immediate interest or immediate value. These are called “interest-based ads” or “native ads”.

A native ad looks a lot different than a traditional practice-building ad. Instead of asking someone to call you for therapy, you are DEMONSTRATING how you can help them. A native ad for a counselor who treats depression might be something like this: “5 Proven Ways to Treat Depression” or “The 7 Signs You Might be Depressed”.

Here’s an example of a native ad that brought me 4,214 website visitors in 2 weeks:

Here's an example of one of my Native Ads.

An example of one of my Native Ads.


Native advertising is definitely more sophisticated, but the results are incredible. It’s worth taking the time to learn. (Chance are you’re here, reading this article right now as the result of a native ad!)

(RELATED: How to Get Started with Facebook Ads for $5 per Day)

5. Niche Marketing.

With the continued growth of both content marketing and native advertising, niche marketing becomes more important than ever. If you try to be all things to all people, you just won’t stand out from the crowd.

Clients aren’t looking for a therapist. They’re looking for a problem solver. They’re looking for someone who can help them get from where they are now to the life they envision for themselves. When we launched our “Done-for-You” marketing program in 2017, we knew the program had to be niche specific, or we wouldn’t be able to get our clients the results they wanted.

Another great reason to consider choosing a specialty? Specialists are able to charge higher fees than generalists. So if your goal is to raise your fees in 2018, niche marketing will help with this.

6. Email Marketing.

This isn’t new by any stretch, but if you don’t already have a solid email strategy in place, you need one for 2018. Why?

We need multiple ways to connect with our clients and our potential clients. Just because they visited our website doesn’t mean their going to remember us 2 days from now. Just because they ‘Like’ our Facebook page doesn’t mean their seeing our content.

Research shows that clients need 10 – 12 points of contact with a therapist before they are ready to call for therapy. Email gives you the ability to do this better than any other marketing tool we have.

Email continues to be “the gold standard” of online marketing. If you aren’t already incorporating email marketing into your practice-building, now’s the time.

If you are already using email marketing, look for ways you can truly serve your clients, and provide them with real value in your messages. Your email list should be generating new private practice clients. If it isn’t, you need to change your email strategy.

7. Website.

What do 5 of the first 6 online marketing trends all have in common? They all rely on your website. The importance of having a high-quality, client-attracting website becomes even more important in 2018.

Your website is your own little piece of online real estate. It’s your face to the world. For many potential clients, your website is your chance to make it or break it.

With 81% of your potential clients searching or researching online before they call you, you can’t afford NOT to have a strong, client-attracting website.

Gone are the days of generic, clinical websites. Your website needs to be specific, client-centric and valuable. When your client clicks on your website, they need to say, “Finally! I’m in the right place. Here’s someone who can help me.

(Note: Want to know EXACTLY what you need on your website to attract more clients?! I’ve put together this handy cheat sheet that is going to show you the 9 elements you must include to attract more clients online. Click Here to Download the ‘9 Secrets of a Client-Attracting Website’ Cheat Sheet.)

Click Here to Download the ‘9 Secrets of a Client-Attracting Website’ Cheat Sheet