The economy may be bad, but there are several actions health practitioners can take to grow their practice and continue to make more income. This is the first of a series of articles.
It has been said that “In good times you have to market, and in bad times you have to market more.”
Some businesses today are worried about keeping their current business and getting new business. One of the biggest mistakes I see is when a business owner will try to cut back on his or her expenses for promotion and marketing.
In a downturned economy, the one thing you don’t want to cut back on is your promotion and marketing. Regardless of the temptation to cut back, you must continue to promote and advertise in order to maintain your current customers and get new clients into your practice.
Those practices which keep their competitive edge are always looking to increase their marketing and promotion actions.
Here are some marketing tips I would recommend for every massage-therapy office:
- Collect e-mail addresses from each and every person who comes in contact with the practice. Get it in person, via phone or e-mail. “Can I please have your e-mail address” should be one of the most used phrases in the office. In today’s day and age, e-mail addresses are amongst the most valuable items any business can own, and you should have a system set up in your office, so you can collect all of the e-mail addresses of your current clients (your client information forms and your computer system at the very least).
- You can then create newsletters and e-mails which offer a multitude of health tips that will help your clients do better in life. This will build up goodwill for your practice, and people will always think of you when they need health care. This could be for nutrition, exercise, wellness advice, etc. If you don’t know what to write about, ask five of your clients this question, “What is it you always wanted to know about massage, your body or what we do here?” Whatever they say, that is what you write about, because it will be interesting to everybody and they want to know about it. This is an inexpensive way to let everyone in your community know you are open for business and willing to take care of their health needs.
- Successful marketing depends on multiple advertising campaigns. There is more “advertising clutter” today than ever before. In the past you may have been able to send three mailings to a person, and that person would respond to your advertising. Today it takes between six and seven mailings to even get your prospect’s attention. Send mailings as a postcard or e-mail newsletter approximately every 21 days. Advertising experts state that this seems to be the correct interval of time to mail to potential customers, so as not to appear overbearing or neglectful of getting your message out to the public you want to reach. With this 21-day time frame, the person vaguely remembers that she got this mailing before, but can’t remember exactly when. Therefore, people don’t feel overwhelmed by the frequency of the mailings, but they remain interested enough to contact you to see how you can help them.
- Another marketing maxim—Look back over the years you’ve been in practice and find a successful promotion campaign that you did, and do it again in exactly that way. Don’t change a thing about it. If it worked before, it will work again (and again and again). The rule is if a particular piece of promotion worked well for you in the past, get it printed up exactly as you did back then. Keep the same graphics, the same colors, the same font size, everything—keep it exactly the same. You can send the same mailing piece out month after month, year after year, as long as it keeps promoting your business as you wish with the results you want. Sometimes people try to be creative and make something better, when it was the best the first time around.
- Referral programs are the best program for high-quality leads at a low cost. If you’ve ever done this in the past and it was successful, do it again, over and over. Especially now, in the times of this economy, you will want to get outstanding marketing results for a low cost. Referral programs have proven the best in this regard over the years for all practices. By referral program, we mean a word-of-mouth advertisement that your clients can use to have their friends and family come see you, so you can help them, too. Have something printed up that your clients can actually give to others. Of course, do everything you can to give the friendliest, highest-quality care your practice can give, so your clients will tell others how wonderful you are. Although word-of-mouth is the most valuable and effective form of promotion and marketing, it must be supported by outstanding care and service.
No matter what you hear, money is never the issue once a person has had enough pain and stress, and he or she will always show up at your office for help. But the secret is they have to know who you are, what you do and where you are located, so they can stop by. That’s where your advertising and promotion come in.
Dr. Brian Dawson was educated at Purdue University and Palmer College of Chiropractic. His interest in finance began when he found the business and administrative side of running health clinics to be a frustrating and inexact science. Now, as COO of Money Management Solutions, Dr. Dawson is involved in helping chiropractors and other health professionals from all throughout the country achieve success and get on the road to wealth and financial freedom. Money Management Solutions specializes in helping health professionals with all of their financial and marketing needs, including Internet marketing and Web sites. For more information about their services, contact Dr. Brian Dawson, D.C., at (866) 755-1213 or e-mail him at COO@MoneyMgmtSolutions.com. Or visit the Web site, www.MoneyMgmtSolutions.com.
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