What do you do to market your NP-Practice effectively?
Before we answer that question, though, let’s get one thing out in the open…
Too many small business owners believe they don’t need to market their business. But that’s a dangerous belief!
I am here to tell you that marketing is essential, no matter the type or size of business, if you want to stay in and grow your business.
With that out of the way, let’s dive right in…
What is Marketing?
Before we get into the weeds, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Because frequently, the term “marketing” is used for any number of business activities, including:
- and Public Relations
But here is the thing…
While these activities are part of marketing, they are just that… activities.
Marketing, however, is the glue that brings these activities together to accomplish a goal… to grow the business and generate profit. So, marketing is the strategy you develop and implement to promote, advertise, and ultimately bring in sales.
Two Marketing Frameworks
Stay with me here…
I believe it’s essential to build a strong foundation so you can appreciate the importance of marketing your business.
So, there are two broad styles or frameworks of marketing:
- Brand Marketing and
- Direct Response Marketing
How are they different, and what difference does it make?
The two frameworks are as different as night and day.
1. Brand Marketing
This marketing style is utilized mainly by large, well-established companies with deep pockets.
In a nutshell, the marketing strategy comes down to exposing people to the brand repeatedly. The expectation is that people will remember the brand when it’s time to make a purchase, which could be tomorrow, next week, or even next year.
Let’s use Coca-Cola as an example.
The company may use TV commercials, billboard displays, radio ads, YouTube ads, Social Media ads, etc., to advertise its product, Coca-Cola.
Some years, they may advertise Coca-Cola during the Super Bowl without knowing if people who see the ads like or drink soda, let alone Coca-Cola.
Companies that engage in brand marketing don’t know if their marketing is successful; there is no direct mechanism to measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.
Now, let’s compare brand marketing with direct response marketing.
2. Direct Response Marketing
It’s often used by smaller companies with not-so-deep pockets. These businesses don’t have the luxury of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks…
Direct response marketing identifies an audience for a product or service. Next, they develop marketing strategies and messages that resonate with the audience. Typically, the audience is encouraged to engage with the message and give a response.
Let me give you an example; I will stick with soda.
Let’s say I’m visiting two websites that sell soda.
One site shows month-watering images of a cold soda to quench my thirst on a hot day. That’s it, nothing else.
The other website also shows month-watering images of a cold soda to quench my thirst on a hot day, but they also make an offer.
They may ask me to fill out a form to get a free six-pack of their new soda so that I can try it.
If I take the time to fill out the form, it’s reasonable to assume that I could turn into a customer down the line. At the very least, the company has my email and can stay in touch with me.
That’s direct response marketing in a nutshell. It’s identifying an audience, engaging with them, getting a response, and winning a prospect or customer.
While this may not be the best example, you get the idea.
A Big Mistake
Too many small businesses see what big companies are doing and think they should do the same.
But that would be a big mistake!
Brand marketing is very expensive. And as a small business, you don’t want to do big business brand marketing, but you want to go with a more direct response style of marketing.
The direct response style of marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, but it has to be strategic and consistent.
5 Steps to Effective Marketing
So here is a 5-step approach to marketing your small NP practice effectively, using a direct response marketing style.
Aside from providing excellent service and superb products, marketing is the biggest lever you can pull to grow your practice.
1. Start by Identifying your Audience.
In other words, identify the people you would like to help, you can help, and you’d love to work with.
If you’re in primary care, you may think, “I work with everybody…”. And to some extent, you’re correct.
However, I’d like you to remember the phrase: “If you talk to everyone, you talk to no one.” And this is so true in marketing…
No one will hear you if you don’t tailor your marketing message to your audience.
Picture yourself sitting at the airport, waiting for your flight.
It’s busy, noisy, and people come and go. The noise is interrupted every few minutes by an announcement that you tune out.
But wait… was that my name?
And all of a sudden, you sit up and pay attention because the announcer was talking to YOU!
And this happens when you know your audience; you can talk to them directly. And when you do, they sit up and listen.
2. Craft Marketing Messages that Resonate with your Audience.
To create compelling marketing messages, you must know your audience. You must understand their pain points, their needs, their preferences, the solutions they are searching for, and how you can help them.
Create a UVP, a unique value proposition.
It’s a concise statement describing how your services will help your clients. Also, include what makes you different from other providers and why someone should work with you instead of the clinic down the street.
Be sure to focus on the benefits of working with you. Your clients want to know how you can help them and how working with you will improve their situation and change their lives.
This statement is also known as a USP, a unique selling proposition. But since most NPs are service providers, the term UVP might be more fitting.
If you’re clear about the elements to include in your UVP, you can dial in your marketing messages and engage the people in your audience.
3. Create Content. Be you. Be authentic.
Interact and stay in touch with your audience by creating content that is useful to them.
Focus on creating quality content. Instead of trying to sell a service or product, create content that provides real value to your audience.
This could be educational, entertaining, or inspiring content that resonates with your audience and shows your expertise in your field.
When creating content, always be authentic.
There is only one You. You come with a unique personality, bringing your special knowledge and experiences to the table.
Sometimes we think we need to project a particular image, but that’s not always in alignment with who we are.
People want to know you. They come to see you and work with you because you’re you! They want to know your “take” on an issue, etc.
When you’re authentic with your content, marketing, and work, you build trust and authority with your audience.
4. Choose your Marketing Channel.
What is a marketing channel?
For our purpose, a marketing channel refers to the platforms and methods you’ll use to deliver your marketing message.
This might include your website, social media, sending emails or snail mail, public speaking, or any other channels.
But before you make your selection, make sure your audience is using it too. In other words, you want to pair the channel/s of your choice with those used by your audience.
What’s important is that you identify one or two, maybe three, marketing channels you’re comfortable with and your audience uses.
And don’t spread yourself too thin.
Don’t think you have to publish to multiple channels. Pick one or two and learn everything about them. Then create a schedule for yourself, publish your content, and do it consistently.
Consistency and focus are key here.
5. Rinse & Repeat.
And finally, rinse and repeat, but only if it works.
You need to track your results to determine if a marketing strategy or channel works for you.
This may be as simple as asking new clients how they learned about your practice or asking visitors to your website to complete a brief survey.
Use this 5-step approach to build a marketing machine that works for you 24-7, 365 days a year.
Create a marketing schedule for your practice outlining your overall marketing strategy to grow your business. Include your audience, the marketing channels you’ll be using, and how you will track the results.
Be consistent in your marketing… and keep it simple!
If you’d like to learn more about marketing your practice (or other business), I invite you to check out “Marketing Basics: Simple Steps to Grow your Practice.”
What do you think about the two styles of marketing? And how do you market your NP practice?
We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts and leave your comment below…