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Counsellor or Clone? Breaking Through the Monotony of Online Directories
Episode 15421st September 2023 • The Grow Your Private Practice Show • Jane Travis
00:00:00 00:21:37

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Online directories can be a great way of attracting more therapy clients, but how can you stand out among all the other counsellors on there?

In this episode, I share some ideas about how to inject your personality into your bio, so it's easier for your dream clients to reach you.

All without any worries about personal disclosure


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Hi, and welcome back. And if it's your first time here, it's really great that you found us. I hope you're okay. I hope you're having a good day so far. as I'm sat here recording this, my little dog has just trotted over to me. So she's probably going to start barking in a minute. She's such a naughty girl.

Bless her. Anyway, if you listened to last week's episode, I talked about the fact I'm going to probably be a bit ranty today. And I kind of am, I'm not going to be very ranty because that's not really my style, but I am going to talk about something that I find really, really frustrating. And it's something that sort of, you know, hit me around the face again this week.

So do you remember the first time that you went for therapy, you know, put yourself back in that position? How did you feel? You know, what was going on for you, you know, did you feel, did you feel worried? Did you feel scared? I know that when it, when I went to therapy the first time, I felt really terrified.

Maybe you felt anxious, you know, worried, trepidatious, unsure. I bet you felt vulnerable. Because it could be a really difficult time, can't it, because people just don't really know what to expect when they go to counselling for the first time, but they do know that they're going to need to talk about difficult things that they've maybe never shared before, and that's really not easy.

You know, it's not something that's easy to do. So getting therapy for the first time, Is a really big deal and often people are going to consider going to therapy for a long time before they actually take that step. For example, a very good friend of mine spoke to a therapist on the phone and then he actually didn't contact them again for a whole year before they actually plucked up the courage to go and see that therapist.

They're still seeing that. Therapist as far as I'm aware. So it's a long term thing and that's sometimes the way that it goes, but basically, you know, choosing a therapist and going to therapist is just not easy. It takes people a while to go from that thought of, okay, I think I need to go for therapy and get to that, right.

Who do I need to go and see? It can take a long time. Now, this is why understanding the client's journey into therapy is so important. And if you need some more help with this, I've got a free resource that's all about this. So if you just go to jametravis. co. uk slash journey, I've got a free resource.

That's all about the client's journey into therapy. And I think you'll find it really helpful. Because I sometimes think that therapists have forgotten what it's like, and I think especially if you've been a therapist for a little while, we just forget about what it's like, you know, what it feels like to go for therapy that first time.

So this is something that recently happened to me. Okay, this is where I go. This is where it feels ranty. So one very dear to me has been going through what can only be described as a crisis. And as you can imagine, I was delighted when they said that they're going to go and get some therapy. You know, so they took my advice and they started to look on an online directory.

It's one of the main ones. You'll know it. It doesn't matter which one though, all the directories. Very, very similar. So they started looking on an online directory to find, try and find somebody that was suitable for them. So now fast forward to me a couple of days later, asking how they were getting on with their search only to discover that they'd stopped searching.

You know, they'd stopped looking and I said, well, why what's happened? And they said, well, I just had no idea who to choose. And this is a direct quote. They said, they all say the same thing. And I kind of, I put my head in my hands and I just thought, oh my goodness, we are really letting people down. We are really letting potential clients down. If they are trying to find a counsellor and all the counsellors look the same and the process is just so difficult that they give up. Then, well, that's just really bad, isn't it? Because this is so important. If somebody's taken a year to get, you know, to get the courage to look for a counselor, and then they just give up, that's letting people down.

Those people can be in crisis. They might feel even suicidal. They might be in a real hell of a state. And they just Give up. And I think it is really, really important that we address this because as a practice owner, it's your job to let people know who you help and you need to be really, really clear about it because there are so many counselors around these days.

If you have a look on any of the directories, if you just look around, you'll see, you know, in your area, there's probably hundreds. So it's really, really hard for any potential client to know who to choose. It's just such an awful situation. So yeah, I've been bit ranty about this because I just.

It just drives me mental, it just drives me mad, you know, I think there must be something we can do a bit better to make that process for potential clients a little bit easier. So I'm just going to explore a couple of different things that I've thought about, and I'd love to know what you think about this.

So please, please contact me, you know, either drop me an email, jane at jane travis. co. uk or find me on the socials. I'm either on Instagram at at grow your private practice. Or on LinkedIn, it's Jane Travis. So it's Jane without a Y please come over, have a word with me, you know, tell me what, what do you think we could do?

So, like I say, these are some things that I've thought about. This is about directories, basically. So the first thing I want to say is. Okay, when I first started out as a counselor, I did what a lot of people do, and I wonder if you've done this as well. I had a look at what other people have said on their directory entry, and I've taken that as inspiration or even copied it.

You know, but let's just say, let's just err on the cautious side and say, maybe we've all taken inspiration from other people on accounts on a directory. And that's all very well. But if everybody uses somebody else's, Directory entry as inspiration. We run the risk, don't we, of all of the entries sounding the same.

And I think that's the problem. I think that's kind of what's happened. We've all started looking at what other people do and thinking, Oh, they must know, they know what they're doing. They know better than me. I need to say something similar to what they've said. But the truth is you don't know if their messaging works.

You know, you just don't know if this is something that's working for them. And also, it's not really giving you a chance to show up to show your own personality now, you know, you might be thinking, well, come on, Jane, what about personal disclosure? I can't share things about myself. And I'd say, okay, yeah, but that's not really what I'm talking about here.

What I'm talking about here is having your directory entry and any messaging to do with your, Marketing, having it sound like you, you know, letting your warmth show, letting your sense of humor show, maybe you're a little bit sweary. So I saw somebody on there who said, I can't remember exactly what they said, but they said something about the fact that, they're quite sweary.

So, you know, they were basically saying if, if you don't like sweary people, I'm not the person for you. But what they're actually saying is if you're a bit sweary, don't worry. You're quite welcome to come here and have a good old rant and swear. And as I'm a bit of a sweary Mary, you know, I kind of gravitated to them, you know, that gives people a sense of what that person's going to be like.

So people will get a sense of you just through the words that you choose in your marketing. But if you're choosing the same words as everybody else, people aren't going to get the chance to work out a little bit about who they prefer to sit with. something else that I think really, makes people struggle on directories is niche.

Now, I think that many people really just misunderstand what a niche actually means. And I think that's why people say they don't want to have a niche because I think that there are many people who believe that having a niche is going to restrict them, that if they say that they work with a certain thing, that that's the only person they're ever going to attract, they can't work with anybody else, but that's literally not what having a niche is because all having a niche is.

Is it means that you're more likely to attract the sort of people that you really like to work with the sort of clients and issues that you feel really passionately about. And the upside of that is that it means that when you, when you work, you're going to enjoy your work a whole lot more. You're going to have better relationships with your potential clients, but it, you know, which is obviously great, but it's also going to make all the marketing that a lot more targeted so that the.

The right people are going to find you, you know, it's, it's about understanding who your dream clients are so that you can then attract them to you more easily. So if you're worried about having a niche and you think, right, well, if I say I've got a niche and it's like. So, for example, if you say, right, I'm going to have a niche and it's going to be anxiety, you might think, well, that means I can't work with any other issues.

And it's like, no, that's not the way it works because somebody who's struggling with anxiety still has a whole life around them. So having anxiety is going to impact their job. It's going to impact relationships. It's going to impact their family and their family will impact that person's. anxiety and their relationships will impact that person's anxiety and their job will impact that person's anxiety and all sorts of different things because, you know, that person is not just anxiety.

They're a whole individual person. So having a niche does not mean that you're going to put people off and that you're going to be really, really, really, Stuck in a little box and possibly bored. All it means is that you're going to be able to target the right people. You're going to be able to understand what their needs are, what their problems are, what they would want from counselling.

And that means that they're going to be able to choose you more easily because you're going to stand out to them. Does that make sense? I hope that makes sense. The other thing is on directories, usually you just get a couple of sentences that people see, and then they can click on the read more button and you know, click through and read a little bit more about you.

So these first couple of sentences are your most important space. So it's absolutely vital that you don't waste this prime real estate by saying, Hi, I'm Jane and I'm a qualified person centred counsellor. Because that's just a waste of time. That's a waste of that really important space. You've got such a small amount of time to really stand out.

Don't waste it. Just don't waste it because saying I'm Jane and I'm a qualified, experienced person centered counselor. That doesn't mean a thing to anybody apart from somebody who knows about counseling and the majority of people who go to counseling don't know anything about counseling.

So they're just going to keep on scrolling, aren't they? So if that's you. If your first couple of sentences are about you, you're missing a trick, okay? Because this section isn't actually about you. So if you find you're talking about yourself, if a lot of the things you're saying is I, so it's I words, I do this, I do that, I feel this, I feel passionately about whatever.

If you're doing that, you are really missing a trick. So what you need to be looking at is, well, how is the client feeling? What are they struggling with? What do they want from counseling? And if you're not sure, then look, I would just, I just really recommend that you come and join the grow your private practice membership, because this is the first thing that we look at, and this is so fundamental and it makes a difference to.

All of your marketing, you know, all of your marketing, whether it's, I am getting ranty again now, I can feel my voice going, but all of your marketing. So that means your website, your social media, your blogs, any advertising you do, your Google, Your Google, what is it? Google, Google, my business can't remember.

It's changed its name recently. I keep forgetting it, but everything that you put out there, the more you can target the sort of person that you want to work with, the more that you can make it that when they see that they think, Oh my God, that person really gets me, I can imagine myself sitting and talking with them, the more you can do that, the more people are going to actually pick the phone up or.

You know, drop you an email and actually work with you. So look, come and join us in the membership. It's growyourprivatepractice. co. uk hop on over, have a little look. You can join for 14 days. And if it's not for you, you just drop me an email and say, look, it's just not for me. I promise you, I'll just pay you money back.

You won't have to jump through any hoops. I'll just pay you money back. If it's not for you, that's absolutely fine. Okay. The next thing I want to talk about is I want to talk about the fact that there are so many phrases that we use on directories. I don't think we realize how much these are used.

They're vastly overused. So for example, Oh, this drives me mad. If I say it one more time, safe confidential space. Okay, everybody says they have a safe confidential space. I mean, okay, that's quite a good thing to say if you're the only one saying it. But if everybody's saying it, it doesn't really mean anything, does it?

So look, have a look at what you're writing and think, well, how else can you say those things? So for this, I'd say if it suits your personality, maybe you could be a little bit more lighthearted. So you could say something like, So come and talk with me in my comfortable, warm. Room and don't worry, all your secrets are safe with me so that.

Is a way of showing your personality. It's not crossing any personal disclosure boundaries. All you're doing is you're using the words that you're saying to convey your warmth and the fact that you know, you're quite lighthearted. Going to counseling for me has never been all doom and gloom.

You know, there's lots of times in counseling that I laugh with my counselor. You know, we do, we, we laugh all the time. I know I'm not. Only person like that. So yes, that's counseling is serious. They're going to come with serious stuff that, you know, it's not, not laughable, but there's always, you know, if you are somebody who, is a little bit lighthearted, then just let that show.

And the sort of person that appreciates that will find you and will choose you. So have a little think about something like this. So think about safe confidential space, have a little think, you know, maybe have a look on a thesaurus, you know, maybe you could talk about something like a sanctuary or a judgment free zone or tranquility or refuge or sanctum or oasis, you know, really have a think about what else could you use, what other words or phrases could you use to describe You know what you're offering and use that because that's going to make you stand out more and it's going to make you feel better.

You know, if you have more people contacting you, then you're just going to feel better. You know, you're not, you're not doing this for the good of your health. You're doing this because you want to help people and you want to earn money. It's as simple as that, isn't it? And you can't help people if they're not contacting you and you're not earning money if they're not contacting you.

So that's why marketing is important. That's why it's important to take some time to really think about things like what you're going to put on your directory. Who is it you want to work with? What are you going to put on your website? What are you going to put on your social media? What are you going to talk about your blogs?

People aren't going to just be queuing up, I'm really ranting that people aren't going to just be queuing up at your door just because you're a counsellor. You've got to let them know who you are, how you help them and make that process as easy as possible. Okay. I'm gonna stop ranting now, and I just wanna say, actually as I stop ranting, I'm not saying this because I want to shame anybody or embarrass anybody, and I don't want anybody to feel like you know, embarrassed because this is something they do.

Just to let you know, lots of people are in this situation. Lots of therapists don't really know how to market themselves basically. It's as simple as that. So, It tends to be people do the same thing over and over and over again. And there's, there's a lot of fear and there's a lot of, worry about it. I do understand that.

And so this isn't about me telling you off or showing you up or embarrassing you. That's not what I'm trying to do here. What I'm trying to do is to let you know that there are people out there searching for therapists and they're not finding, well, they might not be finding you if what you're saying is, isn't going to.

Really be attracting them and there's something that you can do about that. Okay. This is something you can do something about. So what can you do about it? So remember one of my favorite sayings is inspiration without action is merely entertainment. It's a good one. I like that. So here is your action step.

So what I want you to do is to go on to whichever directory you use and imagine that you're looking for a counsellor for the very first time. So just imagine that you've never, ever been to counselling before. You've no idea. About counseling at all. So you can either imagine that you're you or like with me, what I did, I went on and I had to look for my friend and that's when I realized that, Oh my God, this is, this is an impossible task.

So maybe think about, maybe think of a friend who's struggling and needs some help with something. Maybe look as though you were looking on their behalf and I'd like you to go through this process yourself. So I'd like you to do, just kind of do it in two bits. So I'd like you to search for a therapist in your local area.

And then I'd also like you to search for a therapist that's online. Okay. And I want you to be aware of, so ask yourself who appeals to you and why. Have a think about, you know, what sort of thing puts you off and what might be confusing for a potential client. Because there's a saying, a confused mind always says no.

So we need to make the choice of which therapist to choose a whole lot more simple. Because otherwise, people might get put off from getting the help that they need. So, are you up for that? So go and do the action step, have a really, have a look at it, get yourself a coffee, have a glass of wine, whatever, make it nice, get some crisps or some chocolate and just spend half an hour browsing through a directory.

Doesn't really matter which one, but browsing through a directory and thinking, right, if I was searching for somebody is what is said on there, making sense to me. Okay, and let me know how you get on. Again, contact me. Let me know how you get on because I'd love to know. yeah, so that's it for today. So I think it's, like I say, it's, it's not my intention to make people feel bad or embarrassed or shamed or anything like that. It's my intention to really shine a light on the fact that this is potentially a problem that might stop people from choosing you.

And you've worked too hard. What you need, don't fall at the final hurdle. You're now at a point where you want clients make that as easy as you can possibly make it.

So, thank you for tuning in to the Grow Your Private Practice show. And if you're a therapist looking to take your practice to the next level, why not consider joining the membership community? Because as a member, you'll gain access to exclusive courses, training, workshops, sometimes we do, Challenges as well.

We're doing a challenge in October guest expert masterminds. We had a guest expert mastermind just yesterday, actually about, Instagram stories as well as resources, tools, and importantly, support from fellow therapists too. So hop on over and visit the website at growyourprivatepractice. co. uk to learn more or to sign up today and together let's grow your practice and achieve your goals.

Okay, that's it for today. Have a fantastic rest of the day, and I look forward to speaking to you again soon. Bye bye.