If you want to start building your osteopathy practice simply follow these 5 steps and you will see an immediate boost to your business.
1) Choose a target market to work with: by choosing to work with a smaller group of the population you actually will increase your patient numbers rather than decrease them.
Start by asking yourself who you would most enjoy serving. This could range from professional sportspeople through to pregnant mothers-to-be and onto office workers. Take time to focus on what would give you the most pleasure and where you could do your best work.
2) identify your "ideal client". Which type of person within this target market is your perfect patient?
For example, if you work with office workers, which type of office worker, do you want to work with? What you need here is to produce almost an "identikit" of this patient. Fill in their age, their sex, their role at work, their relationship status etc. You need to be as specific as possible here, because you will use this patient profile to create your compelling marketing messages at a later date.
3) Focus on your chosen target markets "wants and needs": don't get carried away by focusing your marketing on yourself, but instead tell your prospective patients what you can do for them.
Make a list of why your target market might need to come and see you. For example, pregnant women might want help with back and pelvis pain. They also might want advice on how best to cope with their increasing waistline and they might need to know that you have the experience in treating people like themselves.
Once you have compiled your list, you must then structure your brochures/ websites/ other marketing materials to include this information.
Write these marketing messages with your "ideal client" in mind. Using another example, if my target market was office workers and my "ideal client" was a management level 35 year old male who was married with one child and played hockey at the weekend, I would write my all my marketing as if I was addressing this person in particular. This makes your message very personal and really allows you to write compelling marketing materials.
4) Develop your own personal "brand": You need to start bringing your own character into your practice building efforts.
Ask yourself what makes you stand out as a professional? Are you rational, measured and reflective, or are you enthusiastic, free thinking and lots of fun? Whichever type of person you are, bringing more of your personality into your business will be of great benefit.
There is little point in developing a very serious and wordy website if this doesn't reflect your character. People would much rather get a hint of your character from websites and marketing materials as this makes them make a choice that is in line with their wants and needs.
This means that as you craft your marketing message, as well as writing with your ideal client in mind, you should also try to bring as much of your own "brand" to the fore as possible.
Even your business cards and any logos/ images you use should be in keeping with this "brand". Please don't get bogged down with this, but certainly it is really worth your while to take some time to consider just what your personal "brand" is.
5) Choose your medium and get your message out there: There are many different ways of marketing your practice.
These include networking, referral building, public speaking, writing and the internet. What is important is that you choose one or two of these strategies and develop a plan for each one.
For instance if I was to choose "writing" as my strategy, I would want to focus a large part of my efforts on this. Writing one article does not constitute a marketing plan! I would want to write articles for local/ national media, perhaps start my own blog, release a newsletter for patients and possibly submit articles to websites (like the one you are reading this article on). This is a much more comprehensive approach.
The beauty of this is also that as you focus on one particular strategy, you will become better at using it for business building purposes - you will become an expert at using that strategy. This means that your message will be clearer and you will know more about how to use the various tactics available to you. Very soon you will become a fantastic marketing expert for your own practice.