Every business owner wants the same thing: Get more customers/clients through the door. Whereas marketing strategies for some businesses are much more straightforward, businesses in the healthcare industry have to take a more careful and balanced approach to marketing. There are guidelines to follow, concerns about putting out factual and evidence-based information for your clients, and considerations for future referral relationships.
But it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it seems. This post is going to go through 21 strategies you can implement into your private practice in order to get more clients. A balance of the following strategies will help you to:
- Raise awareness about your private practice
- Become an “expert” in your healthcare sphere
- Build strong and lasting referral relationships
- Build a positive reputation for your clients, and
- Educate the public about the work that you do.
Strategies for your private practice to get more clients
#1. Know your ideal client.
Before implementing any marketing strategies, first do an ideal client exercise. The exercise helps you to understand the type of clients you want (and need) to attract, acquire and have lasting relationships with. Knowing this can help your marketing make so much more sense as you can picture the client persona that you’re talking to.
Your ideal client can also influence other aspects of marketing, such as the colours and fonts you use, the kind of information you focus on and the kind of language you use. While you’ll initially take on any client that comes through your door, you’ll start to focus more on certain types of clients later on. And the more your brand resonates with them, the better.
#2. Have an awesome website.
In this increasingly digital world, it goes without saying that you should have a website for your private practice. Most of your organic, private clients will first search for you online for more information, or even just to get the directions.
Depending on your needs and budget, you could hire a web designer to help build your website. There are digital marketers out there who specialise in the healthcare industry like Studio 56 and Allied Health Marketing.
If you’re looking for a cheaper or free solution, it’s always possible to create a website at no cost. A simple Google search will show you an abundance of free website platforms. Just keep in mind that you’ll at least need a custom domain in order to seem more credible, and most likely, you will need a professional to re-do your website later on.
In our experience, the design of your website isn’t as important as the content it contains. Of course, a good design is important, but focus on providing valuable information on your website. And ensure that you clearly articulate what you do, where you are, and how your clients can reach you.
#3. Write blogs regularly.
There are several ways writing regular blogs on your website can help you get more clients.
Search engines like it.
Regular blogs and updates on your website means you have a better chance of ranking higher on search results. Search engines prefer websites that are active rather than dormant.
You can attract more site visits.
The more visits you have on your website, the more likely that you will get a new booking. Regular and relevant blog posts are a great way of introducing visitors to your site via search engines and shares.
You have something to share on social media.
Having a social media presence (Point #4) can be an important part of private practice marketing. While sharing other people’s resources can be fine, it’s more helpful to share your own content to your followers.
It can help position yourself as an expert in the field.
Blogs are an excellent way to showcase your knowledge, experience and understanding of client issues. Clients and referral sources can be assured of the value you provide by reading your blogs.
#4. Guest blog.
In a similar vein, seek out opportunities to guest blog for other sites. Guest blogging is a great way to get your name out there when you’re just starting out. It can increase your site visits which can ultimately help you get more clients.
If you don’t know where to start, keep an eye on educational websites in your industry and simply reach out to them. Provide some information about the kind of content you can write for them.
#5. Have a social media presence.
Social media marketing can seem scary (and even worse, pointless) for private practice owners. But having a moderate social media presence won’t hurt your practice and can help you to get more clients for the following reasons:
- It can raise awareness about your practice.
- You can more easily connect with other local brands.
- It’s a great platform to share information and learn more about your potential clients.
Focus on providing valuable information and tips, and share links to more valuable resources on your website. Be careful not to over-promote, and always consider what your ideal client might want to see on their feed. Your social media goal is not to go viral, but to add credibility, raise awareness, and create more meaningful connections via engagement.
#6. Ask your current clients for referrals.
How frustrating is it that your clients don’t automatically refer their family and friends when you’ve done such a great job for them?
It’s a frustration all business owners share. No matter how great a service you provide, the thought of referring you doesn’t always come naturally. It’s especially the case in more sensitive areas like mental health where the topic is not often discussed even between close relationships.
However, you won’t know until you ask. Approach the question differently for different clients. Whether casual or careful, you’ll learn the best approach once you make a habit of asking your clients.
#7. Connect with insurance and other service providers.
Like the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for psychologists, there are plenty of service providers that private practice owners can register with. Connecting with these services is an excellent way to quicklyget more clients for new private practices. What’s better, for services like EAP where clients are allocated a set number of sessions, it gives you an opportunity to convert the client into a private client once the sessions are over.
Be cautious however, as many of these services have a lower payout rate, and their accounting processes can be finicky. Once your practice has reached a comfortable stage, it’s recommended you put in strategies to slowly phase out these types of services.
#8. Build relationships with other private practice owners.
It goes without saying that you should build referral relationships with doctors in your area. But don’t forget about the other players in the private practice space that can go hand-in-hand with your services.
Allied health professions cover a lot of areas that you may not often think about. From Arts and Music Therapy to Social Work, browse the wide range of allied health professions here.
Consider how you can connect with these professionals to provide complementary services to your clients.
#9. Connect with similar practitioners who provide services you don’t.
Not every private practice in your space is a competitor. In fact, connecting with the right type of private practice can help you to get more clients. For example, if you’re a psychologist who doesn’t provide child counselling, you could connect with one who does, and vice versa. This is a great way of building strong referral relationships within your own specialised industry network.
#10. Connect with other small to medium sized businesses.
Building relationships with other businesses and professionals doesn’t have to be limited to the healthcare industry. In order to expand your referral network and build your reputation, connect with other businesses that may not at first seem to have anything in common with you.
For example, a physiotherapist can connect with businesses that provide labour-intensive work and offer discounted services for their employees.
#11. List yourself on directories and referral search networks.
When you’re just starting out, listing your practice on local business directories can help you to get more clients. Of course, you’ll need to keep an eye on its return on investment and make a decision later on to stay listed or not.
A more relevant and useful directory would be referral search networks. There are plenty of them out there for all types of allied health services, including:
Register with them, find out how they work with your practice management software, and make sure to keep your profile updated.
#12. Be active on LinkedIn.
Consistent activity on LinkedIn can help you to build your own brand in the field, which can help with building referral networks and positive reputation.
Join LinkedIn groups for private practices in your industry and contribute regularly. Groups are also a useful source of information through discussions with like-minded professionals.
#13. Offer to speak to local businesses.
On top of connecting with other businesses, offering to speak or present can help you to keep the connection active. Nurture your business relationships by offering free presentations on a topic that’s relevant to both yourself and them. It also gives you the opportunity to speak directly with your potential clients and build rapport.
Remember to always give these events your 100% in order to make a lasting positive first impression.
#14. Seek publicity for yourself and your private practice.
Another way to get yourself out there in order to get more clients is to seek publicity. Becoming a cited source for popular articles and blogs can help your website get more visitors as well as build your personal brand.
Websites like Source Bottle give you opportunities to connect with journalists, bloggers and the like, in order to get quoted. The chance of you getting quoted could be slim considering the number of people competing for the spot. However, it only takes minutes to respond to an alert.
#15. Use signage wisely.
First, do you have any signage at your practice? We’ve visited many practices we couldn’t easily find due to a lack of signage. This can create a frustrating and confusing experience for new clients.
Second, is it easy to find out what services you provide? When using signage, make sure to list the services you provide in order to raise awareness about what you do.
Additionally, encourage walk-in clients by putting up a sign that says something like “Appointments Available”. As private practices generally have a very private exterior, signs like this can help potential clients to wander in for more information.
#16. Create a welcoming environment.
Welcome new and returning clients by keeping a tidy practice. Little things like lights that are too bright/dark, damp smell, full rubbish bins and a lack of seating can contribute to discomfort by your clients or other visitors.
The more welcoming your environment, the easier it is for your clients to refer others to you. Additionally, photos of a nice-looking practice on your website can work better to encourage your clients to visit.
#17. Provide resources in your waiting room including flyers and fact sheets.
As mentioned in the previous point, you can get more clients via current client referrals if you provide a great experience. Focus on providing an exceptional experience by offering useful information.
Provide fact sheets about the issues your clients could experience and instructions on how they can claim insurance or medicare rebate. And leave your brochure or flyers in the waiting room so that clients can share with their friends and family.
#18. Distribute free, branded resources.
Following from the previous point, ensure that your resources are clearly branded with your logo and business name. It’s even better if there is a photo of you and other practitioners.
Leave them in the waiting room, provide them to your referral networks and upload downloadable resources on your website. These resources can take a lot of time to create but rarely need updating, which helps you to continue to be informative without any additional design work.
Easily downloadable and shareable resources also help your content to be distributed among others, which can increase the likelihood of a potential client finding you.
#19. Create and utilise email marketing.
Email marketing is another way to get more clients for your private practice by engaging with your current and potential clients and referral networks.
There are plenty of free email marketing platforms out there. Make sure to research the privacy regulations and find the best platform for your practice. Allow your clients to subscribe to your emails in person and online.
Email valuable content like tips and tricks or free resources on a regular basis to increase awareness and connect with your audience.
#20. Make it easy for clients to make a booking.
If you’re listed on websites like HealthEngine, it can help you to implement online booking systems for ease of access and increased convenience. There are also practice management software like coreplus, Cliniko and HotDoc that offer easy online booking functions.
If the booking process is unnecessarily complicated, it can drive potential clients away. For practices without a receptionist, missed calls can also mean missed bookings. Empower your clients by providing them with easy access to your services.
#21. Ask for what you want.
The last strategy to get more clients for your private practice is to just ask for what you want. We’re all guilty of being too polite and beating around the bush. But you probably won’t get what you want if you don’t ask for it.
Whether it’s for client referrals, business referrals, speaking opportunities, software discounts, or publicity, ask for what you need.
The above strategies to get more clients for your private practice can seem overwhelming at first. But take your time to plan your strategy for the next 12 months, and set aside time each day or week to focus on marketing activities. Remember also, that it’s all about trial and error. Some things that work for another practice might not work for yours. In order to know what works for your business, it’s essential to keep track of every activity you undertake.
Additionally, if you need any advice around these strategies, you can always reach out to the K&W allied health business consultants.