The Ethics of Therapist Marketing
Exploring therapists’ resistance to marketing themselves based on a cultural taboo that they perceive.
Therapist Website Design and Marketing Explained
Steve Jobs once said “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” You have chosen either psychology or psychiatry as your work and obviously you have a passion and love for the field or you would not have made such a tremendous investment in time and training.
Your life’s goal is to help others but in order to help them, you must make yourself accessible to those needing your help. That’s what this article is about; making yourself accessible through tools like Internet marketing, a professional website, email campaigns and blogs. Many would agree that the skills required to master these marketing tools are quite different than the skills you possess as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Please read on and decide for yourself. The conclusion of the article explains how you may outsource these marketing tasks allowing you to focus solely on the work you love.
Brand Image and Therapist Website Design
Marketing professionals view you and your business as a “brand.” That’s right; just like Starbucks, Netflix or Amazon. As a brand you have an image that is projected to your professional community and to your clients. Refinement of your brand is the first order of business in Internet marketing. And nowhere will your brand image be more prominent than your website. Every element on your website, the logo, every image and all content must work together to produce consistency and speak to who you are and what you offer.
Therapist Website Templates and CSS
Gone are the days of website owners inability to make even the smallest changes to their site. Gone are the days of website owners reliance on programmers to change an image, content or to add a new category. Today’s template-driven modern websites are user friendly so make sure to understand the advantages of templates and avoid hard coded website designs.
CCS (Cascading Style Sheets) is another website maintenance tool that saves time. Say for example you wish to change font. Instead of changing each page individually, CCS allows the change to be made in one location and then cascade to all the pages in the site.
Hosting services house your website code at a central data center. Their job is to protect the integrity of your data (no hacking) and to make sure that your site is live 24X7. Your website design company may include hosting as part of their package. If they do not, then you should seek an external host. Don’t cut corners here. Remember, you are entrusting your brand image to the host.
Developing a first class website is just the beginning of branding and the client acquisition process. A mobile website is just about as important as the primary website. Google conducted research on mobile site use and found that 48% of users say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site that is not mobile friendly. Listed below are some best in class attributes of a good mobile site:
Consumers and Smart Phones
Your potential clients are pushed for time so they may conduct research for a therapist while “on the go”. This means they will access your website via their smart phone. A good mobile site is not just a scaled down version of a desk top website. It must be simple, direct and to the point. Large navigation icons will increase users time on the site. And concentration of content into fewer pages will reduce time consuming page loading.
Google, Bing and Mobile Sites
Major search engines are clear to point out that improved search results come with properly constructed mobile sites. What is proper construction? Content and URL duplicated from a primary web site to a mobile site will actually result in a search penalty. In order to boost search rankings, the mobile site must have unique content and a URL different from the primary site. Even though content and URL must differ, branding must remain consistent from one site to the other. This may be accomplished through color, icons or logos.
Blog (Truncation of Weblog)
Bloggers are self published Internet authors who write about various topics in journal or diary style. Political blogs are very popular for example. Articles may be organized by subject, date or keyword. So why blog? Improved search results is one reason. Page rankings for the blog or website may be improved through the strategic use of keywords. But more relevant for the therapist is the opportunity to state your position on complex subjects so that potential clients may better understand your expertise.
Selecting your domain name is important because it is the title of your brand. Therefore your domain name must be consistent with all other branding elements. Technically your domain name is your Internet address. Your therapist website design company may handle registration on your behalf. If not, you will need to register it yourself with a third party. Give the name considerable thought as it is difficult and disruptive to change as time passes.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Your website is an extension of you. It is a marketing tool to extend your brand to potential new clients. But if the website does not reach potential clients, you will not have succeeded. That is why optimization is so important. For example, assume you are a psychologist specializing in PTSD in the Atlanta area. When a potential client visits Google or Bing and types in keywords “PTSD, psychologist, Atlanta” your site should be revealed on page one. If this does not happen, the opportunity is lost. Make sure you understand the value of optimization and incorporate optimization strategies when your site is under construction.
Brand image, websites, mobile sites, blogs, hosting, domain name, SEO….Internet Marketing 101 is a complicated, detailed and often confusing. To make matters worse the rules of the game change frequently. As we said in the opening of this article, the skills of a psychologist or psychiatrist may be different than the skills of an Internet marketer. As a professional you must ask yourself “how will I spend my time – where will my focus be.” If your choice is to spend your time with clients, professional colleagues or engaged in research, then consider outsourcing Internet marketing to a third party. Take your time in selecting a partner with a solid skill set and impeccable integrity. InSession.io and Thrpy.io is ready to help so that you may do what you love.