10 Secrets to Getting More Online Therapy Clients

Many of our therapist and social worker clients ask us: how do I get more online therapy clients? Over the years, we have helped dozens of therapists and social workers launch their new private practices or rebrand their existing businesses. Once we design their website, it’s almost always the first question they ask. How can I promote my therapy services online?

It can be scary to promote yourself as a therapist. Getting more online therapy clients can be a challenge. Marketing isn’t necessarily something you learned when you were training to be a therapist. With a little help, you’ll see that marketing isn’t all that different from therapy. It’s also about understanding the human mind.

Getting More Therapy Clients from your Website

Launching your website or setting up a social media account doesn't mean you'll automatically get visitors. We like to use this analogy: Launching a website or social media account is like announcing to an empty room that you've arrived. You need to advertise, network, or create valuable content in order to bring people to your room. Once they're in your room, your website will help turn them into clients.

A new website doesn't usually rank very high in Google. If you don’t have a lot of valuable content on your website, there’s no reason it should. In very simplified terms, Google’s algorithm ranks websites based on how old they are and how reliable they are. Because it's a research-based search engine, it prioritizes websites that have a lot of content.

So, a new website isn’t enough. If you don’t have dozens of keyword-rich blog posts, there’s no reason for Google to show your website to people who are searching. And you're definitely not going to rank higher than your colleagues. They probably have websites that have been around a lot longer. Or they have a lot more content on their websites.

Just because you’re a new kid on the block, doesn’t mean you can’t get there. It just takes time and a little bit of effort. Here are our tried and true methods for getting more online therapy clients.

10 Secrets to Getting More Online Therapy Clients

  1. Get a Website

    The first step to establishing your online presence is to create an easy-to-use website. Avoid therapy jargon and insider terminology. Make it simple. Describe the unique services and approach you can offer your clients. Think about yourself as a brand. Try to appeal to your target demographic with appropriate colours, fonts, and images. Hire a professional photographer and get headshots of yourself and your team.

    If your clients can imagine themselves reflected in your website design, they will trust you more. Present a professional and polished version of yourself or your practice. While a website alone won’t necessarily bring in clients, it will help turn people into clients when they get there. Getting a professional website is the first step to getting more online therapy clients.

  2. Offer Free Consultations

    By far the best way to get new client bookings is to subscribe to a Scheduling platform and offer a Free 15-Minute Consultation. This should be the main call-to-action or the main thing you want people to do on your website. Your buttons and text should direct visitors to your booking platform. People need to know what you want them to do on your website otherwise they won’t do anything.

    When choosing a booking platform, be sure to consider its features for new clients. The Jane Booking System is a great service for therapists and social workers that’s also compliant with most health privacy laws. Owl Booking is another great option. However, at the time of writing, Owl requires clients to create an account before they can book a meeting.

  3. Make Booking Easy

    That brings us to our next point. This is a key secret to getting more online therapy clients. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to book a Free 15-Minute Consultation with you. If you choose a booking platform that requires clients to create an account, it will be a major deterrent to new clients. User Experience research tells us it should not take visitors more than 3 clicks to make an appointment. Otherwise, they just won’t.

    Open your calendar (even for just a few hours per week) and allow visitors to book directly. Forms and email are not nearly as effective as direct booking. Most people (especially millennials) prefer to book a free consultation. They can do it anytime, anywhere, and on any device. It also saves you and your clients time spent corresponding back and forth via email.

    Imagine your potential clients. It might be the middle of the night. They might be seriously distressed. They could be afraid to reach out. They probably have a million things on their mind. Making that first step to get help as easy as possible guarantees that they will follow through.

  4. Start a Workshop

    A workshop is a perfect way to differentiate yourself from all of the other therapists out there who offer very similar services. Remember, the average person does not understand the difference between CBT, DBT and EFT. How will they ever decide on a therapist if you don’t make it super simple?

    Do you specialize in perinatal mental health? Do you work primarily with young professionals or kids? Perfect. Make sure that’s super clear on your website. Offer a reduced rate group session for pregnant people or families. It’s a safe way to build a relationship with potential clients and develop your niche.

  5. Social Media Advertising

    In the short term, advertising could be a great way to get new clients. Getting the word out on social media works especially if you have a workshop to advertise. You can try boosting your event on Facebook and Instagram using the Facebook Business Manager. Or you could hire a digital marketing agency to help you advertise.

    A social media ads strategist will help you set up your campaigns on social media and optimize your advertising. Social media advertising can be more cost-effective than Google advertising. You should see additional traffic to your website and new clients within about 2-3 weeks.

  6. Google Advertising

    A mid-term solution is search engine advertising. It takes longer to be effective and in most cases, it’s more costly than Social Media Advertising. But Google Ads can help you build your practice in a specific geographic area. Google Ads works like an auction where you bid on certain keywords that people are looking for like “therapist near me.”

    However, because you’re competing with other therapists and big-budget referral sites like Psychology Today, you will likely end up spending more for each new potential client than with social media advertising. For our clients, we usually recommend starting with social media ads and then expanding later to Google advertising depending on your budget.

  7. Google Business Profile

    Another thing that will help you reach potential clients in your area is setting up a Google Business profile. Make sure your website has clear contact information for your including an address, phone number and email. Most people are looking for a "therapist near me" on Google. If you aren't associated with an address or a location, you're missing out on all those potential new clients.

    If you don’t have a physical address or public phone number, you can easily set up a virtual mailbox and virtual phone. UPS offers the Anytime Mailbox in more than 1,300 locations in North America and internationally. Grasshopper offers virtual phone services that direct calls to any number and help you keep your personal and business calls separate.

  8. Content Marketing

    In the long term, content marketing is the secret to getting more online therapy clients. That means you'll need to invest in some serious blogging. In order to see an increase in organic (unpaid) visitors to your website, you’ll need to post 1-2 blog posts per week for at least 8 months. 600-800 words is a good length for blog posts. But don’t call your blog a blog. That’s so passé! Call it “Resources” or “Help.”

    If you’re looking for content ideas for all those blog posts, try Googling your services or approach. See what comes up. Google offers up lots of helpful keywords that can be the inspiration for blog posts. For example, try Googling “Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy” and check out “People Also Ask” and “Related Searches” at the bottom of the page. Now you have lots of ideas for blog posts:

    • What is the goal of emotion-focused couples therapy?

    • What are the three stages of emotionally focused therapy?

    • What are emotion-focused techniques?

    • How long does emotion-focused therapy take?

  9. Ask Colleagues for Referrals

    Many of our therapist and social worker clients find networking to be very effective. You can ask for referrals from your colleagues who have more clients than they can handle. Once you have a professional and easy-to-use website with a strong call-to-action, you can share your contact info with your colleagues. Make an announcement on social media. Send out an email blast to everyone on your contact list. Let everyone know you’re looking to get more online therapy clients. Then let your website do the rest for you.

  10. Subscribe to Referral Websites

    Referral websites are a great way to get more online therapy clients. For example, Psychology Today is a great referral source for therapists and social workers. For a fee, referral websites do the advertising work for you. When people search “therapist near me,” these sites often pop up as the first or second search result in Google.

    Not only do referral websites give you more credibility but they also create high quality backlinks to your website. When high-traffic, reputable websites with a long online history link back to your website, search engines will rank your website higher in search results. Next thing you know, you’ll be on the fast track to the first page of Google!

    Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know on Instagram or Facebook @befluent.ca!


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