The online counselling and coaching sectors are rapidly growing in the UK. This is not only a natural consequence of the information technology revolution but also represents an expansion of the talk therapy market itself. According to the National Careers Service, the health sector is the largest employer in the UK and the global growth of coaching and psychotherapy over recent years is well documented. The advent of online therapy and online coaching has meant a huge expansion of those industries. More people are not turning to the Internet to solve their problems and dilemmas including those who previously may have been reluctant to seek professional help. Examples of clients who have been greatly assisted by the advent of web-based therapy and coaching services include geographically isolated and time-poor individuals, those looking for expat counselling in a country where English is not the first language, those seeking confidential support and therapy for pornography addiction and those who prefer a specialist providing, for instance, therapy after divorce or counselling for gay men.
Those who want to be a part of this new wave of service delivery need to modify the way they promote themselves. Print advertising might work in your local community to attract face to face clients but it will not attract people who are online researching their problems. You as a therapist or coach need to be there with them.
The most important elements of an online presence are of course a website and an email address. You don't need to pay someone a fortune to build a fancy website, there are plenty of free options around like Yola or Weebly and you don't need to be particularly clever to get those up and running. If you do have some experience with blogs and websites, Blogger or Wordpress are even better. Don't forget though that your email address is important too. Ideally it should look professional: a gmail or hotmail account doesn't really do that.
But to really make an impact online, you need to step into the world of social media. The two most influential ways to do this are by having a Facebook Page like the Therapy Market Facebook Page (please 'like' us!) and a Twitter account- you can follow Therapy Market on Twitter. Just having these two means of marketing your counselling practice or coaching business will bring you into the online world, which is where you need to be if you are offering email counselling, therapy over webcam or online coaching. And remember, if you really want to stand out, try to establish a niche as a therapist or coach. It will really make a difference.
Finally, sign up to Therapy Market and we can help you to build your practice while we develop the online coaching and therapy industries together!