I believe that public relations (see definition of PR) is the most effective marketing strategy for a professional practice, or for any individual practitioner or expert who wants to gain visibility and attract clients.
This is because it:
professionals shy away from any type of marketing because they equate
it with advertising. They are uncomfortable putting themselves in the
same category with pushy salespeople or slick marketers.
Although advertising has some benefits, this is an important consideration. Your greatest asset, in addition to your knowledge, is your image as a professional. In fact, no matter how excellent your knowledge, if your professional image is damaged you will have trouble staying in business.
Yet, for you to build a successful practice, people in your local community must know that you are in business and what services you offer.
Because the message is delivered by a third party, people believe it. It enhances rather than detracts from your image as a professional.
To simplify even further, there is a niche of public relations that is perfectly suited to the professional in private practice. It is called expert positioning.
This just means that you introduce yourself as an expert to those third parties and let them take it from there. They will present you to the public as an expert resource and their "third party endorsements" will start the snowball of word-of-mouth, the most precious visibility a professional can hope for. The result is that you will become THE person to go to for the best service available in your profession and for the most accurate and thorough information.
Most professionals see the value in that, but have no idea how to make it happen. I can tell you it’s no accident, but some simple tools will enable you to implement this marketing strategy and reap the benefits of community name recognition, respect for you and your practice, patient/client loyalty, and status as a true preferred provider—resulting in higher incomes and, if you desire, more leisure time.