Jan. 10, 2022

The Ideal Patient

The Ideal Patient

It's important to take some time to reflect on the type of care or group of patients you like treating the most. Once you know who your ideal patient is, you're able to build an online and offline marketing plans to do more of the work you love.

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  • This is where all marketing begins
  • Money is wasted when you don't know your ideal patient.
  • What are the benefits of getting this right?
  • Be targeted instead of spreading yourself too thin.
  • Ideal patient and niching are different.
  • Questions to ask to work out your ideal patient 
  • A & B patients are the future of your practice, whereas your C & D patients represent your past. You need to let go of the past.
  • When you market to your ideal patient they've got to see themselves, especially on your website.


Jim McDannald 0:11
Welcome back to podiatry marketing. I'm here with my co host Tyson. Franklin Tyson, how're things going today?

Tyson Franklin 0:16
I am good, Jim, it is nice and sunny here in Cannes, as it is, every day in the tropics.

Jim McDannald 0:23
That's gotta be nice. That's gotta be nice. So what are we going to get into today? You know, we kind of in the last few podcasts we talked about, you know, why we're doing it, you know, what is marketing? You know, what's, what's the next step for us?

Tyson Franklin 0:34
I think the next thing and this is like the basis of all marketing, I think he's going back to the beginning. And it's like, who is your ideal patient? Or like, why are they your ideal patient? So that's what I think we should talk about today is, who is your ideal patient?

Jim McDannald 0:50
I'm up for that. That sounds like a great idea. I think that's one of the things that by taking a step back, we can kind of like, understand, why have a plan in the first place, and kind of what is square one, you know, sometimes it can be easy to try to jump into tactics, we're talking about these different ways that people are trying to market their practice, but knowing exactly why you're doing in the first place is a huge, huge thing. So talk to me about this, you know, Persona marketing or kind of ideal patient, you know, when did you start having this idea or kind of where did you glean this, these kinds of insights,

Tyson Franklin 1:22
I think it was started, like when I, when you first start your practice you most people are prepared to just see anybody, they're got a heartbeat, and they got some money in their wallet, I will see that patient. Initially, you build your practice up just based on anyone that will pay the bills. But then over a period of time, you start and I've mentioned this in my book, where you'll start having like a, b, c and d type patients, and your ideal patients are more towards your AMB type patients, for starters, they're awesome patients, they, they listen to you advice. And then a B patient might be the good patients not as good as your A's. But they're sort of people if you saw them every day, and I think I still think your your C patients in your D patients a lot of times are a reflection on your past. And sometimes you've got to let go of the past. And I feel some podiatrist find that really, really hard to do that. I've been I've been saying Mary for 15 years, this Yes, but Mary represents your past, if you want to move forward, sometimes you gotta let Mary go, maybe maybe maybe better suited to somebody else. So I think your ideal patient is looking at your patients you have over a period of time in which other ones had actually put a smile on your face when they come in. It doesn't need to be a specific service. It's just something about that patient that makes them better than the wrist.

Jim McDannald 2:42
So when you were in practice, what was that ideal patient at least, like at some point during your career in podiatry, like, what was the one thing that are the one type of patient that was that you're excited to walk into a treatment room and see, then therefore you

Tyson Franklin 2:57
When I explained this to people, I'll say you want to picture your ideal patient in your head. So my ideal patient was a male was 42 years of age, he made pretty good money, so it wasn't broke. And it wasn't that he was the richest person in the world. He just made good money. So he had a lot of disposable income, he could afford my services had children, he used to be a pretty good sports person himself. However, as time goes on, we're a little bit older, a little bit slower. And then he started developing foot pain, but he wants to keep up with his kids. So he realizes he can't anymore because that they're running. And then they're only 10. So I went through, you know, the type of car that you drive, or maybe the type of job. And when I started identifying that, when those patients came in, I actually started having more fun with them, because I'm thinking you are my ideal patient. Cause they are my ideal patient didn't mean that it didn't get Margaret, who was 38, who had similar problems, you still some people fear that if I target. My ideal patient, I'm going to miss out on everybody else. But we don't realize is all these other patients that hear the message, you're saying to your ideal patient. And they hear the same message because there there may be a female than a male, but that they have a similar thinking. So you attract them anyway. And you end up with just more of the type of patients you enjoy. You enjoy treating,

That makes total sense. And I think you're right on the ballpark there as far as it's kind of finding that ideal message along with finding your ideal patient, like how do you connect with them with the right message at the right time? You know, what are some of those ways? You know, when you're in practice that you felt like, you know, the kind of message you sent out there? How did you, you know, what are the channels you use to try to attract that patient into your practice?

Well, I think initially when you first open up there's a couple of ways of going about. One is you can niche your practice, which we're going to talk about in an upcoming episode. We're not going to dive into that right now. I think when you first open your practice, sometimes it's hard to work out who is your ideal patient, which is why when we open our doors we're prepared to see I see anybody but I think as patients come through, you can very quickly go, Okay, do you like Mary? Who doesn't have any money? Who's grumpy all the time? Who smells? Now? If you go, Oh, yeah, that's my ideal patient, I want a smelly person that can't afford to pay me. And who's mean and nasty all the time? No. So as patients are coming to you and you start working out, or this is more of the type of patient I like, you then start asking him questions. What do you do? Where do you hang out? Are you part of a social club? Do you play a certain sport? You can find out what sort of car they drive? What do they read? Do they listen to the radio? What's your favorite coffee shop? Where do you like to eat. And when you start finding out this information about the patients you really like, then you go, Well, if there seems to be a common thread that, say, for example, coffee shop, that well, three out of five of my ideal patients go to a particular coffee shop and cans, well, if they go there, that means there must be a lot more of my ideal patient hanging out hangs out at that coffee shop. So then you could do like a coffee shop marketing deal, where you go to the coffee shops or house sponsor the next 10 cups of coffee, for the next 10 guys that come in who look about their 42 years of age look like they used to do some exercise, but they're a little bit overweight, I want to buy their cup of coffee for. So that's that's one simple way of doing it. And, but we used to do a lot of internal surveys, to our ideal patients, we would ask them these questions. And that information we got back from them made it really easy for us to go and then find other ones especially like, if our ideal patient was a member of rotary or another charity group, we'll have a lot of our ideal patients here, there's more than likely there's going to be more they said than we try and get involved in those sorts of things as well. So it's asking good questions. And you get good answers,

Jim McDannald 6:55
No for sure. Like you said, like kind of attracts, like and if you're getting a certain number of patients from a certain group, or from a certain referral source, you know, kind of going back and, you know, being gaining awareness and kind of being getting out in front of those more of those ideal patients. Like it's definitely a huge opportunity, because like you said, usually they'll hang out and kind of groups it's not. It's not a lot, not a lot of Lone Ranger's out there. But yeah, as far as like, you know, I guess as far as the benefits, you know, when you get it right, you can really dive deep a little bit into the benefits. You know, when you do kind of nail down that customer persona and like how how long do you think it takes for someone to kind of figure that out? While they're in practice?

Tyson Franklin 7:38
I think you can, you can make the decision from day.so. When I set up a clinic in Cairns, I mean from Cairns, and we set one up in Mackay 800 kilometers away 550 miles. And we set it that far away, because I didn't want to have Mackay have any influence or Cairns have any influence over Mackay. So right from the day that we sort of we did finish the practice down a little bit. But we still had our ideal patient in mind based on what we'd learnt in Cairns, the advantage of knowing who your ideal patient is, it makes it easier when it comes to spending your money. If sales rep comes and approaches you, and I'm always I've told the story a few times head of sales were approached me to we have this campaign for I think it was on TV or right I think it was radio, we had this campaign, it is gonna be ideal for your patients, Tyson. I said, that's great. Can you tell me who my ideal patient is? And then when I will, it'll be like all people that can't reach their toenails and get hard skin on the feet. And it will actually know, my ideal patient is bang, bang, bang down. And I explained to my ideal patients, and she said to me, I'd know this would be perfect for them. How could this campaign that she'd put together be perfect for my ideal patient when in her head, I was just trimming toenails and old people. And that's where once you know who your ideal patient is, when an opportunity is put in front of you, you can very quickly make a decision whether that's a good idea or a bad idea. Because you know, who you want to actually talk to. So I think one of the benefits of knowing your ideal patient is I think you spend less money trying to talk to them because you're not trying to talk to everybody like a shotgun approach you like a sniper and you're, you're targeting your marketing in particular areas where you're where you you know, your ideal patient is going to be but then you can budget a little bit and take a bit of a punt and say oh, I want to lose a few over here so you can try different things with with the same budget.

Jim McDannald 9:37
Now that makes total sense. I mean, I think it helps like you mentioned it kind of provides that external internal clarity with not only your messaging but also your marketing spend. Right because I mean it is you have a lot of kind of people you know, vendors cold calling or vendors trying to get in touch with you but let's say i i love diabetic you know if I like to take care of diabetic foot wounds And I'm getting someone pitching me, you know, like some type of Sports Medicine type, product or service or way to, you know, partner with them. And that's not who I see, it's a very quick way to say, you know, like, No, I'm really focused my practices on, you know, taking care of diabetics, diabetic limb preservation is just kind of what I do. So it makes not only that, it's very clear, you don't have to, you have to initially, you kind of waste less time trying to be a jack of all trades. And it kind of, you know, you're trying to like kind of just be everything to everybody. And it just kind of it can be a time sink, and a waste of your kind of precious time and resources. I think there's another aspect of it too, is that you can really like tailor make your own internal messaging, whether that's your website, your own marketing, you put that message out to those ideal patients. So when they look at your website, or look at your, you know, your newspaper article, or, you know, newspaper ad, if it's, you know, someone that still looks at the newspaper. But you can be more clear, though, as opposed to just trying to be, I'm a foot doctor,

Tyson Franklin 11:03
I think that you hit the nail on the head there, because I have mentioned this before, when somebody say, oh, I want more runners, and I get Okay, so if I went to your website, and if treating running patients was illegal, would you would I be able to convict you. And you'd be surprised the amount of that we get let off scot free. You go to their website and you get beat you tell me you love runners. I found one blog article buried down somewhere, but I get your homepage and there's feet on on a beach walking, or there's this feet there and there's a flower next to it. Okay? How does that represent runners, I think your marketing has also got to represent the type of patient that you want to treat who your ideal patient is they've got to come to your website and see themself so that they go. And that's why like, say runner, you might be a female and you have a male runner on the homepage, or might be vice versa, you might want more female patients. But a male patient will see that run and go okay, this is a running places where I need to be. And one of my favorite motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar. And he used to say, you might find an apple in an industrial bin. But that's not where you should be looking for apples. You go to a fruit shop. So you might be looking for runners. So people start advertising at the local retirement village and in Bowls Club in certain places, you might find a runner that, you know, you'd probably be better suited to connect with a running club, because that's where you're going to find more runners. I think that's what I think that that message you say is just spot on.

Jim McDannald 12:39
Yeah, just it's just one of those things, right? If you once you know what your your messages and who you want to treats, it's much easier, like you said to go find those, apple barrels, you know, like in the orchard as opposed to the industrial park?

Tyson Franklin 12:53
Well in an industrial bin. And what he was referring to when he said that comment was he had a a friend who was reading a Playboy magazine. And he said to God, what do you read that trash? He goes, Oh, yes, sometimes there's some really good articles in it. And that's what he said, Boy, yeah, you can find a good apple in a garbage bin. But that's not where you should be looking for good apples. There's better places. So you're going to read good articles, find a magazine that actually has good articles in it without, without all the nudity. Though, I thought it was really good point. So but even with yourself, Jim, when you're, you would have certain podiatrists that you work with, like the help with online marketing, it'd be the same thing you would have an ideal client. Even when it comes to the whole online marketing world the same as what I do when I do coaching, I have an ideal client that I like to work with.

Jim McDannald 13:47
I think that's part of what I try to do and try to help educate people about is that you definitely want to kind of understand who your ideal patient is. And it's going to make a lot of your other marketing objectives and just kind of like your own clinic, the type of patients that walk into your clinic much more fulfilling, because I think like you said, a lot of people will kind of get stuck on there like Jack of all trades. And there's nothing wrong with having a general practice, right, like if you're in a really small area where there's not a chance to niche but even then, if there's a small area within podiatry that you really enjoy or type of patient you'd like to treat, that can be a maze, not going to be 100% of your practice, but maybe it's a 20 or 25% of your practice that really brings you a lot of professional fulfillment. So it's kind of everything's on a scale, right like if you're in downtown New York City, you might be able to be the like, see a very, very tight, you know, like demographic, a person that you want to treat and you're the best for and maybe it has to open up a little bit somewhere smaller but you're still able to do the things you want to do so I think when I'm working with people it's about as a matter of just kind of like letting them step back because I think it is your the day to day people are in their practices they get there's so many tasks things to be expected of them, the kind of heads down working to kind of pull back and really observe their own practice their own patient population. from a different perspective, it's sometimes hard and sometimes a little bit easier for me to like, say, you know, I can tell by your website or I can, you know, by some of the stuff you're telling me, you want to see, there's some ways to craft your message. And the marketing that kind of is in alignment with your ideal kind of patient persona and your ideal patient so.

Tyson Franklin 15:27
Oh, so when you say, when you hear people say, or you can't see your bald spot, you think, Oh, thank God. But it's the same thing when you're getting help outside. And you're talking about this particular subject, because I've had a lot of coaching clients where you'll talk about the ideal patient. And they think they know what it is until you start going through a list of questions. And once they get here they go, Oh, wow, my, there was so much more to my ideal patient that didn't realize, even to where does your ideal patient live, because you will find your ideal patient. And like you said, you mentioned, you can have a general clinic that treats all services and podiatry, and you'll have an ideal patient that will fit in all these different services. And you will find this certain areas that your ideal patients live in, there'll be certain areas where you will never find your ideal patient, based on your socio economic positioning or where those people are, there'll be certain patients, he is no will not come from certain areas. So if you're spending money that is talking to people in those areas, you could actually be wasting your money. That's the important thing.

Jim McDannald 16:34
Yeah, well, that's really important, like you talked about previously, like really getting to know your patients, and kind of not only like, you know, all I want to treat people, you know, this specific type of person, that kind of what is their life, like? Because let's say you're in a suburban area, and like everybody kind of works in Milwaukee, right. So like, you know, let's say you're in suburban Milwaukee, everybody works in downtown Milwaukee. And all your advertising is like, you know, during the day is focused on a specific area, kind of a geographic location where none of your none of your local patients are maybe near your office during those times, maybe they are 15 miles away somewhere during the day, where they're, you know, surfing on the internet at work or something where, where they might make sense, you know, on the surface of my like, why would I want to, like, spend some marking or do anything over there? Well, maybe they live in your community, and they're just not there, you know, as much. So it's one of those things where, like you said, just like understanding the kind of like, the lifestyle and the flow of what's going on in a patient's daily life was sometimes unlike unlock some different insights into kind of like how your ideal patient lives, you know, what they're, you know, outside of even your practice, kind of what are their the things that you know, are causing them problems? You know, like, is it something where if you had URL if you had open up an hour or two earlier, if that's something you want to do you get some of those commuter commuter patients, maybe, you know, you're not getting many into the day patients because of like, a commuting time issue. So it's really looking at your practice, from a different perspective that can, you know, and when you understand your patients, you can provide better care and maybe more of the type of care you want to provide.

Oh, I remember someone told me once they wanted to build a practice around kids, but then they didn't open three afternoons a week. I'm gonna see, seriously, you want to see more patients that have kids, but three out but you don't work afternoons much, I think. But that's when they're off from school. Right? And they were wondering, oh, yeah, yeah, oh, maybe I should have the mornings off then. Or maybe I should take time off during the day. I'm thinking, Yeah, maybe. And I know other people that really want corporate workers and want the, the accountants and the lawyers. And they're working more in towards the city. And I open up early in the morning, start at 630 in the morning, charge a premium for those patients who want to come in, be seen and just get on with their day, and not have to be interrupted. They're earning four or $500 an hour as a lawyer. They don't mind seeing you at 630 in the morning, and not having to give up that $500 during the day. So they're the things that I think podiatry is just got to just step back a little bit and ask themselves questions about who they want to see, where are they? And like you said, do we need to adjust their hours to get more of those sort of patients in

Yeah there's a million little things like that, right? Like, just by listening to people asking good questions, you're gonna learn, obviously, like, you know, everyone's running a busy practice, but taking that extra two minutes or asking the extra two questions on that next patient visit, it may unlock and open up your eyes to some brand new opportunity you never really thought about before.

Tyson Franklin 19:39
Yeah, and I think don't be afraid to investigate who your ideal patient is. Because it doesn't matter how well you think you know them, and how much marketing you do towards them. You will never have a clinic full of your ideal patients. Don't be afraid you're going to lose the other ones. They are going to come and see regardless but if you're targeting your ideal patients, and they That's a message you're putting out there, you will see more of what you like, which will make you happy and normal for becoming a happy podiatrist. Makes for happy work makes you more happy boss to know for sure. So, next week, we're going to talk more about niching your practice, and what that actually means. If people know more about that they must tune in for episode number four.

Jim McDannald 20:23
Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. I think there's different ways to kind of approach these initial, you know, getting started with marketing, whether it's starting with your ideal patient, or you know, starting for more of a kind of a personal, knowing what kind of care you like to do. perspective, there's just kind of different ways to get rolling, and kind of build your ideal practice.

Tyson Franklin 20:43
I definitely agree. So this is a fun, I'm enjoying this. Because we get what I like about this is we have an idea what we're going to talk about, but there's a lot of just thoughts that just pop in your head based on what each other asking. So this is great. I hope everyone's listening to this is getting as much out of it as what we are. For sure. Okay, so I've got nothing else to say on this topic. What about you?

Jim McDannald 21:09
I think we're good with the ideal patient and looking forward to our chat next week.

Tyson Franklin 21:13
Okay, I'll talk to you later Jim

Jim McDannald 21:14
See ya Tyson.