Is It Raining Where Your Customers Live?

A friend of mine used to live in a small town at the base of a mountain. It was a beautiful sight to walk out on his back porch and see the mountains rising up out of the horizon… unless it was spring and dark rain clouds surrounded the mountain top. He explained the fear that kept locals watching the mountain in the spring: “It doesn’t matter how much rain we get down here. What matters is how much water they are getting up there. All of that water must go somewhere, and it is down to the river that flows through downtown.”

An important marketing concept in the making

A major mistake many business owners make, including dentists, is that we tend to compartmentalize our thinking when it comes to marketing. If we place an ad in the newspaper and results appear to be less than stellar we discount the effort and move to another tactic. If we post a video on YouTube or send out an email blast and we get few calls to our office we are tempted to chalk it up to experience and try something different. Compartmentalizing our marketing efforts and basing future decisions on the results of one campaign may seem prudent (short term) but it may be hurting our flood of calls at the bottom (long term).

A recent study showed that despite a crash in the economy, discounts and offers are not a major focus for consumers choosing a local business or a professional practice, such as a dentist.

  • Fifty-two percent of adults under 45 visit more than two websites before picking a local business to call
  • 63% of respondents under 45 head to Google
  • 24% visit Facebook
  • 21% look at review sites
  • 17% simply choose a local business because it is the first spot on the search results
  • Only 8% said the best price is the influencing factor in choosing local business
  • So let’s look at the largest group; Google users. If you were to focus your marketing efforts on this large group alone you’d be missing 37% of the rest of the population. Also, you’d be missing out on an even larger percentage of people over 45 who may be your main target audience – the Boomers with more disposable income (cash in their pocket!). If you used Facebook as your main marketing focus you’d easily miss 76% of potential viewers and therefore patient prospects.

    We cannot compartmentalize our marketing efforts and boil it down to one solution

    We have to remain everywhere and do everything or we miss large market segments. We cannot look at what is happening in the valley, or with one marketing effort, and not expect flooding because the mountain of total marketing looms above us. The raindrops of emails, websites, Facebook, video content and newspaper ads are all drops falling on top of your community. Those consumers now look at everything in varying degrees. What flows down the mountain is a more educated audience before they flood your office with calls. To say one thing doesn’t work may be a mistake. It may be in fact the raindrop that adds to the flood of new patients.

    Local community members are savvy shoppers, even for a dental practice

    They shop, they look, they compare, and they study, as shown by those who visit at least two websites before making a decision. An email blast or newspaper ad may not cause someone to call your office directly, but it may cause someone to visit your website, compare you with a few others, see your videos and get your free reports. If that was the flow to making a call to your office it would be wrong to assume the free reports did the trick and were most effective.

    More and more attention is being placed on the flow of consumers before they make that all important call. The audience wants to shop around as shown in this study. At SWM we know this and we’ve built in tracking capabilities to everything we do for our clients. We can track the flow of buying decisions. In the above example, we have the developed the technology to know that the free reports did not make anyone call your office. Without this technology, this could be a very expensive misunderstanding.



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    Posted under Local Search, Phone Tracking, Video on the web on August 1st, 2011 |

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    About the author
    Colin Receveur is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and dental web marketing expert who has pioneered the way dentists market themselves online for the past decade. Since incorporating in 2001, Colin has established a rock solid track record with his dentist clients and turned SmartBox into a stalwart of proven results for hundreds of dental practices.