Season-3 Episode-1 - Marketing to everyone is a sure-fire way to appeal to no one
We are excited to be back with you for Season 3, where we will be discussing marketing for your functional medicine practice. You are a great doctor, but maybe you’ve seen a low conversion rate or a dip in new patients since the pandemic forced many practices to go virtual.
Marketing is the key to getting you back where you want to be, helping patients, and providing care. We know marketing can be intimidating, so this season, we will be breaking down what exactly marketing is, how to navigate it regardless of your business structure, and why it is applicable to every medical practice on the market – both new and old. Our goal is to show you how easy marketing can be, so you can get back to treating patients and not worry about your business.
In episode one, we hear renowned marketing expert Allan Dib, explain the importance of a niche, and how to choose one for your next marketing campaign.
Featured Speaker - Allan Dib
This season we interview marketing expert Allan Dib.
Allan is the bestselling author of The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money And Stand Out From The Crowd. An international #1 bestseller, his book has been named as one of the top 10 best marketing books by The Huffington Post and has received critical acclaim in Medium, Inc., as well as in numerous business-focused podcasts, publications, and conferences.
Nathan Morris: (00:27)
Very cosmopolitan. Very.
Kara Ware: (00:30)
I like feeling European.
Nathan Morris: (00:32)
Well, I always say it like it’s spelled. I’m from Louisiana, so I say niche. Rhymes with (beep).
Kara Ware: (00:39)
That’s easy to remember.
Nathan Morris: (00:40)
There you go, yeah. It’s in my vernacular, that’s for sure.
Kara Ware: (00:44)
Well, no matter how you pronounce it, in business marketing it’s a smart thing to have.
Nathan Morris: (00:50)
It’s true. I found out the hard way. My marketing tech, it was before what I call random ads of kindness. My newspaper ad basically read, “Here we are. Here’s our address. Here’s what we do.” Not even really, “Here’s what we do.” It just said, “Functional medicine, come and see us. And Oh, by the way, you’re welcome.” Not surprisingly, all this work didn’t amount to a hill of beans. This was clearly the week as part of my business, we had our systems and staff in place, thanks to you. Really great systems. But we just couldn’t fill the practice. So they weren’t doing anything until we began to understand one thing.
Kara Ware: (01:30)
One thing, what’s that?
Nathan Morris: (01:31)
Kara Ware: (01:37)
Welcome to season three of Good Medicine On The Go. I am Kara Ware, a national board-certified health coach, and business advisor.
Nathan Morris: (01:48)
And I’m Nathan Morris, a medical doctor who’s also certified in functional medicine.
Kara Ware: (01:52)
So, Nathan, that was a tough learning experience last year, in Ohio, you had a wildly successful practice with a long waitlist. Your business was booming, and then you had your lifelong dream come true. You and your family moved to Colorado, and you started all over in a new practice. You realized that Ohio’s reputation didn’t follow you.
Nathan Morris: (02:14)
Yeah, Kara, it was quite humbling, to say the least. It was tough getting people in the door, just because I hung up a functional medicine sign didn’t mean they were going to, as I mentioned, stampede to my front door. I realized that I didn’t know anything about marketing. I think this applies to most providers.
Kara Ware: (02:34)
I like how you said didn’t stampede. I remember opening up my functional medicine practice, I was like, ooh, this is going to be so exciting. Going to have so many people coming. No.
Nathan Morris: (02:42)
[crosstalk 00:02:42] crickets.
Kara Ware: (02:42)
That’s what this season is going to be about, marketing. We’re breaking down the common myths and mishaps to help you reach more patients and build stronger relationships, and grow a more resilient and enjoyable practice.
Nathan Morris: (02:58)
Right. This season we’ll be talking about identifying our niche, understanding your avatar, identifying those avatar’s pain points and what are they actually buying, and then writing a compelling message and ultimately creating an effective marketing campaign. In today’s episode, we’ll be talking about the first step, why, and how to identify a niche.
Kara Ware: (03:27)
Nathan, people talk a lot about niches. This isn’t anything new necessarily, but what I haven’t heard prior to really diving into this and researching this is why is a niche so important to marketing?
Nathan Morris: (03:42)
Yeah, this is probably one of the more important things we can conquer first. Of course, this is a building process, and a niche is really a marketing tool. It can do two things. If you’re looking to grow your practice, it can get more people into your practice. Then on the other hand, and I nearly didn’t think about it this way, but if your practice is already full, it can help attract your ideal patient, and the one you enjoy treating the most.
Nathan Morris: (04:09)
That’s one of the things I wish I knew when I had the full practice in Ohio, and I had the three to six-month wait period, was how to attract that patient that I really wanted to see. Because it was kind of like every day was a box of chocolates. For Forrest Gump, that’s okay. But it wasn’t great for my practice, right? Because basically, I didn’t know what I was going to get. There’s a certain amount of anxiety, not knowing. Some chocolates you like a lot more than others. I love those cherry chocolates, but those nougat ones, I really don’t like those. I didn’t want a bunch of those. How do I get more cherry chocolates into my box is what I guess I’m saying.
Kara Ware: (04:43)
So that’s what we’re talking about. How do we get more cherry chocolates? So functional medicine has the potential to help everyone, right? But we can’t market to everyone. It just won’t resonate. So when we’re planning to invest marketing dollars, a niche is really going to give us the power of focus.
Nathan Morris: (05:11)
Kara, I found that a niche is a little counterintuitive. It was for me, and most providers want to do everything, and they come out of functional medicine with all this great knowledge, and they don’t want to exclude anyone. Really you’re not when you’re talking about marketing to a niche, but you start out by casting a wide net when you start functional medicine and you’re marketing to everyone. Thinking that this will actually attract more patients, but the opposite is actually true. That’s the counterintuitive thing that I have learned.
Kara Ware: (05:41)
Yeah. It’s really true. With the zeal to acquire as many patients as possible, right, to fill a practice, we try to get in front of the widest market possible. But really, as you said, the counterintuitive point is to narrowly define a niche, and that’s how we’re going to make the most effective marketing campaign.
Nathan Morris: (05:56)
To further help us explain all this marketing mumbo-jumbo, and for me, it really was when I started, Kara, I didn’t really understand a niche and avatar and the things we’re going to be talking about. We spoke with Allan Dib, a serial entrepreneur, marketing expert, and bestselling author. Allan wrote the book, The One Page Marketing Plan, and honestly made me a true fanboy. Okay, let’s be honest. He really gave me a serious nerd crush.
Kara Ware: (06:22)
Nerd crush. [crosstalk 00:06:24].
Nathan Morris: (06:25)
[crosstalk 00:06:25] stuff I don’t know. This book was just phenomenal.
Kara Ware: (06:29)
So up next, Allan explains why targeting everyone with your services is a terrible idea, and why it’s more effective to be a big fish in a small pond for your marketing strategy.
Kara Ware: (06:45)
This podcast is sponsored by the Atrium Innovations family of professional brands, offering evidence-based supplements, advancing scientific research, and providing clinical protocols and technology to empower practitioners globally. Atrium Innovations brands include Pure Encapsulations, the number one trusted and recommended brand by practitioners. Douglas Laboratories, Genestra Brands, and Living Matrix, the fastest growing digital patient management system for functional medicine.
Nathan Morris: (07:19)
One of the counterintuitive things for me, and I think for a lot of doctors, is really focusing on that niche market. We spend a lot of our training, especially in functional medicine, really focused on having to understand a lot of different processes and how it all connects. Then we open our doors and we give a list of 20 things that we do. Can you go into a little more about why it’s so important for us to kind of get over this model of thinking of staying really broad, and why we should be marketing more to a niche audience, especially as we want to grow our practice?
Allan Dib: (07:59)
It is very counter-intuitive. It feels like if you cast the widest net and if you list all of the products and services that you can possibly offer, then it feels like that’s how you’re going to get the most business. It really isn’t. It is counter-intuitive. I think it’s a large part of what we’ve seen in the marketplace, and particularly the internet has fueled, this is real specialization. So I’ll give you an example. I’ll give you a medical example from my own household. So my wife injured her knee a couple of years ago, and I saw her on her iPad. She was searching for a solution. What does she type into Google? She types in knee specialist, and then the area that we live in. Now, a general doctor or a general chiropractor, whatever it may be, probably would have been able to help her, but she was looking for a knee specialist in our area. People are looking for very, very specific things when they’re typing things into that Google box.
Allan Dib: (08:56)
If you go and look at your search history, you’re probably not just typing in the doctor or the name of your ailment or whatever. You’re typing in very, very specific queries into that Google search box. So people are not looking for general advice and general answers. They’re looking for very, very specific answers to very, very specific questions. So medicine is a field, and functional medicine or traditional medicine, either way, it’s a field that’s very, very wide. I mean, a doctor can cover all sorts of areas and all sorts of ailments and things like that, but there will be an audience that you can really help with your eyes closed, that you can solve this kind of particular problem.
Allan Dib: (09:40)
There will be an audience that you know you love working with. There will be an audience that you know is very profitable to work with. If you can take that intersection of people who are fun to work with, profitable to work with, value what you do, and you know you can really solve that problem for them, then that’s really where the magic happens. You want to hyper-focus on that and be the person that comes up when they type that problem into the Google search box.
Nathan Morris: (10:07)
I think you used the metaphor before, you can light a room with a hundred-watt light bulb, but a hundred-watt laser beam will cut through steel. You’re really taking that ability. I think you spoke to it well when you said you kind of get good at this niche, and then you move to another niche. Actually, in functional medicine, we can apply everything we know to that niche. We’re not going to be super pigeonholed, but at the same time, we’ve got to really think about that market as you mentioned. So I really think that’s a great example.
Allan Dib: (10:38)
Also understanding that this is your entry point. It doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you can ever deliver, but when we’re using finite resources, which is your time, your money, your energy to advertise, we want to really laser focus those in. So if someone comes in for a sore knee or whatever, you can also help them with their back or their neck or whatever. It doesn’t mean you can only do what you’re writing about on your blog or in your ad or wherever else. You can absolutely help people with a bunch of things, but it’s kind of that tip of the iceberg where people come in.
Nathan Morris: (11:12)
That’s a perfect point. I think that’s the greatest fear of functional medicine, is we’re going to get too focused and we’re going to miss out on some of the other things we enjoy, but that’s not what’s going to happen at all. You’re going to just get people in the door and then you can focus on the other things you enjoy as well. Okay. That’s great advice.
Kara Ware: (11:27)
Because we really want to use our marketing to be very specific, right? Because otherwise, it’s just diluted and weak. We’re talking to no one, essentially. So really that’s the whole goal of the marketing message, is to talk to one person where they resonate so much, like, hey, that’s me.
Allan Dib: (11:41)
Exactly, exactly. You want the response to your ad or your copy or whatever to be, hey, that is for me, I need that. That’s never going to happen if your message is very general, and you’re listing a laundry list of products and services. Exactly.
Kara Ware: (11:57)
Yeah, because in functional medicine we can help everyone, of course.
Allan Dib: (12:00)
Kara Ware: (12:02)
[crosstalk 00:12:02] we’re talking to no one because no one’s really resonating with what we’re saying.
Allan Dib: (12:05)
Kara Ware: (12:14)
So Alan was awesome, Nathan, such a knowledgeable guy. He gets right to the point. I love that. I really enjoyed our interview.
Nathan Morris: (12:21)
Yeah, Kara, I was a little nervous to talk to him, and I really think it went well. My voice didn’t crack or anything.
Kara Ware: (12:27)
You held your composure together. That was impressive. So our interview with Allan really emphasized the importance of having a narrowly defined niche for your marketing strategy, choosing a patient you can help with your eyes closed, and first get them to indicate interest. That’s the first step to start the relationship building, and all of these three important steps ultimately help transforms them from a prospect to a patient.
Nathan Morris: (12:54)
Again, just to reiterate, which I think is important, we’re just talking about a marketing campaign here. We need a niche to create an effective marketing campaign, get the most bang for our buck. Don’t think that once you’ve created this niche, you’re stuck there. After three to four months, when you’ve really got that down, you can add another niche of something else you enjoy and so on and so on until you have three or four things in a year that you’ve really focused on, but we’re just talking about making that marketing dollar go further by identifying those ideal patients that you want to see.
Kara Ware: (13:28)
You will still of course continue to welcome all kinds of patients into your practice. I mean, we’re just talking about creating an effective marketing campaign. We want to use our marketing dollars wisely.
Nathan Morris: (13:46)
Right Kara, so that’s great. But the one thing we haven’t talked about yet that I think is really important is how do we do this? How do we choose a niche for our marketing campaign?
Kara Ware: (13:57)
Well, let’s remember what Allan said. He alluded in his interview that, well, one, you have to find someone you like treating, and someone you’re good at treating. Someone that you’re confident in treating.
Nathan Morris: (14:05)
Yeah. Kara, at first I thought hormones were a niche, and then I got to thinking about it and I think we have to go further. We may think we’re in a niche, and then we need to go a little bit further and say, “Is it fertility I want to attract, is it perimenopause? Or is it polycystic ovary disease?” I mean, that’s really getting even further in, and you’re really focusing on a specific process. Maybe you have special training, expertise, or equipment that makes you uniquely suited to treat someone. That can definitely give you an edge, and you need to look at your resources when you’re picking this niche.
Kara Ware: (14:43)
It’s like Allan said in his search query, right? Those people are looking for very specialized areas of treatment when they’re on Google looking for who’s going to help them. Yep. So this week’s homework is to think about, well, who do you want to be the target of your marketing campaign, that we’re going to go through each step of that process. Then what patient do you want more of in your practice?
Nathan Morris: (15:10)
Next week we’ll continue with the power of focus by identifying and understanding the avatar within our niche.
Kara Ware: (15:16)
So a niche is a specific area of medicine, and then an avatar is a person that fits into that niche.
Nathan Morris: (15:24)
Yeah. So a niche, and now you’ve got me saying niche. I was saying [crosstalk 00:15:30].
Kara Ware: (15:29)
[crosstalk 00:15:29] I like that you [crosstalk 00:15:31].
Nathan Morris: (15:32)
[crosstalk 00:15:32] now you can’t tell I’m hillbilly at all.
Kara Ware: (15:34)
I was going to say [crosstalk 00:15:37].
Nathan Morris: (15:36)
So my niche would be perimenopause, but the avatar would be more about who is in that niche. Maybe a woman between 40 and 50, goes on Facebook for information. She’s worried about memory, which may be declining a little bit with this change in her hormones, having the energy to give to her kids and grandkids, loss of libido, and the associated weight gain that comes with hormone changes, et cetera. We need to get into the mind of that avatar.
Kara Ware: (16:07)
In next week’s episode, we’ll explain how to define the avatar within your niche, and what huge mistake you might be making with your marketing.
Nathan Morris: (16:20)
If you can’t tell already, we’re big Allan Dib fans. So consider picking up a copy of his book, The One Page Marketing Plan, and we’ll have a link to his website in our show notes.
Kara Ware: (16:30)
And also in our show notes is go ahead and sign up for our newsletter and have all of our season’s resources and episodes and blog posts and opportunities to engage with us sent right to your inbox. For all other information and resources, you can visit karawarecoaching.com. That’s K-A-R-A W-A-R-E coaching.com. Lastly, a big thank you to our writing team, Kelsey [Stafstrom 00:16:58] and Paul Larkin, and our audio engineer Isadore [inaudible 00:17:03] for all of their hard work. Thank you to our sponsors, Pure Encapsulations, Douglas Laboratories, Genestra Brands, and Living Matrix for making this podcast possible. We’ll be back next week.
Nathan Morris: (17:17)
Looking forward to it, Kara.
I am a paid advisor at Pure Encapsulations, I do not have any other conflicts of interest. All podcast productions represent the opinions of the co-hosts and do not represent the position or the opinion of the sponsors. Reference by the presenter to any specific product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, or manufacturer does not constitute or imply endorsement or recommendations by the Sponsor. The podcast is not a substitute for standard medical care. The podcast is intended for licensed health care practitioners. Practitioners are solely responsible for the care and treatment provided to their own patients.