You have worked like crazy to develop, learn and implement an entirely new service line – telehealth for occupational therapy. You realize the changes brought by Covid 19 aren’t just a week-long lull, so you are trying to do what is best for your clients while also saving your occupational therapy business. That is a lot of hard work, take a moment to acknowledge the weight of that.
But now that your telehealth program is up and running, your attention quickly turns to finding clients. But… your calendar isn’t filling as quickly as you hoped.
Drum roll… because in the midst of a global crisis, it is difficult to get people to try something new. Even if you’re aiming to reconnect with established clients on your new platform.
The good reasons behind this decision paralysis:
- People are overwhelmed.
- People are unfamiliar with telehealth.
- People are in crisis.
The unfortunate truth is – just because you offer something really valuable, doesn’t mean people will sign up. According to Neil Patel, people don’t make decisions based on facts, instead, it is emotions that most significantly influence decision making1.
Time to amp-up your game.
You need to speak to your audience so that they understand and actually listen to your offer. You need to cut through the noise (and the world is very noisy right now) so that you connect with the people who really need your services.
And, I believe strongly in the ethics of good copywriting. Powerful messages that are honest and authentic. No bait and switch. No feelings of being tricked.
So buckle up, I’m going to present some of the basics of copywriting psychology and apply them to promoting telehealth for rehabilitation professionals.
At the very least, it provides a launching pad for learning techniques of good copy. But, even better, maybe you will get inspired to write outstanding copy that puts wind in the sails of your telehealth services.
Telehealth CopyTip #1: Shared Experience
Building a connection with your reader is an important starting place. This is especially true during times of crisis. Not just acknowledging the Covid elephant in the room but forming connection and trust. Keeping in mind, a brain is more likely to be open to additional information when it likes and trusts a source2.
This should feel natural to write and come from a place of authenticity. Validate feelings and be human. I believe OT’s do a great job of validating in personal relationships but need to remember to do this in writing.
To use this: Think of your audience and what they are going through. Think of your shared experiences past and present.
What can you share so you are both on the same page, meeting in the same emotional space?
Remember long-term relationships always. Come from a place of authentic emotion, not a place of emotional manipulation. Provide a place of support for both those who find telehealth to be a good fit and to honor those who need to pass on telehealth at this time.
Here are some wording ideas to get you started.
- We miss seeing you, playing with you, and working with you.
- We are all overwhelmed and figuring out a new normal.
- We don’t want to add to your overwhelm. But, we are excited to offer helpful services.
- Even if things aren’t perfect, we can figure this out together.
- I’ve been working on telehealth services because I wanted a way to continue to provide needed occupational therapy services.
- In times of such uncertainty, it is hard to start something new.
Now that your reader feels validated and connected, they are more likely to be ready to listen to what you have to say about telehealth.
Telehealth CopyTip #2: Cover the Basics of Your Telehealth Offer
Give a clear idea of what clients are signing up for. They are likely not familiar with telehealth and have some questions. When you address their questions, they feel more confident about learning more or initiating services.
Some questions you might consider addressing:
- What does a telehealth session look like?
- What will the parent have to do?
- What platform will you use and what can you do with it?
- What can you DO or NOT DO with a telehealth session?
- What skills can you address with a telehealth session?
You can cover these basics in your telephone calls, emails, or website. Simple and direct can sometimes do wonders for creating trust and confidence1. Revisit your writing and try to simplify language that is overly technical so that you can speak directly to your audience.
A lot of the questions will actually revolve around the benefits of telehealth, and more importantly, possible objections to telehealth. Keep reading to learn more about these important topics.
Telehealth CopyTip #3: Address Objections
This is probably my favorite one.
The human brain literally doesn’t want to make decisions or change. So, in the case of telehealth, the brain automatically generates reasons to avoid decisions and change3. And presto! No decision, no change needed. So much easier, but the reader didn’t really consider the option.
When you address possible objections, you give the reader more information to process. You slow the brain down and provide assurance that telehealth is a viable option.
To use this: Make a list of all possible objections big or small and then write down how you are managing those objections. Then, when you write, incorporate how you are addressing those objections into your messaging.
Don’t assume that just because a solution seems straightforward that it doesn’t need to be included in your writing. Sometimes just seeing something in print is reassuring.
Check out some of my ideas below.
And again, write ethically. All information needs to be accurate. You can’t make assurances that aren’t true.
Added bonus: Here are some links to research supporting the use of telehealth services.
Telehealth CopyTip #4: Take a Deep Dive on Value, Pain Points, and Benefits
Consider first: people invest time and money into services that have value. Good copy will highlight the value of your services so that people will take action.
People find value specifically when your services address their pain points. You need to show how you solve their problem. I think this is one of the biggest obstacles right now with marketing teletherapy. People are legitimately focused on different pain points!
But, don’t lose hope. There are still lots of pain points that can be addressed by teletherapy. Again, it comes down to matching your services with people who really benefit from telehealth.
Bonus note: If you can relate the benefit of your services to addressing a pain point, you have a powerful combination. Plus, these make great bullet lists.
To get started: Write down some problems your target client might be experiencing. Then, write down a way your unique occupational therapy services can help with those specific problems.
Here are some examples from telehealth.
Example Pain Point: What I might write to address the pain point .
Loss of routine and typical support: We can use telehealth occupational therapy to discuss how to set-up a healthy routine for your child taking into account your environment, your work situation and factors unique to your child such as attention, sensory diet, and ability level.
Difficulty managing sensory needs at home: Teletherapy offers a unique opportunity to see your home space and provide recommendations for quiet corners, sensory obstacle courses and items you have at your home. We will apply our knowledge of your child and help you create a custom sensory plan to address ongoing sensory needs during quarantine.
Fear about losing gains from therapy: We have been so excited to be a part of your progress after shoulder surgery. We know their benefit from therapy doesn’t end just because social distancing started. We are confident we can continue to make progress with your strengthening program despite not being able to meet in person.
Telehealth CopyTip #5: Don’t Shy Away from Establishing Credibility
If these are clients you had before, they already see you as an expert. BUT, this means they probably also know that you haven’t been doing telehealth very long so they may doubt your credibility for this specific service.
Side note, more power to you if you had experience in teletherapy before this all started, you definitely need to highlight your credibility.
By establishing credibility in this new service area, your reader will feel more confident in the value you will be able to provide.
Again, insert ethics here. You aren’t going to claim to be an expert in teletherapy unless you are. It is alright to be authentic and acknowledge this is new to you. Even acknowledging that there will be learning along the way.
But! I bet you have done some research and preparation before jumping into this adventure.
- Attended webinars
- Read Blogs or research
- Found Resources for successful home treatments
- Networked with knowledgeable therapists
To use this: Think about how you can highlight what you have learned in a way that builds confidence.
Check out some ideas below on building authority.
Take Heart and Promote Your New Telehealth Services!
You’re doing something really big and hard. Learning new skills, serving clients, and trying to market services in the middle of a pandemic. There are no perfect answers but I hope you found some inspiration and direction for your marketing efforts.
Don’t be shy about self-promotion. I’m looking straight at you occupational therapists! Because you are doing good work.
Share how you are solving problems, providing benefits and addressing pain points. Find ways to highlight your outstanding work so make sure people can see it and feel it.
If you need help with developing your messaging for telehealth or something else, reach out and schedule a free-consult to chat for 15 minutes. I love building bridges of communication between clinicians and their clients.
- Patel, N. How to incorporate psychology and emotions into your copywriting. https://neilpatel.com/blog/incorporate-psychology-emotions-copywriting/
- Cialdini, R. B. (2007). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. New York: Harper Collins.
- Dispenza, J., Runnette, S., Goswami, A., & Tantor Media. (2017). Evolve your brain: The science of changing your mind. Old Saybrook, Conn: Tantor Media.
- Worboys T, Brassington M, Ward EC, Cornwell PL. Delivering occupational therapy hand assessment and treatment sessions via telehealth. Journal Telemed Telecare. 2018 Apr;24(3):185-192. doi: 10.1177/1357633X17691861. Epub 2017 Feb 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29278981
- Wallisch, A., Little, L., Pope, E., & Dunn, W. (2019). Parent Perspectives of an Occupational Therapy Telehealth Intervention. International journal of telerehabilitation, 11(1), 15–22.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6597151/?log$=activity