[WARNING: This is a long post with a lot of actionable content]
We all hate being sold to, that’s a given, the problem is that marketing can often seem like just a selling avenue. It’s not, and it shouldn’t be.
If your advertising campaigns simply say ” Come and see us, we are brilliant and can help” then it’s just annoying, boring, lazy and actually pretty ineffective.
Having a marketing system which works magnetically to attract people at a time that is right for them, without being annoying, aggressive or shouting about it is far more powerful… And that style of marketing is backwards marketing, also known as pull marketing or inbound marketing.
In this video I walk you through the principle of backwards marketing, why it is so effective, how to use it and how you can set it up for as little as $19 per month using Aweber.
Using this system, in conjunction with good Search Engine Optimisation, I’m regularly seeing some clients attract 50 -75 new patients per month and collect 16 Facebook reviews. All automated!
You will probably want to have pen and paper ready so you can make notes…
An overview of how backwards dental marketing works
The basic principle is that we need to understand where a person is in their purchasing decision, not everyone that visits your website will be ready to request an appointment… They may be in information gathering mode:
Patients in information gathering mode
These patients may want to know more about their problem such as replacing missing teeth or straightening crooked teeth or they indeed may want to know more about specific treatments such as dental implants or Invisalign.. The principle behind backwards marketing is that the patient has already identified that they have an issue which they wish to have resolved, what we have to do is to stand out, be noticed and provide a useful and relevant informatonn that the patient requires.
We do this using a free download from the website, simply ask for the patient’s name and e-mail address so that you can e-mail them a detailed report helping them understand more about either their problem and/or the various treatment options.
How to set this up
Do this by creating a list within Aweber and call it ‘free guides’, set your automated e-mail responses to go out at ever increasing intervals (I use the Fibonacci series of numbers with e-mails going out at increasing number of days as 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 etc), these e-mails should answer those patients queries and should address topics such as:
- How much does this treatment cost?
- How will I know if I’m suitable for this treatment?
- How comfortable is this treatment?
- Where can I go to find out more information about treatment?
- What are the links between this treatment and overall dental health?
- What type of benefits could I get from this treatment?
In these automated e-mail responses we are not trying to sell any treatment, we are simply handing out useful, free and relevant dental health advice to that patient.
However, within each e-mail we should gently guide the patient towards the next stage in their buying process…
Patients wanting to take the next small and simple step
Once patients have found out all of the information they need about either their problem, treatment or indeed a service provider they may then be ready to move onto the next step which is to come in and see you. HOWEVER at the early stages but may need some incentive or motivation from you to do this.
This is where free consultations coming, this may or may not be clinical (that is a whole other blog post) I’m simply looking at this from a marketing perspective, free consultations or even a voucher for a refund of the initial assessment fee has the effect of lowering risk and increasing trust for the patient.
When we lower risk patients that are wavering in their decision are more likely to take action and request an appointment.
The discount voucher works equally well in this regards, in this instance, notice how we are using five-star reviews to increase social proof at the point the patient is looking to make a decision.
How to set this up
Create another list in aweber And call it ‘free consultation’ or ‘refund of initial assessment’. Your automated e-mail responses can simply be thanking the patient for requesting an appointment and sending them a voucher entitling them to this free consultation or refund of initial assessment… At this stage it’s important to note but the primary motivation for doing this is to collect the patient’s details whilst they are online, thereby ensuring that we have the ability to continue to engage with that patient (if they wish to) over an extended period of time.
This gives your website very valuable ‘longevity’.
Important. You should now go into the list settings in Aweber and click on automation. Create a new rule which automates unsubscribing from the free guides list when a patient requests a free consultation or refund of initial assessment.
Creating this automation rule will stop the patient from receiving the prospecting e-mails that they had when they were simply looking for more information, this ensures the e-mails the patient receives relevant to their particular point in their new patient journey.
Patients that have been in to see you
Create a third list in Aweber and call it ‘patients’. as new patients come to the practice collect the e-mail address and name and ask them for permission to send them the very occasional dental health informational update, ensure you keep their details safe and secure.
Upload those e-mail addresses into Aweber using the import function. When Aweber asks, type into the box that you have permission to send these patients the occasional e-mail.
Now create a new automation rule as before, this time removing patients from the free consultation/voucher list AND the free guide list. This will ensure that as patients come into the practice they stop receiving any prospecting e-mails from you.
Create your auto follow up… This is the real genius!
When the patients have been in to see you you should create auto follow up message which simply says we would like to ask you a quick question, would you recommend us to your friends and family… Yes or no.
Create two new pages in your website:
- YES – If patients click the yes button from the reviews e-mail direct them to this page. This page should thank them for being willing to give you a review and create links to your Facebook page and Google plus page
- NO – If patients clicked the no button from the reviews e-mail, direct them to this page. This page should be an apology page and should have a feedback form enabling patients to give you feedback on why they are not happy to give you a review.
Summary of backwards dental marketing
If you set this up as I have suggested you will now have an automated e-mail system which will gently help the patient find out more information, provide them with information, offer them an incentive to request an appointment and then when they’ve been to see you gently ask for a review and guide them to the most appropriate place in order to leave that review.
The system works 24 hours a day.
The system never sleeps.
You can now go back to doing what you do best…
If you’d like an audit of your own dental website marketing, please visit my website audit page.
The link to Aweber in this post is an affiliate link from which I make a small commission. I used Aweber for years before I became an affiliate partner.