If your business is like most, you’re likely struggling to have marketing make a real difference. Many business owners have started to realize that by falling short of standards for sophisticated marketing, they may be missing growth goals and business opportunities. Believe it or not, far better results can be achieved by stopping these three common mistakes.
#1: Stop wasting money on expensive advertising
Let’s face it—advertising is costly!
Whether you’re buying it yourself or paying an agency, access to new clients doesn’t come cheap. Besides that, the deep bench of marketing talent needed to do it well will cost its own pretty penny. How do you know if it’s earning you more than you’re spending on it?
One key test here is understanding whether your advertising is truly sophisticated. For instance, are you selecting specific groups of individuals and sending them relevant offers? Are you A/B testing to optimize various promotions, copy and imagery? When you’re running ads in different places such as search or social, how are those linked together and do they support each other? We often hear these complicated questions that most businesses simply can’t even begin to answer.
The fact is, most SMBs don’t have the expertise to do advertising right—yet they continue to pour money into it because they see competitors doing the same and fear they’re missing out. They could also have not been able to generate enough repeat business from their existing clients and concluded the only thing they can do is find new patrons. But if you’re spending three dollars to earn back every dollar in revenue from new clients, you’re literally throwing the other two away, over and over again
The most sophisticated SMBs do one of two things: (1) they either pay handsomely for the expertise to do advertising correctly, either via paid staff or reputable outside consultants or (2) they taper down their “spray and pray” advertising efforts to focus on the bigger and more effective approach, which brings us to our next section.
#2: Stop ignoring your most valuable asset
When you do the math and recognize that your advertising to attract new clients simply isn’t paying the freight, how do you sustain or grow your practice? The answer lies in your existing clients.
Consider this: Your clients know you and trust you. They’ve deliberately chosen to put their business in your hands—and most importantly, you know exactly how to reach them.
Those two critical factors represent precisely the opposite of what you’re experiencing with advertising to people you don’t know.
Are we saying you should market to the customers you’ve already earned? Yes! You’ll be able to spend far less to reach each person AND they’re much more likely to respond because they know you, trust you and have previously demonstrated an interest in your products and/or services. At this point, you’re probably thinking you already do that and you don’t see the benefits. Well, would it surprise you to learn that if you’re really good at marketing, 60-80% of your business revenue should come from repeat business?
Don’t just take our word for it—let’s talk through an example. Bob’s Dermatology has a database of about 8,000 patients. They’ve got email addresses, phone numbers and a bit of demographic info. Let’s say the practice runs a patient marketing campaign to those 8,000 patients for Dr. Bob’s exclusive Dermasplat procedure priced at $1,000. Our data from working with more than 800 North American aesthetic practices shows most can get about a 0.5% response rate. We also tend to see that of the people who respond to a patient marketing campaign with interest, about 40% actually end up booking a consultation for the service. Calculate all of that together and Bob’s Dermatology is looking at an additional 16 booked appointments and $16,000 in additional revenue. If they run patient marketing campaigns like this per month, they’re easily within reach of an additional $350,000 of annual revenue—making it a standout year for the practice. But creating and executing effective and engaging multi-channel marketing doesn’t happen at the click of a mouse. Technology and resource constraints lie at the heart of why even practices that understand what needs to be done to grow still aren’t doing it.
#3: Stop limiting your marketing to blasting
Among the thousands of businesses we’ve spoken to there are two key ways that marketing to existing clients is being done: (1) They’re either sending out email blasts (called spam) from solutions like Constant Contact or MailChimp that are only driving their clients away and/or (2) they’re posting to their Facebook or Instagram pages and hoping existing clients happen to see their posts.
The unfortunate truth about these tactics is that they simply don’t get you in front of enough clients to make a difference. Let’s tackle email first. On average, email open rates are about 20% in the healthcare industry. So that valuable promotion you’re sending through email likely won’t be seen by 80% of your patients. What are you doing “digitally” to reach the 80% that isn’t seeing your great promotion? And when we look at Facebook, it’s important to note that research from Ogilvy shows that Facebook Business Page posts only reach about 2% of the patients who like the business. So much for that other 98%!
While many businesses are engaging in marketing activities that are well-intended and seem appropriate, when you learn more about how reaching your customers actually works, you will find that the most common tactics are rarely effective. It’s no wonder that we hear all the time from practices that we need to find new patients. As we discussed with advertising, it’s important to consider whether the money and staff time being spent to do these activities is actually delivering the business results that would make it mathematically worth it.
But is it all doom and gloom? Of course not! The key is to “digitally surround” your clients—and doing so with promotions that matter to them. If you’re only chipping away at the edges, that’s exactly the kind of attention and response you can expect. Digitally surrounding means launching marketing campaigns in such a way that reaches your clients wherever they might be on the web, via email or texting, on social sites, mobile apps and more. But again, let’s put all this to the test with some real data. Among the 800+ aesthetics practices we’ve worked with, we can see that patient marketing campaigns that use more than email get reach percentages that are anywhere from 2 to 6 times that of email alone—in some cases getting close to 100% reach of the clients they target!
The main point here: Is any marketing you’re doing really worth it if it’s hardly reaching anyone you care about?
Now after all of that telling you what NOT to do, even we must admit we’re feeling a bit overly contrarian. And hopefully, we’ve left you with more educated questions about what TO DO in place of the bad habits you’ll be imminently winding down. We’re ready to help—you won’t have to try to do this yourself. Our team is equipped with even more stats, resources and best practices to show you what’s possible. So now it’s time to STOP reading, and get in touch with us today!
About eRelevance Corporation
eRelevance helps SMBs thrive by driving more repeat business from their existing clients. eRelevance enables businesses to reach specific groups of clients with promotions that matter to them based on their needs, interests, or desires using a sophisticated approach that includes email, text, mobile app, mobile conversations, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and more. With in-house marketing experts using innovative, proprietary technology, eRelevance provides a service that offloads the work for hundreds of aesthetic practices in executing sophisticated, best-practices patient marketing campaigns with little effort and at a price point they can afford. And guess what? They now see that there is a lot more business with their existing clients than they thought!