With so many different podiatry practice marketing ideas being thrown about, it can be difficult to narrow your focus and select only a few that are tried and tested and will deliver the results you need for your practice. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a ‘quick fix’ or a ‘magic pill’, we’re here to let you know that it doesn’t exist. If you’re getting offers for ‘guaranteed page one Google rankings at next to no cost’, the only real guarantee is there are no guarantees (and there is always a cost!)
The truth is that marketing your podiatry practice takes time and resources. And, while we can’t offer a magic pill, we can share the top 4 areas to focus on that will allow you to successfully market your practice and get the best return for the time, money and effort you invest.
For those who have been running a private podiatry practice for a while, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard these before, but the secret is taking action. In this article, you’ll get both the theory and the practical tips you need to put them into an actionable podiatry marketing plan for your practice.
1. Add Fresh, Quality Content to Your Website
Your website is one of your most important assets, but most podiatrists shy away from using the online space to market their practice. While having a website and a presence on a few social media platforms is a good start, it’s not enough to make your podiatry clinic stand out. Instead, you need to be continually strengthening your presence with high-quality content, building out your website asset to become a true authority in your niche.
Think of it like this: your website is a brochure of your services. It may look professional and appealing, but if nobody sees it, then there’s no point. Effective podiatrist marketing needs to consider your website’s distribution. If you had a stack of brochures, you’d need to take them out the cupboard and start distributing them before anyone would see them, and a website is no different. And fresh, high-quality content is what will help you increase the exposure of your website.
Let’s break it down a bit: unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, SEO is the key to getting your site appearing in search results, and you’ve likely been approached by SEO companies offering to rank your website for a fee. In essence, they’re offering to improve your rankings on Google so that when prospective patients search for podiatry services in your area, your site shows up at the top. Unfortunately, not all SEO is created equal and you could easily be hiring a company that takes your money and does nothing or, even worse, tricks Google into ranking your site in the short-term only to have it drop dramatically in the SERPS after a few months. If you’re considering paying for SEO as a service, it’s essential to get references from other health care professionals who have used their services and had great results.
But outside of hiring an SEO company, there’s still a lot you can do yourself. The most important of which is to start producing great content. Both Google and users love fresh, well-written, relevant content so your site should include:
- A comprehensive podiatry FAQ section;
- Well-written articles on topics related to your practice;
- Podiatry videos that you share on your blog and social media channels.
- Draw up a content schedule with ideas for articles for the next six months;
- Schedule 90 minutes a week to write one post that gets added to your blog;
- Consider hiring a content agency to produce and publish the content for you; they’ll be more affordable than you think, more effective than you would be and, most importantly, they will free you up to focus on other podiatry marketing ideas.
2. Network with Other Health Professionals in your Local Area
For podiatrists, marketing should include multiple channels. While having a solid online strategy is likely to be one of the best uses of your marketing effort, setting up multiple client sources is a good, risk-averse long-term strategy. If you’ve outsourced your online marketing efforts that don’t need your direct input, you’ve freed up some time to do the important job of networking and relationship building to encourage referrals.
As long as there are people, there will continue to be a need for healthcare providers, and there are dozens of potential referral sources (both medical and non-medical) based in the local areas around your practice. The easiest way to reach these people is often to pick up the phone and introduce yourself. Maybe arrange to meet for coffee or attend an event together. There may also be specific networking events where you can meet other health professionals.
This is a strategy that requires both practice and patience. It might make you incredibly nervous to make those first few calls, but you’ll quickly get into the swing of it. Keep in mind that most of them don’t even know you exist but would be more than happy to refer clients if they knew about your services. Slowly developing strong ties with referrers will mean that you will regularly receive new clients that would otherwise never have known about your practice.
- Set a goal of making three phone calls per week to new potential referral sources, one phone call to a referral source that you’ve visited before, and one physical visit to either a new or existing referral source.
- If you know that ‘putting yourself out there’ this isn’t your strong point, consider having a dedicated person whose sole responsibility is to frequently visit and build quality relationships with medical practices in the local area.
3. Leverage Your Existing Client Base
The list of your current and past clients is one of the most underutilised assets of any podiatry practice. If you’re truly committed to marketing your podiatry practice, you already have all the ingredients to make it happen. Your database of clients, whether active or inactive, have the potential to take your practice to the next level. They already know you and trust you, which means they’ll return when they need your services, refer friends and family to you and even leave online reviews so that potential clients can learn more about what you offer. It’s so simple, but most podiatrists either don’t know whether to start or feel that the cost of maintaining these relationships is too high.
Let’s pause a moment and look at the statistics:
- It costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one;
- Increasing client retention by just 5% can increase your profits by over 25%;
- Reviews from happy clients heavily influence the decisions of potential clients;
- As much as 91% of 18 – 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
The numbers say it all – focusing on customer loyalty is not just important, it’s essential for building a thriving podiatry practice. And, while you might feel that you can’t afford to maintain these relationships, the reality is that you can’t afford not to.
- To keep up relationships with existing and past clients send out a monthly newsletter;
- Send birthday cards and greetings for Christmas and other celebrations;
- Follow up after an appointment with an email to find out if they were satisfied and if there is anything you could do to improve;
- If they were happy with the experience, ask them to leave a review on Google My Business (click here if you don’t know how to set it up), Facebook or Yelp (and share the link to make it easier for them).*
4. Podiatry Practice Marketing Requires Consistent Action!
This is the most powerful marketing tip of all. You already know what you should be doing, and you alone are the captain of your own destiny. It’s both a terrifying and inspiring truth because it means that you hold the power to make your practice a success. But it does mean taking action.
Burying your head in the sand, or reading great podiatry marketing articles aren’t going to help if you’re not prepared to put in the work. Whether you do it yourself, or share your vision with others and hire them to do it, the work of marketing your practice needs to be done.
The key to getting started is to take the first step. You might not get it right the first time around but, even if it’s not a perfect success, you’ll be able to do better next time. So often people find themselves incapacitated, unable to take a single step for fear of failing. But, if you can put that aside, take the pressure off, and see failures as a learning opportunity, it will become easier and easier to progress. And, if procrastination is a good friend of yours, make micro-goals such as a phone call to a potential referral source, or an appointment with a content agency, then pick up the phone and get it done. Once you’ve taken one small step, it’s much easier to take the next one.
Your podiatry marketing strategy isn’t going to fall into place overnight. But if you commit to making small changes every day, you’ll be amazed at the progress you make in a year.
- Write a list of all your marketing ideas, whether big or small;
- Set aside time every day, even if it’s just 30 minutes to complete one podiatry marketing-related activity;
- You could start with defining a marketing strategy, then identify three channels you want to focus on;
- Break down the channels into smaller steps, decide whether you want to do it yourself or outsource the work;
- Allocate a budget (either time or money), a timeline, deliverables, and how you will measure success.
You’ve already got everything you need to make your practice a success, and now you have some practical steps that you can take to really accelerate your podiatry marketing. It all comes down to having goals and a plan. Maybe you’re aiming to grow your turnover by 10% this year, or maybe you’re wanting to bring another staff member on board but need to increase your client base to justify the additional headcount. Whatever your goal is, solidify it in your mind, write it down, make sure it’s measurable, then take action and start working towards achieving that goal!
When you know what you’re working towards, it’s much easier to plan out the steps you need to take. And when you begin to take those practical steps, the sky’s the limit. In the words of Dale Carnegie, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
If you know a practice owner who could do with some podiatrist marketing inspiration, please forward this on to them! We’d love to be a small part of their journey towards building a thriving practice.
*Important note from our Legal Eagles: We know you know this, but we need to say it anyway. The information in this article is general in nature and is not legal advice. The laws, regulations and professional guidelines relating to the use of reviews and testimonials can vary across jurisdictions, and health professions. If you’re unsure of the rules that apply to you, your professional association is often a good place to start.