Anyone can tell you how they can “improve” your marketing strategy (notice the quotes). That’s easy. But who’s going to break the news on how you’re doing it wrong? Here’s some “tough love” and seven signs you might be wasting your precious marketing dollars today.
Your marketing strategy includes the words “yellow” and “pages”…
A recent survey by Leap Clixx found that 90% of respondents are likely to use search engines such as Google and Bing to find the products and service they need on a daily basis, while only 3% turn to the print Yellow Pages for that same purpose. In other words, patients are 30 times more likely to use search engines than Yellow Pages! As a result of this shift toward search engines, ads in print Yellow Pages are delivering ROI at an all-time low. And many times, that advertising investment is fairly significant. Practices pay a large premium for display ads to increase their visibility on the page. With the convenience of Google and Bing, those pricey display ads are reaching fewer potential patients than ever before.
…or any form of print advertising.
Yellow Pages aren’t the only old-school advertising vehicle to be buried by search engine growth. Advertising across all print media has taken a tremendous hit. Newspapers and other local publications used to be prime real estate for attracting new patients, but in today’s digital age, patients simply aren’t reading these formats. The Pew Research Center notes that daily newspaper circulation has fallen 30% over the last 20 years, with all demographics (age, income, etc.) showing sharp declines in readership. The past few years have been the most crippling for newspapers with 5-10% percent circulation declines becoming the norm. Local weekly and bi-weekly magazines are facing these same challenges. Marketing here isn’t delivering much bang for your buck.
You’re in everyone’s mailbox.
44% of all direct mail is thrown in the trash without ever being opened. So how do you solve that problem? You make your mailer a postcard, right? Well, now your mailing campaign just got much more expensive in an advertising channel that shows steadily declining response from consumers. Direct mail has its advantages, but are you sure you’re targeting the right recipients of your message? Without keeping close tabs on your marketing list, you could be wasting precious marketing dollars on homes with no potential patients for your practice. Direct mail doesn’t come cheap, and you’ll need a lot of repetition to make an impact.
You rely on a drive-by.
How much can you really share with potential patients through a billboard? Marketing Scoop reports that the average person will see your billboard for two to three seconds. Since most people see these messages while they’re driving, it can also be difficult for them to pay attention to the advertisement. Or at least it SHOULD be. The “miniature message” billboard format doesn’t lend itself to a strong description of your services. You deserve more.
You’re big on local sponsorships.
Charitable contributions are great, but let’s be clear – they don’t count as marketing. It’s fun to see your name in a sea of logos on the back of a 5K race t-shirt. You can proudly show-off your practice name at the 16th hole in a local golf tournament. But are these random placements getting you the exposure you need to bring in new business? Of course not. These sponsorships often come with a high price tag, absorbing dollars you could be investing in more measurable and impactful marketing opportunities. You don’t necessarily have to eliminate these altogether – just be selective.
Your website is outdated.
People notice. And then they quickly run away. A general rule of thumb is that your website should be completely revamped every 3-4 years. That means freshening up your content, adopting a new design (visually and functionally) and meeting the ever-evolving needs of today’s online searchers. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on a big opportunity for exposure. More data from Pew Internet Project shows that 56% of cell phone owners use their phone to access the Internet, and 31% look for health or medical information online.
You don’t know the meaning of SEO.
Revamping your website is a great start, but it isn’t enough. Most new visitors to your site are going to come from online searches, so you’ve got to position yourself for success. If you’re not focusing on the proper keywords and phrases and other SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimization) techniques, you’re minimizing the potential impact of your website. Drop some of your outdated marketing tactics and focus those dollars on improving your SEO. Search engines are where potential patients are looking – make sure they find YOU!