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Perfecting a Private Practice

When Shellee Harrington of Harrington Creative Counseling came to us, she was entering her seventh year in private therapy practice. Shellee was a successful self-taught marketer with a popular blog and enough clients to fill her schedule. So it alarmed her to see that her website wasn't showing up in searches the way it used to, and she was noticing a decrease in calls. It seemed like the methods that had worked so well for her in the past just weren't working anymore.

The search ranking issue was obviously a problem for Harrington Creative Counseling, but there was one other challenge that had been nagging at Shellee lately. After several years in practice, she felt like she finally understood who she was as a therapist and what kind of clients she really loved working with. So how could her online presence attract those clients, so she could fill her schedule with the kind of work that challenged her and fulfilled her passion for helping others? She knew it was time to rebrand, but didn't know where to begin. Her website had worked well to get her practice up and running, but it no longer felt like an accurate reflection of Harrington Creative Counseling. The website, logo, and print materials all felt too generic, too boring, and frankly, just a little bit dated.

The Method

Harrington Creative Counseling logo

We started off by getting to know Shellee as well as we could. Her personality and values were our inspiration for the re-brand of her business, so we asked her a LOT of questions about why she became a licensed Mental Health Counselor, why she chose to practice independently, and what types of work were the most fulfilling and challenging for her. We encouraged her to envision her ideal clients in as much detail as possible. What were their interests? What was it about those types of clients that made them an ideal fit for Shellee's style of counseling? We also asked Shellee to define the values that define her practice. After digging deep, Shellee decided on Approach-ability, Caring, and Perceptiveness as the values that best define her work. Armed with pages of notes and a few good ideas, we got to work designing a new visual language for Harrington Creative Counseling. Our goal was to create something beautiful that communicated Shellee's values and made potential clients feel instantly at home on her website.

We were struck by Shellee's understanding of counseling as part of a holistic health practice, like healthy eating or yoga. With nature and healthy eating in mind, we started by creating a palette of colors inspired by a trip to the farmer's market, a place where Shellee imagined her ideal clients shopping. From there, we created a suite of logo images that work for all of Harrington Creative Counseling's needs, from print materials to social media icons.

We completed our branding journey with Harrington Creative Counseling by creating a detailed style guide for the brand. In it, we defined the "rules" for the HCC brand, including how to display the logo, how to style images, and how to use images and text in ways that promote the values that Harrington Creative Counseling represents.

With the new style guide completed, we started redesigning the Harrington Creative Counseling website. We simplified the site navigation and wrote targeted content for each of Shellee's ideal customer groups.

After a full review of the website's SEO, we discovered that Shellee's rankings were being hurt by a simple change to Google's local algorithm. A few quick technical changes to the website fixed the search ranking issue, and the new website is ranking better than ever.

Check out the site!
A palette of green colors for the HCC brand with color inspiration photos of fresh herbs.

The Results

I can’t say enough about how wonderful it has been to work with Nowsoft on my new site.  Dennis and Kate have both been extremely easy to work with.  More than their responsiveness and undeniable competence, it has been their PERSONAL INTEREST in my business that has really impressed me.  They CARE about my practice and it shows in every interaction I have with them.  The redesign of my site began with a branding consultation.  This process entirely changed the way I see my own practice.  The thoughtful questions and framework for thinking through what I do and what I want to do has helped me finally pinpoint my ideal niche in this profession.  Going through this process with Kate gave me both the insight and the confidence to narrow my focus and pursue those parts of my practice which are the most rewarding.  Her combination of intelligent professionalism and compassionate insight made this (rather intimidating) process of branding actually enjoyable for me – something I  never would have believed was possible. After our consultation, I went back to doing my job and left the heavy lifting to NowSoft.  Within about a week, they presented me with a style guide that perfectly captured the feel I had envisioned.  I went into this project not having a concrete image of what I hoped to achieve.  I just knew that my site needed an update, that it didn’t fit my practice any longer.  This style guide made everything concrete for me.  The logo felt just right.  The colors and fonts created just the kind of tone I strive to create in my office.  It really gave me a feeling of confidence moving into site development because I KNEW we were on the same page. And the finished site!  It is so far beyond what I had hope to accomplish.  NowSoft pushed me to go with a one-page design and I am so glad I listened!  I absolutely love my site!  If feels like an extension of my office – warm, welcoming, and helpful.  My new site has been up for about 6 months as I write this.  I can tell you I has radically changed my practice.  As a small private practice, I have always struggled with attracting new clients.  NO LONGER!  I am fully booked with exactly the kind of clients with whom I love working.  I even have a waiting list for the first time since I began this practice 7 years ago.  My website drives enough traffic now that I no longer use any other forms of marketing.  It has been amazing to watch this “miracle transformation” unfold.  I cannot say enough good things about working with Dennis and Kate at NowSoft. Website design and marketing are NOT areas I am at all comfortable working in.  I was extremely anxious going into this project and just couldn’t be happier with the experience.  They made every step as painless for me as possible, perfectly captured the spirit of my business, created the site of my dreams, and changed my practice!

Shellee Harrington
Shellee Harrington, Owner of Harrington Creative Counseling via Google