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Facebook Ads for Therapists: Best Social Media Guide to Grow Your Clinic 2020

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You finished setting up your clinic and the grand opening was a few weeks ago. Your first few patients were from word of mouth and friends/family, but now patient flow has started to die down. You are just sitting there waiting for new clients to automatically start coming in.

But nobody is here.

People told you starting your own private practice was hard, but nobody told you that it was actually the easiest part. The hardest part was getting new clients in your clinic, consistently. So how do you increase your traffic?

Fortunately, people are looking for and in need of a therapist. There is “an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 7.1% of all U.S. adults.” (National Institute of Mental Health)

Still, why aren’t people coming?

Don’t be psyched out. The case might be that they can’t find you and your clinic because they just don’t know about you yet.

In this age, most information is not spread out through paper flyers but through the internet like social media. It’s almost impossible to grow your private practice without adapting to the use of the internet. Giving free talks at a local community center and schools just won’t get enough traffic to your private practice.

Learn how to use Facebook Ads to bring you more clients to your therapy practice. Here’s the best Facebook Ads for Therapists guide for bringing in new patients.

Facebook Ads for Therapists

Why Facebook Ads For Therapists?

Before we start with the whys, we first need to define Facebook Ads.

What is Facebook Ads?
“During the first quarter of 2020, Facebook reported over 1.73 billion daily active users (DAU). Overall, daily active users accounted for 67 percent of monthly active users.” (Statista) That’s a lot of people to reach. You’re not going to friend all 1.7 billion users just so they can see your post.

So instead you’ll need to go where your potential clients are, running ads on Facebook allows you to do just that. Through Facebook Ads, you get to be in front of the people that are most likely to need your help.

Although this seems simple enough, it is a very big deal.

It’s Large and Effective

Facebook is really big and in an eMarketer survey, it found that “96% of social media marketers consider Facebook the best social media platform for ROI [Return on Investment]”

Statistic on Facebook Annual Revenue

One reason why it’s so effective is its reach, “two-thirds of U.S. adults now report that they are Facebook users, and roughly three-quarters of those users access Facebook on a daily basis.” (Smith and Anderson)

But, Facebook ads aren’t just on Facebook but also other platforms owned by Facebook. Facebook Ads can be seen in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and more importantly Instagram.

With a large and active audience on different platforms, your private practice can advertise to almost everyone if you were to choose to. Your clinic just might get a little bit more popular in front of your target audience.


Type of Facebook Ads

Here are some Facebook Ads examples you can use for your clinic.

Video ads

Video ads can be used to show clients more about what your clinic is like. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video ad can express a lot more than that. These can be seen in the News Feed or your stories.


Facebook video ad example

Your video doesn’t need a great camera. It all can be filmed on your phone and it can be anything you want your clients to see, feel, and think. It’s all about perspective. Show them that your approachable and easy to talk with the way you interact with your employees. In fact, we’ve found that selfie-style video footage shot from the phone feels more authentic and tends to be more effective on Facebook ads.

Photo ads

The name seems self-explanatory but it’s by far simple. A single image can take on a different meaning depending on who sees it. It can be as creative and impactful as you can make it to be.

Image ad of a therapist video calling

Image Ads does not require an expert advertiser but someone who knows their client’s needs. What are people thinking, feeling, or wondering about? It’s all about empathizing with your client’s needs and showing that you understand their problems. When you show that you understand their problems, they believe you can help them solve it. This is just as true in therapy as it is in advertising.

Carousel Ads

A carousel ad is an ad that uses multiple pictures or videos to present their product or service. In addition to multiple images to show one post, you have the option of creating a proforma image.

facebook carousel ad with a couple going to therapy

Start Advertising with Facebook Ads

Set up your account

Facebook ads may seem like a slow investment that will take time to set up and even see the results. However, Facebook Ad is quick to set up and a company can see the results in a matter of days.

Anyone can use Facebook Ads and start advertising. All you need are:

Landing Page

A landing page is a single webpage that a person will “land” on when they click your ads. This could be an appointment page where clients can sign up for their free consultation with your clinic.

Landing page example

For a successful landing page, it should be relevant to the content of your ads or users will simply leave.

Facebook Business Page

Creating a Facebook Business Page is similar to creating a Facebook group. On Facebook’s sidebar, you’ll see a Pages section. There you can create a business page where people can find about your clinic and how to contact you.

How to create a Facebook business page

Facebook Manager Account

Your Facebook Manager Account is where you can create and manage your campaign. This is where you also set up your main budget and means of payment. A Facebook Manager Account is helpful when it comes to managing your ads especially when you start advertising more.

There are also a lot of other tools that will help you track and manage all your ads.

Facebook manger account overview


Once you have all these three, you are ready to start creating advertisements for potential clients.

Set up your Campaign Structure

Before you can even start designing your first ad, you need to consider the campaign structure. The campaign structure is the backbone of how your ads will be implemented.

The structure is broken up into three levels which are the campaign, ad set, and the ad level.

Facebook ads campaign structure

In a campaign, there could be multiple ad sets, and in each ad set, there could be multiple ads. Depending on the way you set up the structure, it determines how successful the company’s ads are.


At the campaign level, you choose the campaign objective, what you want to achieve through your ads.

By choosing a specific objective, it influences how the next two levels will be set up and how the ad will look even before designing it.

Choose Your Campaign Objective
In your Facebook Manager Account, you will find a “Create” button. Click it, Facebook will guide you to the various campaign objectives you can choose from.

This could be broken up into three categories:

  • Awareness: Focuses on generating interest in your private practice and/ or service.
  • Consideration: Focuses on encouraging people to learn more about what your clinic offers.
  • Conversion: Focuses on encouraging people interested in your business to take an action like make an appointment.

Facebook ads campaign objectives

In these three categories, here are some sub-categories:

  • Brand awareness: Show off your brand to people who are more likely to be interested to increase awareness about your business.
  • Local awareness: Reach people near your business location.
  • Reach: Show your advert to the maximum number of people.
  • Traffic: Increase traffic/ sessions to a specific web page, app, or Facebook Messenger conversation.
  • Engagement: Reach an audience to increase the number of engagements, Page Likes, attendance at your event, or claims an offer (e.g free consultation).
  • App installs: Get people to install your app.
  • Video views: Get people to watch your videos.
  • Lead generation: Creates a form that will collect information from your audience, including sign-ups for newsletters, price estimates, and follow-up calls.
  • Conversions: Get people to take a specific action on your website, app, or Facebook Messenger (e.g Make an appointment).
  • Store traffic: Drive nearby patients to your local clinic.

An example: If you want more people to visit your home page to learn about your family therapy, you would look at the consideration objective and choose the traffic subcategory.

Another example is if you want to drive traffic directly to your clinic. You would choose “Conversion” and choose “Store Traffic.” This will format an ad to specialize in driving people to your local clinic.

Choosing the right objective is important for various reasons.

It will determine what you are paying for and how much because not all ads use the same metrics and are the same price. Some are based on Cost per Clicks (CPC), Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM), Cost per Action (CPA), and many more.

Also, not all objectives match your marketing goal/ needs. You may want more people visiting your home page and doing virtual sessions than people visiting your clinic because of COVID-19. There may be other factors to consider.

Before you choose your campaign objective, it would be good to think about what you want your ad to achieve and your private practice’s needs.

Ad Set

At this level, you set the budget, delivery, schedule, and placement.

The ad set level determines how many people will see your ad and how much you are willing to pay for your ads under a specific ad set.

Set Your Audience

With Facebook Ads, there are three different audiences: Saved, Custom, and Lookalike Audience.

Saved Audience

The Save audience category allows a company to target an audience based on demographics, location, interest, behavior, etc.

The benefit of this is you can now target a certain demographic who are more likely to be interested in counseling.

For example, if you want to target married females in their 30’s who are interested in wellness and live within a 30-mile radius from your clinic, Facebook Ads can specifically target that audience.

Using saved audience to target

Saved Audience can also exclude certain criteria to be more precise when it comes to targeting. Facebook Ads can choose to ignore groups of people who are unlikely to react to the advertisement like someone who lives in a different state.

Custom Audience

With Custom Audience, a company can create and save an audience that has interacted with your website or engaged with your content or app.

One example is if someone interacted with one of your posts, Facebook Ads will remember them so they can be targeted in the future. This allows a company to retarget an audience that already has a certain degree of interest in its brand and as a result, are more likely to make a purchase.

website traffic in custom audience

There are three types of Custom Audiences:

  • Customer List: Match emails, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, or mobile advertiser IDs to people on Facebook and able to create personalized messages and ads that are relevant to where a patient is at.
  • Website Traffic: Create a list of people who visit your website or view specific web pages
  • App Activity: Create a list of people who have taken a specific action in your app or game.

Lookalike Audience

Lookalike audience allows you to target people similar to your existing customer database.

For example, if you know that a specific audience is likely to lead to an appointment, you can create a Lookalike Audience with this information. Facebook Ads then would use this information to find people very similar to them.

This creates an audience that is highly likely to result in a conversion or whatever your campaign objective is.

Important: Make sure to use best practices when it comes to client information.

Set your Placement

For Facebook Ads, you have to set where you want your ads to be seen. There are multiple platforms owned by Facebook for your ads to be seen but the three major ones are Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. You can also choose which device type you want your ads to be seen.

You might wonder where is the best place to advertise. The answer is it depends on your campaign objective and your audience. There are more younger people on Instagram compared to Facebook. Luckily, Facebook has an option to automatically place your ad in the placement that is best for you and your objective.

Here are some placements that your ads will be seen:

  • Device Type: Mobile, Desktop, or Both
  • Facebook Placement: Feed, Right Column, Instant Articles, In-stream video, Stories, Marketplace
  • Instagram Placement: Feeds, Stories
  • Messenger Placement: Inbox, Sponsored Messages, Stories

Facebook ad placements

Set your Budget and Schedule

In this section, you can decide how much you want on your ads in your ad set. You have an option between a daily budget (budget for each day you advertise) or lifetime budget (budget for the whole duration of the campaign).

After you decide the ad sets schedule where you determine the start and end dates. You can choose to start advertising right away or in the future.

Facebook ads budget and schedule

To help with costs, Facebook ads include other filters like Bid control, Optimization for Ad Delivery, Ad scheduling, etc.

In addition to the Budget, Facebook Ad has an option for automatic bidding. Facebook sets the bid that helps you get the best results at the best price. Similar to setting your budget in your manager account, you will never pay more than your budget.

Set your Delivery

The Delivery setting determines how often and how fast your ads will show.

You have an option between two options:

  • Standard Ad delivery – Facebook will deliver your ads with the optimal speed at the lowest cost
  • Accelerated Ad delivery – Facebook will deliver your ads as quickly as possible, resulting in higher ad costs

Facebook ads delivery options

It is recommended to use “standard.” It will cost less. “Accelerated” is typically used for large advertisers with time-sensitive campaigns. It is optimized for speed and not value.


At the ad level, you determine what is seen and read on the ad. This is known as your creative. The format can range from an image ad to a video ad depending on the ad objective you chose.

Depending on what they are trying to accomplish and who they are trying to target, the text can be written in various ways.

With the various combinations of text and images, there are usually several ads in an ad set. By having various ads, you can determine which ad works better for your objective and audience.


Tips for Advertising with Facebook Ads

1. Create a tempting offer

Advertising with Facebook is not an easy feat because you will be competing with other posts for the attention of Facebook users.

That’s where a tempting offer comes to play. With a compelling offer that people want, your audience will compulsively click on your ad.

Creating a compelling offer on Facebook Ads

In this example, it shows a clinic providing a free consultation. It could be seen in the primary text and the description of the ad.

2. Write a Compelling Ad Copy

Writing an ad can be hard and sometimes you don’t know what to write. You’re a therapist, not a marketer. However, you don’t need to be a marketer to write a good ad. You just need to be able to understand how people behave.

Here is a formula to help you write a compelling ad copy:

  • Attention: Grab the attention of your audience by describing their pain points, challenges, or simply call out your audience (e.g Hey [Blank] )
  • Interest: Draw interest by describing your offer
  • Desire: Give a reason or instill a desire to take action
  • Action: A call to action. (e.g Sign Up) This makes the ad stand out.


Writing a compelling Facebook ad copy

3. Eye Catching Ad

Your image/ video aka your creative should be relevant to your ad copy while being able to draw in Facebook users as they scroll through their feed.

But what makes your creative stand out?

You’ll be surprised that what makes a good creative is not how great the quality of the photo is but how real it is.

Most people don’t want to be advertised too. They’re on Facebook to interact with other people and not be seen as just a consumer.

Today, people are exposed to high-quality photos associated with ads just trying to sell something. It’s a turn-off.

This results in sensory adaptation in many people. As a result, people unconsciously skip ads while focusing on real posts.



Facebook image ad of a therapist

By using real-life images/ videos, your ad looks like a regular post in a Facebook user feed, and users are more likely to view it.

However, with real-life images/ videos, it shows you’re real. You are showing “you” and not simply hiding behind a staged photo.

When it comes to opening up to someone, nothing beats being authentic.

4. Know your audience

Knowing your audience has many benefits. You have a higher chance of advertising to people who are more likely to make an action whether it be a like, subscription, or even an appointment.

Another benefit is how much money you can save.

With the correct targeting, you can find the right people. No more spending on people who have no interest in your therapy.

But, don’t narrow your audience too much. You’ll miss people who you didn’t expect that would be interesting.

A good tip is to start broad. Then slowly narrow your audience when you have a better idea of who your audience is.

Some tools that help out are Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights.

5. Change things up

Facebook Ads have different options for your different needs. It’s important to change things up because some ads become overused and some may not be as effective as you think it is. With the different combinations of objectives, images, text, and ad format, you can dramatically influence your ad performance.

a/b testing facebook ad

a/b testing FB photo

Sometimes, you can have two very similar ads but some differences could be with the creative or text. Depending on what you want your audience to do, the one ad will perform better.

6. Facebook Pixel

Similar to Google Analytics, Pixel is a few lines of code from Facebook that you copy into the header section of your website. This code allows you to receive information about the actions taken on your site to help make your Facebook ads more relevant to your audience.

FB pixel allows you to keep track of actions (events) that happen on your website as a result of FB ads (paid) or organic reach (unpaid).

You can place events on the pages that matter to your business. For example, you can capture a user’s journey after clicking on your Landing page. By studying the steps along users’ journeys, you can measure and optimize your ads for the conversions that mean the most to your business.

Facebook pixel can help you understand the behavior of people who visit your website. This will help you find the best advertising strategy to reach your business goals.

6.5 Remarketing Ads

With Facebook pixel, you are able to run remarketing ads for your clinic. These ads target pass visitors to your website or landing page.

Remarketing ad with a man sitting down to talk to a female therapist

It’s a powerful tool. Don’t forget about it.

7. Split Testing

How do you know which ad is best for you?

You test it out.

A split test lets you compare the success of different variables so you can adjust your campaign accordingly.

Split testing allows you to create multiple ad sets and test them against each other to see which strategies produce the best results.

Facebook ads split testing

For example, you can test the same ad on two different audiences to see which audience performed better. You can also test two different creative assets (like images or videos) to determine which is more effective.

8. Optimize

After making your first few advertisements, it doesn’t mean all of them are going to perform well. You’ll have to optimize. There is going to be a lot of trial and error when it comes to creating the best ads for your private practice.

It’s important to track your ads and see how it’s performing. See what works because some ads just don’t relate to others. It’s like a therapist speaking “psychobabble” to their client. It just doesn’t help the patient and they’re not going to want to come again.

It would be a waste of money to invest in ads that won’t bring people to your clinic. That’s where all the tips above help out.

By using best practices, it will significantly increase Return on Investment (ROI) by increasing the number of clients and reducing the cost of your ads.

Eventually, you’ll find out what works and you’ll be seeing more people going through your doors.

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