Whenever I’m coaching someone on paid advertising online, they always ask the same question: can I get new clients through Facebook ads?

It’s an extremely important question if you’re going to invest money every month to try and automate a process for getting new clients in the door.

The answer is yes, but only if you know how to use Facebook advertising effectively.

Most therapists try very simple tactics when it comes to Facebook ads.

They either try a direct service campaign. For instance, creating a locally targeted ad that markets themselves as a couples counselor.

Or they simply use Facebook to boost blog posts at a minimal cost to try and drive traffic to their website.

For the most part, both of these rudimentary techniques prove to be ineffective.

Here’s why…

If you scan your news feed, you will notice that it’s rare that you are targeted through a sponsored ad for a service without having interacted in some way with that company beforehand.

Hence, you are considered “cold traffic” the first time you interact with a company.

Businesses tend to shy away from marketing a direct service such as counseling to cold traffic on Facebook.

You have to take into account social media behavior. We don’t go looking for a therapist on Facebook ads. That’s why cold traffic ads in this way aren’t typically effective.

Sure, you will get some clicks, but most of those clicks aren’t qualified leads.

It’s similar with “boosting” blog posts. If all you did was boost blog posts to a local audience in your region to try and drive people to your website, you have no way to foster the relationship with them.

For example, they may have found your blog post on “Treating Depression in 7 Minutes a Day” interesting, so they click on it and read it, but they were cold traffic so they are not usually ready to navigate through your entire website and call you at this point.
However, as traffic becomes warm, there’s a greater chance of converting that traffic into a phone call and new client.

Warm traffic simply means you’ve created a relationship with your ad audience.

Facebook has recognized how important it is to generate warm traffic.

Through something called retargeting campaigns and the use of coding pixels, you can essentially drive “cold traffic” to your website with valuable content such as a blog post, and then retarget anyone who visited your website (now warm traffic) with ads that are more direct service offerings.

Essentially, once they’ve read your blog post and visited your website, they are now more likely to recognize you and take interest when you expose them to another ad marketing your counseling services.

There is a caveat to all of this, sometimes these guidelines are different depending on your region.

If you want to try some of the basic techniques such as boosting posts and direct service ads first for a month at a small investment, you will get a sense if there any returns.

If there aren’t any returns with the basic techniques it’s likely you are in the majority of us where you will need to experiment with warming up your audience before marketing direct service ads.

Remember, you’re a therapist, so it makes a lot of sense why it’s important to foster relationships in any of your marketing efforts.

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Keith Kurlander

Keith Kurlander is the founder of Higher Practice, a company dedicated to helping therapists achieve their highest potential in private practice. He has two decades of combined experience in business administration, group facilitation, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level, yoga instruction and as a licensed professional counselor in private practice.

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