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a blog by Chris Barrow

Getting your on-line message read

Inexorably, dental practice marketing and patient management is moving on-line.

Everywhere I travel (and I travel everywhere), those who are resistant to change tell me that prospects and patients in their post code:

  1. don’t have smartphones

  2. don’t use the internet

  3. don’t have email addresses

  4. don’t shop on-line

Whether you are in Marylebone or Macclesfield, there will be some folks for whom this is true.

They are a declining minority and you may need some residual manual systems in your business to continue their care (if they are patients) but trying to identify them as potential new customers may be counter-productive in the long term (oh dear, I’m discriminating against people who are not digitally active).

The increasing majority of all demographics (especially mine – the 60+) are

  1. chatting to their children/grandchildren on FaceTime

  2. organising their leisure on Messenger and email

  3. recording their fitness on Garmin/Strava/Fitbit

  4. doing retail research on-line

  5. posting and reading reviews

There’s a lot of talk on the internet about “secrets” to getting your email newsletters and other on-line marketing opened and read by your audience.

Clever subject lines, use of images in key areas, buzz-words that will attract, certain types of content and number of words.

All well and good if you are trying to catch the attention of strangers but I’ve said here many times that the order of play for your marketing strategy is:

  1. up-sell to existing patients

  2. attract recommendations

  3. then look for qualified (not random) strangers

The people who prattle on about killer digital marketing (BUY MY COURSE! they say) are usually interested in the minuscule % of random strangers that might respond to your web site for Hawaiian BBQ recipes. If you throw enough BBQ sauce against the wall, some of it will always stick.

I’m much more interested in working with my clients on open-worthy and share-worthy content creation for a tribe of interested followers.

If you own a dental practice, your minimum requirement is now

  1. daily social media posting

  2. a weekly blog

  3. a monthly email newsletter

I’ve been writing sales copy, blogs and newsletters for over 20 years, starting with 200 subscribers in the early 90’s, for whom I used to type my newsletters in WordPerfect, print them, fold them into envelopes, lick stamps, attach and walk to the post office.

Now, I engage with over 6,000 people in a click.

Manage your expectations.

On a good day, 75% of the audience who receive my words of wisdom don’t even open the broadcast – a 25% open-rate is considered excellent.

People are busy and no matter how clever your brain, sometimes they simply don’t have the time or the inclination to read what you have to say.

Additionally, every one of our broadcasts has an unsubscribe rate of 0.5 – 0.75% – that also is considered normal – over 1% unsubscribe and you have a problem with your list or your content.

The good news is that a different 25% open broadcasts every time so, over time, you will reach your audience.

As far as content is concerned, I’ve found that it pays to simply say something worthwhile for the audience.

What has happened to me in the last 24 hours/week/month, personally or professionally, that’s of any use to pass on to others as a metaphor for successful business?

An 80/20 rule.

Make your content 80% educative, informative, though-leading comment, including frequent case studies (in your case, patient stories and testimonials) and 20% “buy my thing”.

Then just start writing.

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