Copyright 2010 Deah Curry PhD, updated January 2015
Prediction: In another 3 years we’ll find almost all of our various service providers via online search directories.
Outome: This has proven true. Not just in online directories per se, but also in review sites, like Angie's List and Yelp. And the trend for 2015 and beyond is that mobile search will be taking over searches on desktop and laptop computers as people use time standing in line at Starbucks to seach.
Reason? These are easy web tools to create and maintain (relatively speaking), and growing in prevalence. AND, they have an edge in conveying first impression credibility over organic results from search engines like Google, due the more convenient compare / contrast ability between various providers forced into the same format of marketing pitch presentation.
Most counselors I know don’t use locator directories very well. Most coaches and NDs I know barely use them at all. I think they are useful in general, and a good idea for bringing inbound links to your website, which helps your search engine optimization.
I make these recommendations to my clients about being on locator directories:
1. Do write your “profile” as if you’re having a conversation with a new client sitting in your office, and make it 90% about them. The goal is to get them to either call you or go to your website. Tell them what they will find or get when they do either of those actions.
2. Don’t write a kitchen sink profile — that’s one where you say you do everything for everyone. Far from being inclusive and appealing to more potential clients, that just makes for a confused generic listing that’s too much about you.
3. Do convey confidence with statements like, I can help, or I know what that’s like. Don’t display timidity by thinking you’re being polite and therapeutically indirect by using phrases like If you feel I’m a good match, and wish to try this out….. Searchers sense your noncommittal energy as unlikely to be able to help them out of a crisis.
4. Avoid professional jargon, such as diagnostic labels and technique or process names. These don’t show you to be a professional. They do sound intimidating, aloof, and cold.
5. If you list on more than one directory — and you should — you can vary your pitch to speak to a different set of ideal clients in different listings. But keep it to one client type per directory.
Who is your ideal client and what is their biggest problem? This is what your locator directory profile should highlight.
Not sure who your ideal client is? Really reluctant to narrow it down to one niche? My strategy consults or e-vising can help you figure this out.