DPC Branding & Marketing
As two individuals who have worked together to create a cohesive brand for Dr. Gupta's clinic, Dr. Gupta and Alex share about their collaboration and have tips on marketing to your local community, social media and designing with a purpose.
This recording was done as part of the My DPC Story Fireside Chat series. You can watch more Fireside chats HERE.
Whether you are planning, already in DPC or looking to rebrand, this is a great episode to listen to!
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Hi guys. Welcome. We are joined by Dr. Aliyah Gupta of family, first DPC, as well as Alexa, Torres of care identity. And so I'm going to hand it over to Dr. Gupta first to introduce herself and share with us a little bit about her branding journey so far.
Thank you so much, Mary Elle for having us on here. I love your podcast and just been working my way through all the episodes so happy to be here and so happy to have worked with Alex, I have to call her Alex because I knew her as Alex in the beginning. So they, Alex to me. And so I um, opened my DPC in 2018 in June 1st, 2018 to be exact.
It was a very fast decision. Basically. I had to leave my urgent care job in January when they stopped paying me. And as I looked around for other things to do, like most of us, I found my way to the DPC model and just fell in love with it. I knew I was going to be starting from scratch with literally one patient.
And I also knew I was going to be in an area where I hadn't worked before I had no patient base to draw from, and it was just going to be from the ground up. And then of course, in all of my prior jobs, I never had to think about marketing. I had worked for an HMO. I had worked for the urgent care.
I'd done some academic work in between there. And basically I just signed up, signed the contract and got patients. So I never had to think of. What is a brand, how to get patients, how none of it. But of course, when you're opening any type of solo practice you have to start learning that. I also didn't know that DPCs are small businesses and that all small businesses have to market.
And so entering this whole space was exciting, but challenging because it was definitely uncharted territory for me. And so the first thing I knew is I would meet a logo and I would need a website. So I started fooling around with the logo online myself, and I had some ideas of what I wanted.
I was looking for something that combined kind of old world and new world. So I wanted the which is the snake figure. And then I wanted the traditional cross. That's like the red cross on top of it. And so in DPC, when you start out, you try doing all these things yourself and quickly, I discovered this is very challenging.
So I knew I was gonna need help with that. And then in terms of marketing, I thought, everybody goes to Google. Now everybody goes online. Your website, I think, should be a place that you invest time and money. And I knew there was no way on God's earth. I could build it myself. So I started looking around for other websites that I liked within the DPC space.
And so kissy Blackwell, who has clarity direct, and the Atlanta mutt, who was in Michigan, both had great websites. So I looked at them and I called both of them up and said, Hey, who did your website? And he said, oh, it was my cousin, our. So I said, okay, fantastic. I love your website. Let me reach out to Alex.
And that's how we started our journey, Wonderful. And I think that one of the biggest benefits of having both of you here today is that we're hearing about branding from both sides, from the physician side, as well as the person who is doing in developing the branding. Alex, we'll turn it over to you in terms of what Aliyah shared and where she was coming from. I'd love if you could also touch on not only who you are, who your, what your company is, but also where do doctors usually find you at the same point Aliyah, was that when she found you or what are the, all of the use cases that you found when people contact you and Carrie identity?
Amazon did such a great job. Marketing Alexa, which my family does call me where Hispanics I am bilingual. So from there, that's where I just pulled Alexa from, but my whole life I've bombed by Alex. With that being said, I started branding over 10 years ago, just general branding, all types of companies.
And then when Casey came to me in 2016, she had a shared the whole entire DPC model with me. And at the time I branded her just like I would brand any other company that had branded five years prior to her coming along. I except I didn't really realize how many doctors were going to like her site and call me.
So that'll answer your first question where the doctor's finding me through and the DPC community through PC's website and they've seen her work or some of the doctors through referrals, word of mouth. Maybe someone told them in the community about me. And that's where I bought a lot more traffic without being said, I never marketed myself.
Honestly, I really didn't feel like I needed to for years because people hired me for my design in my work. And I have a degree in interior design, believe it or not. But I graduated during the recession in 2009 and I didn't want to lose my skills. So that's when I created a brand for myself, not realizing people were going to start asking me to create their brand.
And that's how I even got into branding in the first place was because people really liked what I did and they wanted to hire me to create their brains as well. So I've been doing this probably like 12 years now, roughly if I'm exact. And then as far as. Just general. I now am in trying to create more resources for the community.
I started honing in more, just in DPC. I feel like there's such a need. And I do agree with Elio. And she says that a lot of people, especially any type of business, everyone wants to try and do it themselves to save money. But in the end, sometimes you end up spending more money, trying to do all these things at different times.
And so throughout just my years of branding in general, I have four core things that we'll get into later, but four core things that you need to kind of at least get started. And then of course you can pay for extra things as you need to later on. But with that being said, there's always four core things that you want to get started.
And then I created a package to make it, to give people quality, but also make it in my opinion, something that is affordable especially because I love branding. Loved startups. I feel everyone should be a business owner, but that's just me. So I just don't really have a passion to help people and get them established.
That's wonderful. With you specializing in branding and marketing and then collaborating in the DPC ecosystem, I think that is so invaluable, so I think that's actually a great point, a great place to start off with. Before we take questions from the audience Alex, can you start with those four core things that people should be aware of or focusing on as they're developing their brains? So the main four things I'll get straight into just the list, but your logo, obviously your identity, the what people are going to know you as in your community and then copywriting something people don't often think about, but the actual words you need on your page for your website in the past, people used to just provide it to me. And then sometimes people were like I don't know what to write.
I don't know what I'm putting. Sometimes it was very technical, especially working with more analytical minds like doctors. Sometimes you don't know how to sell what you're trying to do to your audience. So that's something we ended up incorporating over the last few years was the copywriting aspect and taking care of that for the doctor or just for the person that's branding.
And then obviously your website, because you want them to be able to know what you offer, whether services, prices, who are you. So they can start building some kind of trust because let's be honest, everyone's on their phone these days, whether it's on social media, then they go to your website to learn about you.
You want to make it enough information where someone can read, but also. Bullet points for those that don't like reading to really quickly go through and find what they're looking for. So we do a balance of both which sometimes people don't think about. And again, we can get more into details of each area later.
And then the last thing would be your business cards. Obviously you need something to hand out. So those are like our four core things that we start with. Of course, there's flyers and mailing and all these other things you can do for marketing. But as far as getting your online presence and to have something to hand out or leave with someone, those are the four core things that we normally would start with.
Wonderful. And I want to ask when Alex is talking about copyright in particular with you being in your community, having worked at an urgent care physician before opening your DPC, what were some of the unique things about your community that you wanted to highlight in the copy that went onto your website?
So that's an interesting question. Um, So I was an English major in college, so words and writing are something I'm particularly picky about. So when it came time to write copy, it was, there was a lot of thought that Alex and I put into it. And I worked with her copywriter and I, went through everything with a fine tooth comb because at the end of the day, it's, for me, at least it's representing me.
And so I wanted to make sure the tone was right. And the one of the things Alex taught me was the education level of what your you put in your website is important because I may think I need it to sound like a research paper level, but really the average patient or customer maybe closer to a high school level or somewhere around there.
So you want to target your client base in your copy. So that's one factor. And then I had a unique situation because. I opened in a town that's adjacent to where I live and it is a pretty wealthy town for the area. And I really wasn't sure where my patients were going to come from.
I knew that DPC, your patient base is pretty much best sought from small businesses, right? Because there you have the combination of high deductible insurance or no insurance, but a patient base that can pay. So I wanted my copy to appeal to people within my town, but I also wanted it to appeal to the real patient base.
And that's actually what ended up happening. I have a few people from my town, but almost everybody is a small business owner from my surrounding area. So Alex was really great about just helping to get the coffee to be in that sweet spot. That's great. That's absolutely great. And the, for the people who have joined us today, I want to open up the floor to questions
I, Andrea Lynn, I'm in Washington state on the Eastern side, not near Seattle. I'm currently employed by a value-based care system.
Um, I was in private practice for four and a half years prior and was just kind of getting burned out with a hamster wheel that it felt like in my practice, wasn't very innovative. Um, and I actually like my employer, but I think that we probably are on the brink of being taken over by a large insurance, non HMO company, which I'm not on board with.
So I'm kind of in this limbo where I'm not exactly sure what my timeline is, but I think I will eventually end up in DPC. And I have a couple of questions, but my very first question is whether or not you feel like a market analysis, not a formal market analysis, but just more better understanding your market
how important that is. It seems and this is my perception. A lot of DPC doctors just jump in with both feet and that is definitely not how I operate. But at the same time I'm coming from, mostly a blue collar town that we live in. It's actually about half a million people with two fairly big universities in town, but there's also two DPC practices that have failed.
And so it's like kind of an unknown concept. I just discovered there was another one, but there's only four practices, two of which are in the city proper. And I really, honestly, I think my niche interests personally are more in line with like specific demographics. And I'm trying to figure out how I both market to the general population as well as try to attract.
These specific demographics with a price point that I think is a little bit higher than the typical, $70 a month sort of adults clinic. So in terms of branding and the four kind of pillars that Alex expressed, I think you can easily create that in a way that will appeal to a two tiered system.
Because with the exception of the writing in your copy, almost everything else is visual, right? Your website has lots of pictures. Your business card is visual, so's your logo. And once. You make sure that that is understandable to all of your patients. The bulk of marketing is going to come down to you because people may see some of that on the website, but they, if they inevitably want to call you, they want to hear about it.
They want to meet you in person or have a explanation over the phone. And my whole first year, that was all I did. And that's all I did door to door is explained DPC and explain me. And it wasn't until this year, which is my third year that now everybody is word of mouth. So by the time they come to me, they are a friend of a friend or a family member of a current patient.
So in that first year, I think you will naturally end up explaining everything and you'll be able to change your pitch based on who your patient is, because the way you pitch to somebody wealthier or an executive is different than how you pitch to somebody who is uninsured. And so you'll quickly learn what their pain points are and what you want to sell to each person.
Some of that just happens in the process. So I have a few ideas, but this is just how my brain works. So I started thinking like, who can we reach out to? So when I hear the two main demographics that you mentioned is students is what I hear. And I, and not just do this like college students.
And I hear the wealthy executives like Dr. Aliyah just said, my mind goes to thinking when I was in college, right. they offered insurance for. For people, but maybe what you could do is make relationships with these universities and see, Hey, I want to offer something to your students and the parents can pay for it.
And now you're offering better care than just insurance. If their kid gets sick, they sick, they can come to you. So maybe thinking outside the box and not thinking I need to just charge. The parent, maybe target the students as well. That would be a way to maybe make you successful in this community that maybe other people didn't think of is making relationships asking to maybe do you know if they have an event or something, being able to go to maybe whatever events the university may have and whatnot.
The other thing I was thinking as well, our businesses, I always tell my clients all the time, obviously, small businesses that might be the Cudi. I'm sure there's restaurants or like real estate agents. A lot of times people don't even think of realtors being uninsured and or people that are in small businesses small creatives, like going to make relationships with some of these local businesses and be like, I dunno if you're insured or not, but this is something we offer a few.
If I could take a few minutes of your time, the one thing sometimes people don't think of is you're going to have to go out there and you're going to have to make relationships with your community. But even if that person doesn't need your service, they might know someone else that isn't insured and they'll be like, Hey, you should check this out.
This sounded really interesting. And then that's, when they'll go to your website, maybe they call you. So thinking outside of the box. And typically when my clients come to me, they already know what their demographics is. So they tell me so together we think of ideas. Like I had one, someone called me recently for discovery call this week, who has they're in like Pennsylvania somewhere.
And there's like an Amish farmers. So obviously they probably don't get on the internet much. So then we had a conversation. What are ways maybe direct mail in that sense, maybe your community is older and maybe the internet is they're going to still go to the website eventually, but they're not going to originally find you on Google.
So you have to think, yes, what is your demographics, but how can you market for that specific target audience? And that's why figuring out your target audience is so important from the beginning before you can even bring. I think that you guys highlight excellent facts are excellent points. One of the things that I wanted to throw in there, when you mentioned market research I think that the idea of doing the discovery called meet and greet, whatever people call it is doing the lifetime market research.
Just like Alex is talking about just like how Leah did when she was going door to door. And that is I, when I talk to people about how they educate their community that. Probably the most effective in terms of what a person is starting out. Even if there are other DPCs in the town, like you are just like Aaliyah said, you are you and there's nobody else like you.
And so if you are starting to sell your brands doing those meet and greets can really open up people's eyes. As I just opened up my clinic at the end of September. And even though most of my patients already knew me from my previous practice, the meet and greets that I'm doing with random people who have never taken care of before their knowl