As a third year med student, I stood across the operating table from a seasoned surgeon, preparing to assist as he resected his sleeping patient’s bowel. As he began the surgery, he told me about a previous student, and though I’ve never met her, she’s become my role model – if not in the operating room, then in life in general.
His description of her was lengthy and full of praise, but it boiled down to one simple sentence.
She never wasted a move.
For a surgeon, that brief statement tells a much bigger story – a story of thorough knowledge of the patient, command of surgical anatomy, understanding of the behavior of the disease, and mastery of surgical skill.
That statement was high praise indeed.
Wasted Marketing Moves
Honestly, I think that “never waste a move” would make a great life motto. Wouldn’t you like to get to the end of your life, look back, and be able to say you never wasted a move? That would be pretty amazing.
But we’re here to talk about online marketing and not life philosophy. It just so happens that in online marketing the concept applies incredibly well, too.
It’s easy to feel compelled to be present on every platform available. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. And tomorrow there will be three new ones added to the list.
But if you’re a urologist, you’re probably wasting your time on Instagram. And if you’re a geriatrician, Twitter is not going to yield a lot of results. It’s like you’re taking ten steps to remove an appendix, when really you can do it in three. Those extra steps waste time and resources, and accomplish nothing.
Free Isn’t Actually Free
It turns out that if you just throw up a Facebook page because it’s free so, “Hey, why not?” that’s a waste. The truth is it’s not free. Your time is valuable and every minute you spend on something fruitless is stolen from something that could actually build your practice.
Even worse, when you realize that Facebook isn’t helping so you leave the page dormant? It can actually hurt you. Nothing screams “I don’t care” like an abandoned social media page or blog.
Not Every Good Move Yields Results
Pouring your resources into marketing moves that you know won’t yield is a waste. But there are times when you’ll try something that doesn’t yield, and it’s still worthwhile.
Not every surgery ends in the desired results. But, if a surgeon is prepared and goes in ready to learn from the experience, even moves that don’t yield are valuable. Those moves help him understand what does and doesn’t work. He’s better prepared for the next surgery.
The same is true for marketing. If you feel you must try Twitter, for example, go in with a plan. Go in with a method of measuring the yield. Then, even if you don’t gain bottom-line results, you’re smarter and more prepared for next time.
Make Your Moves Work for You
Here are a few steps you can take to be sure you never waste a marketing move.
- Have an overall strategy for your online marketing, and make sure each of your activities contributes to it.
- Know where your patients are online, and don’t waste time where they aren’t.
- Do one or two things well, rather than a bunch of things halfway. Specialize.
- Develop systems for managing your online activities. Habits, procedures and checklists can make the difference between a targeted strategy that works and wasted time on the internet.
My challenge to you is to look at your online marketing and cut out at least one wasted move today. Do you have any dormant social media pages? Or are you spending a lot of time on a platform where there are no customers? What about online promotions that aren’t yielding? Get the scalpel out and get to work.
Start marketing like a surgeon, and your practice will benefit.