Small business marketing help is the ticket to getting the attention you want for your small business. One of the key mistakes a doctor or other professionals make is that they do not view their practice as a small business. The fact is, your practice is a small business and needs to be cared for as such.
Most doctors focus on patient comfort and satisfaction but do not give a lot of thought to how patients will find their practice. Of course, plenty of patients come from referrals, but is that enough to sustain small business growth? Probably not. You need small business marketing help to get the job done.
Let’s Talk About Small Business Facts
If you are a doctor or an attorney you likely do not view your practice as a small business, and in that vein, you probably do not give small businesses much thought at all. Understanding how vital small businesses are can help you to relate to the importance of treating your practice as a small business.
Consider the following:
- About 79% of small businesses are owned by an individual.
- About 57% of privately employed individuals are employed by a small business. Over 77 million people are employed by a small business.
- Over 40% of all payroll is generated by small businesses.
Small businesses play a vital role in the US economy. Whether you sell coffee or you are an attorney that specializes in slip and fall cases, you are a small business and you can benefit from small business marketing help.
A small business is defined as any business that has less than 250 employees. Whether you have 2 people or 20 people that work for your practice you are a small business. Your practice is a small business if your practice meets these criteria.
Growing your practice is like growing any business. You have to have certain things in place to ensure that patients and clients can find you. Advertising agencies that specialize in advertising for the healthcare industry or the legal industry can be a tremendous asset to keeping your practice competitive.
Recent studies show that about 80% of patients initiate their search for a doctor online. That is about 4 out of 5 of every potential patient searching online for medical care. How can you tap into that population?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to reach your audience online. Engaging SEO drives traffic to your website where potential patients and clients can learn more about your practice.
It is not just potential patients that are searching online for professional services. People in need of legal assistance, according to the same study, are also searching online. About 77% of people looking for a law firm will start their search online. SEO services that specialize in the legal field can help direct users to your website.
Staying competitive is vital to your business. You can provide the top in care, but if you cannot bring patients or clients to your door, then you will not be able to succeed. There is a lot of competition out there, and many doctors and lawyers are already tapping into the power of online marketing. If you do not your practice could get left behind.
Your website is the gateway to building your practice. Whether you offer healthcare for uninsured people and you want to get the word out, or you are an attorney that specializes in personal injury, a strong online presence can be a game-changer for your practice.
Establishing an Online Presence
It is vital that your “brand” has an established online presence. Consumers expect it. Many consumers feel that if you do not have an established online presence that your business does not have the expertise to manage their needs.
So how do you establish your practice online? The first thing you do is connect with a firm that specializes in your type of business. Then you get the small business marketing help that you need to establish your brand online.
It may seem strange to think of your medical practice as a brand, but it is a brand. It is a brand that deserves marketing support that any brand deserves. While you may not be selling calcium supplements or Coca-Cola, you are selling your practice.
There are a few things that the marketing expert will need from you to build a unique website that relays your corporate culture including:
- What services does your brand specialize in? For example, are you an orthopedic specialist, or a bankruptcy attorney? Clearly defining what your specialty is to your marketing guru will help the marketing agency to build a website that easily communicates your specialty.
- What is your brand philosophy? For example, do you think that everyone deserves affordable health care? Do you offer free consultations to help people determine if your practice is right for them?
- What do you have to offer that other providers do not? For example, do you offer evening appointments? Are you open every third Saturday? What is unique about your services that would make you a stand out option?
Once your marketing person has collected the information they will get busy creating a highly functional easy to navigate a website for visitors to learn more about your practice. The first step in establishing an online presence will be complete.
Creating a unique website that is visually stunning and highly functional is only one part of the puzzle. Next, most marketing specialists will recommend that you also create a social media presence.
Social media has turned into a marketing phenomenon. About 74% of users of Facebook have reported that they have used this social media channel to connect with health care providers. About 89% of users of Facebook have reported that they have used the social media outlet to find legal services.
About 67% of respondents that responded to a survey said they expected that their doctor would have a social media presence. Social media is an important part of establishing your online presence. Social media is discussed further down in this article.
Small business marketing help will also likely recommend that you do some paid advertising at first just to get your brand out there. Pay per click advertising will help to direct more traffic to your website initially. Not too far down the road if you have the right small business marketing help that PPC advertising will not be necessary for too long. With the right support, you will start getting that coveted organic traffic to your website.
The Importance of Social Media
Social media I an important part of online marketing not only because it gets your brand out there. Social media allows you to communicate directly with patients and clients. Consumers are able to ask questions and get quick responses.
Social media is also a great way to share valuable information with millions of people. A few shares and you will be on your way to establishing an audience that is eager to hear what else you have to say about your profession.
Small business marketing help can take the work out of managing your social media accounts and ensure that they are delivering the message about your practice that you want to be delivered. Of course, you can overdo it with social media.
Many small businesses make the mistake of oversaturating their social media with too many posts. Yes, there is a balance to how much a business should post. How much to post is not the only consideration either.
To reach your specific audience, you have to use the right channels for your market. There are five popular social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Does your practice need to be on all five channels? The answer is maybe or maybe not. It all depends on where your audience is.
Oversaturation, posting non-relevant material, making your professional social media channel too personal, and not posting consistently can all cause your social media channels to fail. Social media has a lot to offer, as long as it is done right.
Professional help can ensure that your social media marketing is done right and that it succeeds. This is something too important to take risks with. You want small business marketing help with this.
Establishing Trust With Consumers
Small business marketing help can help you to establish trust with consumers of your services before they even look you in the eye and shake hands. Establishing trust and authority as an expert in your field can be managed with engaging content and your online reputation.
A health care marketing strategy or a legal firm marketing strategy can be customized to not only get the word out about your practice but to create relationships right online. A custom marketing strategy takes the work out of building a practice.
There are a few things that small business marketing help can do for your practice including:
- Evaluating and auditing user experience on your website.
- Leverage the power of social media for your practice.
- Develop content that is engaging, informative and that establishes your authority in the subject matter.
Great marketing happens in layers. For example, using social channels like Twitter to tweet out information and connect with users can establish a relationship that entices users to become patients and clients. Website management, social media marketing, Pay Per Click advertising, and more can all be customized to get your practice name out there and to attract your audience.
Consumers have responded that they expect a business to respond to a social media inquiry within four hours. Many of those consumers are searching for medical and legal services. Not responding quickly can mean losing that potential lead. With a good marketing firm on your team, you can continue to do what you do, while the marketing professionals manage your online marketing.
Establishing trust means responding to consumers which of course can be difficult for you and your office staff, but is simplified when you have small business marketing help. A marketing firm understands that sharing trusted links, encouraging consumer reviews, provide content that is valuable to the user, and ensure exceptional user experience.
A Word About Protecting Your Network
While it is very important to tap into the power of the internet to build your practice, you do have to keep in mind that the internet is a dangerous place. Your patients and clients provide you with a lot of personal information, it is vital that you take the steps to protect that information.
It may be impractical for you to hire an IT team full time, you can certainly get the support of contracted IT specialists that can help to reduce the risk of network security threats. Someone needs to be keeping an active eye on things to ensure data is always protected.
The more popular your practice becomes using online marketing techniques, the more risk there is that some unsavory character is going to try to hack your system. The right IT support will help to reduce risk and keep data protected.
There is a Lot to Think About
it is very likely that when you went through med school or law school that no one ever talked to you about building your practice and what it takes to do that. In the US it only takes about 6 days to establish a small business, but it certainly takes a bit longer to see it thriving.
No one builds a business on their own. It takes a team of professionals to build a business. Get the support you need for small business marketing help.