When you first open your healthcare business or practice, marketing is overwhelming. And when you consider all the other startup tasks that come with a new practice, it’s easy to push off the marketing.
Like any other habit, the hardest part about marketing is getting started. this is all the more so true in a new practice where you have so much to do. It’s easy to push off marketing when you don’t know where to focus. And while you might find the early clients come your way from former job, marketing will still be important to continue bringing clients or patients in. Or, perhaps you’re just getting started out in a new city are out of school with big dreams. And while we’d all like to believe that if you build it they will come karma more often you have to proactively bring people to you.
Here are 6 first marketing steps you should take in the early days of a new practice.
Set up your Google business page
Depending on your industry you might have directory pages they are important for a new clinician. But no matter what field you're in, Google business is a free first directory you should join. Setting your Google business page up lets Google know you’re open for business. This might be the most important entity to inform, right after your mother.
Claiming your Google business page helps people in your service area find you. When someone searches physical therapists near me, you'll only show up if you have an active Google business page.
Here are instructions on how to claim your Google business page.
Now, what if you don’t want your address to be public because you’re offering teletherapy from your home office? You can then hide your address on Google but still indicate the local service area that you serve.
Choose a niche
Choosing a niche can be super overwhelming when you’re first starting a private practice. You’re likely taught in school that you can help everybody. And when you need clients or patients, you actually want to help everybody. But in your marketing, if you’re talking to everybody, you’re speaking to no one. Choose one area of your specialty that you like. Talk about that and only that in your marketing.
This isn’t to say that you can’t take clients that aren’t specific to your niche. Everyone says that you should only take clients that “light you up” when you’re working for yourself, but the truth is when you need to pay the bills, a client is a client.
But attracting the clients or patients that light you up? That’s all about marketing. Choosing a niche doesn’t have to be permanent. You can always try something else later. But getting known for something early is especially helpful for referrals.
For example, if you are a physical therapist, you may decide to serve runners. You can tell local orthopedics and podiatrists that you set up a new practices for runners. You can also tell local running groups, running coaches and post it in local running group Facebook groups.
Get a few runners as patients, and more will come.
The same thing is true for therapy. If you decide to work with teenagers, you can reach out to local pediatricians, high school counselors and other therapists. This therapist who work with young professionals, but no longer want to work with teenagers, will be happy to have someone to refer them to.
Let other professionals know you’re open for business
Speaking of referrals, they can be one of the most helpful ways to get the word out about your new practice or healthcare business. Reach out to other professionals in your area and let them know who you are and who you serve. You may have to do this a few times, and that’s okay. You don’t have to worry about annoying people if if you haven’t heard from them yet. People are busy and need reminders. They’re also used to getting calls like yours, so no one will be surprised if you call again.
You could be even more proactive by creating a postcard or a fun gift. You definitely don’t want to spend a lot of money when you aren’t making much, but there are ways to send something small and thoughtful to someone who you anticipate could be a likely partner. For example if you’re a parent who loves your private practice pediatrician, you could bring in some homemade cookies for the office with a note to let them know that eve opened a new therapy practice. You could do this for the guidance counselor and social worker at your kids high school. You can also make a pretty inexpensive flyer and print them with Canva.
Focus on one social media channel
For social media, the key is to focus on one channel where your audience is hanging out. they might be in more than one place, but for starting out, you will want to focus on just one. Get a few followers by letting your friends know you’re in business and put up some early posts.
Consider creating a Facebook business page even if your audience isn’t spending a lot of time on Facebook. This is because Facebook groups are more helpful than any other business groups, even LinkedIn. You can join groups with other local health care professionals in your area and let them know there that you are open. You can search within the groups for your keywords and respond in comments. This will definitely help, but it can be time-consuming.
I recommend optimizing your personal Facebook page for your new practice. This will allow you to post about your practice without annoying all of your friends. Add a header that lets them know you are the owner of a new practice. The caption for the header should be about your practice with a link to your website if you have one. Consider making your Facebook posts all private to just your friends but leaving one post public that’s about your practice. Then when someone in a group looks at your profile, that’s what they will see.
You can also set up lists of followers so that those who might be interested in your practice will hear more about it. I recommend letting everybody know a few of the exciting things happening in your practice, like when you open or if you get a new office space. You don’t want to spam all your friends about your new business, but once in awhile they’ll be happy to hear what you’re up to. And you might be surprised about places some of your referrals come from.
Since I opened my own marketing business I’ve had clients from high school, camp, and even old jobs either work with me or send people my way. Setting up friends groups lets you separate your connections by people who are local or of our people who would be more interested in your business. So if you connect with local clinicians, you could accept their friend request but then add them to your list of business contacts. That way pictures of your kid graduating kindergarten can go out just your good friends list, and the updates about your office can go out just to your business list.
Develop your one liner
Your one liner is how you make it very clear to your audience will you serve the problem you solve and for what greater purpose here’s a blog on how to write your one liner. Once you have it, put it in your social media bio at the top of your website and use it every time someone asks what you do.
Create your website
Speaking of websites, you want to have one early in your business. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated and it certainly shouldn’t be expensive. You can set it up on your own using Squarespace or Wix. Don’t drive yourself crazy making it perfect because you’re likely to change it later when you're more experienced and have more money to spend on marketing.
For help writing your business one liner and writing your website content, check out this workbook: