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  • Lisa Kissane

Does your person-centred business actually need a website?




I often get asked by clients whether they *really* need a website when they offer a service not a product.


My answer is invariably, yes.


For person-focussed professions, your product is your time, expertise and presence.





Your customers can't simply add to cart and be on their way.


It’s unlikely consumers will want to explore the origins of a the beans in their weekly shop. But for person-to-person services like therapies, coaching or consultancy, they'll want to know something about the other person first.


Your website is your storefront. It's a universally understood format for people to navigate as they overcome the barriers to purchase.



Platforms like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn offer a great space to connect with people, but aren’t always useful for the silent majority of consumers who like to do their homework. Or the myriad of people abandoning social media in droves because of the damaging effects to our health.


Maybe most of your work comes via a phone call or in-person conversation. But what about people whose anxiety stops them from picking up the phone or going to that event?


Or the person with a disability who can only communicate through text?


There’s a whole world of people out there waiting to access information about your service in a way that works for them.


Meeting your customers where they are


Understanding your customers’ level of awareness will help you tailor your content and offer the most appropriate support - check out this post about the five stages your potential clients go through on their way to being a satisfied customer.


The clients who give you a call or pop into your office to see you are already aware of their need and know your offer is a way to address that need. But let’s take a look at the customers who aren’t quite there yet…


UNAWARE

These consumers don’t know they have a need yet. In people-focussed businesses, this is less likely to be an area of focus.


Why? Because people who are unaware of a problem (which they may or may not have) aren’t ready to fix something they don’t know is broken.


Typically, this is the space where we see the most aggressive marketing techniques - trying to get customers to see a need (which may or may not exist) that requires fulfilment.




For businesses with wellbeing at the heart of what they do, it’s useful to know about this stage, but it’s not where you should spend most of your energy. You could use blog posts or general online conversation to highlight problems people may experience, positioning your business as a source of information to explore once they become…


PROBLEM AWARE

Once the customer recognises they have a problem, you have an opportunity to help them solve it.


Blog posts and informational content will come into play here - if you’re sharing content and having conversations offering a solution to their problem, you become a trusted source of information, making the consumer…


SOLUTION AWARE

They know they have a problem to fix, they know services like yours exist to help them overcome their barriers.


Educate people rather than selling to them and you’ll be nurturing a relationship, not ‘chasing down a lead’ or trying to ‘close a sale’.


Your voice is much more powerful here than ecommerce brands selling physical (or digital) products, because consumers want to buy from other humans they trust and respect. Where is this more important than during a person-on-person session?


The difference between buying a chocolate bar and hiring a therapist (for example) is vast, so make sure you’re offering valuable information and answers to common questions within your industry.


BRAND AWARE

This stage, just before purchase (MOST AWARE), is a small step from SOLUTION AWARE, but a crucial one.


The consumer knows they have a problem, they know what choices they have to resolve it. Now’s your chance to tell them exactly what you can offer and how your service can help them reach their goals.





My own experiences with person-centred services


I’ve had a lot of experiences in therapy and other people-focussed services. Some were incredible - empowering, enriching and enlightening. Others were awful - lacking empathy and understanding, or simply a terrible fit for my own circumstances.


I’ve been through the ‘stages of awareness’ when it came to recognising my limitations and mental health needs.


In my late teens, I had absolutely no idea therapy/counselling existed. This was the early 00’s and mental health still had a pretty horrible narrative. It wasn’t easy or desirable to admit you had problems with your mental health, let alone do something about it.


As I grew up and developed more empathy, I became PROBLEM AWARE. I knew something wasn’t firing correctly in my brain, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I drank a lot, which is a terrible solution, but it’s the one I had.


Eventually, while training as a social worker, I started to learn about therapeutic interventions that could help improve my mental health, and had my first experience of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). By this point, I was SOLUTION AWARE.


I knew what was wrong (anxiety, depression, trauma) and I knew there were services available that could help me get a handle on it.


What I wanted was a source of expertise I could trust and return to at my own pace. For me, this was a big ol’ stack of self-help books and regular rummaging through online counselling directories.


When I finally connected with a therapist (after many trials with professionals who were a terrible fit), it was usually after many weeks of dithering.


One particular therapist made it easy to contact him while also publishing content designed to help me acknowledge my problems in my own time and way.


I won’t tell you how often I visited his website while trying to summon the courage to book a session. I did though, and that was many years ago. This person is still my trusted therapist today!


How can Silvertongue Copywriting help me position my service business online?


For people-centred businesses, the impact of your online presence is less easy to track than a physical product.


Metrics for how many new sales your website achieves aren’t going to help you quantify it's reach or engagement.


The impact of your website will be slower, more sustainable, because potential customers will come back again and again, provided your content answers their questions and reassures them you're the expert.


I understand it’s not easy for everyone to write and create content - that’s where I come in.


Writing and creating is my strength and my passion, and I want to help people-focussed businesses to make deeper connections and ultimately, improve the mental health of everyone, whether they’re aware of their limits yet or not.


My area of focus is copywriting, which means I write the words businesses use on their websites, blogs and social media. You can find out more about what a copywriter does here, or go to the home page.



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