Promotional efforts can be extremely expensive. What if you could save thousands on your marketing and still achieve your best results?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the average business spends 7% of its annual revenue on their advertising; in raw dollars, if you make a few adjustments, you could save thousands on your marketing!
More importantly, not only can you save thousands on your marketing, you can do it and still get impressive results with your promotional efforts.
Business promotion is a core element of one’s standard operating costs, i.e. “the cost of doing business.” However, how one promotes their clinic is an invaluable commodity for the astute marketer, which requires keen senses! Moreover, promotional better strategies allow you to save thousands on your marketing!
Your medical practice, like every other business, needs a steady stream of patients to stay solvent. Beyond word-of-mouth and family, you need to engage in some sort of advertising to succeed. Unless you’re prudent, you will probably fall into the government statistic. It also means you will likely be spending thousands on your marketing as well. As such, it is in your best interest to figure out how to shrewdly boost your returns on investment (ROI)!
Therefore, let’s see where we can maximize our budget, and save you money immediately.
Every business school in the country teaches one very important principle, it costs you significantly more money to get a new patient than to maintain and do more business with your current patients!
* It is 6 Times More Expensive to Win a New Customer than to Retain an Existing One – ThinkJar.com
Additionally, according to Sales and Marketing Magazine, 80% of all people who inquire about medical services take action within one year (emergencies excluded). However, they seldom do business with the clinic they originally contacted. This means you are educating your prospective patients to do business with your competition.
Your best and most lucrative strategy then is to focus on and provide excellent service for your current patients! Above all else, it is far more logical to do business with those people that know you and trust you.
In fact, the evidence is in and the Internet is chock-full of information supporting this evidence! Author Tricia Morris, from Business2Community.com, writes an excellent, enlightening, and convincing piece on the subject. According to her research, “the probability of selling to an existing customer is 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.”
Her article titled “It is 6 Times More Expensive to Win a New Customer Than to Retain a New One” further points out the following interesting facts:
- If satisfied by the customer experience, 73% of the customers will recommend a brand to others, and 46% say they will trust that brands products and services above all others. – SDL Global CX Wakeup Call Report
- 97% of global customers say that customer service is very important or somewhat important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand. – Microsoft Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report
- 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. – Aspect Consumer Experience Survey.
- 62% of global customers have stopped doing business with the brand or organization due to poor customer service experience. Microsoft Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report
- Once a customer leaves, for in five say they will never come back, and if they do, 59% say they will be less loyal. – SDL Global CX Wakeup Call Report
- According to a new PwC Survey, more than a quarter of the U.S. CEOs are increasing their spending on advertising this year. But the most valuable promotion will come to those who not only invest in winning customers by keeping them.
Okay, you now know some very intriguing statistics. So what are you going to do about it? Where do you begin? Moreover, who’s your audience? Maybe most important of all, what do you say to these existing patients? How are you going to increase your ROI and the effectiveness of your advertising?
A logical approach to these questions begins with patient identification. You will never know what to say unless you know your patients. Thus, you will need to do an inventory of each of your patient’s needs and reasons for treatment.
Very literally you will need to sort and categorize each of your current patients (again by treatment type). Very quickly, you will begin to see that patterns emerge. For example, you may notice that you have a high concentration of patients you treat with Asthma, Bursitis, or Arthritis. Once you establish how your practice breaks out, your message will become very clear and focused.
On a regular basis (every couple of weeks), you will contact your patients with arthritis-specific treatment information. I caution you against sending general, nonspecific information written in medical jargon; if you do, all benefit will be lost. Breakdown and translate these technical concepts and explain how they will benefit from this medical information. Here is your opportunity to develop a personal connection with them (it does wonders for building loyalty).
* Remember what it was like before you became a doctor and understood these technical medical terms? Write to your patients like that; explain things in a way they can understand!
Your email is the conduit by which you will regularly deliver this crucial information. You will develop a list and categorize each patient by treatment and email address. You will then send them specific and personalized information on treatment advances, care options, and your care options, etc.
* For every dollar spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI. DMA National Client Email Report
* Email is 40 times more likely to acquire new customers than Facebook or Twitter. CampaignMonitor.com
* Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns. Automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue. DMA
The immediate benefit for you is that your email isn’t going to cost you very much; if anything at all. Moreover, because the information is targeted to their [patient’s] particular treatment, the readability of your messages increases dramatically!
Again, email marketing presents relatively low costs compared to mainstream marketing channels. Your immediate benefits begin with the fact that there are no printing or postage costs. If you already have a large and established list, you may wish to consider investigating in an email tracking service.
Companies like Constant Contact provide unlimited emails, customize templates, tracking and reporting, and contact management (to name a few) for around $20 per month. All of which are far lower than what you would expect to pay using other marketing channels.
As you’re developing your “drip campaign” (via your regular emails), concurrently you must begin to establish your brand. These two platforms are going to work synchronistically with each other.
From this point forward, all of your advertising should be as the “Arthritis Specialist.” If you find your practice is split evenly between several types of treatment segments, you will brand yourself as the doctor who specializes in arthritis, bursitis, migraines, etc. in your geographical area. Your goal is to develop your reputation as the local, residents authority on this topic!
Additionally, as part of your brand, begin writing and publishing special reports and books. Send these specific reports and books to your patients, this establishes you as a resident expert. According to noted author, Adam Witty, author of “21 Ways to Build Your Dental Practice With a Book“:
“The value of a book for your practice is immense and when used properly, has the power of influencing your patients to say yes to your best treatment recommendations.
It also has the power to attract the exact patients you want in your practice— the ones who value your services, accept care and show their appreciation. Your book can give you a bulletproof marketing advantage, an edge that lasts for years and years. Once done, you can reuse it many, many times over.”
You further enhance your status by adding/posting your involvement in these specific disease-oriented events on social media. So, if the local arthritis organization is having a bikeathon or dinner, attend the event, take selfies, and post them. Make yourself available to these organizations. Your participation in these functions will also draw new patients to your practice; you’re the local expert in the field.
Parlay those activities onto your email; create a disease treatment-specific newsletter. A company like MailChimp.com provides an excellent and easy to use resource for our e-newsletter. Those targeted patients that have these very specific needs have much higher conversion rates.
The main idea for using e-mail newsletters is to keep your audience connected to your practice. Also, you build tremendous goodwill since you will be in the perfect position to treat them should other issues arise.
Consider too that these recipients can forward brilliant deals and offers to their friends at the click of a button. Targeted, effective e-mails excel at ease of “shareability.”
Finally, if profitability is king, then effectiveness and brand loyalties are queen and prince respectively — it all starts with patient retention!
By far, email marketing provides many superior benefits when you consider overall performance. With an increase in the smartphone and tablet usage e-mail marketing strategies derive a huge amount of traffic.
- Mobile phone use increases annually by 17 % and now constitutes to around 55% total. iPhone was recorded with 33% mobile opens and Android with 10% of emails opened mobile open. Litmus
- At acquiring a new customer, email is 40 times more effective than Twitter or Facebook – McKinsey
- You are likely to get 6x more clicks through an email campaign than a tweet – Campaign Monitor
- 72% people prefer email as a tool to receive promotional content as compared to 17% who prefer social media – MarketingSherpa
- Email marketing propels more conversions than any other marketing channel, that includes social or search– Monetate
Sharing is a key to marketing. It opens a whole new window to raise exposures and enhance credibility. With just a simple click on a forward button, your subscribers can share the deals, news and offers to their relatives and friends. Acting like a brand evangelist, your subscribers can introduce your clinic to the world.
So remember, retain, retain, retain – – – this should be your new battle cry! It is significantly more cost effective, logical, strategic, and just plain good business sense to keep your current patients. According to Harvard Business School, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. And if those numbers don’t impress you, Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. When you add the lifetime value of each patient into the formula, the numbers are staggering! Do the math, if an average patient generates $1200 for your practice, multiply that amount by the number of patients you have, times the additional number of years you’ll be working with them…
Being passive about patient retention only leads to greater attrition. Clinics that play an active part in communicating with patients to keep them engaged and better meet their needs and expectations are well on their way to achieving the prime objective of any retention program; greater patient loyalty.