market a therapy practice

Is Your About Page Helping People Hire You? Or Are They Clicking Away? FREE TRAINING

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A well-written website can profoundly change your business. When the writing is working, you’re receiving inquiries from clients who say “As soon as I read your site, I knew I needed to see you.”

What do I mean by “a well-written website”?

Great copy (words on your website pages) is different from the great writing you might have done in grad school or in articles you’ve written since.

Website copy works differently from other kinds of writing. We read quickly online. Rather than taking in every word patiently, we tend to scan and judge. Your website copy needs to communicate some important things to your potential clients in just a few seconds.

What pages on your site matter most?

Your Home page and your About page are often the first two pages your potential clients will visit.

A visitor lands on your Home page, and if they like what they see, they click over to your About page. What they find there will help them decide what to do next.

Is your About page helping your ideal clients decide to call you? Or are they clicking away to another site?

I’ve created a brand-new free training for you to help you make it better and more effective.

Grab my video and worksheet for step-by-step instructions. I’ll teach you how to use your Superpowers (the things that set you apart from other therapists) to make your About Page more effective.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create effective language that reaches your potential clients.
  • Decide what to include and what to leave out of your bio.
  • Articulate why you’re the right therapist for your ideal client.
  • Edit out some common mistakes.

Grab it below and let me know how it goes.

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Got A Goal To Grow Your Practice This Year? Let's Get Real.

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I want to get real with you. Because I want you to succeed.

This is the year to embrace your role as an entrepreneur and grow your business into a unique and profitable machine.

That means looking at your business in a totally new way.

Are you ready?

Here’s an area you need to prioritize: Write killer copy for your website that doesn't blend into what everyone else has on their websites.

Most therapists write website copy that does a mediocre job of converting visitors into clients. If you improve your conversion rate even just a tiny bit, it will make a big difference in filling your practice. When you turn more visitors into clients, you increase your income substantially, even before you increase traffic to your site.

We’ll start with your About page. It’s probably the hardest page on your site to write, and it’s one of the very most important.

Next week I’ll share my new free training on how to create a better About page. I’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to write and edit your About page in a way that helps your right-fit clients decide to hire you. 

How To Start A Private Practice On The Cheap (And Eventually Quit Your Day Job)

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So you don’t have a lot of money to invest, but you really want to start your private practice NOW? Or maybe yesterday?

 

I’ll show you how to bootstrap it.

 

When you bootstrap, you pay for the expenses of your practice with the money your practice earns, and you invest more as your business makes more. 

 

I’ll walk you through 3 phases of launching and growing your private practice to the point where it can support you.

 

Phase 1: Getting started

 

I'm assuming you’ve already got some decent clothes to wear, a computer, a phone, and another way to pay your living expenses as you get started.  Maybe you've got a part-time job or a spouse with some income. 

 

Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable to spend SOME money before your practice starts paying for itself. You’ll want about $500 to $1000 saved before you start, and I’ll show you why.

 

Don’t have that $500 or $1000? How badly do you want to do this? Get ready to do an inexpensive vacation, brown-bag your lunch or shop at thrift stores until you’ve got it. If private practice is your dream, you can do it.

 

Here are the steps to get started, starting with the ones that won’t cost you any of your seed money.

 

Do some networking: 

Even before you launch, you will can start networking. Implement my challenge 30 Days To A Strong Referral Network for a free and effective way to bring in your first clients. The only cost is the lunch or coffee you might buy for a colleague.

 

Set up a phone system:

Some therapists use their cell phones with a professional greeting.  Others use google voice or another .

Note: If you’re concerned about HIPAA compliance with your phone or other private practice technology, do a little research. First find out whether or not your particular practice needs to be HIPAA compliant. If you have questions about HIPAA and technology, check out tameyourpractice.com. Rob Reinhardt has tons of free resources there about technology and private practice. If you want to pay for some of his advice, he can save you hours of research time. I paid for his advice myself when expanded my practice.

 

Set up a video system:

You can offer video sessions for free if that’s something you’re trained to do by signing up for a  free video platform. New platforms are showing up every month so stay up-to-date here. 

 

Set up a bank account:

Open a separate bank account for your practice, and make sure it’s free. If your business is a sole proprietorship? That's the default when you're the only owner of a business that's not incorporated. Then you don't have to open a special account that the bank labels a business checking account. Just don't mix your practice account with your personal accounts. 

 

Set up credit card processing:

Get set up to accept credit cards. Create an account with a service like stripe or square, where you can store your clients’ credit cards safely. They’ll take about 3% of the charges, but there’s no fee to set up. It hurts a bit to give up those processing fees, but the convenience makes up for it. Who carries checks anymore?

 

Set up email:

Set up a separate email account for your business. 

 

Get some free business training:

Start here for hours of training for absolutely free. 

 

If you like listening instead, start with my podcast. 

 

Create your Google Business page:

Set up a profile for free. This is a really important step. Don’t skip it.

 

Sign up with a therapist directory using a free trial:

Choose a directory that shows up close to the top of the first page of google when your right-fit potential client is searching for a therapist like you. See if you can get a free trial through your professional organization. Before you’ve got a website, directories are the main way you’ll get people searching online to call you.

 

Get a photo taken:

Have a friend with a good eye take a warm and professional photo. You’ll need this for your directories. I will strongly advise you to get a professional photo taken as soon as possible. For now, please make sure there are no shadows on your face, and look at the camera as if it is one of your favorite people in the world. 

 

Get a Tax ID #:

This is free, and you should get one now if you don’t already have one. You’ll want this for tax purposes and it allows you to NOT use your social security number on the receipts you give clients.

 

Set up tracking systems:

You’ll set up tracking for the most important things in your business so you always know what’s going on. Here’s my article on tracking.  

 

Set up financial record keeping systems:

Set up a few simple systems now, and you’ll kiss yourself next April. Here’s my article about prepping for taxes year round. 

 

Hey, you haven't spent any money yet, and look how much you've accomplished!

OK, here are the things that cost some money: 

 

Sublet an office one day or one half-day a week:

If you’ve got a colleague who will rent you some space by the hour in the beginning, that will save you even more. One day a week will cost you about $300 per month or less, depending on where you live. If you don’t live in an expensive place like San Francisco or New York City, give yourself a high five right now!

 

Create a DIY website: 

Unless you are very tech savvy, start with a DIY platform. I recommend Squarespace because they are better than other DIY platforms at keeping up with changes and their customer support is excellent. A Squarespace site will cost you $16 per month. When you've got a bit of savings, I'll recommend that you consider working with a designer and perhaps using Wordpress instead. For now, just create a simple and professional-looking site with just the basic pages (Home, About, Services (or Specialities), Contact/Fees).

OK, so the website sounds simple! Here’s the catch: writing the copy (words) for your website isn’t that easy. It will take you some serious work and patience to make the copy good enough to attract your right-fit clients. Start writing during phase one using advice from my blog, and you’ll be in great shape.

Here are instructions about how to write ridiculously effective copy. 

Here’s my free training on how to create an excellent about me page. 

 

Link your directories to your website:

Now that you’ve got your site, you want all of your potential clients who find you online to go to your website. That’s the best place for them to learn more about you and then decide to call you.

 

Get your business license:

Depending on where you live, this will cost you around $100 or less.

 

Purchase liability insurance:

It will cost you somewhere around $150 or up to have decent protection. Get a quote for free.

 

Order business cards:

It will cost you less than $50 to get some simple business cards printed. Don’t get too many because your address and other information will probably change soon.

 

Ok so here's your seed money broken down:

 

Rent: 300

Website: 48 (for 3 months)

Business license: 100

Liability Insurance: 150

Business cards: 50

 

So far you’ve only spent about $648. Most of that is rent, so if you find a better deal on that, your number can go WAY lower.

 

To make back your seed money you’ll need somewhere between 3 and 7 sessions in that first month. If you’re highly motivated and put time into the networking or you’ve already got some clients ready to start, that can totally happen. If you’re limited on practice building time or energy and have no clients to start with, set aside an additional month’s rent and other expenses. That’s why I gave you the range of $500 to $1000.

 

Once you’ve recovered your seed money and you’re exceeding your monthly business expenses, start saving up for some key things to build your business. Usually you can start saving when you have four or five sessions per week.

 

Phase 2: Growing your practice until it supports you

 

Here are the things you should spend your money on during this next phase. If you do all of them, you’re looking at under $4000.

 

Get your professional photo taken.

You may want to budget $500 so that you can choose the best photographer. If you find a photographer you LOVE who charges less, you can get this done sooner.

 

Create a better website:

By now you'll know whether you're rocking that DIY website and making it great OR you could use some help. Consider working with a designer who understands the particular needs of therapists. Empathy sites is one great option. 

 

Rent more office space:

If you’re getting full with the office space you have now, sublet an additional day, even if it’s at a different location.

 

Create a profile on an additional directory:

Having a profile on one more directory will increase the odds that your right-fit potential clients will find you online.

 

Take awesome trainings:

Look for the kinds of clinical trainings that inspire you the very most and can give you the skills you and your clients value. Invest in reputable and life changing training, even if it costs a bit more.

 

Take a therapy practice building course:

Speed up your journey by taking a course that teaches you marketing and business management skills and pushes you to actually USE those skills right away. Do this as soon as you can afford it so that it doesn’t take you years to make a good living.

When I run my Superpower Method For Therapists® Program, the beginners often find that they avoid a lot of mistakes and gain clarity about their businesses quickly. Participants who have been in private practice for several years often say they wish they’d taken the course earlier.

 

Do some speaking engagements:

Pitch yourself to the organizations where your right-fit clients hang out. Did you just throw up a little? Ok, just consider it.

 

Sign up for a practice management system:

As your practice grows this will help you stay organized and keep your time and energy focused on the right stuff. There are tons of systems to choose from. Find reviews of almost all of them at tameyourpractice.com.

 

If you’ve been networking strategically and steadily and your website is attracting the right clients, your business bank account should start growing.  You’re on track to quit your day job and start paying yourself from the income of your private practice. This usually happens when you’ve got between 10 and 15 sessions per week.  

 

Phase 3: Making a GOOD living. Phew! 

 

Ready to take your practice to the next level and invest some more?

 

Here’s what you might want to do, in addition to maintaining everything you already set up in phase one and two:

 

Expand your business model:

Consider finding other ways to serve your right-fit clients. Consult with a business coach as you identify your ideal business model. Maybe you'll begin offering group or online services if you aren't already. Maybe you'll bring additional clinicians into your practice. 

 

So that’s bootstrapping a private practice all the way from scratch to making a good living.  

 

Ready to make some serious progress towards growing your practice in the next 30 days? Networking is the fastest way. Sign up for this free challenge and you'll receive 30 days of do-able tasks. 

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You're Setting Your Fees Wrong

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I think you’re probably setting your fees wrong.

 

Sound harsh? I talk to therapists every day who are working hard, doing excellent work...and not making a good living. The process you use to set your fees is one big factor determining whether you’ll make enough money to feel some financial ease or make just enough to scrape by.

 

When you use the wrong process to set your fees, you’re likely to feel resentful and discouraged about how hard you work and how little you take home.

 

I kind of wish I could reach back into the past and tell the me of 15 years ago to read this article. But here I am now, sharing it with you, and that’s good enough for me.


Spoiler alert: I don’t know what your fees should be. Only you can know that. I do have a pretty great step-by step-process to help you figure it out.

 

How most therapists set their fees

 

Is this you?

 

You set a “full fee.” It’s based on a combination of factors including:

 

  • the going rate in your area (or what you think it is)

  • the biggest number you can imagine actually asking for

  • the number of years of experience you have (and what you think that’s worth)

  • the value you place on your services

  • the amount you are comfortable paying for your own therapy

  • The amount you think your colleagues would feel comfortable with you charging

  • The amount you think your current clients can afford

 

You also do a little math and decide that you could make enough if you multiply this full fee number by the number of clients you’ll be seeing.

 

If that’s the process you use, you’re not setting this full fee high enough. You’re setting yourself up to barely scrape by.

 

I’ll tell you why this process for setting your fee is failing you. Then I'll offer you a freebie, instructions and a video to walk you through my step-by-step process for setting your fees.

 

Why is the process so many therapists use wrong?

 

The process above is missing some important pieces, so it inevitably leads to you make too little.

 

I’ll go over 3 big pieces you should take into account next time when you set your fees.

 

Missing piece #1: When you set your fees, you didn't accurately account for your sliding scale. 

If you don’t have a sliding scale, you can skip this missing piece.

 

Sliding scales are great! I use one in my own therapy practice. Most therapists set them up badly.

 

Most therapists set their full fee using the factors I named above, and then make adjustments down from there on a case-by-case basis.

 

You might think that the fee at the bottom of your sliding scale is the problem. I think your problem is more likely the fee at the top of your sliding scale, your full fee.

 

Huh?

 

Your full fee is the problem because you didn’t set it high enough. You need to set the fee at the TOP of the scale high enough that your average fee gives you financial ease.

 

With a sliding scale, fees only go down from your full fee. If you set your fee at 150, your next client isn’t going to say, “That feels too low for me. I’d like to pay $200 because my income is really robust right now and I have a trust fund.” It would be unethical for you to accept more money even if they said it.

 

You need to set your full fee high enough that every time you adjust your fee, you’re confident that your average fee will work for you. Otherwise your only way to change your average fee is to slide less.

 

Getting rid of your sliding scale all together is a valid choice, but it’s kind of a sad choice.

 

Wouldn’t you rather set your full fee high enough that you could easily afford to hold on to some lower fee spots? Wouldn’t you like to be able to slide significantly for a client you’d love to work with who has very little income?

 

Missing piece #2: You underestimated the interruptions in your schedule. 

 

You calculated your fee based on a full schedule. A full schedule is not how life works all the time.

 

Cancellations, attrition, vacations, illnesses and other interruptions all impact the number of sessions you have.

 

Almost all therapists UNDERESTIMATE how many interruptions happen in their schedules.

 

When you underestimate how many times you DON’T see all of your clients in a given week, you’re always financially stressed about cancellations and attrition. You’re always a bit hesitant to take time off. When you add up your income, it falls a little short of what you hoped.

 

When I ask a therapist how many sessions they have per week, they usually tell me the number of sessions they have regularly scheduled.

 

I suggest that you track your actual number of sessions. It’s easy. You can do it now. Just take the past 3 months, add up the number of sessions that actually happened, and divide by the number of weeks.

 

If your practice isn’t full yet, get realistic about how many sessions you will feel comfortable having each week, taking all of those inevitable interruptions into account.

 

You can also adjust your office policies and enforce them to decrease how much these interruptions hurt your business.

 

By the way, you need to take vacation and sick time. It isn’t actually something to be proud of if you never take a sick day. We therapists need self-care just like all other humans.

 

Missing piece #3: You're not allowing for savings

 

Savings? That’s something we therapists often leave out. When I was setting my fees early on, I don’t think I even used the word savings. Savings is the path to financial ease in your business and in your personal life.

 

You probably left out or underestimated the savings you need when you set your fee.

 

Let’s start with personal savings. You deserve to put away some money before you pay your bills.

 

If “savings” is too alien a word, try these instead:

 

  • Unexpected bill

  • Retirement

  • Unexpected health problems

  • Time with your family

  • Buying your next car with cash

  • Mortgage payoff

  • Rent increase

  • Caring for an aging parent

  • Travel

 

Then there’s business savings. Yep, you deserve to build savings for your business too. Occasional business costs come up that aren’t in your regular business budget. When you add up your anticipated business expenses, it’s easy to forget stuff. Unexpected expenses and opportunities come up now and then.

 

Here are a few examples:

 

  • You need a new sofa for your office.

  • A once in a lifetime training is happening in your town.

  • Your lease is not renewed so you need a new office deposit.

  • A bill you forgot about came in the mail.

  • Your website needs an overhaul.

 

If you add them all up, these occasional costs actually come up often. Sometimes a bunch of them happen at once. Imagine having that money already sitting in your business savings account before those expenses come up. Ah, peace!

 

It’s time to get ready to set your fees in a new way. Get my step-by-step instructions below. You'll get a video and worksheet walking you through the simple process. 

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Redefine Marketing And You'll Get Better At It

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Does marketing your therapy practice feel a bit cumbersome/boring/tedious/painful?

 

You’ve gotta redefine what “marketing” is because if you’re feeling that way, your marketing isn’t working as well as it should. Also, life’s too short to feel that way about such an important part of your job.

 

A person who’s looking for a therapist goes on some kind of journey to find one. They might begin that journey by asking a friend, asking a professional, searching online, or attending a talk.

market a therapy practice

 

Marketing your practice is facilitating that search (journey) for the people who are a good fit for your therapy practice. When you think of marketing that way, you can relax. You can even have fun with it. Ask yourself how can you facilitate these journeys in thoughtful and interesting ways.

 

Here are just a few of the ways your next right-fit client might find you:

 

A Referral From One Of Your Colleagues

You can facilitate that journey by allowing your colleagues to know you and get a sense of  what you do. I just had tea with an awesome therapist today (Hi, Shirin!) We didn’t even talk a lot about our clinical work, but I know who to send her way because I know her a little bit better.

 

Online Search

You can facilitate this journey by speaking directly to your right-fit clients on your site. You can also create awesome, thoughtful content that you house on your site and share over social media platforms. Create content that’s useful for your potential clients and fun for you. Some therapists enjoy blogging. Others like creating videos. Others like being guests on podcasts, or hosting a podcast.

 

Public Speaking

Create a talk centered around the needs of your next potential clients. Imagine what they are looking for help with, and make that your topic. Ease the journey by giving attendees a clear path to working with you at the end of the talk. That’s not selling. It’s helping.

 

Make the end of this journey welcoming and seamless.

No matter how your next clients find you, make sure the process of calling you, emailing you or scheduling an appointment online is simple and straightforward.

Want free advice to build your therapy business? Of course you do. Sign up below. I take my spot in your inbox seriously. 

Answer 3 Questions About Your Business Before 2017

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As you get ready to set your business goals for 2017, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What worked this year?

  2. What have you started doing that will likely show results in 2017?

  3. What have you been doing that needs a small tweak in order to show results?

If you’re just starting out, read this post with 2018 in mind.

The Pereto principle states that 80% of your success will come from 20% of your efforts. Let’s apply this principle to your therapy business. Identify the marketing activities that contribute the most to bringing in clients, do more of those things, and you’ll fill your practice.

Are you drawn to trying new things? I get it. Me too. As you set goals for 2017, it’s tempting to add new marketing activities. That MIGHT be a good idea. After carefully considering these 3 questions, you’ll be in a good position to choose the right new activity. It might be the year for you to start a blog, add a workshop to your offerings, or launch a podcast. Just wait until you’ve figured out what’s already working. This process is like going through the clothes in your closet before you head to the store.

You may think doing a little bit of every marketing activity will be the best way to build your practice. That's exactly wrong. 

Doing a very small number of activities well and consistently is more likely to bring you the practice you want.

Wondering how it can hurt to do everything? You’ve got limited time. If you spend 2 hours a week on marketing you’ve only got 100 hours to dedicate all year. Spending those hours wisely is one key to your success.

When you spend time on one marketing activity, you’re taking time away from another one. That’s opportunity cost. Doubling or tripling the time and energy you spend on the most effective activities will bring you more clients. You can’t increase the most effective activities unless you cut back on the activities that have been taking up the other 80% of your marketing time. Something’s gotta go.

If you were a larger business, opportunity cost would be less of a big deal. For example, you could afford to send a team off to work on social media and then measure the results of that experiment. You’re one person. When you experiment with social media, you spend less time writing articles, talking to your colleagues, or finding public speaking gigs. You must make room for change and innovation, but you also must be careful with how much of your time you spend in different areas.

WHAT WORKED THIS YEAR?

How did your clients find you in 2016? It might be difficult to identify which of your marketing activities led to new clients. Sometimes you don’t know exactly where your clients found you because they don’t remember. That’s ok. Do your best to figure out where your clients came from this year.

Two tools that will help you gather this information are an inquiry tracking system and Google analytics. If you aren’t familiar with Google analytics, um…Google it.

If you’ve been using an inquiry tracking system, you have a wealth of information to examine. If you haven’t, start now! At minimum, track this information for each person who inquires about services: date, name, where they found you, and whether they came in for a session.

To figure out what’s happening with your website, use Google analytics. Install it now if you haven’t already. Google analytics will start gathering information from the moment you install it, but it can’t gather past data. Start looking at how many people visit your site each month, where they come from, and which pages on your site are most popular. Don’t go down a wormhole and spend too much time on Google analytics. As all online tools, it can be a helpful assistant or a time suck.

If you have no tracking system and you don’t have analytics installed, do your best to remember where your last 10 clients came from.

Now get ready to do more of what worked. Here are two examples.

If you discover that many of your clients found you through an online directory, put MORE energy into your profile on that directory. Get a better photo, update your specialties, and edit your statement so that it speaks directly to your right-fit client in the very moment that they need you. Then consider joining a second directory.

If you notice that one or two colleagues sent you many of your clients, nurture those relationships. Invite those colleagues to attend a training with you, or set up a lunch date. Then think about what makes these referral partners such a good fit and look for a few more colleagues just like them. Nurture those relationships too.

WHAT HAVE YOU STARTED DOING THAT WILL LIKELY SHOW RESULTS IN 2017?

Maybe you’ve planted seeds with some of your marketing activities and they haven’t had a chance to grow yet. Don’t abandon your activities before they have a chance to work.

For example, if you’ve started relationships with colleagues who have told you “I’ve sent you a few referrals,” but those people never seem to call, don’t give up. It sometimes takes months for the necessary chain of events to happen: Your colleague gets to know you and understands what you do well, they talk to a person who is looking for a therapist just like you, they give that person your name, the potential client looks you up, and then the potential client takes the first step of contacting you. If you’re planting networking seeds with several colleagues, those seeds will bloom. You just can’t control when.

In my experience and the experiences of the many therapists I’ve worked with, these are the activities most likely to start working after a number of months of persistent activity:

  • Networking 1:1 with colleagues

  • Giving talks to groups that include your right-fit clients

  • Having good, niched profiles in directories with high traffic

  • Creating great copy on the most popular pages on your website

  • Creating great content such as articles for your website

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THAT NEEDS A SMALL TWEAK IN ORDER TO SHOW RESULTS?

Maybe you’re doing some of the right things, but you need to make small changes to HOW you’re doing those things.

Let’s look at a few examples.

You study Google analytics and discover that your website isn’t turning visitors into clients often enough. You’ve got hundreds of visitors to your site each month, but you only get one or two phone calls. Just about every visitor looks at your homepage, so work to make the copy better. Every word should speak directly to your right-fit client. Need some help with this process? Here you go.

You’ve gone to an organization’s networking event every month all year, and not a single client has been referred from those colleagues. If no one you’ve met there appeals to you, jump ship now and don’t look back. If, on the other hand, you feel like you’ve made some good connections with colleagues who you like and respect, make a tweak to your process. Go to the event every other month, and invite one or two of those colleagues to coffee one on one in between. Go here for more help with networking.

You’ve done 3 public speaking gigs this year, and only one client has resulted. Ask yourself a few questions to identify what small changes you need to make. Did you give your audience members an easy path to sign up for a free consultation right after the talks? Did you keep the topic of your talks narrow enough that you could cover that topic well? Did you give opportunities for the participants to interact with you and the other participants? For more tips on public speaking, go here.

Before you go on to the next stage of goal setting, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on what worked this year.

Ready to create the practice you want and deserve? My next Superpower Method For Therapists® Program begins in February. Find out more. 
 

How To Use Your Superpowers In Your Marketing Plan (Video)

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This week one of my favorite colleagues interviewed me. Kat Love is an amazing web designer for therapists, and she's got a great blog with resources for building your online presence. In our lively video chat, she asked about how the Superpower Method For Therapists® works. Here are a few of the things we talked about:

  • How to begin to identify your Superpowers

  • Four ways to use your Superpowers in your marketing

  • How to make sure your Superpowers come across on your about me page

  • How to get started immediately in using your Superpowers

I get nervous anytime I give a talk or get in front of a camera, but this chat was actually fun. You'll like Kat, and I hope you grab a few ideas you can try right away.

Watch the interview and get Kat's helpful summary, notes, and resources.

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How To Write (Ridiculously Effective) Pages For Your Therapy Website Part 3

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In this series, I’ve been walking you through 11 keys to writing great copy for your website pages. Great copy helps your conversion rate, meaning more of your website visitors will turn into clients. Here are all eleven keys.

 

  1. Identify your Superpowers
  2. Find your authentic writing style
  3. Write to a person (or a small group of people)
  4. Identify their pain
  5. Identify their hope
  6. Express what you believe about therapy
  7. Make each page simple
  8. Use headlines, not greetings
  9. Give a clear call to action
  10. Create a logical structure for your site
  11. Edit out any professional jargon

 

In this post I’ll walk you through the last 5 keys.

Make each page simple

When you write a page on your website, it’s tempting to include a lot. You don’t want to leave out anything that your potential client needs to know about you, your therapy practice, or the issues you help with. There’s so much you want to share with your potential clients!

 

Step away from the keyboard.

 

We read web content differently than we read print content. Assume your readers are skimming. Rather than reading through the content in order, your visitors read across the top of the page, then quickly read only some of the rest of the words on their way down the page.

 

Visitors tend to engage on a website by clicking through to view more pages rather than by reading entire pages.

 

Give your visitors a comfortable experience on your site by keeping it clear and simple.

 

Focus on making one main point per page.

 

Got more to say? Add a blog to your site and start writing articles for those visitors who want to go deeper.

 

Use headlines, not greetings. 

 

Don’t use a greeting such as “welcome to my website” or “This is a safe place.” Those kinds of headlines waste precious real estate.

 

The headline is the first thing your visitors will read, and for some it may be the only thing they read. Use your headline to say something important about your right-fit client or the way you help. In part 2, I told you that you need to identify and name 3 things: your potential client’s pain, their hope, and one key that helps them heal in therapy. Your headline should be a statement or a question that focuses on one or more of those three elements. Don’t try to summarize your entire practice in your headline. Say something simple that pulls your visitor to read further.  

 

Give a clear call to action. 

 

What do you want the visitor to do? Make that clear on every page. Your call to action may be to set up a free phone consultation, call you, or schedule online. Tell the visitor exactly what to do. Even if you have a contact page, you’ll also give a call to action on every page.

 

Create a logical structure for your site. 

 

There’s not one right way to structure your site. Imagine the journey of your right-fit client and consider what pages you’d most like them to see. Make those pages easy to find and linked at the top of your home page. Is there one specialty you want to focus on more than all others? Place that front and center so that your right-fit client can’t miss it. Ask a few different friends to look at your site while you’re sitting with them. Watch how they navigate your site and see if there’s anything you need to shift to make it easier or more logical.

 

Edit out any professional jargon. 

 

Who is your right-fit client? Unless they are a therapist, you’ve got to edit out the professional jargon. As therapists, we’re so used to talking about our work that we forget how much we’re speaking therapist.

 

Do a jargon audit, looking through every page and finding places where you’re using words most people don’t use often.

 

The one place on your site where some of those jargon words may belong is on your about me page. When you talk about your training and experience, you might use some words the average person wouldn’t be familiar with. When you use those words, explain what they mean. After your jargon audit, invite a friend who doesn’t speak therapist to read your copy. Ask them to point out any jargon you’ve missed.


 

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How To Write (Ridiculously Effective) Pages For Your Therapy Website, Part 2

writing pages for a therapy website

In my last post I went through the first 2 keys to writing ridiculously effective pages for your website. Let’s tackle 4 more. First, here's the whole list. 

  1. Identify your Superpowers
  2. Find your authentic writing style
  3. Write to a person (or a small group of people)
  4. Identify their pain
  5. Identify their hope
  6. Express what you believe about therapy
  7. Make each page simple
  8. Use headlines, not greetings
  9. Give a clear call to action
  10. Create a logical structure for your site
  11. Edit out any professional jargon

Now I’ll focus on the keys 3 through 6.

 

Write to a person (or a small group of people)

 

You’re trying to speak to everyone and you have to cut it out. When you write to everyone, you reach no one.

 

You invite an entire imaginary committee into your head as you write your website. You’ve got past clients, current clients, imaginary future clients, colleagues, mentors, family, friends, and even frenemies, all in your head, voicing their opinions about everything you write. You’re trying to please all of them and offend none of them.

 

You’ve got to write to a person or a very small group of people every time you write, and you’ve got to be willing NOT to please everyone else.

 

It’s ok if some of your friends or family members read your site and say “this site would really put me off.”

 

When my mother looked at my therapy site with its mention of “cutting edge therapy,” she said it would scare her away. That’s ok! She is different from my right-fit client. My center works with couples in the Bay Area who insist on the cutting edge for just about everything in their lives. My mom lives in a small town in Wisconsin, and she’d be looking for a different therapist.

 

Please ask your committee to leave your head. Instead, try writing to just one person or a very small group. In my Superpower program I take you through an in depth process called “the right-fit client exercise” to identify exactly who you need to be speaking to and how to speak their language. In that process, you choose actual people to design your business around and write your web copy for.

 

You may worry that you risk limiting yourself and excluding important potential clients if you get too specific.

 

That’s not likely. You are at risk though: for standing out. (See what I did there?)

 

Once you’ve figured out exactly who you’re writing to, and you’ve kicked everyone less helpful out of your head, you can try the next keys.

 

Identify their pain

 

Your right-fit client is asking: Does this therapist understand what I’m struggling with?

 

Write down what your right-fit client is struggling with. Don’t name every problem you can think of. Choose the things they are most distressed about when they choose to call you.

 

Describe that struggle in the words the client would use.

 

Let’s imagine a client named Becca. She’s in the middle of a break up and she’s in a depressive episode for the first time in her life. She’s feeling alone and hopeless.

 

Becca looks at 2 websites.

 

Website A names depression among a long list of other issues and then focuses on the methods the therapist uses.  Becca may keep searching and plan to come back later.

 

Website B talks about about what depression feels like and gets it right. Becca may go ahead and take the next step to make an appointment.

 

Take some time to sit with and write about the pain your right-fit client experiences when they are getting ready to make their first appointment with you. Use the words they would be likely to use.

 

Identify their hope

 

What’s on the other side of therapy? If the pain you’ve described is the before, what’s the after?

 

We’ll use Becca and her depression as our example again. If she’s struggling with depression now, what’s the hope? It’s not just a lack of depression.

 

Maybe she hopes to feel alive again. Maybe she hopes to enjoy the simple moments of life that feel flat for her right now. Maybe she hopes to find motivation to get important things done.

 

Think about the people you’ve helped work through their pain and come out the other side.  Write about the relief your work brought them.

 

Never oversell or guarantee results. Describe what is likely and possible.

 

Express what you believe about therapy

 

You’ve got strong opinions about therapy. You’ve got stuff to say about why therapy works and how your clients get better. Grab your laptop and write about one of those beliefs. This doesn’t have to be ground-breaking, and you don’t have to be the only person who holds this belief. Brene Brown wasn’t the first person who thought vulnerability was an important aspect of mental health. (Not that you have to be as compelling as Brene Brown. You really don’t.)

 

Make it simple and focus on one belief or opinion rather than several.

 

For example, perhaps you believe that one key to recovering from depression and awakening health is to speak one’s truth. In therapy, you give a lot of attention to helping your clients find and speak their truth. Name that.

 

I’m not done! Next time I’ll cover the final keys. If you ignore the last 5 keys, your copy might be pretty terrible. That’s not a scare tactic. I’m telling you because I love you and I want you to reach the clients who need you.

 

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How To Write (Ridiculously Effective) Pages For Your Therapy Website, Part 1

This is what you want to hear from your next client:

 

“As soon as I started reading your website, I knew you were the right therapist for me.”

 

When you hear this, you know your website did its job. Its job is simple: to convert your potential right-fit clients into actual clients.

 

You might be wrong about what it takes to get your website ready to do that job for you. (No offense. I used to be wrong about this too.)

 

You understand that you need to choose the platform (wordpress, squarespace or another). You know you need to choose a pleasant visual design and a great photo. If you haven’t done those things yet, you may be overestimating how much time and energy they’ll take. You can either create a simple and professional DIY site or you can hire someone to put it together for you. For my ideas on what to spend on your website, read this.

 

What you may underestimate is how much work it will take to write great copy (words) that will speak directly to your potential right-fit clients so that they understand that you are their ideal therapist.

 

Great copy is what it takes to hear those wonderful things from your next clients. Great copy is what your website needs to do its job. 

 

Without great copy, your website will be just ok. It hopefully won’t scare clients away, but it won’t convert many people either.

 

You could hire a copywriter. You could pay someone talented and experienced to write your pages for you. Before you do that, you should know that:

 

  1. A good copywriter will cost a lot.
  2. Even if you hire a copywriter, you’ll need to go through an extensive process to prepare the writer to take over the job.

 

Given the cost, most therapists choose to do their writing themselves. I’m dedicated to helping you write great copy. It’s a huge part of what we do in The Superpower Method For Therapists™ Program.

 

So let’s dive into HOW to create great copy for your therapy website:

 

The keys to writing a great therapy website

  1. Identify your Superpowers
  2. Find your authentic writing style
  3. Write to a person (or a small group of people)
  4. Identify their pain
  5. Identify their hope
  6. Express what you believe about therapy
  7. Make each page simple
  8. Use headlines, not greetings
  9. Give a clear call to action
  10. Create a logical structure for your site
  11. Edit out any professional jargon

 

I’ll go through the first 2 keys now.

 

Identify your Superpowers

 

What are your Superpowers?

 

What are the qualities that set you apart from other therapists and other people in general? When you’re in your zone of genius, what are you doing and how are you being with clients?

 

We dedicate an entire 2 weeks in my course to helping you identify and talk about your Superpowers.

 

A couple of the questions we explore in the course are:

 

  1. What would people who know you and love you the most say about how you relate to people?
  2. What do you stand for?

 

Describe what you’re like to work with and what sets you apart from other therapists. Emphasize what makes you different rather than what makes you better. You’ll say most of this on your about me page, and you may sprinkle it in other pages too. You’ll use very little real estate on your site to talk about yourself, so choose those words well.

 

(It’s your website so why will you say so little about yourself? Because 90% of your website should be about your client’s struggle and journey.)

 

Use your authentic voice

 

Copying someone else’s writing style won’t work.

 

Have you ever observed someone else communicating in a certain way and thought, “That is working really well for them. I should communicate that way.” If you’ve tried it, you know it just falls flat.

 

You do you.

 

The words on your site should be written in your authentic voice, the way you communicate when you’re at your best. Maybe you’re funny, emotional, mindful, concrete, calm, or fierce. You might stand up passionately or speak gently. When you communicate with your authentic voice, you’re powerful.

 

Here’s an example of two therapists who specialize in working with clients struggling with depression. (I made these folks up).

 

Tina is a goal oriented, energetic therapist. On her site she says:

“You shouldn’t have to wait any longer to feel better. If you’re ready to jump in, take action and make some real changes, I might be the therapist for you. ”

 

Tarika is a gentle, thoughtful therapist. On her site she says:

“You’re suffering. It’s time to slow down and stop pushing. I will help you lean into your natural wisdom.”  

 

There are as many authentic voices as there are therapists.

 

Before you start writing or overhauling your website, find yours.

 

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