Would you agree it is time to start getting more patients/clients and more money–-quickly and easily?

If you answered yes, we encourage you to read on. With almost 80 million baby boomers across the nation struggling to find alternative and integrative health care practitioners, and you struggling to find them, reading this article might just be the most important five minutes you give yourself.

We know what you’re thinking: With limited resources of both time and money, how are you going to be able to use marketing to bridge the gap between your practice and these cash-rich, health-seeking baby boomers? 

Read and find out.

Let’s say you’d like to be featured in your local paper as an expert on holistic healing. It’s not as hard as you might initially think–-or as costly. The payback can be tremendous: a no-cost opportunity to get your name and your practice capabilities out to potential patients/clients.

First, you’ll need to create a media kit to showcase your area of expertise, keeping in mind the objective is to secure a media opportunity with your local press. Don’t let the name “media kit” throw you off.  A media kit is simply a compilation of information about you and/or your practice that tells the media person reviewing it that you are a credible source and are worthy of an interview.

If you know how to create a Word document, consider yourself halfway there to creating an on online media kit to get your story out there.

Now simply e-mail your packaged media kit to the newspaper of your choice. Walk your media contact through your kit and point out certain areas you especially want him or her to notice. Call the contact and ask if there is an opportunity to be interviewed for the paper.

You may have competition; however, with a complete media kit (put together with the following guidelines), you are bound to stand out in any editor’s mind.

Here are the pages you will need in your online media kit:

1. A color picture of yourself.
2. If you have a published book, include a cover picture of the book.
3. Author bio written especially for the media (i.e., talks not only about who you are, but also about your key areas of expertise, any awards you have received, mentions of other speaking or media engagements you have done).
4. Interview topic ideas (e.g., perhaps you are an expert in the field of “xyz” healing; maybe you have even discovered a new healing technique) fully developed with a message point and pertinent questions.
5. Suggested interview questions that are relevant to the topic.
6. Facts that support your segment (example: a recent AARP study stated that as many as 44 million Americans provide elderly care).
7. Sample quiz. If your material can be made into a quiz format, then prepare a fun quiz. Print media loves this format.
8. Testimonials from other media people who said you were a great guest.
9. Media Page: Showcase the media you have done, listing the most important first.
10. Link back to your Web site if you have a demo or audio demo on your site.
11. Scanned in pictures of your book cover, yourself in either a business look and/or upscale casual appearance.

A few more practical guidelines to consider when making your decision to market or not:

1. Being a gifted healer is table stakes when it comes to building your patient/client base. People need to know you are out there. How you optimize your outreach to potential patients/clients so that you can be found, could very well mean the difference between thriving or simply surviving.

2. Right now, somebody out there is waiting to buy your product or service. The question you must ask yourself is, “Do you know who they are?” And more importantly, “Do they know who you are?”

Bottom line, if you are not identifying your key and most profitable customers and are not getting your message out to them, you are missing the opportunity to find new customers and, ultimately, long-term clients. This opportunity lost will go straight to your competitor’s practice.

 3. Never lose sight of your overall responsibility. The onus lies with each and every practitioner to take an active role in educating consumers about their wellness options. Then, and only then, can they make informed decisions.

Think about it. Without appropriate education, consumers will either continue to accept conventional medicine as the only option for their health-related needs or go with the limited information their family and friends can offer. Or worse yet, take the first name that pops out at them from the phone book. Unless your practice name starts with “Aa,” odds are it’s not going to be you.

For more than 25 years, Randi Drinkwater has successfully spearheaded high-impact marketing solutions for such global companies as IBM, Cisco Systems and WorldCom/MCI/UUNet. Today, Drinkwater resides as CEO for Alternative Growth Streams, (http://www.easygettingmorepatients.com) a marketing-membership Web site designed exclusively to empower Alternative and Integrative practitioners to grow their practices and get more patients/clients. She is well known and respected throughout the industry and is the recipient of the BPAA Atlanta Peach and Southeast Addy award for marketing excellence.