There can sometimes be a disconnect for Osteopaths trying to engage online with potential patients. They can be tempted to put on a fake ‘professional’ persona. There is the idea that our own true personality should be somewhat hidden or dumbed down and a more polished and bland version of ourselves presented to our public.
The trouble is that the average Joe can sniff out fakery in an instant! He has a BS radar which is finely tuned.
Be true to your potential patients
When you’re meeting potential patients at a networking event, for instance, you are interacting one to one. You are looking into each others’ eyes, sussing each other out and getting your point across about Osteopathy in an engaging manner.
But here’s the problem; when you’re marketing online, there is this assumption that you’re marketing to the entire world! It can feel like you’re broadcasting your message out into the ether to a gazillion people. What if they’re all looking down at you and judging you? What if they’re wondering who on earth do you think you are?
However, I like to look at online and social media marketing in a very different way.
You are only ever talking to your next potential patient – just the one! So you must be your own wonderful and colourful self just as you are in the real world.
Take off the fake professional veneer and show your passion for your work. Tell us why you love what you do. Share exactly how you can help us. Don’t be coy and hide your beautiful self or your vital message.
People buy people!
There will be a lot of eye rolling from my regular Osteos who hear me spout this over and over – but it’s so true! Potential patients need to see your face and hear or read your words to enable them to decide whether or not to trust you enough to book their poor old bodies in for a new kind of treatment.
More than that, potential patients are not actually looking for Osteopathy. (Shock horror!) They are looking for a solution to their pain; simple as that. So if you’re talking online only about where you studied or listing conditions the regulatory bodies say you are ‘allowed’ to treat you are missing the point.
Similarly, you don’t necessarily want a business development coach; you just want a full diary of patients who value what you do. It might just be that it eventually becomes apparent that to get the latter, you might benefit from harnessing the former.
So it is vital to get a strong message of hope out to your potential patients that you may well be able to help them back to health. And if your words are said with warmth and with integrity you will more likely be successful in connecting with your next potential patient who is in pain.
Naturally, in my work and my regular recommendations to friends, I’m searching for and looking at one Osteobiz website after another.
Unfortunately, there are far too many which leave me cold and a bit sad!
Let me explain.
Your website is your SHOP WINDOW to the world!
It is your online showroom; it allows a virtual visitor to peek in and see what you’re all about.
But what do they invariably find – if they find it at all?
Often it’s old and out of date.
It probably has no images at all. There’s none of the actual fabulous, friendly, amazzzzing Osteopaths; nor even one of the relaxing treatment room…
It doesn’t help them to understand that they are in the right place.
It doesn’t offer the benefits of Osteopathy or solutions to the problem they’ve popped by to investigate answers for.
The language isn’t straight-forward and is more likely to require the use of a dictionary to fathom the meaning.
And you only had 5 seconds to get your point across before they went back to their search results to try somewhere else…
You’ve then lost that potential patient faster than you can say musculoskeletal!
And you didn’t even know it happened.
What can you do about a tired old Osteobiz website and stop it damaging your business?
Check it’s a WordPress website first of all which will ensure that search engines can actually find it in a general search
Find out if is optimised for the search engines, including each and every page and blog post (yes – you might be found via a blog post!)
Get rid of all lists of ‘conditions’ treated and medical jargon and replace with simple language and explanation.
Add smiling close up images of the team. What do I always say? PEOPLE buy PEOPLE; not unfathomable logos and branding!
Create an engaging and informative blog and add to it at regular intervals
If your Osteobiz website is not cutting the mustard then you can easily and very cost effectively create your own. Oh yes – if I can, you can! My online website buddy is Naomi Gilmour – find out more here or contact her about a bespoke Osteobiz website.
Bottom line – your website is not about you at all really – it’s about your potential new patients! Follow along with my tutorial which takes you step by step through the checks you can make and what you can do to improve it. Find it here in my shop for just a tenner!
Your website needs to be tinkered with and nurtured on a regular basis. One that was created years ago and thrown out into the ether never to be touched again is of little use to you. It may well end up floating around like a bit of old rocket ship in the stratosphere.
Indeed, for any business to avoid decline and instead to grow, it needs a certain level of investment. Be that coaching, clinic revamp, extra skills or a decent website; it’s important to set aside an annual budget for growth.
Did you know that there are 50,000 new websites launched daily and 2.9 billion searches made every day too? Google doesn’t need or want to pull up old or seemingly abandoned websites! There’s plenty of better and more current results they can offer the curious and enquiring mind…
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.
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.
Your website copy could be directly related to how fully booked you are! But writing text which resonates with your potential patients is no mean feat! It’s far easier to write about what you do know for a fact. Some fill up the pages with huge paragraphs all about them, their training and a dull list of conditions they’re ‘allowed’ by the authorities to say they treat.
The trouble with that is twofold. First, that website copy is going to be as dry as your Grandma’s elbow and secondly, it’s not taking into account the needs of the reader.
You see a person who’s ended up on your website will have arrived because of a need they have. They will have a problem and they are looking for a solution. Now if your website copy does not offer any solutions, I must break it to you that within 5 seconds they will have given up on you, reverted to their search results and tried somewhere else! Not really what you expected huh? Goodbye potential new patient!
Why does your website copy matter?
Imagine: it’s late at night and you have a raging toothache. Having recently moved to a new area you’re online and urgently hunting for a new Dentist. You’ve landed on the website of the nearest chap. There are no images so you don’t know what the place looks like let alone what he looks like. After all he is going to be closer to your face than you’d allow most strangers and rather intimate with your mouth too! You start feeling slightly uneasy.
There’s a long boring list of his qualifications and you begin trudging through huge swathes of small text. He rambles on about how many parking spaces he has, and lists his CPD courses and then lists what he treats. You yawn and the pain in your mouth flashes hotter but you’re just not sure about who this chap is. You don’t know whether he’s any good or even if you can trust him to do a competent job. There’s no testimonials or reviews and nothing to hook you into booking. Indeed it’s 11pm and he only has a mobile number to call to book in. Well you can’t ring that at this time of night can you?
Frustrated, you give in and return to your search results. The next dentist is quite a bit further away but you click on the link anyway to check it out.
Landing on this website, you immediately see a smiling fellow and a bright headline ‘Nervous of Dentists? We specialise in gentle dentistry!’ As the pain begins to shoot up into your tired brain, you start thinking this is more like it. There on the right some rolling testimonials catch your attention. Many people happily confirm how careful he is in treating those who are shy of getting their toothache sorted.
Looking around, there’s colourful images on his pages of pearly whites smiling happily at you and website copy which is crisp and engaging. He asks you questions which gets you surreptitiously nodding your head. He reassures you some more that you are in the right place and then encourages you to click the online booking button. Before you know it, you have an appointment for tomorrow morning. Imagine the relief that you can already trust that you will be well looked after by the friendly looking Dentist.
Keep on tweaking your website copy!
Regularly visit your own website – it’s your online baby so keep nurturing it! Make friends with it, learn how to update it if you don’t already. Tighten up the copy. Keep the sentences fairly short. Break up paragraphs into bite-sized chunks which are easier for the speed reader to digest. Add headlines which resonate with your target market. Give reassurance, encourage bookings and assure them of your careful attention to their painful problems.
Most of all ensure your website projects your fabulous personality and showcases your passion for your community’s health.
I know you’re fun and sparkly in real life, so please do flash your most gorgeous smile too!
Are your marketing materials and website all about you? Or are they focused on the needs of your Perfect Patient?
I always advise my Clients to keep a book handy in Clinic, specifically for marketing. Because what you hear in Clinic can be reverse engineered and spoken back to similar types of people. Jotting down these key phrases will make your marketing materials so much stronger. They will then address the issues that this group struggles with and begin to suggest to them a possible solution.
Who are your marketing materials talking to?
So often I see bland websites with no images of the people behind the website! Then there are pages and pages of text, again with no images to spark interest for the reader. Of course there may be the obligatory image of a spine but nothing to capture the imagination!
Indeed, all your marketing materials must primarily be acknowledging and understanding the needs of the potential Patient. Asking pertinent questions that makes them nod in agreement. And the only way you can do that is to understand WHO you are talking to. For instance, you would talk very differently to a keen sportsman than you would to a mother of an unsettled baby. Their basic needs and psychologies are poles apart.
So in order to be able to successfully market your services, you need to listen very carefully in Clinic. Understand the psychology of the patients you would like to attract more of. You will undoubtedly hear the same phrases and questions asked over and over again.
Speak it back to them
When your marketing resonates with the potential Patient, it helps them to be curious to know more. What are they worried about most of all? Is it performance in sport? Is it staying mobile and fit in later years? Is it keeping baby settled and happy? The psychology of each group is vastly different. So when your marketing materials, including your website, squarely addresses their needs they will take notice.
Take a look at all your marketing materials today and check out your website pages. Do they talk all about you or do they talk directly to a specific group of people? Trying to talk to everybody at once just doesn’t work. But get specific and suddenly it starts to work and you will have that elusive synchronicity and the results you want.
We go into all of this (and much more) in greater depth in Osteobiz High Viz, my new online course. Over four weeks, I show you how to get your ‘offline’ marketing in shape so that you can do what you love most – treat more new patients!
Last October I took a deep breath and invested in a specialist platform to automate my business. Not only does it send out my emails, it also gives me detailed information. It holds my programmes and products, delivers them seamlessly, takes care of secure card payments without my involvement, installments, projected income and even allows me to have affiliate schemes with partners, if I so choose.
The point of telling you this is that my business has more than doubled since I made this bold step! When somebody in New Zealand purchases a course or product from me, they no longer have to wait until I wake up, make a cuppa and write them an email before they can begin work! It is all delivered automatically, emails are sent with their personal log in details and I sleep on oblivious. This has meant that I can always deliver top quality service and programmes which automatically release a new module every week without me even touching it. Frankly it’s a relief not to be endlessly involved in every detail. Once I’ve set it up – and I’m surprisingly good now at the techie aspects – the job is done and any purchases are dealt with automatically and the product delivered instantly.
Automation saves time and energy whilst also increasing revenue
This means that I can reach more people, serve more Clients more efficiently and deliver my courses 24/7 anywhere in the world at the touch of a button! Even the Old Boy is rather proud of my accomplishments in less than 3 years in business! I have learnt fast, kept focused, invested in my own fabulous Business Coach and taken bold steps. And when I hook up with like-minded Clients we can create a dramatic shift in their Osteobiz and get them treating more patients and increasing their income. This is largely due to the massive amount of time saved from having these systems in place. It allows me to do far more private coaching which I really love with a passion.
In the same way, those Clients who have agreed with me to automate their systems have found that their diaries get busier almost immediately. Why? Because in this modern world, people have no time and no patience!
Imagine – they come across your website at 10pm and you eloquently state how you are the perfect solution to their problems BUT they can’t book to see you! Do you think they will be bothered to hang around? No they will not! They will go back to their search engine results and have a look at someone else who has had the foresight to automate their systems and take 24 hour online bookings.
These days we book everything online, be it hair appointments, restaurants, hotels, theatres and flights across the world. So if we can’t book a simple online appointment with an Osteopath, we will soon find someone else who will accommodate us. If you are still taking phone calls, offering several appointment options, then separately emailing confirmations and cancellations policy, you are likely getting quite exhausted!
Time and again, I suggest automating systems because I KNOW that Clients who have no online booking systems are losing out on new Patients. I KNOW they are losing out on revenue and I KNOW they are monumentally frustrated at the numbers of no shows too!
My shocking revelation!
It’s very embarrassing to admit this but I am a serial DNA culprit! Head down, creating a new programme, writing a blog, spreading the word about the latest news in the Osteopathic world; I can get deep into my work in my own little world. The App ‘Stand Up’ on my phone is set for 50 minute intervals but it feels like it pings at me every five minutes! So many times my friend and Osteopath has texted me to ask me where I am! But as you can see, it’s easy to get distracted when we’re busy and so the beauty of an automated system is that texts are sent out by it and the patient is reminded. DNAs drop to zero overnight and your frustration is eliminated.
Other ways to automate
Newsletters must be dealt with by way of a system which allows people to unsubscribe so you cannot just send mass mailings from your private email address! This is worldwide legislation to protect people from spam and unwanted contact. If you automate your e-newsletters, then you can keep in touch with your patient list, add value, give them expert advice, tips and information. This keeps you top of mind, works to send more people to your website, increase bookings and encourages previous patients to rebook if they have been putting up with a painful condition and not thought to rebook.
You can also automate your social media marketing which will save you endless hours! Search for Buffer or Hootsuite. Now you can be marketing whilst you’re also treating!
Which automated booking systems do I recommend?
Obviously I am talking to worldwide Osteopaths all the time and the consistent winner of online booking and patient management systems is the Australian company Cliniko. Not only will it take care of bookings and reminders, it handles all your notes, creating a paperless patient management system and integrates easily with Xero bookkeeping and accounting software as well as Mailchimp email software. That’s pretty much everything rolled into one!
If that is currently a step too far, then I highly recommend Osteopath Ben Court’s bespoke system which is both free and easy to use, with no subscriptions or tie-ins. The only charges are for email or text reminders which are at minimal cost. Click here to find out more.