I’m in the early stages of preparing a presentation for an audience of therapists, coaches and other solo business owners who depend on the trust of their clients.
Part of my focus will be on writing a strong homepage headline.
The headline on your homepage is a big deal.
It does a lot of the heavy lifting for your site.
It’s often the first thing people read when they arrive at your site.
And in the same way that people will judge a book by its cover, prospective clients will likely judge your practice by the message you share on your homepage.
Anyway, as part of my preparation, I’ve been going through dozens of websites for therapists, coaches and trainers.
So far I’ve scribbled down 5 separate recommendations for including in my presentation.
And while this post references therapists and coaches throughout, the basic lessons remain the same for any business that needs to earn the trust of its prospects from the very first word.
Let’s get started…
#1 – Why YOU? It takes more than simply describing your service
A lot of the headlines I’m reading, particularly for therapists and counselors in private practice, are descriptive, in a very general way.
Like this example…
Confidentiality, professionalism and respect are the main attributes of my therapy.
OK, good to know. But there’s nothing there to make me sit up and pay attention. Nothing that I wouldn’t expect from any professional in that field. Nothing that makes me think you’re any different or any better than your competitors.
Why YOU, rather than them?
I might not find the full answer in the headline alone. But at least give me a hint.
#2 – Avoid clichés and Instagram cuteness
I see this kind of thing a lot on homepages for life coaches.
Never Give Up – Learn To Live Your Life Purposefully
Taking Your Personal and Professional Life to The Next Level.
Add a photo of a sunrise on the beach, or a beautiful mountain view, and you’re good to go for your next Instagram post.
But is this how you want to communicate your value as a coach?
These are clichés, and that means they’re overused.
And THAT means they add zero value to your brand as a coach or trainer.
If you want to set yourself apart from others in your field, you need to find a way to communicate your value that stands out and shines.
#3 – Include some kind of promise to the reader
Whether you’re a therapist a coach or a trainer, your task is to help people. That’s why they come to you. That’s what they want.
So why not make that promise in your headline?
Not in some tired or cliché-dependent way. But in a way that feels meaningful to your prospective clients.
Here’s an example I found during my research.
And it’s an example I like…
Become a Confident Woman – Free yourself from Anxiety, Find your Power, Transform.
This headline isn’t about the therapist. It’s about the reader. And it makes promises to the reader.
Be confident. Free yourself. Find your power. Transform.
Now the reader has a reason to keep reading.
#4 – Mirror’s your reader’s concerns and hopes
As a therapist, coach or trainer, you need people to feel they can trust you.
And you need them to feel that way right from the outset… before they even reach out to contact you for the very first time.
How can you help someone trust you, when you’re still at the “total strangers” stage of your relationship?
You do it by mirroring your prospects’ own feelings.
Here’s how one therapist does it on her homepage…
“Have you been experiencing anxiety for some time? Perhaps going through some changes and transitions in life? Feeling unease or experiencing conflicts in your relationships? I can help.”
If just one of her questions mirrors feelings I’ve been experiencing recently, I’m going to feel a connection. I’m going to feel she “gets” me.
Mirroring created empathy and trust.
#5 – Differentiate your practice with a conversational voice
Being highly educated can get in the way.
Therapists in particular need to let go all those fancy, academic writing skills they developed at university.
Language like that may do the trick when writing to impress your teachers, or trying to pass an exam. But in the everyday world… not so much.
This is particularly true when you’re trying to create one-on-one, trust-based relationships with prospective clients.
You need to talk to them in everyday, conversational language.
Again, this is how you create connections with your readers. This is how you make them feel they can trust you with their struggles and their hopes for the future.
You absolutely can’t achieve that with academic gobbledygook.
The headline on any page of your website is important.
But the headline you write for your homepages is the most important of all. Because this is where most people will start on their voyage to find out about you.
Never stop working on that headline, even after the page is published.
That message has to give people a reason to choose YOU over other therapists or coaches.
It has to include a credible promise, and be written in a way that genuinely connects with the emotional state and aspirations of the reader.
And it has to be written in a way that is open, transparent and conversational.
I know. A tough job. But worth working on until you get it right.
NOTE: Much of what I talk about in this post is expanded on ten-fold and more in my course on Conversational Copywriting…