5 July 2022

Marketing your practice: how to stand out

KnowCents Practice Management

You won’t build a thriving general practice with clinical skills alone, so think about your values and vision.


There are so many general practices, many of them designed to a cookie-cutter model. How can you make your business stand out from the rest?

When establishing a marketing strategy for your business there are many important elements to consider. To create lasting impressions and build genuine relationships with their patients and community, clinician owners need to develop what is known in marketing as a practice USP (unique selling proposition).

Consider your USP

There is an old saying in marketing, “Tell the market who you are, or the market will decide.”

Doctors see selling as cringeworthy. But as businesses, general practices need to become skilled at developing great relationships with the local community and patients – relationships that are based on trust and respect and not clinical skills alone.

The savvy principal will carefully consider how their practice differs from the rest.

It’s not about being ostentatious, it’s about developing a clear and consistent service.

Most crucially, the principals of a general practice must ask:

1. What does the practice value?

2. What services will it provide for the individual patient and the community?

3. How will this be conveyed to reach the ideal patient?

4. How will we ensure we create positive word-of-mouth referrals within the community?

Match your core values with community needs

Start the ball rolling by defining the values of the business, the patients you will see and the community care your general practice will offer.

Find out what your community needs. What service gaps exist in your local area? What does the local community value?

Many doctors make their clinical services clear to their market, but struggle to convey the values of the practice. Achieving this will help your business stand out from the rest.

From 15 years’ experience working with doctors in private practice, it has become clear that it is the principal practitioner who builds a business centred around core values and community needs, not simply clinical skills, who find more contentment and success in general practice.

When you have formed a picture of the practice you want to offer, communicate this to the community: let them understand the services and values you provide.

Communicate your vision

Once you have decided your practice drivers and what services your community needs, the next step is to brainstorm how your practice will be presented to your “avatar” – this is a marketing term for your ideal patient. It’s a valuable way to understand your ideal client base when establishing your private practice marketing strategy.

To your people, inside your practice

Take time to write down all the steps in the patient journey from visiting your website, how the phone is answered and what correspondence will be sent to patients and stakeholders. All elements of the practice journey must align and serve to reinforce your vision.

Your vision is only as strong as your weakest link so ensure your team knows the message and emotion you wish to convey.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to measure how often the phone didn’t ring, so it is important for your future success that your team is on the same page.

Your patient needs to become your greatest fan

Happy and satisfied patients are the backbone of a successful practice. Without content patients you won’t have a business. Treat your patients with respect and they will become advocates for your business. Aim to create raving fans within the community who will confirm your competence at local venues and on social media forums. When the community talks the residents listen, so ensure the talk about your business is positive.

The physical space

Finally, let’s look at your rooms themselves.

Does the presentation of your rooms also align with your values and reflect who you are? For example, if your services are catering for many elderly patients, consider your chairs. Are they comfortable and easy to get out of?

Similarly, if your goal is to be welcoming, is the ambience of the rooms inviting? Make sure the décor, layout and ambience of your rooms meets the needs of your avatar and aligns with your practice values.

USP, values and vision

For your general practice to stand out from the rest, it is about knowing your core values and communicating them to patients, and being consistent with this message.

Your avatar and community should know within a few minutes what your practice stands for and the level of service to be provided. It is also about forming great relations built on mutual respect and trust; so be consistent with regards to your approachability, communication, community support and patient care.

Achieving this will result in a patient cohort that will stay loyal to your business, will set you apart from other general practices and put you on the path towards a very successful and rewarding life as a principal of a general practice.

Disclaimer: The information in this piece is general and is not intended to serve as advice as your personal circumstances have not been considered.

Caroline Chaplin is a director at Rooms with Style, which specialises in medical practice marketing.