As Jay’s handpicked team of marketers, we each have something important to bring to the table. Some of us are the biggest idea generators–like Jay, we have high Quickstart and a much lower Followthrough. Some of us have great Followthrough–the talent of getting stuff done. Then there are some of us who are a combination of the two! The point is… Without all of our unique personalities and talents combined, our team wouldn’t be as successful as we are. We have spent tons of time and money marketing to clients (like you) for years in order to:
- get your attention
- help clarify who we are and what we do
- lead you towards the best possible solution for your practice.
That being said, even with all of our experience in marketing, we have made some BIG mistakes throughout the years. Fortunately for us, our biggest mistakes were also our biggest learning opportunities! Every single mistake led us to a valuable lesson, and we are better marketers and team members because we learned from these lessons!
That’s why we would like to share with you a few of the most common mistakes. Well, SEVEN to be exact. The Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing are seven mistakes that are commonly made by marketers that can cause you to waste a) time, b) money, c) energy and d) your client’s time! In your case, these “clients” are your prospective patients.
So, let’s get started! We will go over the first four sins in this blog entry, and then cover the last three in a few days… That way, you’ll have time to soak up the info you learn, apply it to your marketing pieces, and brainstorm possible solutions!
Laziness is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) marketing pitfalls for dental practices… Don’t let it get in the way of your success! You’ve probably heard the saying, “Know your numbers”, right? Well, when it comes to marketing you NEED to pick up a calculator, and figure out a few important numbers: a) the value of a New Patient in your Practice, b) the Acquisition Cost per New Patient, c) How this affects your marketing budget.
In case you’ve never been exposed to these formulas before, we’d like to give you a brief lesson right now. This is math you NEED TO KNOW in order to be a successful marketer.
First, you need to find your Practice’s Average Revenue Per New Patient. (This is what each new patient is worth—on average—to your Practice.)
Annual Collections / Annual New Patients = Average Revenue Per New Patient
Ex: $850,000 / 250 = $3,400
Next, calculate your Acquisition Cost per New Patient using the formula given below. (This is the amount of marketing money it took you—on average—to get ONE new patient.)
Monthly Marketing Budget / Monthly New Patients = Acquisition Cost per NP
Ex: $2,000 / 21 = $95.24
Now that you know the MATH behind your New Patients, you probably are starting to realize that New Patients are an investment with an enormous return. Look at the number you calculated for your Acquisition Cost per New Patient. Imagine spending that money in marketing over and over again, but never getting the Average Revenue Per New Patient… Because the New Patient is never scheduled when they call! (It all comes down to a lack of training your team on the telephones, which you need to fix ASAP.)
Tracking your marketing stats is another equally important area where doctors tend to get a little slothful—don’t fudge your numbers! And remember, inaccurate data can be more harmful to your marketing efforts than not having ANY data.
Don’t assume that the most expensive marketing tactics will return the biggest results. Most marketing consultants are paid on commission. They want to see you spend MORE; they aren’t paid based on the result you get!
You need to understand that there’s a fundamental difference between marketing investment and marketing waste. A marketing investment requires a degree of risk, but it is an investment based on research, previous information, and calculated strategy. To make a marketing investment, you must KNOW the result that you’re working towards, and accurately track each piece sent out. This will allow you tweak your future pieces and scale up—maximizing your marketing budget. On the other hand, pouring money into an idea with no strategy or research requires a large amount of risk and—in most cases—will provide little to no return.
Don’t think competitively— be creative! Rather than just trying to “keep up” with the competition, focus your efforts on what you can do better. You will never move out of the “mediocre” zone and become the best of the best until you stop caring what other people think about your marketing. Sure, they probably judge you… So what?
My team and I send out loads of marketing pieces advertising events, seminars, products, and trainings—and we got judged by hundreds of THOUSANDS of dentists and consulting companies worldwide! But honestly, we could care less what they think. We know what is best for our clients, and what will help them to take their Practices to the next level… THAT is our main priority.
You need to stop caring about what others think of your marketing. It’s that simple. Your ultimate goal is delivering patients the services they need!
Quality is ALWAYS better than quantity… Especially when it comes to marketing! If you produce mediocre marketing pieces for a minimal investment, we can guarantee you will get mediocre results. If your investment is a little greater, and your pieces a little better, your results will improve correspondingly. But if you want lots of TOP notch clients interested in high margin services, you are going to need to part with some money. Don’t be greedy with your money. You are the primary investor in your Practice, and you need to make a marketing INVESTMENT in attracting new patients.
Keep these simple marketing rules in mind when creating your pieces in order to ensure quality…
- Create an UNDERSTANDABLE offer. Don’t overcomplicate what you’re trying tell your audience. Be extremely clear about the BENEFIT they’ll receive. If you have too many messages, it will confuse the reader and muddle the communication… Your reader won’t DO anything! Always remember: keep it simple.
- State the known VALUE. If you’re giving away a car or an iPad, they have a “known” value,” but if you are talking about a dental service, product or other item, make sure you make the value known! This allows your audience to fully understand what kind of offer or “deal” they’re receiving. Think about it… When you buy something, don’t you want to know the overall value before making a decision? The same concept applies here.
- Include a PREMIUM or DISCOUNT. This is key — it’s what could push your audience to take action. Whether it’s “first exam at no charge” or “50% off for the first 7 to respond” — either option is fine to use in marketing offers. Test both to see which works best for you.
- Include the REASON for the offer. Your readers want to know WHY you are offering what you’re offering. It provides peace of mind and acceptance. If you’re going to introduce a new product line, you could tell your audience you want to offer the very best service for all patients and run a prelaunch campaign. If you’re currently accepting New Patients, you could tell them you’ve recently added new staff to the Practice. Sometimes, your audience may stop believing all your marketing – give them a reason to believe you!
- Make the offer TIME DATED. Most people will act sooner with an actual deadline. Some people put things off because they have to think about it, research more, etc. But if the offer is dated, it gives them a concrete deadline to take action! For example, “This Week Only!” or “Offer Expires on December 31st!” — it lets your audience know their timeframe and keeps your piece out of the indefinite “think about it” pile.
- Have a strong CALL TO ACTION. We’ve seen some great offers… With NO REAL CALL TO ACTION. You have to tell your audience HOW to respond. For example, “Call This Number” or “Respond By Fax Today.” Not only does the person know exactly how to take action, there needs to be a sense of urgency as well.
- Create a strong GUARANTEE or REASSURANCE. This reassures readers of WHY they are responding to your offer. Restate the benefit they are receiving. “100% patient satisfaction” or “money back” guarantees are both powerful reassurances for anyone that might be a little skeptical. It also makes your offer — or what you’re selling — that much more believable.
Take a minute and think about everything you’ve just read. Ask yourself this question: which of these “marketing sins” is my biggest weakness? What specific areas do you see for improvement? Jot down some ideas in the comment section and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the last THREE deadly sins!
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Have a productive week!
-The Scheduling Institute Marketing Team