Are you using Groupon to fill your practice each week? Are you constantly searching for new customers every month with very little repeat business from your current customer base? Are you frustrated with the lack of results from social media and your ad campaigns? Is your office manager also serving as your marketing manager?
One of these things applies to you, don’t worry. You definitely aren’t alone!
The truth is that to many physicians aren’t seeing the results they want from their marketing efforts. They’re oftentimes spending too much on ads without getting the results they need to keep their calendars full. On top of that, little or no testing is being performed to make sure that landing pages and ads are as effective as they could be and social media is just a place for blasting promotions.
So if you’re in this position, what do you do?
Start Sending Monthly Newsletters
Many practices collect email addresses from their customers but then don’t do anything more with them, other than perhaps sending email reminders. Increase the lifetime value of your current customers and encourage repeat business by sending regular communication.
Generate a list of monthly specials to promote specific products and services. Make sure that the email, itself, is visually appealing since your subscribers will be skimming until something catches their eye.
If you don’t have an email service provider (ESP) in place, that’s completely okay. Some frequently used ESPs are Constant Contact, MailChimp, or AWeber. You can always import the emails from your customers directly into the system to get started.
Build Your List
While you definitely want to send newsletters to generate repeat business (think of those people as your low hanging fruit), you also need to continue growing your email list so that you will have all new people to send promotions to on a monthly basis.
You don’t want to rely just on social media to push out promotions because there’s no guarantee that your audience will see the posts. Social media users see hundreds of stories in their newsfeeds every day. On the other hand, people receive an average of 84 emails per day, which means it’s much more likely that you’ll get your promotional content in front of them through email (especially when you use an enticing subject line).
But how do you grow your list?
Offer a Lead Magnet
In order to get NEW people onto your email list, you’ll need to offer a product or service at a discount or free. It’s essentially the same thing you do every time you offer a Groupon deal (if this is something you’re doing).
I would recommend taking one of your less expensive and less complex services (something that doesn’t require a lot of time from your staff) and discount it heavily. Set up email auto-responders so that when someone new registers for your email list they will receive a discount code that they can use when scheduling the appointment.
Invest in Paid Advertising
In order to expand your audience you’re going to need to invest in paid advertising. Period.
Now, that said, if you’re doing Facebook advertising and targeting based on interests, stop immediately. You need to be using Facebook custom audiences to create Lookalike audiences in order to capture the people on Facebook who are MOST LIKE the people who visit your website. From there, you can narrow down that audience by targeting based on location.
Once you have found the right audience, I recommend that you split test different ads against one another, finding the exact image and the exact text the converts the best.
You should never STOP testing. You should always be trying to get better and better conversions and testing the ads against one another.
However, once you’ve found an ad and copy (text) that converts well, you can take your ads elsewhere.
If you’re on a small budget, start with Yahoo and Bing and from there move to the more expensive Google Ads.
You can use ads both for promoting your practice based on the keywords you want people to find you for (the services you specialize in) as well as that special offer to move people onto your email list.
Make sure that you’re split testing landing pages as well to get the best conversions.
Use Social Media for Relationship Building
All too often businesses use social media to do nothing but promote their products and services. While promotion is certainly important, you don’t want to go overboard. After all, no one wants to follow a business on Facebook or Twitter when they do nothing but push their own agenda. Limit your promotional posts to just 20% of your overall content.
The remaining content should be value-based. Share make-up tips to help your audience look younger naturally, share skin care statistics to encourage them to wear sunscreen, or post humorous posts about anti-aging.
Think of your content as being divided into categories. You have one category of blog content, one category of humor, one category for industry tips, one category for promotion, etc. Then each day you just have to post content from a couple of these categories. This will keep your content fresh and different each day for your audience. You’ll also find it a whole lot easier to know what you should be posting.
You can’t know if something is working if you aren’t tracking the results.
Track where your new patients are coming from. Did they find you in a Facebook ad or on Google? If it was on Google was it an ad or did they find you in the search results?
What kind of income are you making from your email newsletters? Within your newsletter, which promotions are getting the biggest response from your customers?
By tracking ads you’ll know where you need to increase your ad spend and where to cut back. Monitoring your newsletters will help you better understand what products and services your customers want to see more of. Are you seeing a consistent increase in newsletter sales as your list grows, because if not there may be a problem with the audience you’re targeting. You can even test newsletter frequency and see if more newsletters mean more appointments and more income for the practice.
By regularly testing you’ll fine tune your marketing efforts until you’re getting the best possible return on your investment and, ideally, until you reach the point when you just can’t handle anymore clients!