Whether you’re just starting out and growing your practice from scratch, or are looking to get more clients of your established private practice, there are three different areas to focus on that will make it easy to get measurable growth.
We’ve broken the client growth strategy into 3 parts:
- Developing a marketing focus;
- Getting your practice online;
- Growing your practice offline.
The first step is essential; regardless of how you want to grow your practice, you have to have to get your thinking right up-front. From there, you can look at the opportunities that exist, both online and offline, to define a marketing strategy that works looking specifically at how to get more clients in private practice.
1. Developing a Marketing Focus
If your background is in health, then you might be struggling with wearing two hats at the same time. The hat of ‘health professional’ is probably one that you’re comfortable with, but ‘business owner’ or ‘entrepreneur’ might be a hat that isn’t fitting comfortably right now. But it’s an essential shift if your practice is to be successful.
To grow your practice means embracing a marketing mindset. This doesn’t mean you have to be salesy or pushy, but it does mean that you need to be comfortable with getting ‘out there’, sharing what your practice offers to those who need your services.
Let’s Get Practical:
If you’re struggling to make the switch, there are a couple of things you can do to get going.
Talk With a Mentor
This could be another practice owner who is further in the journey or has a specific skill (such as networking or a good web presence) that you’d like help with.
Read a Marketing Strategy Book
A good place to start is with Seth Godin for general marketing principles; otherwise: “Building Your Ideal Private Practice” by Lynn Grodzki and “The Private Practice Field Guide” by Daniel Franz are helpful resources for practice-specific marketing ideas. Another option is our very own free eBook “Marketing for Health Practices“.
This could be anything from setting up your practice’s Facebook page to scheduling a meeting with a potential referral source. Taking one small step makes it easier to take the next, and before you know it, you’ll be firing on all cylinders.
Set Time Aside
Schedule half an hour every day that is booked in your diary to work on a marketing strategy or marketing efforts. Thirty minutes is long enough to get something meaningful done, without being overwhelming (and there’s not enough time to get distracted).
2. Get Your Practice Online
This one is simple: make it easy for people who need your services to find you online. And getting your online presence right doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’ve been struggling to commit to a new website build, or are intimidated by the sheer volume of options for growing online, we’re here to make it a bit simpler.
Let’s Get Practical:
Set Up a Great Website
A great website doesn’t mean that it needs to be fancy with all the bells and whistles, ‘great’ means a website that answers questions that a prospective or current client might have, such as:
- What do you offer?
- What can I expect?
- Where are you based?
- How do I book an appointment?
And, most importantly, it should get the website visitor to take action, this might mean offering a free download or a discount on one of your services in exchange for their contact information. From there, you can expand to include blog posts about your services and related topics to grow your site’s authority and improve its rankings.
Not sure where to start?
Have a look at sites in your industry, and make a list of what you like and what you don’t. Also, check our guide to Health Practice Websites. Then get in touch with a website designer that has experience in your niche and work with them to develop a strategy. Part of growing a successful practice is knowing when and what to delegate, freeing you up to do the tasks where you can add the most value.
Make the Most of Free Online Opportunities
There are many ways that you can promote your practice online that don’t cost money; they just take a bit of time and effort. The top 3 are:
- Google My Business, check that your GMB listing is up-to-date with your contact information. Make a note in your calendar to post an update or share photos every week or two to boost your SEO ranking and ask happy clients to leave a recommendation.
- Facebook Business Page, set it up, include contact information, details about the practice, and a link through to your website. Ask loyal clients like your page and leave a review to build your credibility.
- Other Directories, make sure your clients can find you (and have access to updated contact information), whether they’re looking on Yahoo, Bing or Yelp.
Consider Paid Advertising
Facebook ads are an effective option for many health practices; they allow you to offer your services to a targeted audience (you can segment by age, location, gender, and much more). Facebook is an excellent place to get started, as it’s quite a bit more affordable compared to other online advertising platforms. Other options for targeted advertising include Google and Bing Ads which, while they can be a bit more expensive, offer even greater opportunities for targeting the people who are looking for your service right now.
3. Grow Your Business Offline
If you find the thought of establishing referral sources overwhelming or uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Many practice owners find the idea of marketing distasteful and the exact opposite of why you became a health professional in the first place. It may be helpful to try reframing it in your mind:
- Rather than thinking of pushing your services on other unwilling practice owners or leaders in the community, remind yourself that you provide excellent quality care, and you’re giving new clients the opportunity to discover what you have to offer.
- Instead of ‘networking’ to build your practice, think of meeting others in the industry as an opportunity to build mutually beneficial relationships that can add value to their ability to give their clients the best level of care.
Let’s Get Practical:
Establish and Nurture Referral Relationships
Building relationships with people in the community who will refer clients to you is invaluable. Possible sources to consider include other therapists and doctors; these partnerships work extremely well if you are a specialist or offer a niche treatment service. When you do receive referrals from other health practitioners, remember to write a referral feedback letter – this closes the loop and reinforces the relationship.
Other Waiting Rooms
Every day, waiting rooms of other health professions are filled with your potential clients. Why not ask if you can put some brochures there, and offer to do the same for them? (Pro tip: For a small cost, you can also provide DL Brochure stands. This looks more professional and enables you to put a sticker with “How to order more brochures” instructions at the back of the stand.)
Attend Networking Events
Building and nurturing these relationships takes time and effort as you’re more likely to get referrals from people that know you and have worked with you for a while. This may mean attending networking and other community-based events so that people are familiar with you and what you offer.
Whether you’re meeting up with other practice owners, listening to podcasts, or reading marketing strategy books, investing in your knowledge will help you to grow your practice. You can learn from people who’ve started their own practices and hopefully avoid some of the mistakes they made while getting some tips on what worked well for them.
Many of these strategies will take a bit of work to set up initially, but all have long-term potential to consistently refer new clients to your practice. Whether you’re putting yourself ‘out there’ online or offline, establishing a few different client sources means that you’re diversifying risk and growing your ability as a marketer one step at a time.
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If you know a practice owner who wants to know how to get more clients in private practice, why not share this with them? They might be finding it difficult to take action or be struggling with where to focus, and this article could be what they need to start taking action!