Strategy Series (Pt. 2) –

What’s Your Focus? (If You Don’t Know, That’s a Problem!)

Welcome to part 2!

If you’re just joining us, stop what you’re doing and go check out part 1 of our series on marketing strategy, Why the *Bleep* Do You Need a Marketing Strategy? We’ll wait … we promise.

Okay, you caught up? Good. Let’s dive in.

In the first part of our series we talked about why marketing strategies are so important, and in the final chapter we’ll start giving you some practical advice on how to start putting them together.

So what goes in the middle? The meat in our strategy sandwich, so to speak? That would be the what. Specifically, you want to be asking questions like these:

Welcome to part 2!

If you’re just joining us, stop what you’re doing and go check out part 1 of our series on marketing strategy, Why the *Bleep* Do You Need a Marketing Strategy? We’ll wait … we promise.

Okay, you caught up? Good. Let’s dive in.

In the first part of our series we talked about why marketing strategies are so important, and in the final chapter we’ll start giving you some practical advice on how to start putting them together.

So what goes in the middle? The meat in our strategy sandwich, so to speak? That would be the what. Specifically, you want to be asking questions like these:

  • What do I need to focus on?
  • What should my goals be?
  • What—specifically—do I want to get out of this marketing strategy?

These are crucial questions! After all, you might understand why strategies are so important, and you might even have the technical skills to implement effective ones. But if your strategy isn’t targeted toward the things that really matter, even a nominally “effective” campaign isn’t going to do you much good.

This is the critical first step to your marketing strategy. The “how” (which we’ll cover in part 3) won’t matter if you’re pointed in the wrong direction from the very beginning.

So, what does that look like?

Every practice is going to be a little bit different, of course. Your individual business goals may vary depending on your market, the services you provide, what your competition is doing, and a million other factors.

That all being said, in order to help you work through your “what” questions, we’ll work through three examples of strong business goals common among many practices:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Growing specific revenue streams
  • Nurturing existing patients

Let’s break these down a little bit.

Building Brand Awareness

“Brand awareness” is more than just a buzzword, and it isn’t something that only matters to mega-corporations like Apple, Coca-Cola, or Cadillac. If you read part 1, you already know that everyone has a brand, and you’re making a huge mistake if you aren’t paying attention to how people perceive you—and attempting to influence that conversation.

Speaking of “how people perceive you,” are you minding your online reputation? (You should!)

In fact, brand awareness matters even more for local businesses and private medical practices, because they aren’t ubiquitous. You’ve got to fight to get your name and brand out there.

A marketing strategy focused on increasing brand awareness might be a good choice if you find yourself in any of the following situations:

  • You’ve just opened your practice and are looking to gain a foothold in the market
  • You’ve opened a new satellite office or changed your primary office location
  • You’ve hired a new doctor
  • You’re offering a new service or specialty
  • You’re hosting an event

You’ve just opened your practice and are
looking to gain a foothold in the market.

You’ve opened a new satellite office or
changed your primary office location

You’ve hired a new doctor

You’re offering a new service or specialty

You’re hosting an event

Remember that building a brand is also more than just increasing the total number of people who know your name and what you do, or just getting the word out about something new that you’re promoting—although that’s obviously a big part of it.

You don’t just want your brand to be known. It has to mean something.

A good brand awareness strategy should effectively:

Explain why people should pay attention to your brand. What is it that your practice does differently, or uncommonly well, that sets you apart from your competitors? What products and services do you offer that provide exceptional value?

Honor your patients and make them feel recognized, valued, and special. This not only builds trust and loyalty, but even inspires a little jealousy (the kids call it FOMO) in others. The way you treat the people who are already your patients should inspire others to join their ranks.

Establish a consistent tone and message. A great brand communicates a lot with a little, and develops strong associations. To borrow an example from the tech world, Apple might be more associated with creativity, while the Microsoft more associated with efficiency—even though both are selling devices that mostly do the same things. What is the “gut reaction” you most want your patients to have regarding your brand?

Again, we’re saving the “how” steps for part 3 of our series, but there are a lot of techniques you can use to build brand awareness.

We happen to know a thing or two about those techniques!

This includes the “basic building blocks” of digital marketing (SEO, graphic design, web content, etc.) as well as targeted campaigns (email, ads, social media contests, referral programs, partnerships with local businesses … the list goes on and on).

The specific tactics you choose will depend on many factors, not the least of which includes understanding the preferences and habits of the kinds of patients you’re most interested in pursuing. Which is a nifty segue into …

Growing Specific Revenue Streams

So the first question you might be inclined to ask is, “Why not just make revenue growth, full stop, the goal?”

Well, in the big picture that is the goal, after all. Just about everybody wants to make more money. But it’s a little too broad to be useful as a standalone target.

Narrowing your focus will make it much easier to implement an effective strategy—which in turn provides exactly what you were looking for in the first place: revenue growth.

Let’s take heel pain as an example.

If your practice is like many others around the country, you probably see a broad spectrum of patients with different kinds of foot problems. Some people come to you with foot pain. Others have ingrown toenails. A few sports injuries. Probably a lot of diabetic foot concerns.

But maybe you’d really like to be spending a greater percentage of your time treating heel pain. In short, this is the specific revenue stream you’d like to focus on growing. These are your “perfect patients”—the ones you really want to fight for.

There could be several excellent reasons why you might choose to focus on heel pain, but they should include at least these three:

Create a Guide/Roadmap to Your Successful Outcome

  • Heel pain patients and treatments return a higher-than-average profit compared to other services at your practice.
  • Patient outcomes after heel pain treatments at your practice have been exceptional. In short: you are good at treating heel pain, with very high patient satisfaction rates.
  • The doctors at your practice simply enjoy treating heel pain more than most other services.

Once you’ve determined that heel pain (or any other service) is the revenue stream you want to focus on, you’ll need to do some deep digging to figure out what questions you need to answer, and what materials you need to have, in order to effectively target this segment of potential patients.

Some things to consider:

  • Take a look at the heel pain patients you already have. Why are they coming to your door? What is motivating them? What are their top concerns? How did they find out about you in the first place? The more in touch you are with where these patients are coming from, the better able you’ll be to target others like them with your marketing strategy.
  • Do you have testimonials from these patients? If not, get some!
  • List out the services you offer that bring in the best heel pain patients. Orthotics? Laser treatment? Physical therapy? These need to be focus areas for your strategy.
  • Do you have systems and processes in place for treating these ideal patients? Does your entire staff have a plan to increase your PVV when working with these types of services? Do they know which ancillary services or products to recommend that produce the best results? Is everyone on the same page?

One very important final point here: You might have glossed over that bullet point about enjoying heel pain patients, but it’s arguably the most important one.

Regardless of what makes you the most money, you really have to want to see the patients you’re targeting. If you aren’t enjoying it, your patients will notice. It will be obvious. You can’t hide it—at least not forever. And sooner or later it will start to have a negative impact on your brand and your patient loyalty.

Which leads us to …

Nurturing Your Existing Patients

Making your patients happy—and keeping them that way—is probably the single most powerful marketing tool at your disposal.

Just about everyone knows that it’s much easier and cheaper to keep an existing patient than to attract a new one. That’s 100 percent true—even the best marketing campaigns only close a fraction of the qualified leads they generate, while keeping someone happy and in the fold requires a much lower investment of time and resources.

But even more importantly, a delighted patient is someone who is much more inclined to sing your praises and refer family and friends to your practice. Or in other words, they will do your marketing FOR you, for FREE.

What could be better?

The thing is, though, that driving patient satisfaction isn’t just a simple matter of providing effective treatment. That really is the bare minimum—and to be consistently delighted, to the point that they’ll recommend others, patients require a lot more.

Fortunately for you, there are strategic ways to maximize patient happiness and make sure they “feel the love.” Often it’s a simple matter of mindset.

Consider some of the following strategies:

  • Send personalized cards and notes to your patients. (Much of this can be automated using database and email marketing software!)
  • Keep the office clean and smelling nice, and the coffee and snacks in the waiting room stocked. First impressions are so important, and a well-maintained, comfortable environment makes a huge impression—even if subconsciously.
  • Make sure you and your staff work hard to recognize and remember returning patients and make your interactions personal. Ask them about their family. Follow up on conversations from last time. Patients need to know that you care about them personally and don’t just see them as a chance to make more money.
  • Keep your conversations about them, not you. It’s okay if they ask you questions about your own life—and you can answer humbly and honestly (while avoiding controversial topics, of course). But always try to steer the conversation back toward the patient—after all, understanding who they are and where they’re coming from will help you provide better care.
  • Don’t interrupt your patients, ever, unless you really have no other choice. But be ready to follow up immediately to educate them about their concerns. And unless the patient has demonstrated a higher level of interest in the technical details (for example, they’re also a doctor), always keep it in laymen’s terms. Never try to impress them with fancy language or jargon—they’ll only find it frustrating, and it will get in the way of them understanding their problem and the next steps they need to take.

Always do what you say you’re going to do. If you tell a patient you’ll be calling them tomorrow, you’d better call them tomorrow. Anything less will be fatal to your brand, reputation, and loyalty.

Don’t Miss Part 3!

To recap, hopefully you now have a great understanding of (A) why marketing strategies are so important for your practice success, and (B) what key considerations you need to take in order to make sure the strategy you’re about to build is truly aligned with your business goals.

Next time, we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting into how you can actually pull it off—so make sure you don’t miss it!

And of course, if you’re looking for an experience partner with a track record of marketing success for practices just like yours, give us a call at (833) 823-3335. Whatever you’re already doing strategically, we can help you do it better! That means more revenue, more of your perfect patients, and more time doing what you really love to do.

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