If you’re a counselor or coach with a website that you rely on as the anchor of your marketing strategy, you’ve probably already felt the strain to optimize your pages for good search engine ranking.
I’ll tell you a secret — unless you want the Google SEO-robot sitting in your office chair, SEO is NOT the most important thing you need to do with your content.
Yes, yes, there’s purpose and benefit to having good on-the-page SEO, but this is secondary to writing compelling content.
Writing is hard for lots of well educated people. And sometimes the more education we have, the more difficult it is to:
avoid professional jargon
make the information entertaining and relevant for your ideal client
write in the clear, simple language that fits the general public’s reading level
This is partly why master’s and doctoral level psychotherapists struggle with using writing as a marketing method.
Another reason is that most were never taught the fine art of copywriting.
Don’t confuse that with copyrighting — the act that ensures that you own your written work.
Copywriting is the craft of using language to motivate a desired action. If you are a coach or counselor with a private practice, the action you must motivate people to take is picking up the phone to set an appointment. In web-speak, this is called conversion — converting your website visitor into a paying client.
So how can you make your website content compelling enough to convert visitors into clients?
1. Use emotion-based descriptions
Emotions connect the reader to you. The feeling of connection moves a reader towards taking an action. When you use words that describe what they are feeling, the reader has a sense of being heard or seen. This is a powerfully motivating influence.
Example: Feeling so sad about a break-up that attending a friend’s wedding is unthinkable?
Example: Seeing your child struggling with feeing bad about herself, getting bullied, making bad choices, and falling further and further behind in school is heartbreaking. You’re desperate to make her life easier, but so far nothing you’ve tried has worked. These examples focus in on what the potential client is feeling that is causing them to be looking for help.
2. Be concrete and specific
Writing in vague, generic generalities is a waste of time in copywriting. Staying broad in order to appeal to the most people never works to motivate taking action.
Writing in broad terms in like standing in the middle of a baseball field without a megaphone as people are waiting for the game to start, and saying in your normal voice: “I don’t want to disturb anyone, I know you’re all waiting for the game, so I just wanted to say if you ever think that you might possibly have some kind of issue that you’d like to address, there is help available.”
What kind of response do you think you’d get that way? None.
Re-read the examples above. See how concrete and specific each one is in not only naming emotions, but also situations connected to those emotions.t only would your message not even get heard, no one would make any effort to figure out what the heck you wanted them to do or why they should listen to you.
BTW, notice how I just told you clearly and directly what I wanted you to do.
What are the situations your ideal clients are in? Don’t be afraid to name some of them, and assume what they are feeling.
3. Include a directive call to action
In writing compelling content you really do want to tell people where to go. By which I mean, give a strong invitation for what step to take next. I think it works well to include a final reason for taking action in the framing of your call. Best is a reason that counters lingering hesitance or objections to picking up the phone or sending an email request for appointment.
Don’t you deserve to invest more in joy than in struggle?
Let’s meet and talk about what you can do
to make that happen
Carrie Counselor, LMFT
This example is designed to motivate the person who never feels worthy of getting what she wants or needs, who may hesitate at the costs involve, who has an awakening sense of how that sabotages her, and /or who would respond to a gentle invitation to just check out the possibility of getting help.
These are the basics for website home pages, and any niche specific pages on your website. When writing articles or special reports, and sometimes even blog posts or ezines, you might additionally tell a story to illustrate your main points. If you can tell an emotionally connecting, inspiring and motiving story in a 3-5 sentence paragraph, you might also include that on niche specific pages of your website.
So, have you you critiqued your website home page lately? Is is motivating? Does it make an emotional connection?
If you’d like to learn more about the art and science of copywriting, I can help in either a strategic review consult or an ongoing coaching process.