Target audience, sales funnel, customer base, digital marketing, revenue, competition, resource. All of these are the concepts of a speech therapist of the day and time. Having a clandestine office has become bad manners. Specialists in speech disorders are required by the code of ethics not only to write a competent conclusion, but also to draw up a contract and issue checks in compliance with the taxation process.
Today we will try to lift the veil of the speech therapy market and share with you some of the most claimed ideas for your marketing strategy!
There Are No Clients. Only Participants
Speech therapists and speech pathologists have become marketers, copywriters and economists. Here, the main subject is a specialist who knows his own worth. This specialist is not afraid to raise the cost of services and positions his classes as a brand, whose promotion needs financing. Speech therapy has become a profitable and promising business.
Stop! Don't you think we've forgotten something? Aren't you too carried away by the “Monopoly” game? After all, the real subject of speech therapy and defectological care is not us, but people with speech problems. Not customers, buyers and consumers, but people who turn to a professional for qualified help and advice.
Who are these people?
According to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), they are:
- Children who, at the age of three, lag behind in speech development for a couple of years, which is why they often fall into the categories of autism spectrum disorder and mental retardation
- Parents who are worried that they have missed precious time and turned too late, although they just hoped that the child might still talk
- Teenagers who are embarrassed by stuttering, burbling or slurred speech. They themselves are aware of the problem, but do not have free finances
- Adults who do not dare turn to a speech-language pathologist and, acting by trial and error, try to find a way to eliminate speech problems that are obvious to others.
It is imperative to understand that all these potential clients do not want to be customers, they want to be a part of the process. Professional SLPs avoid all connotations of commercial services. They use the words “members” or “participant”. The second word fits perfectly into the concept of SLP practice and forms many combinations with a positive meaning: active participant, involved participant, voluntary participant, permanent participant, main participant, a separate participant.
Competition In a Speech-Language Pathology Environment
Commerce breeds competition. Future participants of the classes are looking for specialists on the Internet and social media. You always find yourself in market conditions: who has a better sign, who calls more effectively, where it is always crowded.
- "I have 20 thousand subscribers!"
- "I give guarantees!"
- "My students do not relapse!"
- "I only work with top managers and businessmen!"
A new client with speech problems has to choose between warring clans and involuntarily asks questions:
- It takes a lot of time and effort for a speech therapist to create content, but what about when he learns and thinks about our classes?
- Is he able to provide me with an individual approach and single me out from twenty thousand?
- Where is the guarantee that they will not treat me uncompromisingly in the process of work?
- What if this militant specialist blames me for my problem or relapse?
Market relations, competition, lack of common sense are destructive forces that do not correlate with such subtle matters as speech.
But it doesn’t mean you should postpone marketing efforts. Otherwise, a competent business plan and marketing campaigns will allow you to help more people and earn more money. Why not?
Advertising and Marketing
Speech therapists' services are always in demand, but not all potential clients (usually parents of children with speech defects) will be able to pay for a private speech therapist, especially if his services are above average.
Due to this, it is pertinent to consider the availability of solvent demand as well as evaluate the competitors of the speech therapy center - who is already in business, at what price, what kind of reviews they have, and how easy (or difficult) it is for people to sign up with them.
Try to collect as much information as possible. This will help you understand which price tag will be adequate for your city and how you can attract participants. Think about your strengths and competitive advantages.
To attract as many clients as possible, you can use classic advertising tools, or marketing materials. These include:
- Printing flyers and business cards
- Printing in magazines, newspapers
- Sign at the entrance
- Branding of the entrance area
- Posting ads by district
In addition, you can attract people with sales and favorable offers. A free consultation or a 50% discount on the first lesson will be useful.
Individually customized reports at Medesk make it clear where to advertise and what services to offer. You can plan special offers, use color-coded tags that will help segment and analyze specific data for pre-selected positions.Learn more >>
Though we live in the digital age, word of mouth remains one of the most powerful advertising tools. Thus, you need to pay as more attention to performing your services at the highest possible level, as well as promotion and acquisition.
Social Media Marketing
Online presence is a must for a successful private practice. But here we are not just talking about decent websites and landing pages. Social proof is incredibly relevant for speech therapy services, especially for parents and guardians. These people usually do a considerable amount of research on the Internet and social media before applying to a specialist.
Blogging remains one of the key ways to increase customer flow and showcase your expertise as a professional. It is also one of the cheapest ways to start advertising your private practice, which costs significantly less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times more potential customers.
It is easy to create a social media account on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. But remember that the purpose of using social networks is to sell yourself as a specialist.
The idea is that you publish interesting, relevant content. It attracts likes and followers. You give them high-quality content, so they are ready to follow you!
Due to the individually customized reports at Medesk, you can always understand which articles and blog materials engage paying patients.Learn more >>
When you start blogging, you will already have a loyal audience that can help strengthen your own voice. Remember that the key to marketing is when you offer value, not advertise yourself.
To promote your speech therapy practice with the help of social networks, it is important to remember that the privacy of your clients is always at the center of your attention. Thus, while sharing cases and reviews, always ask your clients if they are ready to reveal themselves, or if they prefer to remain anonymous.
Practice Management Software as a Marketing Tool
Practice management software, or PMS, can also be a powerful marketing resource. Let’s consider its most significant features for your marketing strategy.
Reports and analytics
The reporting and analytics module can be of great value to your online marketing process. With their help you can build conversion funnels and conduct all kinds of analytics to control that the cost of advertising does not exceed revenue and profitability. You can monitor the PPC model and other conversion metrics using various templates.
Planning special promotions and discounts for different age groups leads to attracting more patients from those demographics.
Another benefit is the opportunity to find out the needs and demands of your clients to provide a better service with the help of the analytics module.
Acquisition and communication
Once you track the acquisition channels, you need to strengthen them. Features such as online booking, payments and telemedicine provide the opportunity to attract more patients to your practice.
Online booking improves patient loyalty and makes your practice more competitive. Also, it’s easy and fast for patients to book appointments for a convenient day.
The function of online payments and prepayments reduce the number of no-shows and make your practice look more serious and demanded. Patients can choose whether to pay a full price or just a deposit. It saves time and nerves.
After the difficult pandemic times the option of telemedicine has become a real way out for lots of people. By clicking a button you can reach to any of your patients worldwide, and integrated video calling tool is understandable even for children.
In the remote format, it turns out to work successfully with the following communication disorders:
- Erased dysarthria or dysarthria of the first and second degree
- Phonetic and phonemic disorders.
Email marketing and integrations
You should always combine attracting new customers and increasing loyalty from existing ones. Communicating with both, for example, through automated SMS and emails, is a very simple and easy process. Mass mailing and personalized emails is a crucial part of your marketing plan, helping to advertise the clinic and build a strong relationship with people. Personalized emails are sent out informing about available therapy services and promotions.
The main advantage of this type of marketing is that contacts of people who have already been familiar with the company's offers get into the database. This means that their response is more likely.
To sum it up, we can say that any plan to promote a specialized speech therapy service on the Internet will include not one, but several communication channels. This will include a constant analysis of their functioning. It is impossible to determine exactly which promotion channel is the most effective.
Only a comprehensive promotion designed for a specific service, taking into account all its features, as well as the behavior of the target audience, which includes potential consumers of the service, will give a positive result and the highest quality sales.