"Helping people who help people"

I finally found a tech company I trust to redo my entire Marriage Friendly Therapists website.  It’s always interesting how different people have different perceived goals of a website.  They were asking me about shipping and this fancy tool they have.  Nope, not our business model to be a mini-Amazon for books.  Eventually they got our current website and my pie-in-the-sky dreams.  I’ll await the costs but I’m very giddy about the growth and potential for our therapists!

Just be aware whomever you talk with has their own web experiences.  There are a lot of e-commerce folks out there where it really matters how high you rank for a widget and shopping carts are a make-or-break situation for customers to make purchases.  I even read recently about a company who helps you “recapture” people who went to your shopping cart and left, within an HOUR of that “abandoning” of the cart.

For therapists, your customers are very different.  Unlike a $15 book purchase, therapy is an intense process, a decision not to make lightly, filled with financial and logistical issues.  Even the idea of collecting prospective client emails makes some therapists really uncomfortable.  (It feels pushy and too business-like.)  Depending on what you say, how you say it, and your web design, you may attract a different type of client.

Really think about your clients.  Well, at least the ones you REALLY like working with.  What are they like? What common themes are there among them?  If they are middle-class traveling types, why not write a few fun articles on the psychology of travel?  Or on dealing with tension, anxiety, or moodiness while on the road?  Or maybe on the anxiety of finding the “best deal” and how trips can be ruined entirely on the preparation that turns into hell.  Maybe they love to go camping.  What can you share to make camping more enjoyable for them, psychologically-speaking?  Perhaps you attract a lot of people in the helping profession.  There is a whole lot you could write about how to manage the emotional landmines of working/living in the helping professions.  It could be parents are your core clients.  Write on anything that matters to them!  I’d read anything you can tell me about potty training a strong-willed child who does not respond to bribes AT ALL.  Or how parents can learn to listen to their intuition about child-raising.  What red flags are there in listening to your instincts vs experts?  Remember these are not topics they have to give you their email to read (that’s called a newsletter!)  These are free, no-commitment-needed articles on your website to whet their appetite.

The idea here is if I am your “ideal client” and run across your website, unique articles that talk to ME and what I love will stand out.  They’ll make me read more.  I’ll feel like you really get me, or you’re funny, or insightful, or can teach me something!  It will also do what I love – bridging the “therapy world” with the arena of psychological awareness.  After all, if your clients have similar interests and hobbies but are living in somewhat of a fog (of depression, anxiety, grief, marital strife, etc.) your website can hook them back into things they love to do and help them see that “working on their stuff” can make their regular life even more enjoyable.

These “articles” may only be 3-4 paragraphs.  And you may even experiment at the end of the articles with a link to a new page on “How therapy can help you enjoy ___ more”.  The link opens that new page and you have a brief overview of how therapy changes people, makes them calmer, more self-aware, and how that can improve the area of their life (camping, travel, etc.)  The reason you’d have that “how therapy can help” on a new page is so you can track who reads it!  Remember unlike a book where you have no idea what pages are being read, the web is fully analyzable.  You would be able to track all these fun articles through your website statistics and then see if, say, 20 people last month read your “Travel Tips from Dr. Psychology”, you could then see who kept going to the therapy page.  Maybe only 1 did.  Or maybe all 20 did.  How cool to see what people read!

Now if you’re still following my logic, hold on to how this little idea can morph into more!

It may be you write 5-10 of these small articles and two or three get tons of traffic.  Like, wow, people really love these funny, insightful, even snarky articles.  You’re getting enough traffic to those pages that you see there may be an actual demand for MORE.  You may write an e-book, or have an interactive guide book (assuming most hobbies/interests are shared with loved ones) and charge a little bit of money.  All the sudden you may be making $10 here or there from people who may never seek your therapy services but love what you write.  All you do is write in a Word document, transfer it to PDF format, and use something like e-junkie which is a very simple way to sell e-books (or real books, audio, video…)

And now that we’re in dream land, guess what?  You may gather proof through purchases that you really hit on a hot topic.  Now you call your local community education office and see about doing a WORKSHOP on that topic!  (Let them do all the advertising!  I’ve done this in two districts and each has a different way to pay, different class minimums/maximums, and you make a little bit of money…but you aren’t doing it for money.  There is no way you can pay for the exposure they can provide so you might as well start with a zero-advertising experiment on your topic.)

The class will be psychologically oriented, but on something people love to do, so it won’t feel like a heavy therapy workshop.  It’ll be engaging, fun, and developmentally right where people are at.  From the workshop you may build a reputation, get potential clients, and be able to call yourself a ‘speaker’ in your community.  People trust speakers!

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