Whether you’re new to online marketing or have been giving it a go for a while, having a social media presence is one of the smarter strategies for getting the word out about your practice.
With over 2 billion users on Facebook (Hootsuite), and at least 79% of people in your local area on Facebook at any given time (Wordstream), it makes sense to be seen where most people are hanging out.
But in today’s market with the threats of local people leaving Facebook, increased ad costs, and decreased organic reach, it’s easy to wonder if running Facebook ads are even worth it? Especially if you’ve already experimented with Facebook and have had dismal results.
And there are a few reasons that therapists struggle with Facebook ads.
Too often therapists new to Facebook rely on the boosted post that Facebook suggests.
You may be familiar with this: You post something to your Facebook business page, and it gains a little traction—people are liking or commenting, which is great because, in a climate that has low organic reach, this can almost appear like a miracle.
Suddenly you receive a notification from Facebook suggesting that you “boost” the post so that more people can see it. Sounds great, right? Not so fast.
For reasons that I call the “convenience-factor,” Facebook’s boosted post costs more than other types of Facebook ads you can run. Mainly because you don’t have all of the ad targeting options that are available with different types of Facebook ads, you waste money by showing your ad to people who would neither be ideal clients nor be interested in what you have to offer.
Like with any type of marketing, Facebook ads require strategy. Unfortunately, many therapists put up a generic ad that says something like, “Come see us! We can help. Schedule now.”
It’s the type of ad you might see in a newspaper or even on a billboard, but it just doesn’t work on Facebook because it fails to entice people to stop their scroll to find out more. And often there is no way plan to follow up with people who may have interacted with the ad, but not scheduled an appointment.
Because this ad has such poor results, it leaves many therapists believing they can’t get clients from Facebook.
However, Facebook ads can be a powerful game-changer for a local private practice if you approach it strategically.
Here are three ads I help my coaching clients set up in their practices and I know can make a huge impact for your own practice:
The Irresistible Offer Ad
This is an ad that is delivered directly in the Facebook news feed and makes an irresistible offer that is too good to pass up.
The foundation of the Irresistible Offer Ad is a free mini-book, video series, or a report that provides incredible, valuable information to potential clients about a distressing struggle they have, such as work stress, relationship difficulties, or parenting an anxious child, for example.
By giving people helpful information upfront, you lower the barrier or natural objections to making the first call for help. Essentially, you allow people to have a taste-test without too much risk.
The power of this ad is that it’s run to people who are new to you in your local area. Because the odds are good that the people in your area are using Facebook pretty regularly, you’re able to connect more directly with potential clients. As they jump on to Facebook, your ad will show up in their feed, encouraging them to opt-in to some beneficial information from your office.
And because Facebook allows you to select a geographic area around your office, you can target people within 10, 15, or even 50 miles of your office. You can also target specific people based on recent changes in their lifestyle (such as having another child, getting engaged, or moving) or by their interests (authors such as Brene Brown or Daniel Siegel), their educational level, even their professional title.
A retargeting ad allows you to stay in touch with people who have expressed interest in your practice by either responding to the Irresistible Offer Ad, visiting your website, watching one of your videos, or engaging in one of your Facebook posts.
You can dominate your local market through Facebook’s retargeting ads by staying in front of people who have already raised their hand in interest. After all, the fortune is in the follow-up, and retargeting ads are all about the follow-up.
Whether you want to connect with website visitors or people who have watched your video, for example, the Facebook Ads Manager allows you to set up custom audiences made up of people who have taken a particular action (like responding to the Irresistible Offer Ad).
You then run an ad directly to this custom audience, giving them further information about your practice, your work, and ways that you can help.
It’s projected that in 2020, 80% of online traffic will be videos (Forbes). As uncomfortable as video can be for many people, it is an essential part of an overall ad strategy to build know, like, and trust for your private practice.
What could be more powerful than a video of you authentically talking about your passion and sharing your message of hope? Can you imagine how this might inspire someone on the fence about psychotherapy to make the first call, especially since they’ve seen your face, heard your voice, and listened to your compelling words?
When it comes to video ads, I help my clients craft a video strategy using FB lives. These videos are repurposed as ads and used in two separate ways: As a retargeting ad to custom audiences and as an ad for cold audiences in your local area.
When you combine these three ads, you have a robust, automated marketing system that can skyrocket your practice growth.
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About the Author:
Sara Anderson is a psychotherapist with over 20 years in behavioral health management and client care. During that time, Sara founded four, 6-figure practices, and opened several other successful businesses. Sara’s on a personal mission to end private practice poverty and now helps clinicians ready to succeed do the work they love and make money.
Visit her website Practice Makes Profit.