Advertising for Counselors and Therapists: Keep your money in your pocket!

Despite their years of education, counselors, social workers, and psychologists often make one mistake: they pay big bucks to advertise their services. Unfortunately, one-shot advertising is seldom successful and long-term advertising is not worth the expense.

When I started my practice, I contacted the local newspaper, and they gave me what appeared to be a great deal. For the price of a three-inch ad, they gave me space to advertise my services and the opportunity to write a topical article about counseling. I wrote nice little pieces about depression, anxiety, addiction, abusive behavior, and other malaises. The advertisements appeared once a month, and I ran the ad and the articles for over a year. I received two clients from my efforts.

My colleague ran spots on the local radio station for a couple months. They were expensive, and her records suggest that she received not a single client.

This is my advice: avoid advertising and concentrate instead on defining and promoting a marketing niche. You may wish to be known as a one-stop agency, but you need to pick one service and find ways to mine that particular market.

You can find more information on marketing for counselors and therapists in my book, Restorative Treatment for Drug Court and Domestic Violence Clients.