One of the most frequent comments I hear from practitioners is that they know what they should be doing to grow their practices, but they can’t seem to actually get it done.
The go-to reason for most practitioners that we speak to is time – that there’s just not enough of it. I’m not so sure. Time is tough, and we almost always wish we had more of it, but I think that there are more insidious barriers. They come disguised as not enough time, and that makes them all the more dangerous.
These 4 simple questions are ones you can ask yourself to identify and beat those barriers. The next time you feel like you’re “stuck” somewhere in the marketing process, run through these four questions until you find the barrier – it’s there somewhere.
Question #1: Have I simplified this enough?
Say, for example, that your to-do list – mental or otherwise – reads “Email newsletter”. It’s definitely low-hanging fruit – an email newsletter is cheap, easy and remarkably effective – but it’s been on your to-do list for so long you can’t remember when you put it there.
So why isn’t it done? The answer in this case may be complexity – you haven’t broken the task down into small enough pieces. “Email newsletter” is a big, amorphous blob, made up of a bunch of tiny steps. Each of the tiny steps is actually quite simple, and requires very little time. But the blob? It doesn’t have a starting point, and before we even get a chance to tackle it, our brain has said, “I don’t know how to do that,” and we’re back to checking email or Facebook for the hundredth time.
Solution: The answer to complexity isn’t to change the task, or ignore it, but to break it into smaller pieces. What’s the very first step you need to take to make your email newsletter happen? For us, it was to find a tool to do the job. Sending a newsletter out manually is a drag – you need a tool that lets you add addresses, puts a signup form on your website, let’s people unsubcribe, gives you cool templates, etc.
Here’s what “email newsletter” looks like when we simplify:
- Choose a tool for the job
- Sign up
- Add addresses
- Enter content into the template
Let me help with the first two steps: Go to MailChimp, and sign up. It’s free for up to 1000 subscribers and 6000 sent emails. That’ll handle the newsletter needs of most small to medium practices with no up-front risk.
Voila. First two steps of 6 are done. Total time: 3 minutes. Do one of each of the remaining steps each day, and you’ll be done before the week is out.
Question #2: Am I making this bigger than it has to be?
That same newsletter can get stuck at step 4 because we’ve turned the actual deliverable – the newsletter – into a big, hairy deal. In our minds, it’s this long and intricate email filled with articles, photographs, book reviews, recipes, testimonials from patients, a survey, a special gift for subscribers and an audio interview with the Dalai Lama.
Cut yourself some slack.
Give yourself permission to send out a newsletter that’s a hundred words long, that has no other purpose other than to be useful for your patients. A simple health tip. A link to a video. A great book you just read. That’s it. One hundred words is just a fraction of this blog post. Total time: 10 minutes.
Question #3: Am I aiming for perfect?
How many times have you taken something almost all the way there? An article. A presentation. A sign. A flyer. You get job almost done, but then it languishes at the “I just need to tweak it a bit” stage forever.
Perfect is the enemy of done.The solution? Choose. Do you want what you’re doing to be perfect, or do you want it to be done?
It’s your practice, so you get to decide. But you can’t have both.
Question #4: Do I need help?
Sometimes you really don’t have the skills, the time, or the tools to get the job done. Don’t let that stop you.
- Is there someone who can do a marketing job better than you? Write an article? Create print materials? Organize events?
- Is there someone who has a skill set you simply don’t have? Creating a website? Using social media?
- Is there someone who can do things that you really don’t have time for? After all, you can’t be in two places at once – maybe someone else should work the health show booth on your behalf.
Looking back, I really wish we’d hired a kind of catch-all marketing person whose job was to delight clients, write press releases, go to networking events, organize our marketing, talk to patients. I think it would have paid off handsomely.
Dealing With Your Next Marketing Barrier
The next time you find something languishing on your to-do list, run through these four questions. More often than not, you’ll find one that pops out as the culprit. Once you’ve identified it and beat it, you’ll find things happen far more quickly and easily.