Marketing for healthcare providers is a big, broad category of ways to continue to serve your current patients and attract new ones to your practice. However, there’s one area of marketing that is a building block of all your other marketing, and without it, it’s hard to have a lot of success. And that is finding your niche–your ideal prospective audience.
In a market that’s completely flooded with content, speaking directly to your ideal client is what makes you as a physician stand out. When you use the right images and language that speaks to your target audience, they can feel like you are talking directly to them. Marketing to your niche allows you to rise above the noise.
According to Hubspot, “Working in a niche market is a way to stand out from competitors, helps you establish a positive reputation, and boosts your authority as an expert in your field of business — ultimately attracting more customers to your product or service.”
I couldn’t agree more.
When you use the right images and language that speaks to your target audience, they can feel like you are talking directly to them. Click To Tweet
Why finding your niche is so important
For example, think about needing a therapist for your teen daughter struggling with depression from social isolation over the last nine months. (Hard to imagine, I know!) You’re going to seek out a therapist who works with teens and most likely is also female.
Now, imagine if you were referred to a few therapists from your pediatrician and you check them out online. One provider has images and language about helping married couples and a phone number you can call during business hours. The other has photos of teens and language that lets you know she understands the struggles your daughter is facing, and she knows how to help her. She has a form on her website that lets you book an intake call with her assistant. You’re probably going to go with the latter.
Finding your niche is easy, once you know who you’re looking for
It’s an unusual age for industry-tailored marketing solutions–one that our predecessors could never have imagined. Gone are the days of placing a print ad your audience is unlikely to see. Now, with a small budget you can find your ideal patient by running a social media ad and a Google ad that follows them around everywhere they go. Want to reach Chicago men and women in their 30s-50s who run for your sports medicine clinic? No problem.
Building a sales funnel for your niche
Once you identify your niche, you can nurture them into patients. For example, here’s how you can turn these runners into patients. Once you get them to your site with your engaging ad, you offer tips on how to avoid injury. And after 10 seconds on your site, a resource pops up featuring 5 things most runners are doing wrong in exchange for their email. Now you can continue to email them with content that’s helpful. They’ll think of you if they or someone they know gets injured.
This is the basics of the sales journey, and it’s essential to your marketing, especially when you provide healthcare services. People might not become a patient right away when they come to your site, so you have to capture their email and nurture the relationship. Here’s how:
- You attract them to your website
- You have two calls to action there: an obvious way to make an appointment for those who are ready and a softer call to action in exchange for their email
- You get their email in exchange for valuable information they want
- You continue to nurture them with blogs, tips and emails until they’re ready to work with you
What happens when you don’t focus on a niche
Now imagine if our runner gets to your website, and she finds rehab photos of seniors who may have had a hip replacement. There’s there’s nothing there for her. She moves on, and she’s not giving her email. She sees your Facebook ad next time (thanks to cookies!), but it’s not relevant anymore.
You lose your chance to get a devoted patient when your website is trying to attract everybody. Sure, it works to be broad once you’re an established practice with some name recognition, but it doesn’t work when you’re a small practice starting out now.
When you try to attract everybody, you attract nobody.
You lose your chance to get a devoted patient when your website is trying to attract everybody. Click To Tweet
Tips for figuring out your niche
Here are some questions you can ask yourself if you’re also trying to find your practice niche.
What do you enjoy? What are the parts of your work you appreciate the most? Who do you like treating?
What parts of your job are you particularly good at doing? Are there certain times when you feel most effective at your job?
What are you passionate about? Most physicians got into the field (at least at first) because it felt like a calling. What brings you back to this feeling?
What do you relate to? What parts of your job resonate the most with you?
If you want to understand this better, check out the new podcast from NPR’s Adam Davidson, The Passion Economy. His book and podcast are about business in general, but you can apply it to medicine.
This podcast describes exactly what I’m trying to do with my life and career in healthcare marketing, and I get excited for every week’s new episode.
Here are questions you can ask your patients and people who turn to you for medical advice:
If you’re still stuck, it helps to ask people who you have helped. You might be surprised to find clarity in how your patients experience your support.
- What are you biggest struggles in ________________?
- What was helpful to you about your experience working with me?
- What is one thing that could have made your visit/experience easier ________________?
- What do you wish had been different?
Hearing what the people who need you most need now, in their words, will lead you to know exactly how you’re meant to help people.
And this is something you can only figure out with time.