Facebook is now a social media platform of epic proportions. With over 800 million members at the time of writing this post, it is not to be ignored in your therapy marketing efforts. And yet I see so many therapists who struggle to fill their therapy groups and public workshops who are not utilising this powerful form of advertising.

Often I hear therapists say “it’s not the right timing” or “money is tight for people at the moment” and many other excuses, but I don’t buy any of these reasons why your therapy group is not full.

I’ve had great success filling my 10-week therapy groups that I run 2-3 times a year for the last couple of years and get enough inquiries to fill 8-10 spaces for each group. My co-facilitator and I make a very tidy profit after an advertising budget of about $250-300 per group. I primarily use Facebook advertising to fill these groups, along with a small Google Adwords campaign.

In this post I will take you step-by-step through the process of setting up a Facebook advertising campaign that will help you fill your therapy group or workshop. The good news is Facebook ads are easy to set up, create and manage and you will be getting inquiries about your group or workshop in no time at all.

Before you create your ads, define your niche market

Facebook is the most targeted advertising that is available in the world today. In my research of using Facebook ads for the last couple of years, I’ve found that the most effective ads are those that are specifically targeted to a niche market; a specific population and/or a specific problem.

Ads that are general don’t do as well as those that are specific. For example, I ran some ads a while back that were about general counselling for anyone within the Sydney region. These ads got very few click-throughs and did not do well in converting website visitors into paying therapy clients.

Start by thinking about a very specific population you can target and the types of interests they have. For example, if you run a relationship singles group, you may want to target single woman over 40, or if you run a cancer support group, you could target women over 30 who have an interest in cancer mentioned on their profile.

Step 1: Create a landing page

When someone clicks on your Facebook ad, you want them to go to a landing page. A landing page is a specific page on your therapy website that is designed so that the visitor is compelled to take one action, such as enter their email address or phone number, sign up for your newsletter or download your free report.

Keep your landing page simple and uncluttered with a strong headline and interesting copy. Also have a very clear call to action. You can see an example of a landing page I created recently for a therapy training institute above.

Ads that direct the person to your home page or general pages of your website have been shown not to be as effective as having them land on a dedicated page with your one call to action, so try to create a landing page to increase your conversions.

If you’re running a group or workshop, I recommend you have a sign-up box where the visitor can enter their contact details, and you’re notified when they submit them. You can then follow up with them providing more information about the course or workshop.

Step 2: Create your campaign

You need to have a Facebook account to be able to  create Facebook ads. This is because you will access and manage all your ads through your account settings.

Go to www.Facebook.com/ads to create your first ad.

Step 3: Design your ad

The first task is to specify where you will send the people who click on your ad.

You will have the option to send someone to one of your business pages, but for the purpose of this ad, you will want to choose external URL, which will be the URL of your landing page (or home page if you aren’t using a landing page).

After you have entered the URL of your landing page, you then need to write a compelling headline. Try to choose something that will really grab the attention of the reader. Facebook advertising is a form of ‘interruption advertising’, so you need to grab the attention of the Facebook user, who is not on Facebook with the intention to read your advert.

You can then upload an image. This is very important because the image is a powerful way to convey a message to the Facebook user. Make sure you have purchased the image or have permission to use it for commercial purposes. I use Fotolia.com, but there are hundreds of stock image repositories on the Internet, so Google stock photos to find them.

Next, write your copy. The word limit is small, so again, you need to be compelling, direct and captivating. There’s no room for fluff- just get straight to the point and be clear.

Step 4: Set your targeting

This is where you can really unlock the power of Facebook ads. You can target your ads to only show on the profiles of people according to the following elements:

  • country
  • city
  • number of kilometres from the city
  • age range
  • gender
  • precise interests
  • all connections or connected to a page, event or app
  • interested in male or female
  • marital status
  • education level: high school, university, post-graduate
  • language
  • workplaces

You can easily have your ad potentially show on the pages of all people in your geographic area, or drill down your ad to appear on any of the elements above with as much specificity as you desire.

You will also notice that as you change the targeting elements, the number in the right-hand column representing the potential reach of people who can view your ad will change. So you have a real-time representation of how many people are within your reach.

Step 5: Set your campaign, scheduling and pricing

In the final step, you need to choose this ad to appear under a current campaign (if you have already created one) or create a new campaign. A campaign is an umbrella under which you can have many different ads. However, you can have global settings for a campaign, such as your daily budget.

If you want to set your campaign at $4 a day and create 5-10 ads, these ads will show continuously until you have reached your daily budget.

It can be helpful to have different campaigns if you are wanting different daily budgets. So while you may want to spend $4 a day for your therapy group, perhaps you are selling a therapy eBook on communication, and only want to spend $3 a day for that, then you need to create those ads under a different campaign. Make sense?

You can then easily set a schedule for your ads or have them run indefinitely.

You will then have the choice to pay for impressions  (CPM) or pay for  clicks (CPC). I recommend you pay for clicks, so you only pay each time someone clicks on your ad and goes through to your landing page.

Facebook will suggest a maximum bid per click. You can accept this, decrease it or increase it. The higher the bid, the more pages your ad will appear on.

Complete the process by clicking place order or you can preview advert.

Create multiple ads and track your statistics

Now you’ve created your first ad, Facebook will notify you when it is approved and is running. You now need to create multiple versions of your ads to test which one is the most effective.

Facebook makes this easy to do. Once you are in the adverts area where there is a summary of your ad, click on the ad you just created and click create similar. You can then quickly make different versions of your ads and change the image, headlines and copy. I recommend you create 5-10 ads to test the best ones.

Facebook has wonderful metrics where you can easily see which ad is receiving the most clicks and getting the most reach. You can then delete the ads that are under-performing and continue to tweak the ones that work.

Would you consider Facebook advertising for your next therapy group or workshop? Share your thoughts or questions below.