Episode 20: Medical Marketing Tips and Tricks with Dr. Barbara Hales

Debra
March 28, 2022

No time! No worries! These tips and tricks can be completed in less than 15 min a week. Dr. Barb Hales and Dr. Deb discuss marketing tips that work to grow your practice regularly.

Do not miss these highlights:
03:39 Increasing your visibility - How to market yourself and be known to the public

12:23 Be busy with the right patients

15:03 Networking with people who are like-minded but offer different services are great for your practice

16:14 Why having a stellar website and a blog is important in your business

10:50 Written blog versus Video blog (Vlog)

25:25 Get started now! Run to the services that sell domain names

31:07 Some helpful tips to anybody who wants to start out in marketing, but are not sure how to get their feet wet and don't know who to trust

About the Guest:

After working in her OB/GYN practice for 30 years, Dr. Barbara Hales is uniquely qualified to help promote health professionals for their practice growth and captivates her audience when giving speeches. She has spoken at The NY Academy of Medicine, The Royal Society of Medicine in London, Cambridge University, The NY Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange among others. She published a best selling book, "Power to the Patient, the Medical Strategist" and has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox news. Dr. Hales is a podcast producer of "Marketing Tips for Doctors" and is a coach for health professionals.

www.TheMedicalStrategist.com

www.linkedin.com/in/barbarahales

twitter.com/DrBarbaraHales

facebook.com/theMedicalStrategist

facebook.com/barbarahales

https://themedicalstrategist.as.me. to schedule free discovery call

Transcript of Episode #20:

Debra Muth 0:01
You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and Practice Management. Dr. dabit has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice. With practical tools on how to manage money, taxes and patient care, she will discuss it all with you.

Welcome back. I have with me, Dr. Barbara Hales, and we're going to talk all about marketing for healthcare professionals. Dr. Barb, welcome to the show.

Dr. Barb Hale 1:05
Well, thank you for having me. It's a real pleasure to be here with you today.

Debra Muth 1:09
So I'm curious, how did you transition from being a doctor OB GYN working with ladies to becoming a marketing expert?

Dr. Barb Hale 1:19
Well, Dr. Deb, that is actually a question that I get asked a lot, because they don't really see how a doctor and being a marketer is, you know, in the same mind frame, but actually I discovered right at the very beginning, I decided after graduating my studies and all of my training that I would go into private practice, so that I could get a really personal relationship with each one of my patients and know them very well. I found a location that I thought would be perfect because it had high visibility on a main street. And it was a storefront originally being a candy store. My biggest regret there is that they didn't leave their inventory. So I decorated it with everything that would be appropriate for a medical office. And then I was open for business. But it was not a practice that I bought from someone else. Nor was it a practice that I joined with other people. So it didn't take more than a few minutes of being open to realize I have no patients. And in a few weeks, the bills were going to cascade in with no revenue to pay for anything. So right away, it was obvious to me that I was going to have to market my practice, in order for people to you know, know I was even there.

Debra Muth 3:05
I think that's one of the first things that we don't think about when we enter into a business in healthcare is especially as healthcare practitioners, health coaches are a little bit better at this than medical practitioners are. But like, how do we get patients we're used to the model where if you're in an insurance network, they'll just send you people. Well, back in the day, I think that was a lot easier than it is today because them sending new people gives them a lot of opportunity, a lot of choices. And people want referrals. Now they want to know that who they're seeing, they can trust and somebody else they know has seen them. So how does a person do that? How do they get known to the public if they've never had clients before or patients before?

Dr. Barb Hale 3:46
Well, what you point out in terms of insurance referrals used to work very well. But the thing is now, eight out of every 10 patients go online, as soon as they get that referral from a friend or family member or insurance. It's not just a question of hearing the name, oh, okay, I'll make the appointment. So if you have no reviews, if you have poor ratings, if you don't have a good online reputation, they're just not going to come to you, they're going to wind up going to somebody else. So it's something that you always have to be cognizant of something that you always have to be, you know, able to change.

And the first way in which I recommend people to get to know everybody in their neighborhood. You know, when I asked doctors if they market themselves or health professionals, you know, they laugh, and they say, market? I don't know how to market myself or I don't have the time to market myself. I don't have the budget to market myself. But the fact of the matter is marketing is simply telling people what you do, and where you do it.

Can you imagine a health professional saying, this is where my office is located, but guess what I do? Or these are the services that I provide. But guess where I'm located? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Yeah. So obviously, you need both segments. And it's a question of increasing your visibility. So think of who is it professionally, that would be recommending you. And what I recommend is if they're in your neighborhood, to go introduce yourself, shake their hand, or rub elbows, depending upon where we are. And, you know, buy them that cup of coffee or lunch, tell them what your services are, and how a relationship between the two of you could be reciprocal, where that where you would use their services refer your patients, and where they can refer their patients. So it becomes, you know, very helpful in terms of reciprocity. I'll give you an example of this is, you know, like, back in the early days, there was another doctor down the street, who also was opening up his office and really didn't have many patients. The thing is, he thought that I was an internist. I thought he was an eye doctor. The two of us went to lunch, and then wound up having a good laugh, because I was OBGYN and he was radiology. But that relationship was perfect. Because when he had a patient come in for a sonogram, if he found out they were pregnant, he had someone to refer these patients to, or if he saw that it was a pelvic mass, he wouldn't just say, well, these are the findings, now go find somebody to take care of it. He had someone like myself, where he could refer these patients. On the other hand, when a patient came to my office, and they needed an x ray, or they needed a sonogram, now, I had a relationship with someone that I knew and trusted, that I could refer to. So there's nothing like, you know, getting to know people in the area that are a good source of referrals. Another good source of referrals is your chamber of commerce, you know, when you first start out in a neighborhood, nobody knows you. But in the Chamber of Commerce, people are in every, every field every you know, career. So if you introduce yourself to them, and, you know, give some business cards and explain what you do, or even, you know, give a small lecture, to show that you are offering value to them and to their community. It's another rich source of referrals for you.

Debra Muth 8:34
That's a great way, you know, I think we forget about network marketing. And the term network marketing has changed so much over the years, but networking with people that you know, and figuring out how you can support one another in fields is so important. I, I built my practice that way. 20 years ago, I would go out to health food stores, and I'd lecture for free, or I get in touch with a compounding pharmacy or a small local pharmacy and I go out and I'd speak on a night, you know, we do an hour talk on a topic. And that's how I got my name out there. Because this was long before Facebook and social media and the internet blast had the reach that it has today. But it still works because people want intimacy, they want to talk to someone they want to get to know someone. And this is a great way to do it. And it doesn't cost you anything really because those partners help you market your talk. And you could do the same thing these days on Facebook too.

Dr. Barb Hale 9:32
Absolutely, there is no getting around the fact that everybody's online now. So being in forums and chat rooms, where you see the different problems that people are struggling with and you have a solution to those problems, you know, to chime in. But the fact is also as you so aptly put out, you know people really want to actually see you feel you know that you're a real person and not just, you know, like a pimply faced 12 year old that's adding their information out there online. So, like you there are so many places that you can give talks, like, your local library, your local library still has a schedule, and people still go and, you know, listen to those lectures, or, you know, get health care where you can be at the Health Fair, which shows that you're giving back to your community, and giving your business cards at the same time. You know, if people like you, and they like what you have to say, then they're going to come back to you. And another thing that I recommend is authoring a book. Doesn't have to be a textbook, it could be just a small book that encompasses the answers to the most commonly asked questions that you get day in and day out, so that people get, you know, the answers that they need. Now, if there are 10 people that the insurance company has on their recommendation list, as participants in that insurance plan, patients are not going to go to just anybody, they're going to go to the one that wrote the book, because the perception is that they are the authority in that field.

Debra Muth 11:51
What do you say to people who are listening that say, You know what, my practice is busy enough. I don't really need to market. How do we get around that angle to people because it's time and it's mine. It's managing family time and business time. And sometimes as practitioners, we're so busy seeing clients, we don't have time to work in or on our business. We're working in our business all the time, how, what kind of tips you have for people in that area?

Dr. Barb Hale 12:17
It's not just a question of being busy, we all can be busy. The The trick is to be busy with the right patients. You know, Dr. Deb, I had a wall in my office of a bunch of checks that were taped to the wall that I never cashed. Because these checks were of more value to me, for patients to see, then they were to actually cash. These were from Medicare and other insurance companies in the beginning of each year when person hadn't know, gone through all of the money that they had to put out in the beginning. These were patients that I'd spent, like close to an hour on, and the checks ranged from $1.50 to $2.75. I kid you not.

Debra Muth 13:15
Wow.

Dr. Barb Hale 13:17
So you know, yes, as doctors, we can all be busy. The question is, are you busy with the right patients, the patients that will pay you, regardless of whether you're a concierge, or whether you have an additional side gig. Now, what do I mean by side gig? And and I'll tell you, you know, there are many of us that feel in addition to the insurance premiums that we may get or the payment from the office appointment, we need a little extra passive income, because let's face it, like in other businesses, and I'm sure you've seen yourself that expenses are skyrocketing, and reimbursements, if anything are declining, and they're not met, you know, meeting the needs so you can be really busy and still be in negative territory. So think of what products or services that you can add to what you're currently offering. If you're a dermatologist, that might be face creams. If you are, you know an internist. You know, it may be that you also have you know, like a night of the week where you have a nutritionist come in and discuss diet or cooking for diabetics. Just something out of the ordinary that your competition down the road just doesn't offer at all.

Debra Muth 15:02
I love that, you know, I've found to networking with people who are like minded but offer different services, chiropractic offices were great for my practice. So we would connect with them. And we would make referrals to them. And they would make referrals to us, much like your radiologist and nutritionists are great. I mean, it is so nice to network with people and share and there's so much business to go around. It's it's all about leveraging each other's talents. And everybody has somebody in their practice that needs that person. And so when you can make that connection, it's a win win for everybody.

Dr. Barb Hale 15:38
Absolutely, if I were first starting out, now, I would have the Women's Center. And in it, I would have like mani- pedis and massage therapists, and babysitting services so that when somebody came in, if they had a child under foot, they wouldn't have to worry about them. And just anything that a woman needed, in addition to help to feel beautiful and confident walking out.

Debra Muth 16:06
Yeah, that is a great idea. I love that idea. So before we were on air, we were talking about blogs. So tell us about a vlog versus a blog, and why do you need one and which one is the better one to have these days?

Dr. Barb Hale 16:21
A blog is really important for several reasons. First of all, you know, everybody needs a stellar website. And Dr. Deb, you would be shocked. I know, I was to find out that even in today's day and age that there are actually healthcare professionals and doctors that don't have a website. I mean, to me, that's like, shocking, yeah. They say, Well, what do I need a website for? Because, you know, like, I get online visibility from Yelp, and all of the other rating sites, which, you know, I just have to roll my eyes. Because if you are depending upon that, you know, keep in mind that you have no control over the content. Also, you know, yes, you might be online, but you're going to be on page 25 of the Google searches. So you might as well not be there. Now, people are not looking at sites that are not page one, and maybe the first half of page two. So, you know, you might as well not exist as far as, you know, like patients go. So let's assume for argument's sake, you do you have a website. And let's say, you have a good website. The thing is, you can't just throw it up and set on online and say, well, now I have a website, everything is great. Because search engines do not view the website as fresh, they view it as static, if you never add any content to it. And it or, you know, a patient looks at the website and says, Well, when was this, like put up? Was this from 10 years ago? Was this from last month? I mean, does the office still exist? Just the doctor dead? Did the doctor move away? You know, there's nothing new on this website, everything I see on this website. You know, like I saw last year and the year before. But if you have a blog attached to your website, every time you post something, search engines look at it as fresh content for your website itself. So in terms of the importance for search engines, they're saying, Yes, this person is still working. It's still open for business. And also by the evidence of what you're putting on your blog. Search engines are saying, Oh, this is what the person is all about. This is the services and what it represents. So needless to say, if you're an orthopedist, you don't want to be blogging about antique cars, because that's your hobby. And you think, Well, that would be fun. Because the search engines, in addition to regular readers get like really confused. You know that the search engines will say, Well, wait a minute, cars, I thought this was an orthopedist. Maybe. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he's not an orthopedist. So obviously, all of your blog post must be in sync with your services itself. In addition to that, you need a blog for your reader and for attracting prospective patients, as well as the patients that you currently have to retain them. They want to get to know you and your personality shines through on your blog post. And they're also looking for answers. You know, everybody goes online to Dr. Google with their symptoms, saying, you know, like, these are the symptoms I have. Gosh, what do you think I have? Now, if people are looking online for, you know, information, wouldn't you like it to be coming from you? So having a blog is really the easiest way for, you know, patients and prospective patients to access that.

Debra Muth 20:50
So is it better today to have a written blog for SEO? Or what about a video blog, because there's a lot of people who don't want to read anymore, they want to watch a video, they want to see something, and I know there's balance between the two of them, but as one more heavily weighted than the other if you had to choose one?

Dr. Barb Hale 21:09
Well, this is a very good question. And, you know, they say that, you know, the written word is, is something that is, like priceless, or like a picture is like 1000 words, well, a video is like 100,000 words, everybody is going to be more attracted to a video than zoning out on the written word. And health professionals really have like a rich source of videos, between explanations of procedures that you do, who would be a good candidate for it, who wouldn't be a good candidate for what a person would be experiencing during that procedure? You know, how they would feel what the recovery is? What does the instruments look like? What are the medical devices look like? When when they're used. In addition to that, you know, a good video would even be, well, we're walking into the office. Now, you may never have seen the office before. And the first person that you're going to see is Betty at the front desk. And she is going to give you some forms and ask you some questions. And Dennis over there is the billing person. So he may reach out to speak to you or if you have questions or problems, he's the one that you want to get to know. And then you're going to be called back here. So let's walk further through the hall to your next spot along your journey. And this is what your exam room looks like. I mean, it's so easy to do videos. And the thing is, it does not even have to be professionally done. You don't have to pay like a video person. We all have nowadays, little video cameras. And we're all you know, we can all do videos and post them. People don't really want or need a professionally Hollywood done video. They just like they just want want to get information. But the thing is, what you also have to remember is that even though you are putting out a video with words, there are people that are going to be looking at the video that may not be able to hear. So you know, it's a good idea to have a text, you know, like on the video so that people can read, you know, as well. Also, you know, they may you don't know where they're watching the video, they may be at a gym, they may be in public transportation, yes, some people still use that. And, you know, they may be an area or even a library, I mean, they may be in areas where they really can't have the volume on the video. So having, you know, text on the video itself for people to read while they're looking at the video really combined the two and makes it invaluable for your website.

Debra Muth 24:42
That's also one thing that we do in our office two is when we create a video, and we're going to post that to YouTube. We'll have it transcribed and then we'll add a little bit to it. So then we have our video and we have a little bit different blog. But now we have two things out of one that we created And so it's so easy to do this, there's so many great tools like click scribe will take your video and put the words behind it. So you don't have to, it's not a complicated thing, you just need to know where to look to find the tools to help you to do this.

Dr. Barb Hale 25:14
I think that's great.

Debra Muth 25:17
That's awesome. So what's one of your number one strategies for marketing that you recommend to people?

Dr. Barb Hale 25:25
The number one thing that I recommend is to just get started. But I do have two, two tips. The first one is not walk but run to the, to the services that sell domain names. And you, everybody, EVERYBODY must buy their own name for a domain, you may never use it, and you don't have to use it, you could just put it in your pocket. But the thing is, by owning your name, you are preventing anybody else from using it. You know, we always thought, you know, we have very distinctive names. You know, nobody would have a name like mine, it's so unusual. And then you go online, and you find out that there are 25 people with the same exact name within a 10 mile radius. So you know, now that we will have access to essentially, everyone, it's so important to have your domain name. After all, if someone had your name and bought that domain first. You know, maybe they are putting out information that you would not want to be associated with yourself. You know, like, if I decided I wanted to buy Dr. Deb, before you. And I I know Dr. Debl also shared a good laugh about that. But if I wanted to buy Dr. Deb with your last name, online, and I got there before you, you know, like, I could be a pole dancer in the local strip club. I mean, I could, I could be a porn site. I mean, like, who knows what nefarious activities that I might be putting out there. Not to say pole dancers are nefarious, but you get the idea. It's not, it's not you. So. So the thing is, you don't want to be associated with somebody else's services. So again, you don't ever have to use that domain name, you just have to make sure nobody else uses it, and associates itwith you.

Debra Muth 27:59
That's such a great tip.

Dr. Barb Hale 28:02
The second tip that I have is that you know, going on, so social media. There are a lot of social media sites. And you can't be on all of them. And you don't have to be on all of them, you really want to devote the time. So in social media, where your patients hang out, and depending upon whether you're a pediatrician, or into health, or like whatever your target market is, they will be on one particular platform much more than others. For instance. Pinterest is 87% female users. Now if I was a pediatrician, and like that might mean nothing to me. But let's say you know, like always an OBGYN in like practicing, you know, being known by 87% women really is a rich source for me. Let's say I was, you know, taking care of the 20 to 30 year age bracket, then maybe I would be interested in Tik Tok. So, figure out where it is that your patients know basically hang out at and that's where you want to be. If you don't know where that is. It's a very simple solution. Ask them because they're more than happy to tell you. But one of the biggest mistakes about that is even if you're spending no time on a different platform Every single platform allows you to put your profile on it. And since the key job of a profile is to send them back to your website, no, you want to create a stellar profile and then put it on every platform, there's no charge for that. And even if you never go on that platform, again, except to put your profile on it, it still didn't cost you anything. It's still getting referrals for you, and it's still doing the job.

Debra Muth 30:42
It's like a digital business card.

Dr. Barb Hale 30:44
Exactly. So you know, it's really a mistake to not take advantage of that, since it doesn't cost anything anyway.

Debra Muth 30:52
You bet. I love those ideas. They're so simple, and they're not overwhelming for people at all. And if you're starting out, it's a great place to start and just get your feet wet and dabble in things a little bit. Exactly. So what are two of your most helpful tips to give to anybody listening that may want to start out in marketing, but they're really not sure how to get their feet wet, they don't know who to trust, give us a few tips on that.

Dr. Barb Hale 31:22
Google gives us several tools that are free to use. Most people don't know about them, they don't take advantage of them. But you know, they're great to have. And the first one that I would recommend is something called Google Alert. Whatever you are interested in knowing somebody is talking about, including your name, as wherever people are talking about it, whether it's social media, or in radio, other podcast newspapers, no matter where it is that people are talking, let's say about you. If you've registered with Google alert, you will get a pop up in your email to say, people are talking about you. And this is where now, why would that be important? And the reason is, because if your name comes up, you want to know, in what way is it because they had some questions for you, in which case, it will enable you to answer those questions in a timely fashion so that they did not think you were ignoring them. Let's say it was something that was a little less flattering, well, then you would want to address it right away in terms of reputation control. So So for so many reasons, it's really important to register for Google alert. And it's something that takes less than 10 minutes once and you have it forever. Or until you decide that you don't want it anymore. You can have as many Google Alerts as you want. And if you decide that it no longer works for you, you could discontinue it or change it.

Debra Muth 33:30
I love Google Google Alerts, we use that too. And we use it in a little bit different way. We use it in that way too, because we want to know what people are saying about us, right. But we also use it in topics of things that we do in our practice, so that we can stay alert if there's new news media stuff coming up if there's new techniques coming up. So one of my practitioners treats autism. So we have a Google alert for autism. So whenever there's a topic that comes up, we utilize that we utilize that for two ways. A, it keeps us on top of our game to know what's out there. And B, it allows us to borrow information and share it on our website. So we can take a article that's out and we can make an email out of it or we can make our own blog out of it. But that allows us to stay in with the other competition of what they're offering to people too.

Dr. Barb Hale 34:20
That's awesome.

Debra Muth 34:22
Well, this has been great conversation. Is there anything that you want to leave our listeners with today?

Dr. Barb Hale 34:28
Well, because they have been your listeners, and they've taken the time to listen to this conversation together. I'd like to give back. So for all of your listeners, I'm giving a free 30 minute consultation to talk about whatever it is that they're interested in to, you know, help further their business growth. They could go to schedule it at medical strategist dot Is that me and he? And then when you get there, you click on Discovery call. And then, you know, the two of us will have a chat.

Debra Muth 35:11
I love that. So for those of you who are listening and you are at the gym or you're driving, no worries, just go to our show notes. We'll have that link directly in there where you can get to Dr. Hales, and I encourage you to take her up on this strategy call 30 minutes with her is going to be amazing. It'll change your life. It'll change your business, and you'll be so happy that you did it. Thanks so much for being with us.

Dr. Barb Hale 35:34
Well, thank you so much for having me today. It was a pleasure.

Debra Muth 35:37
Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, and you'd like to help support the podcast, please share it with others. post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. To catch all the latest for me. You can follow me on Facebook at FMBI, join our free group where we support one another and share our struggles. Thanks again. And I'll see you next time.

No time! No worries! These tips and tricks can be completed in less than 15 min a week. Dr. Barb Hales and Dr. Deb discuss marketing tips that work to grow your practice regularly.

Do not miss these highlights:
03:39 Increasing your visibility - How to market yourself and be known to the public

12:23 Be busy with the right patients

15:03 Networking with people who are like-minded but offer different services are great for your practice

16:14 Why having a stellar website and a blog is important in your business

10:50 Written blog versus Video blog (Vlog)

25:25 Get started now! Run to the services that sell domain names

31:07 Some helpful tips to anybody who wants to start out in marketing, but are not sure how to get their feet wet and don't know who to trust

About the Guest:

After working in her OB/GYN practice for 30 years, Dr. Barbara Hales is uniquely qualified to help promote health professionals for their practice growth and captivates her audience when giving speeches. She has spoken at The NY Academy of Medicine, The Royal Society of Medicine in London, Cambridge University, The NY Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange among others. She published a best selling book, "Power to the Patient, the Medical Strategist" and has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox news. Dr. Hales is a podcast producer of "Marketing Tips for Doctors" and is a coach for health professionals.

www.TheMedicalStrategist.com

www.linkedin.com/in/barbarahales

twitter.com/DrBarbaraHales

facebook.com/theMedicalStrategist

facebook.com/barbarahales

https://themedicalstrategist.as.me. to schedule free discovery call

Transcript of Episode #20:

Debra Muth 0:01
You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and Practice Management. Dr. dabit has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice. With practical tools on how to manage money, taxes and patient care, she will discuss it all with you.

Welcome back. I have with me, Dr. Barbara Hales, and we're going to talk all about marketing for healthcare professionals. Dr. Barb, welcome to the show.

Dr. Barb Hale 1:05
Well, thank you for having me. It's a real pleasure to be here with you today.

Debra Muth 1:09
So I'm curious, how did you transition from being a doctor OB GYN working with ladies to becoming a marketing expert?

Dr. Barb Hale 1:19
Well, Dr. Deb, that is actually a question that I get asked a lot, because they don't really see how a doctor and being a marketer is, you know, in the same mind frame, but actually I discovered right at the very beginning, I decided after graduating my studies and all of my training that I would go into private practice, so that I could get a really personal relationship with each one of my patients and know them very well. I found a location that I thought would be perfect because it had high visibility on a main street. And it was a storefront originally being a candy store. My biggest regret there is that they didn't leave their inventory. So I decorated it with everything that would be appropriate for a medical office. And then I was open for business. But it was not a practice that I bought from someone else. Nor was it a practice that I joined with other people. So it didn't take more than a few minutes of being open to realize I have no patients. And in a few weeks, the bills were going to cascade in with no revenue to pay for anything. So right away, it was obvious to me that I was going to have to market my practice, in order for people to you know, know I was even there.

Debra Muth 3:05
I think that's one of the first things that we don't think about when we enter into a business in healthcare is especially as healthcare practitioners, health coaches are a little bit better at this than medical practitioners are. But like, how do we get patients we're used to the model where if you're in an insurance network, they'll just send you people. Well, back in the day, I think that was a lot easier than it is today because them sending new people gives them a lot of opportunity, a lot of choices. And people want referrals. Now they want to know that who they're seeing, they can trust and somebody else they know has seen them. So how does a person do that? How do they get known to the public if they've never had clients before or patients before?

Dr. Barb Hale 3:46
Well, what you point out in terms of insurance referrals used to work very well. But the thing is now, eight out of every 10 patients go online, as soon as they get that referral from a friend or family member or insurance. It's not just a question of hearing the name, oh, okay, I'll make the appointment. So if you have no reviews, if you have poor ratings, if you don't have a good online reputation, they're just not going to come to you, they're going to wind up going to somebody else. So it's something that you always have to be cognizant of something that you always have to be, you know, able to change.

And the first way in which I recommend people to get to know everybody in their neighborhood. You know, when I asked doctors if they market themselves or health professionals, you know, they laugh, and they say, market? I don't know how to market myself or I don't have the time to market myself. I don't have the budget to market myself. But the fact of the matter is marketing is simply telling people what you do, and where you do it.

Can you imagine a health professional saying, this is where my office is located, but guess what I do? Or these are the services that I provide. But guess where I'm located? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Yeah. So obviously, you need both segments. And it's a question of increasing your visibility. So think of who is it professionally, that would be recommending you. And what I recommend is if they're in your neighborhood, to go introduce yourself, shake their hand, or rub elbows, depending upon where we are. And, you know, buy them that cup of coffee or lunch, tell them what your services are, and how a relationship between the two of you could be reciprocal, where that where you would use their services refer your patients, and where they can refer their patients. So it becomes, you know, very helpful in terms of reciprocity. I'll give you an example of this is, you know, like, back in the early days, there was another doctor down the street, who also was opening up his office and really didn't have many patients. The thing is, he thought that I was an internist. I thought he was an eye doctor. The two of us went to lunch, and then wound up having a good laugh, because I was OBGYN and he was radiology. But that relationship was perfect. Because when he had a patient come in for a sonogram, if he found out they were pregnant, he had someone to refer these patients to, or if he saw that it was a pelvic mass, he wouldn't just say, well, these are the findings, now go find somebody to take care of it. He had someone like myself, where he could refer these patients. On the other hand, when a patient came to my office, and they needed an x ray, or they needed a sonogram, now, I had a relationship with someone that I knew and trusted, that I could refer to. So there's nothing like, you know, getting to know people in the area that are a good source of referrals. Another good source of referrals is your chamber of commerce, you know, when you first start out in a neighborhood, nobody knows you. But in the Chamber of Commerce, people are in every, every field every you know, career. So if you introduce yourself to them, and, you know, give some business cards and explain what you do, or even, you know, give a small lecture, to show that you are offering value to them and to their community. It's another rich source of referrals for you.

Debra Muth 8:34
That's a great way, you know, I think we forget about network marketing. And the term network marketing has changed so much over the years, but networking with people that you know, and figuring out how you can support one another in fields is so important. I, I built my practice that way. 20 years ago, I would go out to health food stores, and I'd lecture for free, or I get in touch with a compounding pharmacy or a small local pharmacy and I go out and I'd speak on a night, you know, we do an hour talk on a topic. And that's how I got my name out there. Because this was long before Facebook and social media and the internet blast had the reach that it has today. But it still works because people want intimacy, they want to talk to someone they want to get to know someone. And this is a great way to do it. And it doesn't cost you anything really because those partners help you market your talk. And you could do the same thing these days on Facebook too.

Dr. Barb Hale 9:32
Absolutely, there is no getting around the fact that everybody's online now. So being in forums and chat rooms, where you see the different problems that people are struggling with and you have a solution to those problems, you know, to chime in. But the fact is also as you so aptly put out, you know people really want to actually see you feel you know that you're a real person and not just, you know, like a pimply faced 12 year old that's adding their information out there online. So, like you there are so many places that you can give talks, like, your local library, your local library still has a schedule, and people still go and, you know, listen to those lectures, or, you know, get health care where you can be at the Health Fair, which shows that you're giving back to your community, and giving your business cards at the same time. You know, if people like you, and they like what you have to say, then they're going to come back to you. And another thing that I recommend is authoring a book. Doesn't have to be a textbook, it could be just a small book that encompasses the answers to the most commonly asked questions that you get day in and day out, so that people get, you know, the answers that they need. Now, if there are 10 people that the insurance company has on their recommendation list, as participants in that insurance plan, patients are not going to go to just anybody, they're going to go to the one that wrote the book, because the perception is that they are the authority in that field.

Debra Muth 11:51
What do you say to people who are listening that say, You know what, my practice is busy enough. I don't really need to market. How do we get around that angle to people because it's time and it's mine. It's managing family time and business time. And sometimes as practitioners, we're so busy seeing clients, we don't have time to work in or on our business. We're working in our business all the time, how, what kind of tips you have for people in that area?

Dr. Barb Hale 12:17
It's not just a question of being busy, we all can be busy. The The trick is to be busy with the right patients. You know, Dr. Deb, I had a wall in my office of a bunch of checks that were taped to the wall that I never cashed. Because these checks were of more value to me, for patients to see, then they were to actually cash. These were from Medicare and other insurance companies in the beginning of each year when person hadn't know, gone through all of the money that they had to put out in the beginning. These were patients that I'd spent, like close to an hour on, and the checks ranged from $1.50 to $2.75. I kid you not.

Debra Muth 13:15
Wow.

Dr. Barb Hale 13:17
So you know, yes, as doctors, we can all be busy. The question is, are you busy with the right patients, the patients that will pay you, regardless of whether you're a concierge, or whether you have an additional side gig. Now, what do I mean by side gig? And and I'll tell you, you know, there are many of us that feel in addition to the insurance premiums that we may get or the payment from the office appointment, we need a little extra passive income, because let's face it, like in other businesses, and I'm sure you've seen yourself that expenses are skyrocketing, and reimbursements, if anything are declining, and they're not met, you know, meeting the needs so you can be really busy and still be in negative territory. So think of what products or services that you can add to what you're currently offering. If you're a dermatologist, that might be face creams. If you are, you know an internist. You know, it may be that you also have you know, like a night of the week where you have a nutritionist come in and discuss diet or cooking for diabetics. Just something out of the ordinary that your competition down the road just doesn't offer at all.

Debra Muth 15:02
I love that, you know, I've found to networking with people who are like minded but offer different services, chiropractic offices were great for my practice. So we would connect with them. And we would make referrals to them. And they would make referrals to us, much like your radiologist and nutritionists are great. I mean, it is so nice to network with people and share and there's so much business to go around. It's it's all about leveraging each other's talents. And everybody has somebody in their practice that needs that person. And so when you can make that connection, it's a win win for everybody.

Dr. Barb Hale 15:38
Absolutely, if I were first starting out, now, I would have the Women's Center. And in it, I would have like mani- pedis and massage therapists, and babysitting services so that when somebody came in, if they had a child under foot, they wouldn't have to worry about them. And just anything that a woman needed, in addition to help to feel beautiful and confident walking out.

Debra Muth 16:06
Yeah, that is a great idea. I love that idea. So before we were on air, we were talking about blogs. So tell us about a vlog versus a blog, and why do you need one and which one is the better one to have these days?

Dr. Barb Hale 16:21
A blog is really important for several reasons. First of all, you know, everybody needs a stellar website. And Dr. Deb, you would be shocked. I know, I was to find out that even in today's day and age that there are actually healthcare professionals and doctors that don't have a website. I mean, to me, that's like, shocking, yeah. They say, Well, what do I need a website for? Because, you know, like, I get online visibility from Yelp, and all of the other rating sites, which, you know, I just have to roll my eyes. Because if you are depending upon that, you know, keep in mind that you have no control over the content. Also, you know, yes, you might be online, but you're going to be on page 25 of the Google searches. So you might as well not be there. Now, people are not looking at sites that are not page one, and maybe the first half of page two. So, you know, you might as well not exist as far as, you know, like patients go. So let's assume for argument's sake, you do you have a website. And let's say, you have a good website. The thing is, you can't just throw it up and set on online and say, well, now I have a website, everything is great. Because search engines do not view the website as fresh, they view it as static, if you never add any content to it. And it or, you know, a patient looks at the website and says, Well, when was this, like put up? Was this from 10 years ago? Was this from last month? I mean, does the office still exist? Just the doctor dead? Did the doctor move away? You know, there's nothing new on this website, everything I see on this website. You know, like I saw last year and the year before. But if you have a blog attached to your website, every time you post something, search engines look at it as fresh content for your website itself. So in terms of the importance for search engines, they're saying, Yes, this person is still working. It's still open for business. And also by the evidence of what you're putting on your blog. Search engines are saying, Oh, this is what the person is all about. This is the services and what it represents. So needless to say, if you're an orthopedist, you don't want to be blogging about antique cars, because that's your hobby. And you think, Well, that would be fun. Because the search engines, in addition to regular readers get like really confused. You know that the search engines will say, Well, wait a minute, cars, I thought this was an orthopedist. Maybe. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he's not an orthopedist. So obviously, all of your blog post must be in sync with your services itself. In addition to that, you need a blog for your reader and for attracting prospective patients, as well as the patients that you currently have to retain them. They want to get to know you and your personality shines through on your blog post. And they're also looking for answers. You know, everybody goes online to Dr. Google with their symptoms, saying, you know, like, these are the symptoms I have. Gosh, what do you think I have? Now, if people are looking online for, you know, information, wouldn't you like it to be coming from you? So having a blog is really the easiest way for, you know, patients and prospective patients to access that.

Debra Muth 20:50
So is it better today to have a written blog for SEO? Or what about a video blog, because there's a lot of people who don't want to read anymore, they want to watch a video, they want to see something, and I know there's balance between the two of them, but as one more heavily weighted than the other if you had to choose one?

Dr. Barb Hale 21:09
Well, this is a very good question. And, you know, they say that, you know, the written word is, is something that is, like priceless, or like a picture is like 1000 words, well, a video is like 100,000 words, everybody is going to be more attracted to a video than zoning out on the written word. And health professionals really have like a rich source of videos, between explanations of procedures that you do, who would be a good candidate for it, who wouldn't be a good candidate for what a person would be experiencing during that procedure? You know, how they would feel what the recovery is? What does the instruments look like? What are the medical devices look like? When when they're used. In addition to that, you know, a good video would even be, well, we're walking into the office. Now, you may never have seen the office before. And the first person that you're going to see is Betty at the front desk. And she is going to give you some forms and ask you some questions. And Dennis over there is the billing person. So he may reach out to speak to you or if you have questions or problems, he's the one that you want to get to know. And then you're going to be called back here. So let's walk further through the hall to your next spot along your journey. And this is what your exam room looks like. I mean, it's so easy to do videos. And the thing is, it does not even have to be professionally done. You don't have to pay like a video person. We all have nowadays, little video cameras. And we're all you know, we can all do videos and post them. People don't really want or need a professionally Hollywood done video. They just like they just want want to get information. But the thing is, what you also have to remember is that even though you are putting out a video with words, there are people that are going to be looking at the video that may not be able to hear. So you know, it's a good idea to have a text, you know, like on the video so that people can read, you know, as well. Also, you know, they may you don't know where they're watching the video, they may be at a gym, they may be in public transportation, yes, some people still use that. And, you know, they may be an area or even a library, I mean, they may be in areas where they really can't have the volume on the video. So having, you know, text on the video itself for people to read while they're looking at the video really combined the two and makes it invaluable for your website.

Debra Muth 24:42
That's also one thing that we do in our office two is when we create a video, and we're going to post that to YouTube. We'll have it transcribed and then we'll add a little bit to it. So then we have our video and we have a little bit different blog. But now we have two things out of one that we created And so it's so easy to do this, there's so many great tools like click scribe will take your video and put the words behind it. So you don't have to, it's not a complicated thing, you just need to know where to look to find the tools to help you to do this.

Dr. Barb Hale 25:14
I think that's great.

Debra Muth 25:17
That's awesome. So what's one of your number one strategies for marketing that you recommend to people?

Dr. Barb Hale 25:25
The number one thing that I recommend is to just get started. But I do have two, two tips. The first one is not walk but run to the, to the services that sell domain names. And you, everybody, EVERYBODY must buy their own name for a domain, you may never use it, and you don't have to use it, you could just put it in your pocket. But the thing is, by owning your name, you are preventing anybody else from using it. You know, we always thought, you know, we have very distinctive names. You know, nobody would have a name like mine, it's so unusual. And then you go online, and you find out that there are 25 people with the same exact name within a 10 mile radius. So you know, now that we will have access to essentially, everyone, it's so important to have your domain name. After all, if someone had your name and bought that domain first. You know, maybe they are putting out information that you would not want to be associated with yourself. You know, like, if I decided I wanted to buy Dr. Deb, before you. And I I know Dr. Debl also shared a good laugh about that. But if I wanted to buy Dr. Deb with your last name, online, and I got there before you, you know, like, I could be a pole dancer in the local strip club. I mean, I could, I could be a porn site. I mean, like, who knows what nefarious activities that I might be putting out there. Not to say pole dancers are nefarious, but you get the idea. It's not, it's not you. So. So the thing is, you don't want to be associated with somebody else's services. So again, you don't ever have to use that domain name, you just have to make sure nobody else uses it, and associates itwith you.

Debra Muth 27:59
That's such a great tip.

Dr. Barb Hale 28:02
The second tip that I have is that you know, going on, so social media. There are a lot of social media sites. And you can't be on all of them. And you don't have to be on all of them, you really want to devote the time. So in social media, where your patients hang out, and depending upon whether you're a pediatrician, or into health, or like whatever your target market is, they will be on one particular platform much more than others. For instance. Pinterest is 87% female users. Now if I was a pediatrician, and like that might mean nothing to me. But let's say you know, like always an OBGYN in like practicing, you know, being known by 87% women really is a rich source for me. Let's say I was, you know, taking care of the 20 to 30 year age bracket, then maybe I would be interested in Tik Tok. So, figure out where it is that your patients know basically hang out at and that's where you want to be. If you don't know where that is. It's a very simple solution. Ask them because they're more than happy to tell you. But one of the biggest mistakes about that is even if you're spending no time on a different platform Every single platform allows you to put your profile on it. And since the key job of a profile is to send them back to your website, no, you want to create a stellar profile and then put it on every platform, there's no charge for that. And even if you never go on that platform, again, except to put your profile on it, it still didn't cost you anything. It's still getting referrals for you, and it's still doing the job.

Debra Muth 30:42
It's like a digital business card.

Dr. Barb Hale 30:44
Exactly. So you know, it's really a mistake to not take advantage of that, since it doesn't cost anything anyway.

Debra Muth 30:52
You bet. I love those ideas. They're so simple, and they're not overwhelming for people at all. And if you're starting out, it's a great place to start and just get your feet wet and dabble in things a little bit. Exactly. So what are two of your most helpful tips to give to anybody listening that may want to start out in marketing, but they're really not sure how to get their feet wet, they don't know who to trust, give us a few tips on that.

Dr. Barb Hale 31:22
Google gives us several tools that are free to use. Most people don't know about them, they don't take advantage of them. But you know, they're great to have. And the first one that I would recommend is something called Google Alert. Whatever you are interested in knowing somebody is talking about, including your name, as wherever people are talking about it, whether it's social media, or in radio, other podcast newspapers, no matter where it is that people are talking, let's say about you. If you've registered with Google alert, you will get a pop up in your email to say, people are talking about you. And this is where now, why would that be important? And the reason is, because if your name comes up, you want to know, in what way is it because they had some questions for you, in which case, it will enable you to answer those questions in a timely fashion so that they did not think you were ignoring them. Let's say it was something that was a little less flattering, well, then you would want to address it right away in terms of reputation control. So So for so many reasons, it's really important to register for Google alert. And it's something that takes less than 10 minutes once and you have it forever. Or until you decide that you don't want it anymore. You can have as many Google Alerts as you want. And if you decide that it no longer works for you, you could discontinue it or change it.

Debra Muth 33:30
I love Google Google Alerts, we use that too. And we use it in a little bit different way. We use it in that way too, because we want to know what people are saying about us, right. But we also use it in topics of things that we do in our practice, so that we can stay alert if there's new news media stuff coming up if there's new techniques coming up. So one of my practitioners treats autism. So we have a Google alert for autism. So whenever there's a topic that comes up, we utilize that we utilize that for two ways. A, it keeps us on top of our game to know what's out there. And B, it allows us to borrow information and share it on our website. So we can take a article that's out and we can make an email out of it or we can make our own blog out of it. But that allows us to stay in with the other competition of what they're offering to people too.

Dr. Barb Hale 34:20
That's awesome.

Debra Muth 34:22
Well, this has been great conversation. Is there anything that you want to leave our listeners with today?

Dr. Barb Hale 34:28
Well, because they have been your listeners, and they've taken the time to listen to this conversation together. I'd like to give back. So for all of your listeners, I'm giving a free 30 minute consultation to talk about whatever it is that they're interested in to, you know, help further their business growth. They could go to schedule it at medical strategist dot Is that me and he? And then when you get there, you click on Discovery call. And then, you know, the two of us will have a chat.

Debra Muth 35:11
I love that. So for those of you who are listening and you are at the gym or you're driving, no worries, just go to our show notes. We'll have that link directly in there where you can get to Dr. Hales, and I encourage you to take her up on this strategy call 30 minutes with her is going to be amazing. It'll change your life. It'll change your business, and you'll be so happy that you did it. Thanks so much for being with us.

Dr. Barb Hale 35:34
Well, thank you so much for having me today. It was a pleasure.

Debra Muth 35:37
Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, and you'd like to help support the podcast, please share it with others. post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. To catch all the latest for me. You can follow me on Facebook at FMBI, join our free group where we support one another and share our struggles. Thanks again. And I'll see you next time.

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Fatal error: Uncaught Exception: String could not be parsed as XML in /home/691273.cloudwaysapps.com/vpyrkcfyrh/public_html/wp-content/plugins/breeze/inc/cache/execute-cache.php:305 Stack trace: #0 /home/691273.cloudwaysapps.com/vpyrkcfyrh/public_html/wp-content/plugins/breeze/inc/cache/execute-cache.php(305): SimpleXMLElement->__construct() #1 [internal function]: Breeze_Cache_Init\breeze_cache() #2 /home/691273.cloudwaysapps.com/vpyrkcfyrh/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php(5275): ob_end_flush() #3 /home/691273.cloudwaysapps.com/vpyrkcfyrh/public_html/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php(307): wp_ob_end_flush_all() #4 /home/691273.cloudwaysapps.com/vpyrkcfyrh/public_html/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php(331): WP_Hook->apply_filters() #5 /home/691273.cloudwaysapps.com/vpyrkcfyrh/public_html/wp-includes/plugin.php(476): WP_Hook->do_action() #6 /home/691273.cloudwaysapps.com/vpyrkcfyrh/public_html/wp-includes/load.php(1102): do_action() #7 [internal function]: shutdown_action_hook() #8 {main} thrown in /home/691273.cloudwaysapps.com/vpyrkcfyrh/public_html/wp-content/plugins/breeze/inc/cache/execute-cache.php on line 305