The mother of all questions for an aspiring practitioner aiming to set up a clinic and begin practicing, undoubtedly is: How do I attract clients? That is the one question every company or business sets their marketing teams, and expends major amounts of revenue on. Cracks at marketing earn mega pay-outs for their services, and companies hiring them are commonly moving on the fast lane to success.
For a small business, or a sole proprietor, starting out on the venture of becoming self-employed, such expenditures and the hiring of marketing people is likely impossible. Therefore, the new practitioner has to come up with his or her own ideas of generating his client base and attracting a sufficiently big clientele in order to be able to make a living.
What therefore does it take, and how can this be put to practice?
For starters, what is it that is being sold? What is the brand that the business is representing? As a practitioner of a health care therapy, it is the service of treatment that is being offered. However, you can be the very best expert at a task, or can offer the very best available, 100% effective anti-aging treatment, if no one knows that you exist or have it on offer you will fail to make a living of it.
So, who is your potential clientele? How do you reach your potential clients? You will likely have an idea of who you wish to reach out to, a focus group you intend to offer your services to. Certainly if you intend to ‘niche’ your services, that niche encompasses your focus group and the people you have to make aware of your business. That in mind, you can identify how to best market and promote what you have to offer.
Once clear about such details, analysing the customer group can help specify what medium to use in order to reach the greatest amount of persons that could possible want access to the services you offer. Here it is important to attend to the age bracket of the focus clientele. If you are aiming to treat the elderly, it might not be such a good idea to rely entirely on marketing your clinic or practice via the internet. Aiming to reach the young, the internet may be the media that reaches the broadest group, while newspaper adverts may not generate a great number of clients in that age bracket.
What then should an advertisement, an online presence, or general marketing material disclose to attract clients? In a way, the information aimed at promoting a treatment service has to attract attention, inform, and convince at the same time. A prospective client should find your advert among the myriad of others. So, how can you make yours stand out? The individual finding your ad, is most often one who seeks something of the like that you are offering, searching for help in the form of a treatment for him- or her-self, or someone close. Therefore the information provided in your marketing material has to give clarity about what you do, and what can be expected of your service or treatment. Explain what and how you can help with what ails the prospective customer, and stress that YOU are the one that can help. Patients have to be convinced to want to book an appointment with you from the information they find in your advertisement or marketing presentation. They have to get in touch.
Not so easy, right? How can you get people to call? It’s all down to how your marketing material promotes you and your services. Furthermore, you are not seeking to solely inform the patient, but also to generate awareness of your existence as a practitioner to those that are not acutely ill, but potentially could be so in the future. So, how do you remind people that you are there for them? You have to be present with your marketing within their vicinity and community; frequently, and continuously.
If prospective clients have contacted you on account of your marketing, you must aim to bring yourself back to mind occasionally. Once treated, does not necessarily mean clients keep coming back. But how? There are a number of methods, such as newsletters mail-outs, blog-posts, talks or workshops. While all of these may be means of ‘getting the name out’ in first place, they also offer great options of keeping potential clients informed and up to date on the therapy you are offering, on your clinic development, the promotions or trial sessions you may wish to offer in order to grow your client base, and of course they are a reminder that, ‘hey, if I get this or that, I can go see X for this’.
Regular mail-outs of a newsletter informing of your practice, the treatment approach etc. can keep prospective clients interested and informed at the same time. They will remember every time they get the newsletter into their mailbox. Blog-post can do the same. However they require clients to follow what you are doing. The newsletter sees you as the active individual; getting the e-mail/address contacts from them and mailing the newsletter. Talks and workshops allow you to interest existing clients, followers and prospective clients. These forms of ‘marketing’ permit clients to get to know you and what you do, face-to-face, so to speak. People engage with you directly, not via another medium, which gives you yet further potential to promote yourself and what you do.
It takes a while before one can rely on the ‘word of mouth’ to build a client base. Yet this is the best form of marketing, the ideal to strive for. If you do your job correctly and patients improve and find relief by what you do, nothing can stop this form of marketing coming into effect, and once established, all other marketing efforts can be reduced and your practice will thrive with your treatment effort alone. As said, however, until then, it will take a while.
Creating a client base is hard, and there really are no sure-shot ways to success. What works at one location and for one practitioner may not necessarily work for another elsewhere. The above however are hints and ideas that may be helpful in building your practice. Good luck, and hopefully your clinic will thrive, and patients may find relief from what you do for their recovery to health.
About the Author:
Uta Mittelstadt, BSc & MSc in homeopathic medicine: I am a homeopath, an artist, a writer and a vegegan, a traveller, and adventurer. I’m a crab born in June. I am passionate about homeopathy. I blog at Clever Homeopathy. My specialty is ‘sports-injuries’, more info at: SPORTSHOM.