How to create a marketing strategy for mental health services
Begin by normalizing the conversation and educating your community.
Few of us have escaped feelings of isolation and uncertainty during the past year. It has made us acutely aware of our mental health and how it affects our ability to handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices.
Several surveys, including those collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have shown substantial increases in self-reported behavioral health symptoms. According to one CDC report, which surveyed adults across the U.S. in late June 2020, 31% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, 13% reported having started or increased substance use, 26% reported stress-related symptoms, and 11% reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past 30 days. These numbers are nearly double the rates we would have expected before the pandemic.
Normalize the conversation
Mental Health America’s 2021 State of Mental Health in America report—in particular, its spotlight on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health—found that the number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed, and 24% of adults with a mental illness and 60% of youth with major depression have not yet received treatment. While the stigma associated with mental health remains a challenge, healthcare marketers can help by normalizing the conversation and educating healthcare consumers. By educating healthcare consumers about emotional and behavioral health issues, depression and substance abuse, we empower them to make informed healthcare decisions.
Targeting your consumer
A well-crafted marketing strategy to create awareness of your mental health services should:
- Define your target audience. It is challenging enough to create awareness around mental health, so defining a target audience to assure your communication gets to a defined audience is critical. Don’t forget that family members often seek care for loved ones and should be a part of your target audience.
- Reach out with print. A digital campaign relies on your consumers finding you. But you can reach your consumers where they are with print. A digital campaign risks being lost in a crowded inbox. Since much of marketing has moved online, you can benefit from the relatively low clutter of your audience’s mailbox.
- Include robust website content. Be sure your website features easy-to-find information about your mental health services. Additionally, provide content to help remove the stigma—blog articles, information on your mental health clinicians and patient stories all help to provide a level of comfort to patients.
- Incorporate cost-effective paid search. A paid search campaign for your mental health services can help target those seeking help online. Local keyword research can help you determine what phrases people in your community use when they’re trying to find healthcare services that are close to them.
- Align print and digital strategies. Drive consumers from your direct mail or publication to your website with a landing page. Compelling content and strong calls to action promote conversions.
- Embrace social media content strategies. Develop a social media campaign focused on your mental health services and access to care. Include content that promotes interaction and share inspiring patient stories.
- Optimize your search ranking. Make it easy for consumers to find you with strong search engine optimization (SEO). At Coffey, we use the best tools, resources and strategies to keep up with the changing landscape of SEO to assure your website is optimized and working for you.
Connecting with healthcare marketing experts
Creating a marketing strategy can take a significant amount of time. That's why projects like this are often good candidates for outsourcing. Coffey's team of healthcare marketing experts can work with you to develop a strategy that fits your organization and helps you reach your healthcare marketing goals.