In this article, we’re talking about your practice’s image. What do people think of your image? Of you? Do they know about your services? Think well of them?
This is really the rock bottom of public relations for your practice. Your community needs to know that you exist and they need to have a good impression of your care and service. Cultivating this positive impression is one of the most important jobs of a Private Practice Owner.
Private Practice PR vs. Marketing
Now, creating this positive impression and favorable opinions is definitely the job of PR, not marketing. Public relations relates to building a positive image in the minds of your community and families that might one day need your services. That then gets followed with marketing: promoting and selling your services and products. Marketing usually includes paid advertising.
What does your community think you do in your practice? Do they think clinicians just play with kids all day? That’s an image problem and a PR problem. Do they think you only help stutterers? Then they have a very limited idea of the services and benefits you offer.
Replacing that false impression with a true one that represents the life-changing care you and your staff provide is vital. Effecting this change requires plenty of community and public education and personal contact.
Your Most Powerful PR Tool: Personal Contact
Of all the tools in your PR toolbox, this is the one. Master this and you open that front door so much wider to hundreds of potential patients and their families.
I understand, for many people, personal contact doesn’t come easy! It’s way outside the comfort zone of many Private Practice Owners. That’s why we spend so much time in our webinars, materials and training helping Private Practice Owners get comfortable with these skills.
Here’s some of the highly effective personal contact measures you can take to begin building that correct impression in the minds of families in your community.
- Develop that referral network with one-on-one contact. The key to success here is to remember that you’re not selling yourself, you’re listening to the practitioner’s pain points. Once you’ve discovered their most urgent needs, demonstrate how you can meet them.
- In-clinic workshops and seminars. Make sure you focus on your core competencies. Bring in guest speakers who are expert in related or complementary areas. (The more well-known they are, the better because they can help attract an audience you might not otherwise reach!) In the workshop, educate, advise, help. Then be available for one-on-one contact after the event.
- Utilize video conferencing platforms that are now so popular. This may be the one and only saving grace from COVID! People are accustomed to tuning in to Zoom conferences. With a video conference event, you can invite anyone, anywhere in the world to speak to your community with you.
- Emphasize effective and caring public contact with all staff. Your parents, caregivers and even the kiddos themselves will form an impression of your practice from the way your staff treat them. This is true even of the small, incidental contacts like when someone calls to cancel an appointment. Does your employee show that they really care that the patient makes all the progress possible? Are they concerned that the kiddo retains all the improvements they’ve made so far? Or do they just say, “Thanks for letting us know,” and hang up the phone. Ensuring this caring, service-oriented impression is given in every public contact may require training sessions for your staff until it becomes second nature.
Need more effective PR ideas? Dig into Keys to Private Practice Success for many, many more training tips that can put you in the driver’s seat of your practice’s steady expansion.