Have you heard of Tinder?
It’s the largest online dating platform in the world that has well and truly changed the way that singletons hook up.
You anonymously “swipe right” to like or “swipe left” to dislike other users’ profiles, which include their photo, a short bio, and a list of their interests. Once both people “swipe right,” then they’re able to message.
It’s now surpassed Netflix in annual spending, has over 5 million swipes per day, and in 2021, it recorded more than 65 billion matches worldwide.
It’s changed the way that relationships are formed.
So much so that randomly meeting somebody in a bar is now considered seedy and weird … and meeting strangers on the internet is considered normal and logical (yep, we’re definitely going backwards as a species).
But there’s a reason that I’m telling you this. That’s because Tinder can teach us all a BIG lesson that will allow us to be much smarter when it comes to marketing toward physicians (and don’t worry, it’s nothing weird!).
But first, let’s look at why COVID has killed physician marketing and the approach that nearly every private practice has exhausted over the past few decades.
The Traditional “Boots On The Ground” Approach
The way that clinics have marketed toward physicians in the past has very much been “boots on the ground.”
With each relationship being worth so much to your business due to the large number of referrals they can put your way, the traditional approach has consisted of:
- Turning up at the office
- Handing the front desk some print materials
- Dropping some cookies and coffee off
- Returning every three months to rinse & repeat
Some clinic owners do this themselves, and others hire some specialist help that is solely responsible for driving these relationships.
And this approach has worked and delivered mixed results.
The problem was, when COVID hit in March 2020, nearly every clinic that was previously adopting this approach decided to hit pause on all of their efforts.
They decided to stop visiting, knowing that turning up unannounced would do more bad than good, and they decided to wait for this short pandemic to blow over.
Yet nearly two years on, many clinics (depending where you’re based) are still sat on their hands unsure what to do or when to return to traditional physician marketing.
This is good news and bad news.
- It’s GOOD news because it also means that your competitors are also sat on their hands (opening the door for a big opportunity).
- It’s BAD news because you’ve relied on your existing physician relationships and missed opportunities that you may have otherwise captured.
The question is, what should you be doing in this weird post-COVID/living with COVID world to continue to market to physicians without personally visiting them, and how can you take advantage of the big opportunities available?
The “Know, Like, And Trust” Methodology
Let’s just take your audiological specs off for a second.
When we think about it, the entire goal of physician marketing is to build a relationship with somebody so that they become familiar with you, like you, and trust you.
If you compare building relationships with a physician to building a relationship with any other human being, then it makes this confusing puzzle rather simple.
This is just relationship marketing 101.
- You need to get onto somebody’s radar
- You want them to recognize you
- You want them to like you
- And you want them to trust you.
Dare I say it, just consider YOU and ME.
You’re reading this article … you may receive my emails, you may have read all of my other articles, you may listen to the podcast that I host.
You may know me, you may like me, and you may trust me (or at least, you may be on the path to do so … hopefully!).
Yet we’ve never met, I’ve never visited your office, and I definitely haven’t bought you coffee and cookies. In fact, I have strived for this outcome from 5,000 miles away, sat in my home office in the north of England.
The key point I’m trying to make is that if the goal is to get somebody to know you, like you, and trust you, then personally visiting them is only one of the many options available to you … not the only option!
Applying “Tinder Lessons” To Your Physician Marketing
In today’s world, so much relationship building happens remotely.
So much so that a recent study suggested that 13.6% of Tinder relationships resulted in long-term relationships or marriage – eek!
It makes you ponder, considering all the other ways we build relationships outside of being face to face with people, why has physician marketing always been something that has been exclusively done in person?
If your goal is to simply build a relationship to create KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST, then it opens the floodgates to the possible opportunities available.
This is something that we’re helping our members to maximize right now, and we’re playing with so many different approaches.
But just consider the options available to you:
- Could you mail them a print newsletter every quarter? Now, I don’t recommend sending a bland and boring piece of paper that has your services listed and an article pulled from your website. I mean something that stands out, creates “know, like, and trust,” and actually gets read/noticed.
- Could you drop a couple of personal-looking cards on them? Go through LinkedIn and research the physician’s birthday and drop them a birthday card. Or drop them a Valentine’s card with a cheeky message of your appreciation for them.
- Could you geo-target video content toward them through Facebook Advertising? Do you have videos of yourself delivering expertise and answering questions? Then why not target this video toward their office through Facebook’s advanced advertising and targeting platform?
- Could you create so much expertise through your website that they just can’t ignore you? Could your site be a resource that they end up using when looking for help/support to offer advice to a patient sat in front of them?
- Could you offer to interview them to be spotlighted on your website to showcase the best physicians in your area? Is there a “Trojan horse” way to get into a one-to-one conversation with them?
There are so many different things that you can do.
The real goal is to pick something that you can do consistently and then turn this into your long-term physician marketing strategy.
Do you drop greetings cards on all physicians in your area every year? Do you send them all a print newsletter, or do you combine a few approaches?
Consistency really is key to building relationships.
- Choose your preferred approach.
- Commit to doing it.
- Stay consistent.
Right now, there has never been a better time to put this into action. Your competitors are unsure what to do, physicians will be receiving less people approaching, and you’re playing in a wide open space.
It’s arguably the highest ROI-returning marketing work that you can do right now.