Marketing Psychiatry is Real Hard

June 20, 2011

Much of the work with my first consulting client has focused on helping her articulate her brand, establish her online presence, and promote her practice. These hours focusing on another clinician’s business has brought home a stark reality. Psychiatry is a hard sell. Did it really take me over twenty years to figure that out?

In my soon to be released ebook, a Primer on growing cash-based practices, I discuss this matter in some detail. I describe the evolution of my marketing style from a fear-driven desperation to a calmer confidence-based promotion of my work. Working on another clinician’s business allowed me to see this more clearly.

Andy Sernovitz, in his Word of Mouth Marketing, writes of highly satisfied customers “evangelizing” for products and services. We have a problem. People don’t talk freely about their psychiatric treatment. My satisfied customers are happy to get what they need from my practice then move on. I can’t remember one person in all my years of practice that became an “evangelist” for my business. I think it would strike me as odd if someone did.

Keith Morgan, of, and I will soon finish the website for Then I will promote the business very aggressively. I will be targeting a very well defined market – psychiatrists, psychologists, and other therapists that run businesses much like mine. Sounds like fun. But still after 25+ years I must say that the thought of pouring that kind of energy into targeting my customers directly gives me great pause. Why?

Do you have a similar reluctance to market to your customer base? Are our customers our target market? Or do we market chiefly to our referral sources? This is a bit confusing.

Please take a minute to leave a comment about your marketing practices. I would really enjoy hearing other perspectives.

  1. Nancy October 4, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for the share!

    • clpconsultingwp October 5, 2011 Reply

      Nancy R.
      I really, really appreciate hearing back from you. Blogging at times feels like throwing words into the void.
      Thanks again,

  2. John November 6, 2011 Reply

    I think that patients are not only reluctant to discuss their psychiatric treatment with others; sometimes they're not necessarily the best judges of which psychiatrists or mental health providers are appropriate for their friends or family.

    i also think that psychiatrists are reluctant to market themselves to either patients or to referral sources, as much of the training in psychiatry (in Australia, at least) is based in public hospitals, which don't have to have marketing plans.

    • admin December 14, 2011 Reply

      Thank you for taking time to leave a comment.
      As far as I know there is no exposure to practice
      building in training. That's the gap I hope to fill
      for some.
      Thanks again,

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