If you're missing the mark with your patients?
This article delivers sound & proven tips for success!
The cornerstone of business prosperity centers on a sound symbiotic relationship with your vision and your promotional efforts. The only purpose of any advertising effort is to let everyone in town know that you’re open and ready for business. However, in order to be considered successful, your marketing campaigns must yield a continuous stream of patients.
What if every time you send an email containing your newsletter, a promotional campaign, a flyer, etc. to your patients, that email was received by those recipients with excitement? What if the reader thought “every time I get an email from Dr. Brown something really good is enclosed,” and so on?
The reality is that these desired effects (from the previous questions) are very possible. However, an essential aspect of successful and predictable marketing includes superior branding.
A properly developed brand identifies you as the absolute "go-to" doctor in the area. Accurately achieved, your reward will produce stable, dependable, and programmable responses and communication rates.
One of the most overlooked yet most cost-effective forms of reaching out to your patients lays at your very fingertips. It is your email. In the last few years, emails have really gotten a bit of a negative rap. There are a lot of reasons for this, not the least of which is just a plain misunderstanding of a very powerful medium.
Your email should be seen as a messenger of the vital news; a provider of great opportunities, an occasion to promote yourself as the foremost dental authority in your county.
However, too often people just squander that opportunity.
Every time you send out your marketing pieces, within an email, write interesting, relevant, compelling, authoritative emails with purpose! You want your emails to get opened, to get read, and you intend to build long-lasting business relationships! Your message must draw additional business from existing patients and generate new patients; all of which result in more profits to enhance your bottom line!
Incidentally, this too is an often overlooked reality amongst doctors. Every day when you open your doors for business, your competition is actively and aggressively trying to take your patient base from you. How do they do this you ask? Well, they do it through their advertising. Every time a flyer is sent out, an ad is placed in the publication, or a commercial runs on the television or radio spot those advertising pieces are designed with a singular purpose: to have the recipient of that message pick up the phone and call the creator of that ad.
In fact, your correspondence should be even stronger and more beneficial to your existing patients. Numerous marketing studies show that people will only drive so far to receive a service (emergencies notwithstanding). That means that in any given geographical area there is a finite amount of business to be had.
So, unless you’re the only dentist in town, where do think your competitor will get the patients they need to develop a successful practice?
You need to have a purpose in your message; to be effective; you need to align yourself with a robust, comprehensive system. You need a solid set of tools crafted by uniquely qualified, experienced and talented professionals. What you don't need is a "pre-packaged," "cookie-cutter," "miracle-in-a-box" marketing solution from the corner store. You need a personalized system!
If you truly want to stand out from every other doctor in town, you need to have a memorable message. You need to be a good storyteller.
“Coincidently,” we are also highly skilled medical marketing strategists; which means, we are very aware that most advertising campaigns don't yield the expected results. The problem, however, isn't advertising; the reason your ads are ineffective lies squarely with your message!
One of the major reasons for ineffective messaging deals with the delivery of the material. There’s an abundance of data available which demonstrates people’s cognitive processes related to the retention of information. The studies show that most of us don’t remember lists and bullet points for very long. However, if we can connect with and understand a topic, and it’s presented in an interesting and compelling way, we will remember a good story.
A clear example of what I'm referring to is the famous ad which says: "Help me; I've fallen and I can't get up." This ad single-handedly launched the medic alert business.
The beauty of the ad took the relatable topic and turned it into a brief but poignant story that we all know nearly by heart.
So, you need to convert the complexities of what you do into relatable narratives. Your goal needs to be to develop fruitful and predictable promotional messages, which in the process elevates your branding, creates your authority status and transforms you into the "go-to" dentist in your area, etc.
You must strive to continually improve the quality of your patient communication. You do this through superior content told in an interesting, relevant and compelling way.
To become the resident expert you wish to be (which also creates separation between you and your competition), you need to guarantee successful and predictable marketing outcomes. This means that you must carefully control your marketing system.
Fact, not all doctors are good at marketing or promotion. Therefore, they should know enough then to bring in the “right” professionals!
The right person should work hand-in-hand with you to develop your brand from the ground up. The goal should always be either: to create or transform your marketing program. Begin with the most basic, most used, and most often squandered touch point, your emails.
This is an enlightening fact taught in every business school in the country: It costs seven times more to sell to a new patient than to an existing patient. Statistically speaking, the actual cost of acquiring a new patient cost between five to ten times more than retaining an existing one. Not only that, but repeat patients spend, on average, 67% more.
Your email starts daily conversations with your patients; are they a haphazard guessing game blindly looking for the target? Think about this, if your emails are weak, chances are the rest of your marketing is no better!
We are all judged by our performance and our appearance. However unfair, if your appearance is lacking, you may never get a chance to perform!
To achieve the success you crave, you have to embrace this very simple concept: You are your brand, and your brand is you. Therefore, you have to make sure that everything about your brand SCREAMS that there is no one better in town to help you [your patients]. This means that every time someone enters your website, it must instantly tell the visitor that they are in right place! Your office too must reassure both current and future patients that there is no one better, in the entire county than you.
As we mentioned above, the loss of patients; just as your competition is actively trying to gain market share, you must also be working towards enhancing your patient portfolio. This means that for you to grow, you must confiscate your competitor's best patients. Conversely, as we discussed above, if your marketing efforts are weak, your patients will be removed from your clinic by your competitor!
Actually, even if you are an international company, you are still subject to predation from competitors. A great example of that is the fast food industry. McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Burger King are in a never-ending battle for market share segments.
With respect, every dentist in your area is your competitor. That competitor is waiting and watching for you to stumble; at which time, they will move-in on your patients.
Think about this: Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running. --- Thomas Friedman
Either by accident or design, too many dentists (for example) commit these major mistakes with their communication efforts:
- Far too many Dentists think that ANY communication is better than NO communication at all.
- They put no thought or care into the marketing pieces or communication pieces they send out.
- A vast number of doctors approach their advertising campaign completely backward, they only send out generic industry pieces.
- Often they're surprised that no one reads their information or responds to their calls to action. Surprisingly, they complain about poor return-on-investment figures.
- There is no regard for what their patients really want or need.
Afterward, they seem blindsided when no one wants to read those pieces and eventually leave and give their business to the competition.
Sadly, many dental practices employ a “churn and burn” style and approach for their marketing campaigns.
For example, when they send out emails, they bombard their patients with non-specific clutter. These dispassionate efforts lead to a fatigued list that no longer cares about the sender.
Eventually, if not corrected, that business stream dies down.
By contrast, expert marketers speak (either written or verbal) with authority! Everything they send out is targeted! They know what their patients want; they then deliver highly focused information. Your message must be part of a scientific marketing machine! This machine must continually be creating predictable and powerful results for your business over and over, year after year!
Additionally, besides the immediate benefit of keeping your patients, building a strong foundation for your business, and attracting new patients, you will also put yourself in a position to benefit from potential endorsement marketing opportunities.
Imagine if you could have instant access to hundreds of new patients; each one recommended to you as a preferred health provider. What I have just proposed is real. In fact not only is it real, but it's been practiced for hundreds of years: A practice where you benefit from the influences of another professional.
However, none of this is possible unless you finely tune your marketing machine and boost your patient relations platform! Further, if you can harness imagination of your patients with a well-told story, then you get people rising to their feet amid thunderous applause instead of yawning and ignoring you.
What is being written comes from a lot of experience. We speak with many doctors who want to improve quality and quantity of their practices. Frankly, by the time they call on us, they're not happy with their past results. The good news, the successful execution of engaging and fruition communication is quite achievable with just a few corrections to your delivery system.
To conclude, refine your business identity into one of an Authoritative Expert. Change your platform by using robust strategies for writing compelling campaigns, emails that get opened, read and acted upon, use your emails open those lucrative doors for the promotion of your other services.
Reinvigorate your past patients and entice your new and better patients. Implement effective techniques so that patients will effortlessly buy from you in a manner that doesn’t “burn out” your list.
It's time to start producing the results and revenues you deserve for both your brick and mortar and online business. I realize how this may be too much to handle on your own. You may not know anyone who is a good business storyteller; someone to interpret the complexities of your practice into relatable stories that your patients can embrace.
If you need our help, please feel free to call. Our nearly thirty-five years of experience has taught us a several extremely important truths about creating competitive divides between you and your competition, we want to share that knowledge with you!
From the desk of Claudio Gormaz, co-founder of StevenVonLoren Marketing Strategists, direct: 951.294.2274, personal email: email@example.com, Amazon Author Profile, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter