Webinar: How to Get the Most Out of Your Orthopedic Practice Marketing Budget

Most orthopaedic practices are doing some type of online marketing, but many don’t know which, if any, of those methods are helpful. Learning to effectively measure your marketing strategies can help you streamline your marketing efforts.

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Slide 1: Welcome

Hi and welcome to today’s webinar, “How to Get the Most Out of Your Orthopedic Practice Marketing Budget.” My name is Michael Roberts and we will be going through this webinar here in just one second. On the left-hand side of your screen you’ll see the chat section. If you have any questions come up along the way, please feel free to add that information in, and we’ll try to cover them at the end of the presentation.

Today’s presentation, we’re going to look at a few different things. First of all, looking at the challenge that’s behind trying to solve this problem–how to get the most out of your marketing budget–and then we’re going to look at some tracking methods on how we can start trying to solve that problem, and then what to do with that information once we’ve gathered it.

Slide 2: About P3 Inbound

As I said, my name is Michael Roberts. I’m the Marketing Director here at Mudbug Media, and we’re located down in New Orleans, which is why we have that word, “Mudbug” in there. We created something called the P3 Inbound platform. P3 stands for three different words. It stands for Patients, Pathologies, and Procedures. We’ll come back to that a little bit later in the presentation, but these are the three things that we want to help practices get the right version of. We want the right patients, the right pathologies, and the right procedures for your practice.

Slide 3: Half of Advertising Dollars Are Wasted

As we start trying to figure out how to actually get the most out of our marketing budget, this quote became very relevant, very quickly. It says, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” This is by John Wanamaker, and he was a retailer back in the 1800s. He had a department store, and so this was somebody that a long time ago struggled with the same kind of thing that we are struggling with today.

There’s a lot of practices that we talk with, especially in the orthopedic space, that they just don’t have a good method for figuring out how to actually know what’s working for them and what isn’t. They have enough patients coming through the door, they might be the right mix of third party payers, and Medicare, and all of that good stuff, but they don’t really know how to influence that or how to start measuring what’s actually working for them. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Slide 4: Figure Out What Works for Your Practice

Trying to figure out which half works for your practice. We talked about having lots of patients coming in through the door. It’s not always about having more patients. It’s not always about just getting your schedule completely filled, it’s about having the right people. Making sure that you’re getting the right kinds of procedures, the right kinds of things that you want to be doing.

Slide 5: Marketing = Testing

One other note on that as we’re looking into this is that marketing is all about testing. If you don’t get any other point out of what we’re talking about today, make sure that you take this one home. Marketing is all about testing, and then measuring how well those tests performed. A lot of the times when we start into some different campaigns people will want to know, can we guarantee that this is going to work?

It’s just, trying to guarantee anything like this would be the same thing as one of your doctors saying, “Yes, I can guarantee that this knee replacement will never cause you pain again, and everything will be fine and there will be no complications.” It’s just not a very good way to go about your business, but you know that the surgeon is very experienced, you know that he or she has studied, they’ve done what they needed to do. They can help that patient as much as they can, but they’re still going to measure. They’re still going to pay attention to how that procedure went and then how the follow up went with that.

Slide 6: P3 Inbound

As a practice, the things that you are looking for are the right patients, the right pathologies, the right procedures. One of the things that we’ll hear a lot of times, again it’s just, “Yes, I have lots of patients coming through the door, I think I’m already getting the right stuff.” But, it doesn’t take much digging to figure out how to get that they may not be getting the right mix of what they’re looking for.

Slide 7: Find the Right P3

The interesting thing about orthopedics in comparison to a lot of other fields–to other types of practices as well as other types of small businesses–is that your audience is defined more by what your patients need, more than their demographic. You can’t just look and say, “Well, as long as I target people that are over the age of 50 and that live within my market, and that make a certain amount of money, and all those kinds of things, I know I will get the right people.” That doesn’t work for ortho. You have to look for the people that are experiencing something now, that they have a knee pain, they have a some sort of joint pain that needs some kind of treatment. But, demographics help you start that process. They’ll help you start to figure out.

One of conversations that we’ll have sometimes with our doctors is, “I see mostly older patients. I don’t think I need to do much in the way of online marketing.” The interesting thing is, my grandparents are still alive. They are close to 90 now, and they’re doing very well, very healthy, but any time they need any kind of appointment, they are not the ones doing the search. They’re not going online to figure this kind of information out, it’s their children–which is my mother and my uncle–have to be the ones to go online and figure this stuff out for them. If we were just relying on demographics, and my grandparents were the right patient for you, that would cause you to miss the people that are actually doing the search, the people that are actually looking for the information. These are the kinds of things where we talk about, “It’s a starting point,” and then we can start building up these kinds of tests around that and start measuring to figure out what’s actually going to work for them.

Slide 8: Tracking Your Marketing Efforts

Tracking your marketing efforts–how do we actually do this?

Slide 9: Tracking Methods

There are a lot of different methods that will allow you to do this, and it’s going to give you a couple different types of information. It’s going to be information–direct and indirect information. We’ll start kind of classifying these as we start looking at each method, but sometimes the patient will tell you exactly what influenced him or her, or sometimes you might be able to gather that information by something like the number of pageviews or some other kind of information. We’ll get more specific on that in just a second.

Slide 10: Tracking Methods: Surveys

Let’s talk first about a direct method of a patient giving you information back. There’s a lot of different ways you can administer surveys, so once a patient has come through and had an appointment, and they’re finished, you can give them some way of being able to respond. And that may be a digital method, or it could just be an old fashioned, “Here’s some papers, can you please fill this information out?” You might mail it to them, there’s a lot of different ways, but the big thing is that each of these different types of responses have different response rates, meaning how effective they are in terms of people actually responding.

Just this morning I was talking to somebody in the office about receiving a letter from the mail about an appointment that they’d had a month ago. Can you remember what you wore yesterday, much less how an appointment went a month ago, especially if you had several appointments that were close together at all? Trying to remember the specifics of any one appointment and how it went, you lose a lot of perspective and a lot of information. Especially if you’ve just gotten the bill for that appointment before you got the survey, you’re going to be much less inclined to be positive about how that appointment went.

There are other methods that allow you to be a little quicker with that. Again, administering something in-office with a piece of paper. Or, you can go digital–and we have a testimonial on our website where you can come in and just leave the information there. We also have a way of being able to administer surveys right in the office where you can do it from an iPad and your patient can go through and just fill out that information very quickly and easily.

There’s a lot of different ways, but the key point of all of these methods regardless of which one you pick is getting enough information without overwhelming the patient. Getting information that kind of lets you know, “Hey, this method worked in terms of catching their attention, in terms of helping them get to the practice.” With some of the online surveys that we’ve seen, we’ve been able to figure out that not only did the patient hear positive news from a friend or family member, that they should go see a particular surgeon, but they also went online and checked out their reputation. Are they getting good scores? Does their website look good? Are they presenting information in a way that’s easy to digest?

All of this stuff, you can gather a lot of this information from your surveys and you can start using it to actually improve your online presence, and improve just the way that you communicate in general.

Slide 11: Tracking Methods: Custom Phone Numbers

Another method that goes beyond–and this is, again, a more direct way–but, it’s kind of a both-and, it’s a direct and indirect. A direct in that you actually get to speak with the patient. And this is as they are calling in, some way of being able to track who is calling your practice. And then the indirect aspect of it is, you can start tying this information together with your online marketing efforts.

If you look at the screenshot here that we have on the left–this is a screenshot of our website–and at the bottom we have some information about, “Hey give us a call, or send us a message using this form.” But you’ll see a phone number there, and that phone number starts with “(504) 517.” Well, that’s not our actual phone number. Our phone number is on the right there, (504) 581-4636. This wasn’t a typo. We didn’t make a mistake here. This was something that we intentionally did because we wanted to be able to assign when people are actually calling from the site, and knowing which effort helped bring them there.

So, we have a bank of phone numbers that will display there, and that will swap out depending on who is visiting the site, so that we can start tracking that information. “Hey, this person came from a Google search, or this person clicked on an ad, or this person came from this other website that’s linking to us.” We can start gathering that information, and we can start using that to evaluate how well our marketing campaigns are working right now.

Slide 12: Tracking Methods: Tracking URL

Another method, and this one is not … this one is a little geeky, so bear with me. This one is called a tracking URL. So, a URL is just another way of referring to your website address. Our home page Is P3inbound.com. Right below that you’ll see a very long URL with a lot of information in there, and what that does is help us know where the visitor came from. It will actually show up in our Google Analytics reports, to say that this particular information–if you look through it says “utm source” there–and it gets into they came from the June Webinar, and they clicked on this slide, and here’s the campaign. If you were to click on this now–whether you’re looking at this through the webinar, or you’re looking at a recording of it later on–if you were to visit that information we’d be able to see that in our Google Analytics reports. Which, of course, brings us to Google Analytics.

Slide 13: Tracking Methods: Web Stats

I’m a very big fan of Google Analytics and use it every day, and we in the marketing department use it religiously. When trying to show it to customers and when trying to help clients navigate that information, it can become a little overwhelming because Analytics just has a lot of information, and it’s not all relevant to you all the time. We’ve helped with some of our clients by setting up something called “Conversion Tracking,” and we’ll talk more about it in a bit. But what Conversion Tracking does–our dashboard there on the right–allows us to simplify the information and say, rather than giving you every single page view number and every single stat that Google lists out, giving you the stats that matter most for you, to help you know, again, if you’re going in the right direction or if you’re not.

What analytics does–and we’ll talk more about conversions and such in a bit—but, analytics can help you evaluate effectiveness in terms of how many people are actually doing something. And so can the dashboard, it’s just a matter of which on is going to be easier for you to use, which one is going to be easier for you to navigate through.

Slide 14: Tracking Methods: Advertising Stats

Then the last method that we’re talking about here through all of these different concepts—again, direct and indirect–we’re looking at surveys, phone numbers, tracking URLs, and web stats. Then, if you do any kind of advertising–and this is whether you are online or you’re doing some kind of print or a billboard something to that effect–you’ll see some kind of similar terminology. It varies a bit, so I just want to very quickly cover that because there’s too many variations to really go in depth at the moment.

You’ll see terms like “impressions” or “reach”, and this is saying basically how many people could see your information. How many people could see your advertisement or your message–or perhaps they might even call it like a pageview–how many people saw your page before they did something, before they took some kind of action. That’s “impressions” or “reach.” And again, this is where testing really become important because you can have a billboard and have a huge reach. You could potentially reach a million people over the course of a month, or something to that effect. But it’s more about, again, how many people are actually taking action after they’ve seen that.

Step one is figuring out, “Hey, how many people did I get in front of?” And then the second step there–this is just again more of an advertising term—is either the “CPC” or “CPM.” That’s “cost per click” on the CPC–how many people actually took an action and clicked on your ad if they’re online, or your CPM–and this can refer to online or off–but CPM stands for “cost per thousand.” And why they decided to go with a roman numeral for thousand instead of just using the letter, I don’t know, but that’s just the standard. So if you see that kind of term, just that’s what it’s talking about. This is basically how they’re able to charge for the particular type of advertising.

Slide 15: Evaluating Effectiveness

That’s a lot of information, and we very quickly went through it. And this information will be available online after this presentation. We’ll have the slides available for your download, for your read through, as well as having a video of this.

All of that information comes down to, “How do we evaluate it?” Now we know that we can track what people are doing either online or by looking at our billboard or whatever. What do we actually do with that information? What you need to start looking for is, what kind of return on investment are you getting? What kind of ROI do you have right now? To help you evaluate the ROI for an orthopedic practice, you might look through these five steps. What is your budget, your number of impressions, your actions, appointments, and completed procedures? How much money did you spend on this? How much have you set aside to go through this campaign, and then how many people are actually seeing it?

You need a certain level of impressions for this to have any chance of working, but it’s probably not as high as you think. Again, you’re not trying to look for everybody over the age of 50. You’re not trying to look for everybody that falls under a very broad bucket. You’re looking for people that have felt needs right now, so how can you get in front of them most effectively? That’s the impressions.

How are you measuring when people take action? At its simplest level this could be, “How many times did your phone ring today?” But if you’re going to really start tracking to how your marketing applies to that, again getting back to using these methods that we’ve discussed. How many clicks can you track to that method, how many calls can you attribute to a particular campaign that you’re running? There are tools that can help you do this kind of stuff.

Where it gets trickier is then tracking that information once somebody has done something in terms of called or visited or something to that effect. How many appointments were actually set up? Going back, can you start to figure out, “When we started this marketing campaign, we had more appointments start,” or can you see any difference whatsoever? Then the real gold standard out of all of this is how many completed procedures did you actually get? If your specialist really focuses on hip replacements, can you figure out how many hip replacements were tied in with a particular marketing effort? If you can, that’s fantastic and you really have figured out and established a very clear ROI picture.

Slide 16: Connecting Data Can Be Difficult

There are some barriers that stand in the way of being able to establish that. Connecting this data gets really tricky because there are HIPAA limitations. People should have their privacy, and rightfully so. And we want to value that and want to respect that. Where we can start down that process, let’s see if we can start connecting the dots somewhat. Can we start seeing what kind of relationship between impressions and actions we’re having? Again, this is the number of people that saw your billboard, or saw your online ad, or saw your website, as compared to somebody that actually did something. And this means they called you, they actually booked an appointment, whatever that thing is, they came in your front door to ask you more questions.

If you can start with that process and start aligning your marketing efforts with, “I spent this much money on this kind of ad, and then this is what happened,” you’re going to know whether or not you’re heading in the right direction. And this kind of information is becoming critical, especially for small practices. Every dollar needs to be accounted for and needs to show a lot of return. There are very high expectations on every bit of investment that you have as a practice. Being able to establish that yes, this is working for us, and yes, this is helping us increase our revenue, increase the money that’s coming through the door, helps you keep your practice open, helps everybody keep going with what they’re doing, with the bigger mission of serving patients.

One other piece as we are looking through all this is again to call back to the surveys that we mentioned earlier. This can help you understand, because if you can’t necessarily say that, “Yes, I know that this knee replacement patient came from the billboard that we showed off,” the patient may be able to even supply some of that information as they’re going through their survey and figuring out, “This is how I saw you first, or this is why I came to you.”

Slide 17: Evaluating Effectiveness: Conversion Tracking

Another way that we like to help with this process, this was a big–this whole concept of how to evaluate how effective your marketing is–was a very big challenge that we were trying to help practices overcome. We mentioned this quickly earlier, but we have a tool called Conversion Tracking, and that lets us track the actions of form submission. Somebody’s come on and either filled out an appointment request or a contact form or some kind of form on your website, so that will help us track that information, as well as, again the call tracking aspect. And it’s all very HIPAA compliant. Patient data is not revealed to people that don’t need to see it, all of that good stuff.

Just to be aware that that’s something that we can offer with and that’s something that we’ve started using with our clients to start evaluating whether we should continue. It’s the kind of thing that we use, as well, as a company because just recently we had a campaign that we invested in, and we felt very strongly that it was going to be directed at the right audience. It was the right kind of messaging for us, and we had done similar things on our own, and it had worked very well. Then when we went and worked through this other vendor to do the same kind of campaign, we saw no conversions. We saw no real information that justified how much money we had put into it. That’s part of marketing and I wish that there were some way to magically make that ROI be 100% or more every time, and that’s simply not the case. But by taking small steps and having tools to help you evaluate how well those things are going, you can get a feel for if you’re going in the right direction very quickly.

Slide 18: Always Test Your Marketing

Again, it comes back to this concept: keep testing, keep reviewing. Don’t just throw these things out there and hope that they work out. Set them up, test them, and keep evaluating.

Slide 19: Testing

The other thing that comes back out of all this–you know, when we talk to practices a lot of times about trying to figure out what kind of marketing that they should be doing next, we’ll hear things like, “You know, I just don’t have the budget for it. I can’t find anywhere else to use more marketing dollars, you know we are already stretched kind of tight.” And they don’t … because they aren’t already doing some kind of marketing and testing, some sort of regular evaluation of how they are doing, they’re not realizing what dollars they could use and reallocate. Yellow Pages is a very expensive form of advertising. And it’s advertising, and people don’t think of it all the time as that way, they think of it just as sort of the cost of keeping your doors open, but there are ways to use that budget for other purposes.

If you’re using any kind of local mailer, even if you’re using a website–and we build a lot of websites and we think that they work very well–but if you’re not measuring that kind of information, you’re not going to know whether you’re going in the right direction. And in all of these cases, I’m sure there are ways to do all of these things better, but that’s where you, the practice manager, the doctor–whatever your role is in helping establish your practice in your community–you can have the power on this. You can get the information, and if you’re not getting the information from your advertising agency, or from whomever is running your marketing, this is something you can go back and ask from them. And they should already be giving you this on a regular basis, but if you don’t know the terms, if you don’t understand some of the terminology, make sure you’re getting this information back.

There are a lot of times where when I go in for a doctor appointment, or when I’m there with a family member, I’m going to take the time to make sure that I understand what’s happening, because even though it’s not my field and it’s not my specialty by any stretch, I need to know and I need to understand, “Is what I’m doing working or is it not working? How do we improve?” This is the same kind of thing for your practice, for your livelihood and for how effective you can be in helping your community and how well you can continue to help patients that are coming to see you.

Slide 20: What Your Current Plan Should Include

As we’re wrapping everything up for today–and I appreciate your time in listening this far–the one caveat that I would include with all of this is that you make sure that you’re addressing the two following topics. One would be patients that are looking at your website or your marketing on mobile devices. We track a lot of websites that we work with. We work with several hundred orthopedic practices around the country, and one of the stats that we’re seeing increase year over year is how many patients are coming on mobile devices, and this isn’t necessarily just the big city kinds of practices. This is happening all over the country. People are getting used to looking for information on their mobile devices.

Remember, it’s not necessarily just your patients that are looking, but it’s the people that are looking on behalf of the patients. My grandparents aren’t looking on their mobile phones, they’re definitely not the ones doing that, but my mother and my uncle, they’re the ones having to go and find this information. They’re both busy people, so they’re looking for this information when they can, as they can, and that’s not always in front of a desktop computer. Make sure that you are very clearly and very easily conveying information to them, to your patients, when they are looking on whichever device they are looking on.

The last thing to stress here is reputation management. We talked in our last webinar, and we should have some information along with this webinar to where you can see our previous webinars if you’d like. But you need to be available where patients are looking for you, and that includes these other reputation sites, like Vitals and Healthgrades. There’s a whole slew of them, and I’m sure you’re aware of them, but what you may not be aware of is what people may already be saying about you or about your practice online.

Make sure that you’re first of all checking, and then make sure that you have a plan. We can help with that. There’s a lot of people that can. There is a lot of opportunity, and that’s the way that we approach this topic is that it’s not just about controlling what’s negative, it’s about giving people the opportunity to see how good you really are. And that’s the kinds of clients that we work with, and the ones that we want to work with are the people that are really demonstrating that every day, and so it’s about showing off how good you actually are to your audience.

Slide 21: Questions?

That’s going to be the end of it for this particular webinar. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. You can always, there is a form online, or as we talked about earlier, we have a phone number on there, and you can call us through there, or you can just email us directly, info@P3inbound.com.

Again, to just wrap this up, I go back to that topic that we said very early on: make sure that you’re testing your marketing. Make sure that you’re regularly reviewing what’s working and what’s not. As a small business, every dollar counts, and your community needs to know how effective you are and how good you are at what you do. Give them that opportunity by using the most effective marketing that you have available.