Personal Branding is More Than a Buzzword for Alternative Medicine and Natural Health Practitioners
A couple of people I know are right in the middle of losing their jobs. It came just in time for the Christmas season, and needless to say they are not enthused. One of them, Andrew, isn’t in the natural health industry, but worked for a multi-million dollar corporation that acquired a couple of new large clients this year and didn’t seem to be doing too badly. But, poor management led to cash flow problems, and bankruptcy is on the horizon.
So what happens if you’re in Andrew’s shoes? The clinic you work for shuts down for reasons that are completely out of your control. You have put your skills in the owners hands, and they poorly manage their business, get sued, go bankrupt, retire, or God forbid, die. Where does that leave you?
If this happened, wouldn’t it be better to have a set of patients that have a connection with you personally? If they are on your email list, visit your personal website, read your blog, and are connected on Twitter or Facebook you don’t have to worry! You can easily move to another clinic, or start your own and have instant communication with all of your customers.
A lot of you might say, “okay well I can get my patient list from the business owner and contact them all”. And sure, you might get some of them to follow you, but they aren’t used to hearing from you or connecting online. If you build a relationship that’s built around consistent communication, the conversation becomes increasingly easier and it becomes more valuable for them to stay connected with you in the long run.
You Might Have Your Doubts
The clinic you’re in has been in business for decades. The health centre is part of a big chain and you have faith they will stick it out for a long time. You believe they will last long enough into the near future that your personal worry meter might not kick in.
Look at it this way. Some people are wired to think, “if I’m out of a job in a year I will still be okay, that gives me enough time to still feel comfortable with my current path”. Others might be inclined to say, “the thought of being out of work in 3 years stresses me out, so I must take action”. We just have to hope your worry meter is aligned with your actual situation and you don’t get caught off guard with a business being shut down or losing your job. In most cases you won’t see it coming though, at least from too far away, so why not start preparing?
Disaster Isn’t The Only Reason to Market Yourself While Working in a Clinic
What if you get bored? What if you start wanting more from your work? And you want to control your own schedule, customers, business, marketing, and have a career worthy of putting your passion and personality into.
Sure, you can just quit and start a practice, you’ll have a couple of customers follow you, but wouldn’t it be easier if you had a whole reservoir full of excited and passionately connected followers and potential customers? The great thing is you can build this while you work your job now! You don’t have to wait.
Every interaction you have with a client is an opportunity to build them into a follower (‘follower’ in the broad sense of the word, not just social media). Asking them to download your resources online, give a review or referral, to become an email subscriber, and social media follower, should be your primary source for building your connections. This will put you leagues ahead of those building their natural health practices from scratch.
Technology and online marketing has made it infinitely easier to connect with more people at the same time while requiring few resources. Digital goods and information can scale. You can duplicate and distribute far easier than you can with paper and snail mail for example. With this ease of connection, it’s possible and highly recommended to start making deep relationships with your customers especially while you work within another natural health centre.
Maybe Owning Your Own Alternative or Natural Health Practice Isn’t For You – that’s okay too
Even if you don’t intend on owning your own practice, online marketing will help you stay employed, and grow your customer base alongside the centre you work in. The clinic will have its own brand, its own personality, and its own way of communicating. This might not be congruent with what you feel you bring to the table.
“Active marketing makes you a desirable product yourself, not just a service you provide within a clinic”
Having your own voice and personal connection with patients and potential customers will allow you to bring in people who specifically request for JUST YOU to help them. They’ve passed through the know, like, and trust arena into buying from you, and no one else will suffice. This makes you a desirable product yourself, not just a service you provide within a clinic. When YOU personally are part of the product it can be leveraged to ensure an on going position. It can be transferred to other clinics more easily, and if you begin to branch out to provide products likes books and seminars, you have a following ready to buy from you despite where you work.
There are many reasons why you should do it, and it’s not an option anymore. It’s a matter of what a lot of people call “personal branding” and the idea that you should treat yourself as a marketable business. Not in a slimy, manipulative way, but in a real representation of who you are in order to connect with customers and grow your career.
Have you, or someone you known personally suddenly lost their job and wish they had begun preparing sooner? Leave a comment in the section below.
Joel M Harrison