There’s a lot of competition these days. Not only with other acupuncturists, but chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists are also fighting for the same clients.
Because of all the competition, it is important to stand out. You want patients to recognize you for the good you are doing, and choose you as their acupuncturist.
If all things are equal between two practitioners the prospective patient might just pick the acupuncturist who’s just cheaper or closer to their location. If you refuse to stand out and you run the risk of losing patients that could otherwise have been yours.
Every acupuncturist has the ability to be unique in their own way, so find what it is that makes your practice unique and harness it.
No matter how much competition you may have, you can still find a few ways to stand out from the crowd.
I put together a blog post that offers a simple four-step process to help you figure out what makes your practice unique.
Step One: Benefits
Start by listing every benefit that patients can receive from your work as a practitioner. Keep the following things in mind as you work on this list:
- Remember to list benefits. What’s a benefit? A benefit is what the patient receives. The extreme rarity of infections or other complications as a result of your treatment is the benefit.
Next, make sure you keep these questions in mind and do your best to answer the following questions:
- What do I do, or offer, that is different than other acupuncturists?
- What kind of image and atmosphere do I want to project?
- What kind of patients do I want to attract?
- Where do I want to be in 6 to 12 months? Where do I want to be in 3 to 5 years?
- How can I be an extraordinary acupuncturist?
- Do I specialize?
- Do I offer great prices and/or package deals?
- Do you practice TCM or 5-element acupuncture?
When you’re done, sit back and take a long look at your finished list.
Hopefully you have a long list.
Step Two: Competitors
After completing your benefits list, your next step is to examine your competition.
Search for anyone in the field who treats the same or similar conditions and ailments that acupuncture can address.
Each of these businesses will present benefits to their patients, including some of the same that you may offer.
Take out your list from step one: Cross off each benefit your competitors also offer.
You’ll probably find yourself crossing out most of your list, and don’t worry that’s okay.
As you do this, you’ll start to see benefits your competitors offer that you don’t.
These fall into one of two categories:
- A benefit you forgot to add to your list that you offer. No need to add it at this point.
- A competitive advantage.
If one of your competitors offers an amazing benefit you don’t, then you need to decide if:
- You are capable of offering that same benefit, and if so, whether you want to or not.
- Decide whether that benefit represents a barrier to your own success or if it’s something you can use to distinguish yourself.
By the time you’re done with this step, you will most likely have just a few items left on your list.
Step Three: Your Unique Practice
Take a look at the list of items that survived Step Two.
You should be able to pick out three to five distinct benefits you alone offer.
If not, rethink your offerings until you can come up with at least three to five unique benefits. They can be as simple as
- “I have a quiet space for people to relax after treatment,”
- “the Qi in my waiting room is so soothing and calm,”
- “I add Reiki to my treatments,” or
- “I make my own blend of organic herbs.”
These three to five benefits are what separate your practice from other acupuncturists and healers.
They are what make you unique and special. They are what make you stand out from others and will help to drive patients to your practice.
Your marketing efforts should revolve around your unique benefits. In business, we call unique benefits your “competitive advantage.”
Step Four: Your Patients
The unique benefits you uncovered in Step Three offer clues as to who your ideal patients are. They will be the people who will most resonate with your unique benefits.
Who are these people?
Try to discover who your ideal patients are for yourself. The more labels you can apply to them, the better.
Take a look at the traits below and write down information describing the types of people you’d like to attract to your practice. Look at traits like targets, be specific about who it is you want to attract:
- Do they have a specific age? Perhaps you prefer to treat children over older adults
- Who do you feel more comfortable treating in regard to gender?
- Does someone’s occupation play a role in who your treat?
- What about income level? Do you want to help people in a specific income level?
Here are some other labels you could use to target a specific demographic to attract them to your clinic:
- Religious/spiritual beliefs
- Marital status
- Health status
- Sexual orientation
- What do they eat?
For example, you may find your practice is best suited to a specific demographic who may have high blood pressure caused by work and stress.
Knowing who your ideal patient is allows you to market directly to those specific people without wasting your time and resources. The idea is to market to that very select group of people who want what you have to offer through your unique benefits. This is called nanocasting - the opposite of broadcasting.
This allows you to dial in your conversation and direct your marketing communications with more focus. When you unearth all the details about your prospective patients, they will feel as though you are talking directly to them!
This is a good place to start!
If you’re struggling, and you need help to figure out a few ways to stand out from the crowd, go ahead and book a FREE, no-obligation, 15-minute consultation.
Jeffrey Grossman, EAMP
“Discover what makes your practice unique and put resources toward marketing to that demographic”