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How To: Market Your Practice

Market Your Practice

As a nurse practitioner (NP), you may not be thinking about marketing.

However, as more states grant Full Practice Authority (FPA) to NPs, the possibility for entrepreneurship is expanding—making marketing an important part of your practice.

The 2017 AANP National NP Sample Survey found that 12.5 percent of respondents report that their main work site is a private group practice. Beyond assessing patients, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests or managing treatment plans, many NPs also need to manage their business—and market their practice.

Marketing can be useful regardless of your practice setting, specialty or location. In fact, marketing is much more than just selling a product or service. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

The activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large.

If you have ever applied for a job or grant, shared your insight with legislators or presented at a conference, you may have already performed self-promotion, education, public relations or advertising—all components of a broader marketing strategy.

How do you connect the pieces and start marketing your practice effectively? Here are a few tips and tricks as you’re getting started:

  • Understand your practice: Beyond your specialty, you’ll want to identify your niche, or what you do differently. Not every provider is right for every kind of patient, so you’ll want to align your practice with your target patient population. Once you know your audience, you’ll want to start building recognition of your practice—and one of the most effective ways of sharing your unique approach to patient care is through your website. Just as patients once picked up the phone to find a provider, patients are now searching online for information. It’s important that your practice is represented where patients are searching, meaning your website should serve as an extension of your practice and a reflection of the care you provide.

Example: You can begin to understand your practice through research. What sets your practice apart from others? What services do you provide that others do not? What patients would benefit most from your practice? Your differentiators may be your style of practice, your range of services or even your patient satisfaction.

  • Network with others: Now that you’ve identified your practice’s differentiators, it’s time to get the word out. Conferences—like AANP’s national or health policy conference—bring NPs and health care leaders together from around the country, making these events the perfect setting for you to share with and learn from other health care professionals. Local events and organizations, such as community forums or your Chamber of Commerce, provide a platform for you to connect with other providers and potential patients right in your community. Social media allows you to continue your networking online by allowing you to join a national conversation—particularly through the use of hashtags, such as for #NPWeek—and manage relationships close to home by promoting your events, answering patient questions or sharing your latest practice news.

Example: You are a certified family nurse practitioner (FNP) who chooses to focus on pediatric and adolescent health care. Therefore, networking opportunities may include speaking at local schools or sharing nutrition tips for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month on social media.

  • Help patients find you: You’re distributing business cards, you’re sharing your unique story online and offline and you’re accepting new patients. That won’t be enough if patients can’t find you or your practice. Luckily, your website isn’t just where you can explain your approach to patient care or list your services; it can also help your practice be visible in local search results. When patients search online, they’re often looking for practices nearby. Take advantage of that by optimizing your website for search engines with local keywords. Make sure your practice is listed correctly everywhere online, including your social media profiles, Google My Business, industry sites like Healthgrades and listing sites like Whitepages.

Example: You know that AANP is the largest national professional membership organization for NPs, but did you know that AANP members can add up to three practice sites on NPFinder—all for free? This searchable database allows patients to find an NP in their community or nearby.

  • Educate your patients: Marketing sometimes has a reputation of being “sales focused” or even “pushy.” Good marketing is educational, informative and helpful. When you counsel patients on disease prevention or share the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, you’re essentially marketing good health. Take that one step further by creating marketing content that achieves the same educational goal while demonstrating your thought leadership. Sharing health tips on social media, keeping your audience informed through newsletters and posting patient-friendly blogs on your website will help build trust between you and your patients.

Example: You know flu season is quickly approaching, which means it’s a great time to begin a blog series to educate your patients about flu prevention. You can also share flu statistics on social media to show its prevalence or update your newsletter to advertise when flu shots are available.

In any marketing effort you pursue, set realistic goals and evaluate the results. By comparing your actual results to your desired results, you can monitor the efficacy of each marketing campaign. This will help you strategize effectively for the future and better meet the needs of your patients.

Patients are searching for you on NPFinder! Thanks to a recent update, it takes just seconds to add or update your practice details. This resource is completely free for AANP members. Make sure you’re listed.