Facebook Ads for Psychotherapists

Facebook Ads for Psychotherapists

If you’ve followed my work, you know I’m a HUGE fan of Facebook ads for Psychotherapists. In fact, in the past year, we’ve spent $115,710 on Facebook ads for our for our business.

Why are we spending so much on Facebook ads?

The short answer is that they outperform any other type of marketing right now. (And we’ve tested lots!)

The long answer is that Facebook ads give you the ability to get in front of your target clients, people interested in your services, on a regular basis. It also allows you to establish a relationship over time so that potential clients get to “know, like, and trust” you before they even call.) There is no other tool that has the same practice-building power for psychotherapists in private practice.

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

When I first started teaching therapists how to use Facebook to market their practices, I talked about the importance of Facebook ads A LOT. We focused primarily on free strategies, and ads were the cherry on top. In the past two years, that’s completely changed. I now consider Facebook ads essential to any private-practice marketing strategy.

However, I also realize that Facebook ads seem scary and overwhelming to many therapists.  Either they don’t even know where to start, or they’ve tried ads in the past and didn’t get any results. Regardless of which category you’re in, here are my top tips to make Facebook ads work for your private practice.

  1. Start small. Your first ad is almost guaranteed to fail. (Sorry.) Wouldn’t you rather fail on a $5 ad than on a $100 ad? When we run Facebook ads for psychotherapists, we ALWAYS start small, even though we running proven ads. We might have an ad that performs well in Boise, Raleigh, and Austin, but that doesn’t mean its going to perform well in Albany. For this reason, we always start ads at $5 per day, and then increase our spending once we start to get results. Let the ad prove itself to you before you increase your budget. (RELATED: Podcast #21: How to Get Started with Facebook Ads for $5 per Day)If you’ve tried advertising in the past and didn’t get results, the good news is that you’ve got valuable data on exactly what DOESN’T work. Simply try something different and see what happens.
  2. Know your audience. With Facebook, targeting is a key element of an ads success. You need to get your ad in front of the right people, those who are most interested in what your psychotherapy services. You do this one of two ways.The first is Custom Audiences. With a custom audience, you can show your ads to the people who are most interested in what you have to offer. This includes people who are fans of your page, people who visit your website, and your email subscribers.The second is with interest-based targeting. Facebook allows you to show your ad only to those people who are in you target audience. Want to market to divorced dads with middle schoolers? Facebook can find them. Want to market to 60-something yoginis? Facebook can find them too. Since the ads we run are for couples counselors, we set our demographics specific to the therapist’s ideal client.
  3. Be ruthless in your testing. Because we run so many ads, we are constantly trying out new ads. What we often find is that my favorites flop. It’s often the ads that I’m not that excited about that perform the best. So, you can’t play favorites with your ads anymore than you would with your kids. Instead, give an ad $5 and 24 hours to prove itself to you. If it’s not performing well during that timeframe, it’s time to try something else.
  4. Temperature matters. Remember that expression, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”? Well, that does NOT apply to Facebook advertising. This is because Facebook is watching how well your ads perform. If your ads perform poorly, you’ll get a low “relevance” score, and very few people will ever see your ad. If you get a high relevance score, Facebook not only shows your ad more, it charges you less to do so.How do you get a good relevance score? By making the right “ask” based on the person who is seeing your ad. We sort our audience into three different categories, and show ads to them based on the category:
    • Cold – People who fit your ideal client profile, but have no idea who you are or what you offer. Our goal is to establish a connection with this audience and we do that by providing educational and entertaining content.
    • Warm – People who know who you are and like what you have to offer. This group is interested in what you have to offer, but not ready for therapy yet. Our goal is to build a stronger connection with them by getting them to visit your website or sign up for your email list.
    • Hot – People who already know, like, and trust you. They are interested in and open therapy with you. Our goal with this group is to get them to call you for therapy, and we do that with direct promotional ads.

One of the most common complaints I hear about Facebook ads is “I’ve tried it and it didn’t work.” That is usually a sign that you’ve skipped one (or more) of the steps above. It DOESN’T mean that you shouldn’t advertise on Facebook. It simply means that you’ve got to make some changes and try again.

Sound complicated? Maybe, but the results you’ll get are worth it! (Or, if you aren’t yet posting consistent content on social media, you can let us help you get started with that.)