All private practice owners want more of the types of clients that we love to work with, and that starts with knowing how to market your private practice to your ideal clients.
The energy that I get from clients fuels the work that I do. Yes, some client sessions are harder than others and sometimes I do feel drained. But, most of the time, my clients energize and inspire me to be a better dietitian.
The work that THEY do fuels me to do the work I need to do in order to serve them better.
But, it wasn’t always like that. I used to have a very wide range of people I’d market and advertise my services to. Back when I first started my business my “ideal client” was someone who ate food and could pay me! No matter where they were in their journey, I was on a mission to get them to feel better about food.
Was it motivating for me to share my knowledge? YES!
Did I think I would be successful doing this? You bet!
Was it a smart business move? NO WAY. No. No. NOOOOO!
Most of the time, the more you can narrow down who your ideal client is or to niche down, the better. It’s not only great for the target market you serve, but it’s great for you to pick a niche in your business that you’re passionate about. After all, you’ll be the one working in your business; you’ll need to love what you’re doing!
Why is this so important? Why have a niche and defined ideal client?
Your target market needs to feel as though you are speaking directly to them in order to know that YOU are their person. And this starts in your marketing.
In my group practice Eat With Knowledge, I market my services to the client who wants to work on intuitive eating. I don’t talk about nutrients for specific diseases or cooking Pinterest-Picture-Perfect dinners (I do follow many of those amazing dietitians though!) My target market and ideal client need to hear about changing their relationship with food, emotional eating, weight concerns, disordered eating, and how intuitive eating can change their life.
Here are 3 secrets to market your private practice to bring in more of your ideal clients to your business:
- Write out your ideal client. Take a piece of paper and brainstorm! Think about a client that you loved to work with. You were probably happy to see them and couldn’t wait for your appointments. You were invested in their progress. (You can still do this exercise if you don’t have this person in your practice though! Just imagine this person in your head.) On the front side of a piece of paper, write out all of the problems that they struggled with. On the back side of the paper, write out all of the solutions you worked on.
- Check your marketing content. I want you to check out all of your marketing efforts. How often do you talk about this ideal client on your website? In your directory listings? On social media? Pick out a few words and phrases from tip #1, and make sure those words are stated clearly on all the things your potential clients could read.
- Be prepared to talk to your ideal client. When potential clients call you, have 3 practiced statements ready to go that really speak to your ideal client. You’ll want to ask questions so this person feels as though they’re understood, and then tailor your thoughts accordingly. Feel free to experiment with this one, as I find you always have to tailor conversations to individual clients. And you do have to practice this. It is work–so don’t panic if it feels super uncomfortable at first.
My top 3 statements to have ready for an ideal client conversation are:
- My practice specializes in intuitive eating and eating disorder recovery. (This is to make sure clients know what we focus on.)
- We don’t prescribe weight loss diets but absolutely will address weight concerns. (This makes sure clients understand I will not give them a weight loss diet.)
- Our goal is to work with you in intuitive eating to find a plan of action that works for you. Most of the time we work in teams, with our client being the center of that team. We do see most clients weekly or every other week to begin. (I say this to set expectations about ED treatment.)
Take these three steps and work on them. Use a pen and paper – or your computer – and detail out who your ideal clien is and change your marketing to match that profile. Start talking as if you are speaking to that specific person, and then get ready to talk to them! Be prepared with those 3 statements to include in every conversation so your clients know exactly how you can support them.
It is hard work. But it will pay off in the long run.
Knowing how to market your private practice to your ideal client will help grow your business, too. If you’re working within teams of other providers who work with other ideal clients, you’ll meet those providers working with your ideal clients that you have right now. Make sure every one of them knows you and how you can refer people to each other.