Does the idea of promoting yourself or your Private Practice make you feel like you’re bragging?
Perhaps you fear coming across as ‘salesy’ or even ‘sleazy’ if you actively ask people to book in with you?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone in having those kinds of reservations.
I‘m going to share the three main reasons why Clinicians hold back from promoting what they do, and then I’m going to teach you four ways you can ‘get over yourself’.
Private Practice means asking people for money.
Unless you trained outside of the NHS, you’ll have been well and truly indoctrinated into the wonderful concept of ‘free healthcare for all’.
And indeed, the NHS is an astonishingly amazing healthcare institution.
It’s saved my life on more than one occasion.
When we work in the NHS, we barely even mention the concept of money to patients.
Sure, we might have to say “sorry, we’re a bit tight on cash and resources, so your hip replacement will be next year”, but with the exception of prescriptions, we’re not asking the patient to part with cash.
Why does the mindset around money sometimes trip us up when it comes to promoting our Private Practices?
Let me put it this way. If you were giving away your skills and time for free, would you have a problem about promoting your services? I doubt it.
You’re worried about what your peers will think (or say).
This is the biggy.
Many of the Clinicians I coach are borderline terrified of what their peers might think or say behind their back.
I’ve noticed this to be true across the entire breadth of Healthcare Clinicians – from Osteos to Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Commonly I hear “I’m new to Private Practice, what are they going to think if I start promoting what I do when they’re in the same private hospital. They’ve been doing this for years – they'll think I’m just bragging”.
The second construct I hear is “what it they read my blog or watch my video and think I’m talking a bunch of old tosh?”
My Private Practice is built on word of mouth.
This is the easiest cop-out ever. Don’t get me wrong. Word of mouth promotion is fantastic, but it’s also highly limited, and you don’t get to control it. If you’re mostly relying on this method of promotion, ask yourself is it because:
You don’t know how to market your Private Practice
You can’t be bothered with putting the effort into marketing your Private Practice
You’re avoiding marketing because it makes you feel like you’re being ‘cheesy’.
1) Get over the money issue, and start sharing what you do.
The first step in mastering how to promote yourself, is to feel comfortable with the notion that patients are happy to pay for your expertise, and they are happy to investing in having ready and easy access to that expertise.
If you have patients who need your help, and want to self-fund their healthcare, it’s morally OK to promote how you can help them.
In other words, patients have a need, and you can meet that need.
Help them by helping them to find you – online.
“Have you got an ankle sprain that’s just not getting better? If your physio or osteo has only been able to take you so far, you might have ankle instability” etc.
Make sure that you include a call to action on every web page, blog and vlog that you produce “I’ve helped hundreds of patients just like yourself to get back to being active, and I’d love to help you too. Book a consultation by going to…..”
2) Make it all about the patients and not about your peers.
If you’re writing website copy, recording vlogs, or producing useful content for social media, if you do this all with the patient in mind, you can’t go wrong.
Don’t try to make it some kind of lecture or Grand Round speech; the aim isn’t to impress (or avoid courting criticism from) your colleagues.
If you write for the lay-person, addressing their concerns and questions, you’ll be making content that’s really useful to them. It’s not about making content for the clinical community (unless you’re trying to reach out to potential referrers – and even then, you’ll be pitching it at a level that would be different from your peers' level).
Remember that most of your peers are going to be far too busy doing ‘other stuff’ to necessarily notice what you’re up to. If they are taking notice – good on you! Let them see how it’s done ; )
3) Make the most of testimonials
This seems obvious, right? And what better way to promote yourself is to have someone to blow your trumpet for you. But most Clinicians don’t make enough use of their testimonials, leaving them to languish on the ‘testimonials’ page of their website, or buried amongst the testimonials of thousands of other Clinicians on a review site.
Make your testimonials work harder for you. If you’ve a web page all about breathlessness, and you’ve recently helped a patient with Long Covid, put a call to action, followed by the Covid patient’s testimonial.
When you’re promoting your latest blog, vlog or upcoming live event on social, be sure to bring in some imagery of any reviews or testimonials that patients have given you.
To make this not feel ‘icky’ you could snap a picture of the testimonial with your phone, in your social post, post the picture with a ‘thank you’ to whoever sent it. Add a nod to other people who might find themselves in the patient’s situation, explaining you could help them too.
Not sure how to go about getting a great testimonial? https://www.privatepracticeninja.co.uk/great-patient-testimonials/
4) Don’t assume that people know what you do.
Many Clinicians hold back from promoting their skills because they assume that potential referrers will either intrinsically know or remember what they do best, and that potential patients will figure it out from reading their CV on their ‘About’ page.
Don’t be lazy. Figure out your niche clinical areas you love the most, and TELL people how you can best help them or their patients.
A good test of whether you’re doing this well enough is to ask a handful of colleagues what they consider your niche to be. Can they nail it, or are they a bit vague (“well, you like to treat foot and ankle problems” ).
Get yourself a little ‘elevator pitch’ sentence together, so that the next time when someone asks you what you do, you can give an easy and confidence response (rather than muttering into the floor). Mine is “I’m Cath, I’m a Sports Medicine Consultant, and I love to help runners and triathletes with hip and groin symptoms by getting a them proper diagnosis and treatment plan, so they can get back to marathons and Ironman.”
Practise sharing your elevator pitch with the family pet until it feels like a natural sentence, and then share it with others on zoom calls (or even in ‘Clubhouse’). You’re bound to get a few “ooh, I didn’t know you could help with that – I might have a patient for you” responses.
And finally, don’t forget to keep reminding people you’ve previously told, after all, we humans, well, forget.