Use Online Directories To Grow Your Counseling Practice

Use Directories to Grow Your Practice

It seems like every single therapist is now on an online directory, and that means serious competition. It can also mean that online directories may not be the most effective way to acquire new clients or differentiate yourself. If done wrong, they can simply be a waste of your time and resources.

So why are we discussing them? Because when done right, they can deliver good results.

Online directories cannot be totally discounted primarily because of the power of online search. The reality is that when someone searches for a therapist, the chances are high that one of the major directories will show up. Hence, you need to view directories in the following light:

  • They give you a presence where everyone is.
  • They can be a gateway for your prospective clients – it leads them to where you actually want them to go (i.e., your website).
  • They rank very high on Google and other searches (i.e., they will appear on the first pages).
  • They are doing the search engine work for you and may help your search engine optimization for your own website, even if just a little.

In short, see your listing on the large directories as a gateway fee.

So now, how do you tap into these 4 facts and leverage it to help you grow?  Here are a few more steps.

Focus on Large Online Directories

Stick with a few large directories, other focus on niches. The large directories such as Psychology Today and GoodTherapy are very dominant in searches, so you may want to be on them. Beyond the top 3 or 4 large directories that show at the top in searches, putting more money into other general directories is not the optimal use of your marketing budget.

Directories continue to work for our clients, but they work for the clients that stick with niche directories relevant to their specializations. So going forward, look for targeted directories. It’s even better, when those directories can be location specific and geographically focused on areas where you serve – unless you are based online.

Track Your Results

Find a way to track your results by tracking which directory is sending you prospects that turn into clients. The most efficient way to do this is to have a website and then track how prospects get to your website, otherwise, you will have to ask. Many clients won’t remember how they found you and will just say they did a search online. By the way, TheraNest has nice referral tracking feature to help with this.

Run Tests to See What Works

Conduct tests by continually looking for new directories to experiment with. This won’t work if you can’t track results somehow. When you find a new directory in your niche, test it out. It may just be a great directory, unless it’s obvious it’s not a fit.

Create a Repeatable System

Make it a system. Have a well-prepared bio and other details, as well as your pitch, and copy and paste these into each directory. You don’t want to have to spend hours typing every time you find a new directory to experiment with. Take the time to flesh out your elevator pitch and your hook. Start with WHY prospects should consider you, not how you do things.

As part of making it a system, have a cycle of when you look for directories, how long you track and the metrics you use to determine if it’s a worthy directory or not. You can even have someone dedicated to doing this for a few hours a month (depending on your size). It will only take a few hours every month. Just remember to give each directory enough time to gather meaningful data.

Finally, if the directory is free, use it. Why not? However, stay away from directories that are not relevant to mental health or obvious link sellers. They may hurt your Google rankings.