No Cost Marketing that Works! 5/5 (39)

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve collected data and asked questions designed to get you thinking about the kind of practice you want to build. Did you do the assignments? I wouldn’t be surprised if you “intended to,” but with your busy schedule, you didn’t get them done (don’t you hate homework!). Well, I’m going to move on. However, those exercises are still valuable to do…kind of like giving your practice a regular “exam.” We tell our patients that a regular exam will keep them healthy and avoid major problems. Are our practices any different?

So, let’s review the results of the survey and consider some information and tools that will help. I asked:  What are the three biggest challenges in my practice?  The following responses demonstrate the seriousness of the situation:  “Reduced income and possible closure if the trend continues,” “New Patients, more referrals, loyal patients,” “Paying overhead, attracting new patients, getting Dr. referrals,” “Keeping my practice afloat, keeping patients and getting paid.”  The three most common responses are ranked as follows:

  1.  Attracting New Patients
  2.  Patient Retention
  3.  Getting Referrals

Today let’s work on #1…everyone’s biggest challenge!

Getting New Patients

Marketing healthcare services can be challenging. Especially since 80% of Acupuncturists have NO marketing budget. The 20% that do are spending, on average, just $250 a month on marketing. The rule of thumb is to dedicate 10% of your monthly gross revenue on marketing. The hard part is generating enough money to be able to pay your overhead and still have 10% to invest in NEXT month’s marketing budget! So let’s focus on a zero cost marketing method called “Expert Marketing!”

Be the Expert in your community!

Here’s how it works. First, identify organizations. Second, call and ask to speak with the appropriate person. The following organizations are looking for Experts to address/teach their members and customers.

               Organization – Contact

  • Fitness Centers  –  General Manager
  • 55+ Communities – Activities Director
  • Civic Centers Events & Edutainment – Events Coordinator
  • Community Health Fairs – Vendor Coordinator
  • Non Profit – Health Screenings – Director
  • Parks & Recreation Classes – Event Specialist
  • Trade Shows/Featured Edutainment – Talent Manager
  • Large Corporations (health screenings) – HR Manager
  • Health Food Stores – Store Manager
  • Grocery Stores – Store Manager
  • Member Warehouses – Store Manager

Simply place the call, ask for the appropriate contact person and introduce yourself. Explain that you are providing free health screenings and educational presentations for their members/residents. Have a list of presentation topics ready to suggest or to fax over from which the contact person can choose. Avoid asking a “Yes” or “No” question like: “Can I come talk to your employees?” Instead, give the contact a quick sample of the health issues you can address…a few suggestions are: “Quickly Correct Back Pain,” “Injury Prevention Starts NOW,” “5 Things You Need to Know to Prevent Falling,” and “Keys to Reducing Your Medications.” The key is to know your audience and use action statements that talk about solving their problems!

They don’t care what you know – only what you can do to make their life easier! I’ve found that when presented in this manner, 8 out of 10 calls result in a scheduled event.

Most events are free; however, some have a nominal fee. For example, some Warehouse stores charge a $500 fee to set up a table in the store for a day. But, if you do it right, your AcuGraph will be busy ALL DAY! Be sure to set it to “Screening Mode” and print out the results for the potential patient! Have someone collecting names, numbers, and emails before they are tested, and scheduling a FREE consultation in your office before they leave your table. You can expect to schedule 15-50 appointments! The lifetime value of that many new customers is $3k-$15k! Was it worth the investment?!  YES!

Entertain, Educate & Schedule Appointments

You’re probably wondering about what you need for these events to run smoothly. Next week I’ll go over the details and include worksheets that spell it all out for you.  With about an hour of research on the internet, you can have a detailed contact list with names and phone numbers. Spend another hour making calls and you can have yourself booked for a speaking/teaching engagement once a week for the next 8 weeks! Sure it’s scary at first…just remember…YOU are the expert! No one there will know more about your topic than you do! If you make it interactive and engaging they will ask you back over and over! Don’t wait until next week to start making these calls! Now is the time to do your research and book your calendar. Spring is a popular time for these events and the speakers are being scheduled NOW!

If you have any questions or need some clarification, post a comment on the blog and I’ll quickly respond! I’m interested in hearing how successful you are at finding and setting up your events! I look forward to hearing your success stories!

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Alan Gifford MS, Practice Coach

For 20 years, Alan worked in the corporate world as a director of sales and marketing. He made a career change in 2003, returning to complete his Masters degree in Exercise and Wellness from Arizona State University. As a marketer and Exercise Physiologist, Alan spent the next four years working with Healthcare practitioners to increase patient volume, satisfaction and retention. He now works directly with clients of Miridia Technology to promote their practice and patient experience. In addition to English, he is fluent in Spanish and assists in developing our Latin-market presence.

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