Jeff Guenther on Aug 27, 2017
Let’s face it, millennials are going to therapy in droves right now. 90% of my clients are millennials and I imagine that's true for many of you as well. I love millennials. By some definitions, I actually qualify as a millennial. I was born in 1980, which is typically the cut off. But getting caught up in dates can be arbitrary. All you need to know is that millennials grew up in a world filled with technology that is powered by the internet and social networks. Millennials started to become adults around the turn of the century.
Millennials are the largest generation in the US. They make up 25% of the US population and 53% of millennial households already have children. As a therapist, or any business owner for that matter, if you’re not marketing and promoting your services to millennials, then you’re missing out on a huge chunk of the population. And as we have all experienced, mental health stigma continues to lower in each successive generation. Which means millennials are much more likely to enter into therapy without feeling shame or embarrassment.
But you probably already knew all of this so let’s move on.
Before we dive into how you can market yourself and stand out to millennials, we first have to admit something. If you’re a therapist in private practice, then you’re a brand. I understand that it’s weird to see yourself as a personal brand but the sooner you accept it the faster we can move on. Whether you like it or not, even if you don’t see yourself as a brand, your potential clients are seeing you as one. They are gobbling up all the content on your website, therapist directory profiles and social media accounts. They are trying to figure out who you are and what you stand for. As a brand, you need to carefully craft how you appear to your target niche or demographic. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
If you can answer these questions clearly, then you can start to develop a brand that really represents who you are and what you’re all about. You can carry this knowledge into every piece of marketing you do so that you have brand consistency and a cohesive narrative.
If you are a therapist, listen to the new podcast Say More About That. A podcast created specifically for therapists to learn more about what clients really want in a counselor. In this episode Jill, a millennial in her 30's who never thought therapy was for her, talks about how difficult it was to find a therapist that was truly a good match. Click play below or listen on Apple Podcast or Spotify.
Ok, now that we have established there are a ton of millennials and that you are a brand, let’s figure out how you can reach them. From my own research and personal experience helping therapists and wellness providers market their services to millennials over the past 10 years, I have found the following four values to be important when reaching that demographic:
Millennials want to know that the brand they are buying or the wellness provider they are seeing is real and authentic. What that means is that they want to know that you’re a real person with values, beliefs, quirks and opinions. People or brands that hide behind a corporate or expected personality are passed over in order to find businesses that display who they are and what they stand for. This could be anything from the social issues you support, to the camping trips you love to take to the divorce you went through last year.
If you haven’t noticed, many millennials tend to be very concerned with social justice and will not support brands that are in conflict with social and economic equality. That’s something to keep in mind while developing a marketing plan and creating content for your online presence. Ask yourself, “as a therapist, how can I display my own support for social justice?”
Many millennials are attracted to businesses and brands that stand out from the crowd and do their own thing. How can you make sure, as a therapist, that you don’t blend into the crowd and are easily looked over? What makes you you? Do you specialize in specific issues, treatments or populations that are a little outside the norm? If so, make sure that is front and center.
This one is obvious. The generation that grew up with tech responds well to businesses and services that integrate technology. Therapy isn’t typically thought of as a high-tech business, but we can integrate technology into our services in subtle ways that enhance the client experience. For example, millennials are all about on-demand services with apps like Lyft and Airbnb. As a therapist, you can offer the same type of service by adding a “schedule now” button to your website that automatically books a session or phone consult. The convenience of booking an appointment could attract more clients.
Would you like to see the full list of 12 actionable marketing ideas for therapists? Click here and I’ll send you a list of marketing strategies you can get started on so that you can attract more millennial clients.
Jeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005. Jeff is the creator and owner of Portland Therapy Center, a highly ranked therapist directory. Jeff, and his team, have launched a new progressive therapist directory, TherapyDen.