Did you know spending for back to school is expected to reach $74.9 billion this year according to the National Retail Federation?
We all know back to school time is right around the corner; so, how can you take advantage of this time of year to grow your medical practice and fill empty appointment slots?
Read on to find out some simple things you can do to reach a new audience and earn new patients during back to school season without spending much time and effort.
With very few exceptions, just about every medical subspecialty can be applied to kids or teens without a lot of thought. Dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, otolaryngology, neurology, urology – you name it.
The fact is, lots of kids need what you do, and lots of parents are open to messages about their kids this time of year (especially when it comes to their health).
Here’s how to reach them.
- Create Collateral
If you want parents to listen to your back to school checkup message, you’ve got to create something to capture their attention. What that is will depend on your budget.
Step one is determining your concept and step two is applying to the medium of your choosing.
Choose your message carefully for your collateral. You’ve only got one shot to engage the parent of your target patient, so it better be good. Your concept should be kid-focused and easy to read.
Here are a few sample headlines for concepts you can apply to your practice:
- Acne Issues? Clear Them Up Before the First Bell. (dermatology)
- Make Sure Not Being Able to See the Board is Not an Excuse. (optometry)
- Does Your Child Have Straight A’s on Their Health Report Card? Get the Checkup. Get the Grade. (family medicine/pediatrics)
After you’ve got a concept and headline, there are a few other things you need to make sure your content is viewed and remembered.
Here are some tips to create a good, relevant piece of collateral for your medical practice:
- Choose an arresting image (one that makes you stop and say, “Aww”)
- Go light on copy and let the imagery do the talking
- Create an easy call to action (“Schedule Now at MyWebsite.com”)
- Include bullets to catch the “reader” who just scans the page
There are plenty of ideas out there, so make sure yours is compelling enough to deserve a glance no matter where it is.
That’s step two: choose your medium wisely. Whether that’s an in-office flier, web or social media ad, print piece, poster in the window of local community partners, billboard, etc., you want to put it in a place where the maximum amount of relevant eyes will see it to get you the highest return on investment.
- Repurpose Content
Do you already have content from previous back to school seasons? How about general patient education pieces or news items about what you do?
Consider rewriting these and tweaking them to have a back to school theme to put on your website, throughout your office or available at checkout. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but if you’ve already got the content, make sure you’re getting the most out of the wheel you’ve got.
Spend 10 minutes rewriting a piece of education material and tie it in with this time of year. Hint: this also works around pretty much any major holiday.
- Put Together a Resource Center on Your Website
Can you modify your website? Even if you can only create a news (blog) post, put something together to act as a “resource center” for back to school season. If you can change out image sliders and create pages, that’s great. Do that, too.
If not, use whatever means you have to put something together for parents in need of information (or for current patients visiting your site to share with people they know).
What should your resource center include?
- Any relevant content you have (see no. 1 and 2 above)
- Helpful links (perfect if you don’t have the content – link to a reputable website or news outlet that does)
- Videos of your physicians discussing procedures, trends, topics and things to be aware of this time of year (or general procedures that could be applied to a younger population)
- New patient forms
- Appointment request information
- A motivating call to action
Overwhelmed? You shouldn’t be. Tackle the items found above in small, manageable chunks. Start with what you’re most comfortable doing and move from there. Keep in mind that designing a piece of collateral will probably take the longest however between getting the design just right and going through the approval process.
Even with little to no budget, you can create momentum around back to school time to build your medical practice and find new patients in your community.
Now get to work before you’re late for class.
By Jennifer Thompson