Written by Chipo Mapungwana
It’s a jungle out there, and in order to stand out from the crowd, sometimes you’ve got to employ guerrilla tactics to get the job done. Guerrilla marketing is the use of unusual marketing tactics in order to get maximum exposure without breaking the bank.
Many professionals such as Lawyers, Doctors and Accountants do not bother to market themselves, as they still rely on tradition word of mouth and this, in an age of increasing competition, creates financial problems for professional firms. In this article we will look at how accountants, lawyers and doctors can start to do things differently to market their services without spending money advertising their practices.
Guerrilla Marketing for Accountants
Practice random acts of kindness.Nothing makes a better impression than going out of your way to be kind to someone. And better yet, imagine how powerful those random acts of kindness can be when they’re done for complete strangers. Consider providing a start-up business with a free tax return and sending them off with your business card.
Give a Client of the Month award.One way to inspire loyalty is to give a Client of the Month award, because, really, who doesn’t like to be recognized? It doesn’t cost much money for a small plaque that your client will probably appreciate and display. Consider how much more likely this client will be to refer you to their friends and family. Not only that but your contact information, as shown on the plaque, will also get you some free publicity as well.
Tie yourself to a local or current event.Consider local or current events that typically garner a lot of media attention. Consider tax season and how much coverage that topic gets. That’s an example of a current event that tax accountants could take advantage of. Once you determine an event that complements your accounting services you should offer free expert advice on a local news or radio station. Volunteer to write an article for the local paper. In riding the media wave associated with the event, you can get a lot of exposure .
Get your own newspaper column.This tactic will get you regular exposure. Newspapers are often looking for professionals who can write advice columns regularly (and for little, if no, money). But you’re not looking to make money as an advice columnist; you are looking to get exposure and have countless individuals become familiar with you and the quality services you offer. And once you’re regularly published, and touted as an “expert,” readers will think of you first the next time they need an accountant.
Guerrilla Marketing for Lawyers
Create an online presence. Create an online presence in the form of a website or other social media , in order to add value for your clients. On your site offer expert opinion on the topics of your speciality and invite customers to ask questions and to comment. Ask those customers who need detailed and personal answers to make an appointment. Create a blog and write about the topic that you are most passionate about. Link your blog to your LinkedIn and Twitter account so that your updates are spread across several social sites.
Know your customers. Know how to persuade by researching your clients and what is important to them. Are they single, married, about to be divorced, facing bankruptcy, having issues with the police, government, being victimised, minority groups etc. When you know your clients, you can target activities specifically for them.
Inspire Confidence but not distrust. As a lawyer, you must inspire confidence. People engage you as a lawyer because they have confidence in you. And there is one element that inspires confidence like nothing else — credibility. But your credibility as a lawyer is not only about honesty or integrity. It also involves professionalism, authority, conscientiousness, expertise etc. Treat your clients like valuable assets. Don’t break appointments, and if you have to, tell them way before. Do what you say you will do. Get their documents ready on time.
Create a personal brand. Small things make big impressions. Shabbiness in seemingly mundane things like your stationery, business cards, how you answer phone calls, office decor, signage, company logo, packaging, brochures, business forms, website, staff attire etc give people the impression that you are amateurish. Amateurism equals low credibility. Every part of your business that comes into contact with a potential client or the general public is your brand.
Go out and be seen. Take the opportunity to participate in talks, at conferences, on TV, radio, give free presentations and participate in seminars when- ever they present themselves. Offer to give talks to select groups such as women’s groups ,teenagers, couples about to be married, law enforcement , marginalised groups, start- up businesses, the physically challenged, prisoners, the elderly or church groups on issues that they are interested in and that affect them. Write articles for the local paper or for interested magazines and on line publications.
Guerrilla Marketing for Doctors
As healthcare becomes more consumer-driven, practices are really having to tune into what patients want and build relationships, rather than rely on the old school approaches. This is going to require that practice owners and doctors effectively communicate their value to the patients they want to attract.
Use the Internet. Social media and Web sites offers a whole new world for those practicing medicine. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. First things first: Does your practice have a Web site or a blog? If not, you could be losing countless of patients who are Googling for a primary-care physician in your city.
Developing a site doesn’t have to be a major investment, either
When creating a site, you shouldn’t call it Dr. Smith’s Practice. Very few patients will key in your name during their search for a new doctor. Instead consider a few key words that denote your location and specialty.
Get out into the community. Once you’ve thought critically about how patients come to your practice, you can determine what people and groups you need to influence to direct more patients your way. For example, if you’re a specialist and need to reach primary-care providers, try hosting an event to connect you. This could be in person, such as a luncheon or an after-hours meeting, or virtually through a social media network. Doctors should be “thinking differently and being much more strategic in the things they are doing to reach out and connect with the right audiences. Identify your target market — new parents, women, retirees, for example — and plan a public event at your practice with that market in mind. This allows patients to meet with you and your staff, see your office, and ask questions.
Also consider major employers in your area and how you might connect with them, such as through lunches or Webinars directed at a specific population.
Be available to the media. Newspapers and television reporters are often looking for experts to comment on the health story of the day. Just think about how you can make a contribution to issues such as H1N1 flu virus, cholera, HIV, Cancers, Heart disease, Brain tumours, High Blood pressure and many many other disorders that people are concerned about. Consider what areas your practice specializes in, and put yourself out there as a knowledgeable source. Healthcare is such a popular topic these days; for those who are able to express themselves well and can offer something of real value, specialist physicians in particular, there is a lot of opportunity out there.
Tap into the resources around you. Don’t forget that you have a 100% free source of marketing in front of you every day: your employees. A happy medical assistant who loves her job and knows the high level of customer service your practice offers will want to sing your practice’s praises. Educate and empower your employees to be ambassadors of your practice.
Similarly, your patients can be a great — did I mention, free? — marketing force. Just like they do with a restaurant or a bank, your patients will share with their family and friends their experiences at the doctor’s office.
Feel strange about asking your patients to refer you?
First of all, look for patients who are happy, and if they express their satisfaction, then seize that moment to tactfully suggest that they pass on the good word. You could say “I’d like to ask you a favor. If you like what we have done for you here, I’d like you to help someone be helped in the same way. I am sure they’d appreciate it, and we’d appreciate it, too. Would you do that for me?”
Patients tend not to refer others because it just never occurs to them to do so
And most of all have fun. If you are not able or do not have the time to do the legwork yourself, hire a professional.
For Marketing and Social Media Consulting and One on One Coaching contact Chipo at firstname.lastname@example.org