To Touch the Pot, or Not To Touch the Pot

If there were a pot of hot water on the stove, I, as a father, would tell my children, “Don’t touch that. It’s hot!” Now they could choose to believe me and leave it alone, or find out for themselves and touch it. Either way, they will understand it is hot.

We learn from our experiences: mistakes, failures, successes, or taking the advice of others. The same goes for running your practice. Whether it’s marketing, accounting, administration, or how you serve your patients, you can apply what you learn from others or “touch the pot” and experience it yourself.

Specifically, with marketing, the “touching the pot” method of learning can be a costly and time-consuming way to learn — albeit necessary at times. So I want to give you some “the pot is hot” tips you can incorporate into the way you market your practice.

Have a goal.
Are you looking to increase your bottom line, schedule more patients, grow your platform, or educate your patients? If you don’t have a specific goal with each of the marketing campaigns you run, you’ve lost before you started. Put a number to it. “I want 50 new patients to schedule by the end of the month.”

Know your numbers.
If you don’t know the data in the process, whether you met your goal or not, you won’t know what needs to change, what you did right, or how you got the results you did. For example, say you ran an email campaign to your patient-base on a new treatment, and altogether you spent $5,000. First, have a specific goal: you want 50 patients to schedule an appointment for the new treatment. Did you reach that goal? Then whether you met your goal or not, analyze the numbers. How many received the emails, opened them, read them, and clicked the links? How many called the front desk? And finally, how many patients schedule an appointment? All of those numbers tell you the success or failure of the campaign and where to make changes. The more you know your numbers, the more you will reach your goals, and the more successful your marketing will be.

Just because a marketing campaign fails doesn’t mean it was a bad idea. Marketing is touchy. It requires analysis and change, and you have to be able to adapt. You don’t have to throw away a whole campaign because it didn’t get results. Look at the data and make a change if necessary. However, it also doesn’t always mean to continue throwing money at a campaign that keeps failing. There will be times you may have to cut your losses and learn from the experience.
Be humble. It takes a certain level of humility to accept making mistakes and failing. Embrace that. Not every campaign you run will be successful, and that’s okay. Be humble enough to learn and don’t cast blame.

Cutting your marketing budget doesn’t mean you save money.
It happens with any size of the business, small mom-and-pop stores to large corporations. Accounting departments, CEOs, Board of Directors, and owners have meetings, and then decide that by cutting back on marketing, they can keep the “hard dollars” in the bank and save money — especially if the marketing attempts have been unsuccessful. This approach may feel right on the surface. For example, if you stop spending your $10K monthly budget, you will keep that money. But now the money you are “saving” is not working for you. Don’t cut marketing because you want to save money. Use marketing wisely and make more money.
Spending more on marketing doesn’t guarantee successful results. There is always the “new shiny object” or the “magic pill” to take care of your marketing needs. Be careful of where you spend your budget. We have all heard the saying, “you have to spend money to make money.” That is only partially true. You have to spend money wisely to make money. The shiny gimmick can end up costing you more in the end.

Revenue is not the only goal.
Many people make the mistake of only looking at the money. You could consider many things as a good return on your investment, like increasing your audience, increasing engagement, increasing scheduled appointments, or return visits, to name a few. Again, have specific goals for your campaigns, regardless of what they are.

The pot is hot! You can take my word for it and implement the tips mentioned, or find out for yourself and touch it. Either way, you’ll find out.