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140: Strategic Niche Marketing for Medical Professionals

May 15, 2024
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Episode Summary

Balancing specialization and success can be an acrobatic feat for private healthcare practices. On this episode of Practice Freedom, Mark will explore carving out your niche, addressing the hesitations that come with honing your focus, and how it positions you as a presence in a bustling marketplace.

Episode Note

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Balancing specialization and success can be an acrobatic feat for private healthcare practices.

On this episode of Practice Freedom, Mark will explore carving out your niche, addressing the hesitations that come with honing your focus, and how it positions you as a presence in a bustling marketplace. Mark shares why mastering a specific craft is pivotal for brand recall. For any healthcare provider striving to be top-of-mind, we examine how to become the best in your niche, transforming your practice into a brand that resonates in healthcare.

The notion that physicians can be your primary patrons—especially when they funnel a steady stream of patient referrals your way—takes center stage. Mark explores strategies to cultivate these connections, setting a cycle of patient care and seamless communication into motion. We outline patient-centric marketing, creating advocates for your practice, and the clarity from operational frameworks like EOSⓇ.

Whether you're a medical professional or just laying the groundwork for your practice, this episode offers actionable insights and strategic know-how to thrust your healthcare practice into the limelight.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • The importance of healthcare professionals to find their niche to excel in their field
  • Comparing niche mastery in healthcare to musicians perfecting their skills at Berklee College of Music for standout success
  • An example of a podiatrist who successfully branded their practice around treating runners
  • The concept of viewing other physicians as primary customers for referrals and nurturing those professional relationships
  • Exploring the role of EOSⓇ (Entrepreneurial Operating SystemⓇ) in maintaining organizational efficiency and traction within a healthcare practice
  • Encouraging healthcare practitioners to recognize their unique strengths and market them confidently to build a strong, recognizable brand
  • The patience required to develop a marketing strategy that resonates with the ideal patient demographic

Resources from this episode:

www.markhendersonleary.com

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Episode Transcript

0:00:02 - Mark Henderson Leary

Welcome to Practice Freedom. What if you could hang out with owners and founders from all sorts of healthcare private practices, having rich conversations about their successes and their failures, and then take an insight or two to inspire your own growth? Each week on Practice Freedom, we take an in-depth look at how to get the most out of both the clinical side and the business side of the practice, get the most out of your people and, most of all, how to live the healthy life that you deserve. I'm Mark Henderson Leary. I'm a business coach and an entrepreneurial operating system implementer. I have a passion that everyone should feel in control of their life, and so what I do is I help you get control of your business. Part of how I do that is by letting you listen in on these conversations in order to make the biggest impact in your practice and, ultimately, live your best life. Let's get started. Welcome back, practice leaders. It's Mark Henderson Leary, again excited to be with you right now. 

Last topic this isn't a recap, but the last conversation, Maddie McLean. We talked a lot about marketing and demand generation, and one of the topics that I wanted to kind of get deep dive on is niche, and particularly the fear associated with choosing one. Before we dive into that, though, just a reminder if you're stuck, if you feel like you don't know how you're going to get to this amazing culture with this amazing organization that, with clear vision, is truly accountable and disciplined, and a healthy, functional team, the entire organization, don't stay stuck. Reach out, Let me help you on the way, Get you unstuck. Maybe something I can help with. Maybe not, but practicefreedomcom slash schedule for just a quick call to talk about what that would look like. 

So back to the subject at hand niche. What is the niche? So in the eos system, we call it a core focus, and so and as I say that, I realize there's some kind of confusion, potential confusion about how those terms fit together, but they really do fit together. And that is when what you're here to do, the core focus, is understanding what drives you, what's your purpose, and this is a selfish interest. This is understanding what really gets you excited, what pulls you into the future, why you do what you do. Maybe it's because you want to create something, Maybe it's because you love the experience, the thrill of winning, Maybe it's you just really want to help people who can't help themselves, or solve complex problems, or you just have a fun appreciation for amazing craft. I don't, I don't know what it is that drives you. It's something for you that makes sense to you. Maybe you're a teacher, Maybe that's what drives you. 

But the niche, that's the part of the organization, that's part of the their purpose statement of kind of we've called the core focus to focus you on what matters most. This is the lane where you are strong, strongest, where your superior skill is. And if you're really great at certain types of mommy makeovers, or if you're a certain type of plastic surgeon, reconstruction, or if it's helping people see better fitting contact lenses, this is usually what you do. This is usually your skill set, your business, your industry, your sport, whatever. And this can and should translate to what I mentioned earlier, the marketing strategy, which is how you go to market, who do you go after? And the intersection is really around being true to yourself. But they both suffer from the same fear of exclusion. I see so many organizations who just want to keep it broad. Oh, we. You know, we take care of people's health, we take care of IT. What does that mean? You know there's a million things that people don't understand them, and you might not either. And when you're all things to everybody, you're nothing to everyone, and that's that's really important to know. You're not things to everybody, you're nothing to everyone, and that's really important to know. You're not going to be memorable. You're not going to develop a brand, You're not going to be best in class, You're not going to be so good at it that you can't be ignored. You will be quite ignorable because you're going to be very good, and there's a lot of very good people out there who are not memorable, especially if what you do is highly competitive. 

I remember when I was at Berklee College of Music learning and studying music, If you were not best in class, any given night at the cafeteria, at one of the concert halls or even classrooms any given night literally world-class musicians playing every night, Every night, I could have been out hearing the best in the world. Pat Metheny might be playing, it was Billy Sheehan and John Mayer. They were there any given night, and plus all the musicians who were in school, who were going to be playing with and for and at the level of those musicians every night. And so if that's you, you you can't be just like good. You got to be the person, You've got to be the person, You've got to be the very best jazz drummer in this style. You've got to be something exceedingly specific to be noticed. 

And so if that's your industry, that's all the more reason to be willing to I say willing to exclude, willing to say we're not as good at other things. Now, that's not really the message. The message is we are the very best in the world at convenient eye care experience, which is actually kind of crowded. So it's good, it's valuable, that's enough for a lot of these organizations that are doing that. But understand it still can be kind of crowded. A lot of people are pitching for that. 

But so if you're going to pitch for that, you got to really beat the drum hard and build a brand around that and really be serious about convenient eye care experience so you can send people out the door raving about your convenient eye care experience. Somebody talks to them. They need to be able to send the message. Somebody says, hey, where were you? Oh, I was getting my eyes checked. Oh, and it was so great, it was so awesome just to be able to get in and get out, and I'm here on time to lunch to meet with you. This is phenomenal, man. That's a message, and you have to be so good at it that it shares or you get shared, which goes back to what I said a minute ago. 

You have to be willing to exclude, because the moment you say that, you start thinking well, what if these people don't want the most convenient experience, they want the most indepth and therefore be willing to tolerate inconvenience and multiple visits and being on our schedule. Well, that's a different brand and you've got to decide. Okay, fine, Convenience isn't our thing. And so somebody walks in the door and they're like look, I need convenience, Great, great. That's not us, though. Joe down the street or Sally or the other organization. They're the convenience people. We're the in-depth, never miss a thing extreme care, high technology, whatever. 

So figuring out what your thing is and that was what you know in Maddie McLean's episode he talked a lot about they're focused on bariatric surgery is their thing, and that means that they're going to say no to like a dermatologist calls them up and says hey, you know, I'm really. I got a credit card ready to go. I want what they get. And the wisdom that came for him was well, we've done the reps and we know what it is to deliver our value, and we know we can deliver value. With clinics that have a high ticket cash pay item $4,000 or more we know we can deliver on that. And if you have a bunch of spots, you want the calendar full for a couple hundred bucks here and there. We don't think we can drive the value around that. And so that gives them the clarity and they have to be willing to say no to those kind of things. But it also having that wisdom and experience that they know what they can do. 

Somebody else calls up and says hey, you never worked with our industry before, Would you help us? They can now ask better questions and say well, do you have a $4,000 or more cash pay procedure? That you do and it'd be worth it? Oh, we absolutely do, even though you've never heard of it. And here's the target marketer that likes to buy it and here's how they shop. And they well, let's find out. Do they educate themselves? Do they need to know about this? Oh, yes, they do. 

Now we've got some common ground to know we can be successful, which is I can't overstate this a patient's game to collect that information. That's because you don't get that overnight. Maybe you might have it in some sessions where you're like sort of brainstorming and these ahas and times in the shower. I know what it is, I know what really unifies our best customers, but you have to have the patience to get through that. That starts with the act of faith, that is to say that you're not going to tell these other patients. No, Eventually you might. When you realize what that common denominator is, you're going to start seeing what goes wrong. Oh, you're a price-driven buyer. Oh, I see you sounded like a value-driven buyer or a luxury buyer, but you're really a price-driven buyer. And here's how. I know why or I know how, and somehow you got down the sales process much further than you should have. But you're not going to enjoy the experience from here and we're not going to do great work for you. Let's get you over to somebody else who is more of a price oriented provider and being comfortable with that. But that's down the line. 

The first thing is to say in a narrow capacity who is our best customer. And you still. If you're building a great Maddie made this point really well If you're building a great reputation, there's nothing bad about that. People will call and they will be adjacent, they will be the friends and neighbors and whomever these raving fans you create by taking care of your very best ones, the ones who have time for them. It's a long waiting list at our plastic surgery center. So if you've got the time, we're going to pre-screen you right away. If you want to get surgery done in the next 30 days, we're not your provider. If you're willing to wait a year to have the best in class, okay, great, yeah, I'm in for that. And then now you've got somebody who's willing to wait and they're going to and ready to go. And now you got more of them and they're going to tell their friends and some of them will call and I don't want to wait. Is that an option? That's not really an option and you can figure out how to deal with that. But you build that reputation. It just gives you more and more. 

But I want to keep going back to the mindset. If you're in that scarcity mindset, I talk about scarcity versus abundance, and that is that if you feel like there's not enough, that just means you're normal. But what you have to be able to do is see past that and have the act of faith, Because I have the same problem. I've been helping businesses for seven years, helping them create the businesses that they love that lead to living the lives they love, and I've worked with all sorts of industries and I still work with all sorts of industries. But as I've developed this private practice healthcare specialty, the more and more I talk about private practice healthcare, I feel when people say, oh, so you don't work with my manufacturing business anymore, and I feel like I'm saying no to people by saying yes to something specific, and so I have that same fear, just like you do, and I keep pushing through it and it keeps paying back and it keeps scaring me to death and it keeps paying back. And so I'm asking you to do the same thing and continue to develop that specific ideal target market you to develop that specific ideal target market. 

Is it this we really do the best with? This type of, you know, middle-aged semi-pro athlete who really wants to lead the healthy lifestyle, who doesn't mind paying cash out of pocket, who has a certain income, who has certain sports? What is it? You know, if a podiatrist a podiatrist I saw recently he's just really got built this brand about around runners and all the runners in town go to this guy and so he is known. You walk into the office. There's Ironman and marathon and medals all over the place and all these runners and athletes they walk. You can see right, they look like athletes. They're in their running shorts. You know everybody. There is a runner or an athlete, you know everybody. There is a runner or an athlete and that's just. He just enjoys the reputation that took a long time to build. 

So understanding your very best customer, who are you best at serving, is such an important act of faith. Now it also ties into, like I said, marketing strategy, about who your very best target market is, which can really blow into marketing tactics. So I've got some other podcasts on this, but you know the Manny McLean episodes is a good one to prime you on this if you haven't heard it already and you're starting to think about how do I demand, create demand generation, which is in the healthcare world, I mean in the commercial world, noncare world? Everybody knows you got to market. You got to get people on the street. You got to do digital. You got to send emails. You got to dial the phone. You got to do something and you got to show something. So you get to who are we. We got to talk about ourselves. That's typical, not super helpful. Who are you? Who's my buyer, what do you need? That's super helpful. That's usually second distant second and that's a number one for the high performers understanding this. 

But most people don't do that first. They don't understand the importance of that. They talk about themselves. But they know you got to do that. You got to be seen and be out there in some form of marketing and awareness and demand generation, Even if it's in the form of prospecting by sending your salespeople out into the world. You know you had to send a message, but in healthcare it's not necessarily so obvious. Sometimes you're building some referrals. You got some good partners, some people you trust. Sometimes it's just credentialing. You're on the insurance plans, you're in a directory. People start showing up. You're down the hall from somebody who walks past your shingle. There's a lot of ways that people can kind of find their way. 

So I guess mentioning this is two things. If you're starting to work towards more value-based services you know cash, pay items, ancillaries, additional add-ons you're going to market in a couple different ways. You're going to market to your existing patients. But you might start thinking like well, how do we get in front of the right people and then this is the two-pronged approach is A the agency of it. You can and should feel like you pick your patients, your customers, your clients, and you should be, second, ready for it to not feel like it's working and you should be ready to feel like you have no idea what the first step is and basically feel like the first several months to multiple years, depending on your industry and your world, as being largely wasted and experimental and that, unfortunately, it's just the reality. 

You got to experiment with that and maybe your demand generation really comes from emails and building lists and being on Instagram and being seen on TikTok and I've seen people do that in all sorts of practices, everything from plastic surgery to family practice, or it's understanding that you're in a referral supply chain or value chain where there is a doctor who is always, or almost always, going to be the one who says, ah, I know who you need to go see and that's your referral source. And if that's the case, you need to identify those referring physicians or equivalent and educate them and serve them as sort of your customer frankly and that's how I teach a lot of my clients to if you get most of your patients in the door through a referral. Then your customer is a referring doctor and you build a process and you build a marketing strategy to take care of them and give them everything they want and need to be the customer, which very often, if not 100% of the time, is showing how you care for the patient. That idea that's maybe another subject entirely the idea of identifying someone other than your patient as the customer can be a little unnerving as well, but it's really powerful. You got to understand the economic engine If you want to serve those patients. I'm not saying anything short of delight those patients give them the health and healing they deserve. That's why you're here. That's going to be built into your core focus. I promise you're going to serve these patients and that's going to be glory. Everyone in the organization is going to feel the privilege of serving these patients. That's going to be glory. Everyone in the organization is going to feel the privilege of serving these patients. But to do that, the economic engines may start with that referring physician who you got to treat like a customer and you got to choose the right ones and you got to take care of them in the right way. So you get the right, the opportunity to see a patient that you can delight, and hopefully that feedback loop goes back to the referring physician and they say, wow, such a great job you did with my patient, Sally, and I'm so glad that you were working together and I'm going to keep referring you and this is a great, great thing we're doing together. Anyway, I hope that helps. 

The idea is to think about this future of where you only see the best patients for us, the ones we can help. We know what they need and every single time they walk in because they're an athlete or because they're a mom or because they're a family or whatever, the office is set up, the process is set up, our procedures are set up, we know how to take care of them and we've eliminated all the people who we know we can't take care of and so we do nothing but delight patients because they're all like each other and we're just well-oiled and purpose-built. To take care of them starts with the act of faith of saying hey, I know it feels like I'm saying no to people that I don't feel like I can live without right now, but just start with the act of faith of who would we say yes to? Who do we think right now would really be good and get more and more comfortable and refine it and narrower and narrower. So you're doing better and better work and, more often than not, and more and more building on sending raving fans out the door who just can't wait to share how great the experience was and exactly why it was a great experience, and build that into your core focus. Build that in your marketing strategy, which, of course, there are two questions on the vision traction organizer in the EOS system that, if you're not familiar with, you should check out, and that's the summary on it today. So that's the time. Focus on the niche and, of course, if you don't have a business operating system, you need that. That's a fundamental element. That traction. 

The book EOS is a system that I teach. That's the first step of the process. If you're stuck, please don't hesitate to reach out and help me to talk. That Help me. Help me to talk, Happy to help and talk you through what that first step or next step could look like. Practicefreedomcom slash schedule for some time with me. That's our time for today. Hope that's helpful. Share this with those people who can use it. Give us the feedback all through the system. Give us the reviews, positive and negative, we're happy to get all the system. Give us the reviews, positive and negative. We're happy to get all the feedback. We'll see you next time on Practice Freedom with me, Mark Henderson.

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