Boy, how the Internet has changed our world.
It was only a number of years ago that if you were a counsellor with a website, you were certainly in the minority. In fact, a counsellor who had a website was considered a little ‘strange’ and was questioned why they needed to have one and what purpose it would have.
These were the days when the ‘Yellow Pages’ was ‘king’ and if you didn’t have a listing, it was the equivalent of professional suicide.
Fast forward to 2017 and the Yellow Pages is something that lands on your front porch and ends up in the recycling bin a few moments later.
Google is the new Yellow Pages, and it’s all about how can you create a website that ranks for the search terms that your ideal clients are searching for, communicates your expertise and knowledge about your niche and keeps your visitors engaged and coming back for more. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
Do you have a website that attracts your ideal clients?
Many counsellors have realised this is now an essential part of running any successful business.
But have a look at some of the counselling websites out there, and you’re likely to get a bit of a shock.
Many counselling websites are:
- like home-hobby projects that look unprofessional
- like clinical organisations that are cold with no warmth
- unclear and unfocused in their goals or message
- haphazard in their design, copy and functionality
Sound familiar? It does to me, because I used to have one of those websites.
You know, a website that was ALL about me and my qualifications and experience, with lots of pretty images, and saying that I worked with basically every possible problem or issue under the sun. Plus it was only a few pages that looked attractive, but it didn’t really engage the reader or invite them to take action.
The problem was, I had built a website that belonged in the 1990’s…
The web 2.0 revolution means your website needs to evolve
In the early days of the Internet, most websites were effectively virtual business cards. You would visit a static website to get basic information and then go to other static websites that were linked to the website you were visiting. No big deal.
Then around 1999, what is known as the ‘web 2.0’ began to emerge. This was what we now know as the social web.
Websites started to emerge that were allowing visitors to engage with other readers through conversations on blogs, forums and social media. The Internet was fast becoming a dynamic place where people went to engage, communicate and relate with one-another.
Now, why am I giving you this history lesson?
Because it’s essential to understand this paradigm shift in the Internet to then start to consider the type of website you need today to attract a steady stream of clients.
It’s no longer enough to JUST have a website
With the massive shift in our living habits, the exponential growth of the Internet, and how much a part of our lives it is, it’s no longer enough to JUST have a website.
You need more than a virtual business card. You need to create a website that is the hub of all your marketing efforts.
A website today needs to be:
- providing clear and concise information about you and your services
- interactive so it encourages and invites engagement with your readers
- providing a community service by offering lots of free and valuable information for your visitors
- integrated with social media so people can find you in a variety of locations
- an easy-to-use interface so people can connect with you and book your services with convenience
What’s your reaction to that list? Are you excited or overwhelmed? Or something in between?
Your website can attract clients using ethical marketing principles
The whole point of this eCourse is to educate you on how it’s possible to market your counselling services online in an ethical way. I’m here to tell you it is possible and that building an effective website is the first step of your ethical online marketing strategy.
Many counsellors are nervous about online marketing because they think of pushy Internet marketers with ‘get rich’ schemes and sales pages with lots of yellow highlighter. They can’t fathom how marketing a counselling business can be done in a professional way that actually serves the community and attracts clients to their business.
I think of the counsellor’s website as a place where you can educate people, provide a helpful community service, as well as make it easy for potential clients to reach you and access your services. This can all be done without any pushy tactics or unprofessional strategies.
The goal is to educate your community and become a resource that people turn to for quality information, advice and support.
This can all be done through your website.
I want you to start thinking of your website as:
- a hub for information about a particular issue, problem or topic
- a way that people can engage in conversations with each other
- a resource of articles which can be easily shared online
- a dynamic and interesting place where people return to access up-to-date resources and information
- a location that provides numerous benefits to the communities that you seek to serve and work with
Start thinking about how you can do this with your current website- or the website you’re planning, and start writing down some goals that you want to achieve in moving forward.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with.