I often get asked by my business and practice owner clients for good ideas for marketing to attract new patients and customers.
I am a huge proponent of promoting because, done correctly, it drives up patient and customer counts, and drives up income. Here are my thoughts and ideas.
Referrals Are Pure Gold
I know you have heard this before, and it is absolutely true. But equally important to asking for referrals, and running a referral program, is finding an inexpensive, easy way to show appreciation to those who refer patients or customers to you.
I have found that asking happy clients to refer their colleagues works great,and I do ask. If you have a brick and mortar location, hand out referral program “Care To Share” cards offering the new customer a discount. Have a place on the card for the referrer to write their name. When you get a referral card from the new customer, give a small gift, like a #10 Starbucks gift card to the referrer for caring enough to share and invite their friend, family and colleagues to your business.
Internet Marketing – Hunt Where The Ducks Are
This is the decade of internet marketing, and it’s where your current and potential customers and patients are shopping and hanging out. There are numerous, cost effective ways to promote on the internet, but there is one question that you should get answered before buying an internet marketing program.
That question is, when YOUR customers or patients are shopping for your type of products or services are they finding you, or are they finding your competitors?
There is a simple, no cost, no obligation way to find out how influential your company is online and how easy you are to find. Get a free consultation and analysis report valued at $1,000 with extensive market research and competition analysis on YOUR company’s online presence at http://www.CustomerFinderMarketing.com
That free consultation includes the following reports:
- Keyword Research
- Competition Analysis
- Website Structure Analysis
- Online Presence Report
Take time to watch the video and learn about all the different ways to marketing on the internet and how it is done. I promise you’ll learn a lot.
Promotional Return On Investment (ROI)
You should be measuring the return on investment you get from your promotional efforts. I want to address a few things about off-line marketing (like postcards, newsletters, print ads) in comparison to on-line marketing (internet video ads, article marketing, social media marketing, social bookmarking, internet directories)
Offline Marketing – Say for example you send out a postcard mailing. Each postcard has the potential to return your investment by the recipient taking action only so long as they have the postcard in their hand. The moment it goes into the trash or a drawer, the potential return on investment is over.
On-Line Marketing – If you put a short video ad on the internet on the many video channels available, that video ad stays there until you take it down. It is like a salesman out there selling for you 24/7 for the next 50 years. Your potential for a return on your investment is unlimited.
Here’s an example of one of my own video ads – watch it here.
And here’s an example of a video ad for a dentist – watch it here.
The same with other types of internet promotion like article marketing. That article will be there until you delete it, and by that time it could have gone viral and hundreds of thousands of potential customers could have read it.
Internet marketing campaigns take 2 to 3 months to gain traction and then they just continue to build momentum over the months and years as you do more. Offline campaigns of multiple mailings can take 4 to 6 weeks to gain traction and reach their highest potential, but as soon as you stop mailing the momentum dies and you have to start all over to build it up again.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying don’t do off-line marketing. Never stop doing what is working.
I’m just saying that in addition to that, you have to be doing internet marketing in some structured form because that is where today’s consumers are searching to buy what they want and need right now. It’s not enough just to have a website any more. You have to get out there in other arenas and get found.
Build Your E-Mail Contact List of Current and Potential New Patients and Customers
An on-line e-mail contact list coupled with an e-mail auto-responder means that you can email your messages to your contact list of current and new patients or customers many times over many years until they say stop. No printing, no labeling, and no postage fees.
An e-mail list is one of the most valuable assets your company can have, and it plays a huge part in effective internet marketing.
Many of you are reading this blog article because you got an email message from me via my autoresponder because you signed up to be on my list.
Mix It Up Out In Your Community
You can do on-line social media marketing, and you should be out doing local community social marketing. Go hang out where other business owners and affluent consumers are hanging out – Chamber of Commerce events, and local charitable events where volunteers are needed to man booths, like the local 5K Run for charity.
Have a non-salesy relationship-building conversation with them. Be interested in them rather than trying to be interesting and you’ll make a friend for life.
The person standing next to you at that event could be you next new customer. Exchange contact information (always carry your business cards) then send them a note after the event letting them know how great it was to meet them and name the date and event where that was to refresh their memory, and include your business name and phone number under your signature.
The Bottom Line
Spending on promotion is mandatory, not discretionary. Yet this is one of the first categories that a business owner will cut back on when cash flow is tight. That can be a fatal mistake for two reasons:
1 – If you are not continually talking (through promotion) to your current and potential new customers or patients, your competitors will be. Customers are busy and fickle and they will listen to the business that is constantly communicating with them.
2 – Promotional campaigns take time to build momentum. Starting and stopping breaks the momentum building cycle and you have to start the momentum building all over again. It’s the nature of promotion and advertising.
Are you using these things to attract new patients and customers?