There are three steps to follow in building your marketing strategy.
Your audience starts with existing patients who regularly visit the practice but on the basis that “all the money you need for the rest of your career is in the pockets of the patients that you know and the people they can introduce you to.” it is far more important that your audience extends to their family, friends and colleagues.
There is no doubt that good old-fashioned “word of mouth” still has an important role to play (hand out those business cards every day) but digital recommendation (like, comment, post, share, review, publish) can reach much further.
Back in 1970 (my first full year at work) we had three TV channels to choose from (one commercial), 4 non-commercial radio stations, a few newspapers and no internet.
Now we are globally connected. Everyone, everything, everywhere.
People connect to different channels depending on their taste, demographic, viewing preferences, devices and the time of day.
It’s important to be visible in as many of those channels as possible, both print media and digital and it’s perfectly OK to repurpose your stories (see below) across those channels.
Advertising is product/service placement (we do Invisalign, we do implants, we do training).
It is difficult to distinguish- what’s so special about you?
Advertising attracts strangers who are looking for a price comparison.
The cost and the attrition rate are both high.
Marketing is what happens when you tell a story about the difference that your product/service has made to a real person.
Digital communication gives us the opportunity to send those stories further than ever before.
People respond to those stories (and share them) because they identify with the patient whose story you are telling and with the difference you have made.
A story can be a photograph, a video, a review, a blog post, a newsletter article, a podcast.
Here is the world’s most succinct marketing plan:
Build an audience;
Build your channels;
Build your stories.