With extremely few exceptions, most companies do not have an endless supply of money to feed feckless advertising efforts. Instead, the focus should be to maximize return on investment on a limited advertising budget.
This article is designed to explore the differences between quantitative and qualitative responses to your promotional efforts.
Admittedly, I am a disciple of the marketing philosophy that favors high quality, engaged, and motivated prospects versus large numbers of prospects/leads with varying levels of interest in taking immediate action.
Again, because you don’t have an unlimited supply of resources to devote to your promotional efforts, you must weigh quality versus quantity. You need to ask yourself the following: “How many of the inquisitive convert into actual patients?” While you ponder that question, you must also ask yourself this: “Are you creating multiple touch points with your existing patients?”
- Public Relations figures point out that, sales conversions often come through multiple touch points (generally, six to eight touch points). However, it is the quality of said touch points which converts the merely curious into actual patients. Further, what you continue to say promotes the evolution from an initial visit to a long-term business relationship.
First of all, the obvious place to begin this “advertising quality” conversation is with your patient relationship management system (aka a customer relationship management system or CRM). There are many good ones on the market today. However, the million dollar questions are: “Do you have a CRM?” “If you have one, are you using to its full capacity?” “Have you incorporated a marketing performance management system to track the success of your promotional campaigns?”
In fact, without a system which tracks patient needs through your sales funnel, you are unable to connect communication efforts and revenue. Plus, and more importantly, without it, you cannot get insights about which channels and campaigns lead to the highest contact quality.
Secondly, if you want to improve your return on investment (ROI), you need to categorize your target audience. Specifically, you need to identify which segment of your audience is most profitable.
Hence, you need to familiarize yourself with this fact; many business schools and direct response advertising studies illustrate the following: Traditional advertising is created for the wants and needs of the brand new prospects by appealing to everybody — i.e., cutting the widest swath. Unfortunately, this strategy jeopardizes your ROI; these prospects only represent about 5% of your desired market.
The most powerful resource in your arsenal, with the highest return on investment, is found within the people who already use your services. The most significant source of annual receipts lies with those patients who already believe in, trust, and continually use and refer you. Many major advertising studies indicate this rich pool accounts for nearly 95% of all services sold annually.
Plus, these same marketing studies verify: it costs 5-7 times more to acquire a new patient than to retain a current one. Invespcro.com points out that the probability of providing additional services for an existing patient is 60-70%, while the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. Plus, existing patients are 50% more likely to try new services and spend 31% more, when compared to new patients.
Finally, consider a report published by the Harvard Business School by Amy Gallo. Ms. Gallo cites research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company; he demonstrates that by increasing patient retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Your next concern must be with the following topic: “Are you engaging with your patients in meaningful ways?” But, “what is the ‘meaningful way;’ how do I know what to say?”
The only that you will know what your patients want is by asking them. Do an inventory of your current patient base. You will quickly begin to see a pattern forming; for example, you may notice that a good percentage of your patients have fibromyalgia.
Then, create targeted, persuasive and compelling messaging and promotional pieces addressing the treatment and maintenance of fibromyalgia. Further, develop a landing page of your website featuring the treatment of this disease. Infuse your page with ailment specific blogs, articles, testimonials and videos. You must convince prospects and patients that you are “the” superior option.
* Too many doctors have beautiful websites that say nothing and don’t distinguish them from anyone. If you sincerely wish to escalate your quality and ROI, your message MUST be written from the standpoint of your patients’ needs and wants.
The previous paragraphs lead us to the next inescapable fact: because your communication and sales landscape will continuously evolve, you need to frequently analyze your data, detect changes in patterns, tests campaigns — interact with your patients to ensure you promote your best campaign and most profitable channels.
Therefore, “what are you doing to stay abreast of your patients’ changing buying cycles?”
Using the same inquiry system, you must stay on top of your patients’ lives. Find out if any of your patients are pregnant, beginning an exercise routine after a sedentary lifestyle, seniors with injury concerns, etc. — write and create multiple touch-points for these specific topics.
Now, let’s discuss the delivery of your message. Every promotional piece you send must grab the reader’s/listeners’ attention immediately and not let go. You need a mechanism that is strong and persuasive — your headline (ROI begins here).
Interesting fact, multiple marketing studies conclude that 80% of all consumers only read headlines; moreover, headlines can increase your ads’ power by as much as 2000%. Yet, up to 95% of all ads don’t include headlines.
Whatever your position on tabloids, you cannot deny that a headline stating that “Elvis is alive and well,” or that “Madonna had an alien baby,” makes you stop and read (if only for a second). That is precisely the purpose for a headline — to get the recipients’ attention.
Therefore, approach the creation of your headline (actually, all your content) in this manner: “Your patients have a problem they don’t want; but, there is a solution they want but don’t have.”
Once you create your headline, develop your sub-headline; the sub-head provide more insight into your message/services and further outlines why patients should care enough to keep reading.
Your headline should Interpret your patient’s needs; your sub-headline needs to Engage to lead towards a result they seek. Then, the content you provide needs to Educate regarding the benefits of your services and Offer a solution that’s readily at hand.
For example, “Are you sick and tired of waking up with back pain?”
Your sub-headline engages your patient with the results they seek.
To illustrate: “Learn proven techniques to kiss those pains goodbye!”
In conclusion, advertising to new prospects is essential; every business needs new blood. Therefore, the takeaway from this piece deals with balance; by understanding conversion realities, you make more informed decisions with your advertising budget. Though, if you want fruitful marketing, high-quality patients, and an exceptional return on investment existing patients provide that.
Next, quantify your promotional efforts; inject a good CRM into your practice. Then, identify your patients’ concerns and evolving life-cycles; now, deliver engaging, relevant and compelling messages.
More importantly, your message must be so compelling and persuasive that it practically forces current and future patients to pick up the phone and call you immediately! Quality messaging also positively affects your referrals; marketing studies conclude that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends over promotional content that comes directly from brands.
As you can see, advertising and promotions are essential for your practice growth. However, you may be too busy building your business to work on your business. Perhaps, writing, promoting, or attracting patients is not part of your skill set. Either way, you may need help.
Allow me to provide that assistance. I have been in the marketing and advertising industry for nearly three decades. Plus, in that time I have written hundreds of articles, blogs, promotional pieces, and so forth for many clients. I know my skills can benefit you!
Before I go on and on about what I do, let me explain why I do what I do. I meet a lot of extraordinary people who do incredible things. However, for various reasons, they are unable to convey the complexities of their talents in moving and alluring ways. I am committed to giving them (and you) a voice and wings to carry their unique messages.
So, let’s talk. Let’s speak for about 20-minutes and see what we can do together. Then, we will come up with ideas that best work for your practice. If everything is agreeable, we will move forward — no pressure; no fuss, no muss.
So, what do you say; are you ready to maximize your return on investment?
From the desk of Claudio Gormaz of Summit Marketing Strategies