Therapist directories are slowly becoming a thing of the past. We look into detail why they might not be worth your money in 2019.
You’re a therapist, not a marketer. You’ve specialized in helping your clients and changing their lives for the better, but it’s not so easy to find them in the first place. You laboriously built a website but have no idea what to do with it. You find yourself wasting a lot of time on social media trying to shuttle people in through your front door when you could be doing your true work: improving lives one day at a time.
Traditional wisdom says that the main and most effective way for a therapist to gain clients is with therapist directories. However, that’s not exactly true, at least not in 2019. Maybe it’s worked in the past, but there are more options now and the times are changing.
Let’s look at some of the many reasons to skip traditional therapist directories and what might be more effective now and in the future.
1. Therapist Directories Cost Money
It costs you and your practice hard-earned money to join a therapist directory (about $30 a month for two of the most popular options), and you’re not guaranteed to make that money back.
You’re paying for exposure only and not conversion—that’s a marketing term for when people walk in your door for an appointment or consultation after seeing your ad. People might see your ad and your information, but it’s still tough for them to tell which therapist is right for them and why they should choose you. There may be options to write a biography or record a video, but since (again) you’re not a marketer, you might not be using these tools to their full potential.
2. They Don’t Help You Stand Out
A directory will never help you stand out compared to other therapists in the directory. Most people will search by location, but there’s no way to differentiate yourself from the other therapists within the search. In fact, many directory listings have a randomized front page that isn’t based on any criteria at all.
There’s a sea of profile pictures and names, but it’s impossible for clients to choose the best therapist for themselves based on those things alone. You’ve worked hard on your therapist bio that potential clients can click through and see, but again, you’re not a marketer—and maybe you’re not sure you’ve avoided jargon or said what’s going to convert clients.
To succeed in marketing your profile, these directories might require you to write blog posts and articles, which takes you away from what you’re really good at: helping people one-on-one. These directories do not pay you in return for your hard work in writing content for them that will increase their place in search engine rankings.
3. There are Too Many Therapist Directories to Join Each One
Not only do therapist directories cost money, but there are too many to join each one. Therefore, you’re missing out on potential clients that might only trust one directory or another. There are many directories competing with each other, splitting up search engine rankings and distracting therapists from their true mission. Having one trusted directory in the industry would be much better for search purposes and would also waste a lot less of your time as a professional.
4. They Market Their Websites, Not Your Individual Profile
Therapist directories market their websites in their entirety and don’t get you directly in contact with clients for whom you’re the best fit. Instead of building up a client base for you as a unique professional, they gain potential clients for their directories as a whole.
For them, it’s more about making money through ad revenue and subscription fees and increasing search engine rankings, rather than catering to you as a professional who needs a trusted marketing service for your business.
5. There’s No Way to Build a Reputation
It doesn’t matter to therapist directory search engines whether you’ve been in practice for ten years or one. It doesn’t matter if you’re a great therapist or a terrible one. It doesn’t matter if you’ve helped 50 clients or five. These search engines list you along with other therapists without taking your great reputation into account.
Unlike Yelp or Google Reviews, people cannot give feedback on their experiences with the best therapists out there, leaving potential clients in the dark when it comes to choosing the most trusted professional for their personal needs.
What is the Alternative to Therapist Directories for a Therapist Who Needs New Clients?
Getting your name in front of the people who need the therapy the most so you can do your job doesn’t have to take up all your energy. Reachout’s Incentives program that began with a chronic patient’s need for access to quality therapy, sprung into a service that connects therapists and patients who need their help the most.
Instead of paying for advertising with other directories, with Incentives, you offer two free therapy sessions for clients to get to know you and for you to establish a rapport.