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Episode 53

Mastering Clinic Marketing: Responding, Not Chasing Demand with Michael Schumacher

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About this episode

Welcome back to the Treat Your Business Podcast. We are thrilled to have Michael Schumacher join us in this episode, Michael dives into the pitfalls of creating demand through cheap offers and ads, urging clinic owners to focus on existing demand.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Avoid Cheap Offers: Michael criticises the trend of clinics offering free or heavily discounted services through Facebook ads. He emphasises that such tactics cheapen the brand and damage the profession’s reputation.
  2. Building Funnels vs. Quality Service: The podcast discusses the downside of relying on funnels and quick wins. Michael emphasises that serious businesses focus on quality service and reputation rather than resorting to gimmicks.
  3. Stop Creating, Start Responding: Instead of creating demand artificially, Michael advises clinic owners to respond to existing demand. By optimising SEO, maintaining a great website, and using effective Google ads, clinics can attract the right patients.
  4. Marketing Simplicity: Michael simplifies marketing for clinics, comparing it to weight loss. Consistency, a great website, and targeted ads are the keys. He discourages falling for flashy promises and advocates for a patient-focused approach.
  5. Pricing Strategy: The discussion touches on the importance of pricing strategy. Michael encourages clinics to prioritise value over low prices, positioning themselves as high-quality service providers.
  6.  Imposter Syndrome and NHS Influence: The episode briefly touches on imposter syndrome and how the NHS’s influence may lead clinic owners to undervalue their services.

Michael passionately addresses the issues plaguing the clinic industry, urging owners to focus on long-term strategies, quality service, and fair pricing. The conversation emphasises the importance of responding to existing demand rather than creating it artificially.

Remember to like, share, and comment if you enjoyed the episode. Stay tuned for more valuable insights on the Treat Your Business Podcast.


This podcast is sponsored by the team at HMDG


  • 0:00-Creating demand vs. responding to it in business growth.
  • 2:50-Using Facebook ads for physiotherapy clinics
  • 7:05-Marketing strategies for small businesses.
  • 11:20-Marketing for physiotherapy clinics.
  • 16:30-Marketing for healthcare professionals.
  • 20:28-Pricing and positioning in the healthcare industry.


Katie Bell: 1:14

Hi, everyone, welcome back to this week’s episode of the treat your business podcast. I am your host, Katie bell. And I am super excited to be joined again, by Michael Schumacher, who is going to be talking to us about this whole thing that we seem to do as clinic owners where we were forcing and creating this wanting to create this demand, where you’re saying, we have to respond to it, we have to be visible. And we’re coming towards whenever you’re going to be guys are gonna be listening to this episode. We are recording this in November. So we are heading into the end of the year where we’re all starting to think about all we should be thinking about, what is our 2024 strategy? Where are we trying to take our clinics? What is our growth plan? What is our marketing strategy, and we’ve been talking a lot this month about where you spend your time. And we’re going to we really encourage our clients at this time of year to reflect on what’s gone well for them in 2023. And what hasn’t gone so well, and what they want to change in 2024. So Michael, you’re going to be talking to us today about this whole kind of multi layered visibility and how people buy from people. And we forget that, don’t we? We were so concerned about oh, do anything running Facebook ad? Or do I need to be pushing this thing out on Instagram or posting this on social media? So, Michael, welcome back to this to this podcast, we’re super excited to be able to launch your episodes that always they’re the most popular ones that people download. So tell us a little bit more about what you mean around stop creating demand, but respond to it.

Michael Schumacher: 2:51

Okay, thanks, Katie. So today, I’m actually going to have a bit of a moan. I wrote an article a while back, you can find it on the website. It was called something like let’s go we will stop talking about leads. I am sick and tired of seeing stupid Facebook adverts for physios and chiropractors offering free stuff. It is an absolute nonsense, and I’ve seen people doing it every single day. And Enough is enough. What is it people are actually doing when they’re running those ads? Well, here’s what they’re attempting to do. They’re saying, I need to find people who require my business. And I’m gonna get them in the clinic. Okay. Seems like a reasonable idea. Here’s the problem. Number one, you don’t need to find people. Number two, you can’t find people. Because you can’t target property. If you’re trying to sell a pair of trainers much, much easier. Here’s a big, big problem with it. You have to offer discounting, you have to offer promises that you probably can’t fill. And you are out there making the profession legit. Making yourself making your own brand look cheap. It is the absolute worst. The thing is, it’s it’s all about funnels funnels. If you had a if you had a diet pill that you wanted to sell a nonsense diet pill, this is how you do it. You build funnels out guaranteed. Leave your details, wonderful, but you’re not selling dipoles you want to be known as serious businesses. And think about the serious businesses out there. You don’t see other companies doing the same thing. You certainly do you think about the best clinics and I know clinics, we have plenty clinics making believenot 5060 70,000 pound net profit a month, not one of them has ever gone down this route. It is damaging the brand, it’s damaging the profession. And the old moan about how I can’t charge enough my appointments. And because that’s because every person out there is offering free appointments and free scans and free chips and free meds and free this and discounted that stop it. There’s there’s there’s no need. And here’s why. If you went and stood outside of your local train station with a placard that said if you’re in pain, I’m a physio. You would get more patients and better patients and I’m going to qualify better patients who are you going to stick to your rehab and have money and have a problem? You’re gonna get better business by doing that than doing Facebook ads, quite honestly, because at least you can have a conversation with them. But right now, in any town, there are going to be 10s of 1000s of people, maybe in town city, even small, you know, more rural areas. It’s 1000s there are 1000s of people looking for your service. If you are running Facebook ads, and you’re offering free appointments, then quite honestly, I mean this your business is broken. Now there are yes always outliers. We sometimes run them if a clinic is really really struggling. If they let’s say just hired three new associates and they’re like, we can’t get busy, okay, we’ll do something that’s free. But if you’re a serious things been around a couple of years, and you’re running this nonsense, then you’re doing everything else wrong. Because if let’s, let’s take the average website, average website should be getting between two and 5000 visits a month. If you converted 5% Of those, I don’t think any of you could cope. The problem is, number one, you’re not being found properly. Number two, your websites are terrible. We’ve talked some lovely podcasts about making sure websites good making sure it does all the things that it needs to and so on. If your visibility is there, and your website is built properly. And you know, you’re responding to Google searches, through Google ads, and through your SEO, there’s no need for any of the other stuff. And you can test this guy can type in emergency plumber and see or Emergency Electrician and see how quick you can get an appointment from top green. We’ve got plenty of clinics who have got waiting lists, but that’s because they do that stuff properly. The moment you know, I I know it’s tempting. I know it’s really really tempting. You’re a small business, medium sized business. And some guys see on Facebook, whose it was all very smooth and and starts giving you numbers like seven times 10 times. Normally, there’s every red flag on the everyone’s like, it’s like a homerun patient, unique patient generation system, all of this crap. It’s very tempting. It’s it is it is very tempting. What I want you to do, actually, what and this is kind of around choosing a marketing agency, but with these idiots that are running all this stuff. And some of them are actually idiots is wrong with marketing it some of them are actually quite as people because they want to. But the people with the city or the marketing strategy, go and look at their company’s house. Because I know one company that does a lot of Facebook ads, in fact, to at the moment are doing them. They’re doing them don’t look at a company whose house the company’s got four grand in its bank account, and claim to be generating. The most recent one I won’t mention, although they have the money to sue me, I probably should. The most recent one that they’re claiming they’ve made 9 million pounds for their, for their page for their clients. They’ve been around it for I think 13 months. And they got five grand in the bank account. Now, we have actually generated 9 million from for our clients. But I’ll never say that on our website. I never guarantee it’s not how you do it. You sell on the quality, the same way that you should be selling rather than, you know, we’re really experienced brilliant practitioners, that’s way better that we can get you fixed tomorrow with our unique back pain system. It’s it’s, it’s infuriating, but I get the silver bullet. I do get it, you’re struggling. The patients aren’t there. If you just run this little campaign, you get loads of people through. Sure. And you know what it works, works for a month works for two months. But you can only saturate people for so long. If you constantly run ads, you spend two 300 pounds a month on Facebook ads. You can hit everybody in your location two three times. You spend 1000 pounds, oh my God, you’re going to piss people off. Stop it. It’s making an F just making you we have a particular clinic who did this before they joined us they came to us it’s it took us 18 months to get them more get get the reputation back in the local market because everyone knew them as the chief physio. We’ve got another clinic I mentioned him on one of our customer things the other day. Really lovely guy. He came on board. He was a one man band really struggling. And he he stayed with us for about three months. And I said that you’ve got to give it time. There are no silver bullets. We will get this to work for you. He said Michael after about four months, Michael, I’m gonna go to one of these companies. You don’t recommend us and listen, business decisions, business decisions, we’ll stay friends off you go. Comes back about six months later and he says well, I’ve got a lot of patients through but it didn’t make any money. Because none of them came back everything was cheap or free. And now I’m struggling getting full paint. I chatted to him the other day. He’s only a one man band. In a small room. He’s now making I won’t give you the exact numbers but 10,000 pounds and some net profit per month net. They haven’t made himself out that’s not really sort of net but 10,000 pounds that he can use. And he’s done that because he stuck to doing the fat foundational things is stuck to doing the right things, making sure his website is right, making sure he is visible. Make it all of this takes time. I always say it’s like losing weight. You don’t do that in three days. You can crash diet, but it’s no good for your body. It’s no good for your business to crash diet on Facebook ads. So and So yes, I understand all of that, stop doing them. And think about, again, the demand that is already out there. You can do the searches. I looked recently it was like in Birmingham, I think it was like 18,000 people, the physio now there are like 30 clinics in Birmingham 18,000 people, you can deal with the amount of patients that you could get if you’re really visible to others, such as yourself or you’re visible for back pain treatment. Are you visible for Saska treatment visible? Where are you on physio near me? Where are you on physiotherapy next best physiotherapist in private physiotherapy? Where are you for those sessions, because, you know, some might be up here. But all of them have volume. If you get them all to number one, you will not have room. So the demand is there, stop trying to generate and create it with cheap offers, respond to it by having great SEO great website and good Google ads. There is more to it than that. There’s lots of extra cool things you can do. And but those are the key. You know, we’ve talked about the 8020 thing and and other podcasts. That there we have clinics who are making millions of pounds. That is all they do. Run over? Sorry, I went off for one there.

Katie Bell: 12:49

No, I love it. I love it. Because it’s so true. And a lot of clinic owners will then look for all the external reasons why there isn’t the demand, it will be well, you know, numbers are down or always because we’ve got a war going on. Because we’ve got this going on. Yes, there are always variables, there are always seasonal, slight movements in the market. But when you when you are consistent with your approach, which Facebook is not a consistent approach to have when you’re consistent with your website with your ads with what you’re spending your time on. And you stick with it long enough. And don’t be the the magpie that just dives from one thing to the next, you will then start to see the results and the rewards.

Michael Schumacher: 13:33

Absolutely. And there’s a few clients that we share. And I won’t say who but we’ve got someone who has sent me a message not so long ago. In fact, there’s two and one selling message saying I can’t believe I’m so busy. I’ve never been so busy in my life. And it doesn’t it’s not it’s not a silver bullet. It took a long time. Another one actually wants to say oh, we can stop running ads now. And I was like, Oh my God, you know who you are listening? And it was like, No, you reduce them, you then start running them. You want that consistency. But it’s not magic. It really isn’t. It’s marketing is genuinely like weight loss. Yes, you can get some quick wins, and you can get that low hanging fruit. But you’ve got to think about it and you got to go long term mean that, you know, I will say this You run Google ads will get you results, we absolutely will. But they won’t be as good as in month, a month eight, month nine. So you’ve got to stick with it. And you’ve got to nothing I’d say stop reading self help books because we get too many people reading those, you know, marketing books and think they know what they’re doing. But I think, you know, you’ve got to really focus on on a lot of the stuff that you do kente because it you know, it all impacts the marketing actually, things like pricing and all that other stuff. It impacts marketing. We’ve got to think about things like your website. No one likes changing their website. I know it’s a chore and it sounds really complex and really annoying and all of those things. But it makes such a difference. And the rule of thumb is if your website’s two years old, change it. That’s a rule of thumb. It’s not always the case. But technology moves things move if you go and look at our Instagram. Oh, I think I posted I think mocha physiotherapy I think they work with you. Yeah, don’t have a look at what mocha mocha websites like and the Mocha socials says a bit too much on socials but syllabi. But you look at what they’re achieving through through really simple stuff doing amazingly well. And it you know, the attention to detail on the website, the the imagery that she’s got the way she’s humanise the business, all of that. You just that’s responding to demand. And yeah, this idea that you need to go and find unique ways that whenever anyone says you mix me I just, you know, there are no nothing’s unique anymore. It’s all been fun cup. These are not new things. Most of them actually rehashed from from the 80s or the obviously funnels and so on. And I think yeah, Stick to the analogy was uses slightly overweight person a gym they’ve got a personal trainer and the personal trainer has gotten standing on a BOSU ball with a Thera band tied to their ankle with a kettlebell and other hand, doing pistol squats you like what are you doing, trying to lose weight, we all know the best way of losing weight. And that is that you can try and really overcomplicate things you can really, it’s not necessary marketing for clinics is really simple. And it genuinely is as simple as it is, if you have a great website, have great messaging, run ads, you’re done.

Katie Bell: 16:48

And if you can take that simplicity into or like I always say this, if your business is really confusing, if you’re like, it’s going to be confusing for the clients as well. If your business is running, with no consistency and no structure, no systems, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. A great business is a simple business, a great business is one that runs off systems and processes. And your marketing is exactly the same. And you don’t have to be the one to put the process in place. Because you can outsource to somebody like you who will do that for you.

Michael Schumacher: 17:21

Exactly, exactly that. Sorry for the run. It’s just it’s something that’s really, it bothers me every time I see these ads, and it bothers me, mainly because we get those people we had one guy that went with a very famous one of these again, I won’t mention them, they do have enough money. They went with one of these famous ones, he spent 12 grand with them. And they come to us, they’re like we’ve got no money left. But we need help. And I’m sick and tired of doing Hail Marys. So it’s it’s it’s not the clinic owners fault. It really isn’t. You see an ad, it says we can make a million pounds. And you know, you can live on a yacht and I get it. But hopefully the more of this that we do, and this really does not just apply to chiropractors, chiropractors do it, but physios are doing it more and more, you know, we only have eight vouchers left for this or that don’t do it. Don’t do that it makes you look stupid. And And actually, the people that fall for it are generally those people that are going after a service on the basis of it being cheap, rather than on the basis of I need this service. And I want someone who is high level because I’ll tell you what, I am your perfect patient. I’m 46 I’m falling apart. Everything’s wrong me. Unlike 20 years ago, when I broke my ankle, I’m walking around the next day, I’m out a little twinge in my ankle and I’m out for three months. I’ve got some money, I’ve got children, so I want to be around for them. You tell me to have six months of treatment instead of cost me 10 grand, I’ll do it. Someone said to me when I had I haven’t seen privacy six issue. devastating to me personally and for business, actually. And someone said that I can fix it the 10 Grand done, I paid tomorrow. So I am the sort of person is gonna see through all your cheap nonsense. I want to get it for the people that the best people, you know. So yeah, I think trying to get the lowest of the low the people that want cheap stuff, the group on site, if anyone has ever used Groupon, how many of you that have used Groupon because essentially what it is, how many of you, as a person have used Groupon and gone to that come back to that company more than once? Because the answer is almost zero. Why? Because you’re going for price not for quality. And you’re not responding to demand. You go, oh, I never thought about having some fish eating my feet for whatever it’s called. Yeah, it sounds like a good idea. You never go back. It’s it’s a unique one thing. That’s why it is unique. But you know, if I’m searching for something, it this is something to really think about here. And we call this high intent. So there are people that have high intent, and people that have medium and low intent, someone searching for what are the best ways to deal with chronic back pain, that is medium intent. They may not book with you. They may want to sort of get some information and figure out for themselves. The answer is go and see a professional don’t DIY it. People that don’t use a smart thing. But the high intent people and the people that are searching because they need an appointment. I did this I was looking for myofacial Maxim Maya maxillofacial surgery last longer. And I did a search around and asked people, but ultimately, it was a guy that was a business. I had a really great website that did everything right. I’m coming on board and God knows how much it’s costing me. I do know how much it’s costing me. It’s a lot but I don’t care because I’m the right kind of patient. I didn’t go Oh, this guy is offering me free fillings for my first filling. And it’s the high level dentists doing that have a free first filling In two fillings for the price of one nonsense, I will stop shouting in anger. Now, I need to calm down

Katie Bell: 21:22

a little bit, I hear the question because I always say, you know, I speak to so so many clickers, and they’re so worried about putting the prices up. And that we’ve got, we have had people in the past No, no longer who are trying to out compete others by price. And I say, No, we don’t do that in our industry. That’s that’s not what we do. We position ourselves as the best because we are the best we deliver the best. We we make sure that our clients are very well looked after we create a fabulous customer journey, we look and we solve people’s problems. And when a problem needs, solving prices, elastic, people will pay whatever they want to get that problem solved as long as you are, they are associating the value of what you’re going to deliver for them. It’s

Michael Schumacher: 22:11

always priorities. And I see this every day in your own life, you you, there are priorities for you, as a person as someone looking for a service. If I and this is actually why I think tiered pricing is really good. If I have a slightly I got a clicker my name, that’s low priority, maybe I will see a physio, I’m not going to spend a lot of money. So maybe I’ll see one of your junior physios is it something to be aware of Michael, bugger off, it’s fine. But if I have a spinal issue or a disc issue or a rotator cuff issue, and I can’t lift my arm up, I’m going to go impaired, I don’t care if you in fact, I do care. If you’re in London charging less than 100 pounds, I’m not going to see you because I don’t think you’re high enough quality. And again, don’t say this all the time. Don’t means test your patience. Every one of those patients you’ll owe they won’t come they can’t afford it. Or every one of them is awful at Waitrose spending more on a bottle of wine and a steak. And certainly the offer around the corner to have a haircut eight times the price that you just charge them for a single appointment. And so it’s Yeah, pricing is a big one. You have to be very careful. You can’t just back in price. We we had someone whack the price up about 60% of their bookings drop. But actually, the first thing I’d say to everybody I don’t know if you agree with me on this or not start with you probably do this. But start with the first and second appointments. Stop it. Why are you doing it? The only industry in the world that does first and second appointments everyone gets confused. We see data I can see people go why is that? 145? Not one six follow the 40 510 this is right this is it stupid. One a point? Where do you all make all of your money from it’s repeat customers? So why on earth? Are you making the first one expensive and the second 1/3 1/4 One cheaper, they get the other way around? Like you know I have no problem with a an entry 30 minutes assessment and quick treatment just to see how you’re doing see if we would see. And then charging 90, that’s fine. But quite honestly, I’m not working for an hour 30 quid. So back and you’re all more qualified might have in general studied harder and studied more. You know, you want to you want to be charging proper money. And yeah, don’t be scared about muting your pricing. By the way, I always say put it up if it doesn’t work, take it down. It’s really easy.

Katie Bell: 24:43

Yeah, and but it’s it’s about setting our profession and against what others are charging in other professions, which are much much higher rates, whatever has gone on in our industry is crazy, because we are, we are cheap. And we are low priced compared to other places that you can go and get problem solved in, whether it’s dentistry or whether it’s, you know, whatever it is.

Michael Schumacher: 25:08

Tell you I think this is a nother topic for another day. But it’s the NHS I think it’s fully the fact that people can go and get stuff free on the NHS. And what you have to do is you have to compete against not just other clinics, you have to compete about the with the NHS now right now it’s pretty easy, right? Yeah, you can get seen by me tomorrow we can get into the NHS you might be seen in three, four months, it’s generally pretty easy. And quite honestly, if someone is willing to wait even four weeks to get their problems seeing they’re not the right patient for you anyway, but people have just always thought print printers have thought well the NHS is free. I got and the other thing is imposter syndrome. It’s the NHS is free and I’m not good enough. So therefore my price has to be somewhere in the middle. Let’s make it 40 quid and it’s absolute an absolute nonsense. If you’re if you’re my age, if you’re my age and you’re earning 45 pounds an hour you have a problem. Like it’s, that’s, you know, at this age, you want to be earning some money. And also another topic, don’t ever charge on time. Time is not something you should charge on. We’ll stop there case because I know this is going to be a quick blast me shouting about maybe that maybe that can be another one for another time.

Katie Bell: 26:35

I think it needs to because we’re both on our bandwagon about this. But Michael, thank you because I think it’s really important for clinic owners to to hear it from you somebody who was data driven, metric driven, you see what’s going on in the industry, and we’re just giving people the confidence to charge what they’re worth. The demand is there, people’s pain does not go away, even when we’re in a war, even when we COVID Even when we’ve got all this other shit gets going on in the world. Pain still exists. So thank you for sharing what you have done today, Michael.

Michael Schumacher: 27:06

It’s so now lovely being here. Again, just getting

Katie Bell: 27:11

on make sure everybody that you please like and share and comment because I do read them and it’s really important to it’s important for me to know that we are giving you the content that you guys want to hear. So thank you for listening, and I’ll see you next week.

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