With the Internet available to us 24/7, people - particularly younger generations - often use it to search for answers to unfamiliar issues. Many go to Google first before deciding whether it’s necessary to have something checked by their GP or other practitioners. People with mental health challenges can also quite easily type into search engines any question they have, and the results will show myriads of discussion forums and articles dedicated to answering those questions. Even on social media, some people choose to share their struggles a lot to get the attention of peers and friends, particularly when feeling lonely and too isolated to venture out of the door.
The way we communicate today has not generally reduced our face-to-face interactions with others, but it has changed our overall volume of contact. According to Barry Wellman’s research, social media has augmented our relationships rather than undermined them. What makes people go online for answers is therefore not necessarily for reasons of social isolation, but rather for convenience or anonymity. The Internet is just there and it’s not someone who judges you. Ask it anything at any time, and you get the answer. It’s an extremely reliable source of information in terms of getting what you need immediately, so it’s quite often the only place people go to get help. That is - among many other reasons - why PlusGuidance was brought to life - so people can get professional help at any time from anywhere, just like all the other things we have come to expect to access immediately.
Because it’s much easier just to read about your problems online than ask others (and risk embarrassment!), it’s quite common to think it’s sufficient to just do that and try to take up the advice you find. But this means there’s now quite a strong barrier between exploratory (which feels safe and anonymous) searches about issues and actually making the effort (daring, one might say) to contact a counsellor - a human being! - to work intensely on something uncomfortable. This is where clever marketing and a platform such as PlusGuidance come in handy for making the argument to seek professional help from you. Offering a free introductory consultation before people commit to anything will have an important impact on your success as well, as this will provide tangibility to the potential of therapy to the people who need it.
But you need to take prospects from the first exploratory search all the way to a free introductory session to convince them to use your services. That’s why it’s so important to have enough content and activities online to lead more clients your way.
People won’t always know that therapy is what they need. Their loved ones might tell them, but often it will be an internal process with many barriers in between realising there’s a problem and seeking professional help. To be successful at marketing yourself online, you have an advantage if you address those particular barriers via your online presence. We’re committed to raising awareness about these barriers, so being part of our platform will certainly give you an advantage over others who haven’t quite addressed this.