If you’re considering marketing for your clinic, and you might have already read my previous article on using data to make marketing decisions based on client acquisition cost and their potential lifetime value, the next step is to determine which channels to test and optimize for finding clients.
You have several options, with the main ones being:
- Google Ads (including variants like Bing) and Google My Business
- All major social media platforms, with a focus on Facebook and Instagram
- Paid health-specific search engines like Hotdoc and Healthengine
There are other options, but the above channels are the main ones my clients and I use in our clinics.
When it comes to marketing, ideally, you would optimize each of your lead sources. However, in reality, trying to be present on every platform without proper optimization can be counterproductive. I’ve found that focusing on 1-2 channels and doing a great job with them yields better results than spreading efforts across 5-6 platforms.
In my opinion, directories like Yellow Pages, White Pages, and Truelocal, which were once popular, are not where the majority of clients search for appointments these days. So, in general, you can safely avoid spending time and money on these lead sources.
Don’t forget to consider the monthly cost of your consultant as part of the overall cost of each marketing strategy. Most marketing/advertising consultants charge a monthly retainer in addition to any ad spend.
Now, let’s look at each channel/group of channels individually.
Google is the most influential platform. A strong presence on Google is crucial for attracting patients to your clinic. Let’s focus on Google Ads, the paid version of Google. Our clinic has been using Google Ads for 8-9 years, and we have optimized our ads to the point where we have our own dedicated Google Ads consultant. This optimization includes refining searches, eliminating negative keywords, and reducing the cost per lead and conversion for specific campaigns.
Our efficiency allows us to have an almost unlimited ads budget for Google, meaning we don’t cap our ad spend. A report I literally just received from our consultant detailed a $10.20 cost per conversion for our clinic for the month of August 2023 – I believe this is close to industry best. Cost per conversion is number of patients that have contacted the practice, or converted customers, divided by the total ad words spend. However, keep in mind that the $10.20 cost per conversion doesn’t guarantee a booking, only a contact point, and you must also consider the consultant’s fee.
Facebook, Instagram, and other social media are powerful platforms with significant reach. If your clinic’s target audience is mainly middle-aged clients, Facebook might be the preferred choice. While paid advertising on Facebook had some benefits in the past, it has become less effective and costly in recent years unless you have a particularly strategic approach. Unlike Google, where potential clients are actively searching for solutions to their health issues, social media platforms are not typically used for finding a physiotherapist. However, they are valuable for maintaining communication with your existing client base.
Hotdoc and Medical Directories
HotDoc is gaining popularity among patients searching for physiotherapists and other Allied Health providers. Unlike some other search engines we’ve tried, Hotdoc has provided positive results for our clinic. Their real-time interactive dashboard is particularly helpful, displaying patient names, booking dates, and chosen practitioners, making it easy to track patient attendance. Our clinic has seen great results from Hotdoc, with a reasonable cost of $25 per new client. The number of new clients has been encouraging, and I expect it to improve over time as more patients use Hotdoc to book their Allied Health appointments. While some Hotdoc patients may change or cancel appointments slightly more often than our average rate, the positive patient flow justifies our use of the platform.
By strategically selecting the right marketing channels for your clinic, you can effectively attract new patients and grow your business. Remember to focus on optimizing a few key channels rather than spreading yourself thin across multiple platforms.