Guest post by Becky DeGrossa
If you are anything like me and the majority of therapists I have met, you didn't receive any training in school for marketing yourself as a therapist. Instead, you spent all of your time learning about therapy, different methods and techniques, and wondering how it would be to start seeing real clients after you closed the books and went out to hang your shingle. We are experts in sitting with clients, but not in marketing ourselves. A significant number of therapists are unsure about how to effectively market themselves -- and rightfully so. I was there, too. Over the past seven years, I have worked with therapists from all over the world; most of whom have a website that is not effective in attracting clients. They know they need to do something, but don't know what. There are also quite a few therapists who have never had a website before, but with a decreasing client-load, they, too, know something has to change.
As I am sure most of you know, the increased use of search engines to find services has made not having a website not really an option. Having a website is a vital aspect of your private practice, and if done correctly, can turn potential clients into real clients. Throwing a website up online, however, without any thought put into marketing, can be just as bad as not having a website. So, how do you create an effective website that grabs the attention of your website visitors?
How to Grab Your Potential Client's Attention on Your Website
If you currently have a website, or plan to create a website in the future, learning how to grab your potential client’s attention is vital. Catching their attention is the first step to creating an effective website for your private practice. By ensuring to include the following characteristics on your website, you will be one step closer to turning your potential clients into real clients.
- Let the site visitor know, within 1-2 seconds of their arrival, that they are in the right place for good information about their specific issues: Communicating to a site visitor that they are in the right place is very important. If they don’t see, within 1-2 seconds, that your site has addresses their issue, they will leave. That is a short amount of time to make an impression. You can make sure they know what your site is about by including your specialties in the navigation bar, having a clear title on your website about your specialty (or specialties), and including photos that communicate the types of issues you work with.
- Give them a very clear path to follow to find out more about their specific issue: Providing someone with a clear, easy path to finding out more about their specific issue is a very important aspect of ‘attention grabbing’. If you don’t provide a clear path, they will more than likely leave your website to find one that is relevant to what they are searching for. Make it easy by listing your services in your navigation bar to ensure a site visitor knows exactly where to go to find out more about their specific issues. You can also have links on your homepage and sidebar linking to various specialty pages. Remember, you only have 1-2 seconds to show them you can help.
- Talk to them about their specific issue in detail, so there is NO question that you know what they're feeling: Another aspect of ‘attention grabbing’ is speaking to the client in a way that illustrates that you know exactly how they are feeling. You can do this through the content and photos on each of your specialty pages, as well as your homepage. You want messages that speak directly to the person and directly to the pain of their issues. When writing your website content, put yourself in the place of someone looking for a therapist -- what would you want to see if you were having relationship issues, for example? You want someone to read about their issue and feel as if you bugged their house (or their mind) -- to illustrate that you know what they are going through and that you can help. By doing so, you build a sense of trust and prove that you are the expert.
- Tell them what to do next (call to action): Last, but definitely not least, make sure you tell the site visitors what to do next. This can be calling you to set up a free consultation, scheduling an appointment on your online scheduler, or downloading a free report. Having a specific call to action will result in more interaction and increase the likelihood that they will contact you.
Grabbing the attention of your site visitors is only one aspect of creating an effective therapy website, but it is a very important one. If you do the things I discussed, you will be well ahead of the people down the block from you who are treating the same issue.
Becky DeGrossa, techie therapist and online marketing guru, spent 20 years in the corporate arena working with Fortune 500 companies, before leaving that world to become a therapist. Her previous professional experience as a consultant initially left her shocked at how hard it was to grow her private psychotherapy practice. Becky then stumbled across a proven marketing system, she implemented it, and her practice exploded.
Becky now combines her technical, marketing, and psychology backgrounds to serve the international therapy community at CounselingWise. She has helped hundreds of therapists in the fine art of client attraction – teaching them how to market themselves, what they need to do to get more clients, and giving them the tools they need to set themselves apart.
Becky is a total “process nerd” — meaning that she LOVES learning something new…testing it out to see if it works…tweaking it so it works better…and then systematizing it so it can be done over and over. This predilection has resulted in efficiencies that range from…yes, the loading/unloading of the silverware basket in her dishwasher…to…rapid increases in marketing effectiveness for her clients.