5 Low/No Cost Marketing Ideas to Reenergize Program & Product Sales in Your Weight Loss Practice
— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN
Nowadays, effectively marketing your weight loss practice with minimal financial investment is easier than ever. In addition, these low/no cost ideas tend to build more trust and create positive engagement with your current and prospective new patients.
Having a tight budget to work with when it comes to marketing, or feeling as if you are paying a fortune with a poor return on your investment is — unfortunately — more common than you may think. In particular, smaller businesses tend to have a tight marketing budget which can make getting the word out about you and your weight loss practice challenging. No one likes to feel as if you are the best kept secret in town.
You may also be feeling a bit bored with the same old marketing strategies you have utilized for a while that just don’t seem to move the needle when it comes to attracting new patients, growing your e-mail list or increasing your total program and product sales. These are signs that it is time to add some energy and new strategies to your marketing plan that can effectively level the playing field with both “big box” and local competitors.
These proven ideas and strategies are simple ways to authentically build new pathways to the virtual and/or physical doors of your business. They are also specific tactics to re-energize your program and product sales.
Ensure that your Online Business Footprint is in Order
Before you add or enhance these strategies for your weight loss practice, it is critical that you take the time to ensure that your online business footprint is in order. This means:
- Objectively evaluating your website (analytics, SEO optimization, design and navigation, clear call to action)
- Taking a close look at your social media business accounts for branding continuity and links back to your website
- Evaluating your Google online listing/business profile including your online reviews
Do not underestimate the value of your free Google Business Profile. This essential piece of free marketing collateral is what allows you to show up in organic online searches. In order for this to happen or be most effective, you must optimize it with your current business information and have verified your ownership of it.
Finally, as you begin to implement these strategies, be sure to have a list handy of the most important keywords and hashtags people are searching for related to you, your business, what you offer, and your geographical area.
5 Low/No Cost Marketing Ideas for your Weight Loss Practice
Below you will find five powerful low/no cost marketing ideas in addition to a couple of bonus ideas that also work well:
1. Leveraged Content Marketing: Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing. It creates pathways for people to learn more about you, trust your expertise, and become new patients. You can do this through SEO optimized videos, blogs, webinars, free resources, contests, challenges, surveys, and engaging social media posts.
In order to make the most of your time and resources, you can leverage one piece of content by showcasing it in a variety of ways. For example, you can create one video about a current topic, such as Dr (insert name here)’s Top 5 Weight Loss Mistakes. This one asset/resource can be used in many optimized ways such as a video on YouTube, blog on your website, free resource for people to download after giving you their e-mail, graphic with your photo & quote from the video, and/or Instagram/Facebook reel.
These can also be re-purposed months later in your social media posting schedule. The key is to make sure it is enticing, highlights what you do or what makes you different, and leads back to your website with a clear call to action (next step to get started). In fact, you can batch such videos by recording them all at once to provide you and your team with enough content to last for three, six or 12 months at a time.
2. Webinars, Events & Complimentary Resources: Listen to the needs of your ideal patients and put together a short webinar on the topic. Then promote the webinar so people can register to join live or watch as a replay. A topic example is “How to know if Weight Loss Surgery is Right for you.” This webinar offer builds your e-mail list with qualified leads and provides you with a recorded webinar/video you can continue to promote.
You can also create a complimentary resource to go along with your webinars for people to download and share with others. If you want to increase foot traffic to your practice, you can host an on-site event with raffles/gift bags, discounts and “event only” specials such as a discount on products or another cash-pay service you offer on the day of the event.
3. E-Mail Marketing: While e-mail marketing is not new, it is one of the most reliable ways to get a strong return on your investment. Unfortunately, it is one of the most under-utilized low/no cost marketing goldmines for weight loss practitioners. Or, it is one that is used with minimal return on investment because it is presented as a lengthy “newsletter” without purpose or a clear offer/call-to-action regarding a service or product you offer.
E-mail marketing does not need to be annoying. Rather, follow best practices so that it is something that prospective and current patients look forward to every week or two. Your e-mail list is your personally owned real estate that is not reliant on other platforms. Maximizing its value just requires consistency, respect and ongoing growth. If you are always adding more people to your e-mail list (such as outlined in the previous two strategies), you are not marketing to the same people all the time. It is another way for people to get to know you, what you offer and say ‘yes’ to your services and products.
4. Review & Referral Program: Did you know that 74 percent of consumers consider word of mouth as their primary reason for their purchasing decisions? And, 94 percent of consumers trust referrals from people they know.1 Coincidentally, referrals can be your greatest compliment and least expensive marketing method.
When you help people attain the transformation they desire, they often want to share the news with others who desire the same. However, just like you, they are busy and may forget about it unless you remind them. You can do this by asking for reviews and referrals promptly while they are sharing their elated feelings about their success and regularly through your e-mail marketing. You can also include your online review link in your e-mail signature.
You can implement a referral program with a benefit for the person referring and the person referred once they become a patient or make a purchase as well. If you offer nutritional products, a simple gift card can suffice and although they don’t expect it, it helps to reinforce why you and your team are so great!
5. Turn Your Team into Ambassadors: Your team is probably on social media — a lot! They also likely love what they do and feel loyal to you and your practice. When you have a new video, blog, promotion, event, publication, interview or anything else exciting going on in your practice, encourage them to share it on their social media as well. In fact, there have been times when team members might see a question on social media about weight loss or weight loss surgery and they can proudly share a link to the options that you and your team provide. This is a great way for your services to get noticed in more forums and platforms.
Bonus Marketing Ideas for your Weight Loss Practice
- Local SEO Initiatives to Show Up in Google’s Top 3 Pack of Recommendations: When you post any content, be sure to include keywords that specify your local geographic location along with the practitioner(s) name and the name of your practice.
- Cross Promotion: If there is another practice you regularly refer patients to (i.e. plastic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, pulmonologist, ENT), reach out to them to do a joint webinar or Q&A that is promoted by you both to your respective audiences. Or, reach out to a local podcaster or a patient who has used your services and has a podcast or large platform for an interview. Any time you can provide quality content on another person’s stage that has a similar audience to those you serve, you increase the odds of more people discovering exactly how you positively impact lives and how you can help them as well.
- User (Consumer) Generated Content: This has many intricacies to it and is not often used in health care but may be used more in the future. It is essentially promoting positive content (usually from your customers) about what you offer that wasn’t created or posted by you.
These ideas have been proven to work when implemented properly. In fact, some practices rely on them exclusively in their marketing plan. See what works for you and have fun showcasing the many talents of you and your team as well as your many patient success stories.