(This article is a 9-minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU'LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. You'll discover the one dental marketing trick you should avoid
2. Find out why the trick doesn't work
3. Discover the alternatives to the trick
There is one dental marketing trick that will never work for you. But dentists try it over and over again. They try it, then worry about the lack of results they get from their marketing. They assume as a result that no marketing works.
Want to know what that one trick is? Want to know what to avoid?
The one trick is doing only one thing at a time. That one thing might be doing a letterbox drop or doing Google AdWords or doing Facebook ads. Doesn’t matter which one. But it’s selecting a single tactic to talk to an audience, then focussing your time, effort and budget on that single tactic.
The problem with this dental marketing trick
But it seems scientific, doesn’t it? It seems sensible to choose a tactic, try it for a defined period of time, then look at your results.
When that tactic doesn't get a result, you say, "Okay. That one doesn't work." You isolated one particular factor, tested it and made a
The problem is, it's a flawed test.
The reason doing one thing at a time doesn't work is repetition is one of the most important things in marketing. But the more you repeat something, the more people will block that message out. They will reason that they've seen it before and it's not something they want to act on immediately.
So if you send out a letterbox drop to the entire neighbourhood, to 2000 homes, you might get 20 people responding to it. Repeat it the next week, and you might only get 10 people responding. Repeat again, and five people respond. This is a problem that all companies face in their marketing.
If you’re an optimist, you look at the total number. If you’re a pessimist, you look at the diminishing returns. But both those approaches will mislead you.
The challenge of repetition
Conventional wisdom in marketing is that companies need to connect with a potential customer or with a prospect between five and eight different times before they get a response from them. That’s not just getting in front of the prospect but having them engage in your message.
That's hard to do when the media is fragmented. It’s harder when we're trained by using lots of media to filter out advertising messages. The way other companies manage this problem is by advertising in a variety of different places, using a variety of different tactics.
They'll do a combination of radio and television and billboards and print advertising. You would have noticed that yourself as you drive around and you see a billboard that will remind you of a TV ad that you saw last night. Or you’ll hear an ad on the radio that reminds you of both of those things.
Those companies are trying to connect their brand with the emotional values in your mind.
Those companies know that if they only tried one of those tactics at a time, they are really starting a conversation with their audience from the beginning.
They would be sending out a single message to a single group, and that group will become less and less interested in that message.
Multiple touch points
Best practise for marketing is to look for what people call multiple touch points. One of the great challenges that all companies face when they're trying to think of multiple touch points, is if you don't know who's actually seeing your marketing material in the first place, it's very hard and very expensive to get a second message to those individuals.
That's why large corporations, the
It's much easier nowadays with digital media to gather the information about who's seeing your marketing material. Those people who receive an email from you or see your ad on Facebook might be interested in the services that you have to offer. But they’re not customers yet. They're just prospects.
The challenge with any marketing activity you undertake is to ensure that those prospects become leads. People who are genuinely interested in your services and in you providing those services.
Building a database of prospects and leads
The most useful marketing tool you can have is a database of people who have seen your marketing and asked to see more.
One of the more common and well known ones is HubSpot. The HubSpot CRM database, customer relationship management database is free and anyone can download it and use it. What is does is track information on who has been visiting your site and associates that visitor information with an individual.
You can use it to see if an individual has been looking at a particular page on a regular basis. That might be a page on tooth whitening, or it might be a page on implants (unlikely, but possible). And you can start to think about tailoring information specifically to that individual.
The importance of following up
Many companies—dental practices included—never follow up on their marketing campaigns. That's understandable. It takes a lot of time to follow up and it's a bit of a pain.
But marketing is about creating a market for your services. It's about getting people interested in you.
That's different to sales. Sales is that process of following up from marketing. If you knew exactly who was interacting with your marketing, you can then start to focus some time and energy on sales efforts on those individuals.
You'll find you have a lot better uptake of vouchers and discounts and special offers if those things are only being sent to individuals you know are interested in them.
Which makes sense, doesn’t it?
If you send out your 10 per cent discount offer out to everyone in a particular suburb, there's no guarantee that anyone who takes you up on that will actually be interested in becoming a regular patient.
The way to ensure that your dental marketing doesn't work is to focus on tactics rather than strategy. If you focus on tactics, you try one tactic at a time and then moving on to the next one. It will give you a false impression of the effectiveness of the tactic.
For your tactics to work, you need a strategy. And that strategy will inform how different tactics work together.
The only way to get a good idea of how effective the different tactics are in combination with each other is to set up a separate database and to capture information on people who are coming into the surgery or looking at your website.
It's quite possible that someone might be interested in your tooth whitening service but not act on that interest for a number of years. Still, it would be ideal for you to be the practise they choose to come to when they finally do act on that information.