Aware: How are you boosting awareness?
I did a quick Google search and learned that my hometown of Brevard, North Carolina has approximately:
- 3 Surgical clinics
- 14 Physical Therapy clinics
- 7 Eye clinics
- 12 Dentists
- 0 DPCs
Of those 36 businesses, I could have named only two prior to conducting this search. Why could I name so few? Part of the reason might be that I haven’t needed their services, but part of the reason is likely that they’ve done a poor job marketing themselves.
Where strangers are first introduced to you:
- Word of mouth
- Organic post
We refer to the relationship lifecycle and the tool we use to manage that lifecycle as the Clinic Growth Formula (CGF).
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If you wait until someone needs you, then you are missing an important step in the marketing process.
By the time a prospect needs your service, they should already be aware of and recognize your business name.
Name recognition is critically important for awareness. When a person in Brevard has a rotator cuff injury, they will probably Google, “physical therapist in Brevard.” They are most likely to call a business when they recognize the name. In the absence of information to the contrary, prospects associate name recognition with quality and familiarity.
If a prospect doesn’t know you exist, then they can’t do business with you. In marketing when we talk about awareness, we are referring to the point in time when a stranger is first introduced to your business. Building awareness for your clinic is easy with the below one-time and recurring tactics.
One-time Awareness Tactics
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the quantity of internet platforms and the methodologies each platform employs for updating and communicating with users. It isn’t necessary for your clinic to be on each platform, but it is important that whatever platforms your clinic uses has the correct information. For instance, we wouldn’t recommend clinics spend the time nor energy to be on TikTok, but we would highly recommend you make sure your information on Facebook is up-to-date and accurate.
At a minimum, your clinic needs to have a profile on the following platforms:
- Google My Business
A foundational task for correctly raising awareness is to make sure the information you are sharing with the world is accurate.
For each of the above-mentioned platforms, take the following audit actions:
- Log in and make sure you own the account. The account should not be linked to the personal email address of an employee. (We’ve dealt with countless clients whose accounts are owned by a former employee. Getting the accounts transferred back to the business can be a nightmare.)
- Make sure the following information about your clinic is up-to-date and accurate: location, phone number(s), contact email, website link, and business hours.
- Where applicable, include a current photo of your business.
Bonus Points – Set up the ability for prospects to book or request an appointment through Google My Business.
Recurring Awareness Tactics
Everyone in your clinic is responsible for helping the clinic attract more business. We’ve worked with clinics that simply accept their staff will not contribute to growth efforts. If that is your perspective, or the perspective of your team, then please consider that there is a staffing or leadership issue. Accepting disengaged employees is not part of a successful growth strategy.
It is also important to understand that clinicians and front desk staff are busy. The key to successfully raising awareness is to make sure the staff effort required is reasonable and the staff sees the results of their effort. Think in terms of quality of action, not quantity of actions.
The three-step process for successfully executing your awareness actions are:
- Write a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the required actions.
- Train your team on the SOP(s).
- Check in regularly with your team for compliance and follow through.
Want help with creating the SOPs or other components of the Clinic Growth Formula (CGF)? If yes, then click here to book a free strategy call.
Some of the recurring tactics you and your team need to do to raise awareness include:
- Have an SOP for requesting referrals. You provide an important service and once you’ve done an exceptional job, it is critical your team asks fans to tell their friends, co-workers, and family about you.
- Routinely post content on Facebook (and other social media platforms you chose to use). Creating daily organic posts for Facebook is a waste of your time and energy. Posting once or twice per week on the other hand demonstrates that your clinic is active. Additionally, you will be able to share important events happening around your clinic.
- Traditional advertising may also be used to raise brand awareness. Both social media ads and traditional advertising are good places to promote important days such as free screening events.
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Networking International (BNI), or similar networking groups.
- Consider running paid Facebook traffic for brand awareness.
Facebook ads can be targeted to your geography and other prospect characteristics (such as age, gender, etc.). As little as $200 per month on Facebook or Google ads will allow you to increase name recognition for your business. Below is a chart from a clinic that began running $200 per month of Facebook ads in 2021. You can see that no ads ran in April. The dark color on the chart represents people that have seen the paid ads as compared to the lighter color which represents people that see organic (non-paid) posts. The increased benefit from even small ad spends is staggering.
We worked with a clinic owner that joined BNI when he opened his business six years ago. The time commitment for BNI was significant, but he formed relationships that immediately brought him patients and he still reaps benefits from those relationships six years later. People like to do business with those they like, know, and trust. Networking events allow you the opportunity to both raise awareness of your business and become a trusted resource.
The opportunities to raise awareness are countless. Select a few of your favorite methods and put energy into those. To get the best results when raising awareness, it is best to do a few things very well rather than doing many things poorly.