How To Stand Out When You Start Your Own Private Practice
Here Are Some Tips To Help You Stand Out When You First Start Your Own Private Practice.
I’ve spoken to many new doctors that initially start their own practice, and it’s always a struggle the first few years. Relying on referrals is tough, and it clearly has its downside when you are first starting out. You have plenty of empty appointment slots; you compete with more senior doctors for patients.
Most of the time, you just can’t get enough patients to make your practice breakeven for the first few years.
But what can you do?
Remember when it comes running your own practice, you need to build your personal reputation. Trust matters.
There are two clear pathways as a doctor you can take. The best is to do both, but I understand most doctors have limited resources, so choose one that can help you achieve your goals.
Here are your options:
Build your personal brand
Market a specific service or special interest that you are interested to grow
So what’s the difference?
A) Building a personal brand.
When it comes to building a personal brand, you are basically looking to build your personal profile online. Of course, traditional methods like word of mouth work, but now everyone is online, so you have to think a step ahead. Now is a great time to get yourself known digitally, the medical market still isn’t very sophisticated, and if you start now you have a head start amongst your peers.
So what do I suggest works well when it comes to building a personal brand?
Get your website, your directory listings and social media profiles going!
Think about all these options as an extension to yourself. It allows patients to get to know who you are. Patients want to know what you are like. Usually if patients are comfortable with you, they tend to stick with you.
Ask yourself this question when writing up your profile online. What do you want prospective patients to know about yourself and what you offer? This is all about appealing to your ideal patient. Your future patient while reading through your profile is probably asking this question, is this someone I can talk to? Is there some common ground between this doctor and me?
You need to stand out.
A few key things to remember:
Your photo. A really good photo matters – that’s just the fact.
Have a good tag line - tell people in 25 words about you and how you can help them.
Your shop front – a website. There are two routes – one costs money and the other costs time. This is something you have to decide, you can always get someone to do this for you or you can go down the self-design route using predesigned website platforms like Wix.com.
Social media – choose one platform to start – select one which most of your patients are on. Always remember, your social media is there to add value to your brand. So if you are going to go on it, either publish regularly or don’t do it at all. Social media is great for a few reasons, it helps you drive traffic to your website and can improve your search engine rankings indirectly. And if you write articles (and you should), you can use social media to publish and drive traffic to it.
Directory listings – this includes having a profile on Health Engine, Book Doc, Google My Business, What Clinic, Yellow Pages, Doctor Portal, MDA Online etc
B) Market your Specific Services
Here is something most doctors don’t think about.
Do you have a special interest that you would like to work on?
Say you are a gynaecologist, and perhaps you have a strong interest in incontinence surgery. One way is to focus on building your portfolio in that area and try to get more patients within that market.
This is a great way to get patients on demand and you can see results relatively quickly. And the best part is that you can actually track your returns to the patients that come and see you.
I’ve found great success using Facebook to help doctors get more patients for a specific service that they are looking to grow. With Facebook’s detailed targeting options you are able to reach patients in the right geographical location and patients that match the right profile and demographics so your marketing efforts can be really targeted giving you better quality prospects.
But one thing to keep in mind, this platform is great for marketing non-emergency services because this takes time to build and gain a potential patient’s trust.
You can run a successful Facebook campaign by using these 4 key pillars.
1 – establish your goal and ideal service that you want to focus on
2 – once you have done that, develop cornerstone content (this could be a quiz, an article, a video) that can help position yourself as the go to medical expert
3 – Use Facebook Ads to launch a marketing campaign. Create an irresistible offer to generate leads and get patients that are genuinely interested in your service you are offering.
4 – Lastly, communicate with these patients that have shown interest in your offer. Address their concerns and objections through email/chat and create a great follow up process to book these patients in for an appointment to come and see you.
The bottom line
Getting started takes a lot of time, and the need for more time probably isn’t going to go away. However, having the right support can help you achieve your goals a lot quicker and more effectively and most importantly it gives you more time to do what you love.
At the end of the day, it is important to know what you want to achieve for your practice, be specific. Most people want to get more patients, but you need to dig a little deeper. Ask yourself, what kind of patients do you want to get, and makes you different. Ask yourself why you want more patients.
Remember; don’t be afraid to market yourself. Marketing isn’t selling; think about it as a means to educate potential patients. Always be pre-emptive when it comes to advertising and lastly, don’t do anything online that you won’t do in person.
Feel free to reach out to me and I'll be happy to have a free 30 minute strategy session with you over the phone to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.