“It’s all about who you know”
You’ve probably heard that saying before. Well, when it comes to building a fully booked health and wellness practice, consider it the exact opposite:
“It’s all about who knows YOU”
Because you can’t fill your schedule if no one knows about you. You GOT to have a presence.
And I know that when we think of “building a presence” we immediately think of online…our online presence. Which is VERY important in this digital era. Almost always necessary.
But there are 3 problems with that:
1) We often feel small. It’s too easy to compare ourselves to influencers with thousands (or millions) of followers and it makes the task of growing your online presence feel daunting, if not impossible. And in that process of comparison we can forget why we’re building our presence in the first place (to reach new potential patients/clients)
2) They’re not the right people. The online world attracts anyone and everyone which, if you operate online, can be great. But if you operate in a fixed location then how does it help you if people finding you online are from the other side of the country?
3) We neglect our real-life presence. In focusing our marketing efforts online we can overlook the, often more direct and effective approach: connecting with people in the real world.
Consider your own practice for a minute. Does your community know you? That could mean your entire town/city or, if you’re in a larger center, your neighbourhood. Are you known?
If the answer is no, maybe or I don’t know, I challenge you to take your foot off the online gas for a hot minute and take some time to build your local community presence.
When you do – you get to be a big fish in a small(er) pond rather than a guppy in a gargantuan virtual lake…AKA it’s WAY easier. And often more rewarding because you get to connect with real people.
What happens when you start creating a name for yourself in your local community – you build trust and not only gain bookings (the whole goal) but you amplify word of mouth (especially in a small community or neighbourhood).
So I’m giving you 10 places that are proven to help you build your local presence + real life community so you can fill your schedule faster without feeling like a digi-nobody.
1. LOCAL DIRECTORIES
Google your modality and location ie: “Top Massage Therapist Boulder Colorado” or “Best Massage Therapist Boulder” and see what directories come up. Look for local websites (like town or local business directories) as well as National Directories with a local focus (Yelp, Canada411, healthgrades etc). Make sure you’re on the tope 3-5 as long as they’re free!
2. LOCAL MEDIA
Reach out to local publications (even very small monthly/quarterly publications or local bloggers) that share your same ideal client and offer to write a feature/article that is in line with what they cover and highlights your expertise. This is a fast way to get your name out without actually advertising.
3. RADIO ADS
Radio ads are one of the only ways I ever suggest paying for traditional advertising. Unless you’re in a big city, radio ads tend to be very inexpensive AND reach a wide audience. The station will generally create or help create the ads as well.
You may also be interested in…20 Marketing Ideas that Don’t InvolveSocial Media
4. YOUR PERSONAL NETWORK
When was the last time you reached out to everyone you knew to let them know what you do, who you help and share any resources? Ever? Make a list of everyone in your area who knows your name (including your dentist, accountant etc). Send them an email letting them know what you’re all about. You can even make it sound like you’ve just done something new and THAT’s why you’re reaching out (moved clinics, started a new something, opened up new hours etc). You’ll be surprised – this is the most overlooked source of bookings + referrals.
5. OTHER PRACTITIONERS
Do the other practitioners in your area know who you are, who you serve and how you help? If not – get in touch. Ideally you want to connect with practitioners and GP’s/specialists who share your same ideal client but can’t help them the way you can/with the problems you can.
6. MICRO COMMUNITIES
Think of places that your ideal client hangs out: co-working spaces, yoga studios, gyms, healthfood stores, mommy + me groups, clubs, sports teams, offices, business associations, networking groups. Offer to lead a workshop or collaboration that is very tailored to their interests and start creating real relationships with people. Don’t overlook places where YOU may also be already hanging out (make life easier for yourself).
7. START YOUR OWN COMMUNITY
Think of it like a Facebook Group in the real world. Create your own group/club of like-minded people with regular get togethers. A running club, wellness workshops, women’s groups – all these things are really catching on and can position you as more than just a “practitioner” but an interesting, fun member of the community who has a holistic view of wellness.
8. HOST AN EVENT
If you’re not ready for the commitment of a community/group, host a one-time event that shows your commitment to community wellness. An open house, wellness day, charity event. Even look at cool events that happen around the world and mimic one in your own neighbourhood.
You may also be interested in…10 Ways to Boost Buzz + Bookings without Discounting
9. COMMUNITY EVENTS
Hitch your wagon to someone else’s planning and get involved with a community event planned by someone else. Have a booth, host a workshop, do on-site medical care, become a sponsor (aim to trade time vs money unless it’s a great sponsorship package) and leverage their advertising to get seen while also actually contributing to your community.
10. SUPPORT GROUPS
Similar to micro-communities, is there a support group aligned with who you help? Especially if you work with a specific condition(s) this could be a great place for you to truly lend support and resources to people who are needing it.
USING THESE STRATEGIES:
1. Pick ONE of these plus the directories (because they’re easy) and try it for 3-6 months before adding on to avoid getting overwhelmed or too stretched
2. Before you dive into one make sure your ideal client is there. You don’t want to pay for radio ads if your ideal clients don’t drive or start a micro community for people who have no time to join. Really consider who they are, where they are and how you can help.