(This article is a 5 minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. An idea of what your dental marketing is meant to achieve
2. The difference between sales and marketing
3. How to link sales to marketing
Here are two stories about two dentists. Both were concerned about their dental marketing working. They took opposite approaches. Both were wrong.
One involves a dentist who ran a campaign on Facebook. It was very successful. He landed two high-value patients who spent thousands of dollars with his surgery. Thrilled that he’d cracked the marketing code, he went on to spend even more money trying to replicate that success.
He’s still trying.
The second dentist believed that no digital media worked at all. He'd spent a lot of time and effort optimising his website. He bought Google AdWords through an agency. Yet had no evidence that any patients had come into his clinic as a result of it.
So he changed tack, and spent thousands of dollars on radio ads as an alternative. Those ads were broadcast out across the whole of the city that he was in.
Both of these dentists had the same problem. The problem wasn't the escalating costs of their dental marketing. It lay in the fact that the definition of what they believe worked with their marketing was based on sales.
Is your dental marketing working?
Both of them were making a wrong diagnosis based on limited information. Sales isn't the only way you measure marketing. In fact, you could argue that sales isn't a measure of marketing success at all.
If you only measure marketing according to sales, you're misdiagnosing any problems you might have with your marketing. So you end up treating the wrong thing when you try to either fix it, or replicate it.
Marketing does sometimes feel like you're shouting into a void. You put lots of messages out there into the community, and hope that the people who want to actually come into your practise hear those messages. More often that not, you're greeted with silence.
You're not shouting into a void when that happens; you're just listening for the wrong response.
What is marketing for?
Marketing is about building a market. A market is a group of people who are willing to buy your products or services.
Your market for your dental practise is a group of your ideal patients. You know what your ideal patients look like. They probably look pretty much like your existing group of patients.
The reason you send out newsletters to existing patients is because those people already meet your criteria of a market. That's a good thing and you shouldn't stop doing that.
But to continue to grow your practice you need to find other people who look like that ideal market. And you need to start talking to them.
The difference between sales and marketing
Sales and marketing are two different processes, and just because you do one it doesn't mean the other will follow. Sales is about selling stuff. Marketing is about finding and creating a market to sell stuff to.
Many dentists rush in and try and sell stuff before properly identifying their market, and so they don't get good sustainable results. They might have a one-off success, such as a social marketing campaign which has lead to a couple of patients. But the reason why those patients came in and spent the money they did wasn't solely due to the marketing campaign.
There were other factors. The patient may have been researching those services for a long time before being ready to commit.
Similarly, if digital ads aren’t working, maybe it’s because they are screaming “Buy this now!” The hard sell approach repels most people most of the time. Big retailers taking that approach on TV ads because they’re gambling that a small percentage of the audience will be ready to buy right when see the ad.
Either way, it's very difficult to replicate that result until you know in great detail what those other factors are and how you can communicate to other people who are in exactly the same situation.
To tie the two processes of sales and marketing together, you need a marketing strategy. Once you have a strategy, you can actually figure out whether it's your marketing that's not working, or whether it's your sales that aren't working.