This edition of our Industry Report series is about Therapists.
We’re specifically focusing on the city of Austin for this report for two reasons.
1. We live in Austin and love this city. Yes, we’re biased.
2. Mental health practices usually need local clients to visit their office. This means in order to properly analyze the marketing potential, we have to focus on one city to get accurate numbers.
In this report, we dive into:
Search opportunities. These are the keywords that people are typing into Google when searching for a therapist, along with how many times per month these searches happen. This gives us a strong idea of the growth potential, since searches like “best therapist in austin” are most likely being typed by someone who is actively looking for a therapist – obviously, right?
Accessibility. How easy it is for someone to find a therapist in Austin? Are websites making it clear how to book an appointment, or which insurances they accept? Do local therapists have clear pricing? Phone counselling options? Free consultations? Live chat? This will all be revealed soon.
Let’s get on with the goods.
Keywords & Search Opportunities
Our keyword research shows that there’s very little competitive online advertising going on for therapists and counselors in Austin.
Yelp shows 1124 listings for mental health providers in Austin. (between the first draft of this report, and it’s publishing that number has already gone up from 1119 to 1124)
You can see in the chart below that there are a lot of high search volume keywords.
This is quite a bit of competition, so you can understand how important it is to stand out, and get in front of your prospects as they are looking for a therapy or counselling provider.
Below is a screenshot analyzing the searches that people are currently using in the Austin area.
Note: The Search Volume is a monthly average number of searches for the given keyword.
Everyone one of the above searches is specific to Austin, and represents a potential new patient.
It’s a lot of searches, but none of these matter if the people aren’t finding your practice as a result.
So how do you get your business in front of these searches?
The Search Experience
When someone searches for a therapist in Austin, here’s what they see.
It’s obvious that Google is giving advertisers the best placements – even putting their results above the local map option.
If you’re not running advertisements towards relevant searches for your practice, then clearly you’re missing out on a ton of opportunity.
Securing top ad placements is simple in practice: Write a good ad, have specific keyword targeting (such as the terms in the table above), and then beat the other advertisers in ad quality & bid.
However getting in front of potential leads while they are searching is only the beginning of the process.
Once you’ve managed to get a click on your ad, it’s time to make sure that the visitor actually books an appointment.
Which brings us to…
The Website & Booking Experience
When someone is looking for a therapist, they are in need right now and want to quickly find somebody who they are comfortable with, and able to reach.
During this study, we spent some time searching through Google looking for therapists, just like a prospective patient would.
Here’s what we found: Finding the right therapist can be a huge pain.
On one attempt we spent nearly an hour trying to find a therapist with good reviews and who actually answered the phone instead of sending us to voicemail.
When someone is calling on the phone, your prospect has consciously made a decision to give you a shot.
If a lead feels like you don’t have the time for them, it’s likely just they call the next number on Google – there are plenty to choose from, after all.
Another popular intake method is the online contact form, which comes with its own flaws.
Most Austin-area therapists are relying on, and even prioritizing contact forms with a message like:
“Fill out these required fields, and we’ll reach out to you.”
How personal, right?
Some forms were short and sweet while others were confusing and time consuming, asking for insurance information and more.
While I wouldn’t recommend removing contact forms, you should understand that despite their ‘convenience’, they come with a few disadvantages in the real world.
Keeping in mind the urgency behind someone’s decision to actively seek a therapist – A contact form implies a long turnaround time.
When will you get back to them? Within a business day? After they’ve already booked with someone else?
Don’t forget that your prospect is likely ‘comparison shopping’, with multiple tabs of different therapists open, as they are looking for the best & most available solution.
There are many ways to stand out compared to your competition. A quicker turnaround and more availability is one of the best ways to get ahead.
But you have to be realistic about how people communicate and use technology in 2019.
In today’s busy world, people often don’t have the time for a phone call.
And if you’re planning on calling them after a contact form fill…
Think about how many people you know that don’t even bother answering the phone anymore because of the huge number of scam calls lately.
So how do you stand out?
Easily Get New Patients Engaged
Last year Google rolled out messaging extensions for Google Ads. Which is awesome for you because. . . .
According to Google surveys, 65% of consumers say they’d use messaging to connect with a business to get information about a product or service, or to schedule an in-person appointment.¹
You’ve probably experienced this yourself when you’ve used live chat on a website. These chat and text features give users an easy way to start a conversation, and continue it whenever is most convenient for them – which is crucial in today’s marketing landscape.
Other highly competitive industries (lawyers, doctors, veterinarians, etc.) have already started using live chat and SMS to rapidly connect with their leads.
It’s working really well for them, and it’s only going to get more popular. It’s almost always better to get into new marketing trends sooner than later to take advantage of less competition.
On mobile we found that many advertising therapists in Austin are running call only ads (phone calls actually have the lowest rates of customer satisfaction).² You can check out the stats on messaging with customers by clicking here.
We actually didn’t find any therapists running text-message ads, which seems like a huge missed opportunity.
You can’t ignore what people want.
Provide comfort and flexibility to the people who are looking for help. It’s the best way to make sure they book their first appointment, and keep booking follow ups.
With that in mind, don’t simply stop using contact forms, phones, and email. They still have an important place in your marketing – in fact we use them all as well.
However you shouldn’t just stop here (like most businesses do). When advertising, you’re getting in front of people who are looking for therapists right now, and it’s important to be available to help when they’re actively seeking it.
Fill Your Calendar With Appointments
Now we know that there are quite a few people in the Austin area who are looking for new therapy services.
All you have to do is make it easy for them to find you, decide if you’re a good fit for them, and to book an appointment.
Fortunately for you – very few of your competitors are putting out a great online presence. There is a lot of room for growth for everybody here, really.
Adding in live chat and SMS alongside your current lead generation methods, with some better targeted advertising is only the start.
There are many more ways to improve both the number of leads visiting your website, and the number of leads converting into new clients.
If you’re interested in taking your therapy or counselling practice to the next level, we’d love to help you out.
I’ll give you a 100% free audit of your online presence & lead generation strategy.
You’ll learn exactly where you’re missing the mark, get some easy improvements to boost conversions and visibility, and we’ll also discover if we’re a fit to potentially work together.
Worst case scenario: I guarantee that you’ll find something in the final report that will help you get more leads this year while improving your website & marketing.
Best case scenario: All of the above happens, PLUS we discover that we’re a great fit to work together. We start working together, grow our businesses, and everyone wins.
To get started, just book in a quick 5-10 minute call with me at the following link: https://calendly.com/analyticadvertising/15min
¹ Google Consumer Surveys, US, Canada, UK, Australia, October 2016, Base: Respondents who own a smartphone and use it to access the Internet (n = 1,036 in US, n = 1,032 in UK, n = 489 in Canada, n = 485 in Australia)
² Brad Cleveland, “The Stats Behind Chat: It’s Popular and Growing,” ICMI, November 25, 2015, https://www.icmi.com/resources/2015/The-Stats-Behind-Chat-Its-Popular-and-Growing.