Create an Online Directory Profile that sets you Apart from your Competitors
Psychotherapy marketing should include a number of promotional strategies. And one important
strategy is to develop an online presence. Web sites, blogs, pay-per-click advertising, and listings in online therapy directories
are ways to develop an online presence.
If you have created or are planning to create listings in online
directories such as Psychology Today’s therapy directory or Find-a-Therapist.com, the following suggestions might help.
1. Focus your introductory paragraph on the problems and needs of the prospective
When consumers go shopping for goods or services they have one important question in mind: “What
is in it for me?” Of course, this makes sense, because they are looking for solutions to their problems, answers to
their questions, and fulfillment of their needs.
Focusing the beginning of your introduction on your credentials,
experience, and treatment philosophy will let the prospect know that you are qualified to help him, thus answering one important
“What is in it for me?” question. But when you begin your introduction in this way, you are focusing on
yourself rather than on the prospective client’s problems and need for therapy.
your introduction with a few sentences or a paragraph that emphasizes the prospects’ need for help will speak directly
to him. It shows him that you understand that he has a problem. This connection makes it more likely that the prospect will
contact you to set up a consultation.
After you have piqued the prospect’s interest, discussing your
qualifications (i.e., treatment philosophy, experience, therapeutic approach, credentials, etc.) will let him know that you
are capable of helping him with his problems.
Let’s review opening sentences for several profiles.
• “My treatment method involves the empowerment
• “My first goal in the therapeutic process is to understand the client's needs.
• “My specialty is cognitive behavioral therapy.”
• “I have 25
years of experience providing therapy to teenagers and adults.”
• “I achieve successful
treatment in my practice by customizing various clinically-based methods that fit the specific needs of my clients.”
• “Do you feel trapped in the same old routine?”
• “Happiness is your birthright.”
• “Are you feeling overwhelmed
with the problems in your life?”
• “Enduring the difficult times in our lives can be daunting
unless we have the proper support.”
• "Creating fulfillment: Together we can develop an understanding
of the emotional issues that are holding you back.”
The therapist-focused sentences are clinical in
nature or just don’t display any understanding of the prospect’s problems. For instance, a prospective client
may have no understanding of the “empowerment model” or “cognitive behavioral therapy.” Even if he
does, at this stage in his search, he may be less focused on treatment models and more focused on finding a therapist who
can relate to him. Furthermore, unless the prospect is a clinician of some sort the rather academic phrase, “customizing
various clinically-based methods,” may have little meaning to him.
On the other hand, the client-focused
sentences communicate empathy and warmth. A few of them place emphasis on what a prospective client might be struggling with
like anxiety or depression. And a couple touch upon the goals that prospects might want to achieve like happiness and fulfillment.
These sentences communicate to the prospect: “I understand that you are hurting, scared, or feeling empty.”
2. Include a picture of yourself on your profile
dating service, Match.com, states that profiles with photos are 15 times more likely to receive attention. Granted searching
for a date and searching for a therapist are two different things. And – in most cases – the photo will carry
a whole lot more weight for the person in search of love than the person in search of therapy. But in both cases the
person is looking to make an intimate connection with another human being. So it stands to reason that they will feel more
comfortable exploring the profile of persons – whether potential love interests or potential therapists – who
post pictures on their profiles.
After all, we are visual creatures. The potential of opening ourselves
up to others – making ourselves vulnerable – is risky and scary. Putting your face with your words will help prospective
clients feel more comfortable. And the fact that you are willing to show your face on your profile gives the important impression
that you are approachable.
3. Complete all information on the profile
A prospective client might search a therapy directory to “comparison shop,” or he may have heard of your practice
and wants to learn more about you. So the more information you present about your practice, the more likely it is that your
profile will resonate with him. Maybe one small detail that is listed on your profile – but is missing from your competitors’
– will touch the prospect on a deep level and persuade him to call you.
Even if your profile contains
a link to your Web site, the prospective client may not click on it. So think of your profile as your one and only chance
to reach the prospect.
4. Include a call to action at the end of your introductory
Even though your profile will list your contact information and may even contain a link to send
you an email, including a strong call to action (the steps that you want the prospect to take) on your profile will be helpful.
Consider the following call to action:
“We all want to live happy, fulfilling lives. If something is
holding you back from achieving the happiness that you deserve,
let’s talk about it. I want to help you achieve
your goals. To arrange a time for a free consultation, send me an email.”
No matter how much research
we conduct on our target markets or how much of an understanding we have of their needs, we cannot predict how they will respond
to our advertisements. Whether you have a client-focused introduction on your profile or a therapist-focused one or whether
you attach a photo or not, there is no guarantee that your profile will motivate prospective clients to make an appointment
The point, however, of the profile is to convince as many prospective clients as possible
to contact you. Creating a thorough profile that puts prospective clients first – one that focuses on their problems
and helps them feel comfortable – will improve your chances of reaching the greatest number of prospects.
Copyright © 2009 Katherine Williams
All rights reserved.