This is a guest post by Jeff Guenther, owner of TherapyDen.
Today I am talking about how to attract more clients through referrals from therapist directories like Psychology Today, GoodTherapy and TherapyDen. I know a thing or two about therapist directories because I’ve been running a local one for 6 years and I launched a national one last summer. Because I own and operate directories, I have collected data from all the site visitors who are looking for a therapist.
Recently, I took some time to do a detailed analysis of that data and used it to create a video course on how to optimize your therapist directory profiles. Click here to view it on YouTube or scroll down and click play on the video at the bottom of this article. It’s totally free. No need to sign up for anything. You’re welcome 😉
The information contained in this article is taken from the video.
Why directories are important and everyone should sign up
For all you therapists that don’t have directory profiles out there, why not? The return on investment is bonkers. For around $30 a month, you can attract multiple clients a month. Even if you only got one regular client a year on a directory and that client came in 12 times and paid $100 a session, then you’ve made your money back plus so much more.
Whether we like it or not, Google loves directories. They are massive and have tons of content and Google ranks them first. That’s not to say your little practice website can’t come up on the first page of results. But more often than not, online searchers are going to find themselves on a directory before they see your site. And you should be where clients are looking. It’s marketing 101.
Directory listings also help your personal website. The more places on the internet that point to your website the higher you’ll rank in Google. So that’s a no brainer.
It’s also a smart way to brand yourself. When clients are looking around the internet and see you in multiple places, they start to trust you more. Like I said, your practice should be showing up in all the places clients seek services.
The most important part of a profile is your intro
In this article I want to focus on the most important two sentences you’ll write. Those first two sentences are hugely important when attracting new clients. And unfortunately, most therapists don’t put much thought into them. While browsing through profiles the client will notice your photo and a couple sentences next to it. Whatever you do make sure you don’t write something generic. These are the two sentences that will likely determine whether or not someone clicks through to view your profile. These two sentences, which I’ll call your “intro” need to resonate with your ideal client. You need to think about the niche you’ve decided to focus on and speak directory to that specific client.
First, real quick, what not to do. Don’t write intros that look like these:
“I’m a therapist with 15 years of experience.”
“I use CBT and narrative therapy. Call me for an appointment.”
“My name is Jeff and I am a therapist in Portland.”
All those intros are super dull and people will scroll right past them. And you’ll be thrown in the generalist pile and never looked at again. Unfortunately most therapists write intros like these. Fortunately for you however, your intro will be different and easily stand out from the rest.
Now let’s talk about how to craft the perfect intro.
All you need to do is speak directly to their experience. Your ideal client needs to really connect with your intro. So imagine them scrolling through all the profiles and come up with something that will tap into their emotional experience. Pretend like you can read their thoughts and understand their pain points. Now write an intro that gives them a feeling of relief and a feeling of knowing that you’re obviously their best match.
For example, let’s say the niche you’re appealing to is working with clients that feel anxious in relationships. You could say:
“I help people in anxious relationships feel a lot less anxious.” or
“Are you scared that you’re too needy in relationships? I can help you with that.”
Let’s say your ideal client is a single parent struggling to raise their kids. Your intro could be:
“I help single parents find balance and create structure for their children.”
“Are you a single parent? You must be exhausted. I can help you feel a lot less stressed.”
Or maybe your ideal client is part of the LGBTQ community and they are dealing with discrimination. You might say:
“I am queer and I help fellow queer people deal with micro aggressions and discrimination.”
“I passionately fight for LGBTQ rights. I help queer people feel stronger and more confident.”
When coming up with these types of intros think about the clients that you’re already working with and have a good connection with. There are things that you’ve said that have helped them feel relief and know that they are in good hands with you. Try to speak from that same place.
That’s all there really is to it. If you want a fool proof formula all you have to do is fill in the blank.
“I help ___[name your ideal client]___ feel ___[name the feeling of relief or the new healthy behavior they’ll experience]___.
However, I don’t want to box you into just one formula. You can throw that template out completely as long as you promise not to make your intro boring and dull. You can use the space to display your personality. You can write an authentic message about who you are and how you counsel people. Be funny. Be creative. Be different. The goal is stand out against all the other general and predictable intros you see out there.
Lastly I’ll leave you with the exact character count of how long your intros can be.
Psychology Today is the first couple lines and they add up to 190 characters.
GoodTherapy allows you 200 characters of space.
TherapyDen gives you 140 characters.
Want to learn more?
Obviously, there is a lot more to attracting your ideal clients through your directory listings. You have to think about your photo, you have to choose popular mental health issues and treatment orientations and you have to write three paragraphs or so of text that will connect with your client and influence them to reach out. And if you didn’t know, I was the guy who started telling people they should put a dog in their profile pictures. I’ve gotten some push back on that advice. I understand why. So I ran the numbers and double checked the data to really find out if a cute little pup is a good idea for attracting more referrals. Learn about all these things and more by watching the free video course on YouTube or clicking play below.