Trishaʼs (Free) TIPS

How to Ruin Your Own Advocacy Practice Success

Miranda has been an independent patient advocate for about five years, highly successful, and lauded for her excellent work and leadership in eldercare advocacy.

But the key to today’s post is the past tense “has been” – which isn’t the same as “is.” And there’s the rub.

When Miranda first launched, she did everything by the book. That included getting a solid start on her marketing by hiring a professional to build her website, then adding herself to the AdvoConnection Directory.

The results were immediate; her practice took right off. She stayed busy. Between her directory presence and word-of-mouth from people she served, Miranda found fast success.

She stayed so busy… too busy to keep marketing. She thought, “if I am this busy, why do I need to do marketing anyway? I don’t have time for more clients!”

But today, and for the past few months, her phone has practically stopped ringing. Her out-of-the-starting-gate success has begun to dwindle away.

Ouch. And why?

Let’s see if we can make sure this doesn’t happen to you!

Where did Miranda go wrong?

She has actually made two choices that have created a major problem for her.  The first one is….

Neglect; pure and simple neglect.  And so easily fixed that she is ready to kick herself.

We’ll begin with word-of-mouth marketing which is incredibly important. Its value to you is that former clients and their family members tell others about your outstanding efforts on their behalf. Then those folks already think favorably of you before they search any further, IF they search further. Often they just hire you with no additional considerations.

But sometimes the very easy and best part of word-of-mouth is exactly what prevents it from working well, too. 

Relying on word-of-mouth to generate all your new business is a dangerous expectation.

Memories fade. Clients and caregivers die!

And, what if your clients aren’t in a place they can talk to others about your work? If they are homebound or hospitalized, or if they stay home due to the pandemic; if they aren’t out talking to others, then they can’t provide word-of-mouth referrals.

And – to make the obvious point – if you work in eldercare, like Miranda, your practice will suffer from this problem much more quickly than others.

So how can you improve your new business picture beyond word-of-mouth referrals?

Be sure to constantly monitor and update your online presence.

That’s the first place Miranda failed. She neglected her online presence: her directory listing hasn’t been touched since the day she put it online many years ago. Her beautifully built, highly professional website, which served her so well when she first launched, is stagnant. No changes in all these years.

old AdvoConnection site

This is part of the original AdvoConnection Directory website, circa 2010. Lots and lots of updates since then!

But the web has moved on, and Google (all search engines) hate to be neglected!  If you don’t make occasional adjustments to your website or directory listings, then, in effect you are telling those search engines that nothing has changed or improved or been updated in your practice.

So – why should they pay attention? You’ll find yourself moving farther and farther down the list of search results. Once you lose page 1, you are toast.

This is a basic tenet of SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)  Updates, additions, edits, even just rearranging your words sometimes – those exercises tell search engines you are paying attention to them – and they will love you back. (That’s why blogging can be such a huge boon to marketing – consistently adding new posts provides a steady stream of new, SEO-love content.)

My advice to you – TODAY – is to go to every directory in which you are listed, plus your website, and update them in some way, even if all you do is rearrange sentences here and there.

That’s what Miranda is doing – probably right this minute!

The second way Miranda has gone wrong is that she has ignored a competitive advantage that has been available to her for more than two years (since Spring 2018.)  That is….

Logo for the BCPA certification, Board Certified Patient Advocate.

Advocates who live and work nearby, who do the same work she does, have earned their certification. They now list “BCPA” on their websites, in brochures, and the directories in which they are listed.

Potential clients are now able to compare someone who IS certified to someone who is not. If everything else seems equal (remember – they are only comparing directory listings and websites) – well – which one would you choose?

If you are not yet certified, give it some serious consideration.

Miranda is now working to mend her neglectful marketing and certification ways.

We’ll just have to hope it’s not too late.

That goes for you and your practice, too!

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