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The Dark Side of Black Friday: Are You Ready to Bring the Light?

3 Tips to Help Mental Health Professionals Prepare for Black Friday

Unless you have a retail business, preparing for Black Friday probably includes scoping out coffee shops near your favorite stores, and finding the perfect shopping buddy to brave the masses with you.

But what if I told you that even if you’re operating a rehab, running a private practice, or providing mental health services, you, too, should be preparing your business for Black Friday?

Yep, even (or perhaps especially) mental health practitioners must get ready for Black Friday. But instead of sales, deep discounts, and ‘freemium’ specials, your prep list includes NAP checks, blog posts, and a little SEO.

Before I get into what those are and why, let me unpack the dark side of Black Friday.

Chances are, if you’re a mental health provider, you know that Black Friday can be the kick-off to a decline of mental health. Our Psych101 class taught us that our dopamine surges when we are presented with novelty, find a rock-bottom deal, and beat the clock when time is ticking. Our Marketing101 class taught us that businesses can exploit this dopamine surge to rake in the dollars. In essence, this is Black Friday.

The problem is, as we know, that a dopamine rush is short-lived and we crash when flooded with a surge of excess dopamine followed by a notable and rapid decline.

When we combine this with decreased daylight, colder weather, and for many, the stress from yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner, we can start to feel the pressure of this season.

But it doesn’t stop there. From Black Friday to New Year’s, there is more stress than at other times of the year. Add finances to that, as well as the usual increase in parties, family interactions, expectations of perfection, have-to’s, and yes, even drinking, the holidays leave us feeling out of sorts.

This is where you come in. People are going to be looking for help to shake the holiday blues. We know you offer the services they need, and you’re good at what you do, but if they can’t find you, you can’t help them. Your Black Friday prep will help you connect with those who need you.

Not sure how to prep? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with 3 easy ways to up-level your online presence over the next couple of weeks.

NAP

Hold the blankets and pillows – we’re not talking about that kind of nap. In the digital space, NAP refers to name, address, and phone number. It’s important not just for your potential clients, but Google gives more love to businesses that have a consistent NAP across all digital channels: website, social media, and directory listings.

Make sure you’re ready by checking all of your listings online. You can use a tool like Bright Local to check your NAP across the Internet, or you can simply do a Google search for your name and/or business name. Check all of your search results and make sure your info is updated on each website, including your Google My Business listing (more on GMB later). Check your website and make sure the NAP listed on your site matches the NAP across social media and directories. Don’t forget to check your Psychology Today listing if you have one, and be sure you’re marked as serving nearby areas.

 

Blog Posts

One of the most effective ways of getting in front of your market is to address common client issues via blog posts. Make a list of 5 patterns/trends that you’ve noticed with your clients this time of year. Look for an overarching theme for each issue, and define it. For example, maybe clients come to you during the holidays because they are dealing with unhealthy family dynamics. Put yourself in their shoes, and imagine what you would type in to Google if you were searching for help with the same problem. You might type in, “my mother makes me crazy during the holidays,” or, “tips for dealing with in-laws at Thanksgiving.”

If you don’t intuitively know of the keywords people are using to search for help, you can use a free keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, or this keyword tool. You may need to try different phrases related to your initial keyphrase, but it shouldn’t take long to start seeing popular keyphrases that people use to search for their topic. Pick a keyphrase that accurately describes your blog topic, and also has a high search volume and a low competition rating.

Once you’ve settled on a keyphrase, write your content and be sure to work the keyphrase in. There’s no magic number for how many times you should use your exact keyphrase, but for a 350-word blog post, we usually recommend using the keyphrase in the title of your blog post, in a sub-heading, then one or two more times in the body content.

By addressing the issues you know your market struggles with, incorporating their search terms into your content, and optimizing the post, you’re much more likely to get in front of an audience that is looking for your help. If you are able to provide good, useful content, you’ll start to establish trust and authority, and start forging a connection with them.

SEO

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a boring training on how to do your own SEO (although, we do offer fun trainings on how to do your own SEO). Instead, we’re going to give you a tip for boosting your SEO quickly and for free.

Enter: Google My Business (GMB). If you already have a listing, awesome. Just be sure to check your name, address, and phone number on your listing, as outlined in the NAP section above.

If you’re not even sure what GMB is, it’s an extension of Google that allows you to enter your business information, which displays on a healthy piece of real estate in applicable search results. To give you a visual, our GMB info is displayed in this image to the right of the search results:

image of gmb search results

 

As you can see, having a GMB listing is powerful.

If you don’t have your listing set up, head over to Google’s My Business and follow the steps. It really is that easy. It helps to gather all your necessary information beforehand. Gather the best pics of your business, your logo, your contact info, and write a short, catchy paragraph about you and what you offer. You’ll be able to upload these items, as well as list your open hours (if desired), and even go a little deeper into the details of your services.

Equally important, and we can’t stress this enough, choose a business category that accurately describes your business, and be sure to use keyword-rich language in your description. When this is appropriately defined, Google can match your listing to relevant search terms and you have a better chance of showing up in local search results.

So, say someone has searched ‘MFT therapist’ in Google. If they don’t give any additional search info, Google pulls up MFT’s in the local area and displays local providers. This is called the ‘Local 3-Pack,’ and you can see how this is displayed in the image below:

image of Google's Local pack

If we were then to click on “More places,” it would pull up a directory and map display, with 10 pages of providers.

How they determine which providers to list, and whether a listing makes the top 3 results, is a different blog for a different day. But for now, all you need to know is unless you have a GMB listing, you can’t get placed anywhere in those results. You deserve a spot on one of those pages, so make sure you head over to GMB and fill out your listing.

In just a few short hours, you should be able to implement the NAP, Blog, and SEO tips above just in time for Black Friday. People will be searching for help – make sure they can find you when they need you.  As always, we’re here to help if you need an extra pair of hands.

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