Greetings… let’s get on with “How to Market Your Practice,” part 3.
If you recall, last week we talked about three questions to ask yourself before starting your marketing. Finding the answers not only helps you identify your ideal patients, but it also allows you to talk to them more effectively in your marketing.
By now you’ve identified your ideal patients, and you know where they are, so it’s time to implement strategies that bring them to your office.
But here’s the problem…
What should you do and where should you start? There are so many ways to market your office that it’s hard to decide which ones are best for you.
Brand vs. Direct Response
For starters, there are two ways businesses can approach marketing their products and services. There is “Brand Marketing” and “Direct Response” type marketing.
You see brand style marketing in action when watching companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, Ford, Microsoft, and so on. Their idea is to get their “brand” in front of as many people as possible, repeatedly. They hope their brand will be recognized, remembered, and purchased.
Brand marketing is VERY expensive and therefore reserved for the big boys and girls.
Think back to the latest Superbowl commercial… big companies broadcast ads to a non-targeted audience, paying millions of dollars. The hope is that for example, you reach for a Coke over a Pepsi the next time you buy a soda.
Direct Response Marketing
Let’s compare brand marketing to direct response style marketing. Here, the marketer doesn’t rely on untargeted messaging. Steps are taken to identify the right audience (the ideal customer) so that the marketing message can resonate with them.
Direct response type marketing is targeted, measured, and tries to solicit a response from prospects (hence “direct response”).
As an example, look at the front page of the NPBusiness.org blog. While not a direct response marketing site as such, you can get an idea about the direct response call to action.
We invite you to read articles that may ask you to click a link, a response! Or you might click on a banner taking you to the signup page for our newsletter, again a response.
While big companies tend to engage in brand marketing, smaller businesses look to direct response style marketing. And of course, there might also be a bit of branding going on. Today, you may see a blend of the two styles.
At any rate, these are the two overarching types of marketing, and I merely want you to be aware of them.
Online vs. Offline
Here are more marketing categories…
For our purposes, there are two broad areas to consider when setting up your marketing.
There is online, or digital marketing. And there is offline marketing; some refer to is as “old school” marketing.
Today, we’ll talk about digital marketing, starting with website and content marketing. Social media, a vast topic by itself, will be covered in next week’s article.
Depending on your patient population, chances are most use one or more digital device; without a doubt, they are online. And that’s why online marketing must be part of your overall marketing strategy; it’s non-negotiable!
After all, you need to make sure you stand out and get found in this noisy digital world!
But here’s another problem…
There are so many ways to implement digital marketing… which one is right? Well, here’s my thinking and my approach…
You can’t do everything and be everywhere. That’s why I suggest you pick strategies that work for and resonate with you.
It’s better to do a few things well instead of trying to be everywhere. (Unless you have a team who does everything for you!)
Here are three proven strategies to help you implement your online marketing.
- Your Website
- Content Marketing
- Social Media
Even though you already know it, let me say it anyway; today, every business needs a website.
But not just any old website… your site must capture the attention of your visitors, so they stay on your site.
It must reflect how you can help your patients and what you and your practice are all about. So, kick off your shoes and step into the shoes of your patients. Imagine clicking on your own website and ask yourself…
- What are the reasons that bring you to the site?
- What is it you’re looking for?
- What problems are you trying to solve?
- What type of information would resonate with you?
- What type of information would make you click away immediately?
- What type of information would you expect to find?
The best ways to uncover the answers is to survey your patients or observe yourself when perusing a site.
When we visit a website, most of us have certain expectations. If unmet, we move the cursor to the top right corner of the screen and click the big X. We move on to another site, never to return.
When designing your site and writing words to convey your message, keep your patients front and center. Keep your message clear, simple, and address what’s important to them!
The benefit is your site will be attractive to your visitors. They will stay longer on your website and hopefully share it with friends and family.
But there’s another benefit, and that one relates to the search engines, the likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. If the content is written well for people, by default, it will also rank better in the search engines.
But regardless, you’ll still want to optimize your site, aka SEO it, for search engines. That is if you’re going to increase your chances of getting found when someone searches Google, typing in your keywords.
If you’d like to learn more about SEO, let me know. Just leave your question below this article, and I’ll talk more about it in the future.
You have a website, right? Why not fill it with useful information your clients will love?
But of course, there is more to it than that!
Content marketing refers to a strategy designed to
- Build an audience
- Build relationships
- Boost authority
- Bring targeted traffic (visitors) to your website
- Generate high-quality leads
- And ultimately convert them to clients
While it’s a long-term marketing strategy, it has the potential to pay off for years to come. Because once your content is published, it will stay online until removed.
Since content is the cornerstone of a successful content marketing strategy, it also improves the SEO of your site. People are always on the lookout for excellent content. If they like your content, they’re going to be linking to it, which tells search engines your content is good!
Content is the “bread and butter” of search engines, meaning, it’s what they serve to their users. The more valuable and helpful your content is, the more search engines are going to love your content and reward you with higher rankings on their search results.
So, if you’re using your website only as a brochure, without any content, it’s time to rethink that approach.
Create informative and useful information about your area of expertise and publish it to your website. And if your site runs on a platform like WordPress, it’s simple to publish ongoing content; anyone can do it.
Perhaps now you’re wondering what to write about, what you could publish to your site?
Here are ten content ideas to get your “thinking wheels” turning…
- Share health tips and strategies with your readers.
- Write about changes in your clinic: staff, hours, location, etc.
- Share new services or products offered in your clinic.
- Everyone loves to laugh… share a joke or a funny story.
- Share news about medications or treatment options.
- Send out a survey to your patients.
- Keep them informed about changes with insurance.
- Write about the benefits of a healthy diet, vitamins, or supplements.
- And of course, write articles on health topics relevant to your patient.
- Or create posts based on National Health Observances. (You’ll find the current calendar in the NPBP™ Private Community.)
Really, you can write about anything if it adds value to your readership.
What’s important is to have a game plan for your content marketing efforts. It’s better to commit to less, instead of over-committing and not delivering.
Before you start, determine the following…
- What is it you want to achieve with content marketing?
- How does it fit into your overall marketing efforts?
- Who is the audience you want to reach?
- What are the keywords you want to rank for?
- What are your resources for content marketing?
- How often can you publish, consistently?
Determine what you are comfortable committing to. While you want to publish more than once a month, it’s equally important you do so consistently.
Social Media Marketing
Since social media is a huge topic by itself, it will get all the attention it deserves in next week’s article.
Today you have many options to market your practice. Keep in mind though, not all marketing strategies work for every situation.
Pick the marketing approach that’s best for you and your situation and commit to it.
And, come back next week, for more on “How to Market” your practice. Remember, social media marketing will be the topic of discussion.
We’d love to hear from you… tell us what you think. Also, let us know if there’s a topic you’d like us to cover in an upcoming article.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”