You want your practice to grow. You already know you need more patients for this to happen. How do you attract those potential patients and get them to convert to making actual appointments? Through your marketing. But successful marketing is never as simple as just putting up flyers or hosting a Facebook page. That alone won’t help you see the increasing numbers and return on investment that you’re looking for. In fact, traditional marketing isn’t effective at all when it comes to marketing a podiatric practice. That’s where the Top Practices approach and our marketing campaigns come in.
The Right Way to Approach Marketing a Podiatric Practice
The problem with traditional marketing is that people are too distracted, too busy, and too overwhelmed with their own concerns and daily lives to pay attention to what you have to say. Unless you are talking about something that already interests them—that speaks to the concerns that are already consuming their minds—people will ignore you. That is why Top Practices uses the informational marketing approach for podiatry practices.
The goal of informational marketing is to get the attention of the patients you are trying to attract by building all of your marketing around speaking directly to their worries, concerns, issues, and problems. That way potential patients notice you and take the actions you’re recommending. These calls to action should always be either:
- Call your office for an appointment, or
- Request a copy of your free book for more information.
When someone calls for an appointment, great! They are in your office. It’s this second goal, the free book, that starts the 18-step campaign.
Why Campaigns Matter
When potential patients “raise their hands” to request your information, they are identifying themselves. You now know who they are. You receive their contact information and, in return, send them the highly valuable offer they requested: your book. However, it takes people time to go through the decision-making process. Just sending a single book will not convert potential patients into appointments in significantly increasingly higher numbers. It takes time for people to move from requesting the book to coming into your office.
At Top Practices, we have found that just responding to the initial request with a book has roughly an 8-12% return after eight months. However, following up after the initial request with repeated contact over time—an educational, non-sales-y communication campaign—people respond and convert in increasingly higher numbers. Often higher than 20% and in time it can climb much higher. This is the Top Practices 18-step campaign.
Following the 18 Steps
This makes sense if you think about it. As time goes on and potential patients continue to deal with their pain, they are reminded again and again that you are available with real, valuable information about their conditions. You’ve continued to stay connected to them as their pain doesn’t go away or even gets worse. You are the obvious choice for them when they finally get around to doing something about the problem. You’re the only one who has engaged them in this way.
At Top Practices, we use 18 steps to engage these potential patients over time. This isn’t some magical number, but we have found it’s the best way for our program to keep in touch over the decision-making period. The campaign begins with the initial contact when you receive someone’s information and provide them with a book. You then follow up with “marketing touches”—touching them with marketing in some way through an automated marketing database. Our 18-step process starts with four touches in the first month, and then spreads them out slightly as time goes on.
First, the requestor receives an instant e-mail thanking them for the request. A short while later, the actual book is sent out with a cover letter. Roughly a week later, they receive a follow-up e-mail checking in to make sure they got their book. The last week of the month they receive a letter in the mail offering additional information about their foot care. The campaign continues on for several months, reach out both electronically and through the postal mail regularly. The items in the mail aren’t all letters, either. They can include postcards, free CDs, a transcription of the CD, and so on.
These multiple modalities allow you to meet people “where they are.”
The Great Secret to Informational Marketing
People consume information and marketing differently. Some prefer electronic mediums. Mail may get tossed out, but they will read their e-mails and click through interesting offers. Others ignore their e-mails but open all their letters. Some are auditory and will pop on a CD in their car, while others would rather read something in front of them. By engaging multiple mediums, the campaign is able to reach a wide variety of people as they make the journey from expressing interest to actually deciding to seek help.
That really is the whole purpose of having this slow-drip campaign with multiple modalities. This is the great secret of informational marketing. Following through is when you see your numbers go up and your return on investment drastically rise. The best part is that you don’t have to move forward blindly, either. If you’re interested in learning more or getting started on one of our 18-step campaigns, just contact us at [email protected].