We recently asked the RSCPP for advice on how an industry-specific directory can bring clients to your door. Many thanks to them for the following article…
Marketing is an essential business tool for anyone in private practice but it can be understandably daunting, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in practice for years. After all, you’re a therapist, not an advertising executive!
Registering on an industry-specific directory is one simple and effective way of bringing clients to you – ensuring that you can spend more time in the therapy room, and less time sat at the computer or leafleting the local area trying to sell yourself.
Counselling Psychologist Nadia Al-Khudhairy launched her private practice seven years ago and has been registered on the RSCPP website ever since (http://www.rscpp.co.uk/therapist/nadia-al-khudhairy-w2.html). She says: “I found that registering to a directory that advertised my services efficiently on the web was invaluable.”
She adds: “My independent promotional efforts had been proving hit or miss at best – it took me far too long to realise that print advertising is a waste of money – and I soon realised that the only meaningful method of advertising was on the web. However, as a small business with a limited promotional budget, gaining prominence online was extremely difficult, and I needed to concentrate on using the therapeutic skills and knowledge that I had worked many years to attain.
“By promoting my practice through an industry-specific directory, I gained from their greater budget and knowledge of online marketing and can dedicate my own time to therapeutic work.”
Besides saving you the time and money involved in marketing yourself, there are many benefits of registering for this kind of service. A listing on a reputable, well-established directory increases your visibility in the places where prospective clients are looking and enhances your reputation within the industry.
From a technical perspective too, industry-specific directory websites may benefit from increased search engine optimisation (SEO), meaning they have a good chance of appearing higher up in Google search results, boosting the number of prospective clients clicking through.
Naturally, this exposure can provide a huge benefit for increasing referrals to your practice, and could even become a substitute for your own website. Registered Psychotherapist Ruth Clarke (http://www.rscpp.co.uk/therapist/ruth-clarke-nr2.html), who has been listed on rscpp.co.uk for six years, says: “Being registered on a directory has been an invaluable source of referrals.”
In the case of RSCPP, Ruth says: “I think that one of the reasons for this is that it has credibility. All therapists’ credentials are vetted and only therapists belonging to recognised and reputable professional organisations are eligible to be listed. Clients are able to choose from a variety of therapeutic approaches to suit their needs and information is provided to help them choose.”
Of course, as Ruth says, not all directories are equal and it’s worth checking out the joining criteria to ensure you’re listing yourself alongside qualified, reputable therapists, not just any old amateur pop psychologist. The best directories to be seen on are those that vet their therapists before allowing them to join the site. RSCPP, for example, only accepts accredited, chartered or registered members of professional bodies. It’s not as easy to join as other directories, which accept non-accredited members or therapists who don’t belong to a professional body, but it’s a surefire way of giving prospective clients the confidence they need to make an informed decision.
Clients understandably want to be assured of their therapist’s credentials before handing over payment for their first session. So, being able to search a professional, well-managed database for therapists in their area, filter them according to price and therapy type, and access a full list of their qualifications and professional memberships, is an invaluable source of reassurance. Besides making you more visible, therefore, being listed on a well-respected directory also increases the likelihood of clients confidently opting for a referral.
Conversely, by not signing up you risk missing out on the thousands of clients who are searching these directories for a therapist in their area. Being seen in good company boosts your credibility and client base, and it makes economical sense too; therapist directory rscpp.co.uk is free to sign up to, so you only start paying when they bring you clients. Surely that makes it a no-brainer?