The Purchase-Driven Client

How does a client find you online? Well, let me start by telling you how clients USED to find you (and me) online. They used to go to Google and type in a search something like this: “Marriage Counselor Boca Raton” or “Psychologist Chicago”. Clients would then click on the first name in the list. Unless something really turned them off about the first website they clicked on, then that’s who they would call. If that therapist didn’t call back right away, then they might work there way down the list.

So it was very important to get yourself listed under those local search terms. The new clients went to the therapists that were listed at the top of that list. Or the therapist that was most likely to answer the phone. Attracting clients online was a game of being first and being fastest. Of course, that had nothing to do with being good, and really isn’t that much more important.

Thankfully, those were the old days. new research on buying behaviors has identified the “purchase-driven client” (or consumer). This is a person who has already made the decision to come to therapy. They are no longer on the fence, they just need to find the right therapist and schedule an appointment. Here’s the process that a “purchase-driven client” follows when they are seeking out a therapist.

  1. First, they will search Google for their desired keywords: “Marriage Counselor Boca Raton” or “Psychologist Chicago”. From these search results, they will go through several pages of results.
  2. After they’ve gotten their results, they will go through a number of websites. Most of these sites they will stay on for less than 4 seconds. However, for the websites that appeal to them, they will stay and read through as much content as they can find.
  3. The client will then choose 2 or 3 potential therapists that seem the most appealing. This is a list of “finalists”. The client is going to see a therapist, and they are choosing one of this group.
  4. Here’s where it gets interesting… Now, the client Googles each therapist by name. This allows them to see your reviews, your social media presence, your articles, and your connections with others. In this step, they are looking to get a sense of who is really the expert in this area.
  5. After reviewing search results by name, the client will choose which therapist they want to call.

There are several important lessons for you here. The big news is that you no longer need to be rated first, or need to answer your phone the fastest. Clients have gotten more educated about researching and are willing to wait to get the person they want to work with. (Of course, it’s still important that you make a connection during the initial call. Otherwise, they’ll move down their list.)

The other big important lesson is that you need to be aware of what pops up when someone searches for your name. Go do that right now… Surprised by the results? Is this something you would want your client to see when they are Googling you?

Even the most sophisticated therapists haven’t usually done any SEO on their names. And you need to do that. So what’s the fastest way to build up the search results for your name? Social media. Google gives far greater priority to social media sites then they do to your website. So build up your professional social media presence in order to really beef up your client appeal.

The biggest site for therapists is still Facebook. This should be your highest priority, and is often the first result in the search rankings.

Once you have Facebook up and running, then you can move to the second tier of social media. These include Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. (In that order.) Make yourself as visible as possible for your name.