In the 21st century business environment, many small businesses and professional firms are discovering that there is power in affiliation. Many Internet sites talk about “affiliate marketing,” and many Internet marketers are promoting affiliates. But affiliate or team marketing and promotion is not reserved just for the Internet. Sure, if you have a website for your practice you can use concepts of affiliate marketing on the site, but you can also create affiliations with other local professionals and other small businesses to help each other grow and increase patient base.
What does affiliate promotion look like?
Affiliate promotion can have many faces, but what we are talking about in this newsletter is a small group of no more than five to seven businesses, each with its own group of customers or patients, which is marketing to the same group within the local community. The group meets regularly to talk about projects and design new activities for all the team members to participate in and benefit from. Each member of the affiliate group should be in a related but not competing field. For example, if you have a family-oriented chiropractic practice, you could invite an orthopedic surgeon, a pediatrician, a family dentist, and a family-centered mental health professional to join your promotion team.
What kinds of activities can the promotion team set up?
The possibilities are endless, but here are just a few suggestions:
• Plan a joint community event, held at central location, with all team members participating and doing publicity. Plan the event around your common marketing group – for the family oriented practice, maybe a Family Health Day would work.
• Promote each other’s practices in your offices. You may not want to refer patients directly to the other professionals (for liability reasons), but you can showcase their services and let people know they are available. A bulletin board in each office with information about other team members could be helpful.
• Promote each other on the Internet, with comments on web sites, links to each other’s sites, and guest articles on each other’s blogs. Consider a Facebook group or a Twitter group and put your FaceBook and Twitter names on your websites. Internet connections can help you build followers and get all of your group higher in search engines.
• Set up a team competition between the staff members at the team offices to see who can bring in the most patients/clients in a month’s time. Reward the staff of the winning practice with a party and invite staff of the other offices to attend. In fact, getting staff members at all the practices involved can reap huge benefits in communication and referrals.
Having fun, promoting each other’s practices, and learning from others how to bring in patients or clients can be a long-term benefit to all the team members. Why not get started today to identify some potential team members and invite them to lunch to discuss your idea?