Every organisation needs a steady flow of quality leads in order to survive. Leads can look different depending on your industry and situation. Your leads may be prospective customers, clients, patients, residents or donors. For the purposes of this blog, we'll refer to your prospective clients as "leads" and the people who transact with your organisation as "clients".
In some cases, your clients may not have a choice where they receive treatment or services, however and increasingly, prospective clients are more informed and the market offers them many options. I am regularly seeing situations where the client has become the primary decision maker for their health care.
So what does this mean for your health organisation?
- If you don't have visibility in the market you (sadly) don't exist
- Health professionals are making referrals based on Google search results
- Reputation has and always will be king but it is no longer enough - you need to market and communicate your reputation in order for it to be known
- Clients are doing their homework (visiting websites, reading reviews and asking friends for referrals) and directing where they want to be referred
Top Six Lead Generation Strategies For Your Health Organisation
The following strategies are tried and tested. They are low cost (but unfortunately not low time but I can help you with that part) and have the greatest impact as they bring you into direct contact with your prospective clients. The more that your prospects can see and hear you, the more they will establish trust and liking. Remember trust is your competitive advantage and you are making a trust sale.
1. Relationship marketing
This includes phone calls with new and existing contacts and referral sources, coffee meetings, business meetings, forming alliances, being an extension of a team, spending time with key contacts, adding value and keeping in touch with referral sources.
When you build quality and lasting relationships and maintain these over time, you establish trust. Your business contacts can become your inner circle and will (hopefully when guided) promote and support your business endeavours.
Speaking with relevant target audiences elevates you as the expert in the room. Being the presenter is also an efficient way of reaching larger groups of people (one presentation versus 50 coffee meetings). You can also save time and money by leveraging somebody else's database of contacts and "winning" these contacts as your own. And speaking allows you to direct attention to an issue or highlight an area of expertise with a captured audience.
You can speak at conferences, networking groups or organisations where there is target audience alignment. For example an audiologist may wish to present "Understanding Hearing Loss" to a local Probus Club or a Pediatric OT could run an information session on "Toilet Learning" at child care centres.
Another advantage of speaking for established groups is that they will often market the event for you. However, it can be appreciated if you assist in promoting the event with your own networks (seek approval for this first).
3. Business development
Business development involves being more strategic and forthright than relationship marketing. You need to think about who has the contacts that would work for your organisation and consider opportunities that create commercial outcomes for all parties. Then you make your phone calls, send your emails, have your pitch meetings and follow up your concept with the chosen group or organisation. It is also best to start with an idea of how you would like your prospect to work with you, frame the idea in a way that offers your prospect the greatest value, but then listen for how you can adapt your idea to generate greater value for the decision maker (ie. don't make it all about you).
Successful business development strategies can result in mergers, product or service extensions, partnerships and expansion and are well worth exploring to achieve business growth.
Networking can achieve the much-needed visibility to elevate your brand. Be it as a sponsor if you are marketing a product or service, or as an attendee of an event so you can mix and mingle with your peers. Networking is also the ideal way to generate new contacts leading to business development conversations - provided that you listen to way the other person is saying and cleverly align your idea with their commercial objectives.
Take the time to choose the right events to attend, plan what you want to achieve, aim to have meaningful conversations and make contact with 3-4 people and ask the event organiser to help you make initial introductions. Remember to add the contacts to your "keep in touch" system and follow them up with something of value.
5. Host your own events
Hosting your own events is a great way to engage with your prospective and existing clients. This strategy engages your audiences, helps move people along the buying journey, creates positive word of mouth and ties into the "law of reciprocity" (note - this is not the main reason why you host an event).
Hold your own events to thank people, highlight expertise and add value. Make sure that the event is not a talk-fest and ensure people walk away getting their needs met with a positive impression of you and your organisation.
6. Website and social media
Having a quality, informative and easy to navigate website is a must. You also need to index your site with Google and have a Google My Business page so that prospects and referral sources can find you. Keep your information current (at least monthly) and regularly add a blog or podcast on topics relevant to your target audiences.
You will see that social media comes in at number six on my list. That's not because it isn't important (in fact it is a must for an overall marketing strategy), it is just less personal and doesn't elevate trust in the same powerful ways that the the first five strategies above do (remember you are making a trust sale). Social media however is ideal for reaching large groups of people, new people and establishing thought leadership and brand engagement.
Like all marketing strategies social media needs a plan. Who will you target on Facebook (for example)? How often will you post (hint - four times per week at lunchtimes is ideal), what will you say and what will you offer? Can you commit to a monthly blog or podcast or video so the prospect has the opportunity to hear you / see you in action? This helps with building trust.
Build your own lead generation program
I will be hosting the Market Savvy Health Marketing Challenge Monday 16 July to Monday 26 November. Over this time, you will spend an hour per week learning and implementing your own marketing program that will give you a proven marketing process of attracting the right clients, converting your prospects into sales using ethical selling techniques for your whole team, retaining your clients and turning your clients into loyal referral sources. Building your lead funnel is fundamental to running a successful business. All recommendations align with AHPRA guidelines.
I am running a free information session on the Health Marketing Challenge at 12pm on Monday 30 April. Click here to attend and hear if this program is right for you.
Want more information? Click here to read the full Challenge outline. Or phone me on 0417 602 390 for more information.
Contact Megan Walker
At Market Savvy we specialise in health and not for profit marketing. Just sing out if you would like any further information on our services. Email megan[@]marketsavvy.com.au or phone 0417 602 390.