NATUROPATHIC BUSINESS INFORMATION

 Is Your Practice Ready for a Cyber Attack?

In today’s data driven world, organizations of all sizes are at risk for a cyber attack or data breach. The average cost of a data breach in 2012 was $188 per record.  Multiply that by the number of records exposed by a hacker, and you’ll see how quickly the price tag can grow.  One study suggests the average cost to rectify a breach has risen to over $6 million.  Just one stolen laptop, one resourceful hacker, one virus or even one lost paper record can create enormous financial and reputational consequences for your business.

As a healthcare professional, you have vast amounts of confidential information about your patients.  At the very least you have their medical records, past and present.  These records contain your patients’ DOB’s and social security numbers, and possibly their credit card and bank account numbers.

Like most small business owners today, you probably use a computer system to keep track of appointments and patient information, which puts you at risk for cyber attacks and other kinds of data breaches.

Whenever you use paper records or electronically store and transmit sensitive client or patient information, you bear the burden of substantial liability. You may not always be able to prevent data loss or theft, but Cyber Liability Insurance can help you address the repercussions, should an incident befall your office.

Before we delve into the myriad of ways Cyber Liability Insurance protects your practice, let’s get on the same page about how the policy works. There are two policy forms that healthcare professionals should consider:

First-party Cyber Liability. This policy responds in the event personally identifying information of your patients or employees is compromised.  It can cover the expenses related to responding to a data breach, such as notifying patients about the breach (required by HIPAA regulations) and paying HIPAA fines.

Third-party Cyber Liability. This policy could provide coverage for your practice in the event a third party suffers a financial loss when your practice incurs a data breach.  A good example here would be a bank who sustained fraudulent charges because your patient credit card information was stolen from your data base.

How First-Party Cyber Liability Insurance Protects You

Many healthcare professionals operate such low-profile offices, practices, and programs that it can be difficult to view yourself as a target for cyber attack or data theft. After all, wouldn’t a large laboratory or huge, high-profile hospital have greater stores of patient information and thus be a potentially bigger boon for cyber criminals?

Maybe.

Cyber thieves know that big businesses probably have more robust data protection plans and systems than the local neighborhood medical office.  Like most people, hackers and other cyber criminals don’t want to put in any more effort than they have to, and a smaller office or practice often seems like an easier target.

Data theft rarely affects only one client or patient. Once someone gains unauthorized access to your system, all the information is quickly compromised, leading to investigations, fines, high-dollar debts, and a severely bruised reputation which may affect the fiscal health of your business for years to come.

This is where first-party Cyber Liability Insurance steps in. After a data breach, your Cyber Liability coverage can help you pay for…

  • Cyber extortion expenses. Sometimes hackers and other cyber criminals hold your information hostage until you pay them the amount they demand.

  • Notifying customers. After a data breach, healthcare professionals are required by HIPAA to notify clients and patients. Your Cyber Liability Insurance can help you pay for this expense.

  • Credit-monitoring services. In order to help you restore your clients’ faith in your business, Cyber Liability Insurance allows you to finance the services necessary to monitor their financial accounts.

  • Good-faith advertising. Because you can’t un-expose data after a breach, most of the benefits associated with Cyber Liability Insurance revolve around damage control. This coverage helps you pay for marketing and advertising campaigns to help you rebuild your business’s good image.

  • HIPAA fines. When a data breach exposes your patients’ healthcare records, the government may fine your business. Some Cyber Liability policies can cover these fines up to a certain limit.

  • Legal review and counsel. To review your state and federal notification obligations and determine how you should best respond.

In addition to Liability, other related data breach coverages include:

  • Loss of Income due to business interruption after a breach.

  • Data & System restoration.

  • Forensic IT services to identify what data has been compromised and who it affected.

As you can see, the costs associated with a data breach can quickly exceed what most small business owners can handle. An effective Cyber Liability Insurance policy makes it easier for your office, practice, or organization to get on its feet after a cyber attack.

What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know About Cyber Liability Insurance

As a healthcare professional, you already know the importance of investing in Malpractice and General Liability Insurance, so adding a Cyber Liability policy to your business insurance plan might seem an unnecessary expense.  However, Malpractice and General Liability Insurance do not provide coverage for a data breach.

Cyber Liability coverage is a relatively new idea, which means premiums and deductibles tend to vary greatly from carrier to carrier. This creates potential for good deals and opens room for negotiation.

Keep these questions in mind when deciding on a policy.

  • Are you in compliance with HIPAA and other Federal & State requirements? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires most allied health professionals to follow certain rules, regulations, and guidelines in order to protect their clients’ and patients’ privacy and medical information. For example, you must notify your patients after a data breach and you must maintain certain administrative, physical, and technological security standards. To learn more about your security obligations, visit the HIPAA government website .

  • Do you use the cloud? Many small businesses store data in the cloud, even if it’s just for backup purposes. It’s important to realize that your data isn’t always protected by the cloud provider’s policy — it usually isn’t. Review your contracts and the cloud provider’s terms of use to see whether or not you are legally responsible for your data’s security.

  • Is Cyber Liability covered under your General Liability policy? Cyber Liability is never automatically included in your General Liability policy, nor is it covered in your Malpractice policy. In some cases, Cyber Liability coverage can be integrated with your General Liability coverage, but it’s often wise to purchase a separate policy.

Get A Cyber Liability Insurance Quote

Are you ready to secure a Cyber Liability Insurance policy for your office or practice? Contact Brian K. Walker at Premier Southwest Insurance Group, LLC at (480) 621-3667.  Mr. Walker specializes in securing competitively priced coverages for the healthcare professional.  Mr. Walker can also be reached at brianw@psigllc.com


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5 Ways To Build Patient Loyality With Twitter

Do you want to build deeper relationships with your patients who follow you on Twitter?

To enjoy the full benefits of Twitter, approach your audience in a personable way.

This week, you’ll learn five ways to turn your Twitter followers into loyal patients.

#1: Be Yourself  With Your Posts

If you follow social media platforms, you will see a common trend is to “be more real.” But a lot of Twitter posts are full of automated tweets promoting their  blog posts or services. Or worse, scheduled messages that were written months ago.

Automation definitely has its place, but if you want to develop loyal patients and attract new patients, rein in the automation and replace it with actual social commentary, day-to-day tweets, and images you create on the fly.

Talk about what’s relevant in naturopathic medicine in a non-automated way that people can actually relate and reply to. This takes Twitter back to what it used to be, and in fact what made it so successful: real people talking in real time about what’s going on.

This is really important if you want to develop loyal patients, because loyalty comes with your followers knowing who you are as a person and a doctor they like and trust. It’s hard to like a profile that’s simply automated.

#2: Initiate The Conversation

A great way to create loyalty from your Twitter followers is to start making the first move when it comes to interacting on Twitter.  When you go to your Twitter page, Jump on the home feed tab to see what other people are saying. Challenge yourself to and reply to at least one person before checking your own notifications.

Your home feed may be a bit of a mess, so take the time to segment the people you want to speak to into Twitter lists and scrolling through your lists before reviewing your notifications.

You can set up lists for patients, potential patients, good referrers, companies you’ve bought from, and people actually talking on Twitter.

To set up a Twitter list, click on your profile photo and select Lists.

#3: Personalize Your With Twitter Video Replies

Twitter Video Reply is a massively underused feature of Twitter, but it can be super-effective is you use it. Instead of replying to people or just tweeting them, you can record a video up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds in length and send that to people from within the Twitter mobile app.

This feature allows you to build a more personal connection quicker, in the same way you can on platforms like Snapchat. You’re putting a face and voice to your tweets. Hardly anyone does this consistently on Twitter, so if you start now, you’ll really stand out.

Imagine if you asked a question about a homeopathic, or nutritional product on Twitter and the company replied to you with a video answering your question. You would feel you were being treated like a valued customer. This works exactly the same way when building relationships with patients and potential patients and it can be just as quick as sending a tweet.

When tweeting from the Twitter app, tap the camera button and select Video. Similar to Snapchat, tap and hold the record button to start recording and release to stop. You can create multiple shots up to 30 seconds. Next, hit Done, write a tweet to go with the video, and send it.

#4: Make Friends

Loyalty takes time, and the only way you can really do this on Twitter is to treat your followers as friends.

The majority of your tweets should be socializing, and you can only do that if you treat your followers like your friends. Friends share your message with other friends who may become new patients in your practice. If you think of your followers as friends and be genuinely friendly, it’s a surefire way to create practice loyalty.

#5: Be Open to Direct Messages

One last point is to show up in Twitter direct messages. Use this functionality to have one-on-one conversations with your patients and potential patients.

Twitter now allows any users to send you a direct message if you’ve turned on the feature in your settings. To check if it’s enabled, click on your profile and click Settings. Select Security and Privacy. Scroll down to the Direct Messages section, and make sure the boxes are checked. Click Save Changes.

Now if people want to talk to you directly on Twitter, you can have a private conversation. Granted, there’s a lot of spam in Twitter DMs, but showing you’re open to private conversations when the opportunity arises shows your patients and potential new patients you aren’t on Twitter simply to broadcast. You’re approachable and interested in having conversations.

Conclusion

The points presented in these five tactics is to be a bit more human on Twitter. You’ll develop loyal patients by showing up in real time, having real discussions, and proving you’re on Twitter to do what Twitter was intended for: to join conversations.


thmqs4l3g27 Steps to Help You Create Video Ads

As a naturopath working to grow a successful practice, you’ve realized you can’t afford not to join the millions of small businesses using video ads to promote their business online.

It’s important to understand that video marketing is an ongoing campaign–one that will tell your patients or potential patients a story about your brand, resonate with them, and move them to take action – make an appointment. To maintain and reinforce your brand image, you need to create multiple video ads that appeal to different audiences.

Here are 7 tips to get you started with creating video ads that move patients or potential patients to action:

  1.  Know your audience – define who you’d like to reach and what’s the best way to do it. You can’t create a successful video if you don’t know who will watch it.  A great tool that we recommend is Facebook Audience Insights to find out who your audience is, if you aren’t sure already.

  2. Define your goals – what do you hope to achieve with your video? Notify your patients about a new treatment or product you are offering? Increase social engagement? Increase leads and attract new patients? Of course, your overall goal should be to grow your practice, but you should aim for specific goals with each video ad you create.

  3. Video Ads should not look like ads – the best video ads deliver a feeling, not a hard sale. They tell a short story of what you will get and how you will benefit from using a service. Viewers relate to people and emotions and they want to see how you can help them improve their lives.

  4. Short and sweet – a concise message is always better and 10-15 second videos are ideal for sharing and spreading the word. This is especially crucial on social media channels, where users scroll through a substantial amount of text, images, and other videos. You should also include sharing options so your patients will essentially become your practice ambassadors, and before you know it, your video will go viral.

  5. Call to action – always include a bottom line that asks viewers to take action. Whether it’s coming to your practice for a new treatment protocol, an invitation to an educational presentation, or setting an appointment.

  6. Use all social media platforms – your audience may be using Twitter more than Facebook or Instagram, but you should share your video ads through all platforms. You will want to customize each video so that it maximizes the platform’s features, but having a strong presence on all social channels will raise more awareness.

  7. Monitor and evaluate – after launching a video ad, look at the number of shares and conversions it generated across all social platforms, as well as traffic to your site, to assess how well your audience received it. Test multiple ads that appeal to different types of audiences in different stages of their buying journey.

Video is here to stay, there’s no doubt about that. Start planning your video marketing strategy to ensure your practice is up to speed and can fully support a sustainable approach to frequent video production.


click 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE –
TURNING CLICKS INTO PATIENTS

As  a natural healthcare provider, your website is a critical tool to build your practice. When designing your website, you must keep patient retention and new patient acquisition in mind. In this week’s article, you will find five insights to consider when developing your website.

1. KEEP THE WEB IN MIND WHEN CRAFTING WRITING

Great website copy provides clear information for your patients and potential new patients. Try to avoid medical jargon and use language that is clear and concise. Make it easy for visitors to scan and grasp information quickly. Lengthy paragraphs aren’t best suited for web reading. Always keep in mind that web readers skim information. If you write lengthy copy, your readers are likely to miss points that don’t immediately stand out.

2. CHOOSE YOUR IMAGES TO DRIVE ACTION

Your website viewers read an average of 20% of the actual text on your site. With readers scanning and reading so little content, the need to make the images you use stand out is paramount. Choose images that evoke emotion, drive action, and focus your site visitor on your desired result – making an appointment. Always use images of people and use the strategy that professionals use – have their eyes looking at where you want your website viewer to click.

3. FORMAT YOUR WEBSITE FOR THE USER EXPERIENCE

There are also a number of subtle ways you can impact your readers to consider becoming patients. Use these simple tools to help format your website and catch the attention of casual readers:

  • Use headlines and subheads

  • Create multiple calls to the same action

  • Use contrasting colors

  • Add single column layouts that attract attention

Using these simple tools can help keep readers interested and hungry for more content.

4. CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY

Your website is the starting point of your new patient engagement. One way to influence visitors to take action is to use a technique contrasting natural medical treatment to allopathic care. Behavioral science teaches us that people are seeking answers to their healthcare needs in contrast to treatment that merely cover symptoms.

5. INTEGRATE SOCIAL PROOF

High-performing websites feature testimonials and images of happy people demonstrating satisfaction with your naturopathic medical care. Having someone else share your expertise creates social proof. The more visual images you have that others trust you, the more visitors will trust you.

Employing these simple tips can help influence website readers to become patients.


5 WAYS TO ADD VARIETY TO YOUR NATUROPATHIC BLOG

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Do you have a blog for your naturopathic practice?

Are you looking for ideas to spice up your blog and appeal to your readers?

Posting a variety of article types on your blog can help you reach your patients and a wider audience of potential patients. The variety of content you choose will keep audience interest high and visitors returning. Below you will learn five types of blog posts that can improve your content mix.

1. GIVE READERS A LIST

People love to read lists and you should love to make them and share them. According to research from Fractl and BuzzStream, lists are shared on social media more then any other type of article.

Lists are easy to create and a great way to engage your current and potential patients. Simple pick a topic that fits your blog and then follow this simple template:

  • Include the number of items in your list in your title

  • Open with a brief two to three sentence explanation of your list

  • Provide useful information about each item in your list. Don’t just list items in the body of your text.

For short lists you should expand the content for each item. For longer lists you will only want to write a sentence of two for each item.  For the conclusion leave your readers with some parting thoughts. Keep them short and offer suggestions for what your readers could do with the information you have provided – like call for an appointment.

2. REVIEW PRODUCTS AND TREATMENTS

Nearly four out of five people say they rely on the internet to get product and medical information before making a buying decision or acting on an offer.

Your patients and potential patients are bombarded daily with medical products for countless illnesses, which naturopathic medicine can address effectively without dangerous side affects. As a blogger, your loyal readers trust your opinion, share your interests, and are eager to hear what you have to say about products and treatments that relate to your medical practice. Be certain to state accurately represent any product or services. You can do this by providing a bulleted list of the product or treatment top features. List three to five key advantages, and one or two shortcomings, if they exist.

3. DO A DEEP DIVE INTO A SINGLE TOPIC

We are all hearing that people on the internet have short attention spans, the truth is that longer blog posts perform better. Abundant research suggests that longer posts rank better in search engine results.

Longer posts give more time to expand into a topic and engage your readers. To leave a lasting impression and make your readers come back for more, your article needs to be well-written, thoughtful, and an easy read. Make sure to divide long posts into shorter sections or topics, with several visual breaks.

Start with a teaser to engage readers and get them thinking about your topic. Then break the article into mini-posts.  Make your last point the most interesting one of all your points. The in the conclusion, tie everything together and provide suggestions to explore the topic further, or perhaps schedule an appointment to discuss how the topic is pertinent to their medical condition.

4. GIVE YOUR READERS EDUCATION

In the past if someone wanted to learn something new they had to find an expert and ask him or her to share their knowledge. Now people feel they can learn anything with the click of a mouse button. Google reports that more than 100 million hours of information and instruction videos are watched on YouTube every year and blog posts rank second in social media shares.

No matter what your area of expertise, you have information that other are interested in learning. When you give readers information they are hungry for, they are eager to share that knowledge with others, these are your future patients.

When you post your education blog, focused on naturopathy, give some background information in your introduction. Why should people know what you’re about  to teach them? Why don’t most people already know it? And why are you  the best person to teach it?

Don’t forget to included a bulleted list of key talking points to reinforce the information you are sharing. These are the elements you want to leave with your audience, and hope they will share with friends.

5. PRESENT DATA IN AN INFOGRAPHIC

Great visuals will help you post get noticed on social media. Infographics combine our attraction to images with imparting concise knowledge. Infographics are also easily shareable and perfect for readers with short attention spans.

Your infographics should be well-designed, easy to follow, and heavy on content, but light on text. You need to provide more than just a graphic. When creating an infographic post, first introduce the graphic and provide some background. Next discuss your finding on the topic area. This is where you get to show of your naturopathic knowledge. Although, some may skip to the graphic, others will gladly read short informational material that adds to the graphic. At the end , provide additional information that would benefit your patients or future patients and always include a “call to action” encouraging readers to make an appointment at your office to discuss how this post is relevant to their medical condition.

CONCLUSION

Varying you blog post formats provides for a nice change of pace to your followers and offers additional avenues to attract new patients. But don’t force the structure to just increase your numbers as this is bound to backfire.

The most important thing to remember is to create high-quality, engaging content that speaks to your target audience. As long as you stay true to your own voice, the styles you choose can increase your readership, increase current patient relationships, and engage new potential patients.


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5 STEPS FOR MOVING FORWARD

Learning how to accept and deal with small business failures is a necessary step in the road to success. Realizing the fact that there will be business setbacks helps you to reprogram your ego, redefine yourself, your career as a successful naturopath.  Here are five steps that will help you to process and move forward after adversity.

  1. SET A DEADLINE.

The most important step to overcoming adversity is to not wallow in the negative feelings. Set a deadline with yourself for accepting what has happened, at least emotionally. Emotional acceptance is critical – and so is the deadline. Try saying, “I accept that the business strategy I was trying did not work, but within 48 hours I will look forward to a new business strategy to replace the old one.”

  1. FOCUS ON YOUR SKILLS.

Always come back to what you know and have the confidence to trust in your skills. In business, that could mean reminding yourself that your skills as a communicator will allow you to reach out to more potential patients to achieve your practice goals, or you may be skilled in social media, but have not applied it to your practice. Focusing on a skill set that you already have will move you forward much more effortlessly than deciding you are going to learn something new and then try to apply it.

  1. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS.

We all encounter distractions that we can’t control. Many times these distractions put enormous pressure on us – but only if we allow them to. There are strategic times when you need to close off all distractions and focus one goal. When you are faced with adversity the best thing you can do is to evaluate what you can eliminate in the way of distractions to become totally focused on the issue at hand.

The two most important steps to deal with distractions and stay mentally focused are first, eliminating outside noise and not just audible noise but the constant clutter of business tasks that can slow down your recovery to move forward. Second, once you have peeled away the clutter of noise that could distract you focus on what you need to do to master the task at hand.

  1. LET GO OF THE NEED TO WIN.

Sometimes we all get stuck analyzing and thinking about what other naturopaths are doing and what we should be doing in order to feel successful. It is important to take a moment to focus on what really matters to you and what intrinsically motivates you. To become more intrinsically motivated stop focusing on getting rich, and caring what everyone else thinks. Focus more on what you want to get out of life, the type of naturopath you ultimately want to be. Then work on becoming better at whatever it is that you do in your practice. You will soon notice a sense of calm success born out of following your own path.

  1. BE A LEADER NOT A VICTIM.

When you face adversity, if you have not embraced it in a positive manner, learned from it, and reprogrammed your ego to your own intrinsic motivation, it will be much harder to become a leader.  Taking ownership is the first step to not becoming a victim.  Don’t be afraid to say, “Yes, my fault…I screwed that business idea up.” Then go back to step one in this process and give yourself a deadline to accept what has happened, look for other ways to succeed, and reinforce your goals as a naturopath.

CONCLUSION:

There is no such thing as the perfect business model for a naturopath. But what you can take away from these five steps are ways to not be afraid to try something new.  Break new ground, find new ways to attract and retain patients for your practice, and above all eliminate the fear of failure. When an idea doesn’t pan out, use the five steps and above all ask yourself, what did I learn from this.


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THREE STEPS TO ATTRACT PATIENTS
USING SOCIAL MEDIA

To become a successful naturopath you are probably already using social media to try to build your practice. But how do you go about getting new patients with social media?

In this week’s newsletter we outline a three-step strategy for converting passive social media readers to new patients in your naturopathic practice.

 STEP 1 – ATTRACT AN AUDIENCE HUNGRY FOR NATUROPATHY

It is important to get to know your target audience to draw them into your practice – instead of chasing them. You can accomplish this by establishing yourself as a leader in your area of naturopathic care, attracting a higher caliber of prospective patients.

Think in terms of – what problems do my patients typically have? What would successful treatment look like to them?  Answering these questions can help you formulate your social media, touching potential patients with a feeling that you truly understand their health care needs even before coming to see you.

STEP 2 – GO FOR OPT-IN OPTIONS FIRST

Once potential patients are attracted to your expertise and following your social media posts, the next step is to get their contact information. Most new patients won’t be ready to schedule an appointment just because of your social media posts, but with their contact information you can develop a deeper relationship and target your messages.

In this phase it is important to offer something of value, such as a video you have done on a treatment, an e-book, or a discount code for products in your office. Ask your product suppliers if they will participate with you by discounting products for a set period of time. One quick way to create a lead magnet is to write down 10 questions patients ask you and create a lead-generating video answering those questions. Use real case studies to help build trust in the process.

STEP 3 – CREATE STRONG INCENTIVES TO ATTRACT PATIENTS

Once you have engaged potential patients through your social media content and captured their contact information, you’re ready to convert them to new patients.  There are a lot of ways to convert your relationship contacts to patients, such as inviting selected contacts to an in-office educational presentation, or setting up a specific time that you will take phone calls to answer basic questions.  But don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal – to acquire and successfully treat new patients.

Conclusion:  The beauty of social media is that it allows you to track each click and measure which messages are resonating with your readers. With that knowledge you can optimize your marketing activities, saving time and money.


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Content is More Than Just King
It’s The Secret to
Your Success

We have all heard the saying that “Content is King.” But recent research shows that content is more than just king; it is the secret to a successful practice.

In a recent Loyalty Study, it was determined that content can play a major role in continued support, in your case ongoing patient relationships.

One of the findings revealed that 72 percent say they would discontinue engagement when receiving poor content. This should be a wake-up call for all naturopaths. The content you are sending may be driving patients away, and even worse, preventing you from getting new patients.

Some of the most common offenses frustrating readers include:

  • Receiving content that is too vague, dull or boring

  • Content in an inconvenient format

  • Information that they are simply not interested in receiving

To drive patient loyalty, naturopaths should focus on providing content they want, when they want it, and in a format they prefer. The Loyalty Study also learned that 72 percent of readers receiving well thought-out, polished content related that they believed the content mattered to them. This does not mean you have to spend a lot of money hiring professionals to create your content. It’s about creating a thoughtful content strategy and devoting the appropriate amount of time to your emails and online content to achieve the results you are seeking.

The study was able to dig into reader preferences for frequency, channel, and length to  provide prescriptive data that you can start using immediately. A majority of those responding (57 percent) said they would like to receive content at least once a month.  “The shorter, the better” is overwhelmingly true when it comes to preferences. The kind of content readers want to receive include:

  • Short email

  • Short letter or online article (2-3 paragraphs)

  • Short YouTube video (under two minutes)

So how do you know which of these will work best for your practice?

Readers want short, consumable, personalized content instead of generic, one-size-fits-all content. It may be time to retire the long monthly newsletter that you work on for weeks and replace it with smaller creative content, personalized to your practice and interests of your patients.  Here are three tips to get started:

  1. Survey your patients. Ask your patients what information they are interested in and how they would like to receive it.

  2. Segment your patient lists based on their interests. Once you know your patients’ interests and preferences, honor them. Create separate segment groups in your patient database. Vertical Response is a great platform for creating multiple patient databases.

  3. Test your patient databases. Try out new content on each of your databases to see which content is connecting with which patient database.

Naturopathic Economics employs each of these methods to improve content for the more than 2,300 naturopaths now following us.  The result is a loyal reader base and a month-over-month increase in our subscribers.  If you would like help with this area of your practice marketing, Naturopathic Economics now offers low cost consulting.  Click here to request more information.


PR

5 Musts For a Naturopathic
Public Relations Program

Think you can’t afford public relations?

You can’t afford not to include public relations into your practice marketing mix. In today’s competitive healthcare world public relations must become an integral part of your overall marketing efforts.

1. Have a PR Plan

Every naturopathic practice should have a written public relations plan. The purpose of the plan is to state to focus, goals and direction of your practice and detail the specifics of how this will be achieved, yet be flexible enough to allow for new ideas and opportunities. Initial PR plan elements should include:

  • Practice Situation analysis

  • Practice Objectives

  • Target Patient Base

  • Proposed Messages

  • Target media

  • Strategies for Delivery

  • Tactics

  • Budget

  • Timeline

  • Measurement

Establishing a specific plan based on these elements yields maximum efficiency and is a key to successful marketing.

2. Adopt a Proactive mindset.

Establish your PR plan to be proactive and not reactive. Look for ways to present your practice in front of patient and potential patients as leading the field in your area. Don’t just react to other news articles, or negative press around naturopathic medicine for your discipline. Create your own news and events. Set your own agenda and frame the issue around your messaging.

3. Identify the Issue.

One of the most important trends in public relations is issue oriented public relations. This involves honing in on the specific medical issues you have chosen to address through natural medicine, and persuading target audiences that you focus in important and you are the resource to address these issues. Position yourself as the solution to the medical problems you are treating in your practice creating trust worthy of retaining and attracting patients.

4. Consider Including Latest Research Data.

Even if you don’t think your public relations plan needs to be bolstered with other people’s research findings, elements of research included in your releases demonstrate you are relevant and keeping up with research trends in naturopathic medicine.  Posting research also can be used to counter negative research current patients or potential patients are reading on the internet.  Let’s face it, in today’s world everyone thinks that all the answers to their ills can be found on the internet.

5. Don’t do Interviews or Conferences Until You Have Fully Embraced Your Media Messaging.

Being asked to do an interview, participate in a conference or appear on television are great opportunities to move your practice forward. But until you can articulate your skills and your practice clearly and concisely, without jumping from topic to topic, these opportunities have the potential to be disastrous.

In conclusion, you may feel as a doctor that you are an expert in your field, but good public relations does not happen by accident. It takes planning, creativity, strategic thinking and smart  execution. Well conceived and delivered public relations plan will significantly enhance the strong reputation of your practice, resulting in greater patient retention and new patients scheduling appointments.


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How to Add Hours

Back Into Your Week

If your idea of increasing your practice income or spending more time with your family is to petition the universe for a few added hours in the day, take heart.  There are far better ways to capture and manage your time and productivity. Let’s look at how technology can work in your favor and add hours back into your week.

Get Control of the Email Beast

Employing just one or two of these new tools should help you master your inbox.

  • Use filters and automatic folders if you email provider offers them.

  • Boomerang for Gmail allows you to archive messages and return them to your inbox when they become important. It also allows you to send out messages at a later time.

  • ActiveInBox has similar features, but also facilitates scheduling and coordinates your email with your to-do lists.

  • Don’t use Gmail? SaneBox employs intuitive filters, “respond tracking” (reminds you to follow up!), and lets you hit snooze on emails you would rather look at later.

  • Organizer (by Other Inbox) also has some intuitive features.

  • FollowUpThen and RememberTheMilk connect you email with your task lists and keep you on track with your inbox clean and clear.

  • Unroll.Me scans your email for all subscriptions (including spam) and un-enrolls you super fast.

Typing is Out

If you are still typing every message the old fashion way – by typing it – text expander apps are about to change your life. If you are always writing the same type of emails, or even copying and pasting them, running a text expander app on your device enables you to create keystroke shortcut for anything you want. For example you might have “EM” be the shortcut for your email address, or Homeo1 may generate information about a specific homeopathic you prescribe. There are many text expander apps for all operating systems and devices.

You Can’t Change What You Can’t Measure

RescueTime syncs all of your devices and tracks how you spend your time, including applications and websites, and sends you a weekly report. For many of us the weekly reports are painful reminders and a reality check of how we are spending our time.

To lower your ratio of distracting to productive time, consider adding Pocket, which stores things you would like to read later, and even better removes the sidebars of click bait.

Automate Your Life

If you do a lot with social media, try Buffer, which lets you create content once and posts to several different platforms at once. Trying to attract a lot of potential patients? Try Schedule Once to automate the scheduling and communications process. Another time saver is to sync several apps using master hub like Zapier and Workflow. When you work with colleagues using software platforms like Redbooth, Asana, and Trello help to keep everyone on track and organized while keeping email boxes clear.

We hope these helpful hints will aid you to streamline your practice and recapture time to build your business and spend time with family and friends.


Productivity

10 Practical Steps to Maximize Your Productivity

What is the single most used excuse people say to explain why things don’t get done? Here it comes. “I don’t have time.”

Naturopathic Economics is about to eliminate that excuse, but first let’s ask another question. Why is being productive important to you? There are three distinct answers to this question.

You take control over your life

When you make the decision to be in the driver’s seat, you stop being a victim and start being a victor in your life.

You take chaos out of your life

Stressing about your to-do list actually stops you from doing what you need to do.

You can give more, the more you do

The time you can focus on doing the things that make you the naturopath that you are, the more you give back to yourself and to your patients.

The number one thing you can do to take control of managing your life is to stop complaining. The moment you make the decision to stop complaining, you take responsibility. And the more you take responsibility, the more you can take ownership over what you do. There is a big difference between thinking “I have to do” something and “I choose to do” something.

Once you make the decision to do the most important thing first and stop complaining, you can use 10 practical steps to maximize your productivity.

1. Check the right boxes

Every Monday you should sit down and make your weekly planner.  The trick is to check the right tasks as you move through the week, not just simply checking off any task.

2. Eliminate distractions

The concept of multitasking is counterproductive to focused progress. Focus on the task at hand and eliminate distractions.  A few ways to do this include:

Avoid checking emails and phone notifications all day long. Select times that do not interrupt your task at hand.

Be present in the task, not virtually somewhere else

Single task and not multitask

Find music that focuses you

Do something that matters

3. Prioritize important items

Each morning review your task list and set the priorities for the day.  Crossing off completed tasks from the previous day reinforces your progress toward your goals.

4. Schedule activities

Plan your schedule and don’t let your schedule plan you. Set blocks of time that will not be interrupted and schedule meetings around these times to stay on task.

5. Schedule space

If you are working on a project that you know will need more space than your desk.  Either clean items off of your desk or get extra work space before you start to avoid interruptions as you move through a task.

6. Measure progress and adjust

Evaluate your progress through old schedules and review habits, both good and bad to make the appropriate adjustments to improve your productivity.

7. Implement efficiency

Once you have measured your progress, focus on your strengths and seek assistance for those things you have identified as weaknesses.

8. Stay accountable

One way to easily keep yourself accountable is to join a group you communicate with, or make a firm commitment to become more accountable for your progress.

9. Celebrate

Sit back and absorb the sense of accomplishment when you review those steps you have accomplished toward your goals by focusing on what you have already achieved.

10. Balance, don’t burn out

Take time to think about all of the different areas in your life: your practice, your family, your health, activities that are important to you and balance your time accordingly.  Any of these areas that become out of balance will effect your overall productivity.

Finally, on your road to success, don’t get so caught up in the doing that you forget about being. It is in those moments when you stop, notice, and appreciate that bring long-term fulfillment to the brief journey we have on this planet.


5 Steps to Building Your Successful Practice

Are you looking for ways to create a successful and thriving naturopathic practice?  The following five steps can give you some ideas about how to reach your goals.

#1 START WITH A CLEAR PURPOSE

Do you have a motivational purpose to your naturopathic practice? Having a clear purpose is a critical factor in building a successful practice. This alone is not enough by itself, but it is an essential starting point.  Make sure you have your starting point down as a naturopath before jumping into something that doesn’t create a long-term future for you.

#2 BUILD ON WHAT YOU KNOW

Having your motivational purpose is critical to long-term success, but you may be sidetracked by a variety of opportunities as you grow your practice. The important thing is to stick to something you know that is consistent with your “why” statement that called you to become a naturopath. Building on what you know that satisfies your why will be critical to  your success.

#3 LAUNCH OPPORTUNITIES, NOT IDEAS

You need to be sure you launch true naturopathic business opportunities, not just ideas you may have. Use this NERCM model to determine if you are evaluating a true opportunity:

  1. Genuine Need

  2. Credible Experience

  3. Adequate Resources

  4. Paying Customers

  5. Sound Business Model

The more these factors are addressed in your venture, the greater the likelihood of your success.

#4 DEVELOP YOUR SUPPORTING CAST

Successful naturopaths build supporting casts of people around them in three ways. First theY associate with mentors who advise them for free. Second they find passionate people who believe in their practice of naturopathy. And third, they create strategic partnerships that facilitate the growth of their practice.

#5 MAXIMIZE ALL AVAILABLE RESOURCES

Successful practitioners don’t just start off lean, but continue to manage their resources while growing their practice. Always evaluating the “more for less” concept can lead to a tremendous competitive advantage increasing your margins allowing you to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

These five steps can help you focus and build your practice. If you ask any successful naturopath you will find that they organized their practice with these in mind.


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Press Releases -Spreading the Word About Your Practice

One way to build your patient base is to systematically generate press releases.  A well thought out press release will attract attention and can lead to new patients.

Three things to think about to create an effective press release.

  • Lead with a big story. Don’t just tell the world your news – extol the uniqueness of your practice and your overall goals.  Share how your passion for naturopathic medicine makes you particularly skilled to deal with the medical issues that are the focus of your practice.  Don’t hesitate to make it personal.  Open up to potential patients why you became a naturopath.  Share if it was a personal experience or that of a family member which drew you to practice natural medicine.

  • Define your practice in terms of problems it solves.  Describe how your practice addresses specific medical needs and how you are uniquely qualified to help your patients.  If you are focused on women’s issues, for example, share why you are singularly qualified to provide naturopathic women’s healthcare.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask a patient if you may quote their success in your practice – anonymously of course to avoid HIPPA implications.

  • Use supporting data. Through your ongoing medical education and as natural medicine continues to evolve, use breaking news on natural treatments that are being verified through research.  The web is a treasure trove of information for you to build upon for your press releases.  Be careful to credit your sources when referencing any studies in your press releases.


Branding-cropped

The 7 Essential Steps to Brand

Your Naturopathic Practice

In today’s competitive marketplace, naturopaths challenged with attracting new patients to get their practice off the ground, or in the black, face a staggering problem. But if you follow some basic principles related to design, marketing and user experience, you can increase your odds of starting and maintaining a successful brand to build your practice.

Principle #1 Simplicity

While it’s tempting to try to be everything to everyone, one of the most impactful ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace is to do one thing exceptionally well.  Even though you may offer multiple modalities to treat a myriad of medical complaints, stake your primary target market clearly in the minds of our audience.

Principle #2 Disruption

Branding strategies the break from the norm can force an entire category of naturopathic care to reevaluate itself.  Rather that just improving on a concept try reinventing how you connect with future patients.

Principle #3 Original Expression

Make a bold statement or expression that can establish a new narrative or attitude.  For Naturopathic Economics the expression was clear, Business Education, Information and Resources to help naturopaths build financially successful medical practices.

Principle #4 Big Ideas

A groundbreaking naturopathic modality that evokes patient emotion by clearly identifying a new or successful treatment for a medical condition or conditions that are the focus of your practice can generate brand loyalty and increased patient referrals.

Principle #5 Symbolism

Powerful symbols or pictures transcend words, creating emotions and meaningful impressions.  The age-old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is very applicable in this instance. Photos of patients smiling and actively enjoying life with family or friends are much more appealing than a patient sitting in a chair with an I.V.

Principle #6 Meaning

Commit to making a genuine emotional connection with your audience and you increase your chances of evoking a response that turns into new patients, or patient referrals.  If your branding touches the hearts as well as the minds of your audience you have created the emotional trigger that results in action including new patients, or returning patients.

Principle #7 Depth

Layers of meaning and purity of purpose create a sense of warmth and emotion around your brand.  Patients or potential patients need to feel your commitment to meet their personal healthcare needs by layering your branding message to touch on as many points as possible of the emotions of your audience.

These branding principles of design and strategy will help your naturopathic practice stand out and attract patients to build your success.


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“I’m a Naturopath.”

Is that how you answer the question about you?

Do most people even know what a naturopath is, or what they do?

If you are not answering these questions within the first 90 seconds after meeting someone for the first time you are missing your most important marketing opportunity.

Just think, if every person you met became a marketer for you and your naturopathic practice how would that build your business.

“What do you do,” is often asked by a complete stranger in casual circumstances. Often responded to by, “I’m a naturopathic doctor,” with the person asking responding with “Oh that’s wonderful,” still having no clue as to what you really do.

You should have a clear to-the-point answer that you can convey in minimal time to tell your story and leave a lasting impression.  Sometimes called the elevator speech because you should deliver your story in the time it takes for a short elevator ride.

But beyond this, when you’re able to define what you do in your practice, you can more easily plan your marketing campaign in all aspects.  For example, Naturopathic Economics elevator speech is, “Did you know that close to 42% of graduating naturopaths will not practice medicine and will have over $200,000 in student loan debt? We provide naturopathic doctors with education, information and resources focused on the healthcare business through our website, eNewsletters, and social media to assist them to become financially successful healthcare practitioners.”

The value to have your answer to what do you do ready is that you never know when the person you are talking is a potential new patient, or may be connected to a potential patient who is a family member, work associate, friend or neighbor.  Can you see how have a clear consistent message can build your practice through personal networking.

So what are the three key elements that you should include in developing your message when meeting new contacts after introducing yourself.

  1.  Begin with the words, “Do you know?”  Creating your do you know question identifies the medical condition, or pain point your naturopathic practice addresses. For example: Do you know that diabetes is running rampant in our society and that naturopathic medicine can help to reverse diabetes?

  2. Follow with a, “What I do,” or “What we do,” statement the defines what you do to address the medical condition you presented in your “Do you know,” statement.   For example: What I do is evaluate your health from a natural health perspective and then design a nutrition and supplement plan than helps to bring diabetes under control.

  3. Now present a BIG benefit using the words “So that.” This is part of your introduction that clarifies your unique position as a naturopath to resolve the medical condition, or pain point that opened your what do you do conversation.  For example:  So that you can take control over diabetes naturally and reduce, or eliminate in some cases eliminate, prescription medications including insulin with their harmful side effects.

So here is what is sound like when you put the three pieces of your, what do you do response together.

Do you know that diabetes is running rampant in our society and that naturopathic medicine can help to reverse diabetes? What I do is evaluate your health from a natural health perspective and then design a nutrition and supplement plan than helps to bring diabetes under control. So that you can take control over diabetes naturally and reduce, or eliminate in some cases eliminate, prescription medications including insulin with their harmful side effects.


Facebook ROI

New Findings on Facebook ROI Suggest
it May Not be Worth the Time to Build Your Business

Are you using Facebook to try to get new patients into your practice?

Do you wonder if you are getting a good return on your investment of time and energy?

Despite the lack of proof that social media attracts customers, small businesses continue to devote time and money to Facebook marketing.

Recent studies focused on Facebook marketing for small businesses shed new light on how effecting the strategy has been.  The small business directory Manta surveyed 540 small business owners for their feedback on social media return on investment (ROI). Fifty-nine percent reported that they did not see any ROI for the social media investment of time or money.

While the data indicates that the majority of businesses don’t see a return on investment from Facebook, the real problem seems to be that most just don’t know if they are getting leads and new clients/patients through the channel.

Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report shared that of 3,720 respondents, only 42% felt they were able to measure ROI.  Since Facebook dominates the small business social media marketing, it’s safe to assume this same percentage holds true for Facebook.

While there have not been many studies on small business social media ROI, it is clear that marketers from companies of all sizes struggle with the same problem of knowing whether a Facebook post contributed to a new client or added to their email list.

Even without the numbers to show Facebook posts and ads lead to sales, most businesses will continue to devote time to Facebook marketing.  The question we have centers around the fact that as a naturopathic doctor is your time trying to build a practice using Facebook going to really be effective to  build a patient base?

We hope to provide some specific answers for naturopaths on what marketing vehicles are really working in practices across the nation in our Naturopathic Economics 2016 Marketing Survey.  Survey questions are being evaluated now to help create a naturopathic specific marketing survey.  If you have a specific marketing question you would like to add to the survey – click here.


blog_behind_blog

Seven Essentials for a Great Business Blog

Are you interested in starting a blog for your practice? Do you have a blog now, but it’s not performing for you?  In this post you will learn seven critical elements you need for a successful business blog.

1. Choose the best blog layout – There are three most commonly used blog layouts:

  • Three-column layout with sidebars and main content column

  • Two-column layout with one sidebar and the main content column

  • One-column layout with only the main content column

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these layout options.  If you are a publisher with  a large amount of content that you want to promote alongside your articles, the three-column layout gives you plenty of space for promotion.

2. Make it mobile – No matter what layout you choose for your blog, make sure it is mobile friendly.  Google recommends responsive design, which is fluid layout that reshapes itself based on the size of the screen.

3. Add Multiple Opt-in Forms – If you want to convert readers to subscribers to your emails to promote your practice, you need multiple opt-in forms on your blog.  There are many ways to add opt-in forms on your blog, and many tools do it.  Most email marketing solutions offer a few different opt-in forms to choose from that you can easily add to your blog or website using the provided code.

4. Configure SEO Fields – If you use WordPress, you can install free plugins like WordPress SEO to create key fields for all of your pages to optimize search engines. Add the SEO title and meta description for your homepage, optimized for several different words. Remember to fill in SEO and meta data descriptions every time you create or update a page.

5. Use Social Sharing Buttons – Social sharing is a must for your blog. Use sharing buttons to make it easy for your readers to share your content on the social networks. If you are comfortable editing your design, you can choose to add the official sharing buttons from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and your favorite networks.

6. Install Content Analysis – Besides social sharing analytics, there are several additional analytic tools you will want to set up on your page to see how all of the content is performing.  Start with Google Analytics. The Behavior reports show you details about traffic your content is getting.

7. Create Unique User Accounts – If you have more than one person blogging on your practice, create a new user account for each person.  Platforms like WordPress allow each author to have a custom author bio with their posts and and author page that archives all of their articles.

There are many design and functionality options when setting up your medical practice blog.  However, only a few make a significant difference in your blog’s success.


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Grow Your Email List to Grow Your Naturopathic Practice

You must grow your subscriber list and here are 12 ways to make it happen.

There is no single trick to growing a naturopathic medical practice today.  It requires a comprehensive strategy featuring a range of digital and non-digital communication tools with email marketing being incredibly important.  Email remains the most direct, effective method to engage your patients and it should form the centerpiece of your marketing communications strategy.

Your list is critical to your success!

While the payoff is enormous (and green), it takes time and effort to develop healthy opt-in subscriber lists that become the core of your patient community.  Similar to the fact that there is no one way to grow your patient volume, there is no one way to grow your email lists.  Here are 12 ways for you to grow your lists.

  1. Create amazing content! People will stick around and share great content.

  2. Create exclusive offers in exchange for email addresses.  Provide a gift incentive, e-book or guide to capture new email addresses.

  3. Add a sign-up form prominently on your homepage. Make it easy for people to be added to your email list.

  4. Use an auto-timed popup form on entry or exit of your site.  Yes, these can be annoying, but they are incredibly effective in growing your list.

  5. Use a paper sign-up sheet.  Sometimes it’s best to go old-school.  When speaking at an event, offer an incentive prize to be selected from the attendee list with emails.

  6. Include a Call-to-action form on each blog post and your website.

  7. Ask for email sign-up on your webinar registrations.

  8. Ask for email sign up in any written articles or publications.

  9. Tweet about your email newsletter and ask people to join.

  10. Include your email sign up when commenting on external blogs and media outlets.

  11. Add a “forward to a friend message” with newsletter sign-up.

  12. Ask your patients to sign up for your eNewsletter on all printed materials they receive.

Follow these simple approaches to grow your list and start converting readers into patients.

By the way, are you a Naturopathic Economics Newsletter subscriber?  Sign up here.


 facebook-logo

How to Increase Your Facebook Visibility

Do you have a Facebook page for your practice? Are you looking for ways to reach your patients better?

Because your patient base is limited to the area you serve, local marketing on Facebook can be challenging. Here are seven ways to get more local exposure for your practice.

1. Use local Videos and Images
Facebook native video is more visible, and gets more reach in news feeds, so you need to have a Facebook video strategy to highlight your practice. Create you videos to appeal to local potential or current patients. Add fun to the video and share a tip or even cross-promote.

2. Collaborate With Other Local Businesses
One of the best ways to connect with your community is through local pages. Interact regularly with local pages: share their posts, tag them, and comment on their posts. This will make you more visible to their audience.

3. Use Reviews
Social recommendations can benefit your practice in a major way. Use the Review capability on Facebook for your practice. Review show up prominently on mobile phones especially. To enable reviews, make sure to set Local Business as your category and have a physical address. You will also need to click the Show Map box on the About Tab. Be sure to respond to all reviews.

4. Build Your Email List
One thing that many local practices don’t do often enough is build their email lists. Once you have a list you have a way to connect with your patients on a more personal level. Make sure to add first and last names to you can personalize your email blasts yielding a much higher rate of response.

5. Join Local Groups
Networking within a group can be a great way to reach other potential patients frequenting a group. Do targeted searches to find the Facebook groups that would be most beneficial. Before to read the rule about what you can and cannot post before you jump in.

6. Offer Special Perks or Discounts to Your Patients
Your patients are connected to you in a personal way, yet we all enjoy being rewarded for our loyalty. Create special considerations for new or returning patients. Consider special rates for patients who come in on a specific day for a particular treatment, let’s say manipulations, acupuncture, or flu shots. Make you special day one, where you normally have few patients to fill your calendar.

7. Have Fun With Your Posts
People go on Facebook to connect in a fun way. It’s social media, not let me teach you naturopathy 101. Connect with your patients in a fun and engaging way, while creatively reminding them of how naturopathy is the answer to their medical problem. People know you are a doctor, but don’t be afraid to humanize your practice.

Although it may be difficult to track the effect of online exposure for your practice, it is easier to track engagement on social media than print, radio, mail, etc. So, be creative with your posts and find ways to connect with your patients and your local practice


blogSix Ways to Grow Your Blog Audience

You are writing good content for your blog readers, but how do you attract more readers to your blog?

Creating great blog posts won’t get you results unless you have an audience that reads and engages with them.  In this article you will learn six ways to grow your blog audiences and turn first-time readers and potential patients into devoted followers.

#1.  Promote Your Content

One of the best ways to grow your audience is to promote your content.  Just posting a blog won’t attract a growing following. Promote every post you publish as much as possible.  Here’s how.  Instead of sharing you post on social media, pin shares of your post to the top of your Twitter profile and Facebook page.  You can also use social media advertising to promote shares of your blog posts on Pinterest, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

#2. Publish on a Consistent Schedule

You know you need to publish quality content on your blog, but it’s also important to publish on a  consistent schedule.  You don’t need to post daily, but you should at least publish a new post once a week. Once readers get locked into your posts coming once a week, they will know to look forward to your content when it arrives. Make sure to post your blog on the same day of the week to build your audience.

#3. Offer Multiple Ways to Subscribe

While growing your email list is very important for your practice, email shouldn’t be the only subscription you offer. Not everyone wants to get more email in the inbox and if visitors are only able to subscribe through email you may loose a lot of potential followers.  Offer your visitors clear and easy ways to subscribe.  Everyone should be able to find at least on option (email, RSS, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that suits their preferences.  If you are not adverse to display a pop-up employ exit-intent technology asking visitors to subscribe.

#4. Show Off More of Your Content

 Visitors who come to your blog should see lots of content options. Make sure that visitors to individual posts get to see related posts with linked content to encourage them to read more.  Ideally, you should have a list of related posts next to and at the end of each blog post.

#5. Get Content Ideas from Visitors

Want to have visitors to your blog post coming back for more?  Let them know that you want to create content that answers their questions. You can do this by creating a quick survey feature on your blog.  A survey not only helps you learn what your readers want, but provides an ongoing source of ideas for content rich blogs that will be read.

#6. Allow Comments

There has been a trend lately to turn comments off on blogs in favor of social media, or to reduce moderation time.  However, allowing readers to leave comments on your blog turns your information site into a community of followers.  Visitors that are allowed to interact with others creates an environment where they are more likely to return.

By following these six simple steps and creating quality content your audiences will continue to grow.  The key is to think creatively in ways to engage your audience and build your following.


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WHY EVERY NATUROPATH SHOULD MASTER VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS

By now you should have heard of content marketing. Content is king and there is no more engaging form of content marketing than video marketing.

Video is becoming absolutely vital to the communications mix of any naturopath wishing to grow a practice.  With the snap of a smart phone, a little easy-to-use software and the use of the internet, a video can be shot, edited, uploaded and shared in a matter of minutes.

Things like Facebook and social engagement stats are through the roof with video. Video is everywhere and naturopaths need to be in the mix.  More and more patients are looking for video information about your practice, your staff, your focus and even patient endorsements.

What every naturopath should know is that you don’t have to be a videographer to produce good quality videos that patients will watch and share. Today’s smartphones produce high quality videos and video camera costs have plummeted.

Let’s face it, naturopathy is one of the most relationship oriented types of medical practices and videos offer a way to relate in a more personal way to your current and future patients.

success

HOW TO TARGET YOUR MARKET

Every naturopathic practice serves a target market.  So have you clearly defined yours?  Your market definition forms the foundation of your patient base.  Therefore, it is critical that you identify your market correctly before you go into practice.  What types of patients are you looking for exactly?  You should choose a market based on your specific passion for natural medicine that satisfies these criteria:

     o  Patients hungry for a natural medical solution to their illness or discomfort

     0  A population willing to spend disposable income to get the solutions you offer

     o   A base of patients that can easily be reached

In other words, a good naturopathic market consists of a large number of people with common medical concerns who have enough spending power to build a successful naturopathic practice by treating them.  Let’s emphasize this point even stronger.  If you don’t target a strong market from the beginning, you could do everything else right and your practice could still fail.

Another way to talk about your market is to ask what niche of disease or practice specialization do I want to serve?  Be specific about who your market niche is.  Sluggish markets always result from targeting either too broad, or in some cases too narrow a patient profile.

Pay attention to your market for naturopathic practice development above all, and the rest will fall in place.  And don’t forget, there is nothing wrong with brainstorming ideas, but your market selection should be based on real research and data to meet your personal practice success goals.


Twitter

 Tricks to Maximize Your Twitter Return on Investment

Naturopaths can reap immense benefits from Twitter.  By simply creating a handle and describing your practice and services in 140 characters or less you can begin to build a patient following to market and grow your practice. But there are some tricks to maximizing your Twitter ROI.

Getting a handle on Twitter can be a bit tricky. There are some basic principles you need to know to get the most out of the social media platform.

  • There is an 86 percent re-tweet rate for  tweets that contain a link.

  • There is a 200 percent increase in engagement when tweets are posted with photos.

  • The 80-20 rule states that 80 percent of the content tweeted should be shared content from other like-minded practitioners or disciplines with valuable content supporting what you do in your practice. Twenty percent should be about your practice and what you uniquely provide.  This rule can make it easy to provide twitter content using existing posts to bolster your tweets.

Twitter engagement isn’t a sure thing and timing is crucial to success.  Mobile Cause, which evaluated Twitter effectiveness, suggests tweets should be sent at 12 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and weekends in order to generate the highest re-tweets and click-throughs.  Naturopaths who want to connect with a wider patient pool should do their best to post at these times.

One way to keep on schedule is to use a scheduling service such as Hootsuite to pre-schedule tweets and stay consistent with your tweets after hours, on holidays and over weekends.

When used effectively, Twitter can aid naturopaths to connect with a broad potential patient base they might not otherwise be able to reach.  For any naturopath wishing to engage patients in an informative social media platform, Twitter offers many advantages.


OfficeTwelve Things to Consider

Before You Lease a New Office

When you answer that advertisement for office space or respond to a realtor’s offer, here are twelve things you should carefully consider when negotiating to make your decision.

Rent.  Ask how the chargeable square footage is calculated so you can compare apples-to-apples when looking at several sites.  Depending on the state you are in and the lease rate calculation you may find yourself paying more than you anticipated based on the chargeable square foot calculations.

Term.  When does it start and end?  Can you be happy with a long-term lease, which is generally a better deal, or would you prefer some flexibility with a short term lease with renewal options?  Landlords will prefer one or the other based on their lender’s requirements, or personal circumstances.

Rent Increases.  How are they calculated and are they automatic?  Don’t get locked into an agreement where rent increases could be arbitrary.  Unplanned increases in your rent can devastate your cash flow projections and overall success of your practice once established.

Extra Costs. What extra costs are not included in your rental agreement, such as common area maintenance, electric, water, insurance and taxes?  Each of these must be included in your overall business plan to estimate your net return from your practice.

Prepaid rent or deposit. Some landlords ask for a variation of first and last month rents and a security deposit.  Make sure to understand the terms of how to get all or part of your deposit or prepaid rent returns should you decide to leave the space.

Cost for Improvements. These cost are most often paid by the landlord and will be prorated into your rent for the length of the lease.  Depending on the type of practice you wish to open, this could involve big dollars and will affect your monthly bottom line.

Build-out Conditions.  Who will supervise the work and have final approval?  If you have specific features that you want in your practice, you should make it a condition to supervise the installation of these features and have final approval.

Maintenance and Repairs.  Commercial leases generally require you to be responsible for all interior maintenance and repairs.  Be sure to have this spelled out clearly in your lease.  One way to get a sense if there could be an impending problem with your space is to interview other tenants to get their input on any persistent problems you might face.

Right to Sub-lease.  You may be anticipating expanding your practice by sub-leasing to another practitioner who will bring added value to your practice.  Make sure that  any sub-lease terms are spelled out clearly in your lease agreement to avoid problems in the future.

Exclusivity Rights. If you have spent considerable time evaluating your market to select your space, ask about exclusivity rights.  The last thing you want after investing marketing dollars to bring patients to your practice is to see another naturopath open their office two doors down from yours.

Right to Assign Lease.  You may want to relocate your practice after a few years into your lease agreement, but don’t want to pay any penalties for early lease termination.  One way to avoid this is to have the ability to assign the lease.  Understand the terms of lease assignment and the terms for your landlord to approve the assignment and make sure there is a provision to release you of all liability once you assign.

Inventory Liens. Since most naturopaths also provide botanical, homeopathic, and nutritional herbs, vitamins and supplements, does your landlord have an automatic lien on your inventory if your practice doesn’t meet your expectation?  This may vary by state law, but can be a real problem when deciding to close your doors.

Naturopathic Economics recommends you make a list when shopping for new space and include these items in your spreadsheet to make an accurate comparison of variables to make the best decision for your new practice space.