152 – October 2020 Review: 5 Common Medical Marketing MISTAKES And How YOU can Avoid Them right now!

Do you have Converting Issues? When no matter how much work you will put into your marketing campaigns, they just don’t seem to be working, it might be simple conversion tactics hampering your success. Your current medical practice marketing (agency or team) might be sabotaging your campaigns without even realizing it.  Here’s everything you need to know to avoid these 5 common and disastrous marketing mistakes.

Managing a business is never easy, and growing it is even harder. When it comes to growing your medical practice, half the battle is knowing the best lead-generation and conversion strategies and how to optimize them. The other half is avoiding the mistakes that could be tanking your campaigns from the start. In this episode we talk about the disastrous yet common mistakes that marketing teams make without even knowing it, and what they could be doing instead to turn their wasted ad spend into real, new high value patients.

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November 4, 2020

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MATT COFFY: Hey, it’s our mid-month Review. I’ve got Erica on live. Say “Hi” Erica.

ERICA BREINING: Hi, everyone! Great to be here today.

MATT: So this is great. So we usually do this every mid-month during, you know, we go through our accounts. We take a look at our cost per lead and our cost per acquisition and conversions. And we talk about that in these meetings, but today we’re gonna do something a little bit different because we figured, you know, one of the things we wanted to try and do is put this more into a realistic framework for a lot of the practices that we speak with. And a lot of it has to do with their day-to-day world, right. So when we talk about tactics here, we talk about pricing and you know, patient acquisition, all that stuff. But what I really wanted to talk to Erica today about, and maybe this will help you, the listener or the watcher, with kind of putting things together.

MATT: I had a discussion the other day, and this is what prompted this different take on our usual monthly is leasing equipment, overhead, employees, and all the things involved when you start running a medspa or you’re running a plastic surgeon practice or even it could be any medical practice. There’s a lot of costs involved. There’s a lot of built-in overhead. So Erica, when you ran your spa or you ran the surgical center, can you remember those days about how it felt like to have this overhang of equipment lease and sort of understanding that what – and this is what I wanted to say is that – I’ve had a couple of conversations with people lately who are starting to get desperate. They’re really concerned that they have a huge debt and they don’t know what to do. And of course, I think we come in at a very interesting angle because we can help them get patients. But talk a little bit to me about how that feels.

ERICA: That can be extremely stressful as a medspa owner, that you have this, you know, this big nut to crack every month. You have to pay your leases. You have to pay your employees. You have advertising that you hope is working. And at the end of the day, those bills keep coming, whether or not the revenue was there. So there’s always that pressure, “Can we pay the bills?” But, you know, paying the bills is one thing. Who wants to just pay the bills you know, it has to be worth it. This is, you know, your time, your energy, this is a grind, but I do remember those moments so well, and it can be extremely stressful in those shoes.

MATT: Yeah. And so the question becomes centering around making a plan and using leverage of those around you who have had experienced down these thought processes of really looking at the bigger picture, which is that in the end, we know that if you can get ahead of the expenses and you can get ahead of this process, you get progress started into a right direction where, you know, at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, you can see something coming because it’s – you’re getting, you know, some validation that, you know, you’re not getting in the person who’s trying to find the Groupon personally – Groupon account, every single discount every single day, or that, you know, you’re not getting in and someone says, “Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll think about it,” Like all the conversations that you have when you start having patients.

MATT: But what I’m trying to understand, and maybe we could talk about this is, there’s so many mistakes that we’re seeing that are being made and that when we kind of get called in a lot, we have to actually understand what people are doing in order to sort of retrofit maybe, a solution that has more to do with just operational aspects than even marketing. So what do you see generally? I think these are some of the things that we’ve implemented – we’ve had to implement because there was no way around it, right?

ERICA: Right. Well, so going back to, you know, having these expensive pieces of equipment that, you know, have big leases, you know, or just kind of sitting around, it all starts at the foundation about which services, that you’re actually going to advertise. There are certain things that are better lead generation hooks, and then there are other, you know, services that are better sold in office, in person. So you have to have a strategy in place. How are we going to drive leads through the business? And then through that funnel, what’s your strategy internally? How do we cross out? How do we upsell? What are our offers? It all works together, but it starts at the base. How do we drive leads into the practice so that we can sell these higher-tier services and these machines that are expensive, that are causing us stress?

MATT: Right. And I think that’s an interesting point, which is that we’ve come to the conclusion that not everything is the right thing to do online. And a lot of people spend a lot of money guessing, throwing thousands of dollars at Facebook or Google or whatever, and praying that this stuff will work and expecting that, “Hey, I set up, I’ve built it. They will come.” And lo and behold, it ends up being a disaster. And so I think what our experience has been – so we’ve done every single possible aesthetic service there could be, I think at this point online, tried to sell it or are selling it. We’ve done every single possible variable of pricing, discounts, and strategies. I shouldn’t say every single, but we’ve done it, probably the majority of what would be out in the market agency. What do you think, if I’m looking at this from a sort of pure consumer level, what do you think that is the quickest way right now to solve a mistake in a situation where maybe you – okay, so you got this lease, you got this money and you’re looking at the bills every month and you’ve got to make your overhead. What’s the first thing you would do, in order to solve that problem, what would be the first thought process?

ERICA: So again, I would go back to how are we driving traffic through the practice. It has to be through a service that has a high demand that appeals to a lot of people. You know, for instance, a lot of times these machines, something like an all therapy or a micro-needling with radio frequency, they have a very small window of people who are actually interested. So if those are the services that you’re advertising, you don’t get that many leads. You have to advertise things like Botox, things like CoolSculpting, things that people recognize that don’t require a lot of education to drive the people through your practice. And then once they’re there, you’re going to sell them these other more specialized things through education once they trust you. So it’s about the initial offer, driving the lead through, and then having a strategy once they’re there to close and capture.

MATT: Alright, that’s even the same for laser hair removal and for some of the other services. Yeah. And so the question becomes, I think at this point, so now we’ll go back to the premise, which is that look, sometimes this business is difficult and you’re going to have to start to think and use other people’s expertise in making these decisions, because you may not know what you may not know, meaning that we’ve seen these advertising strategies across the country. I mean, literally every state, we probably have had a facility that we’ve done marketing for. And what we’ve learned in general is that we understand the principles of the architecture of how the journey is for the customer. And it’s not a straight line. And I think that’s one of the big challenges that the practices that, you know, where I said, where we were talking about mistakes, I think the mistake is to try and figure out, from, you know, a general sort of standpoint, like you think this is how it’s going to go, but in all reality, there’s a lot of spinning going on with the customer’s decision, because as a normal person, they’re going to go look at the website, they’re going to go look at the reviews. They’re going to maybe look and see what type of things that you’ve had in your social profiles, which might indicate that there’s a, you know, some sort of connection, you know, with this person. So I think the challenge is that, you know, especially when we’re from a mistake standpoint, it’s like guessing that this is the way to do it. Right. And, we’ve found this very true, is that we’ve had to adjust our strategies depending on the condition, the demographics, where they are located, the area of the country, the type of practice, the variables on race and ethnicity. And it’s like, there’s so many things that you have to consider. It’s not just you’d put up an ad and people just come run it. It’s… you have to think through the whole journey at this point.

ERICA: Well, and you know, that brings me to, you know, that first week when an ad is running, right. So how do we take the data on our end and analyze what’s happening real-time so that we can optimize and customize these offers for each client? And I think that’s where we come in and, you know, because we have worked with so many different types of businesses, different staffing issues, different geos, you know, we kind of know what it takes within that first 48 hours to get an ad to really take off. So, you know, it’s about best practices, optimizations, and, you know, real-time changes to keep things, you know, working as best that we possibly can for each client.

MATT: Yeah. And so, these are the things that when you see the progress being done, because I think a lot of the mistakes happen where people just keep doing what they’ve done and they, “Well, it will get better eventually.” Right. Exactly. Yeah. And I think that’s where, again, this is where that overhead comes in like, “Okay, I’m not making enough money.” “I’m putting this money off of these ads and I’m putting out money for leases.” “I’m not getting back the return, it doesn’t work.” Right. And we get these people all the time who come to us and they’re like, “This is the third marketing company I’ve been to. It never works.” And then we turn it around and we kill it for them. Right. And it’s like, well, what did we do different than the other companies didn’t do it.

MATT: And I think a lot of the challenges that we see, and this is your and my perception, and maybe we see it as a grandier thing. I do believe that patients in each market have to be really customized to the individual practice based off of a lot of authority given from that doctor, meaning that if we can position the doctor as the authority in the market, everything changes. Right. So we really think like, okay, the patient journey should be getting positive vibes back from the doctor to say, “Okay, that’s safe. We’re good. We’ve got a great staff. We’ve got great equipment.” Like I think the challenge that we find, and this is the, maybe one of the third mistakes we see in the market. And I think we’ve talked about two mistakes so far, but this is the third, is not having a physical presence in the market.

ERICA: Well, and I think Matt, it goes back to what you’re saying that you know, a lot of times practices or other agencies are not getting across to unique selling positions of the clients. How are they differentiating themselves from the competitors? Why should you click on this Botox ad when, you know, you’ve clicked through two or three others of the same day? And I think that’s where we come in, you know, messaging, unique selling position, how we’re going to do it better. All of those things are, you know, what factors into the success of the ads.

MATT: Yeah. And that’s, that’s the thing that really is driving a lot of our success. And I realized that when we end up with a $2 Botox lead or a $5 CoolSculpting lead, we’ve hit a nerve, right. We’ve hit something in the market that people can relate to, that they’re seeing what they want. They’re clicking on it. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean everybody converts to a sale, but at least getting them through the doors is like 90% of the whole process. Right. Getting someone to show up for an appointment. And so that’s another mistake that we see in the, in our process of this. So this is the fifth or the, sorry, the fourth mistake that we see. The fourth mistake is not using either an outsourced ability to get closure for appointments or not training your staff to close. Right? So we’ve gotten to a point now where we literally, I would say maybe 50% of the clients who come to us now, will use our call center just because we’ve got people who are trained to close, trained to set up appointments. They pick up the phone within five minutes of the lead coming in, like all that stuff changes the whole dimension because what we find is that, we can even build the most incredible marketing machine, but then if it doesn’t close, if we can’t get the appointment, because it goes to a lead to an internal resource, and maybe I didn’t tell her the resources isn’t trained very well, or they’re too busy, which is 90% of the… or maybe they’re not following up or they’re not – now we have all the followup systems in the world that fall automatically, but still a human at some point has to say, “Okay, you come in at two o’clock.” Yes, no, maybe, right.

ERICA: 100%, especially because a lot of these people who are responding to your ad, they’ve looked at two, three other ads at the same time, they’ve sent their information, you know, to several other practices. So whoever is going to like reach out to them and actually touch them and make a difference, maybe the practice that they actually show up to. So not only will it help your appointment rate, but it will also help your no-show rate. And I think that’s what people don’t understand. They want to just leave things to, you know, automation like, listen, I love automation. It does help our lives, but people do have to come in at some point and touch these people in some way so that they have a connection to your practice. And they already have a positive mindset before they even walk in the door. Nobody wants to buy something from a practice that they don’t like. Likeability, you know, all of those things are so important to get into the mindset of your client, you know, before they even come in, it will make your life so much easier. You will sell these patients. They will like you, they will spend money and they will leave positive reviews and tell their friends.

MATT: Right. The automation is interesting. Right? And we talked about this, from the very beginning is, using experts to leverage some of the things that are in the market. We traditionally have run into so many different clients who really they’ve got like one part of the puzzle, meaning that they’ve got an ad running and they’re driving it back to maybe a landing page. And then they’re getting an offer, you know, to the client. And then they’re getting an inbound lead and an email. And that’s it. Right? And then whether or not they approach that lead in a timely manner, or they get sidetracked or whatever might happen, maybe the issue is, it’s time to leave. Cause when the fish is hot, you want to catch that fish. Right. And, certainly, I think, you know, we’ve built a lot of interesting automation that immediately approaches that customer with SMS and emails to get them to book themselves.

MATT: And we get 30 to 40% well that will book automatically. But that still leaves one thing, which is that you still have to call, confirm, and make sure that the person’s going to show and kind of get a human touch. So I do believe the physical touch has been an immense difference. And because we’ve entered the realm of sort of helping our clients with that piece, we’ve seen a whole different dichotomy of clients now that we’re having challenges turn back to being very positive because there’s actually helping their staff for a very low cost per month just to get them, augmented with some resources that they didn’t have before. And that it’s very profitable to say for $10, a lead follow up on these people until they either say, “Okay, yeah, put me into calendar” or ” No, I’m not ready yet.”

MATT: And you know, having them just turn into nothing is worse. Right. “So what happened to that person?” ” I don’t know, you know, they disappeared.” Well, you’d probably rather have a yes or no, than just have a, ” I don’t know.” So that’s one sort of final piece of this. And I think what we’re trying to do is put this all together so that, you know, a client could come to us and say, “I don’t even know what to do. You guys do it all. I just want to do procedures.” Right. So at the end of the rope, you know, that’s sort of the plan, which is to let this run, have the expertise of the right selections of the ads, the right selections of those services. Right. That was the first thing we talked about. And then two, leverage someone who knows how to put into the market, right? That’s an incredibly important thing. And then three, utilize authority like build authority into your market so that you have a unique selling proposition. And then finally, or at least for the fourth thing we’ve talked about now, utilize a skill set of sales, or at least someone who could, you could outsource the conversational aspects of getting people into an appointment without putting too much more leverage on your front end, your front desk, if they’re not performing, right, and part of the whole bottleneck of this business. And then we’re talking about eventually, you know, “How do we pay down these leases?” “How do we pay for all the employees?” “How do we take care of this stuff?” it’s having as little obstacles in the way as the client’s journey goes from finding you to getting in contact with you to getting an appointment to showing up. I think those main four mistakes that we see in the market so far are the ones that are the limitations to most practices.

ERICA: I agree, Matt, you said it well. I think, you know, they really do. Practices really do need to focus on all of those things. It all has to work together and that’s where we come in and, you know, we kind of help them step-by-step so that we get it right for each person, because each piece is supercritical in order to make that revenue so that you can pay those expenses, and you’re not stressed every month, and you’re making a profit, and it’s worth it for you. So, yes, I agree.

MATT: And so the last thing I want to talk about, which is the final fifth mistake when we talked, we think there’s five general mistakes that practices make, is scaling. So now we’ve got all this stuff figured out, right. And scaling now is the next factor, right? And so what we see is that when we get engaged with a client, there’s the two types of clients: there’s the client who will stay sort of happy. And they just, they never sort of move forward into a different level. Like they don’t get another practice, they don’t grow, they just stay where they’re at, but they’re happy. Okay. But if you want to scale the business, get another location, add more people into your staff. The only way to do this is to get repeatable and easy processes built that you can continually build-up, and then leverage the things that you’ve done in the past, and then start to find things that work really well and accentuate them.

MATT: And so what we see, especially in some of the clients that now are approaching maybe $400,000 a month in sales, in one practice with a couple of people working at it – I mean, just absolute monster profit – is that they’ve scaled the buying patterns. They’ve taken the $1500 a month to 3000 to 5,000 to 20,000, right. And now, instead of getting 10, they’re getting a hundred, you know, it’s like, they’re a 100 X-ing and they’re scaling what’s working. And as they scale with what’s working, they’re getting a better revenue. And they’re getting an ability to get better profitability. And therefore they’re able to then really turn the wheels and become an amazing force in the market. Can you talk a little bit about that, what you’ve seen?

ERICA: So, you know, some of our clients that we’ve seen that happen with, they are successful because the basics never change. So, you know, they’re sticking to those core pieces of their business that worked for them in the beginning, that are now working for them just at a greater level. So when they expand, maybe it’s into another location, it’s basically replicating that success of location one. And then also let’s say they want to, you know, expand a current practice. It might not necessarily mean a second location. Again, it’s adding staff, it’s adding machines, it’s increasing advertising spend. It’s also, maybe adding services, but again, the basics are not changing. They are still driving leads and new patients through the business the same way they did on day one, but they are nurturing the existing. So we have new, new leads constantly driving through, but yet we’re also nurturing existing. So it just keeps compounding for you and growing and growing in this successful way.

MATT: Yeah. So it’s sticking to the basics and not expanding into areas that you’re maybe not very well attuned to yet. And we see a lot of the, “Well, if that works, then this will work” without really testing it, and throwing all this money behind it and then coming back and now having to reformat. You want the very niche-specific. Yeah. And it’s really just accentuating the strategies around, building out the infrastructure that’s already successful, that’s already been there, and just continued and really hop up in that category. And the interesting thing is, especially if you’re in a major metropolitan area, that there is always going to be more opportunity because it’s an unending river of clients. And people think that “Oh, well, there’s not that many clients. And my competitors are taking them and X, Y, and Z,” which really isn’t the case.

MATT: What’s more of the case in what we find is that if you do the scaling properly, it will go right along with you, as long as you stay consistent like you said with the basics. So let’s go through the last part of this, which is that we’re going to just tie this back to a summary, which is the five mistakes we see. So we’ve talked about them and trying to put this into perspective to “How do we pay down our loses?” “How do we pay down?” “How do we make sure that we have enough to cover our overhead?” “How do we make sure that we can pay our employees and make sure everybody’s happy?”

Is that One: we have to make sure we pick the right services and we get out of the gate. We can’t go too wide and too crazy with stuff that isn’t really, consumer wise, buyable. Stay in the spot where we know there’s a buying cycle, that’s going to be consistent.

Two, find someone to leverage, to get your stuff right. Don’t try and guess at it, try and find people who’ve got existing success stories and understand the market and work in this framework that can help you, guide you to become your own hero in your journey.

Three, we want to make sure of all the things that we do, that we look at these customers, we look at them and we say, “Okay, how can we differentiate ourselves?” “How do we create us as the entity that people are going to be wanting to go see?” Getting visible, making sure that we can get ourselves seen and that we have a unique selling proposition, right.

Number four, make sure we have no bottlenecks, especially when it comes to once we get the leads and are we closing them. “Do we have the right staff?” “Can we augment out to getting an outsourcing service that can maybe close them for us?” So that we’re not putting extra resource time on top of our staff that may be already overloaded, or they might not have the skillsets, or we just don’t have the time to get them skilled up, to be able to close and get those leads close to conversions, to really improve our revenue and our profit.

And then at the end, number Five is don’t be afraid to scale, but scale in the right spot. Don’t scale sideways into different stuff, scale with what you’ve done, and make those things appropriately.

MATT: So I really appreciate all your help today. It’s great. Cause Erica, you’ve been on the front lines and now you work in the front lines. Now you’re working to help everybody succeed. So I hope this helped everybody. There’s a lot of things to think about when you’re starting to make some decisions on how to grow your practice and how to get out of that and the challenges that most people face when they’re starting to think about “Why isn’t this working?” or “What can I do to solve these problems?” So we invite you to get in contact with us. If you need to have these things solved, we’re here for you. Again, we’re excited to bring these guests by, every two weeks or every month, at least. We try and get another set of circumstances, we can show you what’s really happening. These are real practices. We’re not, you know, sitting here just thinking of this stuff off the top of our head. It’s literally what we go through every day. And I think that’s important. And the next one, we’ll probably do maybe a combination of these things to show some screenshots of the things that we’ve done with helping people to see some of the actual aspects of this, that we can show them the trajectories that we’ve created.

ERICA: Excellent. Thank you so much, Matt. Can’t wait to be back.