Thinking About Printing A New PT Practice Brochure or Updating Your Website?
Take This 5 Minute Evaluation And Avoid The 4 Most Common Goofs That Discourage Response
Practice brochures and websites are essential, but how do you avoid investing in concepts that won’t do the job? You want something that gets read and separates you from your competition. The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that a graphically pleasing piece of eye-candy decorated with your logo and a menu board of services with self-serving platitudes will get the job done – it won’t. Only your printer and web/graphic designer will be well served by that type of expensive commercial art.
So here are a few tips and evaluations to help you get the results you deserve from your next printed brochure or website update:
Platitudinous Cover or
Homepage Headline or No Headline
|Use a problem-solving headline on your cover or homepage
Avoid making your focus cute phrases, taglines, or your logo by itself (you are not Coca Cola). You can still have beautiful graphics, but don’t forget an engaging headline.
When you look at the cover or homepage, does it provide the promise of helpful educational information inside, or does the reader quickly draw the conclusion that it is just another puff piece? Typically, just pictures, logos, and taglines SCREAM “puff piece.”
Wrong copy points
|Organize your information by “what readers want to know,” not by what you want to tell them.
Your readers’ interest is in learning quickly (in a Cliff Note fashion) why they should trust you to provide the best care when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. This means explaining your process and how it compares to some industry standard of care. Avoid making the focus of your content a menu board of services or the “I am so glad I found you” testimonial.
|Need to Know Information
When you scan the brochure or website, does it quickly guide the reader through diagnosis and treatment? Can the scanner become a reader and stop on a topic to learn more?
Offers missing, hard to find, or not as appealing as
they could be.
|Provide clear offers for more educational information and encourage some form of free consultation.
Your hours, website, physical address, and your phone number are critical pieces of information, but you should do more. Consider offering free educational resources like seminars and free consultations. Give these offers a “marketing handle” with features and benefits to make them stand out as something of special value. For example, you could appeal to joint replacement candidates with a handle like “30 Minute Pre-Surgical Readiness Assessment.”
Other than providing contact information, do you have appealing offers of value that can be easily identified without reading through the text in the brochure or going on a random clicking spree on the website?
|Goof #4: Format Driven, Not Content Driven||Determine the size and format of the brochure based on content. Determine website layout, graphics, and navigation based on the content.Avoid selecting the format or website platform before you complete the content. First, determine what to say and how to say it. Only then should you select the size and length of the brochure. (Hint – if you are producing a tri-fold pocket brochure from a single 8-1/2” x 11” sheet, chances are the content will miss key strategic elements).||Is Content King?
Did you select the size and page layout before completing the content? Did you contact an agency or designer who asked you what format limitations you had before discussing your content needs? Did the agency or designer ask you to direct the copy points? An experienced PT marketer will already know how to provide
good strategic content after learning about what you do.
(If the tips and evaluations below make sense to you, we invite you to take advantage of a Complimentary PT Brochure & Website Power Level Evaluation and submit your materials for review at http://ptreferralmachine.com/free_resources).
Thank you for reading, David C. Steinberg
Is Your Web Strategy Relevant?
For independent practitioners, the debate about the importance of websites and the internet revolves around the following questions: “Why do I need a site? Will people actually choose me because of my website, and if so, how will they find it?” But from a marketing standpoint, where the question is more what kind of content to post on your site rather than whether to have one at all, we still hear many people question the value of a website. Many practitioners say that their businesses are built on word of mouth, and that their clientele do not use the internet to get information about physical therapy services. These practitioners maintain a website out of a reluctant sense of obligation while many other more web-enthusiastic practitioners still ponder the question of website relevance.
This is the most basic and critical factor of website relevance – it is also the most misunderstood. Today, in addition to investigating diagnosis and treatment options, healthcare consumers use the internet to find “phone book” information like how to contact you. People looking for contact information are ready to buy. Since we’re talking about the internet, a search engine driven medium, it is highly likely that a searcher may sift through other web pages while looking for yours. It’s also likely that a competitor’s website with more relevant content will influence buying decisions; your competitor may jump ahead of you in the search engines and push you aside. Make it a practice to check your competitor’s websites regularly. Ask yourself, from your clientele’s perspective, how does your website serve the visitor’s needs better than your competitor’s? Is your site “sticky” enough to keep the visitor from wanting to click away and explore other similar sites?
Relevance Factor 2: The Standard Bearer Effect
Healthcare decisions are usually emotionally intense. Because of this intensity, consumers and physicians are motivated to put effort into making the best decision possible. The problem with making the best decision possible with physical therapy is that people (generally speaking) don’t know why one physical therapist may be different from another, or even what questions to ask when choosing, so they need your help in getting this information – it is part and parcel of your expert knowledge. If the content of your site helps your visitor understand how to compare one provider to another on a qualitative basis*, then, assuming you are good at what you do, you become the Standard Bearer, and prospects choose you first. This is an extremely important strategic opportunity. The internet is the primary battle ground for this type of information. Word of mouth is not an efficient or accurate way to deliver Standard Bearer information. As a business owner, you can think of it this way: The old way of finding a provider by asking a friend or physician who to choose is no longer the end of the search process – it’s just the beginning. Most people will use the internet to learn more about you, and, during the process, learn more about other options they may want to consider. Even elderly patients who don’t use the internet are often assisted by people who do, like family and friends.
Internet content can be deployed anywhere. This may sound “duh” obvious, but most healthcare businesses treat the internet as a back-room transactional tool, not a business-building communication tool. Internet access is on your desk, in your waiting room, and in almost everyone else’s homes. Your website can provide value added services that your competitor’s don’t. When done properly, simple things like patient intake forms, scheduling, and compliance programs can increase patient satisfaction and your bottom line at the same time. For example, most people would rather get the paper work started at their home computer rather than wrestle with a clipboard upon arrival (yes, even computer-phobic Medicare patients can get assistance with this from family and friends).
www.PTreferralMachine.com Articles, December 10, 2008.
www.PTreferralMachine.com Articles, June 16, 2008.
www.PTreferralMachine.com Articles, June 17, 2008.
|How Much Should You Budget for Marketing?
It always amazes me when I read or hear about other marketing experts who advise clients to budget marketing based on a straight percentage of projected sales, like 5% – it’s a lazy answer used by poorly trained marketers who can’t (or don’t want to) calculate return on investment (ROI) for the programs they deliver. Sure, you have to start somewhere, and a basic percent of sales is a sensible starting point, but that’s ONLY the beginning of the conversation, and to leave it at that is to leave out the most important part.
Your marketing budget should provide you with the ultimate leverage for growing your business. What we mean by leverage is that increase in sales achieved for every dollar invested (yes, you should be able to measure this, and any “expert” advising you on how to spend your marketing dollars that can’t set you up to do this isn’t worth a dime of your precious cash). For example, if you have a specific treatment option like McKenzie that you advertise in the paper at a cost of $1,500, and it produces three new patients AND one new referral relationship, what’s the ROI on that? If the average course of treatment is $850, and the new referral relationship is worth $30,000 annually, then that single ad provided quite a bit of leverage for your business:
If running that ad again meant that you would need to go over the “5%” of revenue recommended by the lazy consultant, would you do it? Assuming you could handle the new business, OF COURSE.
To pull this off, here are three steps to follow:
So, if you currently budget based on a straight percent of revenue, it may be time to reassess your strategy – the results can be extremely satisfying.
For more information on Fortune 500-style marketing on a small business budget, please visit www.PTreferralMachine.com.