“Half of every dollar spent on advertising and marketing is wasted, but since we don’t know which half, we go ahead and spend the full dollar anyway.” Although there’s disagreement over which mogul made this profound statement, there’s general agreement in the business world that it’s true. As a podiatric practioner you’ll want to know which of your marketing efforts are paying off in new patients and which are a waste of your hard-earned dollars. Here are a few suggestions for grading your marketing efforts:
- Poll your patients: when a new patient calls for an appointment or enters your office, be sure one of the questions your staff initially asks is “How did you hear about us?” Keeping track of these responses will help show which efforts are drawing the most patients.
- Create a code: in all your ads, flyers, letters, etc. embed a code somewhere in the marketing piece. It can be as simple as a number or a symbol. When patients say they “saw an ad” or “received a letter” you can ask them to tell you the code at the bottom of the page and know which piece brought them in.
- Use an incentive plan: Advertise a free gift, such as a $5 gas card if the patient mentions a particular ad or brings in a flyer.
Reaching Your Target
It’s important to recognize trends in how people receive their information. There was a time when the Yellow Pages was a “must have” for any practice, but with expensive ads (costing up to $40,000 annually), ask yourself when the last time was when you actually used the yellow pages. Today, people are more likely to “Google it.” Similarly e-newsletters are an inexpensive way to keep your name and your practice in front of current and potential patients with short blurbs and photos about podiatric conditions and news about your practice.
At The Institute for Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED), our mission is to bring practioners at all stages of their careers together to share information and exchange ideas. Marketing is one area where experienced practioners can learn from new graduates about the technologies that reach a younger age bracket and new practioners can see the marketing roads veteran practioners have been down. For more information on membership, contact Executive Director Ruth Ann Donahue at: 978-296-7634.