Thinking of Starting a Teletherapy Online Practice?

How Will You Find Clients?

Tons of therapists, life coaches, and psychologists are gravitating toward teletherapy because it offers an easy and accessible way to meet with clients.

And now more than ever, face-to-face sessions via screen chats are more reliable, smoother and of increasingly higher quality. There are a ton of benefits to taking your practice online, but there’s also a lot of confusion about marketing this kind of practice. This blog gives you a basic run through about what teletherapy is, if it’s right for you and how to market an online practice.

What is Teletherapy?

Teletherapy combines telecommunication technology to deliver professional therapeutic services at a distance: via phone, web chat, etc.

Because traveling to an office for therapy is often inconvenient and for some even impossible, teletherapy has become increasingly popular.

Modern technology can connect clinicians with clients wherever they are.

How does it work?

Because therapy is meant to provide a safe space for people to talk about their inner most concerns, you may be wondering how to provide that safe space on a screen. This, however, is generally not a concern for your client population. Many clients love the idea of not having to drive a long way to seek therapy. Plus, video technology has come a long way, and there are many HIPAA-secure options to help protect your clients’ privacy.

There’s So Much to Love About Teletherapy

Teletherapy sounds great, but how will I find new clients?

Great question, and one that lot of therapists overlook. Because of the way Google ranks sites, it’s actually pretty difficult to market teletherapy services online.

Frequently, when people are shopping online, they type in a particular topic or location into a search engine. For example, if you’re searching for a therapists in your area, you may search for “anxiety treatment Denver.” But if your practice is online, it may not only cover Denver but all of Colorado. Maybe you want to cover the entire US or even go Global.

The Trouble With Marketing Teletherapy Services

Google considers searches for therapists, counselors, life coaches, psychologists, etc. to be local searches. Meaning, even if someone sitting in Denver searches “anxiety counseling”, Google will serve them local results in Denver. Try and see for yourself. (Same goes for pizza or Chinese food 🙂).

On the contrary, if someone types in “symptoms of anxiety”, Google will show national results. You’ll see huge sites come up like WebMD and Mayo Clinic. Terms like that are not presumed to be local search terms, but rather research terms.

This is why it’s practically impossible to get SEO visibility for sites in areas away from the city in which your office is located. While you can list other areas that you may serve on your site, Google emphasizes the actual address of your office and makes your site visible to those areas only. (Google also trusts your site more if it lists an actual physical address, so removing your address is not the answer, either.)

The good news is that with Google Adwords you can target whatever state, city, town or areas you want. In your ads, make sure you feature the fact that you offer tele- or online therapy, as you don’t want to pay for clicks from people that would not be happy talking to you over a screen.

How To Determine if Teletherapy is Right For You

I think that teletherapy is a great step forward for therapists that are comfortable with technology (enough so that they can help their clients through technical difficulties) and who have enough experience to gauge when the treatment is being negatively impacted by technology.

Before you get started, it’s important that you check with your state’s regulatory agencies, as some states require you to see the client in-person first before you agree to a teletherapy arrangement. And, some states allow this mode of delivery from the get-go.

Lastly, if you’re undecided about teletherapy, I would stress that it’s not just something you do and POOF! have a full practice immediately. You likely will need to engage in paid advertising to build your practice up over time.

If you have any more questions about teletherapy, don’t hesitate to contact me! We’ve had a lot of success marketing online practices using Google Adwords.

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