Grow Your Practice: Marketing Basics
This is the second installment in a series designed to assist you in marketing your practice. The first installment included tips on assessing your relationship with marketing. Part two covers the basics of marketing.
Having a professional website is essential to any successful marketing effort. It helps establish your credibility and tells potential clients that you are a professional who is serious about your work. If you plan to market your practice, your website will need to have more than just your practice’s contact information and a directions on how to get there. Plan to dedicate the majority of your website content – up to 70% – to information useful to prospective clients.
Website content doesn’t have to be limited to text on a webpage. Other formats include:
- Blogs – a mixture of personal or professional reflections and observations incorporating photographs, videos, and links to other websites
- Infographics – visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly
- Podcasts – an audio program made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet
- Webinars – live or recorded online seminars or presentations
- Downloadable – content that users can download, such as white papers, eBooks, guides, newsletters, and brochures
When creating or updating your website, professional website designers recommend finding 4-5 websites that you like and find compelling. List what you like about each one. If there are things you don’t like, note that as well. A great place to start looking is FSTNW’s online directory. Many of your colleagues included links to their website in their directory profile.
Having a presence on social media is another key ingredient in a marketing mix. Not only is it another place for potential clients to find you, Google and most other search engines use social media activity when ranking search results. In the most recent FSTNW survey, Facebook and LinkedIn were rated the top two sites by clinicians using social media.
People often use social media sites for different purposes. For example, consider using Facebook to market to potential clients and LinkedIn to network with colleagues. Other social media channels include Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Not sure when to post? Download CoSchedule’s infographic, “The Best Times to Post on Social Media.”
Content marketing is a model that focuses on content which is shareable and searchable on the Internet. Your website and social media accounts are the sources for your content.
Blogging is the easiest and most effective content marketing format. Your blog should provide answers to questions and solutions to problems on topics that your ideal clients might be interested in. Your blog can also include posts that educate or inspire.
Recommendations for getting started
Be clear in what your goals are for the blog. Is it to attract clients, network with other clinicians, build trust with your audience?
- Read blogs by colleagues or leaders in your field. Which posts do you find thought-provoking? Which do you think would speak to your clients?
- Set ground rules and stick to them. For example, will you allow comments on your posts? How will you respond to negative ones?
- Post consistently. One strategy is to write your posts in batches and then schedule them for publication.
- If possible, include a different image, such as a photo or infographic, in each blog post.
- Write about what you know.
- Use your social media accounts to publicize your blog.
Blog content checklist
- Each article should have a compelling title.
- Posts should be between 350-700 words.
- The best format is five paragraphs making three points.
- Paragraph 1: Introduction
- Paragraph 2: Your first point
- Paragraph 3: Your second point
- Paragraph 4: Your third point
- Paragraph 5: Conclusion
- Include your photograph and biography
- If you allow comments, include an open-ended question to encourage responses.
- Include social media sharing buttons.
Your next steps
Assess what basic marketing tools you have now and which ones you need to create.
- Is your website professional looking? Does it include information that potential clients would find interesting and helpful? When was the last time you updated it with new content?
- Do you have a social media presence? If not, which social media channel would work best for you?
Start with a simple content marketing plan. For example, write a monthly blog article to post on your website and use your social media channels to publicize it.
Reference materials for the Grow Your Practice: Marketing series
Mike Brennan, Brennan Communications, Seattle, WA
Forbes, Marketing the Practice of Medicine
Private Practice from the Inside Out
Supercharge Your Fundraising Efforts with Content Marketing with Steven Shattuck from Washington Nonprofits
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