Saturday, January 25, 2014

6 Tips for Starting your Online Therapy or Coaching Practice

Woman looking at computer screen
Starting out as an online coach or therapist? Here are 6 of the best tips about how to get your practice up and running quickly and efficiently!

#1. You are your product, so show who you are

When you are building your practice and developing your website, keep in mind that your prospective clients will want to research you before they book a session. They need to see you both as a professional and a human being, so forget those animated videos and robotic voices. Attracting clients is about trust and you can't build trust through complete anonymity. This doesn't mean you have to divulge all your personal secrets online, it just means that your website and Internet presence should reflect who you are, what you do and why you do it. Including at least one photograph of yourself is a good idea as is sharing your background and membership of professional associations. Don't be afraid to be yourself.


#2. Download Skype (or another Voice over Internet programme)

There are a few different software programmes you can use for webcam and voice over Internet, but Skype is the most well-known. Skype is free to use computer to computer and free to download. And you can even choose to purchase a Skype online number to keep your office mobile or a premium account that will give you access to group video (great for working with couples). Once you have installed Skype, practise using it with family or friends. Being comfortable with a webcam and creating a good impression is just as important online as it is if you were meeting clients face to face. Since its takeover by Microsoft, Skype is upgraded regularly. So once you have installed Skype, make sure you have the latest software upgrade.


#3. Set up a Paypal account (or another online payment service)

You want to get paid don't you? Paypal is one of the most well-known and trusted of all the payment systems. It's really easy to set up and start using it almost immediately. Of course you could choose to have payments made directly to your bank account, but using an online payment system is another way to develop trust with your clients because they know they can make a complaint if things go wrong. These e-commerce solutions do take a small fee, but it is comparable to what the credit card companies charge and worth paying for the extra business you will receive.


#4. Create your social media presence especially Twitter and Facebook

If you are counselling or coaching online you need to have a presence as a counsellor or coach online as well. A Twitter account and Facebook page are great starting points and a must-have for any online therapist or Internet coach who is serious about social marketing. Therapy Market regularly re-tweets our members tweets so we can help raise your profile too. Instagram and Pinterest are visual social platforms that are also becoming more popular. And if you are willing to show even more of yourself and feel comfortable being in video, you can't beat Youtube. It will really give prospective clients an idea of who you are!


#5. Join Therapy Market and be seen in the best UK advertising for therapists, coaches and counsellors

Therapy Market specialises in promoting online practitioners. If you want to boost your profile online through a counselling or coaching directory, Therapy Market should be your number 1 choice. A one-off annual payment secures a place in the advertising directory that you can modify and add to whenever you like. It's good value and will ensure you are seen among the most eminent of the UK coaching and counselling professionals. Look after yourself as a therapist with a listing that will help you attract more clients.


#6. Write about your coaching or therapeutic practice online

Most clients who want to see you online will find you online, not in printed ads. The future is virtual, so the more content about yourself and your counselling and coaching practice that can be found online, the better. Keep in mind that it should be quality content and specific to your niche as a therapist or coach. Avoid trying to be everything to everyone, you are swimming in a very big sea now. Focus on what you do best and how you stand out from other counselling and coaching professionals due to the Long Tail Effect. Having a blog and regularly posting updates is one of the best ways you can market yourself and much cheaper than google ads or paying someone in India to do your SEO for you.