As a naturopath, the quality of your food, lifestyle and health matter and growing a healthy, profitable business is an important part of that equation. You chose this profession to help people, but you also need to pay your bills (and student loans) or else you won’t be able to keep on helping!
If you’re like most naturopathic doctors, you have a great passion for your work, but a lot less passion for marketing. After completing many years of education and practice, building a business and selling your services can feel very uncomfortable and overwhelming. Let me reassure you that there are many ways to attract patients to your practice in an authentic, “non-salesy” way so you can get busy doing what you’re best at.
Just like growing an organic garden takes a little more time and tending but the results are much more healthy and sustainable, building your practice organically by drawing customers authentically and then continuing to provide them long term care and value is worth the effort.
Growing your clientele to a full practice initially takes some time, but doesn’t need to be frustrating. There are many low-cost, highly authentic marketing strategies that can align with your personality and principles. Once you have these in place, you can automate the process so it doesn’t take all your time.
Here are the 8 Steps to Grow Your Practice
1. Build a Professional Website
Take time to build a website that professionally represents your value and also your uniqueness. This will be the first impression many people will get of you, so take extra time and care to put your best “online face” forward.
2. Tell your Story
Because you are selling your service and expertise, you need to share your story and mission both on your website and as you introduce yourself in person. Your story matters to your potential clients. Write it out, refine it and then be ready to share it wherever you go.
3. Set up Practice Management Software
Start your business right. Make sure you have a central place to keep all your client files and treatment notes in a secure and easily accessible location. A cloud-based software solution means you’ll be able to access your information anywhere, on any device at any time, and when your data is held in the cloud and encrypted, that protects you and your clients. You can securely manage your practice with software and stay in accordance with your professional requirements PLUS you won’t be flooded with paperwork and files! Start your clinic right, go paperless right from the very beginning.
4. Get Social Proof
This should be your mission when you are first starting your business. Client testimonials are your most valuable marketing tools. There’s nothing more authentic in your marketing than an actual testimonial from your client. Set up a way for clients to easily give you reviews and testimonials online. One example is setting up electronic receipts sent after each treatment with a link asking the client for a quick testimonial. This is very non-intrusive and a great time to ask for a review.
5. Create a Referral Program
To really build a referral-based business built on word of mouth marketing can be really helped along with a referral program. Get some cards made up for your clients and give them a little incentive to share your services with their friends and family. If you’ve given them valuable service, they will have no problem sharing that with others but you can make their job even easier by giving them cards to hand out with all of your contact details.
6. Set up Online Booking
One way to spend less time on the phone and more time with clients is to set up systems for them to book appointments themselves. Offering online booking is a great marketing tool because it now opens your door for bookings 24 hours a day. New clients may be browsing late at night, with the ability to book an initial session online without a phone call you’ve made it very easy for them to choose you. The other benefits of online booking include text appointment reminders (reduce no-shows!), as well as clients, can now add all their details and fill out your intake forms before they arrive.
7. Share Product Endorsements
As a health professional, you can endorse the products you use to help your clients. As you produce content around the products you recommend, ask the suppliers to share your content as well. This will bring additional links to your website (good for Search Engine Optimization) and will also help your site ranking as you will begin to show up in online searches about these products.
8. Educate Your Clients
One big area with Naturopathic services is educating your clients about what you do, answering insurance coverage questions as well as sharing alternative treatment options outside allopathic medicine. This content matters to your clients as they are often searching for this information. If you take the time to publish this information on your blog or website, not only will you be able to refer to it again and again, you’ll build a resource of valuable content that will build up your website value to attract new clients.
Once you have set up your foundation, your practice will build on it. Above all else, keep your focus on client care and your business will flourish!