I am not sure if the research has been done, but I do know the following:
- Sometimes people are searching for therapy knowing they are NOT going to pursue it anytime soon. Or maybe ever. They aren’t sure.
- People are searching online for answers. For help. For hope. Regardless of their budget or level of commitment to work.
I also know there is something important about TIMING. The best solution to any problem, with bad timing, may create disaster, or, in the case of a business or therapist, a non-sale and potentially a never-sale.
When I”m a therapist I am going to play with this idea… and will be able to give you data. But for those who are innovative, try it and let me know how it goes. My idea? Have a way for a prospective client to email you *TODAY*, with the idea that you will email them back in X period of time… whether that’s a static date that you’ll email all prospective clients, or maybe you give them a drop down list for “2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 4+ months.”
The idea is you may have web surfers who are so strung out with life that even though they REALLY like what they see about you, there is just no way they have the financial, emotional, logistical, or physical resources to get into therapy. Right now. But imagine if that person saw you relate to them…. wow, this therapist understands that life can be difficult! This therapist is willing to email me in a few months to check in! Maybe that email will be my final push. Or my reminder because right now I’m web surfing at work and won’t be bookmarking this therapists website and will likely forget who this person is. Or with this new job/new baby/new house/crazy job cycle I’m never going to keep their information handy.
It validates, normalizes, and empathizes with people. Maybe they have depression and can’t fathom getting out of bed right now. Or they’re in the busy season at work but once that is over, they are interested. Or maybe they’re two months from a new calendar year for insurance and things will brighten for what they can afford. Or they are moving, or getting a new job, and need a little time before they contact you.
Try it! Let me now how it goes. And obviously there are a lot of details you’ve got to confirm, like “your email to me does not signify a therapy relationship, nor does it have any legal binding results…” And you may want an email to be sent to them that they have to confirm – otherwise you may get bounce-back emails or people putting in emails of friends or family without their knowledge.