Print is dead. That’s what most digital marketing professionals would say when asked about marketing strategies. However, an external marketing professional in your clinic needs to think outside the box when it comes to promoting your practice outside of the four walls of the clinic. Depending on your public/patient base, digital may not be the most effective marketing tool for your purposes. Think about a high-medicare audience, is it going to be worthwhile to spend a majority of your time on Instagram (who’s most active population is aged 18 – 34 of its 800 million active accounts)? Probably not.
So having marketing efforts that are offline are still effective. Here are five of our favorites:
Partner with a Local Newspaper
We’ve seen many clinics that have good luck contributing to local newspapers. Personally, my son’s former speech therapist wrote a number of advertorial pieces for our local newspaper, which I thought was great at the time. In the two+ years he was a patient with her, she went from being a solo practice opening her first office to hiring 2-3 other therapists and moving offices to double her space. She didn’t do much advertising but had a lot of word of mouth marketing, and of course these advertorials. I might be a millenial but I do still read the local paper that comes once per week to know what’s going on in our community. Keep in mind, advertorials (paid for editorial pieces) may have a cost associated with it, but depending on what’s going on in your clinic you may be able to pitch other stories that could be considered earned media (publicity that is not paid for).
Run Television Ads
Brian is the first to say he got an excellent return on investment out of TV ads when he was a clinic owner. If you have a high medicare population, television ads can be extremely effective to advertise on local channels. Some may say cable is dead with all the streaming options out there but I will tell you there is a segment of the population that may not be tech saavy enough for those streaming services. You can reach a wide audience and if you’re not in a large metropolitan area (where it might be more expensive) but it might be worth trying out.
Support a Local Sports Team or Fitness Event
What sport is most popular in your community? Does your town host a number of road races? Is the high school home of a popular sports team? While you may not directly get new patients from having a sponsorship table at a race or a sign on a field at the local ball field, you are building your brand recognition which is just as important as directly attracting new patients. We recently had a client of ours ask about the value of supporting a local event – while you may not be able to measure it, consider events like these brand awareness. Brand awareness helps get your name out in the community. Marketing actions are what you should be measuring for that 200% ROI, however, you can’t typically measure brand awareness actions.
Have a Referral Program
The top 10% of practices should have 45-60% of new patients from return business. That means, word of mouth marketing – someone who knew someone who was a patient. 83% of consumers say their either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues. This means that your current patients are a marketing gold-mine. Especially when you couple that number with the fact that 81% of people are influenced by what their friends and family share on social media. Those are some pretty strong numbers to support a referral program. The APTA clarifies that “in certain circumstances, you are allowed to offer promotional gifts to prospective or existing patients. Under federal law, inexpensive gifts or services (other than cash or cash equivalents) may be provided to an individual, provided that the gifts or services have a retail value of no more than $10 individually and no more than $50 in the aggregate annually per patient (e.g., exercise videos, pens and t-shirts would be permissible, but not club memberships) and provided further, that the provision of the gift does not have the purpose of securing your services to a patient.”
Digital marketing is fancy and should not be ignored by any means, however, don’t ignore the power of traditional marketing. Be sure to have effective tracking methods at the front desk to ensure you can measure the effectiveness of all of your marketing efforts – from online, referral sources, and your offline efforts. Seek out that 200% ROI on your marketing campaigns and know that if you don’t measure them, you’ll never know what works best to bring patients into your clinic.
To learn more about our Marketing Enhancement program in MEG Academy to train your team on effective marketing strategies and which stats and metrics to measure those activites, schedule a free one-on-one demo.