March 14, 2016
In my last blog post, I discussed the challenge of picking the correct marketing strategy to attract more new patients to your practice. There is no one size fits all, certainly no magic bullet that is guaranteed to hit the target. So you have to be nimble and careful about making any kind of long term contractual agreement or arrangement with any marketing program. You just never know what the results will be.
The responses from many of you sharing your experiences got me thinking about Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) and why I think it surpasses any one strategy while complementing every strategy. I researched a number of word-of-mouth marketing statistics that you should know about. Take a few minutes and read these articles – very interesting stuff. Insightpool.com November 2015; ambassador.com December 30, 2015; and friendbuy.com July 2015. Some highlights:
• 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products–making these recommendations the information source ranked highest for trustworthiness. (Nielsen).
• 74% of consumers identify word–of–mouth as a key influence in their purchasing decision. (Ogilvy).
• 20% to 50% of purchases are the result of a word-of-mouth recommendation. And consumers sharing a brand’s message generated more than double the sales that resulted from paid advertising. (McKinsey & Co.)
• 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people – even if they don’t know them personally – over promotional content that comes directly from paid advertising. (Nielsen).
Word of mouth is defined as a trusted recommendation from one friend to another about a product or a service or a provider of a service. It is friends speaking to friends in all different situations: parents waiting to pick up their kids at school – chatting at the gym – cocktail parties – anywhere that people congregate. They talk about restaurants, movies, golf balls that go farther and straighter, books, and of course healthcare providers like their dentist. The following is a short list of what I hope people would say about your practice:
• I never felt one bit of pain! I was so nervous, and they totally reassured me and kept me comfortable.
• I have never once had to wait. They are always on time.
• They are so good with coordinating my insurance benefits. They really make the payment easy.
• My dentist is such a caring professional. She calls me after treatment to see if I am okay.
• I actually received a handwritten note from the doctor himself after my mother died. I could not believe how considerate and caring that was.
• I had my crown done in one day! And they didn’t even have to take an impression and put glop in my mouth.
• You simply would not believe how compassionate and friendly the staff is at this office. They always make me feel so special.
• The dentist explained everything to me and gave me his total undivided attention so that I fully understood the treatment.
• My dentist gave me choices for treatment, and there was no pressure, no salesmanship. I felt in control.
What is equally interesting is the effect of word of mouth through social media. In today’s digital age, it has taken on a new life, as conversations and engagement travel around the web at supersonic speeds. According to a recent Nielsen survey, 68% of consumers trust online opinions from other consumers and place online opinions as the third most trusted source of product information. Furthermore, 72% of consumers say that reading a positive customer review increases their trust in the business. So for sure you need to continually acquire excellent Google and Yelp reviews from your satisfied patients and make them easy to find and easy to read from your website. The value of these reviews is enormous.
So please make the commitment to excellence on all levels so that word of mouth can work for you. I always say – and truly believe – that it is easy to be good when so many others are so bad! Schedule some staff meetings and get everyone on board. You can’t do it alone. Please remember that this commitment has to be consistent and ongoing. Create the buzz in your community, and new patients will start flowing to your doors.
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