If you're a busy professional and you want to grow your practice, one thing will be certain: you will likely feel overwhelmed. After all, you're busy working in your practice that you can't seem to find the time to work on your practice.
When professionals hire me to advise them on a proper marketing strategy and action plan, this is the most common issue that crops up.
You can hire someone to do it for you. But whether you choose to do your own online marketing or not, there is one important thing you need to take into consideration before you're serious about diving into digital marketing.
Regardless of the industry you're in, I'm quite certain you're competing with countless competitors. For example, at the time of this writing, there are over 21,000 licensed dentists in Canada and over 200,000 in the USA.
Sure, you can stay local and choose to compete with others locally. But why would you? You're an entrepreneurial professional. You want to expand and grow. If you go online, you have the opportunity to attract ideal clients from a lot further than your local geographic area.
Not only that, but when you position yourself as an authority, a go-to resource in your field, people will flock to you from far and wide.
Position yourself correctly, and clients will beat a path to your door.
For example, a cosmetic surgeon I know in Beverly Hills has a busy practice on Rodeo Drive. On top of working with celebrities, he specializes in rhinoplasty (“nose jobs”) and targets a more sophisticated, well-to-do clientele.
Clients fly in from all around the world to be treated by him.
You don't need to work with celebrities or wealthier clients. But you need to understand that the people who approach you right now, without any positioning, are so much different from peer referrals.
They are likely “shopping around.” They are usually asking either for the lowest prices or for the least amount of services to get by. They will probably ask you a ton of questions, with answers all expected for free, of course.
Even if you have a sterling reputation, you will meet with buyer resistance.
But position yourself properly, differentiate yourself, and define your niche, and the clients you will attract are going to be less trepidatious, more loyal, and far more profitable than those who are merely shopping around.
The more competitive your industry becomes, the greater the demand for professionals who intimately understand and adapt to a client's specific situations will be.
Most professionals cringe at the idea of narrowing their markets. They think it's too risky. They believe it's best to go after the widest possible market.
But here's an important point you need to understand.
The wider your market is, the wider your competition is, too.
Moreover, having a generic, wide, and unfocused marketing strategy will never build momentum among prospective clients. Since you're the same market as everybody else, the only metric of comparison becomes price.
It's a race to the bottom.
Narrowing your focus can insulate your professional services from the competition because you appear to have a deeper understanding of your clients' specific needs and concerns, which at the same time capitalizes on your competitors' shortcomings.
You're a professional and you're likely an expert in your field. But by positioning yourself and defining your niche, you also become an expert in that niche's mind. You become a recognized expert among your clients, with intimate knowledge of their specific situations, which is far more powerful.
Peer recognition may be important, but market recognition is the surest way to earn credibility beyond and above your current credentials. Look at it this way: you become not just a profitable professional but also a profitable brand.
You also become a relevant expert.
If you do content marketing online, for example (which I highly recommend), you will also become known as a thought leader in your field, an authority, and a go-to resource — just like that cosmetic surgeon in Beverly Hills.
In fact, when you position yourself or your firm among ideal clients and the communities they belong to, all other marketing efforts become easier and more productive, too. For instance:
- You will become your target market’s first choice.
- You will capture and win more attention and interest.
- You will attract ideal clients who are less resistant.
- You will sell more, more often, and with less effort.
- You will naturally repel pain-in-the-anatomy clients.
- You will have clients who will be less price-sensitive.
- You will increase repeat and referral business.
- You will promote more goodwill and loyalty.
- And so on.
In short, keep this in mind.
The more you know about your clients, the better placed you are to serve them. But the more you position yourself as knowing your clients, the better placed they are for you.
If you've been a professional for a while, I understand that positioning or repositioning your business will likely not be an overnight process. Plus, there are so many ways to narrow your focus, find a profitable niche, and become known as a recognized authority.
Just remember that, by positioning yourself before you start diving into marketing online, you will increase the success rate of your efforts.