When I write website copy (content) for my therapist and healing practitioner clients, one of the areas they struggle with is describing how they are unique from others in their profession. I often hear things like, “I do the same thing as other therapists,” or “Well, I don’t want to brag or be competitive,” or “It’s really hard for me to talk about myself,” or “I don’t know”. This difficulty or reluctance to express their differentness becomes a big obstacle to writing client-attracting website copy.
I often have to dig deep with my questions to them before I can pull out something that accurately illustrates who they are and what they uniquely have to offer in a compelling way. And, I must say, what amazing things I discover about them and their services in the process! Frequently, we unearth fascinating things that they never would have thought about putting in their copy.
You ARE Unique…And, it’s Not Only All Right to Say So, It’s Essential if You Want to Stand Out.
You must realize that differentiating yourself from others does not necessarily mean that you’re “better” than other therapists (although you may be). It means that you are giving the client some idea of who you uniquely are and how this may benefit them.
Regardless of how similar you think you are from others in your field, there will always be ways that you are DIFFERENT in who you are, how you practice, what you offer, and the benefits you provide. How can you expect people to spend their hard-earned money on your services if you can’t tell them what they are getting if they should decide to work with you?
Further, not every client is going to be ideally suited to working with you, so why not stand out to the clients who are? Clients sometimes have to search through dozens of websites when looking for a professional and they are looking for something that makes them say, “Yes, this is the person I want to work with.” The best clients will be those that read your website and are excited because it resonates with who they are and what they want.
The bottom line is: you are unique, your potential clients want to know how, and it’s your job to tell them.
How Do You Find Your Uniqueness?
There are endless ways that you can describe how you are unique from others. I’ve outlined some of them below.
Niching - A niche can be one way of standing out, but it certainly isn’t the only way. Increasingly therapists and other professionals are establishing niches as a way to differentiate themselves from others. This works for a number of reasons, including the fact that most people prefer to see specialists if given an option.
People want to believe they are getting the best of the best. For example, if a client is dealing with the loss of someone close to them and have a choice between choosing a generalist as opposed to a grief specialist, who do you think they will choose?
Personality – What is unique about who you are? Any quirky, special or interesting things that your clients may want to know? How can you tell a compelling story that shows who you are as a therapist or healing professional? Are you someone who is really funny and uses humour a lot in your work? What is your passion for your work? What do your clients say about you?
One of my former clients works very well with clients in the business world who are analytically-minded and want a direct and challenging approach. She is able to draw these clients to her through how she conveys her personality in her copy.
Style - How can you describe the “how” of your work with clients in a way that is interesting and gives them an idea of what it’s like to work with you? Perhaps there is something different about the way you deliver your services or the length of sessions.
For example, one of my clients offers weekend therapy intensives for couples who are in crisis. He describes how much progress the couple can make this way and how it reduces the frequency of reverting back to their destructive ways, as often happens in weekly sessions.
Philosophy - What is your belief about change, healing and growth? How does your philosophy guide your work and how is this beneficial to the client? Is there something about your philosophy that will help attract your ideal clients?
Special Training or Techniques – Are there special or leading-edge techniques that you use in your work that you can show are beneficial to your clients? Is there any research on the methods you use that can attest to their effectiveness?
Professional Experience – What is your track record? Do you have evidence of the clients you have helped? How long have you been practicing? What has your experience taught you that your clients might want to know? What other related professional experience have you had that might make you stand out?
Personal Experience – Have you had a personal experience that is similar to your potential clients that might be comforting to them? Not all professionals want to share their own experience, but if you are comfortable doing so, sometimes it can boost your credibility if you suffered with an issue that is similar to your ideal clients and share how you successfully overcame it.
If you decide to discuss anything personal, it doesn’t have to be in great depth, simply mentioning your issue and the fact that you came through it is sufficient. On the other hand, I’ve read some in-depth and compelling first person accounts of professionals that would certainly make me want to hire them.
Outcomes – Are there specific outcomes you achieve with your clients that are uncommon or stand out in some way? For example, one of my therapist clients was able to illustrate on her website her success working with people who had previously tried numerous treatments to alleviate their depression including therapy with other therapists. She then developed a reputation as “the therapist to see for depression when nothing else worked”.
Include Information, While Perhaps isn’t Unique in your Field, Is Impressive Nonetheless – Sometimes you can make yourself stand out by describing something that may not be different than others, but may simply sound compelling because others in your field are not mentioning it.
A classic example of this is when the famous copywriter, Claude Hopkins, created an ad for Schlitz beer that boosted the company’s place in the market from #5 to tying for 1st place. How? By describing the process that all beer companies used to purify their beer in an enticing way. Even though other companies used the exact same process for purifying their beer, none of them talked about this in their advertising. Is there something compelling that you can say about your work that perhaps isn’t unique, but that others in your field are not talking about?
The above are intended to be some of the ways that you can stand out from others on your website, but they are not the only ways. If you are having trouble in unearthing your uniqueness, ask your clients, colleagues, friends, or a marketing professional or copywriter for help. If you stick with it, I guarantee you will eventually come up with something to differentiate yourself that can help you build a full practice with your ideal clients.