We knew you were excited to hear more! Here is the continuation of Ron’s tips for avoiding dental media mistakes. To see the 1st and 2nd mistakes, simply scroll down to their respective posts on July 13th and July 17th.
TV/Radio Mistake #3: Improper use of the media: There are only three reasons you should be advertising:
1. To gain a new patient
2. To gain a lead from a properly qualified prospective patient
3. To convert a properly qualified prospective patient to an active patient
Going back to the ad reps for a moment; they’re trained to talk to you (and sell you) on the idea of brand messaging. If you’re Ford Motor Company selling cars across the country or Aspen Dental selling cheap dentistry, then you should be doing brand advertising. However, if you’re an independent dental practice (or small group of local practices or doctors) then you only want to be doing direct response advertising.
Brand advertising’s objective is to make and keep people aware of you. It’s presence advertising. It’s not intended to sell. Ad reps peddle this idea a lot because it removes the burden of proof and performance from their shoulders. If you’re not putting out a message that’s success is not measured by direct response then you’ll never know if it’s working or not… and they’ll keep selling it to you. I will tell you from experience, they (the ad reps and their bosses) sit around in meetings and openly discuss how they hope you never recognize that you’re throwing your money away on brand messages. I believe brand messages are largely philanthropic. It’s your ad money that keeps rep’s kids in school. The only time I’d ever recommend you do any kind of brand advertising is if you have a lot of money to throw away or you want to severely irritate your competitors. It would be the equivalent of buying a year’s worth of billboard advertising and the billboard you’re posted on is directly across the street from the competitor. Every time he looks out his window he sees your advertising. Unless that’s your objective, never do brand advertising.
I you don’t believe me about the ad rep’s mind set about brand advertising, here’s an excerpt from an email I got back from a cable TV ad rep when I told him we weren’t going to continue to buy time on his network again.
Direct response advertising is intended to produce a direct and immediate response. At the least it should produce a 1 to 1 return. You may not think spending a dollar to get a dollar in return is a good ROI, but consider what I said earlier, the three reasons to advertise: 1) Produce a new patient, 2) produce a qualified lead, 3) convert a qualified lead to a patient.
Much of the radio and TV dental advertising you will see/hear will be designed to produce the first, a new patient. The offers in the ads (if they have any) are targeted at giving something away, either discounted or free. This produces a less than valuable patient.
So, what can you do differently? And what will the ad reps advise against? Let’s consider what I do to promote dental implant and Invisalign seminars. If you put on seminars you want people in the seats, but your best prospects won’t attend your seminar. For example, affluent patients, the people who can afford to invest in implants or Invisalign won’t attend the seminar. It doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what you have to say at the seminar; it’s that they won’t subject themselves to the seminar. If you can’t get them to the seminar then how do you get them as a patient? Lead capture. I’m not advising that you don’t advertise for people to attend your seminar, but you also should be advertising to attract the people who won’t attend. There are many different ways to do this. Once you have the lead (and permission) you relentlessly follow up on them.
This is a delayed sale and to be completely transparent, your frontend adverting costs can go negative, meaning it could cost you money to get a qualified lead. This is the model that worked best with our erectile dysfunction clinics. We targeted two prospects with the advertising, 1) those ready to schedule an appointment in the clinic now and 2) those not yet ready to commit to an appointment. The second group proved to be a more valuable patient and there were a higher percentage of ‘not yet ready’ patients than there were those ready for an appointment now. This proves true in dentistry too. It does require a different mindset on your part regarding the objectives of the advertising; and more importantly, your commitment to relentless follow up marketing. A lead without follow up is not a lead, it’s only contact information. If you’re not committed to convert a lead to a patient then you should only do advertising designed to put a new patient in the practice right now. But you also have to be okay with only partial returns on your advertising investment. So, if you haven’t already figured it out, the 4th major mistake is in the message. I’ll save that for the August New Patient Extravaganza.
I’ll share examples of both effective and ineffective advertising messages. In addition to radio and TV advertising, I’ll also be sharing 4 other media opportunities you’re either not using or not leveraging well. For example, free publicity from philanthropic activities. Are you making money directly from this kind of work or are you happy with only the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from doing it. You’ll be surprised to find out the kind of money you could be doing from the free or fundraising activities. Dentistry you do than the stuff you’re trying to sell in your advertising and marketing. Go to http://jerryjonesdirect.com/new-patient-extravaganza to register for the August Jerry Jones NPE.
Ron Sheetz is the founder of RJ Media Magic, Inc. Ron has made himself an absolute authority in media marketing for dentists across the country. He has become an expert in the application of television communication with more than 3 decades of experience. His unique, innovative and proprietary marketing strategies are revolutionizing how dentists are now able to position and differentiate themselves from other dentists, group practices and the mega-corporate practices popping up in every town across the land. Ron’s strategies are leveling the playing field for the patient-centric dental practice, tipping the advantage back to the practices on a modus operandi of taking care of patients first. Ron has the distinctive ability to take a very specific asset every practice possesses, but under utilizes, and transform it into a powerful marketing and advertising advantage.