Using a Fractional CMO for Your Medical Practice: Why It’s a Game Changer

Growing and expanding a medical practice can prove to be a daunting task. With the ascent of digital marketing, social media, automation and artificial intelligence, it has become increasingly crucial to have a robust online presence to allure fresh patients and foster growth in your practice. However, numerous medical professionals encounter challenges in devising efficacious marketing tactics independently. A fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) may be the breakthrough solution for your practice.

A fractional CMO is a senior marketing expert who operates part-time, furnishing assistance in establishing and executing a comprehensive marketing plan personalised to the specific needs of your medical practice.

For example, I am a Fractional CMO specialising in growing and scaling vision correction practices worldwide. I’ve taken dozens of practices from where you are now to where you want to go in three years or less.

Here, I’ll delve into how to take advantage of the services of a fractional CMO for your medical practice and provide answers to commonly asked questions I get as a senior business and marketing consultant to businesses like yours.

If you’d like to quickly jump to what would help you most, Here are the contents of this blog post:

Defining a Fractional CMO

A fractional CMO is a part-time, outsourced senior marketing professional who works with businesses temporarily. They are responsible for developing marketing strategies that help companies to achieve their goals.

A fractional CMO may work with several clients simultaneously, providing a cost-effective solution for businesses that don’t have the budget to hire a full-time CMO. By working with a fractional CMO, businesses can access expertise and resources they may not have in-house, such as marketing research, analysis, and planning and coaching.

For example, in my FCMO practice, I engage with a maximum of just 12 customers at any one time. That enables me to focus on delivering the best value I can as quickly as possible. Access to me (via direct message and Zoom) is unlimited. The practice that engages me benefits from my strategic insight and recommendations, whenever they need it, which routinely translates into 250 to 500% ROI – within 1 to 3 years. In return, I receive equitable compensation (see below) for my concierge-level availability and the experience and expertise that’s taken me over 20 years to accrue.

How a Fractional CMO Benefits Your Medical Practice:

A fractional CMO provides numerous benefits to your medical practice, including

  • Access to marketing expertise: A fractional CMO brings a wealth of niche-specific marketing knowledge and experience to your practice, allowing you to tap into the best practices and industry trends that you may not be aware of.
  • Cost savings: By working with a fractional CMO, you can avoid the costs of hiring a full-time CMO, such as salary and benefits.
  • Flexibility: A fractional CMO can work with you on an on-call advisory basis, project basis or for a set number of hours per week, providing the flexibility that fits your budget and needs.
  • Strategic planning: A fractional CMO can help you develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals and objectives, considering your practice’s unique strengths and weaknesses.
  • Increased brand awareness: By guiding marketing technicians on implementing effective marketing tactics, a fractional CMO can help increase your practice’s visibility and brand awareness, making it easier for potential patients to find you online and offline.

I delve further into the business case for hiring a Fractional CMO in a previously published blog post and compare it with the more typical role of a Marketing Director. In this post, however, I’ll assume you already appreciate the disproportionate gains a Fractional CMO can provide for you and just want to get reassurance and further clarification about how to make the best use of an FCMO in your practice.

 

Cost-Effective Solution

One of the primary benefits of using a fractional CMO is that it provides a cost-effective solution if you want to improve your profits but don’t have the budget to hire a full-time CMO. Fractional CMOs typically charge a monthly or project-based fee, allowing businesses to pay only for their needed services. That can be a more cost-effective solution than hiring a full-time CMO, which can be costly regarding salary, benefits, paid time off and employment overhead expenses.

For context, when writing this post, we’re charging FCMO clients £6000 to £24,000/month – depending on their scale. If you were to hire my services out by the hour, I’d charge £500/hour (I don’t do that – and I’ll explain why below). However, if you’re not yet a client and want a sample of the clarity I can provide in that time alone, book a paid hour with me here.

Access to Expertise and Resources

A fractional CMO can provide your practice with access to expertise and resources that they may not have in-house. Fractional CMOs bring a wealth of marketing knowledge and experience, allowing you to tap into best practices and industry trends that you may not be aware of. Additionally, fractional CMOs often have access to and experience with industry-leading tools and resources to help practices develop and execute effective marketing strategies.

For example, over the past twenty years, I’ve advised hundreds of vision correction practices in 26 countries to process thousands of growth bottlenecks and capitalise on thousands of profit-generating opportunities. These practices ranged from start-ups earning 1MM in annual revenue or more to corporates generating over 50MM in annual revenue. In that time, I’ve advised clients on almost every marketing and business scaling tactic still in use today. How can I quantify the experience I’ve gleaned in that time? How much time and money do you think that experience would save and generate for you?

I’ll cite a few examples from recent memory:

– In one session, I advised a customer to raise their prices and provided them with the means to overcome price objections which resulted in an additional ±$120,000 to the bottom line. This move was so successful that they are continuously increasing their prices with no adverse effect on volume. We expect this to go on for another two years at this rate.

– In another session, I guided a team of surgeons and optometrists to better handle first assessments, increasing their conversion rate from 31% to 70%, resulting in £3.2MM in incremental revenue every year thereafter.

– In another session, I advised a customer to initiate online booking, they now book 90% of their initial appointments without speaking to prospects on the phone. Calculating the time it would take to process these leads into appointments on the phone, they estimate they are saving 6 hours a week.

– In another session with a customer, I advised they stop discounting. Naturally, they worried about losing volume. When they removed the discount and they didn’t lose any volume, they realised that were now making an additional $15,000 a month with no additional effort.

– In another session, I advised a customer to better organise their surgery days to align with changes in seasonal customer demand. As a result, they now opened up over 100% more capacity in the months they need it most, and can now take guilt-free holidays in lower demand months.

– In another session, I advised corporate chain to change the way they handled calls to increase conversions from 13% to 27%, which generated over £8,000,000 in incremental revenue in one year.

These are just a few examples I can remember as a I write this. There are at least 2 dozen more examples I could share with you.

Flexibility and Scalability

Another benefit of using a fractional CMO is its flexibility and scalability.

Fractional CMOs can work with you in an advisory capacity, on a project basis or for a set number of hours per week, providing the flexibility that fits your budget and needs.

Note, I don’t put an hourly cap on hours I can spend with a customer, because I focus on outcomes, not jobs to be done. I might need a mere 30 minutes to help you generate over 6 figures in more income this year. Or, I might need considerably longer than that. Just like you don’t charge your patients by how long it takes to work with them, I too don’t have a meter.

Additionally, as your practice grows and its marketing needs change, a fractional CMO can scale up or down their services to meet them.

Developing a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

A fractional CMO can help your medical practice develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals and objectives. This includes

  • defining your target audience and patient personas,
  • designing a customer value journey that creates patients from scratch,
  • determining the most effective marketing channels to reach your target audience and
  • tracking the most critical actionable metrics that enable you to see predictable growth.

For example, see my case studies and testimonials. I typically complete this process within 90 days. In that 90 days, I aim to identify at least one quick win that pays back your investment in my advice.

NOTE: The best way to answer that nagging question about practice growth or marketing or patient volume in the back of your mind is to book a free 15-minute compatibility call. Get some options and go away with a clear idea of what’s possible.

Implementing Effective Marketing Tactics

Once a Fractional CMO develops your marketing strategy, they can help your medical practice and outsourced marketing technicians implement effective marketing tactics.

That includes advising on creating compelling content that showcases your expertise, leveraging social media to build your brand and connect with patients, and optimising your website to attract and convert new patients.

Importantly, the CMO – fractional or otherwise – does not implement your marketing tactics her or himself. That would be a waste of resources better spent on thinking strategically about how you can scale your business. Instead, they should advise you and your team on most effectively implementing the right tools and tactics. In our practice, we direct your in-house or outsourced team or, in some cases, our team of marketing specialists can implement what we recommend.

Measuring and Analyzing Results

To ensure that your marketing efforts are practical, it’s essential to measure and analyse the results of your marketing campaigns.

A fractional CMO can help your medical practice track key performance metrics, such as website traffic, social media engagement, and lead generation, to measure the success of your marketing efforts.

By analysing this data, you can refine your marketing strategy and tactics, stay ahead of the competition, and continually improve your marketing approach.

For example, as one of our CMO clients, I expect you to complete a Growth Scorecard. The Growth Scorecard is a crucial document we use to make data-driven decisions on what needs fixing and what big projects to focus efforts on to gain maximum traction with minimal effort. Often, practice owners have never looked at their numbers in this way before, and the insights can be hugely actionable.

How Much Does a Fractional CMO Cost?

The typical cost of hiring a fractional CMO varies depending on several factors, such as the scope of services you need, the fractional CMO’s level of expertise, and the geographic location of your medical practice.

Generally, fractional CMOs charge a monthly or project-based fee, ranging from a few to many thousand dollars per month or project.

In our case, given our scope, expertise, global experience and availability, we offer Fractional CMO services starting at £6000/month (effective January 2023 and subject to change) and expect a 3-month minimum with an option to roll over every month or quarter.

While the cost of hiring a fractional CMO may seem higher than what you’re accustomed to paying people to “do your marketing”, it’s essential to consider the value a fractional CMO can provide your medical practice, such as increased revenue and a more substantial online presence. It’s not uncommon for one piece of advice arising from your interactions with a Fractional CMO to produce hundreds of thousands in savings or increased revenue and profits.

How Much Time Will a Fractional CMO Spend on My Practice?

The time a fractional CMO spends on your medical practice will depend on your specific needs and the scope of services you require. Some fractional CMOs may only spend a few hours per week on your practice, while others may work on a project basis and dedicate more time to your practice during specific periods. Discussing your needs and expectations with your fractional CMO is important to ensure that you are both on the same page.

For our customers, we do not set an hourly minimum or hourly cap on advisory services for our customers. Instead, we are available on-call, as you need it, because charging by a time unit is unethical. What charging by the hour, week, or month create is a misalignment of incentives. That means that if a consultant is good and fast, they get paid less. If, however, the consultant is slow and inept, they can make a lot of money.

That is the inherent unequivocal problem with fees based on time units or “showing up”: They abuse your client relationship or undermine a consultant’s ability to earn money. Every client deserves fast and quality results, and every professional services provider deserves equitable compensation based on the results they create.

Similarly, the value of advice has nothing to do with the time it takes to provide it. If I solve your problem and create an innovation in one day that you can immediately begin realising the value of, isn’t that worth far more than my taking three months and denying you a quarter of a year of improvement? That’s why charging by time unit is unethical, pure and simple.

How Do I Choose the Right Fractional CMO for My Practice?

When selecting a fractional CMO for your medical practice, it’s essential to consider several factors, such as the fractional CMO’s experience, expertise, and track record.

I advise you to look for a fractional CMO who has worked with medical practices like yours and has a proven track record of helping medical practices get from where you are to where you want to be. The best advice will come from direct experience, not reading about what works, and not simply observing how some practices succeed while others fail to thrive.

Additionally, it’s essential to choose a fractional CMO who is a good fit for your practice culture and values and has excellent communication skills.

Recap of Fractional CMO Benefits:

Using a fractional CMO for your medical practice provides several benefits, including access to marketing expertise, cost savings, flexibility, strategic planning, and increased brand awareness.

Frequently Asked Questions I get as a Fractional CMO

Often, I find that many practice owners don’t take sufficient advantage of the advice provided by Fractional CMOs. To encourage you to make the most of your relationship, I advise you to get answers to questions like these:

  • What marketing strategies should I use to attract new patients and increase revenue?
  • What should I spend on traffic?
  • How much should I spend on marketing?
  • How do I evaluate the effectiveness of my media spend?
  • How effective is my agency at generating patients for my practice?
  • What are the most effective digital marketing channels for medical practices, and how can I use them?
  • How can I improve my online presence to reach more potential patients?
  • How should I engage more visitors on my website and social media?
  • How can I optimise my website and improve my search engine rankings to attract more traffic and convert visitors into patients?
  • How can I create compelling content that showcases my expertise and resonates with my target audience?
  • What steps can I take to build my brand and establish myself as a thought leader?
  • How should I get more leads/appointments/patients/referrals for my medical practice?
  • How should I follow up with prospective patients interested in my services?
  • What should my staff discuss on the telephone or in virtual assessments?
  • How can I offer online booking?
  • Should I charge for assessments or appointments before surgery?
  • What should I charge for my services?
  • Should I charge different prices for different procedures or offer a blended fee?
  • How can I recruit more patients for specific types of surgical cases (i.e. premium lens replacement or cataract surgery)
  • How can I stay ahead of the competition and adapt to changing market conditions?
  • How can I ensure my marketing projects get done on time?
  • What are the best practices for marketing medical practices, and how can I ensure that my marketing efforts comply with relevant laws and regulations?
  • How can I measure the effectiveness of my marketing efforts, and what metrics should I track?
  • How can I leverage social media to engage patients and build a loyal following?
  • How can I get more patients to give online ratings and reviews?
  • How can I get more patient-to-patient referrals?

And it doesn’t end with marketing and growth. We’re now also fielding questions from practice owners about scaling their practices.

  • Who should I hire? What should their job descriptions be like? How much should I pay my people?
  • How should I hire people? What’s the process?
  • How can I keep my people engaged?
  • How can I get my people to do what I tell them?
  • Should I incentivise people?
  • Where can I get more access to capital?
  • How can I plan my revenue targets?
  • How can I get some of my time back?
  • How can I save money on expenses?
  • How can I understand my break-even point?
  • How should I plan and manage budgets for my practice?
  • How can I increase my profits?
  • What processes should I map and document?
  • How many SOPs do I need?
  • What’s the best way to document processes?
  • How can I empower my team to do more without depending on me?
  • How can I create a vision and purpose that inspires my team to achieve our mission?
  • How often should I meet with my team, and how should I evaluate performance and conduct quarterly reviews?
  • How many meetings should I have with my team? What should we cover in these meetings?
  • How much can I expect to grow in 3 years, one year, every quarter, and every month?
  • Should I hire an operator for my practice? When should I do it, and who should I hire?
  • How can I get more vacation time?
  • How do I go about preparing to sell my practice?
  • How much can I sell my practice for?
  • What are the different ways I can exit the business?

If you’re already a customer

As your fractional CMO, I want to make sure you can easily reach me for any strategic marketing needs you have. To achieve that, I suggest the following ways to get in touch:

  • Send me a message through the Teamwork Project Management system. This way, you can communicate with the team and me and get updates on ongoing projects and campaigns.
  • Ask any questions or share ideas in our private WhatsApp group. We created this group to foster collaboration and communication between all stakeholders involved in our marketing efforts.
  • Call me on my mobile (you have my number – and it’s on the WhatsApp group) if you need to speak with me. I’m always happy to take your call and provide assistance.
  • If you prefer to schedule a meeting, contact me through any of the above channels. I offer an easy to book calendar where you can see when I’m available over Zoom.

If you’re not yet a customer and are interested in what a Fractional CMO can do for your practice, reach out and book a compatibility call.

NOTE: The best way to answer that nagging question about practice growth or marketing or patient volume in the back of your mind is to book a free 15-minute compatibility call. Get some options and go away with a clear idea of what’s possible.

About the author

Rod Solar
Founder & Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor for its customers. Rod mentors and coaches eye surgery business CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK