How To Choose A Therapist: 8 Key Factors Clients Will Consider When Searching Online
Do you know exactly who your ideal clients are? The ones whom you’re ideally suited to serve?
Do you understand what they search for when looking for a therapist?
Can you answer their subconscious question, “How to choose a therapist correctly?” (People worry about making the “right” choice)
If yes, have you incorporated this insight into your content and the solutions you offer?
Or are you flitting from one shiny marketing object to another, hoping to strike gold? And when you do, not knowing where the success came from?
There are vital factors potential clients look for when they search for a therapist. Each one forms the basis for robust practice growth and success. Fulfill these, and you’ve stacked the deck in your favor.
Your niche: can you help searchers with their exact problem?
People want to answer a question in their subconscious: how to choose a therapist correctly? They want to make the correct decision. To find an expert that treats their particular problem. This is where niches come in.
Do you intimately know your niche?
Nailing this piece of the puzzle can transform the success of your practice. But let’s take one step back to ensure we’re on the same page.
What is a niche?
A niche is a specialized segment of a market. For example, a gastroenterologist concentrates their practice on the gut, not general medicine. A pediatric psychologist focuses only on the care of children. A substance abuse counselor centers on supporting clients with chemical dependencies…
Yes, at the exclusion of other clients.
While specializing solely in one area may seem counterintuitive, focusing on a specific niche brings many benefits, including answering the above question. Because when people see you as the expert they need — the therapist who knows about their particular problem — it’s an easier choice because you become the right answer.
A niche with motivated clients offers ample opportunities for attracting those seeking expert therapy. As you wouldn’t choose an endocrinologist to complete tricky brain surgery, potential clients want an expert who profoundly understands their challenges. When you do, your appeal increases, which makes attracting and converting people into clients becomes simpler.
In connection with this, many people are willing to pay more for niche-specific care. Because they believe (and should) maximize their chances of relief and recovery.
By specializing, therapists gain deeper expertise in their niche. This elevates the quality of the care they can provide, often achieving superior results compared to other clinicians.
This expertise, then, creates a virtuous cycle. Word-of-mouth spreads, attracting more clients, and the spiral continues upwards.
Specializing also allows for targeted marketing, media coverage, speaking engagements, and referrals from other professionals. You become a go-to expert in your field.
It’s also helpful for search engine optimization (SEO). Because you’re producing content that builds on your previous content, you can link between pages on your site, attract links from other sites, gain shares, and help the engines learn that you know your stuff, so to speak.
Together, this means sustaining and growing a specialized practice can be easier than being a generalist.
If you’re unsure what your niche is, Find Your Mental Health Niche to Supercharge Practice Growth provides 10 questions and 13 examples to help you work it out.
As the realtors shout, “Location, Location!”
Your practice location determines in-person access to you. Some clients only want to consult in this way. Maybe it’s your preferred way of delivering care. If so, make the most of your geographical location.
You can do this by:
- Encouraging word-of-mouth referrals
- Optimizing your SEO for local search
- Offering sponsorship within your neighborhood
- Building your local celebrity
- Getting involved in your community more broadly than as a therapist alone
- Being the person “in the know”
- Listing locally
Want more? We’ve got you covered! Learn the specifics for these 7 effective practice-building tips now.
But there is more than one location.
With online acceleration over the last few years, Teletherapy has exploded. For many clients, this change has been a profound plus.
For some people — including those who are busy, disabled, more prone to illness and stress, or limited by geographical lack of access — Telehealth is the preferred option. It’s what they’re searching for.
To attract this large, diverse group, you must offer this service. It can be the difference between you becoming someone’s therapist or not.
But as with all things therapy, essential requirements need to be implemented. We discuss them in The Essential LCSW Checklist for Teletherapy.
The “wow” of your digital presence
Do you have an active digital presence?
Do you post and engage regularly with your online following?
Social media platforms and a professional, content-rich website are essential tools of the trade. Potential clients look for this. They’re a virtual tick in the trust department.
If they’re absent, it can turn potential clients off. People will wonder why you’re not active online. They may assume this indicates that you’re not up with the times… and believe this about the therapy you provide as well.
While this might not be fair, think about a business you’ve searched for and found lacked a site. Or how you felt on noticing a biz hadn’t posted on their social media page for six months. It’s not a favorable look.
Then there is the lack of engagement with your digital community: you cannot grow what you don’t plant and tend. The negative impact on SEO and decline in findability stemming from a lack of investment. The lost traffic and lost clientele.
To succeed and give searchers what they want and expect, you need to prioritize your digital presence.
Great website design
Step back and (try to) objectively examine your website. Ask yourself: what does it say about me?
Many potential clients make up their minds about whether to stay on a site or not within moments. That means your site has seconds to make a good impression. Seconds!
The longer visitors remain on your site, the more likely they will connect with what you say. Consume your content. Search through your services. Read your about page. Become a client.
Website design is critical. Potential clients are attracted or repelled by its visual appeal, the user-friendliness of your navigation, and its structure, words, and quality. While this process may be subconscious, it’s powerful because it’s what potential clients want to see.
Make sure your website design makes the right impression!
Complete directory profiles
Your ideal clients look at directory listings for therapists — particularly at completed profiles.
There is an authority that comes with a perceived endorsement from a directory, especially those that are well-known. And well-known directories create content aimed at people with challenges — yes, including your potential clients. Think Psychology Today and Good Therapy. That’s why listing your practice on these directories can be helpful.
There are also smaller directories, which often attract search engine ranking results.
Some directories are paid, and some are free.
Investigate whether paid directories could improve your findability and conversions. If so, consider membership.
Sign up for reputable free directories.
Complete all directory profiles because visitors will consider this information before visiting your site.
We, humans, are social creatures. The words and opinions of others deeply impact us. It’s unsurprising, then, that testimonials have such a profound effect.
Research shows that 70% of searchers read reviews about health professionals. Eight in ten require five or more reviews to trust a healthcare professional. Authentic testimonials, including reviews, can be the factor that turns a visitor into a client.
The number of testimonials also helps to answer the question: “How many clients does a therapist have?” A higher number of clients infers more experience and expertise, which is compelling for searchers.
Of course, as a therapist, there are limitations and considerations. Don’t let this put you off! Instead, ensure reviews are safely and ethically collected and used. You can wield this power for good.
Do therapists take insurance?
During their search, many potential clients will ask, “Do therapists take insurance”? If you do, place this information on your site where it can be found.
We’ve left this until last because rates are less important than expected.
How can this be true?
Consider point one: Potential clients want an expert who profoundly understands their challenges.
When you position yourself as the expert in your niche, people will want you to be their therapist. When you back this up with an engaged social media presence, a great website, endorsements (perceived or actual), and positive, authentic reviews, arguments about price fade away.
If you’ve completed the above steps correctly and a searcher lands on your site, heads straight to your pricing page, then disappears, they’re likely not your ideal client. Let them go.
Tip: Our Guide To Setting Your Therapist Rates defines how to set your exact rates.
When people look for information about therapy or search for a therapist, there are particular factors they will consider: some obvious, some subconscious. Both are important.
Get focused on your niche and the location or locations you offer. Prioritize an active, professional, and engaging digital presence. Complete directory profiles. Garner and share authentic testimonials. Let people know whether you accept insurance. If you wish to show your rates on your site, establish a page that does so.
And if you need a site that wows rather than bores your visitors, reach out. Creating therapy sites is our niche, and we are experts in this field!
Wait! You Don’t Have A Therapist Website Yet?
Brighter Vision is the ultimate marketing package for therapists, centered around the best therapist website you’ve ever had. Contact us today to get started.