Advertising in Private Practice: Grab Their Attention!

When advertising your services, you usually have a very short period of time to grab a potential client’s attention. According to the Neilsen Norman Group, average web page users have time to read at most 28% of the words and 20% is more likely. On the popular therapist website PsychologyToday.com, when a potential client searches for a therapist, it brings up a list of providers in their selected area and they can see about two lines of text next to your picture. These two lines are critical.

Advertising Your Skills

Remember from the previous blog, a potential client wants to know that you know what you’re doing and that you have specific ways to treat their issue. In short, your ad needs to say:

1) This is who I am.

2) This is what I am trained to do.

3) This is what I can do to help you.

Think about what might grab a client’s attention in two lines. Perhaps you start with “I specialize in…” so the client knows that you are speaking to them. Who are you as a therapist and how would your clients describe you? What might set you apart from others? I highly suggest you take some time to read the bios of other therapists as if you were a potential client and see what you like and dislike. This can help you identify what you want to say to your clients.

Head Shots

You also need to consider what picture you will use. It is not a good idea to use a ‘selfie’ even if you crop it. Others can tell it is a ‘selfie’ and it comes across very unprofessional. You should also not use a picture where you can tell (even in the slightest way) that you have cropped someone else out. If you are trying to save money on your business venture you may consider getting professional head shots taken at a Wal-Mart, JC Penny, Sears, etc… fairly inexpensively. Alternatively, you could ask some friends if they have a nice camera that you could borrow or if they would be willing to help take some photos of you.

When you take the photos, it is important that you put thought into what you wear and how you present yourself. Choose a solid covered top, avoid wearing busy jewelry and too much make-up. Think about your body language in the photo. You do not want to take the photo straight-on as the camera flattens out everything (imagine a passport or driver’s license photo). It is best if you slightly tilt your head and angle your body to the camera. Try to appear as confident as you can, avoid slouching and crossing your arms.

You need to crop the photo at or around your collar bone ecspecially when using it to advertise on sites where your photo will appear very small. Ask your friends and family members for their opinions on your photo and you can find some inexpensive photo editing apps to make slight changes.