Get More Clients Online: 5 Steps to a Better Therapist Directory Profile

If you’re a therapist in private practice, you likely have an online profile in at least one therapist directory, such as PsychologyToday and Zencare.

But what does it mean to “optimize” your profile?

Put simply, profile optimization is all about improving your profile to maximize its reach to prospective new clients. Read on for some concrete strategies to make sure your profiles are working as hard as you are!

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Master your platforms

It might sound obvious, but a crucial part of profile optimization is making sure you understand the platforms in which you’re listed. To make effective use of a directory, you have to know how it works!

Therapy client marketing conversion funnel
Want to build your caseload? Start by broadening the top of your client conversion funnel! Optimize your profile to appear in more searches, get more profile views, get more referrals, and grow your practice.

Check out the search preview

It's important to note on each directory how the preview of your profile is displayed on the search page. This is the first information clients are presented with about your practice, and it influences whether or not they'll ultimately click through to your page. Consider, for example, the two profiles below:

Therapist directory search preview comparison

Which one of these two profiles are you more likely to click on? These two therapists are located in the same zip code, have similar credentials, and are likely paying the same amount to be listed in the directory. Still, in the same amount of space, one therapist conveys much more warmth, credibility, and personality.

To maximize clicks to your profile, choose a brightly lit, professional headshot with a warm smile. Test out different openers to see which lands best: effective lines convey what it would be like to work with you as a therapist and what prospective clients can expect to gain from sessions. They say something specific about your practice without being overly exclusive to one client population upfront. Take a quick scan through other examples in your zip code: your first line should be as unique as your practice is to you, and not rely on cliches, hypotheticals, or sweeping statements.

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Review your profile

Once you know how clients arrive at your profile, the next step is going over your page with a fine-tooth comb. Go slowly, field by field—taking baby steps will help you test one thing at a time and see each piece clearly.

Therapist directory photos - what not to do

Remember that when taken all together, the basic details of your profile tell a story. Most therapists use directories to reach a wide audience of prospective clients at the top of the funnel; you generally don’t want to be overly specific, lest you risk alienating clients who could be a really good fit for you.

For example, if you list your top three areas of specialty as “Women’s mental health, Postpartum depression, and Parenting,” that paints a very specific picture of the kind of client you are best poised to work with; it could limit the number of searches you appear in and the volume of requests you ultimately get.

Consider the difference in listing “Life transitions, Relationships, and Women’s mental health” as your top three specialties. This volume of searches for these topics are likely to be much higher. And then, you can use the copy in the body of your profile to explain that you work with women at all different life stages and moments of change, including the perinatal period.

Therapist directory specialization guide

However, for more niche directories, like a modality-based or population-specific directories (i.e., a directory of providers who are certified in EMDR, or who specialize in serving the LGBTQ community), it makes sense to play up that part of your practice. In these cases, the client who is typically searching via that directory is likely to have a vested specialty interest and be more likely to reach out to you when your profile demonstrates deep expertise.

Refine your copy

Once the basics are in place, your next step is to pick through all the writing on your profile to make sure it’s accurate, up-to-date, and effective. As you read through, work on revising to follow these guidelines:

You’ll also want to make sure that your profile answers these basic questions clearly and simply:

Test your changes!

The only way to know for sure if your profile is optimized is by systematically making changes and tracking the results over a period of time. Refer to the funnel chart below to test out different stages of client conversion:

Therapist client conversion funnnel - how to get more clients from a directory

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