3 Cost-Effective Strategies for Building Your Client Base with a New Practice
You’ve passed your licensing exams, you’ve leased your office, invested in equipment, and printed your business cards—so where are the patients? When you first open a practice, it’s difficult to get the attention of your local community. And, if you’re a new practitioner, building the trust of potential patients and other providers in your area is an extra step.
Building a practice from the ground up doesn’t need to be expensive, especially when you’ve already invested in everything you need to make your practice run. We’ve got some cost-effective strategies to help build your new practice’s presence in your community and build trust in your network.
Strategy: Get Involved with Your Local Chamber
Goal: Engage with Your Community
Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to meet other business owners in your area and get involved with your community.
The goal of joining the chamber of commerce and attending their events isn’t to sell other business owners on becoming your patients. The goal is to build relationships with the other businesses in your area and gain a better understanding of the people in the community you serve, especially if you’re new to the area.
Networking is hardly anyone’s favorite activity, but connecting with other businesses is an opportunity to access where your ideal patients are. For example, you might find the local gym is a member of the commerce, and you can forge a partnership with their business to get your name and practice in front of more athletes. Partnerships with other local businesses might include activities like:
- Advertising space at other area businesses
- Referrals between businesses
- Co-sponsored events for the community
Being a part of your local chamber introduces you to other members of your community and gives you opportunities to work together. Different events hosted by your chamber also give you a variety of interactions with others, whether it’s a networking cocktail hour, a local awards ceremony, or a young professionals event. Active involvement in the chamber of commerce gets your practice out there and shows you value the community you serve.
Strategy: Local SEO
Goal: Help Patients Find You
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of helping Google and other search engines recognize your website and place it in relevant search engine results. How search engines compile results has gotten more sophisticated over the years, and now small businesses have the opportunity to take advantage of local SEO practices.
If you’ve started your own practice, you don’t need to be fighting against larger national healthcare organizations for the top spot—you just need to make sure Google knows where you are and what you do. If you’ve ever searched something like, “restaurants near me,” you’ve experienced local SEO. If you’ve enabled location tracking, Google will show you restaurants based on where you are.
There are plenty of things you can do to enhance local SEO, but these are a few simple and free ways to show up in local search engine queries:
Register for your Google My Business page
Google My Business is a free service through Google that allows you to create and edit your business profile that shows up when people find your practice on Google. You’ll need to verify your practice’s address through an access code sent to you by mail, but setup is easy and allows you to add or change your hours, your website, and pictures of your business. You’ll also be able to see and respond to reviews of your practice left on your business profile. The more relevant information you can add to your profile, the higher Google will rank your practice when people search for the services you offer.
While Google is the largest search engine, you can also set up similar free profiles for Yahoo! and Bing and list your website on local directories like Yelp.
NAP Best Practices
Your NAP, or Name-Address-Phone Number, should be on your website. But where it is and how it’s displayed can affect how search engines interpret the information and rank your practice’s website.
The first rule of NAP is to make sure that information is displayed as text and not within an image. Search engine bots, the programs that read your website, can’t interpret text in images. If search engines don’t recognize where you are, they won’t rank you for searches related to location.
Be sure to include complete information of your address and phone number. Information like telephone area code and postal code tell search engines where you are.
Make sure your NAP is in the footer of your website. The footer appears on every page and not only makes this information easily accessible to anyone on your site—it boosts your local SEO.
Connect social media to your website
You’ve probably set up a Facebook business page for your practice, and possibly Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and more social networks as well. Make sure any social media account your create links back to your website and is linked to on your website. This information can easily be put in the footer of your site, just like your NAP information.
Strategy 3: Develop Thought Leadership Content
Goal: Build Trust
If you’re new to your field, it’ll be necessary to show potential patients and business partners your expertise. You can build your expertise with thought leadership, creating and sharing content relevant to the topic you’re the expert in that adds to the conversation or explains something complex in a simple way. There are a few ways you can develop your thought leadership:
Crafting blog posts for your website will take some time, but that time will ultimately provide valuable information for your potential patients. Use blogs to talk about the different kinds of services you offer at your practice and what benefits they have. Share blogs from your website on your social media to garner attention.
Have you done any original research or worked on a team that has? Research gives you credibility in your field. If you have done research that was published, share the paper on your social media and include it on your website. If you can’t share the full text or a PDF on your website, link to the journal you were published in and include any information you can like the title of the paper and the abstract.
Reviews & Referrals
Ask the patients you have to review your practice on Google or your Facebook business page, or potentially refer their friends and family. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing strategies out there: positive reviews and recommendations by loved ones are proof you’ve helped others and given them a positive experience.
If you’re uncomfortable asking for referrals outright, you can hang up a sign in your practice (or on your practice sign’s marquee, if you have one) that says, “Accepting New Patients.” Your current patients will see that sign, and if they’re having a good experience, they know they can recommend your practice. This might not produce the same results as asking, but it will let others know your practice has room for more patients.
Starting a new practice isn’t easy, but there are ways you can build your client base without breaking the bank. Getting involved in your community, simple digital marketing strategies, and asking for some reviews and referrals can go a long way to making your practice a staple in your community.
When you’re an Aspen Laser provider, we help you with marketing your laser therapy services. Learn more about our Patient Marketing Program for Aspen Laser providers in the link below.