Those who are most progressive in their business marketing are constantly working towards attracting more people into receiving regular contact via e-newsletters etc.
Those business owners will provide tips, advice, articles, blogs and even Q&A’s in order to keep their ideal customer interested and informed.
The point is that these ideal customers are likely to be the type that, when they have a need or are ready, will remember the relationship that has been building up with that business. They are then much more likely to retrieve a previous email, pick up the phone and buy.
But it struck me today that it’s not something that I’ve generally come across in the world of Osteopathy. However, cultivating relationships with people who haven’t yet come to you for treatment can really make sense.
For instance, if your perfect patients are sportsmen, you would be providing an excellent service by attracting local footballers, tennis players and golfers onto your subscription list. Indeed, by sending out advice about injury prevention, stretches, healthy eating for optimum performance etc you would, over time, be building up a trust.
There is no bamboozling going on here or any unprofessional behaviour. But if you think about it, many of the type of perfect patients who you really excel at treating will not even know of your existence or your skills. Like many people, they will probably just assume that you only treat the ancient among us with bad backs!
So when you visit your local business office to talk ergonomics or the enthusiastic rugby team to talk about the impact of tackling on their bodies, pass round a clipboard and collect their names and email addresses. They are free to add their details or not. And they are also free to unsubscribe from subsequent email contact from you too, should they decide to. In essence you are giving them complete control over whether they allow you to be in touch or not.
All the while you will be giving them great advice about taking care of their bodies and advising them of the benefits of Osteopathic treatment. Equally, you are building awareness of your particular skills, areas of specialism and expertise.
If and when the time comes that they need your help, they are more likely to come and see you than trawl through the unknown and untrusted options found by Google.
This is a highly cost-effective way of keeping in touch with prospective and existing patients. Most importantly, it keeps you top of mind when they do have a need.
In fact, I strongly believe that these days:
MARKETING = BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS & TRUST = BUSINESS
Try the Osteobiz Inner Circle for affordable monthly help, training and support.
If you want to seriously develop your patient list then marketing MUST be a regular part of your week. A little and often is better than nothing. Indeed a one off hit of door to door leaflets is likely to cost much and produce little. We call this ‘spray and pray’ marketing because it is so ineffective.
When networking, always keep in mind that you are not selling yourself as such; you are educating potential patients on the benefits of Osteopathy and what it will give them or solve for them. For instance you can talk about reducing pain and increasing their mobility and comfort.
Today therefore, I’m challenging you to include local networking in your marketing arsenal. If you’ve been working through the modules in my Osteobiz Club, you will have worked in great detail on who your Perfect Patient is and therefore where you can find them.
Networking over a cappuccino
1. Find out when your next networking meeting will be and block out the time in your diary.
2. Go there with the focus on them and how you and osteopathy can help and benefit them. It’s not about you! Literally press their pain points!
3. Put your name badge as high up and as near to your face as possible. They are more likely to capture the image of your face and your name then. (I’ve seen some men put name badges so low that it would be rude to look!)
4. Check out other independent groups such as Jelly (or search for similar online) who offer ‘coffeeshop co-working’ which is a great way to catch up on admin, enjoy a cappuccino and network at the same time. You may find yourself some useful resources too from the self-employed community as well as some ‘desk bound’ MSK issues you can bring into your clinic to fix!
5. Always ask if they know anyone else who would benefit from osteopathy too. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Let me know how you get on!
As the train sped me towards Edinburgh last Friday, I was mesmerised by the sheer quantity of YELLOW all around. The bountiful oil seed rape flowers spread towards the horizon in every direction. Then as we shot towards Edinburgh and the terrain became much more hilly, the gorse bushes left great splodges of eggy yellow against the harsh backdrop of the craggy and grey terrain.
Edinburgh truly lived up to its hype and we found we were romanced by its history, stunning architecture and fabulous people. Dominating the sky was the castle itself which was incredibly spectacular as we gazed up at it in awe from the endless row of Princes Street shops at its foot.
On Saturday, we zipped around in each of the five open topped buses with their varying routes which sought out many superb spectacles. Enthusiastic guides excited us with incredible information and advertising discounts to be had at various sites. We hopped on and off buses all day long, scurrying about and feeling like we’d seen it all!
On the buses!
For me, Grassmarket with its tiny pubs and eateries seemed to be the true beating heart of the city. We stopped for a coffee there which was better than any I’ve tasted and in the smallest cafe I’ve ever known. From where we were sitting, we spotted some impossibly steep steps leading up to the castle.
I didn’t want to leave there but it was our last chance to hike up to Edinburgh’s famous castle and peer down on the ancient city below. It was at the halfway point that I realised that slacking off from my gym visits had not been a good idea! But hauling myself up the last set of stone slabs brought my pounding heart to a magnificent destination.
After spending some time up there we began to follow the crowd down the ancient cobbled street, marvelling at how many millions of feet must have traversed the same path over thousands of years. Very soon we came across the massive cathedral of St Giles. The stained glass windows were some of the most beautiful we’d ever seen.
It was then that I recognised a couple of landmarks and realised that several times we had passed the easy route up to the castle as it had been obscured by the impact of the cathedral architecture. Oh deep joy – NOT!
Along either side of The Royal Mile, which stretched all the way to The Palace of Holyrood House, were tiny shops set into ancient stone terraced buildings. They were almost exclusively selling tartan clothing and silly hats with ginger hair protruding beneath. Only one stood out from the crowd though. ‘Ness’ displayed jaunty clothing and natty handbags in fabulously modern and colourful checked fabric, in glorious pinks and eye-catching teal. Clever designers had clearly thrown all the rule books out of the window and created gorgeously chic and highly desirable items. Instead of dummies wearing traditional kilts and tweed jackets, they had silky shirts with minute ducks flying upside down and quirky little tartan corsages.
What this company did was break the rules by defying and twisting tradition. They thought differently and were attracting new customers because of their distinction from the rest even though they were the interlopers up against the giants of the historical traders!
How can you apply this kind of innovative thinking in your business? Does your website blend in with or emulate others in your town? Are you sticking a generic advert in the local paper every week and finding not much is happening to increase business?
As you might have gathered before, I really am not a fan of adverts and advertising! When you get one of those calls from an agent in the local paper offering you an incredible deal if you opt in now, think long and hard about how many people need to book in with you in order to pay for it. Whilst it’s good to always be ready to grab an opportunity, it’s also advisable not to make a knee jerk reaction to a silver tongued sales exec hungry for commission. As one of my Clients wisely said today, “Advertising is like peeing in a wetsuit; it gives you a warm feeling for a short time but nobody sees you have done it.”
I’m afraid that these days, those newspapers are hitting the recycling bins faster than ever before.
It’s crucial to have a range of marketing methods at your disposal and to consistently get your name in front of your target audience. Because when they have a need for an Osteopath, your name will float into their consciousness and they will search you out. If you’re not marketing persistently, you won’t even appear on their radar as an option for treating their pain.
I’ve only been back home for a few hours now but I’m still hankering after one of Ness’s cute handbags. That’s how quickly and effectively they made an impact and grabbed my attention from all the other significant action around them. I can’t remember the name of a single other shop in that Royal Mile. But, between you and me, the handbag arrives Thursday…
The other day I was chewing the cud with a colleague who is a very successful Cranial Osteopath. We were on a course and having a chat about how your Practice can stand out and get noticed.
In my own High Street, for instance, my friend and fabulous Osteopath Anne has a Clinic within a large and busy GP Practice. Her leaflets and posters are visibly on display and the doctors also refer to her. So she is solidly booked every week. People who don’t know her can see the posters etc and understand what she does.
Is your Clinic really noticeable?
However, on a busy junction of the village is a large building with a beauty salon beckoning people in. High up on the first floor there is a small sign saying ‘Osteopath’. When people are bumbling along with their shopping bags, they rarely look upwards though.
But last week this guy took action and suddenly a model of a spine appeared in the shop window. Above that in large orange striking letters stuck to the window appeared the word ‘O S T E O P A T H‘. NOW his Clinic is visible!
Back to the chat with my colleague, he was laughing about how people rarely used to notice the signage for his Clinic. Not only does he have a first floor sign, he also has a humongous sign on the side of the building! But people STILL didn’t notice that he was there.
One day he decided to try an experiment. He bought a mobile sign with his branding on it, stuck a leaflet dispenser on it and popped it beside his Clinic door. Guess what? Now that people had this sign board cropping up in their way on the pavement, they noticed. Leaflets flew out of the dispenser and bookings rocketed!
My question today is – how can your Practice get better noticed?
SCIENCE OR VOODOO? HELP THE PUBLIC DECIDE!
Hunting around on YouTube one day for any videos highlighting Osteopathy, I happened across a fabulous example of explaining Cranial Osteopathy. A highly skilled and experienced Osteopath showed how she gently treated unsettled babies in the weeks after their traumatic birth. I was struck by the straight-forward delivery, the explanations and the exhausted parents sharing their delight at ‘taking a new baby home’ after treatment.
However, the shocker was the appalling comments which appeared beneath this fabulous video. I was horrified to see some laymen damning this treatment not as science but as voodoo! Some even said Trading Standards should be brought in to stop Osteopaths from taking people’s hard earned money off them!!
My blood was boiling – as yours probably is too! Somehow, this profession has totally failed to educate the public on the amazing benefits to everyone that Osteopathic treatment represents.
This was one of the catalysts for starting up my Osteobiz Club. I felt there was nobody championing the amazing work you do. Everyone knows what a Physiotherapist does but ask them what an Osteopath does and their eyes glaze over and they shrug their shoulders.
So my challenge to you this week is, how can you get greater awareness in your community of what you actually do? Because, unfortunately, you have the curse of knowledge. By this I mean that because you know your subject inside out, you forget what it’s like not to understand the basic concepts of Osteopathic treatment. But the man in the street will have little or no idea, other than the fleeting thought that you treat backs.
For instance, can you look again at your website and read your description of what you do and imagine not knowing the slightest thing about the subject. Is it clear? Does it speak directly to those you are targeting?
It seems to me that nobody is really championing the amazing work of Osteopaths and so the only way to increase awareness is for us to work together in helping the public to keep you top of mind when their body is in pain.
It is criminal that your finely honed skills are still being classed as voodoo. Isn’t it time we changed that?