16 Expensive Practice Marketing Mistakes that Cost You New Patients

Written by: Heidi Miller   Austin, Texas

Posted on: December 21, 2015

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Investing in internet practice marketing is critical for a practice that wants to grow it’s patient base – and ultimately their practice. But, simply spending on internet marketing or practice marketing doesn’t guarantee you results. You have to make sure that not only is your practice marketing itself effective, but also that you’re not making some of these (unfortunately common) expensive mistakes that can cost you patients. Are you making any of these expensive marketing mistakes?

  1. Not tracking your practice marketing. Tracking enables you to know which of your marketing tactics are working – and which ones aren’t. Continuing to invest your marketing budget into tactics that don’t work means you probably aren’t reaching the right prospective patients in the first place. It’s important to track these tactics so you can reach prospective patients who are actually in your target so you can convert more of them into patients. 
  2. Not tracking your practice marketing through to conversions. Simply tracking having the front desk ask “How did you find us?” IS NOT TRACKING…I REPEAT IT IS NOT TRACKING. It’s 100% guessing. It doesn’t tell you much about how effective your marketing actually is at getting you patients. In fact 90% of people actually misrepresent how they found you (src: ComScore). If you’re not tracking your marketing all the way through to conversions like calls, optins, or emails, you may be investing in practice marketing that isn’t really working. 
  3. Not claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local page. Claiming your local listings is an important task for any local business. Google+ Local is even more critical, because your listing there is tied directly to your Google Maps listing, which is one of the top ways that prospective patients search for local practices on the go via their mobile devices. If your Google+ Local page is bare-bones and “EMPTY” (no video, no photos, no/little reviews, no coupons) or contains incorrect information or negative content about you, chances are it will turn prospective patients away from contacting you. 
  4. Driving website visitors to fill out a Web form no one checks. Do you know where all your website contact forms are going? And if so, how frequently are you checking them? If you’re not sure, or not regularly reviewing prospective patients you get from your website, you are probably investing in an important website feature you’re not taking advantage of – and missing out on converting a lot of potential patients. 
  5. Paying for a website that’s not SEO (Search Engine Optimization) optimized. Simply having a website doesn’t mean it’s helping drive patients to your practice. Investing in a website that’s not optimized for search engines and conversions could be costing you two fold. First, it’s likely you’re not even being found when your targeted prospective patients are searching for your practice or services. And second, those that do find your website can’t contact you if your site doesn’t have easy to find contact information like your phone number or email address. And by the way, your website company will tell you that they do SEO (internet marketing), but they can’t and shouldn’t! Be aware of that. Hire a third party. If you want to learn more about plugging the holes in your marketing bucket watch this short video I made Click Here To Watch It
  6. Not targeting your internet practice marketing to the right prospective patients. Online marketing has powerful targeting capabilities – but targeting your keywords and ads to the wrong people – such as those outside of your geographic area, target age range, or income level ­– or worse, not targeting your keywords and ads at all – is both wasted effort and expense. 
  7. Paying for online search ads, such as Google Adwords, that don’t use the right keywords or geography. Search advertising is pay-per-performance, so you might be paying for clicks on keywords that aren’t really working to drive prospective patients from your website. Not all keywords are created equal, so make sure the ones you are bidding on and using in your text ads help your ads show up when people search for your practice and services, so they’re more likely to click your ad and convert into HIGH paying patients. 
  8. Using misleading advertising, promotions, or pricing. Prospective patients are savvy, and one sure way to turn them off is by using misleading pricing, promotions, or advertising. Sure, you might get more clicks on a “too-good-to-be-true” offer, but misleading advertising might cost you patients– and your reputation, too. 
  9. Not marketing locally. As a local business, it’s important to make sure your online marketing targets local consumers. Not only is this more cost-effective, but it also cuts down on you filtering though leads that aren’t from your target area. 
  10. Not following up with prospective patients who call you. After all the effort to drive qualified prospective patients to contact your practice through your marketing and practice marketing, this is one of the most costly marketing mistakes. It’s critical to have a system in place that helps (and reminds) you to follow up with people who contact your practice. Whether they leave a message or just aren’t ready to move forward, not following up with these prospective patients can have a serious impact on your practice. 
  11. Not monitoring and managing your practice online reputation. Is your online reputation costing you patients? Do you have alerts that go out if someone leaves a review on Rip Off Report.com or Yelp? If you haven’t checked to see if your online reputation is positive or negative, you could be losing many potential patients due to bad reviews, comments, or other content that’s critical of your practice. 
  12. Not checking your phone number on practice marketing and directories. Is your phone number correct on all of your marketing as well as the directories your business is listed in? An outdated – or just plain incorrect – phone number is virtually guaranteed to cost you patients. Sounds simple right? But trust me, I’ve reviewed 1000’s of campaigns for my private clients and I’d say 50% make this mistake! So make sure to audit (and call to double check)!) your phone number everywhere it appears – whether on a billboard, print ad, or online source. 
  13. Poor phone call handling. Is answering the phone effectively a part of your marketing strategy? It should be. Since a majority of practices make sales or set appointments via the phone, poor call handling techniques – including rudeness, not providing the right or enough information, or not answering at all – is a huge source of churn for many prospective patients – who may then find a competitor who has better phone skills. Don’t take this lightly. There are plenty of good training programs out there for this. It’s the first thing patients hear and a first impressions is a permanent impression. 
  14. Not shopping your competitors. How are your competitors marketing their businesses online? What offers and specials do they run? What do their websites look like? How are their online reviews? Not shopping your competitors means you may be out of the loop on what appeals to your target patients. 
  15. Not using negative feedback to improve your business. Nobody wants to see negative things about their business online. But when you do, do you actually take action on the feedback to improve your practice? If not, chances are that other patients are experiencing similar issues, meaning once- loyal patients could be turning elsewhere when they search you to book their next appointment (And believe me existing patients “google” you every time they call!). 
  16. Waiting too long to contact a prospective patient. How quickly do you call back a potential patient when they contact you? If your answer is weeks, days, or even hours, it could be costing you. Research shows that the more quickly you contact a prospective patient, the more likely you are to close for an appointment or case. And common sense says that the first business to contact a consumer is more likely to win their business. It’s important to make sure that your marketing investment really works – and that you’re not losing valuable contacts and prospective patients due to poor marketing or business practices.

Which of these marketing mistakes might be costing you prospects, cases, and even patients? Share your thoughts in a comment!

If you want to learn more about plugging the holes in your marketing bucket watch this short video I made Click Here To Watch It

Sincerely,
Greg
CEO Find My Company

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