Implementing a Grassroots Outreach Campaign to Attract Customers

????????????????????????????????????????????Any business trying to promote their services to attract new customers can sometimes get frustrated with the amount of noise they need to compete with on a daily basis. Sometimes, it can be difficult to get your message heard.

But with a properly executed grassroots outreach campaign, you can generate awareness of your business and slowly bridge that gap between your company and your target audience. It all starts with building a strong, long-lasting relationship with the residents and businesses of your community. This can not only enhance your reputation in your marketplace, but it can lead to loyal customers, referrals, and more importantly, increased traffic through your doors.

A grassroots outreach campaign is just the opposite of a traditional marketing one, which typically broadcasts your message to a wide population in the hopes that it will reach a portion of your target audience. For example, many of the television commercials you see today are part of a traditional marketing campaign. On the other hand, a grassroots campaign uses low-cost outreach tactics and focuses more on building relationships. 

Incorporate community events

Since the premise behind a grassroots outreach effort is to directly connect with your potential audience, you need to be at the places where they live, work, and play. So if you’re a chiropractor, you’re targeting people who suffer from back pain. Oftentimes, at local 5K community races, it’s not uncommon to see a chiropractor practice offering free massages or a free spinal exam to the participants. While they may have spent some money on being a sponsor of that event, they’re raising their profile by introducing their practice to a niche audience.

The community residents are your current and prospective patients. Be sure to engage with them by attending local community events, sponsoring health-related events like kid’s runs, walks, screenings, and fundraisers.

If your office has a parking lot that can be turned into an event site, offer it up as such or organize your own event to drive prospective patients to your location.

Get media attention

Media relations is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of grassroots outreach. It’s amazing to how many times reporters will reach out to a source on a story they are writing only to never be called back. And while that’s a reactive approach to generating media coverage, you can also be proactive by sending reporters who cover topics related to your industry information on various issues.

For instance, if you run a medical practice, and it’s hay fever time where you are located, send a press release on things to look for and how to treat hay fever symptoms. With summer approaching, send reminders on what type of sunscreen is important.

Send these health topic tip sheets monthly and a reporter will remember to contact you next time he or she needs a source for an article. Develop a media list and begin to cultivate a relationship with your local media outlets. Find out who the health reporters and editors are for print, television, and radio. Many of these outlets have this information available on their websites.

Since many media members are limited on time, a face-to-face meeting may be difficult to set up to introduce yourself. However, you can send an email or place a phone call to introduce yourself.  However, before placing that phone call or sending that email, familiarize yourself with that outlet’s coverage of health topics. Read past articles and record the news programs, and pay close attention to the types of stories they have covered.

Provide valuable freebies

If you manage a physical therapy practice, consider providing your patients with additional free resources they can utilize at home. For example, offer stress-reducing bath salts or exercise techniques they can do on their own at home. By offering these extras, your patients are more likely to have a favorable opinion of your practice and recommend your practice to a friend or family member.

This particular grassroots efforts could have a positive effect since it generates positive word-of-mouth outreach. Chances are good that your patients will spread the word about what you are doing and help bring people, who will have a positive image of your practice, through your doors.

Use email marketing to connect with customers

Email is free, and an easy and quick way to reach out to your customers. Start creating a database of your customer’s email addresses and ask for their permission to send out emails.  Use monthly emails to remind them what to look for during that particular month—such as when hay fever season is about to begin and what to do.

The newsletters should be interesting and informative, not a sales pitch, so include things like healthy recipes, new exercises—perhaps even a link to a new health club and have that health club promote your office in their next newsletter—new health or self-help related books.

You should also include testimonials about your practice in your emails to the patients and on your website. It’s another way to generate buzz about your practice.

You don’t need to disclose personal information, just use a first name. No HIPPA rules need to be broken.

Cross-promote your organization

Finally, consider cross-promoting your business with other like-minded business. Include brochures, information on local, like-minded businesses in your office and have those businesses include info on yours.

Do you have physician groups practicing together under one roof? If so, you should take advantage of the expertise within your offices and cross promote the other physician services. 

Physicians need to remember, while they’re thinking about the whole being, patients are really only looking at the issues at hand when they are in the office and may not even be aware of another issue or may be denying it. If they go to another office for another health care specialist, you may lose them completely.

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