Reach Out and Touch Someone: The Value of Developing Professional Credibility in Your Marketplace

We spent how much on that ad – and we only got 3 calls!?!

Conventional wisdom used to be that it took a minimum of seven touches – seven advertisements, usually in different forms, for your name or brand to register in someone’s memory. More if you then wanted that brand to mean something to them.

These days, with the ever-present availability of media, it’s actually harder to capture someone’s attention using only traditional advertising methods. Sounds like bad news, doesn’t it?

Well, it is, for the people who rely on spending money to get the attention of their clients, because it means they have to chase their tails spending more and more money, yielding lower and lower results.

On the other hand, if you have something besides money to offer – rise and shine – because your time has come!

Welcome to what I call the era of Credibility Marketing.

Let’s face it, after a while, people know when they are being sold a bill of goods. And in medicine, that means spending more and more money – while getting sicker and sicker. Your new patients are out there looking for credible alternatives.

Your job, both as a business person, and as a representative of your profession, is to show up where your clients are looking.

These days that means a multitude of places – again the seven touches rule applies – it’s just different places than they used to be.

1) Your Website

You worked hard to gain your credentials, develop your areas of specialty, but your potential clients are going to look at your website first to vet your credentials and your professionalism. If yours is outdated, or not informative to the consumer, they will move on to the next service provider. If you don’t have one at all, you won’t even show up on their radar.

2) Your Blog

This is your golden opportunity to reach out to your current mailing list, and give them references they can pass on to their friends which mean more than simply “You really should go see Dr. Jones, she’s the best!”. This not only helps you develop credibility further, but as your mailing list builds, so does your community support base. You become known as a community expert and resource, which you want to be.

These articles can be republished in other arenas, so once created; your efforts here can be leveraged for better results. Think about this as your seed grain. You will be able to use the material you create here over and over again for multiple educational and promotional purposes.

Part of developing your blog, is developing your mailing list. Begin with your current clients, friends and family, and be sure that any community event you attend or class that you teach includes a signup sheet for your mailing list. You will be surprised how quickly it grows!

Your job, both as a business person, and as a representative of your profession, is to show up where your clients are looking.

3) Your Community

The next step of developing your credibility is participating in your community. This can encompass anything from health fairs, to free education seminars at community centers, health education days at schools – whatever happens to genuinely touch your heart. This kind of word-of-mouth exposure wins loyalty that cannot be purchased for any amount of money.

4) Your Community Publications

Most community publications, whether paper or online, are starved for content. This is where your blog posts can be modified to fit their formats easily, and they will come to rely on you as a valuable resource for material – as well as an expert when they need to go to someone to have their questions answered.

5) Your Professional Organizations

In this case we are talking about the WANP. The more you participate in your professional organization, the better for your career personally, and the better for your profession a whole.  One of the things you can always do is ask the WANP to support you in attending local health fairs and community events. They may be able to provide you with professional display materials to proudly educate potential patients about your profession.

6) Health Journals

Want to really increase the pool of patients who come to see naturopaths? Start submitting your blog articles to other health and wellness journals – compete with your non-naturopathic peers, and show up where they show up, with your own valuable, credible expertise.

7) News Outlets

And, finally, once the platform of credibility is established, you can do the exact same thing with submission to traditional news outlets. If you want to leverage your business and your profession into the 21st century, this is where you need to be aiming your efforts.

But I’m not a writer and I didn’t become a doctor to spend x amount of time marketing!

I know. And the reality is that marketing is a necessary part of any business. Like accounting, it has to be done, so it may as well be done competently. Unlike accounting, the better you do it, the larger your practice will grow and the more time you can spend with your patients.

Stay Tuned — WANP Educational Marketing Series

These things are not as daunting as they sound at first, and necessary to a flourishing 21st century practice. So the WANP is pleased to announce that we will soon be offering a free in-depth marketing series as a member benefit, to cover how to accomplish these goals efficiently and effectively. Scheduled to be announced soon!

Meanwhile, every event you attend, every hand you shake, every new person you meet is a patient – he’s just one you haven’t been introduced to yet. Remember, at these kinds of engagements, people don’t show up if they are not interested.

So start where you are comfortable, and make the next step forward, whatever that step is. Your patients, your practice and profession can only benefit.

Good Luck!

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