If you offer autism therapy in metro Detroit, you know your services are a lifeline for families. And, if you’re in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy especially, you’re focused not only on providing this critical care but also on letting families know it exists.
This matters because autism rates are at an all-time high, now affecting 1 in 36 kids. Based on Michigan’s latest Census data, that’s at least 59,000 children. More parents need help than ever — and they need more clarity and support. How can you stand out and let them know?
We understand. Since ABA first became mainstream in the early 2000s, Zoe Marketing & Communications has connected providers with southeast Michigan families through our sister company, Metro Parent. From our 20+ years of experience, we’ve landed on proven tactics.
With these approaches, you can reach, educate and support the exact families you want to serve.
Address the core autism concerns of metro Detroit families
ABA practitioners are passionate about helping children with autism. The challenge iseffectively communicating your services and simplifying the insurance process for Michigan families.
Time and again, autism therapy providers tell us that parents are most confused about:
What ABA services are, exactly, and how these services can help their child
How to navigate the insurance system, including what’s covered and what’s not
You'll give clarity and guidance by addressing these concerns head-on in your marketing. And you’ll position yourself as a trusted ally for local families.
4 top tactics for ABA therapy practitioners in southeast Michigan
Now, let’s look at the autism therapy marketing tactics that are most successful in delivering your message. These include SEM, content, native programmatic ads and targeted email.
1. SEM makes you visible where metro Detroit parents are searching
When parents seek support for their children, Google is their first stop. So, start by amplifying your presence where it matters most. Use search engine marketing or SEM.
SEM, also known as pay-per-click or PPC, grows traffic to your website through paid ads on search engines (typically with Google Ads). You invest in specific keywords people are searching for. With that, you increase the odds you’ll show up as a top paid ad search result.
SEM also involves researching keywords using a tool like Google Analytics. You’ll learn what people look up for your type of service. And you’ll see what searches drive them to your website.
This immediate visibility of SEM can help you get more impressions and clicks. It's even more potent when you appear in the paid and organic results. That leads to the next tactic.
2. Content builds trust and sets you apart among Michigan clinics
You'll stand out by creating quality content that answers parents’ questions. Good content gets more traffic. And Google rewards that, placing you higher in search rankings.
This is essential since ABA services are increasing in metro Detroit, along with the demand. In fact, some parents are on ABA waitlists for an average of 5.5 months. Content marketing will help you stand out — and let parents know you’re ready to help them now.
Some things to consider:
Are your landing pages clear and direct? Do they address topics in an easy-to-understand way? (Including FAQs on your service pages is one great approach.)
Do you have a regular blog, published at once a month? Do your blogs dig into significant issues like insurance coverage and how ABA works?
Do you have videos on your website showing your staff and services? (Consider getting permission from some clients to film sessions with their kids, to show what it’s like.) Video plays a huge role in putting parents at ease.
What content are your competitors running, and how can you create a better version?
Have you considered running sponsored content with a trusted local source like Metro Parent that’s highly aligned with your target audience?
High-quality content that addresses local concerns can foster trust with future clients.
Also, sharing success stories or testimonials from past clients offers an authentic glimpse into your services. Be careful not to solicit testimonials from current clients, though, as it goes against behavior analyst ethics.
3. Native ads promote your content on Metro Parent and other key sites
This tactic is savvy when you have your own blogs or sponsored content with a media partner.
“Native ads” are paid links to stories. They blend seamlessly into blog feeds, appearing as "related content" alongside stories on websites that aren’t yours. They look like regular article teasers — hence the term “native." But they have a “sponsored” or “paid” label.
Two common examples include:
Native ads that promote your sponsored content on your media partner’s website. It shows up nearby aligned content, encouraging more clicks and traffic.
Native ads that appear on other aligned websites that promote your own blogs. This happens with a process called programmatic. You can’t choose the websites you’ll show up on. But your ads will appear on sites heavily visited by your target audience.
In both cases, these ads feel organic and build trust by offering valuable information to parents browsing in a familiar setting.
4. Targeted email offers direct help to engaged southeast Michigan families
This tactic emails people who have shown a direct or potential interest in the email subject you're covering.
For many reasons, privacy laws prevent targeting based on autism. This is a good thing, because it lets parents control who can access sensitive medical information. However, you can still reach some of these families with a simple solution.
We recommend email campaigns that target specific demographics, like families with children ages 7 or younger, and then retargeting with a second wave that focuses on those who actually opened the email. This allows you connect with people who have shown an interest in you.
Two approaches provide valuable, open-worthy emails:
1. Content promotion
These emails spotlight your content, whether on your website or other local platforms. They're tailored for your local prospects. These emails address people’s top questions and use helpful and empathetic subject lines.
Include your entire blog in the body of the email, with an option to click to your site to learn more. Since you’re reaching out “cold,” this builds more trust than making people click to read the story.
2. Event promotion
These emails promote valuable events you might be hosting, like open houses and webinars. They typically include a designed image with 50-200 words. Because they are art-driven, they’re also called “display emails.” People click a call-to-action button to learn more.
Both methods allow parents to better understand their autism options without sales pressure. And they effectively build your brand recognition.
Next steps for effective ABA marketing in metro Detroit
Autism therapy is vital for children on the spectrum. But, for you to stand apart from all the choices, parents need to know not only that you exist. They need to feel you understand their concerns.
You’ve discovered how a blend of SEM, content, native ads and targeted emails can meet this goal. This marketing mix fosters trust and positions you as a leading expert.
What next? If you want to reach parents in southeast Michigan and Ann Arbor, talk to us. Zoe Marketing & Communications has marketed to families with autism for over two decades. So we can build that connection for you.
And, whatever path you take, keep building your strategy with:
Michele Potts is sales director for Zoe Marketing & Communications. Constantly evolving during her 20+ years in the field, she values building trust and helping clients in various industries understand the basics of complex digital marketing.