Facebook Ads, what an easy way to get more patients huh? Bung some money at it, stick a pic on it, Bob’s your Uncle and…
Ahhhh – but wait..
Everyone’s doing it these days. You missed the boat didn’t you? So busy sitting out the back and wringing your hands because bookings were sh… ummm I mean… rubbish.
LIfe’s changed buddy. Things ain’t what they used to be. Tech and social media is moving on so fast it makes your eyes water/bleed/fillintheblank
The only thing that’s changing is that these things are going to continue RAPIDLY changing. And you’d better get with the programme buddy!
OK – sorry – I’m getting a bit “down with the kids” but honestly, we’re all going to have to keep up with the reality around us. Even our language isn’t the same as 25 years ago! Blogs? Posts? Social Media? Reach? Insights?
It’s no good burying our heads in the sand. Social media is MAHOOSIVE and it’s here to stay. More than that it will continue to rapidly grow, in my opinion, and evolve into an ever more integral part of our lives.
Are Facebook Ads for you?
So there’s every Tom, Dick and Harriet telling you that you NEED to get au fait with Facebook Ads and it’s the EASY way to get to your target market. They tell you they’ll get you new LEADS for a few coins. Yes it’s all wonderful in Facebook Ads land.
Well yes and no.
Sometimes it’s a useful tool, IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING, YOU HAVE A STRATEGY AND YOU HAVE THE TIME TO TEST, TEST, TEST!
Most Osteos I’ve seen dabbling with this have got their fingers burnt and, similar to Google Ads and the like have found it a costly business with little return on investment to show for it.
Why doesn’t it generally work for Osteopaths?
Personally, I think (at the moment) online Facebook Ads etc don’t usually work for you because you’re dealing with people’s health. And maybe because you’re breaching etiquette.
Frankly, it’s like proposing marriage on the first date! Most will find this a little forward or even freaky…
I kid you not. A Facebook Ad is, if properly targeted, appearing in your potential patient’s news feed. Imagine for a moment if a Bereavement Counsellor popped a Facebook Ad in front of you. Or a Dentist. Or a Funeral Director. Would you click and buy? Would you? On the first occasion you even heard of them?
I think not.
You need to see their Facebook page and their website. You need to see WHO is behind this page and what they stand for. You need to LIKE who they are and what they stand for. Most of all you need to TRUST that they are right for you and for the task you need them to fulfil. All this before you hand over a single penny.
You are highly unlikely to click and buy on the first occasion you see them in your news feed.
And that is why, without very keen long term goals, Facebook Ads probably won’t work for you.
Added to that, as you’ve probably heard, space in our news feeds is getting tighter as more people jostle for our attention.
Apart from family and friends, there’s the local butcher’s page we liked and the local running club along with the bike repair shop. They post some useful and interesting stuff. We like seeing it and interacting with it.
But we keep getting more friends and we keep liking more pages and then there’s the companies targeting us – Facebook is running out of space. And this is presenting a problem.
So if not Facebook Ads then what?
Crucially, I believe that you need to curate a very interesting page of content. Now that sounds both scary and flipping time consuming. But you can do it and you can create superb pages which your local population find interesting and love to connect with because you have something useful to say and share.
Best of all – you can do all that for ZILCH, FREE OR FOR PRACTICALLY NOWT!
That way you’re creating relationships with potential patients, demonstrating your expertise and sharing great information with them so that WHEN THEY ARE READY, they will come to you.
Bunging money at Facebook Ads (or anywhere else) is not the magic formula to building a cracking Practice.
Well thought through strategies and implementation of them are the keys to long lasting success.
I’ve done it from a standing start with just a crazy idea and a bag full of passion. A massive number of my Clients have done it from a place of little or no understanding of marketing.
And I believe that you can too.
During February we’ll be sharing the OSTEOBIZ LURVE on social media!
My new online club Osteobiz Mastery will give you low cost training and solutions to more patients, income and success. One baby step at a time.
Find out more here and I hope to begin helping you today!
When running a successful Practice, keeping a close eye on costs is vital. There are always those invidious leaks which mean that you could inadvertently be hemorrhaging money!
Whilst it’s common to be forward-facing and focusing on the next new patient, it’s also crucial to take a look within your Osteobiz and look for where there are savings to be made
Stopping your Osteobiz from hemorrhaging money could make you more profitable!
Let’s take a look at areas to check out:
What monthly subscriptions to you have in place?
Are you subscribed to a networking group but never attend?
Are you subscribed to a business magazine or club but don’t use it?
Are you subscribed to online/local directories but they never yield patients?
HINT: Cancel all unnecessary subscriptions
Are you in a contract for any equipment?
Do you only use one supplier for regular supplies?
Have you checked utility suppliers and deals lately?
HINT: list all your regular suppliers and check if you could get better deals elsewhere or renegotiate current contracts
Are you spending huge sums on leaflet printing and delivery?
Do you place a regular local advert?
Do you shell out eye-watering amounts of cash for Google Adwords or Facebook Ads?
Do you pay for website management or digital marketing companies?
HINT: Check to see it it’s actually producing results or if you could stop hemorrhaging money and save a fortune! (There are much more effective ways to market yourself at a fraction of the cost.)
So the key message here is – don’t just throw your hard earned cash at it and hope for the best!
Everything you pay for or invest in needs to be bringing you results and a return on investment. When a salesman pressures you for a sale, don’t be pushed into a contract without having adequate time to mull over the pros and cons. If you haven’t budgeted for their sort of scheme don’t be drawn in by their urgent deal deadlines! There’s often easy ways for you to create the same results without wasting money on expensive and unreliable advertising schemes.
Build and manage your own website – it’s much easier than you think. (If you don’t have a WordPress website then this is a priority)
Get your own search engine optimisation sorted – piece of cake! (If I can do it, so can you!)
Do your own social media marketing – but first understand exactly what your message is! (Most don’t know what it is!)
Year end is a great time to take a magnifying glass to your Osteobiz and check you are not hemorrhaging money in multiple ways. That way you will be running a tighter ship, saving yourself a fortune and becoming far more profitable!
Whatever you do, don’t just throw money at a problem and then assume it’s fixed. I see people getting royally ripped off every day with no results to be shown for their investment!
This is an important exercise for anyone in business, so do block out some time to go looking for the money drains in your Osteobiz. Have fun with it and add up just how much you’ve saved! Do let me know – I’d be fascinated to hear!
And if you’re ever feeling stuck, you know exactly where I am don’t you?
OSTEOBIZ SUCCESS FORMULA – doors close Friday 31 March and won’t reopen until September!
Is this the year your Osteobiz finally flies? I have the exact formula which time and again has propelled struggling Osteopaths towards success.
Many had no idea about the different elements of running a small business. Many didn’t know what on earth to do to continually attract new patients. Many didn’t know HOW to get their message across to potential patients or even what their message was.
Well it’s all different now! Very quickly they created the changes needed, implemented new strategies and increased bookings dramatically. They now know how to maintain that flow of patients and how to become an essential service within their community.
If you’d love to come on this exciting journey with me, find out more here and I’d love to welcome you into our new Facebook forum where we’re just getting started.
As your dedicated Business Coach, I always have my ear to the ground to find out what is going on and which information you should be made aware of. This week more scams came onto my radar! So I want to share what I have found out so that you can protect yourself and your bank balance from some very crafty fraudsters.
The Pharmacy Paper Bag Scams
This is one I’ve heard of a few times. Someone calls you from a fake printers and explains that you can advertise on a local Pharmacist’s prescription bags. The tend to be rather pushy and keen to get you signed up but beware! Typically, there is no such printer or at least the caller is not from this company. Surprisingly, even though you sign up, you don’t seem to be getting any new patients from the local Pharmacy…
The Doctor’s Appointment Card Scams
In the same way, an approach will be made supposedly from a local printers who want you to commit to advertising on local GP’s appointment cards. Multiple calls may be made to press you into committing to these adverts. It seems like a great idea eh? It’s local, it’s targeting people who are probably ideal new patients too. You pay the money and weeks later you call the Doctors’ Surgery to find out when the cards will be delivered only to discover they know nothing about it…
The Neighbourhood Watch Magazine Scams
This is one which fortunately a Client came to me for advice on. I fear she would have been the subject of a major scam otherwise. As usual the caller was pushy and called several times, keeping the pressure up. Saying that he was part of the local police force and that he had got her number from the local authority, he quickly attempted to sound reassuringly legitimate.
He used scarcity and urgency tactics to get her to agree to an advert in the local Neighbourhood Watch Magazine. It seemed like a fairly good prospect for £200 investment and besides, she really wanted to get her patient numbers up. She was told that the offer would be limited to only one local Osteopath and so she felt the pressure to sign up before another one got the spot! She asked for a website which was eventually given. She also asked about the contract and was told the phone call would be recorded, making that a binding verbal contract. All they needed were her credit card details and the deal was done…
What’s really going on?
What these scams are all about is getting their hands on your credit or bank card details. I do know that some Osteopaths have been so convinced of the offer being made that they have lost several hundred pounds. Remember they may say there is a verbal contract, they may send you to a website, they may promise you the world BUT what they are really doing is getting your credit card number, expiry date, numbers from your postcode and most importantly the three digit security code from the back of your card. And that’s it – a licence to print money! They may tell you that it’s only £200 but in reality when they pop your card into a card reader, they can put £2,000 if they wish. And if your bank account has a healthy balance then they will literally swipe it all!
How do you protect yourself from scams?
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Listen well to your gut which will probably be screaming at you. If they send you to a website does it ACTUALLY tie up with what they’re saying? The link given to the lady in the magazine scam did lead to a police website but it was unrelated to the things they were talking about. So it was a red herring. Do your research from your end back to them. Does it add up?
Ring the local Doctor or Pharmacist and check that he is indeed looking for a suitable partner to sponsor his cards or bags.
In the magazine case, I smelled a rat, so I contacted a local mate who’s a police inspector and active in the community. He had also never heard of such magazines which set my alarm bells into overdrive! Thankfully my young friend had the foresight to run the idea past me and her money is still safe. Indeed we’re working together to build her patient list in a sustainable, cost effective and strategic manner. I can’t wait to watch her fly!
The Drug Rehab Centre Scam
If anything, this one is worse because rather than preying on your for your money, it is preying on vulnerable people with drug or addiction issues. Here’s the letter which Matt Devenport shared on Facebook and which I am sharing here so that you can see what they’re saying.
Matt posted, “Just had this letter arrive through the post from Narconon, an alleged rehab and treatment centre that has just opened a centre in East Sussex.
Narconon are a front for the Church of Scientology which, and it should go without saying, are a nasty group. They prey on vulnerable people to indoctrinate and brainwash into their cult so if you have any patients in need of drug rehab services then please please please AVOID NARCONON”
Be careful where you invest your money!
So if you have been the victim of a scam or were nearly duped, please do add a comment and share your experience so that more of us are aware of the cons which might put other Osteopaths at risk of losing their hard earned money.
I’m not generally an advocate of advertising anyway. Sometimes, if it is targeted very carefully to the exact people you want to attract it may well be worthwhile. For instance if you want to attract more senior patients, then a very specifically worded advert in the local church magazine may work perfectly for you.
Otherwise, nothing beats some good old marketing strategies which build relationships with the very people you want to treat. This is exactly how I have gone from start up with no Clients over two years ago to a thriving business with Clients around the globe. I now have a toolkit of great strategies which are proven to work!
Once you know what you’re doing, you simply rinse and repeat and watch those patient numbers grow organically and with that your reputation as an invaluable Osteopath in your community also grows.
If you’d like to learn some strategies for easily building your patient list in your community, why not join us in the Osteobiz High Viz online course?
It’s a four week Summer Bootcamp geared to marketing without social media and we’re already making great progress.
I would love to welcome you into our international group!
Milan Cathedral witnessing this quiet football event!
Every year the Old Boy takes me off to the football final of the Champions’ League. Last year we went to Berlin and had a blast! This year we went to Milan in Italy for a much needed five day break. The final was to be on Saturday and we arrived on Thursday to settle ourselves in.
We had booked a most wonderful apartment right in the centre of Milan and quickly found a local supermarket, superb bakery and a choice of several local pizzeria ristorantes!
On Friday we donned our walking shoes and headed off to Duomo to the famous square with the massive and intricately ornate cathedral. This was the Fan Zone where all the pre-match excitement would be. As we made our way there, I noticed that there was no signage at all to direct the Spanish fans of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid towards this event.
Fan Zone – the non-event!
In fact, in walking through the beautiful Covent Garden-like shopping area, we actually stumbled across the Fan Zone rather than being directed towards it. Some of the familiar side shows were there and a large stage with a couple of guys shouting at the small group of fans lurking there. To be honest it was quite a let down.
Our apartment host had briefed us thoroughly with places to go and where to find everything. He stressed that the area of Garibaldi (which turned out to be not just a tasty biscuit) was the hub of young fun, bars and eateries. Well then, we had to go there and suss it all out!
However, on the day of the match we marched off to Garibaldi and found a place not unlike the dead City of London on a Sunday. Massive tower blocks rose from the concrete and incredible glass and steel architecture glistened in the bright sunshine. A few people wondered about, some enjoying a quiet coffee and some inspecting the wares of a couple of retailers. Some even set up musical corners where they practiced dance routines reflecting their gorgeousness in the glass walls of their outdoor studio.
There was a couple of box-shaped hoardings in the centre of a modern square which mentioned the Champions’ League Final but there was nobody there promoting it or providing any entertainment related to it.
Missed opportunities at a massive sporting event!
The Old Boy loves to attend these things as there is usually a great atmosphere of friendly rivalry and he likes to wear a branded football shirt to show his temporary support – snap him in half and it would still read CHELSEA like a stick of seaside rock!
He likes to scout the area for a great place to eat and watch the match but we had no luck at all in finding anywhere suitable despite hours of traipsing around. We looked in the piazzas, restaurant filled streets and everywhere in between. There were no colours, no bunting, no billboards, no a-boards, no signage, no posters, no adverts, no flags, no notices, nothing at all to encourage us to frequent a particular eatery for an evening of reverie.
In Berlin last year, there was massive excitement and in the square we were staying on, the restaurants were all vying for our attention to get their tables full for the match. Cables were taped to the floor and huge TVs were brought outside so that we could eat, drink and whoop at the goals and commiserate with the near misses. There was much jocularity and hilarity with the Berliners. We had a ball!
I can’t help but see business lessons!
But in Milan, I was trying to have a break from ‘work’ and business. But the business lessons were screaming at me! Oh the lost opportunities of this one off sporting occasion! The local businesses seemed not to be excited to host this potentially huge money spinning event. They were not advertising that they had a TV set up for the match and fabulous pizzas and pastas to melt in the mouth and tickle our taste buds.
Finally the Old Boy contacted his annual buddies from these events who he met whilst at the same gig in Munich. Luckily, they were staying near us and had found a place to eat and watch the game. So we were finally sorted for the evening.
You might know that I’m a bit of a foodie. Well we arrived at the restaurant and I was introduced to Bob and the crew who were all testing the local beer and wine in readiness for kick off. We ordered pizza and a rather cheeky bottle of Verdicchio and settled in.
Looking around, I noticed that the restaurant was empty apart from us. Later four young chaps came in to quietly eat and catch up with the game. Otherwise it was dead. No atmosphere at all. Then my pizza came. Oh dear. Do no not give me tinned sliced mushrooms and cheap ham masquerading as Proscutto! Not a pleasant experience at all. Inside I got all ‘Gordon Ramsay’ and wanted to ask the owner if his Mama would approve of tinned vegetables and cheap meat! We would certainly not be going back there for more!
Indeed, we actually gave up at half time and nipped back home to put our feet up and watch the exciting finale by ourselves.
Quick Business Lessons
If there is an event, celebration or local fete in your area this summer, do make sure you are represented!
- It’s an amazing chance to raise your visibility, even if you only set up a pasting table with a cloth and demonstrate something!
- If you don’t have a team, rope in some family or friends to help you invoke some excitement
- Create some tailored leaflets to hand out which delivers a simple message about how passionate you are about helping your community back to health
- Take the opportunity to run a little fun competition to exchange email addresses for the chance to win a treatment/massage/hamper etc
- Run a simple little quiz on the names of a few bones if you can make that fun for children and families
These are the sort of things I brainstorm all the time with members of my online groups who participate in my private Facebook forums they belong to.
If you could do with some fresh ideas and somewhere safe to learn how to grow your Practice, why not try out my Osteobiz Inner Circle and get started on some business lessons for only a few quid per month?
The Old Boy just phoned me to ask what I needed from the supermarket as we’ve come home to an empty fridge.
“Pizza?” I suggested with a wry smile…
Marketing can tend to take a back seat in our daily business plan; it can be so easily left for another day. However, if you went to the gym once a fortnight, would you see much of a change in your fitness and physique? If you popped in once a day and did two minutes just on the tread mill, would you achieve great results?
When marketing isn’t working, it is often down to the level of effort being made or the lack of suitable substance. Because, for many of us on social media, the news feed element spins past at an incredible rate. Therefore a one off post here and there a couple of times a month will be missed by most people. That’s when we begin to think “it’s just not working for me”.
Marketing and advertising are different
These days most adverts just don’t work because they’re too general. But for the person placing the advertisement in the local paper, it seems like he’s spent his money wisely and he can forget about his marketing for a while.
But when we look at return on the investment we’ve made, we may be sorely disappointed. And the same goes for random leaflet drops too. How many times do we keep one of the hundreds of leaflets which drop through our door with alarming regularity? My recycling bag is full of them.
So social media marketing is like going to the gym. We need to know exactly where our clients hang out for a start, then we need to go there regularly and interact with them. We need to try the cross-trainer, the stepper machine, the tread mill and the bike! Different posts for different media, using the language that connects with our audience.
Go ahead and press their pain points!
The best part about social media is that it’s FREE! All it requires is some effort on our part. Thinking about the kind of people we want to attract, what issues do they tend to have in common? What worries them? What keeps them awake at night? What problems do you resolve over and over again? What questions do you get asked all the time? How can you enunciate that so that your audience easily understands?
As one highly successful Osteopath commented to me, “Social media is an invaluable free tool for our marketing plan.” How marvellous that, for once, your investment is time and energy but not money!
And whatever you think is enough posting per day – double it!
It’s almost impossible to post too much. But mix it up and make it either interesting, informative or light-hearted. In fact, most people will only see your posts in their actual news feed rather than decide to go and look at your whole page! However, if they do come by to look at your posts, is there a nice mix of images, articles, blog posts and advice? And most of the time are you adding a link back to the relevant page on your website so that they can go there quickly?
Remember that the clue is in the name: ‘social’ media. Ask yourself, will your audience really be fascinated by skeletons, medical terminology and images of muscles with no skin on? You should see my Facebook Business Coaching for Osteopaths news feed some days!
Finally then, like the gym, there needs to be a variety of activity. It needs to be consistent and persistent to achieve the desired results. And, as you might expect, there are unlikely to be significant results for three to six months of dedicated effort. So keep going!
I made this meme for my fabulous Clients!
As I coach my Osteopath clients in ways to attract more Perfect Patients I often recommend deploying ethical bribes, memes and e-zines or e-newsletters.
Many have no idea what I’m talking about! In fact, about 18 months ago I would have looked at you blankly too! Indeed, my own Osteopath calls me a marketing hoover because I’m constantly searching out and learning new techniques to use in my own business and in yours!
Online marketing has well and truly shoved physical advertising right out of the window. I hear time and again that Osteopaths have advertised fruitlessly in expensive publications. To be honest, that money is better off invested in learning how to target your market online.
Once you’ve got a grip on these skills, you only need to keep active by posting regularly to reap the rewards.
Why marketing is different now
In the beginning there was no communication whatsoever with your patient list. More recently, the occasional letter might be sent out in the mail but at great expense too.
But now with the advent of social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter, it is easier to identify where your potential patients hang out. This is the next best and most cost effective strategy after referrals from current patients, which of course are free.
Once you know what you’re doing, the only cost is your time, or that of an employee or virtual assistant, to maintain your online presence. And even that can be automated.
Here’s an example of my ethical bribe ’19 Essential Tips To Increase Your Patient List’ which is what you probably signed up to receive when you visited this website. It is really easy to compile a little e-book and add it into your website.
Think about your Perfect Patient and what kind of tips or advice might be of real interest to them. Do they need warm up exercises, tips for soothing a fractious infant, how to prevent damage to tendons or 3 delicious smoothie recipes for sparkling health?
Once they have signed up to receive your ethical bribe, or ‘freebies’ as they are also known, they will be automatically added to your email list so that you can continue to keep in touch. And of course, because you are using a proper online e-newsletter programme, people have the automatic legal right to unsubscribe should they wish to do so. We should never be emailing our list from a personal email address.
These days your list is not only your current and past patients. You now have some potential patients and, in getting to know you gradually and understanding the myriad ways you might be helpful to them, their trust in you and your skills will grow.
Memes are easy to create
What on earth are Memes?
Memes are great little pieces of marketing! They are pictures and/or text which are eye-catching and easily shared. This one here is an example of a meme which I created very easily and at no cost! I use them regularly in my online marketing. If you make them stunning, funny or engaging people will share them around. So always add in your website address too which will promote you and give ownership of that design to you.
E-zines or e-newsletters
These are online versions of magazines and newsletters which are a great marketing tool. So many times I hear from clients, “I’ve been reading your e-newsletters for many months now and I’ve finally decided to get your help to build my business.”
I believe that it is vital to keep in touch with your patient list. I also believe in a ‘give to get’ mentality. So drop them a line regularly on a well-designed e-newsletter (you can get my training here) and give them useful tips and information which they will appreciate and value.
Introduce a new member of the team or show them a picture of the newly decorated clinic. Keep it light and add in personality.
And in all your marketing, don’t forget ~ people buy people!