When you hear the word “marketing,” what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Confusion? Excitement? Frustration? With so many different definitions to describe marketing and numerous strategies and marketing channels available today, it’s no wonder that marketing elicits such emotions. Understanding what marketing means for your business and how best to leverage it is critical for the success of your practice.
Let’s start with an example. Say you have 2 different potential patients in your area. Both are your ideal patient. One is not actively interested in your services at the moment. The other wants to schedule an appointment for one of the services you offer. Would you use the same message for each of the patients to attract them to your practice? Which tactics will be most effective for them?
Creating a framework for your current marketing tactics and assigning them to each stage of your marketing funnel will give you a visual representation of where you are focusing (and not focusing) your marketing resources and activities. It will also allow you to target each patient – based on their previous actions – with marketing messages designed to move them down the funnel and closer to a purchase. This framework, known as the marketing funnel, contains the following three stages: Awareness, Consideration and Decision.
At the top of the funnel, we have our “Awareness” audience. This is your largest pool of leads with low intent to schedule an appointment, but every one of them is still a potential patient. At this stage, people are searching for very high-level topics typically related to symptoms they’re experiencing. They likely haven’t thought about contacting a physician quite yet. Getting in front of this audience is a great opportunity for you to provide a solution while establishing your brand as a credible expert.
Once someone understands that their symptoms warrant a visit to the doctor, they move into the “Consideration” audience, with medium intent to schedule an appointment. They’ll begin asking questions and researching information related to a doctor’s visit. This is your opportunity to differentiate your practice from your competitors and establish a meaningful connection.
As we move further down the funnel, we enter into our “Decision” audience. These are patients that have a high intent to schedule an appointment. They have determined they will see a physician and they begin seeking out the best provider in the area. Ideally, your marketing activities will have already reached potential patients prior to this point in the funnel and you’ll have established yourself as an expert in their minds.
So you’ve convinced a patient that you’re the right fit for them and they schedule an appointment with your practice. Then they come back for a follow-up visit and before long, they’re part of your loyal customer base. At the very bottom of the funnel is where we find our “Loyal” audience, which makes up your current patient base. When you provide patients with fantastic service, they will continue coming back to your practice. At every stage in the funnel, you have an opportunity to market to patients differently, with messaging and content tailored to move them down the funnel and closer to an action.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the different stages of the funnel, let’s match up the marketing tactics for those areas. Traditional marketing tactics such as radio, TV, billboards and print media really dominate the top of the funnel, Awareness. Relying solely on these mediums will leave a lot of gaps in your patient funnel (what about those people in the Consideration and Decision stages - how will you reach them?).
Let’s focus for a second on digital marketing tactics. With digital marketing, there are endless opportunities for touch points that will ensure every area of your patient funnel is covered. You can surgically...no pun intended :)...target audience members along every stage of the marketing funnel with different campaigns, guaranteeing that there are no gaps in your marketing reach.
Both traditional and digital marketing tactics have their advantages, but combining the two creates a very powerful marketing strategy, allowing you multiple channels to cover your practice.
Now, you may say, ”Brandon, this looks great, but my practice doesn’t have the budget to incorporate all of these tactics.” At Netsertive, we understand that budgets are tight and overhead is high. Our experts will help you determine the optimal mix of marketing tactics for your budget and goals. Give your current marketing campaigns a healthy check-up by mapping your messaging and content to the funnel framework we reviewed. You may be surprised by the final diagnosis.