Definitive Guide to Attracting Patients

Definitive Guide to Attracting Patients

Attracting patients is a key concern for doctors starting out in private practice and for those with established practices who want to increase the frequency of their practice sessions.

How are you attracting patients?

Marketing is essential to the success of any business, including private medicine. While unfamiliar to many doctors, it does not have to be complex or time-consuming. So here are some effective strategies to help promote your business.


The most effective way to expand your practice is through word of mouth and via existing patients, friends and family. Are your patients familiar with the full range of services you offer? Are they aware you are actively aiming to expand your practice?

Contented patients will automatically act as ambassadors and refer you to their friends and colleagues. It is also a good strategy to maximise communication with your colleagues – including GPs and specialist consultants.

Traditional marketing methods

With current focus firmly on the innovative world of digital marketing, it is easy to overlook tried and tested methods of promoting your practice.

  • A brochure or simple flyer is a cost-effective marketing tool, which can be handed directly to patients and potential referees or simply displayed in your waiting room.
  • Articles in relevant publications will enhance your reputation.
  • Paper newsletters are another potent tool for marketing your practice; there are many available options once you start thinking creatively.

Check your online profile

Google your name and see what you find. Prospective patients will do this before they book their first appointment. It is vital to take control of your online presence.

Ideally, your website should be prioritised within any list of results. It is not necessary to pay for listings – there are numerous free directories featuring private doctors in London.

You should ensure your details are listed accurately and updated on each one of them. You may get mentioned on websites such as Mumsnet. While you cannot control this, you can engage with the process positively.


A website is an integral aspect of digital marketing and a powerful communication tool – allowing you to monitor, amend and update content as your practice develops. It is often the first port of call for potential patients and a vital component in promoting your unique expertise and services.

Fundamental technical components include:
  1. 24-hour email contact which is highly visible.
  2. well-designed, user-friendly interface.
  3. fully compatible with mobile device access.

Make it easy for potential patients visiting your site.  Ensure your phone number and email are highly visible and facilitate this with a one-click appointment process.


Blogs are a vital tool in promoting your business and communicating positively with patients. Frequent blogging is a highly effective way of reassuring prospective and existing patients and letting them know what to expect when they book an appointment. By citing existing patients’ positive experiences, using real examples, you can ensure readers will have highly positive expectations.

Social media

Use social media to your advantage as part of your digital marketing strategy. It is a highly-effective way of driving patients to your website prior to booking an appointment.

By posting content related to your personality and practice, you can strategically attract more patients. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all relevant in this field.

  • LinkedIn is primarily used to network with colleagues and patients;
  • Facebook to interact with patients and to perfect and control your public profile.

Speaking at conferences

Good speakers are continually in demand both nationally and globally. This could be an excellent opportunity to impart your expertise and expand your network.

  • Speaking commitments require careful planning, both leading up and afterwards.
  • Focused research to establish the right event, location and correspondence procedures would be logical first steps.
  • Allow plenty of time for this process.


With careful planning, a successful event can yield productive results and, ultimately, bring you more patients. It does not have to be ambitious in scale; a well-planned social gathering can be very relevant – if you get the initial focus right.

  • Think about your guest list, whether a small-scale occasion or a focused educational event with the aim of referring doctors.
  • Allow plenty of time to choose the right venue and location, appropriate catering and, crucially, allow sufficient notice for your guests to plan their attendance.

To summarise: authenticity is always a good strategy – use the marketing tools you feel most comfortable with – but do not be afraid to branch out.  Good luck.

Talk to us about how we can help attract new patients.  We have a team dedicated to marketing private medical practice and have a wealth of experience for you to tap into.  Call us today 020 7952 1460 or via send us an email at

Managing Director Jane Braithwaite regularly writes for the Independent Practitioner Today and her latest series entitled Private Practice Growth Guide is a must read for anyone looking to attract more patients and increase the frequency of practice sessions.



How to use LinkedIn to grow your private practice

How to use LinkedIn to grow your private practice

LinkedIn is a great way to build your personal brand. Whether you are on the start of your journey in private practice or if you are growing your private medical business, having a personal brand will give your practice strong foundations.

Not so long ago, LinkedIn was the weird cousin of the cooler, bigger social networking kids. Used mainly for job-hoppers and head hunters, LinkedIn has worked on its own personal brand over the last few years to become the social network of choice for professionals.

As you are already an expert in your particular field, LinkedIn bolsters this by pushing you forward as a thought leader.  Sharing your insights as a subject matter expert is not only helpful but establishes your name as that go-to person for questions in your specialist area. Private hospitals and businesses within the medical profession are already connecting on LinkedIn, establishing partnerships and networking with specialists like you.

Your industry peers are meeting patients who are seeking support every day, and it’s in our nature to want to help. Be the go-to practice that other consultants can recommend to patients. By establishing and nurturing your presence on LinkedIn, you can reach and engage with peers all over the world, and they can reach out to you.

This is why, if you are building your private practice, you need to be paying attention to LinkedIn.


LinkedIn facts

Almost half of LinkedIn’s 585 million users access the site on a daily basis. And with over 25 million users in the UK alone, that’s a lot of networking.

LinkedIn has also got a pretty great track record of converting your page visitors to leads. Three times higher than Facebook or Twitter, making it one of the best performing platforms out there.


Personal brand vs business brand

But should you pump your time and effort into your personal LinkedIn profile or try to build up your practice page on the platform?

LinkedIn is about networking. The personal connection. Posts by people are favoured more than posts by businesses. This is for good reason because as humans, we tend to trust personal connections more than we do businesses.

Share some of your personal flair as well. You don’t need to be all business and no humour. While putting up your meal plans for the day might be frowned upon, sharing some of the moments that have made your day interesting can remind your network of who you are and what you do.


Ways in which to use LinkedIn

By now, you have established that LinkedIn is a powerful way to network. You see the value in adding a personal voice, but what can you do on LinkedIn to get the most out of the platform?

LinkedIn has worked hard to give you the tools you need to reach your future audience.  Make sure you use as many of them as you can.


Review your profile

Start by reviewing your personal profile. Your job description and introduction are the first things that people will read about you.  Within this short word count, someone will make a decision to either read more or move on. Make those words count.

Think of it as a headline-grabbing moment. Tell your story and pull your audience in to read more.  Once they are in make sure your profile is polished and up to date.


Post content

One of the most important things you can do on LinkedIn is to post content that people want to read. An easy way to start is to post an article that you find interesting or relevant to your field of work. Use this to make a statement and ask a question.

Your network only needs to like or comment on it for it to be shared amongst your third level of network and for people to see your name.

Try to post once a day and start having conversations with your network.  If you have a particular goal in mind, such as gaining new connections, then you might want to get a LinkedIn strategy that fine-tunes your activities towards this goal.



Don’t forget to write an article once in a while, too. Articles are a great way to share your best performing content. You’ll find that articles get traffic for a much longer period of time than posts.


Get in touch

This is just scratching the surface of the potential on LinkedIn. If you are launching a product or service, holding an event, or looking to get new business leads, our marketing team can advise on the best LinkedIn strategy to achieve your goals. Get in touch to find out more.


How does your practice grow?

How does your practice grow?

practice grow


TopTips2Jane Braithwaite’s latest article in her series about managing your private practice puts the spotlight on the broad area of business development and what to do to see your practice grow.


We often see or hear the term ‘business development’, but it is little understood and often it is confused with sales.

Well, I see business development as all the activities that lead to developing your practice or clinic in terms of growth and expansion.

Anyone who has their own private practice or medical company will understand that the healthcare landscape changes all the time.

To grow and develop, we need to change with it. One of the key reasons for business decline is a failure to spot change and exploit the new opportunities that change offers.

Business development is broadly considering what we need to do to ensure we have insight into upcoming markets, services and/or technology that could make an impact on our current businesses.

This month, I am going to explore the various options that are open to all of us and I hope one or more of these ideas resonate with you.

How does your practice grow ?

Developing and growing your practice or clinic further might mean offering additional services to your existing patients or looking at new channels to appeal to a new set of patients for your existing services. It might be a mixture of both. In either case, there are numerous options.

Expensive overhead

top-tips-jigsaw-smallPerhaps there is a complementary aspect of healthcare that your existing patients would appreciate. You could enable this by inviting another practitioner to make use of your facilities.

Physical consulting space is an expensive overhead and it is always wise to consider how you can make better use of the space you have in a way that might complement your practice. Do some market research or competitor research to find out what your options might be.

You may feel there is an opportunity to grow by servicing a wider geography. Could you add another clinic at a hospital in a different location, if your schedule allows?

It might also be worthwhile considering different age groups and identifying the differing needs of each group. Consider the age range of your current population.

If the patients at your clinic tend to be 40-plus, do you need to review your marketing activities to attract potential patients below the age of 40?

A good understanding of the different requirements of differing age groups will assist you when it comes to marketing your services at a broader age group. Perhaps the message to younger patients is about preventive healthcare rather than specific treatment plans.

New offerings

Technology now offers us different ways to communicate with patients and this may enable new service offerings such as telephone, email or Skype consultations.

Embracing these technologies may allow you to offer more frequent support to your current patients and allow you to reach patients who are unable to see you in person. There are several very successful companies offering only ‘virtual’ consultations.

There may well be a greater opportunity for doctors who are able to offer both face-to-face and virtual services in a complementary manner.

Regardless of how you decide you should develop and grow your practice, there are numerous ways in which you can ensure you meet your objectives.

Networking wins

top-tips-jigsaw-smallOne of the main ways to identify and research new opportunities for business development, and to progress them, is to invest time in networking.

It’s a core part of business development, as leveraging relationships is critical to success. How do you maintain relationships with patients, staff, suppliers, organisations, the local community, hospitals and other doctors?

Traditional networking is about communicating in person with patients, colleagues, suppliers and peers. There are numerous events that provide such opportunities and often provide valuable opportunities for education and reflection.

Do you arrange regular events at your practice and invite your own contacts to attend? This requires a real investment in time and effort, but can provide valuable opportunities for referrers, patients and prospective patients to get to know you.

You will also get some valuable feedback this way – people are far more forthcoming in person than on a feedback form.

Networking these days also includes your online network. Your practice may have several different social media channels that allow you to communicate with a wider audience. The most personal networking tool is probably LinkedIn.

It’s a valuable tool, especially for keeping in contact with your peer group. Most people check LinkedIn at least once each week to accept connection requests and check on messages, but you could maximise its power by contributing to conversations daily so that your name comes to mind at the right time.

Presenting at conferences and events only suits certain individuals, but if this type of activity appeals to you, it is a powerful way to reach a far wider group of people. If presenting is not especially attractive to you, then perhaps publishing articles is more realistic and enjoyable.

Powerful communication

practice growVideo is a very powerful way of communicating with your audience. Like presenting, you will either love it or hate it, but it is a very wise investment. Ideally, you would create regular videos, upload them on You Tube and link to your website. This is an area that is going to grow and grow in popularity.

Healthcare marketing is rapidly becoming more focused on digital, but still relies significantly on print advertising. Whether you’re handling your own marketing or outsourcing it, you must be clear on what your audience and goals are before starting.

Without an awareness of whom you want to reach and what you want to achieve, any money spent is wasted.

You also need to bear in mind the guidelines issued by the GMC and the BMA around ethics and confidentiality when it comes to marketing your services.

Below, I have highlighted some important marketing areas to keep in mind, but it’s important to get a full assessment of your marketing needs, as every business is different.

Business website

I suspect that anyone reading this has a website of some description, but is it doing a good job for you? Is your website helping you to reach your desired audience? Once potential patients visit your website, do they follow through to book an appointment?

A website should not be a static tool but should evolve and change over time to better suit your purpose. For a start, any website which isn’t enhanced for mobiles is not going to appeal to users – you may lose them before they have got past the homepage.

Does your website allow users to book an appointment online? If competitors have this option, so should you.

What capability do you have to record testimonials from your site or include reviews from other sites such as Trustpilot, Facebook or Doctify?

Patient reviews are key to build your reputation, and therefore your business.

Finally, a key way for new patients to find your website is a Google search, but this relies on your site being optimised for search engines (SEO).

Many people think that SEO is a one-off activity, but it’s best to review every six months to make sure that your brand is still appearing near the top. This is where it does pay to hire an SEO expert, as it’s a science which relies on many factors and changes often.

Business blogs

One of the main factors which affects SEO is ‘freshness’ of content – a website which never changes will not score highly and won’t appear on the first page of results. This is one of the reasons why so many businesses embrace regular blogs.

Blogs, if marketed properly and consistently, can attract new patients. But this is if they’re written to add value for the reader, rather than simply advertise the business.

One of the most successful blogs written for my business, Design­ated Medical, was about the EU’s General Data Protection Regul­ation. It contained helpful information for our audience and brought new visitors to our website. It wasn’t about the services we offer or salesy in any way. Writing content which is valuable for your audience is key for blogs.

Are you using GMB?

Don’t forget about Google My Business, which is an excellent – and free – way to boost your business online. GMB is basically your business profile on Google, where you can add your opening hours, photos and short posts.

It’s also where you can respond to Google Reviews. It’s quick work to set up your GMB profile, but well worth it to control your image on the biggest search engine.

Social media

Social media marketing is a very cost-effective marketing method, and for most private doctors it can be a very successful way to grow networks and attract patients.

As before, knowing your audience and goals is essential to make social media work for you. If you’re looking to establish more business connections or thinking of branching out to other markets, LinkedIn will be a key platform for you.

Twitter also works very well in terms of business relationships, as it’s more conversational and ties in well with events. Facebook is ubiquitous for businesses but using its low-cost, super-targeted advertising is the key to success.

You can also get impressive reach via free Facebook events listings. Finally, Instagram can work very well for beauty and aesthetics clinics, with image-driven high engagement.


Jane Braithwaite is Managing Director at Designated Medical and regularly contributes to the Independent Practitioner Today publication.

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Designated Group are finalists for embedded flexibility in the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards

Designated Group are finalists for embedded flexibility in the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards

The Designated Group has been named as a finalist in the Best for Embedded Flexibility category of the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards.

Employers large and small from many sectors compete annually to reach the shortlist for the unique business awards for flexible, agile organisations. Established in 2010, the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards showcase and celebrate UK employers who are offering flexibility for all their people and going the extra mile in their support for parents and carers.

The Designated Group has been shortlisted for ‘Best for Embedded Flexibility’.

In our entry we highlighted that we are tapping into a vastly under-utilised, under-estimated and overlooked pool of huge talent, skill, expertise and experience: professionals (in our case PAs, EAs, marketers, medical secretaries and finance assistants) who, for a variety of reasons, do not wish to work within “inflexible flexible” work arrangements such as job-sharing, reduced (but still rigid) hours, working-from-home days etc. By offering flexibility in the truest sense of the word to our employees/contractors; our business is centred around the ethos that work is an activity not a location; we trust the people we hire to deliver the agreed output to a high standard; and we focus on productivity – the quality of the work that is produced rather than where or when it is produced. Of course, we focus on client satisfaction but ultimately this cannot happen without a happy, productive, efficient team – professional people who are freed from commutes, office-based restrictions, inflexible old-fashioned policies and corporate bureaucracy.

Jane Braithwaite, Founder & Managing Director of the Designated Group, said:

“It’s an honour to be chosen as a finalist in these important awards, alongside such influential and eminent companies. There is a movement – both culturally and in business – for a new way of working; one that truly benefits both workers and businesses alike, and Designated are leading the way with genuine flexibility in every corner of the company. We look forward to celebrating with our fellow finalists in June!”

Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families and Chair of the judging panel, said:

“Congratulations to The Designated Group whose flexible, agile approach has earnt them a much-coveted place in the shortlist of this year’s Best Practice Awards. We had a record-breaking number of entries in 2018, but The Designated Group’s outstanding entry in the Best for Embedded Flexibility category caught the eye of the judging panel…”

“..Our research shows that for nearly three quarters of parents, family is their number one priority. With 11 million working parents in the UK making up more than a third of the workforce, its’ initiatives like these that will help them balance work and family life and progress in their careers.”

The winners of each category will be announced at a prestigious champagne afternoon tea on 20th June at London’s Vintners’ Hall.

The full shortlist for the 13 categories:

Best forEmbedded Flexibility
Oliver Wyman
Designated Group

My Family Care Best for Mothers
Millwood Servicing
Royal Air Force
Westfield Europe

UBS Best for Fathers
Westfield Europe
Pinsent Masons

The Carers UK Best for Carers & Eldercare

Cityparents Best Family Network

Cityparents Best Innovation
The Difference Collective
Lewis Silkin

Best for Flexible Recruitment

The Government Equalities Office Best Returner Programme
Morgan Stanley
Lloyds Banking Group

Best Flexible Working Initiative
Public Health England
Yorkshire Building Society
Ministry of Justice

Best for Line Manager Support
Royal Air Force
Westfield Europe

Best Large Private Sector Employer
Morgan Sindall
Westfield Europe
Lloyds Banking Group

Best Small Employer
Independent Living Fund Scotland
Pursuit Marketing

Best Public Sector Employer
Crown Prosecution Service
Royal Air Force
Highlands & Islands Enterprise