If you’re a healthcare professional you know the challenges of being in this industry. Especially if you’re establishing or growing your practice. With all you have to do and how tired you may feel, sometimes that dreaded thing... networking is the last thing you feel like doing.
If that’s the case, here are a few reasons why it’s so valuable to build a community of healthcare professionals around your practice. Hopefully, this inspires you to become a little more connected with other health practitioners.
Support and Understanding
Being in contact with other healthcare professionals isn’t just valuable for your practice, though that’s often what’s focused on first and foremost. Connecting with those in the health industry can be great for your own personal and professional development.
By connecting with others in the health and wellness industry you will gain access and awareness of development opportunities. Sharpen your knowledge and skills by engaging with other healthcare professionals. Either at formal events such as conferences, or online development groups, or even by catching up for a coffee with a fellow professional in your industry.
These conversations and experiences allow us to share our knowledge and receive in return. Feel supported in times of struggles by hearing stories and helpful advice from others who have been where you are now. Encouragement is important for us all.
Growing your community can inspire you to grow your own practice. See the great things others are doing in the health industry and see if you can learn from their models of care.
You will learn from your community and have the chance to have your voice heard within the healthcare space. This can be as simple as joining a Facebook group or following a healthcare blog.
Grow your Practice.
Building your community is valuable for your business and your clients. For your business, you will often receive referrals for new clients from other healthcare professionals you have connected with.
Getting to know those in your industry helps to establish your practice in people’s minds. You’re not just a name or a service, but a person who they will likely feel more likely to send clients to as a result of knowing you.
Your clients will gain value from this process too as you will be able to refer them on to other healthcare professionals where appropriate. This helps your client, as well as establishing yourself as a knowledgeable and helpful practitioner.
This collaborative effort between healthcare professionals helps to establish a community within the healthcare industry that is able to offer a greater level of care to the patient.
Establishing a community around your healthcare practice is valuable for all involved.
The Wellshare Community
At Wellshare we’re not just a co-working company. Yes, we rent rooms to health and wellness professionals but we do more than that.
At Wellshare we’re a community of dedicated healthcare professionals with a drive to see our fellow practitioners succeed. Our team is made up of healthcare practitioners and entrepreneurs with the experience necessary to offer valuable advice.
By renting one of our spaces you are invited into our community. Have the opportunity to grow your practice alongside other healthcare practitioners and experience the difference a community can make for your business.
If you’re an allied health practitioner looking to attract new clients, you’re in the right place. If not, these tips may still apply to you, so read on!
There are only 3 ways you will be found by patients:
Today we’ll be looking at the way allied health practitioners have harnessed the following marketing tools to get more clients. More clients = more business for you.
1. Have an awesome website
Expectations are high in 2020 when it comes to websites. A well presented, functional website is a must for allied health businesses.
Often, a website is one of the earliest impressions a client will have of your business. It’s a ‘virtual waiting room’ in a sense.
Just as in a physical waiting room, clients look around and form ideas about the business, based on what they see.
It is well understood in website UX design that the way your website looks will influence a potential patient's beliefs about the quality of your service, even more than the actual information presented. What kind of impression are you making with your website?
Give an impression of cohesion, professionalism and welcoming to clients who may be investigating your services online. If your website looks cluttered, dated and is difficult to use, prospective clients may click away.
Hire a website developer, or a UX / UI designer if you have the budget. Websites such as Upwork and Freelancer.com often provide cost-effective solutions.
Some specialise in healthcare and can give you an excellent site that speaks to your patients.
Short on financial resources? Do it yourself!
There are several easy to use website builders such as WordPress, Squarespace and Wix. Using tutorials online, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve. Build a website you can be proud of, and that clients will enjoy visiting.
2. Use Social Media Marketing
Social media allows you to engage with your existing clients and find new ones.
Don’t waste your time doing social media for the sake of it. Have a presence on the platform where your ideal patient spends time.
For some allied health professionals, this can mean Instagram, for others, maybe LinkedIn. Sometimes both. Sometimes neither.
Having a social media marketing strategy enables you to get the word out online about your business. Running targeted ads can be a helpful strategy, allowing you to interact with new clients in a way that is relevant in 2020.
Social media is an easy way to share information your clients may be interested in. Show your business to be one that is useful, by sharing tips and helpful info in your posts. Answer common questions and be as useful as possible.
The principle of reciprocity is very powerful in marketing. If you continuously provide value upfront with no expectation of anything in return, eventually you will be surprised how many people reach out to you when they encounter a health problem.
Try and consider what your clients would like to see in their feed and share accordingly. This is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of your brand and learn about your clients.
3. Word of mouth
This method is tried and true for a reason. If you’re looking for new clients, look to your existing ones. Ask yourself how you currently incentivise them to refer someone to your service?
For professionals regulated by AHPRA, this may be tricky. But there are still ways that make it easier for them to do so. Do you provide them with spare business cards with your contact detail so they can easily pass on your information to people they know?
For non-AHPRA regulated health professionals, do they get a reward for encouraging clients to refer friends and family to your business?
Social media interacts closely with this point. If you have a strong social media presence, it’s easy for clients to ‘tag’ and direct new clients to your business.
4. Build referral relationships with health professionals
Existing clients aren’t the only ones who can refer new clients to you. Develop a good rapport with the GPs and other health professionals in your area.
When people are looking for an allied health service, they will often ask for a recommendation from health professionals they are already in contact with. This means doctors, pharmacists, and nurses are all critical contacts for you to build a relationship with.
Look for allied health professionals who provide services you don’t. These businesses don’t have to be your competition. Instead, both businesses may benefit from a reciprocal referring relationship.
5. List yourself on directories and referral search engines.
It can be worth considering listing yourself on a range of online directories and referral search engines. As a new business, this can be a great way to get broader exposure.
Keep an eye on the return for your investment, and choose which referral search engines you list on carefully. Opt for those that are established and reputable, such as HealthEngine.
6. Offer to speak to local groups or businesses
Slightly outside of the box, this method works on building your practice and reputation as an ‘expert’ in your field. By speaking at events, to groups or businesses interested, you establish yourself in your field.
Consider what groups may be interested and what information you could present. You may be surprised what opportunities are out there for you. Some groups to consider may be aged care facilities, Probus or Rotary clubs, conferences or networking groups.
Not all speaking opportunities need to happen in person. Developing a webinar, or short online course can be an effective way of sharing your knowledge with interested parties. These can have a boosting effect on both your reputation and your client list!
7. Use effective signage
Many of the methods we’ve focused on so far occur primarily online. However, effective signage is one method of attracting new clients that is often underutilised.
Put yourself in the place of a new client visiting your practice for the first time. Signage can be in the form of brochure handouts or physical signage on a shopfront or reception desk. Is the signage visible and clear? If not, clients may become frustrated or anxious around locating your business.
Likewise, listing your services assists in transparency. A client may be using one service from you and heading elsewhere for another service because they’re unaware you offer both. Have a list of services visible in a prominent position in your business.
The waiting room is often a good place. Ensure the design of signage is easy to read and be considerate of those who may be visually impaired.
LinkedIn is an untapped resource for generating patient referrals.
It’s the social network where practitioners and professionals spend the most time. In today’s post, we’ll be sharing with you how you can best take advantage of this social media.
Get started today and generate more referrals to your business!
How? The answer is more straightforward than you might think.
1. Connect with others in your industry
LinkedIn is an excellent resource for finding other professionals within your industry. On LinkedIn, you have a platform for engaging with others who share your profession.
Send invitations to connect with other professionals. Focus on those who you think your business may align well with. Send a brief, friendly message introducing yourself.
Remember to ask questions and show a genuine interest. People love to share about what they're doing at work - that's the whole reason LinkedIn exists, isn't it?
Don't copy and paste a generic message. Get to know the person and the business you're hoping to create a referral system with. Professionals will be more likely to refer to you if you have built a rapport with them.
2. Engage with others
Like, comment and share the posts shared by businesses and people you have connected with. The support will be appreciated, and likely, returned in kind.
Join groups relating to your industry, and take part in discussions. This allows you to have a voice in the space, and have a discussion with those in your field.
As you take part in the community, intentionally identify those who you would like to get to know better. This may be someone outside of your immediate profession. They may still be able to refer or use your service themselves.
3. Become more visible
As you engage more with others, they will visit your profile. What they see makes an important first impression. Your profile and description must be excellent.
Use a professional headshot, and keep your profile information up to date. Include what you've recently worked on, your services and post regularly to your blog. This is all-important.
Most people do this and have a fairly good profile. But are you content with just 'good?' You don't need to be.
Increase your visibility on LinkedIn by optimising your profile.
What does that mean?
By including keywords in your profile, you are more likely to appear in searches. Come up with 3-4 keywords that best describe what you do.
Include these 3-4 keywords in your headline, summary and job titles.
Use these keywords elsewhere as it comes naturally.
4. Get the LinkedIn app
Business cards can get damaged, lost or forgotten about.
Staying in touch when you meet other healthcare professionals is much easier with LinkedIn. When you meet a practitioner you'd like to refer to you, use the mobile app to connect via LinkedIn.
It's efficient and quick, and there's more chance of you staying in touch.
With a little bit of effort, you can transform your online presence and see the benefits in your business. Get more patient referrals by using LinkedIn.
I often get asked by health practitioners looking for a medical room for rent about social media marketing and the efficacy of the various platforms for building referral connections with other health colleagues. I believe that LinkedIn is still the best platform for this outcome because of one simple reason:
That is, the ability to drill down and target a specific professional person by virtue of the filtering capabilities on LinkedIn are unmatched by other popular platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
The only practitioners who you could argue are better off using other platforms would be those who's outcomes are largely visual or those who sell products rather than services. For example, cosmetic doctors, weight loss nutritionists.
For those of you interested in reading about the basics of LinkedIn marketing there is an awesome article by Neil Patel which dives in...
Entrepreneur, retired doctor. Passionate about helping health and beauty professionals build their own brand.