How to Find Your Niche? How to research your community?

(Robin Dickinson) #1

I’m curious how others found their niche? I think in DPC in particular, it’s critical to success to consider your niche. Why would someone choose YOU instead of the usual?

I know someone whose niche is complicated older adults who need more time than the usual rushed 10 minutes. Someone else who focuses on kids with a fear of doctors. My own niche is uninsured and underinsured working class young families and “crunchy” families who have been ostracized by the medical community. I certainly have patients who don’t fit into either of these groups, but these gave me some direction in my marketing, an idea of what I needed to offer, and provided some great referral sources. Instead of trying to find patients, I found people who know the kind of people who would make good patients. I am buddies with churches, midwives, lactation consultants, etc. And they send me as many patients as I want. If I was trying for seniors, I’d be going to senior centers, estate planners, travel agencies, etc.

I’ve seen practices struggle to get patients if they didn’t know ahead of time what would be of interest to their community. In my area, trying to look more “concierge” wouldn’t work. Alternatively, if 90% of a community is covered by Kaiser, you’re going to have to figure out how to work alongside and offer something they don’t. Or trying to appeal to young families in an aging community might not work out so well.

What other niches have people found? Who have you found can best connect you with patients? What are your best referral sources for your niche?

(Jason Larsen) #2

Great thought on niche, @Robin_Dickinson. I think many DPC practices think DPC is the niche in itself, which is definitely not true.

Since we have started with the goal of multiple physicians / providers and locations, we have started quite broad in our marketing / communication efforts in regards to our ‘niche.’ We’ve tried to scratch the itch of accessibility (a DPC core value) and friendly, helpful staff (which is unfortunately quite rare in our community) that will go the ‘extra mile’ for our members.

As a physician, Dr. Edgerly seems to attract people that want a physician who is not going to judge them for the lifestyle they have lived (we take care of many type 2 diabetics, hypertensives, and other common chronic issues related to lifestyle health issues).

We haven’t communicated that in our marketing because of our desire to expand. BUT, I could see where a physician similar to Dr. Edgerly could use that to their advantage - where the pain point of the community would be ‘feeling judged by my physician,’ and we would be the welcoming arms to those who just want to be treated.

*As a side note, we realized Dr. Edgerly’s niche in the beginning and chose to include a mental health counselor as part of our included membership services - this seems to be working tremendously, as Dr. Edgerly can treat patients, but can then recommend them to see our counselor for some more core issues they are dealing with.