How to attract young clients in the digital age

How to attract young clients in the digital age

Mental health professionals are probably all too aware that marketing can be difficult or a bit of an unknown. To help inspire you and navigate your way through, we asked Olivia Boer, a Clinical Psychologist who opened her Launceston practice in late 2017, to share her experiences about how she  markets her services to young clients in the digital age…. What are some of the big challenges to mental health professionals when it comes to marketing to young people?

Learning about how to market my services to young clients in the digital age has been a steep learning curve, but it has been immensely rewarding. Marketing is not taught to mental health professionals at any stage during their training and a lot of what I have done to boost my client base has been self-taught. It has been a case of trial and error, but there are plenty of ways to open your doors to younger clients in the digital age, you just need to do your research, then get started.

How have you developed your approach to marketing?
I believe it is not uncommon for mental health professionals to feel “really uncomfortable” with the notion of having to market themselves because they don’t really understand what marketing is. Mental health professionals need to understand that marketing is all about connecting with people and developing relationships.

What do mental health professionals need to think about when it comes to marketing?
The most important question any mental health professional wanting to market their services needs to answer is: who is your target audience? In my case it is younger clients because my practice focuses on child development, but even if your focus is baby boomers going through the upheaval of an emotional divorce, for example, the same principles apply.

Why you need to work on a business plan?
Most of my clients still come from GP referrals and word-of-mouth, but any mental health professional wanting to increase their client base via digital platforms needs to have a business plan that includes having a modern, vibrant and regularly updated website as well as a consistent social media presence.

Why is having an online presence so important?
Nowadays when prospective clients first hear of or go searching for a mental health service, the first thing they tend to do is look online. If the person finds that the website looks outdated (or does not even exist), lacks current and relevant information, is difficult to navigate, and doesn’t set the right tone, this won’t encourage them to take it a step further and contact the practice. As I have already mentioned, most of what I have had to learn about marketing has been self-taught via podcasts, books and working with a mentor/business coach. As well, I hired someone doing a marketing degree to work as an admin staffer in my practice, which has been a great way to generate fresh ideas.

What does a website need to offer young clients?
Having a positive, clear and well-communicated website that uses clear, simple conversational language is one of the first ways to build trust with prospective clients. I believe a website ought to be a nice mix of information, while also having light-hearted almost humorous tone at times, as well as always offering a call to action. However, the worst thing you can do on your website is come across with too much of a sales pitch.

What other marketing strategies are important?
While working in the digital age is paramount, I know [building] “relationships” with potential new clients is still done the old-fashioned way – in person. This means part of the practice’s ongoing marketing strategy is to consistently nurture those relationships by having regular face-to-face meet and greets with local GP practices: this means my practice now gets around 10 referrals a day.

What are the best social media platforms?
With my practice, it is important to acknowledge that up until the age of 20, it is the young person’s parents who would be organising any treatment and so while young people are generally more interested in being on Instagram or Snapchat, I post on Facebook to reach mums; they are my main followers on that platform. I do have a personal Instagram page which I use for marketing purposes as an adjunct to Facebook. Even though half of my clients would be aged under 18, it is their mums or parents I target on social media. I do not mind that when I post something on Facebook, I get very few comments: there is still a stigma associated with mental health and seeking help. Nonetheless, the lack of online feedback is not an issue or a reflection of my lack of social media success as I encounter at least three people a week who tell me in person that they like what they see.

What are your digital hopes for the future?
As well as having a Facebook page to promote the services my practice offers, I have recently set up a group page on Facebook as I feel part of the need to have a social media presence is that it can create a passive income stream. I plan to offer eBooks, online courses and how-to guides to any interested parties in the months ahead.

 

10 Tips to Strengthen the Online Presence of your Practice

10 Tips to Strengthen the Online Presence of your Practice

The way people look to find professional help has changed a lot in recent years and that includes looking for those working in mental health.

Many prospective clients begin their search by looking online for a mental health professional near to where they live or work and with a specific mental health issue they want addressed or explored, but they don’t always find a mental health professional easily.

In fact research shows more than 50 per cent of people looking online struggle to find what they need. If you think you may fall in this category here are 10 tips to strengthen the online presence of your practice.

Before proceeding, be clear what your professional guidelines are in relation to what you can and can’t do – for example, psychologists are not permitted to ask for or use testimonials in online marketing.

1. Use your website to tell people about you, your team & your practice

People who are looking for help want to feel safe and reassured that they can place themselves in the care of mental health professionals. Your website needs to instantly reflect this.

2. SEO search success

On your home page, be sure to use SEO phrases and words that people might use when they are searching online for a mental health professional, such as “dealing with depression”; “coping with anxiety”; or “relationship breakdown” to give them a much stronger chance of finding you.

3. Your opening page needs to provide clear information

Remember that people are in an exploratory mode when searching online, so they want to be able to see that they can click on links that will give them more details about who is working at your practice and what they do.

4. Easy steps to making a booking or a referral

Any prospective client will want to feel confident that if they want to make an appointment or submit a referral, it’s fast and easy to do. Each person working at your practice needs tohave a clear, friendly photo headshot and a summary of their areas of experience as well as their qualifications. There is no need to make this too long.

5. Expand on what your practice offers

Don’t feel you have to skimp on mentioning areas your practice focuses on and be sure to briefly list each and every one of them. Include links which again reinforce how people can contact your practice.

6. Frequently asked questions

An important section on your website ought to be a defined page for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) relating to fees, sessions and rebates.

7. Outline your values

Remember that people who are searching for a mental health professional may be doing this for the very first time and they want to feel reassured they will be in good hands. Use your website to outline what your practice’s values are, even if it’s only a line or two. Also outline your practice’s approach to therapy. This can really boost your online presence.

8. Added value

Offer blogs, eBooks and other resources to reinforce what your practice stands for. Make them topical, easy to read and engaging, while also clearly showing your teams’ strengths.

9. Use social media

It’s imperative you have a social media presence. On your Facebook page, for example, provide all relevant details including map location of practice, website link and how people can message, call or follow you.

10. Be interactive

People can interact with your practice on social media so be sure to prompt them. Ask a pertinent question or offer a positive mental health tip with a cute image to match and ask for comments; regardless of the number of comments you get, this is a very positive step in strengthening your online presence.

If this sounds like just what your practice needs and you’d love to be part of a new online community of mental health professionals, join Radiant today at www.myradiant.com.au

Example Answers:  A guide for mental health professionals

Example Answers: A guide for mental health professionals

 

This guide will give you an idea of why we ask the questions we do – we want clients to get a clear picture of who you are and your approach to therapy, so they can make more informed decisions about their mental health care. To reduce uncertainty for clients, we’d like you to share what they can expect from a session with you, both in a practical sense and in terms of the relationship they may have with you. We hope that this will be an opportunity to express yourself authentically, beyond qualifications and logistics, in order to kick start strong and lasting therapeutic relationships.

How would you describe your approach to therapy?

This is a great section to share what type of therapist you are, and details about your approach. How do you see your role vs. the clients role? Are you tough or soft? Passive or active? Do you bring your energy to the room or do you expect the client to? How do you guide the session, through exercises, conversation? Which modalities do you use and why?

e.g. My approach is collaborative – I don’t view therapy as just a talking or venting session. I believe that you are the expert of your own life, and my role is to guide you, to understand you and to enable you to see your issues from a new perspective. The same approach doesn’t work for everyone, so it may take some time to figure out what works for the both of us. I am active rather than passive, honest and frank when I feel I need to be. I work with various psychological modalities, mainly CBT, mindfulness and positive psychology.

What can I expect from my first session with you?

This section is about the practicalities of the session – rather than the emotions a client may or may not feel before going into a session. This is an opportunity to dispel any misconceptions that the client may have. Will I have to talk the whole time? What’s the room like? Will I do any exercises or questionnaires? Will there be homework? How about confidentiality? Is there anything I can or can’t say?

e.g. Practically, the session will run for an hour. We will first get to know each other – and you are free to ask me any questions, express any concerns you may have or highlight anything that might make you to feel more comfortable. There’s options to fill out some forms (or not), as well as a free talk session. What we do in your first session really depend on how you’re feeling, but don’t fret – I won’t ask for your life story to be condensed into one hour! It takes time, and we’ll take it slowly.

Do you have any particular area of interest or experience in the mental health space?

This is a great section to talk about any research, work experiences, volunteering or other involvement you’ve had in the mental health space. Feel free to plug your own website, blog or research papers.

e.g. I am particularly interested in anxiety – any form – social, generalized, any form of obsessive compulsive behaviors – and the neurology behind these conditions. I have done considerable personal research on these topics, particularly in young adults and looking at various interventions. I have completed my PhD in psychology and my thesis title was “Benefits and restrictions of cognitive behavioral therapy in treating obsessive compulsive behaviors in anxiety”. I believe personality can have a massive impact on the way we view our own mental wellness. You can read more on my blog at www.mybusinessname.com.au

How would you describe your personal approach to health/well-being?

This is all about your personal health and well-being! A lot of users have expressed that they’d like to know how you practice self care, considering this probably correlates strongly with the things you might suggest for them. Some are looking for a more spiritual outlook, whereas some may see the practical exercise or nutrition components reflective of shared values. This is all about honesty and just giving your clients some extra information about the way you see mental health interacting with other aspects of life.

e.g. I believe health and well-being in the mind arises from health and well-being in our physical bodies, social lives, family life, work life and most importantly in our perspective. I strongly advocate that therapy is only one piece of the complex mental health picture – and therefore spend significant amount of my time exercising, eating healthy (vegetables, probiotics, BALANCE) – but also believe happiness can arise from having a few vises – I LOVE chocolate! There is always some here in the office if you too are a chocolate lover.

Please provide details of your practice, including business name (if different to your name), business hours including out-of-hours availability and your website.

Please provide in the following format:

Business Name
Monday, 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Tuesday, 9.30 am – 4.00 pm
Saturday, 12.00 pm – 5.00 pm

There is no need to put the days you are unavailable or closed. If you have an alternate practice address, this is a good place to let people know!

Radiant: Google.org Impact Challenge finalist

Radiant: Google.org Impact Challenge finalist

Recently Google.org hosted the Social Impact Challenge, which searches for and supports the next generation of Australians whose innovative ideas for change are making an impact locally and globally. Start ups and small businesses from any industry were encouraged to apply for grants from Google.org’s pool winnings of $5.5 million to kick start projects with a focus on social impact. Previous Australian winners include the Fred Hollows Foundation,  Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation  – all incredible organisations using technology to tackle some of societies biggest challenges. Previous Winners and Finalists of the Google.org Impact Challenge have gone on to do incredibly inspiring work in partnership with Google. myRadiant applied in June of 2018 in the hope to be recognised as a new and innovative player in the mental health space.

After an extensive application process, myRadiant won a $250 000 runner-up grant. On receiving the news, our team were extremely excited – not only because of the funding we would receive, but also, for the opportunity  to work in partnership with the bright minds at Google.org. Throughout the process we were priveleged to be introduced to various charities and for-purpose businesses doing incredible work in a range of diverse industries. For instance, Xceptional provide a digital platform enabling people with autism to showcase their unique skills and reach their full potential in business, Humanitix have a ticketing platform that donates admin fees to charities who empower girls through education in developing countries, and Murdoch University develop drones and dugong detectors that empower scientists to make better decisions about our environmental resources. 

On the final day of the Challenge, myRadiant were hosted at the Google.org offices, which was an amazing experience. If Google.org know how to do anything (let’s be real…everything) – it’s definetely hospitality! The Googlers welcomed us with a tantalising spread of tasty treats, #healthy wheatgrass shots, our own personal barista, and…don’t forget about the after event champagne! 

Snacks and drinks aside – we were given the opportunity to pitch our ideas in front of the 2018 judges – some phenomenal individuals, including the CEO of Google.org; Jaqueline Fuller, Australia’s Chief Scientist; Dr Alan Finkel, and the Chancellor of the University of Canberra; Professor Tom Calma, to name just a few. 

To see the drive, resilience and passion of each and every individual that made their pitch that day was undoubtedly inspirational. Each organisation was incredibly deserving and we are very grateful for the opportunity and experience that Google.org provided. 

For more information on any of the mentioned organisations above, please visit https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/australia2018