Your profile is your first contact with potential clients and a reference point for your existing clients. On PlusGuidance, we recommend following certain guidelines to maximise your chances of being contacted by new clients.
Just like with CVs, people tend to skim through profiles in a matter of seconds. If something is difficult to read, people often stop reading and move on to the next piece. That's why it's important to write in a way your readers find natural and engaging.
We’re eager to get you as many new clients as possible, so we've devised these guidelines for writing your most ideal profile description. As therapists, you are already expert communicators that bring out the best in your clients. We’re here to help you communicate this in the best possible way through our online platform. Shall we get started?
The client will primarily make their decision based on how they feel about you personally and what they think therapy with you will be like, and not so much on your professional background. This is why smiling in your photo
and having a digestible description that feels personal is so important.
Another thing that is also important is this: do not copy and paste from one of your other profile descriptions on the internet!
Google penalises this, so when they find duplicate content (e.g. your profile description on PlusGuidance is the same as your 'About' page on your website) it hurts the chances of both your profiles showing in Google’s search results. It also prevents you from getting verified on PlusGuidance as we manually check
whether you've used duplicate content before we verify you. Making your written description different than any of your other profiles is ideal, but rewriting a profile from elsewhere will also satisfy search engines as long as you rewrite the structure, grammar or order of the words of almost all sentences.
The general advice for the text on your profile are:
Too little text will not entice readers enough to message you, and too much can make people give up before they even get started reading. You need to write enough to give clients a clear impression about your personal style and method, and not too much so they won't read to the end. An ideal limit is 150-300 words per section ("How I Can Help You", "What To Expect" and "About Me" sections). Make your paragraphs about 50-60-words each. Paragraph style can vary according to what and how you write, and bullet points are good as long as you don't overdo it.
Avoid using medical terms like ‘presenting’, ‘patient’, ‘mental health’, ‘mental’, ‘illness’, ‘treatment’ etc., which may intimidate or deter potential new clients. Technical language may make the client feel bracketed before treatment has even begun.
Including links and videos are great to give readers a better feel for you. On your 'Edit Profile' page, you'll see there are also options to format your text and include tables if you feel they are helpful to present certain information.
The first few sentences are most effective if they are a bit unexpected (e.g. a quote that pinpoints what you’re about) or speak directly to readers’ hearts and minds. You could paraphrase what many of your current clients tend to tell you. For example, “feeling like I’m banging my head against the wall” could be turned into “Are you feeling like you’re banging your head against the wall and there’s no end to it?”. Try to think of the exact struggles your clients come to you about, and use that knowledge when you write the profile text. Being specific really helps. If you're too bland and vague, readers can get second thoughts about you.
The next paragraphs could:
...briefly outline what kinds of issues you can help with, or where your expertise predominantly lies.
...describe in more detail your methods and approach to counselling, what you aim to achieve with clients, what you think is important for good therapy, and any other thoughts or comments that are specific to you as a practitioner.
...help the client imagine what therapy might be like with you, and what the outcomes could be. They will be trying to imagine this whether you want them to or not, so try to put this into words so they feel more confident about having a session with you.
You should only briefly talk about your professional standards and relevant work experience. Obviously this is important, but keep in mind that clients will only need the most basic information about this, because it’s mostly foreign to them. Too much of this kind of background can make them feel even more confused and lost than when they started. They need to know that you are a professional with high standards and adequate experience and that you are someone they can trust. No more than that.
Another important point is to state what ages you're dealing with. PlusGuidance is restricted to people aged 18 or over. Therapists with the legal and practical training and circumstances required to give therapy to under-age clients could in therory provide these services on the platform, but please understand that we cannot give the impression children can contact you as doing so on the website is a breach of policy.
What makes you unique?
Your profile is your pitch to future prospects as well as gateway to existing ones. It’ll be easier to write if you know your Unique Selling Points (USPs) already, but if you don’t, you can make a start to find out now. Your USPs are the things that make you stand out from the other members in the directory. Letting your personality and unique experience shine through on your profile could be a highly effective USP when communicated well. Even if you might feel the therapeutic techniques you are using are not very different compared to other therapists, you do have a unique background and motivation that led you to become a therapist in the first place. You can use those as inspiration when tailoring your profile description.
The point is, bias will play a strong factor and visitors will not be very objective in assessing the services you list. They will like the look of your smile, see something relatable in your eyes, prefer the price or convenience of your services, or like the way you write about yourself. Random factors are at play when people decide to go for someone instead of someone else. There has to be something that makes them remember you, and this special ‘something’ will vary between people. Focus on your target client’s interests and you will have an idea of what unique qualities you have that might compel them to pick you instead of someone else. Your aim is to convey selective things about yourself as accurately as you can so the right prospects can imagine how your strengths will benefit them.
You can start thinking about your USPs by answering these questions:
What can you offer clients that others can’t? This can be answered in terms of specific clients (e.g. people living in a particular area of your town, students, couples, etc.) or more generally in relation to all people with an internet connection and computer.
How does your background make you unique?
How have you helped people in the past to improve?
What kind of help do people need from you the most?
What have you got that other therapists you know haven’t?
We’ve talked about USPs and positioning statements in another guide
, but for now the above will be questions worth thinking about. Once you’re clear about your USPs, you can more easily present yourself as a service provider giving unique treatment to a particular group of people needing your expertise and distinct qualities.
Your profile on PlusGuidance has a different purpose than your professional profiles elsewhere on the internet. We emphasise this because it can be easy to mistake the PlusGuidance profile with a CV or LinkedIn description where the tone of voice normally needs to be neutral, stating lots of facts. When you build a profile for clients seeking your help, however, you are addressing people who are not interested in a very formal or academic-sounding professional. They need sympathy and a listening ear more than anything, so they will respond best to your natural, empathetic-sounding self. Being too informal and laid-back can also put people off so they think you're not as professional as you need them to be. Strike a balance between those opposites.
It helps to imagine what clients are most interested in hearing. Noticing the way you explain your services in any introductory sessions you have with prospects is a great start, as is noticing what kind of questions they typically ask before they start paying for your services (those are also the things you are best off addressing in your profile description).
Explaining your services in an engaging and interesting way helps your readers remember you. Using storytelling techniques such as personal experience, memorable (short) quotes you really relate to, and ‘hooks’ are all techniques you can utilise in your profile description.
Whatever you do, keep it short, relevant and warm in tone.
Some notes on pricing
Pricing is another crucial part of your profile. When it comes to setting your service fees on your profile, set them at what you’d charge for in offline face-to-face meetings. Many clients actually find online sessions more valuable to them for a variety of reasons, so there is no need to charge less for instant-message sessions or voice sessions, for example. It’s completely up to you of course, but on the whole, clients don’t expect these alternative mediums to cost less.
Because most people are unfamiliar with therapy, potential clients are likely to use your prices to make assumptions about your services, assuming that the more they cost, the better they are. Charge whatever fees you feel are appropriate, but don’t think that lowering them will make you more appealing to clients. This can have the opposite effect on some people.