Starting your own medical practice is an exciting (and nerve-wracking!) way to take the reins of your medical education and previous healthcare work into your own hands. However, it does come with risk and upfront expenses, which is why the rush towards consolidation within the healthcare community continues to grow. Becker’s Hospital Review revealed that 60% of community hospitals are now part of an enterprise health system. Projections are clear that the trend is likely to continue over the next three years, with a projected value of $5.5 billion in healthcare. While it’s not easy to start and grow your own practice, there are many reasons why it’s an appealing choice to make. Having your own practice gives you the autonomy and freedom to determine your workflow. Having a private practice also allows you to expand healthcare access to local areas that might be underserviced and need help. Owning a private practice means you are not only a practicing clinician but also a small business owner. Both of these jobs entail a lot of work and sacrifice. This can quickly become overwhelming. To help your private practice succeed, you have to think like an entrepreneur and incorporate well-proven marketing strategies. Here are my top 10 tips to help you build your client base:
- Identify your ideal client
- Build a website
- Expand your social media
- Be great to your clients
- Hire great staff
- Create a welcoming environment
- Ask for feedback and referrals
- Scrutinize your process and improve it
- Participate with insurance companies
- Build participatory care
1. Identify Your Ideal ClientWhile it may sound slightly counterintuitive to narrow your focus when you want to expand your client base, finding your niche is key to growing your business. By understanding the demographics in your area, you’ll be able to identify the ideal type of client who will be likely to call your office for help. For example, does your community have a large retiring population? Young families? Aging baby boomers? Once you’ve identified the type of client you’ll be working with, you can laser all your business and marketing efforts precisely towards this group (or groups). Defining your ideal customer allows you to market your private practice in a way that attracts those individuals. Also, appealing to customers you are well trained to support allows your private practice to start on a strong note. This good reputation will take you far in building a larger client base. Highlight your unique strengths and emphasize the quality of services rather than quantity.
2. Build a WebsiteIn today’s age, almost everything is done over the internet. When looking for a doctor, the first step many of your potential clients will take is to search for physicians in their local area via an internet search engine. Having a website you own is the cornerstone of all your marketing efforts, with a place to connect with your patients more profoundly and tell them more about what you have to offer. Having a professional and easily navigable website is necessary. While free website-building sites are available, they don’t always look as good as a site you pay to have developed. However, Wix, Weebly, and WordPress are among the highest-rated sites that offer free versions. Here’s a report of the top 10 free website-building sites that show you the pros and cons of each. A list of pages you’ll want to include on your site are: Home Page This page gives your clients an overview of and welcome to your site. It should be attractive and inviting and clearly show people how to navigate through the pages. “About Me” Most people want a chance to get to know you a little before calling the office. The more relatable, friendly, and approachable you are on this page, the more they’ll want to call into your office. Include a profile picture. Staff Members Include the names of your staff, along with a profile picture and a short blurb about them. Contact Information Although you’ll want to include the clinic name, address, and phone number on each page, you should also have a dedicated contact page for your site visitors with the following information:
- A contact form
- Your email address (for those who don’t want to use the contact form)
- Phone number
- Office hours
- A map (preferably a Google map)
- Directions from north, south, east, or west
- Links to your various business social media profiles
- Client intake form
- Cancellation policy
- Client disclosure release form
3. Social MediaA great way to drive traffic to your newly finished, professional-looking website is by being active on social media. You don’t need to create an account on every social media platform to have an effective social media marketing strategy. Just focus on creating quality content for the social media accounts you utilize. Social media is free and is a fantastic way to engage with potential clients. Facebook and Twitter are good platforms to start on. Social media offers you a chance to give to your customers and contribute to them to go beyond the standard visit time they can interact with you in an office setting. Use social media to:
- Keep in touch with your patients by replying to their comments.
- Share news and information about particular medical issues.
- Retweet information that is relevant to your work.
- Show your expertise by posting short articles.