What are the two of the most important marketing formulas and numbers to know? Do you have a foundation in place? Why are your existing clients helpful as the best warm leads to converting new potential clients?
In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks with Agatha Bayones about how to build a strong marketing foundation.
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Meet Agatha Bayones
Agatha’s mission is to help her clients save time so that they can focus on the essentials. Her company devises and launches creative campaigns for her clients which inspire, compel and engage their audience networks.
In This Podcast
- Essential marketing formulas
- Have a foundation in place
- An example of a (theoretically) perfect marketing plan
- Marketing mistakes to avoid
- Agatha’s advice to private practitioners
Essential marketing formulas
Before any sort of marketing plan is put into place … it is important to set a strong foundation, have good staff, and understand what your objectives are, and who your audience is before putting any [marketing] into place. (Agatha Bayones)
1 – Know your patient lifetime value (PLV) number. How many appointments does your average patient come to? How many months or years is the average lifespan of your client in your practice?
Multiple appointments per year with average annual spending with average years. This number will give you your PLV.
That number that you come up with, your PLV, is important in dictating what success means to you, and if a campaign in the future is successful or not. (Agatha Bayones)
2 – Patient acquisition cost. A PAC is the total advertising cost divided by the number of patients from those respective initiatives. It is the cost of attracting and successfully converting clients in your practice.
Have a foundation in place
Aim for your ideal client. Since your marketing connects you with your ideal client and helps you to advertise yourself, your practice, and the services you offer, you need to know to whom you are speaking before you can begin the conversation.
What sets you apart? What are you providing your clients with that no one else is?
Identify what sets you apart in the beginning before you start any sort of marketing is important and pivotal as well. (Agatha Bayones)
An example of a (theoretically) perfect marketing plan
Try to have as many pieces together and working as well as you can. If you do not have them all, then try to get right what you do have in place:
1 – Internal efforts: Your staff should follow through on commitments, be trained in receiving client testimonials. Is your front staff doing due diligence in finding a new client’s referral information?
You are only as strong as your team and you are only as [impactive] as the happiness levels of your patients. If you are providing them with a good patient experience, good bedside manner, and your staff is friendly with them, then [this’ll] do a lot of work for you. (Agatha Bayones)
2 – New patient acquisition:
- Make sure you have a strong digital storefront and your SEO is optimized.
- Choose two or three platforms and post regular, valuable information.
- Build an email list.
3 – The lived experience in your practice. What is the energy that is created in your space? Do your clients feel welcomed, prioritized, and centered?
Marketing mistakes to avoid
You do not have to do everything. Focus on what you are good at, and hire somebody who can do what they are good at to support your practice.
Get someone to help you with marketing so that it is done well from the beginning.
Agatha’s advice to private practitioners
Build your strong foundation before investing in your effective marketing plans.
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- When you join Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and grow your practice. Sign up now at www.joinheard.com.
- Connect with Agatha Bayones on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Check out the Practice of the Practice branding services
Check out these additional resources:
- How to Make Your Brand Stand Out | MP 87
- Email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Design Services With Sam
- Check out the Practice of the Practice Network
- For more branding advice, click here
- Apply to work with us
Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
Thanks For Listening!
Agatha is the CEO and founder of Agnite Communications, a digital marketing agency. Agatha’s mission is to help her clients save time so that they can focus on the essentials. Her company devices and launches creative campaigns for her clients, which inspire compel and engage their audience networks. Hi Agatha, thanks so much for joining us today.
[AGATHA BAYONES] Hi Sam. Thanks so much for having me really excited to be here with you.
[SAM] Same. So can you share with us a bit about your story and how you got to where you are now?
[AGATHA] Sure. Yes, my story of where I was before this point here is I’ve been in the marketing world for about 10 plus years. I started here in the Metro Detroit, Michigan area working on my undergraduate. Started in journalism, so had a heavy writing block in my history before I started moving more into the public relations and marketing world. My journey took me to Washington DC, where I relocated for several years. That’s where I earned my graduate degree and really started diving in more heavily into public relations, branding and marketing. My degree is in strategic communication and so that expedited program taught me a lot more about creating strategic marketing plans for businesses and nonprofits and that’s sort of what kick launched my business that I started back in 2012.
My business at that time was primarily geared towards helping small businesses, nonprofits, trade associations in the Washington DC area in social media marketing. So I wouldn’t say in 2012 social media marketing was necessarily in an infancy stage. It definitely had already developed at this point but it sort of still was in those beginning phases where bigger Facebook advertising campaigns were really starting to roll out and become a norm for businesses. That’s what I started of started with.
Then when I came back here to the Metro Detroit area a couple years ago I got a full-time job working for an ad agency, that’s Best Marketing Agency in downtown Rochester, Michigan. That’s where I’ve been for the last five years. As you mentioned, Sam, that business primarily deals with branding marketing and we work with a lot of different sectors, financial sectors, real estate, home improvement, retail, but I would say probably the bulk of my experience and then my success with my clients is with medical professionals amongst various different specialties. I work with hand wrist, elbow surgeons, ambulatory surgical centers, dermatologists, and then my personal favorite is working with dental practices.
[SAM] That’s awesome. I mean, obviously the majority of our audience is private practice owners particularly within the counseling space, but I always enjoy having someone who is operating in a similar field, but also a bit different because I think you have a lot of value to offer. Because as I said, the fields are similar but then also a bit of different expertise which may come into play for our audience. So that’s great. Thanks so much for sharing your story. What would you say are some important first steps for a practice to take before diving into marketing initiatives?
[AGATHA] I would say before any sort of marketing plan is put into place I always like to use this metaphor that it’s important to sort of set a really strong foundation within your practice, having a really good staff and really understanding what your objectives and who your audience is before even putting anything into place. Pause on that investment and really make sure that what you’re working with is strong to begin with, because that will usually dictate success for you in the future..
two formulas that I usually speak with my practitioners about are something called PLV, which is a patient lifetime value. Basically how you calculate that is let’s just say, for example, you run an ENT practice and your average patient makes about three appointments per year. On average, each appointment is about $150 each and then you’ve already sort of calculated what the average amount of years or the lifespan is of your patient. So it’s essentially multiplying, and I’d love for a practitioner to write this down, because it is so important, appointments per year multiplied by average annual spend multiplied by average years.
That number that you come up with, that patient lifetime value is so important in sort of dictating what success means to you and if a campaign in the future is successful or not. Then, and so with that formula comes another formula and then I’m done with the math, but the second one is something called the patient acquisition cost. A lot of practitioners may have heard of this one. This is a lot more common. A PAC is essentially total advertising costs divided by the amount of patients from those respective initiatives, so it’s basically the cost of attracting and successfully selling each patient.
So let’s say you launch an ad campaign for four months. That’s totaled in $15,000. You spend a little bit on social media for your practice, you do a little bit of SEO, you did a little bit of paid search and you gained 32 patients from that initiative. Your PAC would essentially be the $15,000 divided by those 32 patients and then that’s your PAC.
[SAM] Awesome. For those of you who are on the move and weren’t able to write down those formulas, we’ll definitely have those available in the show notes of this episode, but yes, that’s great. So, I mean, I really love that you starting out with before, even thinking about marketing and campaigns, you’re starting out with the end result and the end goal and how to measure whether a campaign has been successful even before you’ve thought about the campaign. I think that’s a really smart way to go about it to yes, just make sure that as you said, you have the right structures in place from the get go.
[AGATHA] There’s even a few other, I think very important parts of that structure that should be in place. I mean it’s a given, you always hear about making sure you define your audience, define your audience, but that is so necessary in those first steps as well. Who is your primary audience? Do you have a secondary audience? Who do you consider a perfect patient, if you will? Do they fall in a certain age group? Are they a specific gender? What are their interests outside of working with you?
Going back to my expertise with dental practices, it’s so interesting because I right now at the ad agency at Best, so that I work with, I work with several and you would think, okay a dentist is a dentist. However, all of them have such unique and specific audiences. One is catered more towards young families and then another one caters more towards empty nesters that are ready and willing to reinvest back in their smiles. So this applies really for every practice. Then following that are also what are your key differentiators? You always hear about these as well but there is something truly with every practice that does set it apart. Do you have cutting edge technology that provides for a better patient experience? Are you perhaps family owned or you’ve been in your field with a wealth of experience for many, many years, and that’s sort of your differentiator? Really identifying what sets you apart in the beginning before you start any sort of marketing is super important and pivotal as well.
[HEARD] Tax season got you feeling anxious? You’re not alone. That’s why therapists turn to Heard. Built and designed specifically for clinicians in private practice, Heard offers affordable bookkeeping services, personalized financial reporting and tax assistance to ensure you’re making the most of your business and your time. Heard saves therapists an average of $5,397 on bookkeeping and taxes each year. When you join Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online and grow your practice. You can say goodbye to guessing your tax deductions and stressing out over quarterly tax payments. Focus on your clients while Heard takes care of the rest. Plans begin at $149 per month and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. Sign up now at www.joinhaerd.com.
[SAM CARVALHO] So what would you say a perfect marketing plan looks like if that even exists?
[AGATHA] Huh? So a perfect marketing plan, I think it does differ according to your own goals, your own business objectives. But I think there are some tried and true like key components to success. I think that a few of the items I’m going to go through, keep in mind the ideal place to be is to have all of these pieces to the pie, if you will. But if you don’t have the capacity to do that internally just make sure that the pieces of the pie that you do have in place do them well. Something to keep in mind too, before I dive in with you, Sam are before any sort of initiative, make sure you research and identify those objectives for whatever you’re about to dive into, construct the plan, launch it, and then evaluate and tweak. If you can get into this cycle with anything that you do with your practice, you’re in a good place.
So I would say that the first piece of that pie is internal efforts, making sure that you have that strong administrative staff, the face of your business, that front staff that are diligent in their follow ups; the reminder, the appointment phone calls. Getting in place, perhaps some sort of text messaging reminder platform. There’s so many for every single medical sector that you can sign up for that does the work for you. Having that in place is huge, as well as garnering patient testimonials. Your internal staff should very much be trained in a way where they understand the importance of getting patient testimonials, having those housekeeping items in place, such as a social media, website release form so that people are approving that their testimonials can be used across digital space.
Then making sure that your front staff is also doing that due diligence on obtaining referral information; where did you come from? Did you find us on Google? Are you a referral from an existing patient? That sort of thing. Then also internally making sure that there’s a process in place for reactivating perhaps inactive, dormant patients that you haven’t seen in a while. You want to see them return and see their face again, and making sure that your front staff is prepared for bringing those back. That’s a really cost effective way before you start diving into new patients. New patient acquisition can be expensive, can be pricey. So leverage your current base and they can help you. Your current patient base, I often say, are your best sales people.
[SAM] They’re already like the warmed up leads as opposed to reaching out to ice cold leads.
[AGATHA] Yes, absolutely. You’re only as strong as your team and you’re only as strong as the happiness level of your patient. So if you’re providing them with such a good patient experience, good bedside manner, your staff is friendly with them, then they’re likely able to do a lot of that work for you and help you grow your practice. So providing those valuable referral incentives is so important as well. Once that part is done, which I sort of considered still with having that strong foundation, but again, some of this is marketing, I just discussed.
Another piece of the pie starting to dive into that new patient acquisition. A couple ways that we see success is with digital marketing, of course, making sure you have, I always call the website, your digital storefront. Make sure you have a strong digital storefront. Make sure SEO is in place on your website. You need a professional in place to be able to set search engine optimization up for you correctly to begin with. Social media marketing as well. You don’t have to be on every platform. Choose two, three platforms, or maybe even just one and do it well, post valuable information. Email marketing is another one. Out of all the digital marketing mediums, I would say, especially geared towards practitioners, email marketing, be diligent with getting those email addresses. Email addresses I say are gold. I noticed too with among all of the different industries that I work with the best open rates come from medical practices.
[AGATHA] So you’re sort of shooting for in the industry, they say one out of five people will open an email. So you’re looking at around that 20% range. What I’ve noticed with medical professionals is practices usually have closer to around a 40% open. This just tells me that patients want to hear from you. They want updates about the practice, updates about you as as a doctor, if you’re doing any sort of continuing education, getting any credit about that. So email marketing as far as the digital marketing sector goes.
[SAM] That’s very interesting. I think what I always say as layman to the medical world is that therapists and I mean, medical people just in general are sitting on a wealth of information that the rest of us don’t know about. So I always say that creating content as a therapist should come so easily because it’s content that’s such in demand. I mean, people are Googling how to treat anxiety or things like that. So if you can put together an email series with that sort of content to draw those people in, I think it’s such a treasure that medical people have that not necessarily other businesses do have.
[AGATHA] Absolutely, such a wealth of information, especially in this time and age where mental health is, I think finally has become such a true priority for people.
[AGATHA] Leveraging that wealth of knowledge and using it to perhaps make those constant website updates with beautifully written blogs and in those email marketing campaigns.
[SAM] That’s awesome. I like how within the perfect marketing plan, I say that in quotes, I like how you covered the internal as well as the external, because I think a lot of times people forget how just the way that they treat their clients and the feel of the office and all of that plays a role in your marketing and in, as you said, how people are going to speak about your practice whether they’re going to refer their friend to you. So all of that is actually really important when you’re thinking of your marketing plan. What would you say is the biggest marketing mistake you’ve seen doctors make and what are ways to avoid those mistakes?
[AGATHA] Yes, sure. So good question. I would say the biggest marketing mistake I’ve seen doctors make is believe that they do have the time for marketing. I mean this in the kindest way, but doctors are one of the busiest professionals out there. They’re caring for others, they’ve got a lot on their hands, very busy schedules. I know a lot depends on production and making sure your days are full with seeing patients. So this doesn’t leave a lot of time to wear now another hat of marketing as well. So I’ve seen some mishaps where a doctor believes that they do have this time and as a result, the consequences, these lackluster efforts that ultimately don’t really turn into much of an ROI. There’s a disappointment there. So if there’s any sort of advice I could give is if you know you’re not going to have the time, you really understand your schedule your day to day, hire somebody internally. Whether it’s internally or hiring a marketing agency that you really trust, and you vetted on the side, hire somebody to help you with marketing because you likely won’t have the time for it.
[SAM] That’s amazing advice. I think a lot of times when people are setting up a private practice, because they’re trying to save as much as possible. They’re trying to do as much as possible themselves, but I feel like marketing is such an important part of the business that if that’s something you’re going to be a cheap skated with, as you say, it’s going to end up costing you a lot more money in the future whereas if you just make sure you set it up properly from the beginning, it could result in you being successful a lot quicker.
[AGATHA] Agreed. Exactly.
[SAM] So looking back, is there any one specific marketing success story that stands out to you that could be relevant to the people listening right now?
[AGATHA] Sure. So I would say going back, Sam to my analogy with the pieces to the pie one that I hadn’t mentioned before, but not because it’s not important is community involvement and the importance of sort of, as a practitioner, as a therapist, as somebody that is important and vital in your community, what local nonprofit, or organization, even national organization, do you really feel your heart aligns with? I always suggest for practitioners to get involved in that sort of way. My story involves that. So again, going back to a dental practice in the DC area this time they had partnered with a national organization called Dentistry from the Heart.
It’s essentially a free day of dentistry that I’m sure most people within that profession have heard of. Some participate in something like that and others don’t, but that was the nonprofit that particular dentist had aligned with and had many years of just unsuccessful community events, wrong type of people showing up. I remember one specific situation where he described a person wearing a huge diamond ring on the newest iPhone there for a free day of dentistry. He thought, gosh, for some reason, I’m not getting the people that I really want to give back to.
So when I came on board at the time sort of got into the mind of somebody who is in real need of some medical help. Doesn’t have resource to get it, with lower income underprivileged, where would they be. And started targeting these different areas, such as laundromats or lower income apartment living in the area and got the word out that way. But that day, driving up to one of his dental offices, the headquarters where this event was going to be, so nerve wracking because you never know what these events, will anyone show up? And that morning at seven o’clock in the morning there was a line wrapped around the entire building and down the road. Yes, almost a hundred people showed up that day.
The most powerful thing was creating this video, we captured the event and captured these patient stories and it ended up being picked up with all these local news outlets because it touched people’s hearts. That was the best thing that the dentist had created such an impactful effect on the community and that can apply to any sort of medical practitioner. So that’s one of my story.
[SAM] Amazing, and I think what’s also so powerful about that story from a marketing perspective is you met the client or the target audience where they were at. So as you said, you’d got into the minds of the target audience and you then took the marketing to them and you then managed to get the ideal audience to come to the event, which is amazing. That’s awesome.
[AGATHA] Yes. Thank you. It was a great day.
[SAM] So I Agatha, if people wanted to get in touch with you what is the best way for them to do that?
[AGATHA] Yes, thanks Sam. If anybody wants to get ahold of me, you’re welcome to contact me by phone at (248) 229-9885. I’m based in the Detroit area in Michigan, US. Then you could also email me, email@example.com. As always too, if there are any people out there that’d rather just have a conversation via social, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via Agatha Agnite.
[SAM] Perfect. That’s awesome. Thank you so much. If every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[AGATHA] Well, sort of going full circle here, Sam. My little piece of advice is build that strong foundation before investing into powerful marketing plans. make sure you have a strong staff, make sure your branding’s in place, make sure all those housekeeping items we talked about before are there and then make your plan.
[SAM] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing your expertise today on the Marketing a Practice podcast.
[AGATHA] Thank you so much for having me, Sam.
[SAM] Thanks again to Heard for sponsoring this episode. Remember that when you join Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online and grow your practice. Sign up now at www.joinheard.com.
Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want some print flyer designed head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. If you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.
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