‘Educating’ is Most Effective Marketing Strategy for Integrative Health Providers

By Glenn Sabin

Medical providers, passionate about delivering health care, often cringe at the subject of marketing and advertising. After all, most didn’t invest years of education to learn about business and marketing—they studied to become healers. To most medical professionals, the concept of advertising to secure patients is anathema.

Few physicians are taught the necessary business development aspects of growing a sustainable clinic or center during medical school. And getting one’s head around digital marketing, paid advertising, and fast-moving technology and its jargon, is enough to make most practitioners feel uncomfortable, if not downright queasy—not to mention overwhelmed.

If you are in the majority of cringers, let me offer some relief: thankfully, as an integrative health provider, you are wired to educate. Inside you exists the most powerful marketing machine ever devised by humans: teaching and engaging through quality storytelling.

The most powerful ‘marketing’ opportunity to build patient and client volume today is through education.

Per Wikipedia:

“Doctor is an academic title that originates from the Latin word of the same spelling and meaning. The word is originally an agentive noun of the Latin verb docēre ‘to teach’. It has been used as an academic title in Europe since the 13th century, when the first doctorates were awarded at the University of Bologna and the University of Paris.”

Physicians tend to conflate all marketing to the bucket of ‘high pressure selling’—the use of ‘interruptive’ print, radio and television ads, or the digital equivalent of AdWords and Facebook advertising to bring attention to their services, programs, and products. To those of you for whom paid advertising feels right, and it’s working, then keep doing it—but recognize, the world has changed; and so has consumer retention of information—especially when it comes to over-saturation of advertising impressions.

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The old-school approach tends to be expensive, unsustainable and, generally speaking, ineffective, and it’s difficult to measure a return on investment. You no longer have to spend large sums of money for traditional advertising to catch the attention of prospective customers (AKA patients).

The Latin for doctor is ‘teacher’. There used to be a lot of teaching.  Today, not so much.  [Click to Tweet]


Nowadays, few conventional providers beholden to third-party insurance and CMS reimbursements have the luxury, skill, or inclination to be effective teachers to their patients. It’s typically short-shrift casual mentions of behavioral change during an annual physical, and even less dialogue during the average 13 minute follow-up clinic visit.

But this is where you come in, because you are different. As an integrative health physician you have been trained to teach about lifestyle medicine and all things ‘health creation’.

There will never be a more powerful ’clinical’ intervention than educating a patient through meaningful engagement. [Click to Tweet]

It’s your content: Create it. Own it. Share it.

Your content—your intellectual capacity to be helpful around prevention, sustainable wellness, and talent in identifying root causes of disease—is innately and uniquely yours. Educating is your best marketing strategy.

High-quality content is the basis for quality teaching and educating.  As such it should be the foundation of any marketing program you devise.

Through seven years of blogging in this forum, I have written more on the importance of consistently creating informative, actionable, and high-quality content than any other single subject.

Content can take many shapes and forms. It can be distributed and promoted myriad ways.  Done well, it engages, teaches, and builds trust. Content is the single most effective way to build a mailing list. It also supports the development of thought leadership and subject matter expertise.

Your ownership can pay dividends for years to come, as Google indexes your web pages. Have a PowerPoint presentation from 2010 on reversing diabetes and heart disease? It’s yours. Update it with the current science and clinical thinking, then present it to a new and larger audience—in person or virtually.

The simple math:

Being helpful + teaching + engaging+ inspiring = The Best Marketing.

Ready to learn more about all things content—including how to put it to work as a practical matter? I invite you to explore FON’s deep blog of actionable content. Simply search using the keywords, “content marketing”.

About FON

FON is a leading integrative health and medicine business development and strategy consulting firm. FON specializes in custom solutions for growing patient volume, developing programs, and increasing product sales. Our practical business models are driven by innovative marketing, clear messaging, and customer engagement via branded storytelling.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your business development or personal brand needs.

Image of Glenn Sabin
Author: Glenn Sabin
FON’s founder, Glenn Sabin, is a nationally recognized thought leader with a reputation for successfully positioning integrative health organizations for sustainable growth. Combining media, marketing and business development expertise with an extensive professional and personal integrative health and medicine narrative, Glenn is deeply passionate about advancing the field as the new standard of care—accessible to all.
Read Glenn’s story.


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