Forming a relationship with your clients is crucial to allied health business success. It’s not easy, but investing a little time and money into your marketing strategies will always pay off so I’m sharing my favourite marketing tips to help boost your allied health business.
Everything you say and do
When I had my private practice, our marketing strategy was deceptively simple; it was everything we say and do. We made that our commitment for every aspect of the business. Doing that really helped frame our thinking and helped us develop our behaviour to ensure we were always pushing the value of our services that could be backed up by our beliefs.
It might be worth while taking that phrase to your next team meeting to dissect and look at what it means to you and your business. Gaining a thorough understanding of the things you do day in and day out could highlight new marketing opportunities.
My top marketing tips
Over the years, I’ve compiled a little collection of cheap, cheerful marketing tips that I’m certain will boost whatever marketing strategy you already have in place.
I’ve noticed many allied health professionals have trouble pitching themselves properly when they are networking. Introducing yourself as, “Hi, I’m Jess. I’m a speechy.”, might be OK in a less formal environment, but you should be able to completely introduce yourself and your services to the marketplace.
Practising pitching yourself will ensure you have a calm, confident, succinct social pitch. You should use your full name, your profession and the name of the place you work. It should be a waffle-free zone, lasting no more than 10 seconds. Remember, first impressions count and when meeting someone new, you have just a few seconds to leave your mark on your listener.
Being able to pitch yourself doesn’t just apply to you; your team should also practise. That means everyone from your clinicians and receptionist to your practice manager, your bookkeeper and even your accountant. You never know where they might be, and as long as they work for your practice, they represent your business.
Investing in good name tags and uniforms will help solidify your business marketing.
Does your voicemail clearly convey who you are and what you offer? Do the voicemails of your team do the same? If not, now’s the time to change them, because so much damage can be done if they’re hard to understand or don’t sound inviting.
The same goes for email signatures.Think of all the hundreds of emails that get sent and about the memories you can build – visual and otherwise – when you’ve got a good email signature. They should be on-brand and visually consistent across the whole team. Are they clear and interactive? If the hyperlinks to your website and social media don’t work, or your phone number is wrong, it won’t encourage people to learn more about your business.
Wow with your website
There are no ifs or buts when it comes to your website; it needs to be amazing. You should only use professional images, including professional headshots. Yes, there is a cost, but that cost is an investment. Your professional headshot will be on LinkedIn, on your website, and will appear on social media and bios from time to time.
It makes such a difference, as does the use of video. Not everybody will be comfortable with this, but having a short clip of you and your team is personable and inviting.
Another must for your website is to shout about your vision and mission and why you do what you do. Don’t be shy because that’s the reason people will choose you above other allied health services. There are plenty of others to choose from, but your beliefs and motivators are what people buy into to.
Any website in this day and age should be optimised for smartphones and iPads, too. It should be easy to navigate, and that also means ensuring your website copy or text is compelling and succinct.
To make the most of your website, it’s a good idea to do some homework beforehand too – it’s good to know what search terms or keywords people are using to find the services you offer on Google. It will help your website get a place on the first page of Google search.
Manage your partnerships
As with any business, maintaining a partnership is key to business success, so it will pay to invest some time into managing your referrers.
You could start by mapping out your referrers on a spreadsheet or in your practice management software. Take the time to keep in touch with a phone call, email or a visit to show your gratitude for all the clients they have sent you and will forward to you in the future.
It’s just as important to think about the marketing material they might like too. It’s okay to ask if they have a preference, whether it be brochures or postcards, et cetera. I know some businesses are now even bringing their referral partners into their own newsletter, which will have a slightly different content focus to the newsletter they may be sending out to clients.
The world of social media can be confusing at times. You may already be present on social media but might have lost your direction. If that sounds like you, pause and go back and ask yourself: ‘Who is my audience? How could I be helpful and friendly?’ It is very much a matter of being social rather than doing social.
Think about the balance you have between creating your own organic, original content, versus how much you curate and repost. Facebook loves original content and videos, so those posts will go so much further. You should aim to be posting at least once a day and checking in once a day to boost engagement.
You also need a strategy to bring your current and future clients to your Facebook too. Think of ways to invite your referrers and current clients.
Customers are the heart and soul of any business, so checking in with them is key. Find out what they think of your business and the services you offer with a customer survey. It can really help you produce new ideas and programs based on your customer’s needs – they are your brand ambassadors after all.
As brand ambassadors, it is more than okay for you to be asking your customers for introductions to people they may know. It may not be straight to your next customer but they may know someone at a workplace, at an organisation, at a school who could be really, really interesting for you to talk to.
Customers are often an untapped resource so make the most of them by requesting introductions, too.
There you have it, my six marketing tips. Have a think about how well you do these, if at all, and pick three to take away and implement or improve on to boost your allied health business.