How to write a high-performing Facebook ad to grow your therapy practice

Jenny Hall

Did you know the average person scrolls 300ft on Facebook every single day?

Yes, really!  

So, when you pay to promote your therapy practice with Facebook ads you need to make sure it’s YOUR ads that stand out in the newsfeed.

Unless you’re a Facebook ads strategist and/or a copywriter, creating a high-performing ad that hits the sweet spot with your target audience can be a tricky business.

Throw in the fact that therapy can be a particularly challenging sector when it comes getting Facebook ads approved, (the platform has strict rules on ad content) you’d be forgiven for wanting to throw in the ad towel before you’ve even started!

But help is at hand. We’ve pulled together our top tips on writing a high-performing Facebook ad to help you attract clients and grow your practice. (And if you’re not able to invest in Facebook ads right now, no problem; simply use our tips to create brilliant organic (not paid for) Facebook posts for your therapy business page).

  1. Know who you’re writing for

This is such an obvious tip, but one that many inexperienced Facebook advertisers overlook. Before you do anything else, think about who you’re writing for. We understand that many therapists help a variety of clients with a wide range of issues. However, each of your Facebook ads or posts should ‘speak’ to a specific audience (what marketers call a ‘user persona’). If they don’t, your ads won’t resonate and get results.

We find it helpful to grab an A3 piece of paper and draw mind maps for each of our different client audiences, eg. entrepreneurs, couples, parents etc. We think about what problems they might have and how we can possibly help resolve them. We also think about the tone of voice and language each user persona might respond well to and what might motivate them to seek help.

  1. Call out your audience in your copy

It’s important to ‘call out’ your target audience in an ad to grab attention. For example, if you’re wanting to reach executives who may be experiencing work stress, you might consider starting your ad with, ‘Calling all London professionals working in the City’.

Opening an ad with a question can be another great way to attract the clients you want to connect with. Sticking with the work stress example above, your copy (text) might ask:

  • Are you a working professional looking for balance in your life?
  • Do you feel ‘unstuck’ and inspired in your work?
  • Are you surrounded by supportive people in the workplace?

If you are speaking to several different audiences it’s important you tweak your ad copy to speak to them. Remember, one size doesn’t fit all.

3. Don’t make Facebook users feel bad

You might wonder why we’d state the obvious and or suggest that you, a mental health professional, would post anything that might make someone feel bad about themselves.

Let us explain!

Facebook is very protective of the people using its platform, and its ad policies are therefore stringent, especially on the language you use in your ads.

Facebook’s ad policies make it clear you can’t write anything that has the potential to make people feel bad about themselves. If you include words such as ‘anxiety’, ‘depression’ or ‘work stress’ this can sometimes (but not always) trigger the Facebook algorithm to lower your ‘ad reach’ (the number of people seeing your ad). Or Facebook might not approve your ad for publication at all.

This is problematic for therapists wanting to reach and support people experiencing issues such as anxiety, depression and work stress and many other issues besides! Notice in the bullet list examples above how we’ve flipped what could have been negative language (Do you feel ‘stuck’ and ‘uninspired’ in your work?) to focus on the positive outcomes you can help achieve for your clients (Do you feel ‘unstuck’ and inspired in your work?)?

  1. Create a hook

What’s going to get potential therapy clients interested in what you have to say? Have you introduced a new therapy service? Are you offering a time-limited discount on your therapy service, for example, concessions for students experiencing stress in the lead up to exam season?

How well you communicate this hook to your audience will have a direct effect on whether your ad resonates. Avoid simply saying you offer therapy to students who need help dealing with exam stress. Instead, remember points 2 and 3 above and call out that audience and ask them, do you want to wake up feeling energised and ready to tackle that exam revision?

If your ad makes it easy for clients to visualise feeling strong and full of self-belief, they’ll be more likely to take the desired action of contacting you or booking a therapy session online. Sell your potential therapy clients the sizzle, not the sausage!

 

  1. Include a call to action

Always include a clear ‘call to action’ in your ad or post copy. Giving people one specific instruction or action to take makes it much easier for them to take the next step. Want people to message you for more information about your therapy services? Say so. Keen for people to visit your website to read your latest blog on living with anxiety, tell them AND explain what’s in it for them. Depending on the type of ad you decide to run, you can also include an action button on your ad (Book Now, Learn More etc).

Top Facebook ads tip: if you’re wanting to drive traffic to your website, try including a shortened url (weblink) to your website in your ad copy, as well as an action button. Bit.ly is a good link shortener with a free version. Or if you use a scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite then they will automatically shorten the links in your ad copy.

  1. Use a compelling visual

Most of us tend to be visual creatives so it’s important to use an image (or video) with your ad. Hubspot research shows Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images and of course an image can help your ad stand out in the newsfeed.

The image should be both compelling and relevant to the words you use in your ad. Images that can work particularly well include people and faces (especially babies’ faces!), images with lots of yellow or orange (great stand out against Facebook’s blue branding) and you can’t go wrong if your ad image includes a cat or a dog (but do make sure the copy is related to the image in some way!)

Top Facebook ads tip: Some advertisers experiment with using ‘disruptor’ images that use a vivid pattern or vibrant colours to stop people scrolling down the newsfeed (our main blog image is an example of this).

Facebook’s done away with its ‘20% text rule’, whereby they wouldn’t show your ad to as many people if your image contained more than 20% text (and they sometimes wouldn’t approve the ad at all). But ad reach is nevertheless affected by having too much text so it’s best to limit image copy as much as possible.

Top Facebook ads tip:  If you need to include some important text on an image (for example, the date of an event or a key therapy service benefit) instead of using a single image you could instead string together a series of images and create a slideshow ad. Sometimes slideshow (and carousel) ads can fly under the text radar!

It’s all about testing

Our Facebook ad tips on creating a high-performing ad will help get you started, but it’s important you test what works best for your specific audience. The only way to do this is to run ads and split the various components of an ad:

  • Long v short copy
  • People v a disruptor image
  • Learn more button v Book now and much more.

The ultimate goal should be to reach your target audience, stop them scrolling and reading, and then taking the action you want them to take.

Are you running ads to promote your therapy practice? Have you tried any of our tips already, and did they work? Any other tips you’d like to share? Pop them in the comments box below and we’ll get back to you.

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