Can we agree that marketing is necessary, irrespective of the type of business? After all, how can people do business with you unless they know about your practice?
And that’s just it… they can’t!
But that’s only one of the reasons you want to market your practice.
When you take steps to market your products and services, you let people know three things.
- You and your practice are here to help them solve a specific problem or problems.
- You let your prospective patients determine if working with you would be a good fit for them.
- You communicate why they might want to work with you over the provider down the street.
Pretty straightforward, don’t you think?
Then why is it so many small business owners have a tough time with marketing? And why is that the majority of service providers have an even tougher time marketing their services?
The Challenge of Marketing your Practice
Of course, there are many reasons why marketing is not a popular activity with most small business owners.
Regardless of your choice of marketing activities, it will take some of your resources, time and money. Often, small business owners are already strapped for time and cash. Engaging in marketing takes an extra toll on available resources, even though, it doesn’t have to take a lot of money or time.
Many providers think marketing is too salesy, and they don’t want to sell. Below the surface, they feel that healthcare and marketing don’t go hand in hand.
But think about it…
Let’s say you’re looking for a new provider; which would you rather do?
Go online and research a few providers and then make your choice? Or would you prefer walking blindly into someone’s office, hoping he or she would be the right provider for you?
Of course, most of us would prefer to put the odds on our side. Utilizing the marketing materials prepared by providers allows you to put the odds of finding a good fit on your side.
Now, is marketing still too salesy? I think, when done right, marketing can provide tremendous value to customers.
Chances are you didn’t go into private practice to spend your days on marketing, right? Marketing is not your primary focus.
You started your practice because you knew you could deliver outstanding healthcare to your patients and make a difference!
But private practice comes as one package; in a way, private practice is “bundled!” You must be willing to take the good with the “not so good.” And for many, marketing their small practice falls under the “not so good!”
But aside from providing quality healthcare, marketing your practice may well be one of the most important tasks you do in your business.
Marketing your practice doesn’t need to put you in overwhelm or be complicated if you change how you think about it.
Here is a framework, a way of thinking about marketing you can use to move past overwhelm. It will help you focus on attracting a steady stream of patients to your practice.
At its core…
- Marketing is driven by your business goals.
- Marketing connects what you have to offer to what your patients want.
- Marketing communicates both, the actual service (or product) and the corresponding benefit provided to customers.
- Marketing is all about your patient, your customer.
- Marketing is about talking with your customer, not to them or about them.
- Marketing activities must meet your customers where they are.
- Marketing is not a single activity, but everything you do and say in your business.
- Marketing is not an occasional activity, but ongoing.
- Marketing does not need to be complicated to be effective.
- Not all marketing is created equal…
Today, even small businesses have a host of viable choices when it comes to their marketing.
Next week we’ll dive into the many marketing activities available and how you can know which one is best for you.
See you back here next week!
What do you do to market your practice? Leave your comment below and let us know.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”