If you're frustrated with your practice management solutions or your dental marketing program... you may want to sit up and pay close attention. Never before has the opportunity to create sustainable growth in your practice been available as it is now.
A new generation of megabrands like Facebook, Dropbox, AirBnb, and
Twitter haven’t spent a dime on traditional marketing. No press
releases, no TV commercials, no billboards. Instead they rely on a new
strategy—growth hacking—to reach many more people despite modest
According to bestselling author Ryan
Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing on Amazon.com), "Growth Hackers have thrown out the old playbook and replaced it
with tools that are testable, trackable, and scalable. They believe
that a business marketing strategy should be modified repeatedly until
they’re primed to generate explosive reactions."
The world’s most popular file-sharing service Dropbox.com spent virtually nothing on advertising and marketing, but it offered free storage space (still does) whenever its users invited their friends to join.
Airbnb (www.airbnb.com), a service that lets people rent their homes to travelers, initially didn't bother with traditional ads. Instead it tapped an existing user base on Craigslist, adding a "Post to Craigslist" feature for homeowners to automatically cross-post listings, driving traffic back to Airbnb.
Airbnb also chose to do business “differently” than what the industry said was “the way” by not billing customers who rented a home until the 2nd day of their stay. Every other company in the vacation rental niche (it’s huge!) charges the customer the moment the reserve the rental. The problem with that approach is that dishonest renters often lie about size, quality and location of the rental property so that when the customer who rented the property shows up, they often find that the description doesn’t even remotely match the reality of the property.
As the ‘Official’ Growth Hacker for the Dental Profession Worldwide™ (and the only Growth Hacker to-date serving the Dental profession) I use a wide variety of data-driven experiments and online tactics to create multiple streams of new patient traffic for our Dentist clients. Instead of having 1, 2, 3 (rarely 4) consistent sources that generate new patients for the Dentist, I’m creating 20-30 sources of consistent new patient traffic for them. After figuring out which strategies and tactics bring in the most (and most qualified) new patients for a client, I’ll then automate those strategies, which is a huge saver of money and time.
When asked about the strategy for creating sustainable growth at Dropbox using Growth Hacking strategies, Ivan Kirgin, a former product manager at DropBox said "Focus on a goal and run tests to find what will help achieve that goal. If you want something to happen, ask. And if you want something to happen a lot, automate it."
Until recently, Growth Hackers operated mostly under the radar with banal job titles such as "Chief Growth Officer (CGO)" and "VP of Product Growth (VPPG)." But following the high-profile successes of Airbnb and Dropbox, which now have multibillion-dollar valuations, Growth Hackers have emerged as the new Rock Stars of the marketing world.
In spite of Dentists being known for their conservative approach to testing “new” methods for marketing and promoting their practices, I’m very excited by how willing (the vast majority) of Dentists we’ve consulted with are eager and ready to get started. And while I have no interest in becoming the next “Rock Star of the Dental Marketing World”… it makes me feel like a Rock Star when I watch a Client’s face light up when they see their practice achieving sustainable (and often explosive) growth after years of flat line or negative growth.
Groupon (www.groupon.com) the daily-deal website, uses smart-growth hacking, according to my colleague and friend Conrad Wadowski, one of the world’s most accomplished Growth Hackers. Users who access Groupon through Google will see a footer containing additional links—a design that helps boost Groupon's rankings in Google searches.
But a simpler landing page comes up when a user just types in "Groupon.com" Thus, he notes, those who arrive at the site directly aren't distracted by the added links. Groupon is showing user growth, including a 24% increase in active users in the most recent fiscal quarter compared with a year earlier… all thanks to the Growth Hacking strategies they've employed.
Another example of Growth Hacking’s ability to crush traditional marketing efforts can be understood in one word: FACEBOOK! www.facebook.com is the social-networking site which has nearly one billion users globally with approximately 57-63% being outside the US.
According to Mr. Kirgin, the (former) chief software engineer of Facebook, one of the simple (yet extremely effective and profitable) “Growth Hacks” that Facebook employed was implemented when Facebook found out that users were much more likely to stay on the site if they acquired at least seven friends in 10 days. Based on that premise, Facebook uses algorithms to suggest "people you may know" and sends emails prompting users to add their friends, he says.
Well-known entrepreneur and friend Ankur Nagpal (founder of www.fedora.com) was recently quoted in Wired magazine when he said: "One of the ways I like to look at growth hacking: It's very high leverage on the time and money you invest."
As a result I have to caution our Dentist clients about wanting to focus too much on boosting new patient traffic. It’s an easy mistake to make when they see (for the first time) how quickly growth hacking your dental marketing program can open the floodgates of new patients into your practice. It doesn't happen often, but it’s a real frustration for me when a Client asks me to focus all my efforts on new patient acquisition which keeps me from other critical tasks, such as big-picture planning…building a more effective (and efficient) patient engagement cycle and/or a stronger (more disciplined) team.
What a lot of Dentists are missing is that you need to present your services in way that appeals to what prospective patients “want” (as opposed to need). When you promote your services based on “need”, it’s easy to fall into the “commodity trap”…a BAD place to be! You’ll know you’re there when you begin hearing statements from your patients like “Are you on my insurance?”…”Won’t my insurance cover all this?”, “If my insurance doesn't cover this I’m not sure I want to proceed…” and so on.
A Simple Growth Hack for Your Dental Practice Delivers BIG Results!
A Dentist Client near Seattle has been implementing a (very basic) growth hacking strategy (one of many) that I created and setup for him that I gave him about six months ago. He sends free teeth whitening kits to users on Facebook and Pinterest who actively (and frequently) post images of themselves “smiling” on Facebook and Pinterest in hopes of encouraging them to share images of themselves using the product and mentioning his name.
One staff member at the eight-person practice was assigned to identify appropriate patients to reach on each medium, interacting with them through messaging and hashtags. The employee targeted the patients with the largest accounts on each medium, but after looking at the results, she narrowed her attention to only the most active users of the sites. Soon, she saw that by far the most new patients were coming from Pinterest (3/1 over Facebook), a photo-sharing site. So she began to focus there.
This particular Dentist is on track to have $1 million in production this year and has gained more than 93 “Additional” new patients (new patients that had treatment and paid him!) from Growth Hacking His Dental Marketing Program (the example I gave you above was a very simple, low-level example of many things we did) and has increased his monthly production an average of nearly $9,000 during the past six months. When I asked my Client what he thought of Growth Hacking he simply replied… "Looks like we’ve found the sweet spot!"
The IV and Oral Sedation Dentist in Paducah (and Client) has been using specific growth hacking strategies that include the use of visually compelling infographics, contests and Facebook to generate an insane level of traffic to his website and subsequently… his practice!
If you want to receive a complementary practice marketing analysis (with website SEO report and Social Media Optimization evaluation – Click the above link) and additional information about how Growth Hacking Your Dental Practice can inject life back into your marketing program, generate more quality new patients, increase retention, case acceptance and your referral traffic feel free to email me at Ken@growthhackercentral.com or call our 24-Hour Client Services Line at 800-875-9066.
What aspect of Growth Hacking are you most curious about?
Have you read Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday?
It's a great book that you can knock out in about 90 minutes and you'll be super excited when you see the possibilities now available to generate sustainable growth in your practice.