Many practices will initiate a marketing activity that is doomed before it begins. Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine whether you are maximising your marketing activities.
If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, don’t worry – you’re not alone. But experience tells me that if you are willing to apply the outlined principles to your practice, you will see the efficiency (and your profits) increase significantly.
#1: Do you test and measure every aspect of your marketing?
Effective marketing is fairly straightforward if approached with a clear view of what you are trying to achieve – but so few practices do it. You just need to test and continually support new marketing strategies, as a single execution will accomplish little to no results, hence the disillusion some practices have towards marketing. It may be a new flyer campaign, a new advertisement, a letter to your patients, an email, a cross promotion with a gym or a newsletter. You test small, and then you measure the results. What did it cost? What revenue did it generate? If it was not profitable, (evaluate why) and if there were outside influencing factors, you’ve learnt an important lesson and move on. If it was profitable, can it be made an integral part of your marketing plan upon which you can build other successful campaigns?
Imagine you are a dentist in Maroubra or Chatswood, if you instigated five new things every month and just one out of the five was successful (my experience shows that it is more like four out of five activities are successful) then at the end of a year you would have 12 new proven marketing strategies to add to your mix. So testing and measuring the outcome of all of your marketing is the first golden rule of marketing.
Of course, before you test new marketing activities you need to test the existing ones, in particular any Yellow Pages advertisement you run or any regular newspaper ad. A lot of practices renew their existing Yellow Pages ad or even increase the size without knowing what it has returned in the previous 12 months.
As I have outlined in previous articles, the way the Yellow Pages is being used by society is changing and this is changing the results you will achieve, so accurately assessing exactly how many new patient enquiries and how many of these enquiries convert to patients and the monetary value of these patients is essential.
#2: Are you clear what the purpose of your practice is?
Outstanding practices share a similar way of thinking about the profession. The highest purpose of their practice is not to just make money or increase profits. The highest purpose of their practice is to add real value to the lives of their patients. I know this may sound obvious as you spend your life treating people; however, it is worth using this statement as the ‘acid’ test of the marketing activities you embark upon.
This deep commitment to enhance the lives of those you treat with this philosophy in min is so important, as it is the single most effective sales tool any practice can employ. It is ultimately the feelings and the perception of you practice that the patients leave with, that keeps them loyal and generates referrals.
#3: Is your marketing continually focused on explaining the benefits of your service?
One of the biggest marketing mistakes that practices often make is focusing on the technical details of the procedures they perform, rather than the benefits they offer patients.
Cerec, lasers, microscopes, intra oral camera etc… are all wonderful pieces of equipment, but what is the benefit they provide? This is what the patients need to know.
Every conversation you have and every paragraph of your brochures, letters and website should convey the benefits you can provide to your patients. This even extends to your own continuing education and the experience of your team.