“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
– John Wanamaker
Ask 1000 marketers about what you should do to grow your practice and you will get 2000 answers. I know, I even laughed a little while writing it but it is so true! The point is that everyone has an opinion about how you should market your business, but then most of them will change their opinions. You will literally get 2000 answers from 1000 people.
Each of them brings forward their marketing toolbox and starts throwing around terms like SEO, SEM, AdWords, branding, mobile, web, funnels, landing pages, social media and so on–all of which feel extremely elusive for even the savviest practitioner. But they’re the experts you think to yourself, and they must know what they’re doing.
It is incredibly frustrating when they sell you hard, you pay them a boatload and there are little-to-no results…..
I had to get down to the bottom of this….So I decided to join a Marketing Mastermind Group…….One of the first lessons I learned was the importance of lead generation.
Lead generation didn’t seem quite as important to me when I first started out as a dentist. We all know we need to attract new patients to grow our practice, but it never really sank in until I also thought about those patients as clients. Businesses and entrepreneurs invest heavily into lead generation for their businesses. That’s when the light bulb came on for me. If I invested in lead generation intelligently, like other successful business owners and entrepreneurs did, applying the strategies from these mentors and tweaking them to fit my purposes, I would be able to help more people, grow my practices.
Philosophy on Lead Generation
Here is a concept I learned through coaches and mentors that I want you to understand to help you with lead generation. It will help you to understand what the TRUE value of a lead really is. Once you understand the value of a lead, you will be able to implement ROI-based marketing in your dental business.
The brand continuum is an illustration of the different levels of branding for a business. I use this tool among others to gauge how well my marketing efforts are working. First, here’s a brief explanation:
Brand absence means you have no brand. People have not heard about your business and awareness is practically non-existent. At this stage, you may be just starting up or are opening a new location.|
If no one knows about you or your dental business, they have no idea you could even be an option for them.
Summary: You do not attract new patients or clients at this stage. You have not done any marketing.
|Awareness||Brand awareness means prospective clients know about you and your business. They have a surface-level knowledge of your existence and can at least include you in their list of options.|
Awareness does not necessarily mean a purchase decision, though this is the first step. For example, a person can be aware that the Apple iPhone is an option, but doesn’t mean they will purchase an iPhone. The trap for most is that they invest marketing dollars into awareness but little in other strategies.
Summary: You are marketing via direct mail, have a website and perhaps a social media presence. Potential new patients are looking at your ads but have not called your office or decided to attend.
|Preference||Brand preference is when a client chooses your brand (product or service) over and above all of their other viable options, but will gladly go somewhere else if your service is unavailable for some reason.|
Summary: The patient has decided to use your services but may chose to leave if another office offers more convenience or other features. Preference usually shows up as clients who choose another practice because of more convenient appointment times, better prices or incentives or newer technologies. This is the category most dental offices live in, with the majority of their patient base willing to jump ship due to preference. To shift from here to the next two levels, you must work on the patient retention strategies which will be discussed later in the book.
|Insistence||Brand insistence is evident when a client will ONLY choose your service and nothing else, even to the point of extreme inconvenience or expense.|
Summary: These are your loyal patients who are not looking elsewhere. They are unlikely to jump ship due to a special offer, slightly lower pricing or some other convenience feature offered by your competitor. These are patients who have had one or more encounters with you and are impressed with their experience. You have WOWED them and they TRUST you. They can be easily motivated to refer you patients and tell their friends about you, which allows them to progress to the next level.
|Advocacy||Brand advocacy is the Holy Grail for a business and includes clients who not only insist on your services, they also tell everyone they know to use your service.|
Summary: These are your raving fans. Typically, they will have started in the brand preference category but due to multiple positive treatment outcomes, development and from nurturing the doctor/team/client relationship and numerous WOW experiences, you have generated a FAN! Consistency is the key to obtain a patient base like this. Your goal should be to move as many patients into this category as possible. If you can get 50% of your patients generating internal referrals for you, you are well on your way to creating and maintain a thriving practice.
Your question at this point is probably, “So what”? How does this link up with lead generation and ultimately getting me more clients?
When you look at each stage in this continuum from the perspective of a potential client, you will quickly realize your job as a business owner is to implement internal and external marketing and client retention strategies to move your clients from Absence through to Advocacy. Can you see how powerful that would be? The top 1% of practices and small business do a great job of getting as many patients as possible from brand awareness to brand advocacy. The simplest way to do that is get them in the door, develop a relationship, treat them like gold and do it consistently!
Lead generation is more than just putting an advertisement in your local paper or magazine. Lead generation is about making a connection with people who need dental services, want you to provide that service, will choose no one else but you and then tell everyone they know that you should also be their first choice. This is a process that starts with intelligently-designed external marketing campaigns targeting specific patients, converting them into new patients when they call the office, delivering so much value that they feel you wowed them and then doing it consistently over the long-term. Consistency breeds trust, loyalty and ultimately, raving fans!
I hope that gets you excited. If you can’t get fired up about your dental business, then why are you doing it?