In an increasingly online, offline and mobile world, marketing across multiple channels is a business imperative for thriving medical practices.
In a recent issue of Modern Aesthetics, eRelevance CEO Bob Fabbio writes about the successful use of multiple marketing channels.
4 Tips to Leverage a Multi-Channel Internal Marketing Strategy
The most effective marketing campaigns fulfill the consumer demand for choice through multiple channels and an authentic, personal touch
SMBs are finally paying attention to multi-channel marketing as a proven strategy to boost revenue. Those doing it right and moving beyond email to channels like targeted social ads, text messages and conversational content are seeing measurable increases in leads, higher conversion rates and stronger brand loyalty.
This doesn’t mean email is dead. Email remains an efficient and cost-effective marketing channel—but it isn’t enough.
The most effective marketing campaigns—particularly those targeting existing customers—fulfill the consumer demand for choice through multiple channels and an authentic, personal touch.
WHY IS MULTI-CHANNEL SO IMPORTANT?
When choosing an SMB like an aesthetic provider, loan officer or lawyer, consumers rely on an increasingly wide variety of platforms to collect information, including social, web, mobile and email. For your marketing to reach the people you’re targeting, you have to be where they are, and today, that’s everywhere. This makes multi-channel the new marketing imperative for SMBs that want to increase revenue and growth.
Need another reason to move beyond email? Consider this: Multi-channel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers, according to Econsultancy.
But creating and executing effective, engaging multi-channel marketing doesn’t happen at the click of a mouse. Technology and resource constraints lie at the heart of why even SMBs that understand what needs to be done to grow still aren’t doing it.
If you’re thinking about investing the necessary resources in multi-channel marketing, here are four important tips and considerations:
Multiple Channels Offer Convenience—and Control. Customers value control over how they interact with you. They want to make appointments, make purchases and get information on their terms and schedules. They aren’t always available during your business hours. Provide ways to make appointments or ask questions online, and offer easy links to do so from your email and landing pages, as well as through texting and mobile apps on smartphones.
Remember: people have communication preferences, so you’ll reach the most targets—at the most opportune times—when you’re not dependent on a single channel.
For Hurricane, West Virginia-based Paul A. Blair Facial Plastic Surgery and Alex Alexa Medispa, a multi-channel approach is fueling growth by capturing the attention—and wallets—of customers. Since early 2016, the practice has been executing integrated campaigns through seven digital marketing channels: branded email, text messages, push notifications, targeted Facebook and Instagram ads, web landing pages and automated conversational content on a smartphone app.
By the end of the first month, the multi-channel campaigns generated 29 appointment requests. In the second month, it generated 60 more. “We received calls and got responses from patients we hadn’t seen in years,” says Marlena Denning, the practice’s patient care coordinator. “We got so many calls even Dr. Blair was on the phone.”
Since the practice previously only used email, the multi-channel campaigns are reaching far more people. About 40 percent of the total appointment requests from the multi-channel campaigns came from a mobile app, Facebook ads and SMS texting, the other 60 percent from phone and email. “We’re absolutely seeing that multi-channel is key,” Denning says.
Systematic Communication. You establish credibility when you regularly communicate information across channels to customers. Set and stick to a regular schedule. But don’t over-communicate or you’ll find your open and click-through rates will decrease, while your unsubscribes increase. The best way to determine the right schedule is to test and measure results. Weekly communication through each channel is a good start.
“Someone may not respond to a message or offer the first time, and that’s okay,” explains Dr. Sheena Kong, of San Francisco’s Sheena Kong Med Spa, who began communicating to her contacts through a systematic, multi-channel approach last year and has seen measurable results. “Consistency is important because the timing has to be right for people to take action. Patients are busy; they want to act on their terms.”
Dr. Kong generated more than 230 leads (appointment requests) in the first 12 months of implementing her multi-channel approach, directly increasing revenue.
Track & Measure Results. Before you begin a multi-channel campaign, clearly identify the metrics by which you will judge success. If you want customer appointments, ensure your marketing campaigns provide a clear path to make an appointment. You will also need an easy way to monitor and track results, and then tie them to specific efforts. You want to know what works and not waste money or resources on what doesn’t. Listen to your patients, then adapt to the methods they prefer and respond to most.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP
If you want to grow your business through multi-channel marketing, you have to first determine if you have the internal resources and expertise to do it on your own.
Marketing automation tools are an option but do you and your team have the time and expertise to implement them effectively? While an initial investment is necessary if you choose to outsource, the most cost-effective path may be to hire an expert. An expert familiar with marketing best practices and executing the work for you will likely yield results much more quickly than an overburdened and inexperienced staff member’s trial and error. With outside help, those internal resources can remain focused on other vital business operations for your practice.
THE BOTTOM LINE
SMBs investing in multi-channel marketing are reaping big rewards: stronger customer engagement, reduced competition and long-term revenue growth.