When creating copy for your website, many therapists fall into a familiar trap: writing as if the reader is an expert in psychopathology. This can manifest itself in pages full of big words, technical jargon, and “me statements.”
In reality, the key to a successful therapist website is taking yourself almost completely out of it (except on your about page, of course).
Put yourself in their shoes — imagine you’re a potential patient. You’ve finally admitted that you need help and have taken the brave first step of Googling “therapists near me.” You may be hurt, scared, nervous, anxious, excited … and you’re desperately looking to find someone who “gets you.”
While Googling, you discover two identically-designed therapist websites that have completely different opening sentences. Take a moment to read them both; then, ask yourself, “which of these two therapists am I more drawn to, and why?”
- PAGE 1 — I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with 10 years of experience treating depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. I practice EMDR and Somatic Therapy with heavy influence from Gestalt.
- PAGE 2 — You deserve a compassionate therapist … someone to make you feel safe, secure, and connected while guiding you through the healing process. My goal is to support and promote lifelong change that will allow you to form healthy relationships and foster an overall sense of wellbeing.
When you look at the two side-by-side, it’s clear which one is more likely to attract a new client. While this example may seem extreme, it’s not far off from what a lot of therapists have on their home pages.
How to identify your dream therapy client
Before you start writing, it’s essential to get a clear picture of exactly who your dream client is. To do this, you’ll want to get very specific. What’s their name? How old are they? What do they like to eat, read, and watch on TV? What is their job, income, marital status, etc.
Once you’ve completed this exercise, you’ll have a much better idea of who exactly you want to speak to. This is invaluable in writing your website copy, since you can now speak directly to that person and maintain a consistent voice.
Just because you’re talking to “one person,” doesn’t mean that your site is incomprehensible to everyone else. It simply means that you’ve identified who you most want to see sitting across from you, week after week.
You can find a downloadable worksheet and more information here.
How to write directly to your dream client
As we saw earlier, making a personal connection with your reader is an extremely powerful way to draw them in. To get you started, here is a mini-template that you can use. In this example, we will be writing a page on family counseling.
. . .
1. Start with a general statement about the issue or service.
Family relationships are complex.
. . .
2. Move into “you/we statements” and show the reader that you “get them.”
Whether you are a parent, child, sibling, or spouse, navigating the waters of your family’s relationships is an essential part of everyday life. Sometimes, it’s easy. Other times, we become so caught up in our own drama that we need an outside perspective to help us see what is happening.
. . .
3. Finally, you can talk about yourself.
That’s where I come in. Over the past two decades, I have helped many families reconnect with their loved ones. Through a compassionate and inclusive approach, we will discover exactly where your relationships are getting stuck … and learn ways to bring you all closer together.
. . .
4. Bring it back to them and give the reader something to do – like fill out a contact form.
If you would like to learn more about therapy can help your family, please reach out today.
. . .
The next steps
Now that you’ve got your dream client and an outline of how to write to them, all that’s left to do is open your favorite word processor and get started. I always recommend writing a flow of consciousness first and editing it down later.
In fact, you don’t even need to write full sentences. Just write down phrases and ideas that you like. Often, these can become call-outs or headers within your text. For example, “live the life you love” could make a great intro to a paragraph about “why you need therapy.”
Also, keep in mind that nothing is ever final. This is the internet – not a printed publication. You can always change, tweak, and rewrite later. For now, just have fun … and go get that dream client!