7 key marketing strategies for mental health services

Multilocation Healthcare Mental Health Marketing

With more than 1 in 5 adults living with a mental illness, it’s vital that people have access to the healthcare services they need. Over the years, mental health has become a more pressing and far less stigmatized issue, leading to a surge in healthcare providers offering services and patients seeking care. In a sea of mental health care providers, how do you stand out from the crowd while maintaining an authentic, impact-driven approach to marketing that allows you to connect with the right audience?  


It’s all about how you engage your audience. After working with numerous healthcare organizations over the years, we’ve compiled a list of seven key marketing strategies that you, as a mental health services marketer, can apply to help you achieve your organization’s goals and impact the lives of countless more patients. 


  1. Build a Community and a Safe Digital Space

When it comes to effective mental health services, building a community of providers, patients, partners, and supporters can go a long way in ensuring better collective mental health. Creating a community is not only beneficial for your patients, it can help you achieve your organization goals when you are a well-known mental health services provider. A safe digital community is a place where individuals can go to feel seen, heard, and valued, free from the challenges and nastiness of the world wide web. It’s a challenging initiative that requires mediation and monitoring, but building a safe digital space through forums, private groups, or interactive webinars, can impact the lives of current and potential patients. With a strong community, you encourage shared experiences and inspire a more collective, less individual journey towards better mental health. 


As you build the community, keep in mind that it can also extend to local organizations, government organizations, partners, schools, and more. The more supporters you have, the stronger your community will be, and you will be able to serve a far more diverse audience. 


  1. Understand Your Audience and Address Their Needs

Your audience may be as unique and as varied as your services. So, to effectively market mental health services, it’s vital to have a deep understanding of who exactly your audience is. The best place to start is by identifying the demographics, needs, preferences, and challenges of your patients and potential patients. It may be that your audience skews younger, and you need to adjust your multi-channel strategy to meet them where they are instead of taking a more general approach to outreach. You will also need to tailor your messaging to address your audience’s specific needs. With any content focused on mental health, you will want to ensure that you avoid harmful, triggering, or abrasive language and focus on personalization and inclusivity. For instance, the same messaging that appeals to older millennials may not be the best for approaching Gen Z or younger individuals when discussing mental health. Keep in mind that your first touchpoints with your audience are times to build trust and help them understand that you are providing services you feel could benefit them greatly; you are not selling a brand or a provider. This can only be accomplished if you are speaking the same language. 


By now in your marketing journey, you should have plenty of tools available to determine your audience’s demographics. From there, you can test and iterate on different platforms to make sure you get the right message. Consider also surveying current or past clients to further understand their challenges and identify where your gaps might be and how to make your services more accessible. 


  1. Make Your Services Easy to Find

Visibility is paramount with the plethora of mental health services available today. If patients can’t find out about you or book services online, they are much less likely to choose your organization. One thing we mention frequently is optimizing your digital presence. More specifically, we are referring to implementing SEO best practices for national and local organizations. This includes ensuring you appear in online directories for healthcare services, bulking up your online profiles, including Google Business and social media, and keeping a steady stream of content flowing. Implementing website SEO best practices will be a huge help in positioning your brand top of mind for those looking for mental health services in your area. With local SEO strategies, you can geographically target your audience. Just make sure your contact information is easy to find, and if possible, allow patients to book appointments online. You’ll also need to make sure your website is optimized for mobile as this is how many younger patients will be searching for your services!


While digital marketing is non-negotiable, there is also value in investing in physical advertisements and referral programs to make your services easy to find. Physical ads can help reinforce your digital efforts, and may even have a broader impact on brand awareness as patients come across your brand in both the real world and the digital landscape. Additionally, referral programs allow you to work with healthcare providers and other partners to ensure those seeking care can get it right away, and the recommendation comes from a trusted source, so the patient is more likely to act. You can also consider a patient referral link that patients can share with friends or family.


  1. Invest in a Strong Digital Presence

A strong digital presence is required if you want to succeed today. We can’t stress this enough, a digital presence is how most of your potential patients will find and interact with you. It’s worth investing in a beautiful, easy-to-navigate website where patients can learn about your brand and book an appointment or express interest in your services. If your branding is looking less than desirable, this is the perfect time for a refresh as you should have a comprehensive understanding of your audience’s needs and challenges. Once you have an engaging website and brand, turn to your social media profiles. Bulk up your social media profiles with relevant and inclusive content, and reach out to patients to complete online reviews. Make sure you’re engaging regularly with your audience on multiple digital channels. With a strong digital presence, you can meet most of your audience where they are and make it convenient for them to find more information about your services and book appointments. 


  1. Blog or Vlog Regularly

We suggest having a strong content marketing strategy in place that includes regular blogs or vlogs to address mental health issues head on and connect with your audience. Your content should be relevant and address the topics most important to your audience. A regular blog can help position your brand and providers as experts and thought leaders in a delicate field where consuming misleading or harmful information can be detrimental to someone’s already fragile mental health. As a regular contributor, you can start to stand out from the crowd and make a positive impact on a much broader audience beyond your usual patients. 


These days social media is used as a search tool as well as a networking and connection tool, so make sure your content strategy also reflects that approach by publishing content that answers popular mental health search queries. This can also boost your SEO rankings.


  1. Partner with Influencers

Partnering with influencers on a variety of mediums can amplify your reach exponentially. It also lends a huge amount of credibility to your brand if you work with vetted influencers as they have committed and loyal followers that take their recommendations seriously. When discussing mental health, ask influencers if they would be willing to address stigmas and biases against getting mental health care. As part of your influencer partnership, be sure to include various ways of connecting with your audience to gather new and relevant insights about the challenges they may be facing and new innovations or methodologies they are interested in exploring. Keep in mind that while someone might not feel comfortable reaching out to an unknown or new brand, they may be much more comfortable discussing some of their challenges with a well-respected, familiar influencer. No matter how extensive or brief your partnership with an influencer is, you’ll likely walk away with lots of valuable revelations. 


  1. Use TikTok!

We recognize that TIkTok’s audience skews much younger, and that there are concerns about the detrimental impact of social media on people’s mental wellbeing. However, that is exactly why it’s vital for mental health organizations to have a responsible and robust presence on TikTok (and other social media). In a landscape that fosters comparisons and the “fear of missing out”, access to relevant mental health topics and vetted information can be life changing and enormously impactful. As a mental health services provider, you can use TikTok to address stereotypes, encourage mental health outreach, and get your services in front of patients that need them the most. 


Mental health services are in high demand, and as a marketer, you are well positioned to capitalize on a growing industry. However, the very nature of mental health services requires a personalized, inclusive approach to marketing that allows you to connect deeply with your audience and deliver services that can be life changing. Applying all or a few of the concepts listed above can shape a successful marketing strategy and allow you to achieve your organizational goals.