It’s that time of year again…the holiday season is in full swing.
The common and much-beloved idea of the holiday season, as perpetuated by everyone from Hallmark to Hollywood, is that it’s a time for everyone to slow down and relax with the family at home.
Maybe the holidays are still like this for some people, but whether it’s a current or former patient, a member of your staff, or you, the private practice owner; most of us tend to get overwhelmed during the holiday season with all of the to-do’s like shopping, family get togethers, special events, and travel.
And what about your practice?
Because the holidays are busy for many, it very important to have a holiday marketing strategy that keeps your clinic in the minds of your present and former patients, while continuing to attract new ones.
During this hectic time, many patients are distracted and less likely to remember or be fully compliant with keeping their scheduled physical therapy appointments. This is why it is vital for clinics to remind patients of their scheduled appointments and to market their practices in fun and creative ways.
After witnessing on the sidelines, the annual chaos of Black Friday, I couldn’t resist thinking about what you can do as private practice owners to boost your visibility in your community during this holiday season.
Below are 10 strategies that can be fun and creative ways to market your private practice during these next few weeks of the holiday season:
1. Emphasize family in your marketing campaigns
Holidays are often about family. Stressing this in all your holiday marketing campaigns can help attract high-quality patients. Family is the ultimate common ground of holidays because they represent a time for families to gather. Smart private practice owners will keep this in mind when thinking about special holiday marketing.
Have lights and other holiday decorations put up on your building and inside your clinic. This is a great way to draw attention from those just passing by. It will show the community your holiday spirit and help others feel that your practice is warm, friendly, and inviting.
3. Create a holiday inspirational video
This video message will help make sure all your patients in the waiting room know you wish them well during the holiday season, as well as help communicate important holiday messages, thereby reducing stress on the front office staff. For example…holiday vacations can often be last minute decisions. Remind your patients to check the date of their next scheduled appointment to ensure it works with holiday or vacation plans.
4. Create a holiday lottery
When patients remember appointments and show up on time, they can be entered into a special lottery to win gift cards to places such as Target or a grocery store to help them tackle their holiday shopping. This will give them an extra incentive, to make time for their appointments.
5. Be aware of your clients’ religious beliefs
Not everyone celebrates Christmas. If you know that a client or customer has different religious beliefs, choose and send a holiday card appropriate to the client’s beliefs, or choose and send a holiday card with a more generic holiday theme and message, such as “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”.
6. Make it personal
Besides signing your name inside your holiday greetings card, hand-write a brief personal message. Don’t just write something such as “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” above your signature; try to extend and personalize the message. For instance, you might write, “Hope 2015 is the best year ever for you and your family, (patient’s name)!”
7. Create Holiday Gift Packages
Advertise special PT related cash-based programs and packages (like massage), that your patients can purchase for friends and family as holiday gifts. This will help them save some time from having to go out shopping, while bringing new prospective patients to your practice.
8. Ask your patients what’s on their holiday wish list through surveys
As a savvy business owner survey your patients and even if you can, your prospective patients. This is something you want to do several times a year to gauge your patient needs. The holidays provide a chance for you to check in with your patient base and even potential patients by sending via email, holiday messages that contain a link that leads to a short survey. Surveys can reveal any gaps in your services, allowing you to speak to the real needs of your patients.
9. Market the New Year
Entice your patients to make your practice and the services it offers one part of their New Years’ resolutions by offering free consults, discounted treatments, or treatment packages. Show them how being proactive about your services now will pay dividends throughout the coming year.
10. Use Social Media
Set up a Facebook Fan Page and make it personal by adding faces of the people who are related to the practice. (i.e., your important team members) Show off services you provide that add profitability and set your practice apart from others. Also be sure to add any special promotions you may have going on for the holidays or end of the year. If you plan to have a holiday open house; this is a good place to let others know about it.
Having a holiday marketing plan can help your practice stay on your patients’ minds and boost productivity during what can be a slow time of year. By letting your patients know that you’re going the extra mile for them, they will be loyal to you and more likely to give referrals to friends and family.
P.S. You need to have a plan. Planning ahead can help ease the stress of the holiday season so you can actually enjoy this time of year! So take a deep breath, grab your pen and get started – this year and every year, make a list. Check it twice and thrice. A well thought-out plan will be the best strategy to get just what you wished for…a successful and consistently growing clinic.