The first interaction of the client relationship refers to the first time a prospect becomes aware of your clinic. (Click here to learn more about the Aware stage) This could be via an ad, social media post, or word of mouth.
The engagement stage begins immediately after the awareness stage and continues through their entire experience with your clinic. This is where prospects can connect with your business without giving out their personal information.
Consider the following example:
Bob is getting ready to train for a marathon. He wants to hire a running coach to maximize his performance and minimize the probability of injury. Here is the process he will go through to select a running coach:
Step 1: Aware
- As noted in the Awareness blog, Bob must be aware that a trainer running coach exists prior to becoming a customer. In this instance, Bob used Google to search for coaches trainers in his area.
Step 2: Engage
- Bob takes a few specific steps to learn more about the running coaches in his area:
- Bob does a Google search
- Visits the websites of running coaches that have a website
- Checks the Yelp reviews of trainers and coaches in his area
- Checks the social media accounts of trainers in his area
- Reads blogs from running coaches in his area
What is missing from the above list? Bob did not call any running coaches. Bob did not give his email to any local running coaches. Bob did not sign up for any running coaches’ newsletters.
Bob understands that once he provides his contact information to any running coach that he may be bombarded with phone calls and emails asking for his business. Bob (and most of your prospects!) don’t want to deal with sales tactics until they know they like your business.
Do Bob’s engagement activities seem over-the-top to you? They shouldn’t! Today your prospects are doing exactly what Bob did. They are engaging with available information about your clinic before contacting you. Additionally, thanks to the beauty of technology, Bob is able to can conduct all of those activities in a matter of minutes.
The process of engagement allows prospects to gain a feel for your business without giving up their personal information. The concept of ‘Know, Like, and Trust’ may be overused in marketing, but that doesn’t make it wrong. During the engagement process, a prospect can learn if your clinic is worthy of their attention.
Most clinics have one or two one or several specialties but will often still see patients outside of those specialties.
- Physical therapy clinics that specialize in performance injuries, but still see out– of– shape patients with workplace–related injuries.
- Reconstructive surgery clinics that specialize in accident cases but still perform cosmetic surgery.
- Dental clinics that specialize in cosmetic dentistry but may also conduct some restorative work.
How should your clinic prepare for such engagement?
Any content that you create should be targeted towards your ideal client profile. You can still choose to accept business outside of your preferred specialty, but your content must align with your ideal prospect. When you apply this methodology to all content, then you will be speaking directly to the right audience. This will also help you attract the types of patients that you want to see.
Then your clinic needs a systemic approach to engagement. The use of a system will maximize efficiency and results.
Engagement activities for your clinic should include:
- A website that is regularly update. The website should be SEO optimized so that those using Google will find you.
- The website should have blogs written about conditions experienced by your target audience.
- Your website should have an easy– to– use interface and provide enough information to generate interest without overwhelming the prospect.
- Share your blogs on Facebook (consider spending even $50 per month to promote your blogs.)
- Share pictures of your team and clinic. This will make prospects feel like they know you. While this approach is uncomfortable for some people, it is good for clinic marketing. (Be sure any posts you create are HIPAA compliant and do not include photos of patients without their explicit and written permission.)
- You have a waiting room and there are non-competitive businesses that also have waiting rooms. Reach out to local businesses to see if you can exchange rack cards or other information.
- Yelp and Google Reviews
- Be sure to respond to reviews (both good and bad). Thank people for good reviews. Invite people to contact you directly for bad reviews. By inviting people to contact you directly you are demonstrating good customer care.
- Caveat – If a review is poorly worded, includes profanities, and sounds crazy, then it is best not to respond. Prospects reading that type of review assume there is something wrong with the review and not something wrong with the clinic.
There are many more methods for engagement, but this is a good start for your clinic.
Write a standard operating procedure to help your clinic get engagement right. Well executed engagement marketing strategies reliably help prospects move through the your Clinic Growth Formula. When writing your SOP, be sure to assign ownership of tasks and clearly define expectations.
Remember that all engagement content should be geared towards your ideal client profile. In his 1970 record The Point, Harry Nilsson said, “A point in every direction is the same as no point at all.” The same is true for your marketing messaging. If you are trying to speak to everyone, then you are in essence speaking to no individual. Prospects want to feel a connection, like you are speaking to them. By focusing on your specialties, and only your specialties, you can better engage with your audience.