I BET WHEN YOU WENT TO SCHOOL FOR ALMOST A DECADE to become a Naturopathic Doctor that you thought you had learned everything you needed to know to be a kick-ass health practitioner.
And you did! You’re awesome at what you do, a true natural health genius who has such a big heart for wanting to help others feel amazing on a daily basis.
What you didn’t count on was the business side.
Websites, marketing, admin work, payroll, rental agreements, invoices, e-mails … and the list could go on and on. And on.
You thought that you would just open your doors, and patients would be falling over themselves for the chance to be treated by you. However, with the explosion of natural health practitioners, there’s more competition than ever.
IN A PERFECT WORLD, your practice would grow by word of mouth.
New patients would find you because their friend, family member, or colleague told them about what a health whisperer you are. But that’s not how the real world works. People are more and more disconnected, and social proof (in the form of websites, social media, and online links) are holding more sway.
I don’t know about you, but before I spend my hard earned money on pretty much anything, I Google it. If the website isn’t up-to-date, looks like crap, I can’t find what I’m looking for, and especially if I can’t find a website, then forget about it.
It’s a reality of today’s world that you have about 10 seconds (or less) for people to decide if they’re in the right place when they find your website. That means you have about the same time as it takes someone to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to catch their attention.
This may seem like an overwhelming task, but there are 5 simple ways to turn your website into a marketing machine:
1. Pick one ideal client:
This is by far the hardest thing for big-hearted health practitioners to do, because we all want to help everybody. The truth is:
You can help anyone, but you can’t help everyone. <– tweetable
I know that you’re not going to turn a patient away when you know in your gut that you can help them. Your website, however, needs to focus on ONE group of people, called your ideal client.
Why? Because within 10 seconds, that person needs to know that they can trust you with their deepest health secrets, so your website needs to make them feel like you understand THEM. Not their mother, their father, aging aunt, or baby brother, but them.
Everything on your website, from the colours, pictures, logo, fonts, and especially the writing (also called copy) needs to talk to that one group of people.
The way that you’d talk to and give examples of a day-in-the-life-of for a 20-year-old woman is very different than for a 50-year-old man.
You can treat all of them, but for your website to attract new clients it has to talk to someone, or else it will be so plain Jane that it won’t appeal to anyone.
2. Write a tagline:
A tagline is a one sentence summary of what you do in your practice and it generally goes right below your logo. Your logo is usually at the top of your website, and 99% of the time it’s the first thing a person sees. If your tagline is underneath it, a person will be able to tell within a few seconds in they’re in the right place.
For example, my tagline is “Helping women achieve more with less struggle”, and covers both my holistic nutritionist focus on helping busy women with mood issues AND helping women who are struggling (or brand-new) holistic practitioners.
My old tagline was “Helping busy moms get their real food on”. Any chance you think that my ideal client is men? Hells no! My website has blog posts talking about balancing PMS and menopause, and is covered with bright pink and Kate Spade purses. It pretty much repulses most men, and that’s the way I’ve designed it.
Here’s a formula to write your tagline in just a few minutes:
Basic tagline formula =
Verb [Helping, guiding, creating]
+ your ideal client [busy women, stressed-out mamas, marathon-running men]
+ what they achieve by working with you [gain freedom from digestive symptoms, live a freer life, feel stronger]
+ how they’ll feel [full of joy, with ease, and feel calm doing it]
3. Write an “About” and “Services/Work with Me” page that doesn’t suck:
It sounds kind of crazy to say, but most of your “About” page isn’t actually about you, and your “Work with Me” page shouldn’t list all the techniques you offer. People don’t really care about you or what you know, they care about their own results.
I was recently at a conference where a speaker gave an analogy for our clients and patients that was absolutely bang-on —
“Think of how your patients want to feel after they work with you like it’s a bucket-list trip to Hawaii”.
When people plan a trip there, they think about the perfect weather, pineapples so ripe that the juice stains their tank top, secluded white/black/pink sand beaches and waterfalls, maybe a spectacular trip to a lava flow, and surfing. They don’t really care about how they get there, or who’s flying the plane, except to know that person is actually qualified to do it.
You need to describe Hawaii to them on your About and Work with Me pages. They don’t want to know that you graduated with Honours from whatever University. They don’t care that you’re going to use herbs or acupuncture or hormone testing.
Martin Luther King didn’t give an “I have a plan” speech, he gave an “I believe” speech.
Your best patients who will give you referrals believe what you believe, so just tell them what you believe their bodies’ are capable of on your About and Work with Me pages.
4. Blog regularly:
Unless you’re paying for ads so new people see your website, you need to give people a reason to go there. Enter blogging.
Blogging helps achieve 2 things:
- People who aren’t patients yet start to trust that you know your stuff. They trust that if they do work with you, that you’re going to help them get better; and
- It gives people who fit your ideal client profile a reason to find you.
People don’t Google “naturopathic doctor who can help me”, they search by their pain points. They search “how to stop acid reflux” or “how to get rid of hot flashes”.
If you’re blogging, Google does all sorts of fancy things behind-the-scenes to pick up on what websites have more of those phrases than others. So brainstorm 26 things that your ideal client wants to know more about, and write an article about it. If you write an article every other week, 26 ideas make up an entire year’s worth of blog content!
The more you blog, the more you will be found on Google and other search engines. You also have more articles to share on social media to your friends and family (to start with), and then from your business social media pages.
If you write helpful, value-packed articles, people will share it online, but you have to give them a reason to.
Don’t pack them full of science facts and words most people don’t understand (#nerdalert, and this is coming from a proud science nerd!), but in a language that they can relate to. Write your blog articles about issues that your ideal client wants to know about, and they’ll keep coming back for more.
If you don’t know what your ideal clients want to know about, ask them directly!
You can do this by sending them a simple, 10-question survey that will help you figure out exactly what they’re struggling with (plus the language they use to describe it). Here’s an example of an ideal client questionnaire that you can copy and send ASAP.
If you’re ready to start blogging like the health biz boss you want to be, use this free blog editorial planner that includes a years worth of blog post ideas.
5. Collect their e-mails:
With Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms limiting the organic reach of your posts, you’re not going to reach your fans without spending some hard-earned money. Plus, if Facebook were to shut down tomorrow and you aren’t collecting e-mails, how would you contact your potential patients?
You should have multiple places on your website that they can opt into, but where you place these depends on the flow of your website. Some common places include:
- on your home page (above the fold, which means they don’t have to scroll down to see it)
- on your About Me Page
- the bottom of your blog posts
- your blog sidebar, and
- on a separate Join My Newsletter page
Most of the time, e-mails you send can contain snippets of your blog posts (write once, use them at least twice!), and then ask them to click to your website read the rest of the post.
The other 20% of the time you could add in calls-to-action like asking them to:
- book a free consultation
- attend a webinar or presentation you’re offering, or
- to buy tickets for any other special events you’re a part of (homeopathic flu clinics, vitamin D stock-up in the winter, etc).
If you want to sweeten the deal for them to give up their e-mail address, you can create a free opt-in offer that they get when they join, which could include a free meal plan, checklist of your favourite wellness tools, or e-book on the most common question people ask you.
Your website can work on auto-pilot to build your ideal client list and potential profits even when you’re taking a day off. If you don’t have a website, most people won’t believe that you’re taking your practice seriously. So what are you waiting for?
If you already have a website, tweak it with the 5 tips above to take advantage of the traffic you’re already getting. If you hate your website, invest in a course or professional help until you’re happy with your digital home and how you’re showing yourself to the world.
Above all else, your patients are buying into you, so give them the best possible first impression that matches the health genius you really are.