5 Ways to Market Your Weight Loss Practice Better
— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN
Marketing your weight loss practice can be very frustrating and unpredictable – especially when you are competing with big box competitors. However, there are 5 ways you can gain better control and create a more predictable return on your investment of resources.
As you likely know, marketing your weight loss practice is different than paid advertising. Marketing is all about creating healthy communication with your ideal market that cultivates a trusting relationship and desire to experience the value you and your team offer in order to attain a desired outcome. As a formal definition, the American Medical Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”1
The concept of marketing is very familiar to weight loss practitioners. You communicate daily with your patients, establish trust by sharing your expertise, provide value and help them attain great outcomes. However, showcasing this process usually feels much less familiar. It requires additional training, effort and consistency. Once you embrace these principles, you may even find marketing comes naturally and is quite enjoyable.
Below are 5 great ways you can establish — or enhance — your marketing efforts for better results.
1. Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Website & Online Presence
To maximize the effectiveness of your website, it is wise to do an objective assessment. Basically, the effectiveness of your website comes down to determining if it is optimized (easily searchable) and results in your ideal weight loss patients taking the next step — such as reaching out to you for more information or to get started with the services and products you offer.
Two great ways to improve your website optimization is to:
- Create and consistently post an easy to read, keyword rich blog (one that contains the keywords/content people are searching for) with an eye catching graphic.
- Share links to specific pages on your website (such as your blog) on your social media channels as well as within your website (linking to other related blogs or pages).
An effective way to help your ideal patients take the next step to utilize your services and products is to provide a reason why as well as a way for them to do so (also known as lead capture when you gather their email or contact information). A reason could include watching a webinar, requesting more information, downloading a free e-book or resource you created, among others. The way for them to do so is completing a simple form on your website in order to automatically access these resources or reach out to you directly via a similar form, phone number, email or text.
2. Consistently Create & Leverage Your Organic Marketing Assets
The goal of organic marketing is to increase awareness of your weight loss practice and drive traffic to your website without using paid methods. Your results build over time and last beyond a typical ad spend for paid advertising. Organic marketing is thought to be more trustworthy and is a great way to show up consistently on the first page of a google search as long as your posts/blogs/videos are of interest to those that want what you have to offer.
Creation of your marketing assets such as social media posts, blogs, videos, podcasts, helpful guides and the like can be outsourced or easily created and shared online by one or more of your team members. It requires a bit of training but is quite effective. Even if you outsource your organic and paid marketing, it is a good idea to recognize and cultivate internal talent so your marketing is unique and highlights exactly why you and your team are uniquely suited to help your ideal patients attain long lasting weight loss results. Either way, it is important to monitor your results via monthly reporting to ensure that you are getting a good return on your investment.
Bottom line, content marketing is very worthwhile and can produce long-term results. However, be sure to leverage your time and your content. For example, you can record one video, post it on your YouTube channel, use the audio for a podcast, transcribe it for your website blog, create graphics for social media and link back to each asset from all of your social media channels with a call to action on how to get started or request more information.
3. Create Better Engagement with Your Weight Loss Patients
Engagement occurs best when your social media posts and other marketing assets address topics/questions/problems your patients are concerned about. It is also easier to stand out in the crowded online weight loss space by highlighting why you and your team are uniquely qualified to help them succeed. Engagement is also enhanced by putting some of your practice personality into your marketing.
People want to purchase from people they can trust before they take the next step. Here are three great ways to create better engagement with your current and prospective patients include:
- E-Newsletter: Create a short, yet impactful e-newsletter that has a consistent format including branding and items such as a brief article, healthy recipe, what’s new and a call to action (such as link to purchase new product/service) if desired.
- Cross Promotion: Include links back to your website and a way to share the e-newsletter with others.
- Social Media: Continue your engagement with social media posts that are interesting such as motivational graphics, behind the scenes information for your practice, favorite products, testimonials, recipes, Q&A with the physician, your opinion on current weight loss news or occasionally links to other pertinent weight loss article.
This does not need to be overwhelming. You can plan (and even schedule) content for a week or month at a time for efficiency. In fact, batching content and having a posting schedule eliminates chaos, improves consistency, and allows for spontaneous creativity.
4. Establish & Promote a Referral Program
Your best patients often come from your existing patients. Yet, even though they are happy, referring someone else is not usually top of mind. Obtaining referrals requires a great relationship with them and often requires you asking for the referral when they are their happiest. Some tips for increasing your referrals can be found here.
5. Make the Most of Your Patient Testimonials & Reviews
Patient testimonials and reviews can be the most impactful when it comes to marketing your practice. However, like referrals, this is not usually top of mind. Thus, you need to have a systematic and easy way to ask and obtain them. Some great ways to make this happen include business cards with a QR code that links directly to your Google review page, including the review link in your email signature, automated review requests after appointments, and having your entire team ready to ask for a referral/share the referral link to Google whenever they have contact with a happy patient.
Be sure that you claim your local listing for the major search engines. Ensure your listing is correct and includes photos, hours and a short description. You can also link it to your YouTube channel so your posts automatically show up and/or add links to your blogs.
Finally, be sure to measure the return on your marketing investment at least monthly so you can see what is (and isn’t) working. Review this with your team and make any necessary modifications. Monitor trends and you will be sure to make the most of your marketing resources.