Being a therapist is different today than it was before the dawn of the Internet. People weren’t as exposed to gazillions of options as they are today with a simple Google search. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be clearly aware of how you’re unique so you can market yourself most effectively in this well-connected world.
Your unique qualities as a practitioner are commonly referred to as Unique Selling Points (USPs) or Unique Selling Propositions (also USPs), both popular terms in marketing speak. Basically, to succeed in the market today, you need to first look inwards to discover who you are (or who you want to be), then define your unique qualities and finally tailor it into everything you write online.
You may already communicate your USPs actively when you run your practice, but if you don’t, we recommend reading this guide through and start finding them. It’s crucial for your online promotion efforts to stand out amidst the multitude of therapists on the internet, so we’ve created this guide with you in mind, so you can most successfully market yourself on PlusGuidance, social media, websites, and everywhere else you find and appeal to prospects and peers.
First, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of defining your USPs.
Defining your target client
Defining your targeted client is the foundation for your USP. Why? Because if you have the wrong target person in mind, you could define your USP quite differently to what you would if you had your ideal client in mind. Your interest should lie in finding the right match for your services, and then use this clearly defined ‘target’ client to cast some light back on yourself to find the specific qualities that benefit your client the most.
Take a piece of paper and write “Target Consumer” in a circle in the middle of it. You are now going to make a mind map with the answers to these questions branched out from this circle:
Who’s buying my services?
What are they interested in?
What other services do they buy?
Where are they mainly buying these services?
Spend time thinking about this and jot down everything that comes to mind. Keep this piece of paper on you for a while if you can’t come up with anything right now, so you have it handy for when you think of things to add.
These questions will help you to have a clearer image in your mind of who you appeal to most, leading us to the next exercise.
Why are they buying your services?
Now write a long list of all possible reasons your target client is buying your services. ‘Attack’ this question by asking it in different ways, such as:
What makes them decide to spend money on you in particular?
What have you got that makes them compelled to choose you over others?
What brought your clients to hear about you in the first place?
Is there usually any effort on your part between their hearing about you and their choosing you?
What do you think is the final aspect about you that makes them choose you instead of someone else?
What motivates your clients to seek out your services and buy them?
The way you frame the question will have an impact on your answers, so continue to ask yourself and think about different things until you feel you can no longer come up with anything new. It could be that most of your clients have the exact same reasons for coming to you, but it’s also very likely there is a great deal of variability between them.
Once you have a generous list of reasons, compare the answers to your actual services. Cross off the reasons-to-buy that don’t match your services, unless you believe they are worth keeping, in which case you need to think creatively about ways you can address this.
Now that you have a good idea of what you can offer that meets the needs of your prospects, you should compare this with what the competition offers. If your competitors are offering the exact same USPs as you, they’re not your Unique Selling Points, which is why you need to take theirs into consideration too. Do some internet searches to see what your peers are doing that make them stand out. See how you’re different from them. If you think your peers can easily replicate your USPs, tweak them again until they become hard to imitate.
This is the magical point where you can start to formulate your USPs, refine them and start focusing on them. You have qualities, advantages, experience, and personal motivations that are yours only, and those will make up your USPs.
How USPs give you an advantage over others
You can use your USPs in all situations where you represent your business. It could be at networking events, on social networks, job profiles, your website, and of course on PlusGuidance. Once you know how you’re unique, selling yourself becomes much easier than if you only had a vague, generic idea in your head about what you do. You’ll be able to say things along the lines of “I help X people with Y problem in my unique Z way” instead of “I specialise in Y” or “I help X people with Y problem”. Prospects can more easily imagine how you can help them if you tell them how you personally deal with their problems.
If you describe your prospects’ problems better than they can themselves, they’ll assume you have their solutions. Having thought carefully about your clients’ goals and requirements to define your own USPs will therefore have a significant impact on your success as a therapist online. People going on websites like PlusGuidance are looking for solutions to their specific problems, so if you can match your unique qualities with their needs, you stand a good chance among your competitors.
Another way to think about this is in terms of how much competition you have. The more specific and unique you are in the way you frame yourself, the fewer competitors you’ll have. Sure, the number of clients who would be perfect for you will drop, but the at the same time it means that the prospects choosing you have very good reasons to do so and will likely benefit more from your help than if you hadn’t specified your unique qualities. If you don’t know your USPs, you’re leaving it up to chance how much your clients will like your style.