How To Use Your Therapist Website To Get More Referrals

There are many ways to get clients through your website. However, website traffic from referrals and word-of-mouth is among the most effective.

The reason for this is that a website visitor that has been referred already knows of you before they even arrive on your site. A good referral source will have already introduced you, shared about how awesome you are, and perhaps why you could be their best fit.

Website visitors that arrive on your website from a referral are the best sort of website visitor. It’s like they already know you a bit.

While it’s vital to get website traffic from multiple sources, traffic from good referrals and word-of-mouth are the golden traffic, the traffic that is full of people who are significantly more likely to pick up the phone and reach out.

The great news is that you can get your website involved in the process of increasing these referrals:

  1. Your therapist website can grow and strengthen your network
  2. Your therapist website can increase the quality of incoming referrals
  3. Your therapist website can grow the number of incoming referrals

Great referrals come from having a strong network that knows who you are and refers to you regularly because you make it easy for them to do so.

Your website can be leveraged to make this happen. In this post, we’ll break down exactly how.

1. Grow and Strengthen Your Network of Referral Sources With A Website That Builds Trust

Referral sources are the audience that is often overlooked when creating a therapist website.

Many therapists, website designers, and marketing consultants are so focused on attracting clients through a therapist website, they aren’t thinking about how the website must also appeal to referral sources too.

One important factor to have in place is the factor of trust. A therapist website must establish trust with a referral source. How can that trust be built? By allowing them a chance to get to know you.

Good ways to let referral sources get to know you is through having clarity in your branding and visual identity, having an excellent photo or video of yourself, and also having a blog or other forms of content that allow them to see you beyond just your credentials (but of course, mention your credentials too).

The way a referral source feels when they are on your website matters. They want to see what type of person you are and that you care, and this helps build the trust necessary for someone to become a referral source at all.

Another highly important factor is that your referral source needs to feel proud of referring to you. No referral source wants to recommend a professional who has a website that is out of date, unusable, cluttered, features design or content that isn’t credible, or just not professional-looking.

Would you refer someone to a therapist who didn’t look like they took their job seriously? Or that they didn’t take time and care to create an online space that really cares for and speaks to their clients with empathy?

People want to refer people to professional therapists. After all, who they refer to impacts their reputation too.

To use your website to grow and strengthen your network, you’ll want to make sure your website helps build trust and looks professional. How you are putting yourself out there will affect referrals even wanting to start a relationship with you and then refer to you too.

2. Increase The Quality Of Incoming Referrals By Being Clear About Who You Are

Once you’ve done the work of strengthening and growing your pool of referral sources, you’ll want to make it easy for them to identify who to send your way.

Unless you make it easy for them to know who it is you help, you will not get referrals or get poor quality ones.

Who do you help? How do you help them? And is that clear on your website?

If you know the answer to these questions, your website is the place for communicating and educating your network on who you help and how. Once a referral source really gets who you are, they’ll be on the lookout for referrals to send your way.

One important aspect of communicating who you help and how is the visual communication of your site: things like colors, images, typography will all speak to who you are and what type of solutions you provide.

Beyond that, your copy matters too. You’ll want to have copy that speaks directly to the struggles of your best fit clients without the psychobabble. Referral sources need to be able to identify the pains you help with in who they are about to refer.

So for instance, they may not be able to witness and then describe someone’s experience as, “suffering from acute depression related to traumatic events” but they could witness and describe something like, “this person is really sad and had it rough growing up”

If your website copy does not align with what your referrals are witnessing in potential referrals, then how will they know if they should send them your way?

Your website’s visuals and copy need to make it clear that you are the place for your best fit clients. Only when your network knows what a good referral looks like can they have that little light go off in their head when they come across one to send them over.

Expert tip: this clarity of who you help and how can also help you identify not only your best fit client but also your best fit referral source.

3. Increase the Number Of Incoming Referrals By Making It Easy For Them To Share

Beyond having a strong network and having a ultra clear best fit client that you have communicated to them, there are also ways to increase the number of incoming referrals with the help of your website.

Create share-worthy content

It’s often easier for referral sources to share content then to share your sales materials directly. In addition, many referral sources will simplyl have more reason to send helpful content then to directly refer. Maybe the person they are referring to doesn’t have an immediate need for a therapist but will later on.

So having content that helps even before potential referrals are in the crisis zone and having content that can be shared by referrals with them when they are in that place, can help build relationships with both referral sources and referrals over time. Also, shareworthy content gets shared beyond the first share.

Offer a high-value gift

Beyond simple share-worthy content like blog posts or video posts, creating an attractive and very high value optin gift can also help referral sources refer you. Imagine having a link to a free ebook that helps young feminine people discover if they might have an eating disorder. This free ebook could be shared not only by you but by your best fit referral sources like perhaps family doctors and high school teachers. Giving them a link would make it so easy for them to share it!

Collaborate with referral sources

In addition to having content on your site in various forms and value, you can also collaborate and support what your referral sources are up to through your website. For instance, what about displaying their logo on your website after sponsoring an event for them? Or asking to chime in on a topic of an upcoming blog post, quote them in the post, and then link back to them.

The idea is to use your website to keep in touch with referral sources over time as well as to build that relationship. Your name is always fresh in their mind and by taking the first step to include a referral source on your blog or in your content, it will inspire your referrals to reciprocate with including you in their content or spreading the word about what you do.

Getting Better Referrals: Key To Your Practice’s Sustainability?

Out of all the ways that you can get new clients through your website, having a good referral sources sending clients consistently your way could be key to the sustainability of your practice,

Unlike other ways to drive traffic to your website, like SEO, guest blogging, or directory profiles, a good referral source is fun and cost effective. It’s simply making a friend and maintaining that relationship. You invest into a relationship which takes significantly less investment than most other forms of marketing too.

Over the hundreds (thousands?) of therapists I’ve spoken to that have had long-term private practices, all of them cited referrals as central to their practices survival.

Taking the time to leverage your website to strengthen your network and increase both the quality and number of referrals is an important step towards getting that referral machine churning.

What do you think? I’m curious to know how you’ll be approaching growing referrals after reading this post. Are any of the ideas ones that you will put to work? If so, I’d love to hear how it goes. Feel free to continue the discussion by reaching out anytime. I love hearing from you.

About Kat Love

Hi, I'm Kat! I'm the founder and lead designer here at Empathysites. Therapists helped me heal from childhood sexual abuse so now I help therapists with creating their websites. I write on topics like website design, strategy, and turning website visitors into clients. Reach out anytime if you'd like to say hi. PS. my pronouns are they/them/their. Thanks.