At Advice Media, we kind of get caught up in the digital world…developing beautiful, functional websites; optimizing those sites for optimal, targeted search results; writing blogs to feed Google’s content hunger; managing practice Facebook pages; and much more.
But it’s not like we never put down our phones or step away from our desks and remember there’s an entire tactile world out there that doesn’t revolve around pixels.
With that in mind, here are a few non-digital, totally old school tactics to keep your existing patients happy, new patients knocking on your door, and to maintain a place in your community.
1. Everyone loves a freebie
It’s easy to think of advertising specialties as cheesy items destined for the garbage can, but let’s get real — everyone loves a freebie. So, why not give them something that keeps your practice in mind every time they write a to-do list, take a bike ride, pick up their luggage off the carousel, or go to the store.
Advertising specialties have come a long way from their plastic junk origins. Today, you can imprint your logo on pretty much anything. From charging cords to phone screen cleaners, from water bottles to armband phone holders, from pens to Post-It Notes, and pretty much everything in between. Stress balls, anyone?
There are two keys here — take it easy on the logo size. Keep it large enough to be readable, but not large enough for people to leave it home, or worse, chuck it. You want them to pick up the golf tee and read your name. You probably won’t get many people to put a golf towel with a big fat practice logo on their bag.
That goes to the second key — try and align the item with your practice. If you’re an orthopedic practice, water bottles are an easy choice with tons of options. But what about quick-speed jump ropes? If you’re a dentist, a stress ball touting your sedation offerings is a clever tie-in. If you’re a dermatologist, a travel-size sunscreen is a no brainer. Plus, everyone increasingly needs reusable grocery bags, pads to write shopping lists at home, and even the old standby — the pen.
Place these items at your front desk in a bowl and maybe put a little sign behind it asking for a review, or to “Like Us on Facebook.”
Or, if you have a little more expensive item — say a $12 fitness tracker/pedometer or a water bottle with built-in wi-fi speaker (true item!) — you could give that as a reward of sorts to patients who have just had a procedure. If you’re an orthopedic surgeon, maybe that goes home with the recovery instructions after knee arthroscopy.
2. Postcards from the edge
It’s easy to overlook the postcard in today’s digital world. Sure we all get a bazillion emails every day…one from every company we’ve ever purchased anything from online! But printed postcards are still very effective, if tastefully done.
Don’t go overly small to save a few cents, 9 x 6 is a good size to work with. Again, like the “don’t overdo the logo size” advice on the specialties above, here don’t shout. Try and use some low-key clever copy that hopefully engages the reader and maybe even merits a smile.
You decide the purpose. Maybe it’s a “one-year anniversary of your procedure” follow-up, complete with a subtle ask if anything else is needed. Maybe it’s a birthday wish. Maybe it’s your fall specials. Have a specific purpose to the card.
3. Become a pillar of the community
Doing things for the community is not only good karma, it can be a way for promoting your practice…subtly. We’ve just finished the school year, which ends with awarding of community scholarships to local kids. Why not create one for $1,000 per year in your practice name? If you’re a dentist, make the parameters that the applicants need to be interested in pursuing dentistry.
Or sponsor a teacher at your local middle school or multiple local schools. Maybe you pay for supplies that the teacher usually pays out of pocket. Maybe it’s a “Teacher of the Year” Award with a cash prize that’s voted on by the students.
If you’re a plastic surgery practice with extensive experience with Botox, maybe you get a little extra training and sponsor a free “Master the Migraine” month, where you provide free Botox injections to curb migraine headaches. Community members will think that’s a pretty cool thing for you to do, plus they’ll view you as a Botox expert when it comes time to do something about those pesky crow’s feet!
If you’re a dentist who makes mouth guards for bruxism and home whitening use, maybe you offer free custom mouth guards to the local youth hockey team. That’s sure to get a story in the local paper.
Plan an event on any budget
Old school doesn’t mean outdated
These days, people often are thrilled to engage with things that don’t require a password or a swipe up a screen. Whether it’s a pen that they use every day with your tagline on it or whether it’s their go-to water bottle for mountain biking, they can be constant reminders of your practice. Same is true for an actual postcard coming in the mailbox that wishes a happy birthday and offers $50 off teeth whitening. And everyone wins no matter how your practice engages with your community.
Of course, when it comes to your digital marketing needs, that’s not something to overlook, either. But at Advice Media, we’re there to help you think of the bigger marketing environment, as well. Call us and let’s talk about what your practice could be doing.