The truth is, is that you went to school to become a healer and to help people to get well and stay healthy, am I right?

You most likely didn’t go to school to become a marketing genius. If you did, great! You have a HUGE head-start over most other healthcare practitioners and hopefully you are putting some of that marketing juju to work for you.

But more likely than not, you are the happy healer-type and just want to move a little Qi in your neighborhood and help out your community. All while making a living for yourself!

That’s where I come in.

Marketing goes far beyond placing ads or distributing flyers. What if I told you that healing and marketing are one and the same? That the same skills and passions that make you a great healer can also help you market your practice? In fact, the truest definition of marketing encompasses all contact between you and anyone in your practice with everyone outside that practice: the Feng Shui of your clinic; scents or aromas; your demeanor; how you answer the phone; how you relate with your customers. Whether you know it or not, you are marketing yourself every waking second of every day. The question is, are you doing all of this accidentally, or with clarity, intention, and focus?

Combine your mission as a healer with the idea that marketing encompasses all contact with the outside world, and you’ll soon realize that healing and marketing are one and the same. The goal of your marketing is to build rapport, establish trust, get new patients, apply patient education protocols and grow your practice.

Done with clarity and intention, marketing helps you fulfill your life’s mission because you’ll be able to treat more people; more people equals more visits; more visits equals more money; more money provides a means to make dreams come true. When marketing is done in an unclear or accidental way, it could be preventing you from doing the most good in this world.

In ancient times, practitioners bartered goods and services. As you may know, an acupuncturist was compensated for their work as long as the person remained healthy. When they became ill, it was the practitioner’s responsibility to get them well again. That’s health care at its finest! Unfortunately, that’s not the way it is done today.

The complexity of our modern society has forced us to adopt a universal means of barter–money. Take away all of the emotions surrounding money, and what having it can mean, and you’ll realize that it’s a tool in the same way your needles are tools. Money is power. Money makes the world go around. So you need it, and in order to get it you need a steady flow of new and existing patients.

Why is Patient Education a Key to Success?

A practitioner of Chinese medicine teaches the Tao—the ways in which to live. As practitioners, we are trained to cultivate health for our patients in various ways. When you chose to study acupuncture and Chinese medicine, you also chose to become a teacher.

This medicine goes well beyond the insertion of needles. It includes adjunct therapies and techniques that can help patients regain and maintain their health and prevent illness. One of these techniques is patient education. When done correctly, patient education empowers your patients. They become excited about receiving care and become willing contributors to their own health. Their excitement becomes so contagious that they can’t stop talking about it and you—and that translates into referrals.
Patient education is the foundation for growing your practice. When the correct groundwork is laid, everything else can be built on top. When patients understand what acupuncture is, and what you have to offer, it is easier for them to share their experiences in an intelligent manner with their friends, family and co-workers.

Rest assured that your patients will be asked about acupuncture at some point during the course of their treatments. That is precisely why clear and effective communication, by you, is so important.

When your patients have the right words to say, they become fountainheads of information for you and your practice. It’s pretty simple. Look at it this way, your patients are walking advertisements for you and your practice. You wouldn’t want patients spreading wrong messages about acupuncture or your practice, creating misleading or erroneous advertising. Would you?

Since word of mouth is the best form of advertising, it’s in your best interests to make sure that advertising is accurate.

Now that you understand some basics of marketing and patient education, let’s take a closer look at the business side of things. The next section will discuss the practical details of starting—and marketing—your own acupuncture practice.

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