Why focusing on the long game in marketing your acupuncture clinic is important
Are you stuck focusing on the short-game in marketing your acupuncture clinic?
You probably don’t even know what I mean by that, because it sounds kinda odd, but hear me out.
I’ll tell you what I mean by the “short game” vs the “long game”. And show you why focusing on the short-game leaves us frustrated, and why focusing on the long game in marketing your acupuncture clinic is important to attracting a steady stream of acupuncture patients with way less effort.
I’m sharing it in hopes that it may help someone else on their journey. You can either watch the video or listen to the podcast. The video has some visuals, but I know that a podcast makes for easy and convenient listening, so do whatever is more convenient for you.
Let’s talk about why the long-game in marketing your acupuncture clinic is important for growing your practice. Not cookie-cutter, short-sighted, flash-in-the-pan marketing, which is what most people tend to focus on and doesn’t get great results and leaves them frustrated.
I’d love to hear from you… What things have helped you grow your acupuncture clinic? Have you worked on honing these? Do any of this resonate with you? Leave a comment below (scroll all the way down) and let me know.
In case you can’t watch right now, here’s a rough transcript:
Let’s talk about why the long-game, in marketing your acupuncture clinic, why the long-game is important for marketing. Not cookie-cutter marketing, and not flash-in-the-pan marketing, which is what most people tend to focus on and this really frustrates me.
Why it’s important to focus on the long-game in marketing, and what I mean by that. So, I see a lot of so-called business coaches for acupuncturists out there telling us to do things like health fairs to try to get new patients in the door, to go tell everyone you meet, even strangers in the grocery store, that you can help them, and they should come see you, or to do Facebook ads to get patients in the door.
What I meant by short term flash-in-the-pan marketing, like health fairs, telling strangers you meet about acupuncture and Facebook ads to cold audiences. Things that are trying to get patients in the door right now, that don’t have systems in place and aren’t long term, and are … like when you’re panicked “I need patients in the door right now.” Not a lot of strategy behind them.
And if you do need patients in the door right now, and you need short term immediate marketing, what I recommend doing is actually emailing people you already know and have a connection with, people that already trust you, and I have an email script for exactly what to say in this in my Start Your Acupuncture course, and it’s a great way to get 10 patients in the door asap without being cheesy or salesy and just aiming to serve and connect.
So please just develop sincere, genuine relationships with people. That is key to success, you don’t need a marketing coach telling you how to do that. You just need to be yourself. And I think that actually in life, people who meet you, they trust you, they like you, they want to work with you. What really helps leverage your marketing and grows your practice is when you can expand that to be not just the people that you meet one on one, but that people who find you online develop that same level of trust and connection with you. And I think that’s the key to success. And just like with meeting people in real life, it’s not about being gimmicky or coming up with some slick line. It’s actually being a genuine person.
But the real key to marketing your acupuncture clinic with ease, I think, is to focus on creating systems and assets that build this genuine connection with people, and will continue to work for you in the long run, will continue to bring patients in the door without you having to do additional work. So it’s creating assets, systems. Assets and systems so you don’t have to be out there engaging. They’ll still be out there in the internet working for you in the long run without you having to do the work. So the key is to focus on the long-game. And I know when acupuncturists are working on growing their clinic, and it’s that first six months or a year of practice where I was totally there and like, “Ah, where is everybody?” You’re a little panicked, you’re like, “I need to get patients in the door right now.” And so you might focus on these flash-in-the-pan marketing things that just take a lot of energy and don’t actually work, rather than focusing on creating those long-term assets.
So, that’s to your huge disadvantage. You will never get ahead, and you’ll always be just treading water. So please take a deep breath and focus on creating those long-term assets and systems that grow your practice. These strategies probably won’t get you patients in the door immediately, but if you do them consistently, and you combine them, say with my email script for getting patients in the door immediately, and just go out in the world and be a person and be yourself. Combine them with that, you do them consistently, they will absolutely bring you a steady stream of loyal patients, starting in a few months and continuing into the future. The problem is people stop doing them because it’s like, “Well, I wrote a blog post and no one came in the door next day.” That’s right, that’s not how it works. People aren’t going to come in the door the next day because they read your blog post, but over several months of consistently doing it, it will absolutely attract a steady stream of patients.
So, what kind of strategies do I mean by this? I recommend picking one, so there are options. You do not have to do them all, in fact I do not think you should do them all. You want to focus on doing what you love and treating patients, not doing this. So you just pick one, and options are blogging, sharing video content or vlogging, which is really popular now and actually does a great job of building trust and connection. Social media might be your medium of choice, whether that’s Instagram, or Facebook, or something else, but the key there is showing up and providing valuable content, contributing, not just re-posting other people’s stuff and not just being salesy, but creating that authority and showing up to serve there.
So social media could be it. Building referral relationships with doctors or other providers, or possible referral sources is another aspect of this, and you could decide that that’s your approach, and that layered on with SEO and your website. I feel like SEO and your website should be there no matter what, and you should pick one of the previous four in terms of how to build long-term assets that will continue to work for you. So, the thing about these things is that over time they lead to connection, they lead to trust and confidence in your expertise. That when you do them and you build them over time, they continue working for you and their effect actually amplifies and gets bigger and more effective, but you’ve got to focus on the long-game, not flash-in-the-pan stuff.
So once you have your blog, or video, or referral relationship created, it continues to work for you. And then you nourish that connection and authority, you nourish it consistently, you keep connecting to that doctor and reminding them that you’re there and developing a real relationship. You continue showing up with your audience and providing helpful information. So you continue nurturing that, but it doesn’t take a lot of work, especially if you have way less stress of the panic of getting people in the door immediately, and you have a system for doing it. There’s ways to this really easy by batching it, creating systems that make it really easy so you don’t have to spend a ton of time on it, and you don’t feel like you have to do all the things, then you feel less stressed, you’ve stepped into your worth, you’re building relationships.
So I definitely recommend picking one and sticking with it, and leveraging it. Leveraging it meaning its impact will grow with time, and it will grow your clinic. In the marketing course, I help you choose the medium for you, the best approach for you, what will be easiest and most natural for you, and I help you brainstorm content ideas, give you tips for making and writing content really easy, and tips and scripts for exactly what to say to doctors that you’re networking with, if that’s going to be your approach. So, this is how you can grow your clinic and attract patients without having to do any advertising.
So don’t get distracted by the short term stuff. You don’t want to be constantly having to go to health fairs, or do ads that don’t work, or panicked. Forget the short term stuff, just learn how to connect authentically with real people that already know and trust you, and don’t think that you have to do all the things. You don’t have to do all the things. We can be completely overwhelmed by all the marketing advice out there. “Oh, I have to do this, and that, and this.” You don’t have to do all the things, you have to pick the one that feels in alignment with you, and do it consistently, and create systems for doing it with ease, and you just need to do one of those things really well, really. And with a strategy and clear resonant message, a message that resonates with your audience, those you want to work with and those that you can best serve, and I love helping acupuncturists figure out what that message is. It could be really empowering.
So, I show you exactly how to do this in the marketing course. I’ll let you know when it opens up. Be sure to get on my VIP list by going to my website and downloading my top ten tips, and then you’ll be on the list and I’ll let you know when it opens up. But I hope that this helps you, and that it helps you feel some relief. You don’t need to keep treading water, you don’t need to do all the things. You won’t see immediate results from this, but stick with it, there’s ways to make it easier, and this is how you can build a weightless practice without any advertising, and also by stepping into your worth and your message. So don’t stop, keep doing what you’re doing, because the world needs you. Cool, thank you.
Hi! I'm Katie Altneu
I'm an acupuncturist, herbalist, & business teacher
My acupuncture clinic in Denver, CO makes me so happy. It's full enough to support my life, and simple enough to give me peace of mind. I'm a firm believer that bigger is not always better and that we need to "stop the glorification of busy".
I want your acupuncture clinic to be as full as you'd like it to be. I want acupuncturists to know how to inspire-to-action the people who need us and our medicine. And I believe the best strategies are simple and heartfelt.
Combining my prior education & career in business & finance with my personal experience starting and growing my clinic, I love teaching acupuncturists to master the business side of their clinics. I believe in you and I'm so glad you're here!