Marketing is the main function of your business. It is how you generate revenue. It doesn’t matter if it’s a burger shack or a medical practice. You must generate new business and the way you do this is through marketing. Businesses rise and fall secondary to how they market.
Creating your businesses online presence is the most vital component of your marketing strategy. In the modern era the way you present your business online is very important towards its success.
Think about yourself. Have you ever not gone somewhere because their website was disorganized? Lacked information? Confusing? I know I have and I bet most people have. It is critical that your businesses website looks professional. After all, it is the first part of your business many new customers will see outside of your google listing.
The first item on your agenda should be creating a website. Most people will just hire someone to do it for them but this can be very expensive and falls outside of what I advocate for creating a low expense business. I urge each and every one of you to create the website yourself. It is cheap and easy.
I personally like WordPress and GoDaddy. If this is the first time you have created a website, skip WordPress and go with GoDaddy. WordPress is for more advanced users and can be complicated, therefore we will skip that for this discussion.
GoDaddy is fantastic! It is a one stop shop in terms of your website. It is cheap and very user friendly. For $200 you can have a website, domain name and general marketing platform for 1 year. That is hard to beat and a necessary expense. It will pay for itself with just one patient!
First create your domain name. Keep it short and simple. Do not have a string of multiple words. Just two is fine. Thus, if your practices name is “Nurse Practitioner House Calls and Medical Care” for example, do not register www.nursepractitionerhousecallsandmedicalcare.com for heaven’s sake… No one will ever type that into a browser. Instead, keep it simple like www.nphousecall.com or www.homemedicalcare.com. I failed to do this with my first practice and the domain name was way too long. I believe that contributed to the slow start. I later changed it and saw a dramatic increase in traffic. It is more important than you think.
Use a .com, .net or a .org registration. Try to use a .com if you can. It looks the most professional. Play around with the domain name, keep searching until you find one that works for you. This is very simple to do through GoDaddy. Just type various domain names into the search function until you find one that works. DO NOT PAY MORE THAN THE STANDARD RATE FOR A DOMAIN NAME. There are people that make a living selling domain names and you will see them listed on GoDaddy for ridiculous amounts of money. Skip that, it is not necessary.
The next item on the list is actually creating the site. The website builder on GoDaddy is user friendly and simple to pick up. I will not go into specifics but if you’re reading this then you are likely an intelligent person and should be able to figure it out. Create your home page first and then start creating secondary pages. For a medical practice I would suggest 3-4 pages maximum. People have a short attention span. Shorter is better. Make sure that the home page hits the patient hard and fast so they understand what you do exactly. Your home page should illicit a response from a patient within 30 seconds.
I frequently consult with nurse practitioners and the first thing I notice is their terrible website; way too much information and it is often disorganized. I was confused what their practice had to offer which means the patients had no idea and clicked off the site within 1 minute. Guarantee it. MAKE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZED AND TO THE POINT. This is CRITICAL!
After your site is designed it is time to publish it and get to work marketing it. GoDaddy has a general listing function where they list your site on multiple platforms including Google, Bing, Yelp, etc… I find it to be convenient and easy to use but for the price you can do it yourself for free. The main place you need to list your business is on Google and Bing. Very few people use other directories. Create a Google and Bing business listing. Just search for it. It is simple and takes 5 minutes. Once you list it, your practice will now come up on google maps and in searches. It can take multiple months for your site to start populating on the searches so do not get discouraged. I advise getting the website up and running as soon as possible for this reason.
The more keywords you have on your site, the more times it will come up in a search. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and is beyond this article. Do some research about SEO. It is vitally important so your practice is one of the first practices that come up on a google search.
One of the reasons my side practices are so successful is because they populate as the number one listing on people’s searches. They call me first. I made sure this happened and spent a little extra money having a professional assist me with it. Another well worth expense that more than paid for itself.
Now that you have your website and listing done it is time to create a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page. Make these simple and straight forward because their main function is to funnel patients to your actual website, not your social media page. The main reason you are going to use social media is to advertise on it. Advertising on Facebook is very effective. Do this for the first 3 months to generate your first patients/customers. Again, social media marketing is a topic in itself and there is a wealth of information online about it. Shoot me an email if you need help.
Another great place to advertise is on Google. Have you ever typed in a keyword on Google and saw the paid listings at the top? That is what you are going to be doing for your practice for the first 3 months until you get up and running. It is a well worth expense and will help generate business in addition to social media advertising
How much should you spend in these first 3 months on online advertising? Budget $1,000-$2,000 for this. It might sound like a lot of money for the first-time nurse practitioner entrepreneur but trust me, IT WILL PAY OFF. Spending money on this will be the best investment you can make for your new business; not a fancy exam table and some expensive lobby furniture.
That is it! If you follow the above advice you will create a significant online presence for your side business/practice and likely be one step ahead of your competition. You must create a positive, organized, and informational online presence for your new business. It is an absolute necessity and can be the make it or break it factor for your business and practice. Do not overlook it.