4 Ways An Online Presence Builds Trust with Prospective Clients
Close your eyes and think… who would you trust with your deepest secrets?
Now, ask yourself why?
See, when we think about building our practice and getting more clients and referrals, the answer to this question is key. Humans are well, human, and the decision to take action, in this case, to book a consultation at your clinic, requires a certain amount of trust… Especially when seeking assistance in such an intimate area as mental health.
What is trust anyway?
Merriam-Webster defines ‘trust’ as:
“assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
[and] one in which confidence is placed”
It’s something you engender in practice every day and it is an integral part of how you get the results you do, but how can you exude this trait within the cyber world?
With a private practice online presence.
We know this may seem counterintuitive, so stay with us as you can and ought to build trust online. And indeed, having an online presence helps you build trust with your ideal clients, so you are able to increase both your bookings and build a practice filled with the clients you most love to serve.
Let’s look at four ways an online presence can build trust with prospective clients, and how you can get the most from your digital efforts.
1) Ask for a first date, not their hand in marriage
When people first meet the love of their life, there is a fleeting glance, a twinkle in the eye, a nervous first date, followed by a period of getting to know each other and subsequent family introductions. Maybe, just maybe, an eventual marriage proposal follows. Yet when we think online, we hope for an instantaneous leap into therapeutic forever.
It is estimated by 2020, a prospective client will need 20 ‘touches’ — or exposures to your brand — before they will take an action. This means you need to enter their consciousness, woo with great content, refresh their awareness that you even exist, give more valuable content that truly helps, and after cycling through these steps a number of times, you may catch a client.
It takes time and online consistency before you reach consumer ‘I do’ so plan, implement and be patiently consistent. As Katie Vernoy explains in her article Streamlining Your Private Practice to Increase Your Bottom Line, efficient systems and automation are key.
2) Social proof for social creatures
We, humans, are social creatures. Think about the study that showed people chose not to move in the face of erupting smoke unless their counterparts did, or how people can respond in a way diametrically opposed to their core values when around others. Social proof is powerful, and this includes in the digital world. This societal form of evidence is critical in building online trust.
Moz.com looked at social proof in the guise of online reviews. What they found ought to set your clinic brain on fire! “Online reviews impact 67.7% of respondents’ purchasing decisions. More than half of the respondents (54.7%) admitted that online reviews are fairly, very, or absolutely an important part of their decision-making process.”
Bang! Instant trust and credibility wrapped up neatly in a package of 5-star reviews? It certainly helps.
If you don’t have an online presence? You simply don’t have this social proof.
In fact, when you lack a digital footprint, people may wonder why and even question whether you are a real person with a reputable business, let alone one that might help them. How funny that we have flipped from bricks and mortar to website proof in less than one generation. As the digital natives bloom into adulthood, this is set to become the status quo.
3.) Online relationships are built on valuable content and community
Trust is key to building a relationship, so how does having an online presence help you achieve this?
It is possible to use private practice marketing to build relationships with people you don’t yet know. When you share a tip that helps, a blog post that targets an issue and makes a real-world difference for the reader, a video that shares the answer to a burning question… when you offer great content with your prospective client in mind, you build trust.
When you are positively featured on a celebrity website or the feed of mainstream mass media, their community and influence instantly sprinkles virtual growth hormone on your credibility.
Plus, when you give of value the law of reciprocity kicks in. People who you help want to help you in return. And when they share your content with their friends, you gain a reputation boost akin to the old school value of word of mouth.
What tools are crucial in building your community?
You need a professionally designed website with private practice marketing in mind, with a blog geared for your success. This is our sole focus and expertise, so unlike other providers, we get you and know how to help you achieve your goals. That’s why we’ve created a platform that will automatically post already written therapy blog posts directly on your website. Learn more about our Growth Platform right here.
4.) The uber-power of cyber research
When a prospective client seeks a health professional, more goes into the search than ‘X profession, (town name)’. Therapists are trusted with a person’s deepest thoughts, their strongest fears and sincerest hopes. It’s a big decision. The more they can discover about your expertise and approaches, and about you, the easier that decision.
How can someone do their internet due diligence if there is nothing for them to read? And even worse, what if you have an unethical competitor or a disgruntled client, and the only information a potential client can find about you — if they can find you at all — is negative?
By incorporating a private practice online marketing strategy that places you front of mind, you are able to seamlessly glide into the contender mix. With fantastic and valuable content, you can step your way to the top of the candidate pile. All while not directly talking to them.
Word of mouth, both on and offline, matter.
As you can see, when you combine an online presence with a well-considered private practice marketing strategy, you multiply your ability to reach and engage with prospective clients. This helps to fill your consultation books with loyal clients and create your ideal practice.
Take these 4 tips to heart and in no time, you’ll become an online trust building magnet.
We know therapy life is busy and your specialty lies in changing people’s lives, not the online space. As online trust building is key to how well you are able to reach, connect with, and help more people, at Brighter Vision we want to support you in your business.
Join this 5-part email course to get specially curated therapist tips on how you can get more clients through your website.