Where are you aiming? Target to make sure every dollar pays dividends and reap the benefits of content marketing
PROMOTIONAL EFFORTS CAN BE COSTLY, and unless you have an endless supply of money, your advertising budget is a reality. However, that doesn’t mean your publicity can’t excel. You can fish in the richest pools without breaking the bank.
The name of the game is targeting.
Traditionally, most advertising display ads are written for new prospects by appealing to everybody — to cut the widest swath. Unfortunately, this segment only represents about 5% of your desired market.
A client whose medical focus is the middle-aged patient — especially those desiring to maintain their physical abilities, flexibility and overall good health far into their retirement years — has a highly-targeted audience. He can’t afford to have his promotional message (and budget) diluted by people who don’t fit his criteria.
Targeting current vs. new customers
The most profitable resources for new business are found within the people who already use your services. Those patients who believe in, trust, and continually use and refer you account for the most significant source of annual receipts. Many major advertising studies indicate that this pool accounts for nearly 95% of all services sold annually.
Plus, these same marketing studies verify: It costs five to seven times more to acquire a new patient than to retain a current one. Invespcro.com points out that the probability of providing additional services for an existing patient is 60-70%, while the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. Finally, existing patients are 50% more likely to try new services and spend 31% more when compared to new patients.
Consider a report published by the Harvard Business School by Amy Gallo. She cites research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company. He demonstrates that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25-95%. The lifetime value of each patient is a calculation that takes into account the amount you receive every time a patient visits you for treatment, multiplied by the number of visits per year, multiplied by the number of years you expect to see them.
Content is king
Your next thought may be “What am I going to say to my patients?” “How am I going to approach them?”
Since patient attraction is everything in business, you’re going to learn how to transform your clinic into a patient magnet via improved, persuasive and compelling messaging (aka content) to reap the benefits of content marketing.
“Why?” you may ask. Because current and prospective patients will review your website, read your blogs and articles, view the videos you provide, etc. — and it is your primary responsibility to ensure that your information is memorable, persuasive and compelling. You must convince them that you are the superior option.
The information you provide (again, known as content marketing) drives your promotional platform. So avoid using the “laundry list” method employed by too many doctors on far too many websites, with a catalog of services, lists and bullet points. Too many doctors have beautiful websites that say nothing and don’t distinguish them from anyone else.
Your patients’ needs
If you sincerely wish to escalate your outcomes and efficiency, your message must be written from the standpoint of your patients’ needs and wants. According to the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent messaging to attract and acquire a defined audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Like all targeted communication, the only job content marketing has is to create behaviors among target audiences that benefit your practice; simultaneously, your focus should be to deliver a profound message that solves your patients’ needs.
What is your message?
This next component is the delivery of your message. A targeted promotional piece grabs someone’s attention immediately and doesn’t let go. This means you need to create strong and persuasive headlines in every one of your promotional pieces. A good headline can attract attention. A great headline can turn a prospective patient into a sale and a long-term relationship.
In any given ad, for any given industry, you will notice that up to 95% of all ads have no headline. Mounds of marketing surveys point out this significant statistic: 80% of all readers only read headlines. A properly-designed headline is the main ingredient in your communication; it’s so persuasive, it can increase your ads’ power by as much as 2,000%.
According to advertising pioneer Claude Hopkins, “The identical ad run with various headlines differs tremendously in its returns. It is not uncommon for a change in headlines to multiply returns from five or 10 times over.”
After you create your headline, develop your sub-headline (which appears directly under the headline); it gives more insight into your message and services. The sub-head also further outlines why the patient should care enough to keep reading. Approach the creation of your headline (actually, all your content) in this manner: “Your patients have a problem they don’t want; but there is a solution they want but don’t have.”
Your headline must interpret — which means that your headline addresses the problem your patients have that they don’t want. For example, “Are you sick and tired of waking up with back pain?”
Your sub-headline engages your patient with the results they seek; it must address the outcome they want but don’t have. For example: “Learn proven techniques to kiss those pains goodbye!”
Put it into action
If you want fruitful marketing, you must understand your patients’ needs. Next, you need to convert the complex into a relatable and memorable narrative, creating engaging, relevant and compelling messages.
Deliver greater benefit for your current patients — tell your story from patients’ perspective, and employ solid headlines in every marketing piece.
CLAUDIO GORMAZ is a medical marketing strategist and freelance writer. He has worked with the medical community for the last two decades. He develops robust branding platforms, enhances reputation campaigns, and cultivates fruitful and predictable advertising messages. He can be contacted at 951-294-2274, at summitmarketingstrategies.com, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.