The Top 10 Questions Therapists Ask Me...#5

This is part of a series of blog posts: The Top 10 Questions Therapists Ask Me.

#5: Does My Marketing Have to Be Cheesy?


This is one thing I love about working with therapists: We tend to place a high value on integrity and authenticity. If that is you, you’re in the right place.

Web copy is a different kind of writing.

When you are creating written material for your website, you need to get comfortable with a completely different kind of writing. The purpose of the copy on your website and the purpose of the articles you wrote in grad school or the articles you might write for professional journals now is totally different. The skill set is different too.

The purpose of the copy on your site is to reach your ideal client quickly in the very moment when they are looking for your help.

You need to show your potential client that you understand what they are going through and help them to feel a connection with you. You need to speak to what your ideal client is thinking and feeling in that moment. You also have to be willing to expose a bit about your personality.

This can be hard to get used to.

This kind of writing is more vulnerable and open than you might be used to. It is a lot more like talking than it is like the writing you’ve done before. It isn’t the place for professional jargon or showing how much you know. If you’re feeling self-conscious and you’re picturing your most judgmental and sarcastic colleague reading your site, you will probably feel that your web copy is cheesy or dumbed-down. Expect this process to feel uncomfortable and remember the purpose and audience.

Here’s an example. John Gottman has done over 40 years of research on relationships. He’s written several books for clinicians. He also runs the Gottman Institute with his wife and business partner Julie Gottman, providing Couples Therapy and Couples Workshops to thousands of couples every year. The home page on their site features copy like this: “the fastest way to better relationships.”  On their page for therapists you see this: “research-based professional instruction and resources.” They know who their audience is in each situation. They are not trying to impress other therapists on their home page.

Dare to write directly to your future clients. They are your audience. Be wary of asking other therapists what they think of your marketing materials. They have the same biases you do. If you need support in this process, contact me. I am a therapist, so I know what you’re going through. You don’t have to do this alone. 

Next week I'll answer the question: How much time should I spend on marketing?