When speaking with therapists, on occasion I hear bad advice they’ve received from other so-called “experts” or “gurus” who are trying to promote a website-less process to building a full practice.
One of the worst pieces of advice I’ve heard basically boils down to: “You don’t need a website for your therapy practice – what you really need is a funnel!”
A funnel is marketing-speak for a single-page website with an opt-in form encouraging visitors to hand over their email in exchange for something (a newsletter, a downloadable ebook, etc.).
In their proper context, marketing funnels are very powerful.
However, presenting your therapy work to the world is not a context where you can get away with a simple funnel and hope to be anywhere as successful as you would be with a well-designed, client-centered website.
7 Reasons You MUST Have a Website for Your Therapy Practice
(or: Why a Mere Marketing Funnel Will Leave Your Practice Starving for Clients)
Let’s dive into a series of reasons why your practice’s website is such a vital component of your overall practice-building strategy.
I realize that for most of you reading this, a therapy practice website is far from exciting to read about. In fact, you were probably hoping to get through your entire career without ever spending even five minutes thinking about (let alone working on) a website for your practice.
Alas, the web is here and isn’t going away. Keep reading, and I’ll do my best to open your eyes to the amazing possibilities your practice’s website can offer for you to make a positive impact on your past, present, and future clients.
1. No Matter Where You’re Located, People Near You Are Using the Internet
to Search for a Therapist Every Single Day
The first reason you must have a website for your practice is also the most obvious.
The internet exists.
People use it.
People use it to look for goods and services.
People certainly use the internet to search for a therapist.
Your website is your internet real estate – it grounds your practice in the digital world where practically everyone goes as they search for the right therapist for them.
Since the internet is where the people are searching for your work, and since a website is the most conventionally recognized format for presenting pertinent information to searchers, you MUST have a website for your therapy practice.
2. The Nature of Therapy as a Service Leads Potential Clients
to Want More (Rather Than Less) Information Before Reaching Out
Therapy is a very intimate, very unique type of service to offer to the world.
Marketing your therapy services is, therefore, rather different from selling a more mundane commodity like shoes or food.
When someone is looking for therapy, at least some area of their life is not working.
They’re seeking intimate, emotional support and expertise.
Social stigmas still exist against people having emotional issues, admitting them, and seeking help for them.
The intensity and intimacy of what it means for someone to seek out a therapist means prospective therapy clients are inclined to want more rather than less information before they feel comfortable reaching out to a therapist.
Now, of course, some people will call the first therapist they see on Google because their situation is just that dire and they’re in a moment of crisis or emergency.
But by far the vast majority of potential therapy clients are looking for enough information to then feel comfortable reaching out to a therapist.
A simple marketing funnel will in no way supply the level of information most people require prior to reaching out.
A website, on the other hand, can offer an array of information for all sorts of different potential clients.
For those who need to read more, they can comb over every single page of your website multiple times.
For others, a few meaty paragraphs on a couple pages give them enough of a sense of who you are and what you offer to then reach out.
Because of the very unique nature of what it means for a prospective client to search for a therapist, having a strong website for your practice is absolutely essential.
3. Your Website Serves as the “Hub of the Wheel” at the Center
of all Your Other Practice-Building Marketing Efforts
It doesn’t matter where someone initially hears about your work.
Their next step will be to go search for your practice online and read up about what you do (see #2 above for why this is).
Whether someone hears about your work from a former client, a colleague, a post on Facebook or another social media site, or whether they encounter your work through searching on Google, they will look up your website in order to learn more.
If you don’t have a website for your practice, ALL of your other marketing efforts will be less effective.
Let’s say I encounter your practice’s business card at a doctor’s office.
Do you think a simple business card is going to lead me to reach out for therapy?
Even if I’m directly referred to you by a very close friend who raves about how much you helped their second cousin…I’m still going to do a little research before reaching out for something as intimate and vulnerable as therapy.
Your website is the hub of the wheel and all the different vectors where people hear about your work are the spokes leading back to that center site.
Remove the website, and you take all the electricity out of the whole system.
4. Having a Website Allows You to Rank Organically in Search Engines
The first page of a marketing funnel will NEVER rank well for competitive searches on Google or any other search engine.
Search engines like Google are in the business of providing valuable answers to their customers’ typed-in queries.
The search engines watch what happens when people click a given search result to go over to a website.
If people linger a while on a website and click over to various pages (because the site provides ample content to satisfy that searcher’s curiosity), the search engines view that site as providing value to searchers. And that site will therefore rise in the rankings.
If, on the other hand, someone goes to your simple funnel’s first page, they’ll likely have very little information at their disposal without first giving you their info.
If they don’t opt in, they’ll hit the back button and move on.
Search engines can see when a thin page with very little content fails to retain searchers’ attention – and the search engines will consequently drop the ranking of that funnel page.
With a robust, client-centered website, you’ll have multiple different pages of meaty content that can all rank well in search engines with enough time.
With a marketing funnel, you’ll have a single thin page that can’t do justice to even one topic in the realm of therapy. And as a result, you’ll have few to zero pages ranking organically in the search engines.
No pages ranking in the search engines = little to no traffic coming to your site.
Which means: very few people reaching out to you for therapy.
Just on the basis of this subject, which is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you MUST have a website for your therapy practice.
5. Having a Website Also Allows You to Leverage Paid Online Advertising
Another huge benefit of having a full website for your therapy practice is the ability to then leverage online advertising platforms such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, or Facebook Ads to point people to your website for a fee.
While you can leverage a funnel-type setup with paid advertising, we’ve found that having a website backing up a single funnel-type of “squeeze” or “landing” page amplifies the results from investing in paid advertising.
Based on the actual behavior of people searching for therapy, some will convert just off of a simplified funnel-esque landing page…but offering the ability for searchers to click over to the full website experience provides additional informational support for those prospective clients who need more info before committing to reaching out to you.
One of the key themes regarding why a website is a must-have for your therapy practice is that a website gives you, your practice, and your perspective client options.
You have the option of leveraging free and paid means of acquiring clients online.
Prospective clients can access as much information as they need to then feel comfortable reaching out to you.
You can even craft your website to serve your current clients. And that’s what we’ll discuss in the next point.
6. You Can Serve Your Existing Clients Through Your Website
Your website can also house all the important forms and other info you want to share with your existing clients.
Certain EHRs like Simple Practice allow you to integrate forms, calendars for online bookings, and billing info into your website.
It’s also straightforward to set up your forms on your site if you aren’t leveraging an EHR in your practice.
Depending on the work you do and the types of resources you use with your clients, you may be able to create a vault of oft-used documents, articles, worksheets, etc. to share with your clients.
Your website can make all of this easy for you and easily accessible for your clients.
Definitely don’t overlook the utility of your website for helping provide higher quality service for all your existing clients.
7. Easily and Effortlessly Answer Common Questions Via Your Website –
To Save Time and Provide a Better Experience for Prospective and New Clients
How many times have you heard the same question from new client after new client?
“Where is your office located?”
“Where do I park?”
“Do you take insurance?”
Your website can answer all these questions as well as any new ones that arise in the course of your work with prospective and new clients.
While you won’t entirely eliminate the same questions coming at you over and over, you can definitely reduce their frequency while also providing comprehensive answers you can refer to over and over whenever these questions come up.
Yourt website is ultimately a living breathing document you can evolve based on feedback from clients and non-clients alike.
A robust Frequently Asked Questions page is one of the best extra features to add to your website to catch all the questions – and your most well-articulated answers – coming at you from people interested in your work.
Not All Websites Are Created Equal
Earlier this morning, I was on a call with about 40 therapists across the country.
We were sharing how our week went, what we accomplished, and where we needed to adjust course.
One therapist shared how he was working on his new website utilizing our custom website creation process – and that this was his fourth website he’d worked on for his practice.
His specific comment was that our approach to building a website was the most comprehensive, thoughtful, and therapist-focused approach he’d ever encountered. And his website was coming together beyond his wildest dreams as a result.
At Therapy Practice Accelerator, we’ve honed a process where your therapy practice website can become something much greater than the sum of its parts.
We combine deep understanding of what therapy clients are looking for with best practices for creating easily readable, easily accessible, easily navigable sites that look great on any device someone might use to visit your site.
We house our website creation process inside of a much greater context as well – one which investigates who you are as a therapist, why you do what you do, who you’re best positioned to serve, and why your work matters.
We then present all of that to the world and make sure that your best prospective clients are able to easily find you and reach out for your work.
Not all websites are created equal. Your therapy practice deserves a site that showcases your uniqueness in the most effective way possible.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you evolve your practice’s website – as well as literally everything else you do inside your practice so you can help more people (and make more money) than ever before, book a call with one of our practice growth specialists today.