How Design Can Make or Break Your Business

 
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As a therapist, you already know the importance of establishing trust with your clients, but what about your potential clients? The ones who follow you on social media, who scour your website, who read your every blog post trying to decide if you’re the therapist for them. Establishing trust with this audience (or neglecting to) could make or break your growing therapy practice.

This confidence you’re seeking to build in your audience is known as the “Know, Like, and Trust Factor” in the marketing world and basically refers to this principle: someone will not hire you or buy from you until they know, like, and trust you first.

But if much (if not most) of your marketing is done online, how is this possible? How do you get potential clients to know you better, like you more, and place their trust in you if they’re not meeting you face-to-face for a first impression?

Design.

When people are meeting you by first visiting your website or scrolling through your social media profiles, having a cohesive design that consistently communicates who you are is critical for establishing a professional presence. This is why design shouldn’t be considered an out-of-reach luxury. It’s an investment that will fuel the growth of your business.

Establishing a professional online presence doesn’t mean that you have to look like everyone else. Just because a therapist you admire has a well-designed website doesn’t mean the same design will work for you. Using design to communicate your professionalism is all about setting expectations, serving your audience’s needs, and creating an experience.

Setting Expectations

The level of care that is infused in your design is a direct reflection on the level of care and purpose you pour into your business.

If your website has 12 different fonts, clashing colors, and a hard-to-understand logo, you’re setting unclear (and) low expectations of what working with you is like. You’re telling potential clients that you’re not all in and that their experience with you will feel the same as your website: all over the place.

DIYing your website when you first start out isn’t a bad thing. It’s very common among new business owners and can be a great way to learn about marketing. But if you’ve been in business for a couple years and your website isn’t converting like it should, outsourcing your design (to a skillful and intuitive designer) is your best bet to secure high expectations among your potential clients.

It’s all about determining your priorities and asking for help when needed. Outsourcing your design can be a strategic and professional investment in the foundation of your business and marketing needs. Not to mention, you show that investing in yourself is valuable and important (something that you encourage your clients to do for themselves on a daily basis). Ultimately, though, it’s a choice every business owner needs to make for themselves.

Whether you decide to DIY or outsource your branding and design, make sure it’s a decision made out of prioritizing design and user experience. When you prioritize these things, you’re communicating to your audience that their experience is a priority to you, beginning with their first introduction to your brand.

In the therapy room, you know that consistency helps your clients feel safe; they know what to expect when they return for their sessions because of the environment of trust you’ve created. Consistency in your brand and website design communicates that you care about potential clients feeling safe and lets them know what they can expect (all without ever communicating this with words).

When you set clear expectations from the beginning, you will begin attracting those who are looking for the high-quality service that you offer and you won’t have to do much convincing.

Serving Audience Needs

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. It’s how it works.” -Steve Jobs

Ah, how true that is. A big piece of design is making sure that everything functions properly. How long do you stay on a website if you can’t find what you’re looking for, if the font size is way too small or way too big, or if something like the “about me” page is scattered and hard to follow? Not very long, I expect.

And what impression does that form in your mind?

Great design is user-focused and intentional in its setup and accessibility. It’s one thing to have a website that just looks great, but another entirely to have a website that also functions well.

You need to have a site that flows logically and easily, making it effortless for potential clients to take action.

Reading your blog, signing up for your email list, scanning through your services, booking a call, or buying a product should all be easy. Because if it’s not easy, a visitor to your website will rarely spend more than a few minutes trying to figure it out.

It might seem like it’s common sense to know how to design a functional website that serves your audience's needs as it should, but that’s not always the case. A designer who knows what they’re doing will be able to look at your website through fresh eyes and make sure everything makes sense and is easy to navigate.

Creating an Experience

Good design will always convert better than poor design because of one thing: good design creates an experience. It sets the tone and expectations for the type of experience a client will have if they choose to work with you.

Good design makes all the hard work you put into marketing stand out from everyone else. You could have the best and most valuable content to share with the world, but if you have poor design it just becomes more white noise to scroll through.

By having quality design, you are putting yourself on a different level from the start and setting distinguishable, memorable expectations.

At the end of the day, that’s why your therapy clients come back to you - because of the experience they had with you during their session. Not your list of credentials. Not your modalities (although those help). They come back because of the experience they had.

The same is true with design. If you give a visitor to your website a positive, high-level experience, you won’t have to spend the time and energy convincing them that your services are right for them. Based on their great experience on your website, they’ll already know.


When your website sets expectations high, serves your audience's needs, and creates an experience, you develop trust with your potential client. And because your potential client knows you, likes you, and trusts you because of the design of your website, they can easily determine that you’re the right therapist for them.

IF YOU’RE READY TO HIRE A WEB DESIGNER, I CAN HELP.

Together, we can create a website that will connect you with visitors, hold their unique experience, and transform those visitors into clients. We’ll start with brand development, next we’ll strategically plan your website design, and then I’ll take everything we’ve worked on and create a cohesive, beautiful, and functional final product. If you’re ready to start, learn more here.