Every brand has a story. Whether it’s an inspiring origin or a meaningful mission, there’s something that sets your brand apart. It’s more than just your product or service. It’s about what makes your brand unique.
In a crowded world, engaging with your audience requires building meaningful relationships. Using StoryBrand marketing for your mental health treatment center helps you convey your values and mission. It allows your audience to discover the heart of your brand and what you do differently than other treatment centers. You’ve just got to find that special something that makes your brand’s story worth telling.
At Content Journey, we help our mental health, addiction, and wellness clients identify their unique stories, helping them differentiate their services from competitors and attract attention from their ideal clients.
This post explains how to use StoryBrand marketing to attract and convert clients for your treatment center.
Understanding StoryBrand Marketing
Donald Miller introduced the concept of StoryBrand in his book, Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen. It means using a narrative technique that conveys an idea through descriptive language and characters. It’s an avenue for connecting with your audience on an emotional level. People connect with stories they can relate to or understand. While facts, figures, and statistics may draw eyes, the heart engages and reels people in.
Storytelling creates a powerful connection with your audience. You’re creating a positive sentiment surrounding your brand by invoking feelings related to it. You also guide your audience to see themselves in the story. For every client whose treatment changed their life, another person is waiting for that opportunity or to see the possibility in themselves.
The Principles of StoryBrand Marketing
From folktales to Hollywood blockbusters, every story follows a similar formula. By following this roadmap, you can create a narrative that connects to your audience while reflecting your mission and values.
Consider these components of StoryBrand:
- The Hero. The main character or hero goes on a journey to achieve their goal. This role is a personification of your audience. It’s someone they can connect with, maybe even their hypothetical future self.
- The Problem. What are the needs and wants of your character? What problem are you trying to solve? For your treatment center, the problem may be controlling symptoms to live authentically or having a future free of substances.
- The Guide. That’s you. You’re the person helping the hero overcome their problem. Through empathy, you understand the hero’s problem and have the wisdom and solution to help. Your actual counselors make wonderful guides. Using them in your marketing helps people feel connected to them and what they can accomplish together before they even arrive at treatment.
- The Plan. How do they fix the problem? What are the steps they have to take? The plan should explain how the hero gets what they want in easy-to-understand terms. You want to be careful here to make treatment seem possible and inspire hope while also not making it look easy. You don’t want your hero to feel tricked when they actually experience the challenges of treatment.
- The Call-to-Action. Call on your hero to take the first step. It’s your job to lead them in the right direction. Should they schedule a call with an admissions representative? Book an appointment? Check their insurance? Reserve a spot? Make the first step toward achieving their goal clear.
- The Happy Ending. Every good story ends with success. Now that the hero has achieved what they want, their life has improved. Your audience should be able to see themselves achieving your hero’s success.
- The Warning. What happens if the hero doesn’t achieve their goal? Illustrate the stakes of your hero’s journey. They won’t succeed if they don’t choose you as their guide. Again, be realistic and honest about what will happen without treatment. You want to lead potential clients to treatment without using fear-based approaches that might make them think it’s too difficult or too much to overcome.
Just as this template can work for any business, it works for your treatment center. Cater your story to reflect your treatment center’s core values, mission, goals, and the unique services you offer clients. Don’t forget to tell success stories of past clients to show that it is possible.
The Power of Storytelling in Marketing
Storytelling may be your solution if you’re struggling to connect with your audience. It allows your audience to relate to your brand on a human level. A good story moves people to action. Engaging and resonating with potential clients will make them more inclined to seek out your services.
Dove achieved this with their 2013 short film, Real Beauty Sketches. In an experiment, Dove asked real women to describe their appearance to a sketch artist. Then, they asked strangers to describe the same woman to the artist. The film showed the women’s reactions to the two portraits, and the reveal was emotional.
The film examined the stark contrast between how women perceived themselves and how others perceived them. It highlighted the unrealistic beauty standards women place on themselves and being your own worst critic. It showed that sometimes a stranger can see you even better than you see yourself. It inspired women to see a refreshed view of themselves, illustrating their own beauty.
Now you may think, what does this have to do with soap? By establishing their values and mission through the short film, Dove was able to increase their reach, create a culture around their brand, and, you guessed it, sell more soap. To date, the film has almost 180 million views across platforms. Brenda Fiala of Blast Radius, a digital advertising agency, said the Sketches campaign succeeded because it taps deep-seated emotions and “hits on a real human truth for women.”
The psychology behind storytelling and its impact on human emotions is built on trust. Consumers want to feel like the brand they’re buying from is reliable, authentic, and actually cares about them. For your treatment center, the same principles apply. Your clients won’t come to your center if they think you only care about money. By showcasing your brand’s commitment to understanding and assistance, clients will feel valued.
Benefits of incorporating storytelling into your treatment center marketing strategies include:
- Increased brand awareness
- Greater client reach
- Positive sentiments surrounding your brand
- Improved trust with your audience
- Higher return on investment
Storytelling furthers brand loyalty. You’re strengthening your position in the market by cultivating a feeling with your audience that they can’t get from other brands. You position your treatment center not just as an option but as the choice.
Crafting Your Treatment Center’s Brand Narrative
Humans thrive on storytelling. We’ve been doing it since we first walked the earth. Whether it’s a funny anecdote about your day or an inspiring underdog story of success and triumph, your story can have meaning. The goal is to find the right story that conveys the humanity of your brand.
To find your brand’s story, ask yourself these questions:
- What are my brand’s core values, mission, and vision?
- What makes my brand unique?
- Who exactly are we in the best position to help?
- What impact do I want my brand to make on the world?
Crafting a brand narrative is essential for competing in a competitive marketplace. And it starts with having a clear message. Look to brands like TOMS, whose “Wear TOMS, Wear Good” philosophy showcases their commitment to funding mental health access. A customer will choose a brand that makes them feel good over another.
How do you harness those emotions and use them in your marketing? Create a compelling and relatable treatment journey through storytelling. Try sharing the stories of the people you’ve helped. Real testimonials are influential.
You can use examples of prominent figures or celebrities to give your hero credibility. For example, BetterHelp partnered with Ariana Grande, a popular singer, and longtime mental health advocate, to give away $1 million in free therapy. While promoting the partnership, Grande shared pieces of her own mental health journey. Her transparency helped fans feel less alone in their experience. It’s helpful to know that even someone who seems to have it all experiences mental illness.
Implementing Storytelling Across Marketing Channels
Once you’ve crafted your brand’s narrative, you can implement your storytelling across various marketing channels like your website, social media accounts, email marketing, and video content. And you should. Mixing up your marketing tactics helps increase your reach and makes your marketing efforts more effective.
No matter the platform, the same principles apply. Use storytelling to connect with your audience and inspire them. Your treatment center’s websites and landing pages are the perfect place to share your story through testimonials, an About Us page, or by simply weaving your story into your website’s content.
Stories aren’t just told with language. Using visuals to enhance your story can make it stronger and more effective. Graphics are especially important when it comes to social media and video marketing. A picture is a glimpse into the world of your brand. A video brings the story to life.
Quality matters over quantity, but that doesn’t have to mean flawless. When executed right, audiences appreciate authenticity. Kristen Bell is a celebrity praised by fans for her realness on social media. She’s known for being candid on Instagram with makeup-free selfies discussing her mental health or marriage struggles. Social media presents the opportunity for transparency and a more personal approach to your audience.
Her First $100K is a feminist financial blog focused on helping women achieve financial freedom. In her weekly email newsletter, creator Tori Dunlap often draws from personal stories about her own financial struggles and shares how she overcame them using practices she teaches. She also shares stories from her blog community. Just by reading the email subject line, “Somebody stole my credit card,” a reader will probably be able to relate to or sympathize with the situation. They’re more likely to open the newsletter if the topic is something they can connect with.
Email marketing is an opportunity to be candid with your audience. You can establish a more personal relationship with your clients by sharing authentic anecdotes. For your treatment center, this may include sharing counselors’ past struggles or client stories.
Tips for Writing Compelling Treatment Center Stories
Remember to take care when crafting emotionally impactful treatment center stories. Address sensitive topics with empathy and respect. Treatment centers are often a lifeline for people experiencing mental illness or substance use disorder, but it’s not usually an easy path to healing. You must be honest about the hurdles a person may experience when receiving treatment. In fact, showing your story’s hero experiencing those challenges can help your audience relate. Your story can be inspiring without glossing over the realities of the situation.
Marketing your treatment center connects you with the people that need your help the most. Leveraging success stories and testimonials enhances your center’s credibility. Hearing a real person’s story who completed your program is more likely to inspire a potential patient than statistics. Honesty and vulnerability are good things. It shows you want to meet your audience on their level and connect person to person, not just business to customer.
Avoiding Common Storytelling Mistakes
Storytelling can do a lot for your brand, but only if it’s done correctly. As you polish and hone your storytelling, watch out for these common pitfalls:
- Your Origin Story is Unclear. When in doubt, simple is better. Don’t get bogged down in the details of your storytelling. Remember to start with the “why.” Remind your audience who you are as a company and why they should choose you.
- Your Brand is the Main Character. Remember, the customer is the hero, not you. Your brand is the guide leading them on their path to success. Focus your messaging on the benefits, not just the features. How can you help the main character?
- Your Brand Seems Artificial. This point is where authenticity is key. Sometimes, brands focus too hard on perfection and can be perceived as robotic. The goal is to elicit real emotion through human stories. Always go back to the heart of what you’re trying to convey. You want to be real while avoiding coming across as manipulative.
- You Don’t Have a Clear CTA. Even if you have the best story, it’s useless if you don’t direct your audience to the right place. Your call-to-action should be easy to identify and locate. Tell your audience exactly what step to take next. The minute they start doom scrolling, you’ve lost them.
Share Stories, Change the World
With brand storytelling, you have the power to make a difference. By sharing important stories that align with your brand’s purpose and goals, you can make a greater impact on mental health. Look to your core values, mission, and goals to craft your story. And by empathizing with your audience, you can better understand how to fit their needs.
At Content Journey, we know you can expand your reach and help even more people when you engage with your audience organically and authentically. Contact us today, and we’ll help you connect your treatment center with the people who need you most.