Before we get started:
Don’t miss “Marketing Tip Monday” on Facebook Live tomorrow morning at 7:00 am Eastern. Every Monday I’m up bright and early with a marketing tip to get you motivated for the week ahead. I break it down step-by-step and make it easy.
And, actually, it’s okay if you miss it, because I know 7 am is flippin’ early and you can watch the replay anytime 😉
Plus, there’s just a few hours left to get $50 off my online marketing course built just for acupuncturists. If you missed my advertisement with the NCCAOM, I’m helping you out and letting you know before it ends!
If you’re ready to quit feeling overwhelmed by marketing your practice with step-by-step video tutorials and marketing calendars, use code LETSDOTHIS before midnight tonight to get your $50 off.
Today I want to discuss an important question that I get from acupuncturists all the time:
Where should you focus your marketing efforts: online or in person?
This is such an important question to address.
Why? A lot of what I teach in my online course is how to make digital marketing easy: the online stuff.
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Search engine optimization, etc.
I focus on these topics because I love them, I’m good at them, and they get phenomenal results.
There’s much more to marketing than just digital marketing.
Why am I addressing this today?
I want to make sure that even though I’m passionate about the effectiveness of digital marketing, I’m never misleading anyone: your practice needs in-person marketing as well in order to really thrive.
And I want to make sure that we’re not all spending so much time at home in our pjs working on our websites that we’re missing serious opportunities to connect with our communities in person.
So where should you focus your marketing efforts: online or in person?
Let me give my short answer:
- Both digital and in-person marketing efforts are important. Ideally you’ll capitalize on the essential aspects of both to really push forward the growth of your practice.
- There needs to be balance between the two.
- They actually support and nurture one another and make all of your marketing more effective.
Let me tell you, grasshopper.
Online (digital) marketing and in-person marketing are the yin and yang of marketing your acupuncture practice.
Digital marketing can be considered yin. It’s marketing we do while we sit at home in our pajamas: setting up email funnels, having a consistent presence on social media, creating compelling branding, writing educational blog posts, boosting SEO, etc.
And in-person marketing can be considered yang. This is the marketing that requires us to go out into the world and be active. This is networking, meeting people, chatting in the grocery store, etc. Essentially, in-person marketing is about being present in real-life in your community and taking the time to create meaningful connections with others.
(There’s also another yin-yang relationship in marketing, and that’s the balance between your efforts to recruit new patients [yang] and nurturing the patients you already have [yin]. But that’s an article for another day!)
As we know, yin and yang always work together, and they must always be in balance.
You can’t have too much of one and none of the other; that’s a recipe for the death of your practice right there.
Where there is yin without yang, or yang without yin, there is death. In the body, in our relationships, in the way that we eat and exercise – in pretty much every aspect of our lives, right?
It’s not just a pretty saying. The yin and yang aspects of your marketing really do work together to create a cohesive, genuine, and much more effective marketing approach than either used alone.
Why is this?
Marketing is all about building trust.
A common concept in marketing is that it takes five to seven touch points before a potential customer trusts you enough to make a purchase or sets up an appointment.
A touch point is basically a reminder.
Each time you, your marketing, or your branding comes in contact with a potential patient, that’s a touch point.
The purpose of each touch point is to help build trust.
A touch point can be any kind of marketing:
- When your email newsletter lands in your potential patient’s inbox, or they see your Facebook ad, read your blog, see that you sponsor the local little league team, when they meet you at a networking meeting or talk to you in line at the grocery store.
- All of these count as touch points.
However, some touch points have more “weight” than others. My friend Jen refers to them as “warm” vs. “cold” touch points. Warmer touch points have more weight, and therefore fewer touch points overall are required before someone decides to purchase.
What makes a warmer (i.e., more powerful) touch point? Pretty much any in-person marketing.
Why? Because trust is easiest built in person.
So if you meet someone in person and they know you’re acupuncturist who can potentially help with their knee pain, that’s a much more effective touch point than seeing your post on social media about acupuncture for knee pain.
If the average journey to setting up an appointment is five to seven touch points, then that journey is reduced when people meet you in person. Perhaps they only need three to five touch points now before they decide to make appointment, because they already know, like and trust you.
So then you might be asking:
Okay, so why do I need digital marketing at all then?
Remember that these yin and yang aspects of your marketing support and nurture each other. In other words, they make the overall picture of your marketing much more effective because you use them together to build trust.
AKA, your in-person marketing efforts support your online efforts, and your online efforts support your in-person efforts.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say that you’re standing on the sidelines at your nephew’s soccer game.
One of the moms (Heather) standing next to you mentions how hard it’s getting to stand for an entire game because of her knee pain is getting worse lately.
You chat sympathetically about her knee pain and mention that you’re an acupuncturist. You also mention that knee pain is one of your favorite conditions to treat, because acupuncture is so flippin’ effective for knee pain.
She’s surprised to learn this and asks you a few questions about it:
- How does acupuncture work for pain?
- Does it work even if her pain is not from arthritis?
- She works during the day, do you have evening hours?
- Do you take insurance?
You answer all her questions and you can tell she’s fascinated and interested. You give her your card and let her know she can check out your website and schedule online. Then you both go on your merry way.
Later that night when Heather finally gets home from running the kids around all day, grocery shopping, and a million other errands, she remembers that she wanted to check out your website.
She pulls your business card out of her purse and looks your website up online.
Your website is modern, organized, and easy to read. It grabs her attention right away because you speak from her perspective (i.e., you address how acupuncture can help her and why she should care about what you have to offer).
All of the questions that you answered for her in person, you also answer on your website, on your FAQ page and in your blog posts. There’s even an article about knee pain with recommendations for natural knee pain management!
She decides to do a Google search for your practice to see what else you’ve got going on online.
In doing this, she stumbles across your Facebook and Instagram accounts, which are active and consistent with your branding.
She finds positive testimonials on your social media and review sites.
She reads articles on the local newspaper site from when you opened your practice, and from those press releases you published when you ran that fundraiser at your office last year.
Overall, she’s happy with what she’s found online about your business: a thriving, busy, clinic with a strong online presence that backs up your in-person presence.
Let me say that again, because it’s so important.
Your online presence (i.e., the culmination of all your digital marketing) supports and reinforces the relationships you create in person.
Your online presence nurtures the good feelings that you kick-started in person. You’re building even more trust without having to be standing in front of Heather, because your online presence represents you and your clinic and backs up everything you said in person.
Now Heather is ready to make an appointment, so she navigates back to your website, clicks the gigantic “Schedule Now” button, and does just that.
However, let me spin this a different way for you.
Imagine you meet soccer mom Heather and have that same great conversation in person.
But then she goes online to research you at the end of a long, tiring day and your online presence is weak.
Your website is old and outdated. It’s difficult to navigate and you only talk about acupuncture from a TCM point of view – and she doesn’t know what you’re talking about. You’re not speaking from her point of view as a potential patient, so she’s confused and she can’t find the answers she’s looking for. She also can’t find the Schedule Now button easily and doesn’t see your phone number.
She Googles your name and finds several half-dead social media accounts that haven’t been updated in months. She can’t find any recent testimonials about your practice.
In this case, your online presence is obviously not representing you well. This is what we want to avoid. This is yang with no yin, and that’s the death of your marketing.
It’s not building trust. Instead, it’s degrading the trust you generated in person with Heather. Now she’s not sure if she wants to set up an appointment because there’s a disconnect between how your business was represented in person and how it’s represented online.
Listen. I know managing “all the online things” (social media, SEO, email marketing) can feel overwhelming and like a lot of ongoing work and management.
It takes time and getting the technology and implementation parts correct can be frustrating.
This is one of many reasons that I love to teach digital marketing: to help you navigate these things and create a killer online presence. (Also, to help you generate more leads and potential customers who haven’t even had the chance to meet you in person yet!)
But it’s also why I can’t emphasize enough the importance of making an effort to be seen and heard in your community:
- Because these two yin and yang aspects of your marketing function WAY better when they’re used together!
- To push you to have “presence” in your community in person, so you can kick-start those meaningful, genuine relationships and let people get to know you. To start those conversations and build trust in person so you can continue to build it online.
So I want to encourage you not to get so swept up in your online marketing that you neglect your in-person marketing altogether.
Your action step for this week:
- Get out in your community and start building those relationships! Let people know that A) acupuncture can help them and B) your practice exists in their community and is here to serve them.
I know being visible in your community can be hard for some of us, especially if you’re an introvert like me. So how do you do this?
- This week I want you to visit five businesses near your clinic and simply introduce yourself. Bring your business cards and ask if you can take some of their business cards to put up in your office.
Want an exact outline of how to do this, what time of day to go, and what to say?
- Listen to last week’s Marketing Tip Monday that I recorded on Facebook Live. The replay exists forever right here. And it’s free, of course.
And then take a look at your website and online presence to make sure it aligns with and supports your in-person marketing efforts.
Okay, my friends, that’s it for today! Tune in tomorrow morning for a brand-new Marketing Tip Monday on FB Live, and don’t miss your chance to grab $50 off my online digital marketing course for acupuncturists right here.
Until next week!
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