Right now, therapists in the UK are in a strange twilight world, where being able to carry out in-person treatments seems to be just on the horizon. But deciding when and how to re-open for face-to-face treatments brings all kinds of practical, financial and ethical considerations to weigh up.
Business planning for the new normal
Reopening, whenever individual therapists are ready to do so, will entail some careful preparations to change their standard operating procedures. They will need to ensure their own safety and wellbeing, as well as that of their staff and clients. Whilst there is a lot of guidance out there, the specific changes to a therapists’ practice will vary, according to things like client numbers, the setup in the space itself, and even things like whether they offer clients refreshments. All of these changes will need to be communicated out, so that clients are prepared and comfortable with them.
Updating your website
Updating your website with these changes is, of course, crucial, and gives you the opportunity of using social sharing buttons to link up with your social media presence. You’ll want to consider including links to relevant information about lockdown easing guidelines and any other relevant guidance or reference information that you want to share with your clients. In addition, in order to improve your website’s search engine ranking, don’t forget to add relevant keywords to improve your SEO. Get guidance on discovering SEO management tools, which are easy and intuitive to use, helping therapist and business owners everywhere to maximise their search engine scores.
Right now is also the perfect time to consider a website branding refresh: as you’re re-opening in this “New Normal”, a fresh new look and feel to your website will align nicely with this new phase of offering face to face therapies again, but with safety-focused changes.
Direct client communications
As not all of your clients will be visiting your website on a regular basis, it would be advisable to take a more proactive approach to ensure they’re being kept in the loop. Announcing your re-opening by email, or text, and including a hyperlink to the information page on your website, means that your clients will be able to get to the relevant pages instantly, whilst also driving up your website’s traffic.
Many therapists will have been working hard to support clients remotely throughout lockdown. This may have been at a reduced charge, for donations, or free of charge, in order to do the most good – and as a result, their exposure and reputation will be likely to have seen growth too.
Therapists currently have the golden opportunity to evolve their practice and incorporate some of these remote therapy/support options if they choose. This could mean keeping many of their new remote clients and monetising some of the creative support services they have been offering to a whole new range of clients: for example, those with mobility restrictions and people in remote locations. By building some flexibility into your standard offer, you could open the door to a much wider group of clients.
Using social media to host distant client services/recorded content
Should you decide to incorporate more distant client services, social media can provide a valuable set of tools (particularly with relevant hashtags) in publicising and marketing your new services. But that’s not all – Instagram Live is a powerful content broadcast feature, which many therapists have been making use of during Lockdown. It enables you to host classes, talks or even collaborative events in real-time, with multiple attendees possible and interactive features.
There are also platforms like Facebook Live, and Messenger Rooms, which are easily accessible, and enable you to broadcast interactive sessions (great for workshops and classes) in an easy and fuss-free way.
If some of your distant clients are in different time zones or need more flexibility with time for medical or scheduling reasons, you can record your content, and make it available for them to access later on. Adding recorded content to a YouTube channel is another great way to both reach new audiences, increase your profile, and link up to your website and other social media presence. And this has the added advantage of allowing paid content – so a whole new possible revenue stream for your business.
The last 4+ months will mean some new measures and preparatory work for therapists, but this is the ideal time to give your website and your social media presence a makeover. You may just find that all the work you put into your online communications and marketing, boosts your exposure and your earnings – especially if you get to grips with integrating your website and your offer, with the power of social media!
Having a professional, well-designed website is the first step for expanding your business reach and customer base post-COVID.