Learning to write your website content (aka, “copy”) for your private practice is an incredibly valuable skill. Why?
- You are the face and the essence of your business. People could choose to see any of hundreds of therapists in your area, and your clients choose to work with you because they resonate with your therapeutic philosophies, because they jive with your style…because they like you.Learning how to write great, true-to-you content is learning how to communicate what makes you stand out from other therapists who offer the same service.
- Also, learning how to write promotional content for your business doesn’t start and end with your basic website pages. Growing your business is about building relationships with potential clients and referral partners. Building relationships takes time, and that means continuing to generate emails, blog posts, articles, and newsletters that delight / inspire / validate / educate / sucker-punch-you-in-the-gut / etc.
- If you eventually grow your practice to the point where you decide to hire someone else to write your copy, having an intimate understanding of your own copy will help oversee the quality and consistency of the content a copywriter produces.
The problem is writing content for your private practice website is often confusing and overwhelming. If it feels hard, though, know that you’re in good company! I’ve met therapists through my copywriting course that find writing in a way that’s both personal and professional semi-paralyzing. And on odd days, even people who write for a living (ahem, like me) just want to toss everything in the recycling bin.
Starting a fresh draft is often the hardest part. Before beginning to write any copy, it can be helpful to focus your writing with these four questions…
1. Who is your audience?
A lot of clinicians are wary of narrowing down their audience, or “niche” because when they’re trying to grow their practice they’re afraid of turning anyone off. That’s a completely natural fear.
But imagine what could happen if you focused on writing for your favorite kinds of clients. What would your practice look like if your website connected deeply with the specific kinds of clients that energized you and inspired you to do your best work?
Write down a few sentences about the kinds of people you love to serve. (Don’t worry about making it perfect. We’re brainstorming right now). What are some common traits between your favorite clients?
• Do they have a common issue they need support with? (e.g. Maybe you’re a trauma specialist, or you’re passionate about helping people recover from alcoholism?)
• Do you love working with people in a particular field? (e.g. Maybe you’re a therapist who primarily serves artists…or professional athletes?)
• Do your favorite clients share any similar lifestyle traits? (e.g. Maybe they’re all vegetarian?)
2. What does your potential client need to know?
Imagine you’re one of your favorite clients: They’ve been referred to you by a friend, and they arrive at your website for the first time. What information are they looking for? A few things they usually want to know include:
• “Can you help me with my specific needs?”
• “Will I be able to connect with you? Would I like working with you?”
• “Can I trust you?”
Write down any other questions a potential client might want the answer to when they’re looking at your site. Then, jot down a few answers for each of the questions.
• What would a new client need to hear to believe that you can help them? (Hint: It’s usually not just about your qualifications, but about whether you really understand their problems and pain).
• What do you have in common with your clients that makes them feel connected to you? Or, what do your clients admire about you that make them want to connect with you?
• What knowledge would help your clients begin to trust you? Maybe it’s testimonials from other clients or colleagues. Maybe it’s knowing that others have been where they’ve been and have come through on the other side.
3. How do you want your potential client to feel?
Your website is a way for clients to “meet” you for the first time, without actually meeting you in person. When clients come to your office for the first time, how do you want them to feel? This is how you want clients to feel when they read your copy.
Write down 1-3 feelings that you want to evoke with your About Page. Brainstorm a few phrases that would evoke these feelings. If you’re stumped, think about what you say when you’re first talking with new clients over the phone or in person. Could any of that content work?
4. What do you want your potential client to do?
Once you’ve connected with your client, don’t leave them hanging. They need your direction, a next step to connect with you further.
Think about the purpose of the page you’re writing, whether it’s your Home, About, Services/Fees or Contact Page. What is the one thing you want them to do after reading this page? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Schedule a free consultation.
• Send you a message about what they most want support with.
• Join your mailing list.
• Download a free resource.
Write down the one thing that you want your potential client to do after reading this page. This is called a “Call-to-Action”. (Note: Stick to one or two Calls-to-Action per page because having numerous prompts dilutes their power. This includes anything that’s in your sidebar or footer, as well.)
You’re Ready to Start That First Draft!
Now that you’ve answered the four questions above, you have a strong foundation for writing website copy that connects. Get going on your first draft with your answers in mind, and keep your notes close at hand…When you’re done with your first draft you can use them as a checklist to keep your content focused and effective.
I hope these questions make writing your next piece of web copy a little easier!
Nicole (Nikki) Bonsol is a writer- and designer-for-hire that specializes in working with therapists and other healers. She’d love to help you create a website that instantly communicates your essence and welcomes new clients into your practice. Say hello and sign up for her free course on writing your About Page at http://www.nicolebonsol.com.
At the computer photo available from Shutterstock