Marketing for Counselors, Social Workers & Therapists – Part 2

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We've established that it is the right thing to do, letting your Right Clients know that you are ready and willing to help solve their problems and/or meet their desires.

You know that marketing your practice is a gift to your Right Clients.

This is a meaningful milestone – truly believing that marketing your practice is important to making a positive difference in the world. If you haven't soaked in that belief, please spend more time really owning this truth. It will make a huge difference in your willingness to put the word out about your business.

I will assume you are convinced and are ready to go forward.

Now, for how to market your counseling, social work or therapy practice with Soul…

What next? How do you market your counseling, social work or therapy practice? What do you say, in what way, and where?

There is much to decide. And we will get to all of it.

Start with You.

But first, let's talk about you. Starting with a deep inquiry into exactly who you are: your style, your values, your personal voice and approach, will make all of your marketing so much more natural and compelling. Plus, using your most authentic, powerful voice in your marketing will attract your Right Clients – the ones who are most likely to resonate with you and therefore experience the kind of growth and change they are seeking.

You may resist this approach because you might be thinking: But counseling is about them, not me. Of course that's true. And when they show up in your office, you'll do what you do best, focus on them and their needs. And in fact, the marketing you put together is about them, too. The more authentic – the more specific, clear and expressive – you are in your marketing message, the easier you make it for your clients to recognize that you are the one who can help them.

It's like walking into a bookstore.

Think of all of those book covers you see when you walk into a book store and look at one of the New Release tables. Picture the titles, the fonts and colors used, the style of the imagery. Isn't it a great gift that the covers usually reflect what's inside? A lighthearted book might have a whimsical font and bright colors. A technical book often has cleaner fonts and, well, technical-looking images.

The person looking for counseling or other helping services isn't really all that different than the person looking for a book. They need signs and signals from all of their potential helping professionals to narrow down their choices to the right ones for them. You can help provide that by reflecting your authentic style and voice in your marketing.

Are you wondering how one does this with something as personal and non-commercially motivated as mental health and wellness services?

First, you articulate very clearly – to yourself – your style, angle, and approach to the business of your counseling, social work or therapy practice. This has nothing to do with your approach to therapy (though, of course, they will likely be aligned), this is a separate description entirely.

I take people through a really powerful Brand Elan process in the Vision Into Action program, as well as in all of the one-on-one partnering programs. If the term “brand” is unfamiliar to you, think of it as the personality, values and approach of your business as it is reflected in every single thing you do. Brand Elan is a deep process that people find incredibly useful and exciting. In the end, we end up with three words that powerfully describe the authentic style, angle, and values of the business.

I highly recommend the Brand Elan process for you – it has helped my clients immensely.  And if you aren't ready to invest in those processes, do spend some time asking yourself a few questions like:

What do I love? What textures, experiences, colors and images really excited me?

Where would I go if I needed nurturing? What would the scenery look like?

Where would I go if I needed fun and play?

What are my five favorite words?

What qualities do I look for in my close friendships?

And about your business:

Is my business:

vanilla or chocolate? Why?

rain or wind? Why?

tulip or pine tree? Why?

Then, look for themes.

Inside of  the answers to questions like these, you will discover themes that can help you name your own brand style. When you marry the style that shows up in your personal questions with the textures and nuances you feel in your business, you get great insight into ways you can make your business both authentic and magnetic in your marketing.

If your initial theme appears to be “nature” consider something even more specific, like “oceanside” or “earthy”. Or possibly it isn't more specificity that you need, but just something slightly differently nuanced. A few other possible theme translations:

Initial Theme    Other Possible Descriptors

Peaceful                               Serene, Still, Open, Calm
Old-fashioned                    Nostalgic, Retro, Arts & Crafts
Modern                               Contemporary, Urban, High-Design
Spiritual                              Sacred, Transcendent, Soulful, Zen, Ethereal

One  really important tip as you explore words to describe your brand: Seek really descriptive words. Use a thesaurus to dig deeper and get more specific.

Very Important Note: These brand style descriptors are just for you. No one else ever has to know (or agree with you, necessarily) about them. They are simply a reference for you to spice up your marketing and brand.

Partner up for mindshare.

This project can be done reasonably well on your own but is way better with the mindshare of a partner. If you can't hire a marketing coach, consider asking a good friend to join you in your brainstorm for your brand style descriptors.

Use your descriptors as you craft your counseling, social work or therapy marketing messages.

Once you have your descriptors, you can start crafting really exciting marketing messages.

Notice the difference between:

Counseling for Couples


Love & Light in Relationships


Helping People Grow through Transition


Living the Wide Open Life

Next time I'll talk more about ways to infuse your marketing with your descriptor words. Until then… happy digging! I promise, the self-inquiry will be worth it in the growth of your practice and your sense of self-expression in your business.

Many thanks to Juhansonin for the bookstore image.