There are many reasons why it’s vital to put resources into the online aspect of your therapy practice right now. The first of these is the massive impact that the pandemic and subsequent locks haven’t had. Indeed, right now a great many people are struggling with their mental health, that have been isolated for a significant amount of time, neither able to access their support system or therapy traditionally. What this means is there is a great need for therapists that can both communicate their services and enact their services online, which also begs the question: what can you do to make sure your therapy practice thrives online? Read on to find out.
The benefits of online therapy
Before we address some of the tactics you can use to ensure your practice thrives online, it’s important to highlight in more detail the advantages of this way of working both for you, and your clients.
Benefits of working from home for the therapist
First of all, as a therapist, the benefits of offering your services online include being able to serve a much wider range of clients. Indeed, by using video call or text therapy people from all over the world can benefit from your expertise, and are not limited by how close they are to your office.
Then there is the major advantage of cutting out all that commuting time. Time, you can then spend on other things whether that is reading the latest Psychology journal, or investing in your well-being by doing activities such as yoga and meditation.
Last, but certainly, not least, another key advantage of going remote with your therapy practice is that it will allow you to vastly reduce your overheads. After all, you won’t have to pay for expenses like your office, or the utilities you use when there. The great thing about this is that some therapists pass at least some of these savings onto their clients, something that means they can make their services once again available to a wider demographic.
Benefits of online therapy for clients
Your clients too can expect several important benefits from choosing online therapy. The first of these is that it will be much easier for them to make time in their lives for their sessions because they won’t need to travel anywhere to access them.
Additionally, for those that would normally be unable to access therapy because of their conditions or location, getting the help they need becomes much easier. Going to therapy can seem pretty nerve-wracking too, so being able to do the sessions in their own home can give many people the added boost they need to begin treatment.
Finally, there are savings to be had for those using online instead of traditional face-to-face therapy. Indeed, some therapists will charge less for a session online than in real life, and the cost associated with getting to and from sessions is also eliminated.
How to get the most out of your online therapy practice
Refresh your website
Now, you know about all the opportunities this ‘new normal’ we find ourselves in provides, it is time to come up with a plan of action to maximize your success online. The first step in this plan should be to review and refresh your website. After all, it is the cornerstone of all your online activity, all at once representing your therapy business, maximizing your SEO, and providing a hub for your clients that include advice, information, and the ability to get in contact with you.
With that in mind, there are several tactics you can use here. The first is to make sure that your service stands out from the thousands of others online. Ask yourself the question why should a client pick you over anyone else and then use these answers as the basis for the information and design of your site.
Creating a Blog:
For example, creating a blog where you share your values and motivations for offering therapy can provide valuable reassurance for clients considering using your services. Not to mention the help that such posts can provide in boosting your SEO. You just have to remember to include relevant keywords, and where possible link out to high authority sites (Google loves this and treats it almost like a rating system for your SEO ranking!).
Your Website Design:
Of course, the UX and UI design of your site matter too, so you will need to think carefully about things like the fonts, the images, and even the colours you use. Indeed, color therapy suggests that we have pre-existing and socially learned ideas about what each shade represents. Therefore you may choose to use yellow in your site to represent hopefulness and positivity. Although it’s best to avoid combining it with black as this is a well-known signal for danger! Instead picking a blue color can work well for therapists as it is often associated with a professional business and is also calming.
Consider Booking Calendars and Scheduling Services:
Make it easy for clients to book an appointment or services with you by selecting from your available days and times from a monthly calendar. This also saves your time when booking in patients and you can also charge a deposit or full payment for the appointment or sessions automatically upon booking if you prefer. If you are interested in an appointment and booking calendar solution for your website, contact us and we will talk you through the options.
Consider providing online sessions via video call
You maybe used to face-to-face appointments with your clients, but life after lockdown has changed societal norms. It is now more common than ever for services to be provided remotely, and even expected by clients. Therapists that do not provide options for remote services will simply lose out to those that do. There are many software solutions that will allow you to carry out video calls with your clients such as:
Utilize email and text communication
Another way you can ensure that your therapy practice thrives online is by staying in contact with your clients regularly. We don’t just mean in session here either, but by being proactive and letting them know about what the practice is doing, what services are currently on offer, and where to find any important information about their issues/ conditions they may need.
One of the best ways to do this is to use email and text communication, as it is instant, and as most of us are glued to our smartphones, it is a form of communication that is already relevant and heavily integrated into the lives of your client.
Although, before you send any communications like this there are some things you need to be aware of. For example, you will need to pick an email marketing service that is HIPPA compliant, and the messages you send should be personalized and relevant to the potential clients you send them to. Remember to include a hyperlink to your website as well, as this can both make it easier for your client to access the help they need, and boost your website’s traffic which will in turn help to raise your SEO.
Be mindful of post-COVID opportunities
Of course, there are additional opportunities when it comes to email and text communication for your therapy practice that goes way beyond marketing. Indeed, many therapists have started to offer support using these channels of communication in addition to face-to-face video therapy.
The great thing about this kind of therapy is that it can provide more constant support for clients that are struggling in between their sessions. Not to mention provide much-needed help for clients that would otherwise struggle to attend sessions in the normal environment – for example those with Agoraphobia, some forms of OCD, and the socially anxious. Thus helping to expand your user base.
Although, there are robust ethical and HIPPA concerns that must be properly addressed before entering into this area. A topic you can read more about here.
Leverage social media
You probably already know about the advantages of using social media to market your online therapy practice. Indeed, a mixture of organic and paid elements can work well here to both boost your online reputation, and foster a trusting relationship with potential clients that allows them to feel comfortable enough to take the step into therapy.
However, the value of social media for your business once again can exceed marketing concerns as it can also be used as a platform in which to connect with clients and offer them content that is either live or recorded.
The benefit of offering therapy content in this way is that it can reach hundreds if not thousands of people with a single session. It’s also a very flexible platform as you can deliver talks, classes, presentations, or even host discussions with other professionals on any given topic. Last, of all, such content can be monetized to help drive additional revenue into your therapy practice.
Of course, similarly to remote therapy, there are ethical considerations here, so it’s best to do your research beforehand so you can provide the very best help for those in need.
Even though life after lockdown is unlikely to snap back to exactly how it was for those running therapy practices there are many additional opportunities to be embraced. Indeed, while things may look a little different, with a great proportion of your time going to promoting and offering services online, those that embrace this change are certain to both offer a more irrelevant service to their clients and ensure their therapy practice thrives in the process.
Ready to take things to the next level?
If you need help with any aspects of taking your website further, contact the Therapy Webgenie team on +44(0)203 627 2030 option 1 or drop through an email from our contact form.