How to Open a Clinic: Marketing Your Clinic for Acquisition and Retention

May 08, 2024

As a successful practitioner ready to start your clinic, you’ve figured out patient marketing and acquisition, right?

After all, you’re busy enough to hire other practitioners to lighten your patient load.

However, what worked brilliantly for your solo practice could differ from your future clinic marketing efforts.

People were flocking to see you, and now they can see any and all practitioners you bring into your clinic, so your efforts will need to focus on highlighting your associates and building your clinic’s name.

Learn how to open a clinic from experienced clinic owners

This blog is about marketing a clinic now that you’ve succeeded in marketing your own services. Creating a brand for your clinic might look a little different from your brand, and it should. 

To know more about other aspects of running a clinic, including planning and financing, as well as hiring and logistics, check out the other posts in this series.

Understanding your ideal client for your clinic

Your new clinic also needs a marketing strategy that details who your ideal clients are, the unique value you offer them, and how you intend to reach them. A clinic can have a niche as much as a solo practitioner can.

For example, if your clinic focuses on treating perimenopausal women’s health conditions, sponsoring a local women’s networking event can help get your clinic in front of the people who need and want your services the most.   

Partner and referral marketing for your clinic

Pursue meaningful partnerships for cross-promotion. You likely already have referral relationships from other practitioners or businesses in your area, so now’s the time to tell them you’re expanding your services and opening a clinic. You can pursue co-marketing opportunities to grow your clinic email list. Karen Pattock, a business mentor to health professionals, says that referrals from partners “is actually one of the fastest and easiest ways to start growing your brand awareness: growing your email list is by leveraging someone else’s social media following or client list.” 

While you might feel odd reaching out and asking for co-marketing opportunities, Karen insists that people already in your network are more than willing to partner with you. 

Get your clinic known through content marketing

Use content marketing to provide helpful information that attracts ideal customers to your brand. For example, a physiotherapist can use social channels, like TikTok or Instagram, to educate on what causes neck pain and share proven exercises to alleviate it. You can then use that channel to create a lead magnet to grow your mailing list

You don’t have to be a social media wizard to run a successful clinic, but having a content-savvy practitioner on staff can help you develop an online presence. However, you need a professional website that helps people understand your services and how to book with you

Build community relationships through local marketing

If your clinic’s target or ideal clients live in your area, you must master local marketing. Invest in local advertisements and sponsorships. You could also brand your vehicle as a moveable local billboard. 

Be findable. An updated Google Business Profile optimized for SEO makes you more discoverable in search. Encourage happy clients to leave reviews to bolster your presence as long as your regulator permits it. Google also rewards you if you regularly update your profile with pictures and news from your clinic.

Use PR tactics to gain local news coverage. For example, March is Nutrition Month. An RD could take that opportunity to pitch their local news station to appear in a segment sharing simple daily habits people can adopt to improve their nutrition. Remember that you’re representing your clinic, not yourself, so prepare talking points for multiple services offered in your clinic, not just your own.

Patient retention strategies

Once you’ve attracted clients to your practice, ensure you’re doing the work to keep them coming back. Invest in client retention strategies to build long-term relationships for sustainable success: 

  • Set expectations for what care looks like (and costs) early to avoid surprises and disappointments. 
  • Invite every potential, current, and graduating client to join an opt-in mailing list and create a newsletter that regularly drips useful content to subscribers. There’s also the opportunity to seed in paid programs and offers from time to time, just like licensed mental health practitioner Lexi Belle does in her group practice. 
  • Use questionnaires to follow up with prospects and provide valuable resources or scheduling links to book sessions with you. Built-in automations in your practice management software helps to reduce the administrative load.
  • Run email-only programs to offer free or low-cost challenges to your prospective clients, build that “know, like, and trust” factor, and help them get to know all of the clinic’s practitioners. 

For an in-depth tutorial on how to use Practice Better for client retention, check out this Deep Dive.

Support clinic success with the right software

Opening a group practice or clinic can feel both exciting and overwhelming. However, when you put in the work upfront to thoroughly assess and plan, your reward is a bustling clinic that runs smoothly and keeps clients smiling. 

With so many moving parts, it’s imperative to have the right software to manage your clinic from day one. You don’t want to be spinning your wheels trying different systems – just ask Jaime de Melo from Evolve Medical. 

“We assessed many different EMRs and tried two of them before switching to Practice Better. If I could start over, I would use Practice Better from day 1!”

If you missed the other posts in this series, check out the blog on planning, financing, and compliance for your clinic to set up the foundations. This next blog is for you if you’re curious about logistics such as space, software, and hiring your first team.

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