It doesn’t come naturally for most of us.
I’d be really, really surprised if learning how to market a private practice was one of the classes offered in the core curriculum of your graduate school.
And yet, when you made the brave (and oh-so-awesome) decision to open a private practice – and thus became a business owner – suddenly this became a skill you need to understand.
And I won’t kid you. There is a LOT to this topic, and it’s one that you will likely continue learning about throughout your career.
(And you thought your clinical skills were all you had to worry about!)
I follow a lot of so-called experts who will be quick to tell you how to market your private practice. When I dig deep into what they say, though, often they’re just throwing a bunch of tactics at you, shouting things like…
You need a blog!
Do webinars – they’re the hottest thing going…
Facebook Ads – ya gotta be using Facebook ads…
And a whole lot more.
Me? I like to keep things simple. I can hold it in my head that way. And I think it helps if you realize that all you really have to do is sort through three basic things.
They are what Dan Kennedy, in his book: Magnetic Marketing: How to Attract a Flood of New Customers That Pay, Stay and Refer, calls Market, Message and Media.
I sometimes think of these a little differently than he does, but the basic principle is the same. And a solid marketing plan for ANY practice will be built on these three things.
Let’s take a look.
Who most needs, and can make the best use of, the services you provide? What’s going on with them? Where are they suffering and what do they really, really need?
This is called “positioning your client”. It’s getting crystal clear about your peeps, those who fit you like a glove because what they need so perfectly matches what you offer.
When they read about themselves on your website or hear you talking about what you do at the kids’ soccer game, they need to know instantly that you’re talking about them.
Because you get them.
What can you offer them? What amazing thing is it that you bring that you know GOOD and WELL is not like everyone else? What is it that you want them to know?
What is possible for them that they think isn’t?
This is called “positioning yourself”. It’s getting just as clear about who you are, what you do, and what it is that makes you – and your work – really special.
(To my fellow female entrepreneurs – this is NOT the time to play small, to be modest, or to downplay your uniquely awesome totally-quirky not-like-anyone-else amazing self and the GOOD work you DO. Ok? It’s just not!)
This, finally, is where the tactics come in. Where will you speak to your market? How will you share that message?
Unfortunately, way too many coaches that I know start here. Before you even get clear about who it is exactly that you actually serve, and what it is exactly that you actually do, they’re pushing you to start a blog, buy a bunch of poorly planned ads, and jump into the online world.
But that, my dears, is the wrong thing to do.
Take your time figuring out the other two things I’ve mentioned here first. Then, and only then, begin thinking about how you will connect to them, and where.
In an ever expanding world of online marketing choices, the range of options for getting your message in front of the right people at the right time can be brain-numbing and overwhelming.
So let’s don’t do THAT either. :)
Pick three – just three.
Choose three ways/places/platforms/tools you want to use to connect with YOUR peeps on a regular basis.
Website or Facebook Business page? Blog or podcast? Pinterest or Instagram?
Networking coffees or personal visits to potential referral sources?
Trademark talk to the right organizations and groups or offering a workshop?
You don’t have to do it all.
In fact, trying to be everywhere at all times saying everything to all persons is a recipe for wasted dollars, an empty waiting room, and burnout.
How do you create a strategic marketing plan for your heart centered private practice? Get clear on these three things. Put a plan in writing. Try it. Evaluate it. Revise it.
See? It doesn’t have to be hard.
It just has to be simple. And clear.