It's not about traffic, there are a lot of ways to get traffic. It's not about connecting potential customers on the other side of the planet, they don't care how many Facebook friends you have. If you want clients for your online therapy practice, as far as I can tell, there are only two ways to do it. This follow-up to yesterday's note on how counselors and therapists can be great salespeople offers insight into the process, from someone who has been there.
So, for example, if your ideal customer is between 20 and 30 and 30 women, Pinterest would be a good place to focus on your social media efforts. If your ideal customer were a man in his 20s to 30s and something, Twitter would be a better place to put your efforts. If you want to know how to get more online therapy clients, start by creating useful content for your audience. I have spoken to several people over the past year who have considered expanding their practice to include online therapy.
If you've considered offering online therapy to your clients, you're likely aware of the licensing limitations and ethics of doing so, and you're probably also aware of the variety of platforms available to you. The ACA notes that “very few professionals will be able to participate in online therapy without additional skills, training and experience. If your online therapy consultation isn't optimized for search, you'll miss out on an excellent opportunity to attract clients to your site. An increase in online therapy may be just one of those changes; now may be a good time to start getting used to it.
The only thing to take away from this is that you need to emphasize the benefits of online therapy on your website. For example, if you're trying to position yourself for “is online therapy covered by insurance?” , first look at the search results to see how other pages answer that question. For this group, the marketing challenge lies in selling the convenience of online therapy to a local market. The ACA expressly advocates specialized training in online counseling because of the numerous issues that go beyond mere competence in providing face-to-face therapy.
This irony is more than just a footnote to the story of finding clients for an online therapy practice. For example, if you run an ad for “affordable online therapy”, you would create a landing page that focused on the prices and rates of your therapy. The next tip for growing online and attracting new therapy clients is to get your name out there as much as possible. Jane Evans' book on online counseling includes a checklist that seeks to establish the professional's suitability to work therapeutically online.
The Human Givens Institute offers online therapy guidelines, expressly stating that Skype is not recommended as a platform (although, with certain safeguards and the client's consent, it can be used).