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Naturopathic Marketing: Practice Positioning 101

 In Practice Building

“Positioning is far more important than the copy.” – Drayton Bird

The successful marketing of your naturopathic practice is not something to take lightly, nor view solely in isolation. Not only is it crucial for the growth and success of your business, but also it helps to improve the health of your local community, because by engaging them in healthful education, we are actually shifting the paradigm of health holistically. Putting your practice and your brand in front of your target demographic consistently should be one of the priorities for your business and is your responsibility as the business owner. But what are the best practices for marketing in our industry?

The first thing you must understand fully is the concept of market positioning. We at HPd love Drayton Bird’s quote at the start of this article, because of its truth and succinctness. Also, this has not been a particular area of strength for NDs or their holistic colleagues. Effective positioning is quite often missed by practitioners because either they haven’t completed a proper business plan, they focus solely on the copy or because they are unaware of its importance. Positioning is broadly defined as ‘efforts to influence consumer perception of a brand or product relative to the perception of competing brands or products. Its objective is to occupy a clear, unique, and advantageous ‘positionin the consumer’s mind’.

Naturopathy still has a way to go before a tipping point is reached where the majority of the country knows what it is and how it works. We tend to lose objectivity about this because most of our friends and families are more aware of it purely through contact with us. As a result, a lot of naturopathic marketing focuses on twoirrelevant things:

  • · Who you are, your techniques and where you went to school
  • · How naturopathic medicine is different than allopathic medicine

NEWS FLASH! Both of these mean nothing to most of the population, as they are tuned into their favorite radio station, WIIFM (What’s in it for me).  Health care marketing is different than marketing ‘stuff’; you are selling a service, and so the approach needs to be different. The public needs to understand

  • How you can help them
  • Why you are the best fit for their need

In short, they need to be able to ‘self-diagnose’ themselves into your office. Your copy can help with this, but it is the positioning of the practice that gives the real power. As an example, one practitioner we met a few years ago ran a fairly busy acupuncture practice outside of Boston, MA called “Callum Complementary Medicine.” However, when he really looked deeply at his skill set he realized that his greatest areas of strength and best results were helping patients with pain and allergies. With a quick “re-positioning” Callum Complementary Medicine became “The Callum Pain and Allergy Clinic” and all of a sudden, the middle of the bell curve in the local population could identify clearly what the practice offered and how it could help them and in short order the clinic was bustling with new business.

Imagine if it was that simple? Imagine if every person in your local community knew exactly how you could help them? Well, we encourage you to think about this area, because in many cases it is that easy.

So how could you create better positioning for your practice?
1. Get clarity over the value your core business offers. We would recommend starting by going through a SWOT analysis (List your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)

2. Find a niche that allows you to leverage your strengths, hide your weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities and thwart potential threats

3. Look at areas that your competition are not operating effectively (Depression, Osteoarthritis, Bone Health, Pain, Metal Detox, etc are all areas where the effectiveness of allopathic medicine is generally slight or only short term)

4) From that positioning, identify your target market and through which media you intend to reach them (Covered in most business plans)

5. 5) Look at ways to offer social proof of your core services through testimonials, either video or written. The best place to put them is on Google Maps Business Page.

Once you have your positioning down, it will drive your other marketing efforts and there will be congruence and consistency which will lead to superior results. If you need help in getting clarity over your optimal positioning, feel free to get in touch.

Holistic Practice Development helps practitioners to grow healthy, sustainable practices, regardless of demographic or economic environment.  Dr. Andrew Colyer and James Maskell have a combined 30 years of experience in the health care industry, and would love to help you grow your practice.  For your free practice strategy session, please visit:

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  • Carl Fusco

    Very well written and helpful article. Core problem was identified, and addressed (what does the practice do?). I would love to read more.

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