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Online Therapist Directories

Create an Online Directory Profile That Sets You Apart From Your Competitors

Psychotherapy marketing should include a number of promotional strategies. And one important strategy is to develop an online presence. Web sites, blogs, pay-per-click advertising, and listings in online therapy directories are ways to develop an online presence.

If you have created or are planning to create listings in online directories such as Psychology Today’s therapy directory, the following suggestions will help.

  1. Focus your introductory paragraph on the problems and needs of the prospective client.

When consumers go shopping for goods or services they have one important question in mind: “What is in it for me?” This makes sense because they are looking for solutions to their problems, answers to their questions, and fulfillment of their needs.

Focusing the beginning of your introduction on your credentials, experience, and treatment philosophy will let the prospect know that you are qualified to help him, thus answering one important “what is in it for me” question.  But when you begin your introduction in this way, you are focusing on yourself rather than on the prospective client’s problems and need for therapy.

Starting your introduction with a few sentences or a paragraph that emphasizes the prospects’ need for help will speak directly to him. It shows him that you understand that he has a problem. This connection makes it more likely that the prospect will contact you to set up a consultation.

After you have piqued the prospect’s interest, discussing your qualifications (e.g., treatment philosophy, experience, therapeutic approach, credentials, etc.) will let him know that you are capable of helping him with his problems.

  1. Consider the follow opening sentences for several profiles.



The therapist-focused sentences are clinical in nature or just don’t display any understanding of the prospect’s problems.  For instance, a prospective client may have no understanding of the “empowerment model” or “cognitive behavioral therapy.” Even if he does, at this stage in his search, he may be less focused on treatment models and more focused on finding a therapist who can relate to him. Furthermore, unless the prospect is a clinician, the rather academic phrase, “customizing various clinically-based methods,” may have little meaning to him.

On the other hand, the client-focused sentences communicate empathy and warmth. A few of them place emphasis on what a prospective client might be struggling with like anxiety or depression. And a couple touch upon the goals that prospects might want to achieve like happiness and fulfillment. These sentences communicate to the prospect: “I understand that you are hurting, scared, or feeling empty.”

  1. Include a picture of yourself on your profile.

The online dating service, Match.com, states that profiles with photos are 15 times more likely to receive attention. Granted searching for a date and searching for a therapist are two different things. And – in most cases – the photo will carry a whole lot more weight for the person in search of love than the person in search of therapy. But in both cases the person is looking to make an intimate connection with another human being. So they may feel more comfortable exploring the profile of persons – whether potential love interests or potential therapists – who post pictures on their profiles.

The potential of opening ourselves up to others – making ourselves vulnerable – is risky and scary. Putting your face with your words will help prospective clients feel more comfortable. And the fact that you are willing to show your face on your profile gives the important impression that you are approachable.

  1. Complete all information on the profile.

A prospective client might search a therapy directory to “comparison shop,” or he may have heard of your practice and wants to learn more about you. So the more information you present about your practice, the more information he’ll have to make his decision. Maybe one small detail listed on your profile – but is missing from your competitors’ – will touch the prospect on a deep level and persuade him to call you.

Even if your profile contains a link to your web site, the prospective client may not click on it. So think of your profile as your one and only chance to reach the prospect.

  1. Include a call to action at the end of your introductory paragraph.

Even though your profile will list your contact information and contain a link to send an email, including a strong call to action (the steps that you want the prospect to take) will help. Consider the following call to action:

“We all want to live happy, fulfilling lives. If something is holding you back from achieving the happiness you deserve, let’s talk about it. I want to help you achieve your goals. To arrange a time for a consultation, send me an email.”

No matter how much research we conduct on our target markets or how much of an understanding we have of their needs, we cannot predict how they will respond to our advertisements. A targeted profile  – one that focuses on the target market’s problems and helps them feel comfortable – will improve your chances of obtaining new clients.

Copyright © 2009, Updated 2013 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.

© 2014 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.

Chicago, Illinois 60615 (773) 405-5916