Mike Shoun, CEO
Affordable Image
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Are You on Track for 2015?
By Mike Shoun, CEO

Where has the time gone? It seems like we were just toasting in 2015, and now we are halfway through the first quarter of the year. By now you have probably forgotten one or more of the business resolutions you pledged at midnight. Hopefully one of the forgotten wasn’t to work on your marketing to grow your practice. But if it was, don’t worry – there is still time to get your numbers up and make sure your ROI is in line with your goals for this year.

I have been asked what really works in marketing and how my clients can do it affordably. I seem to say the same thing, but then I am really practicing the sermon. With all the hoopla of the digital age and the way time moves in our daily lives, one single word comes to mind and that is consistency. Without consistency, nothing else matters. It takes time to make an impact.

This list of 3 of the most impactful marketing actions that are working today should help you see if your marketing resolutions are still on track for 2015.

1. Direct Mail
You are probably asking yourself why I would start my list off with this. I still believe the tangible touch and feel of a marketing piece coming to your home has an impact that other marketing techniques just don’t have. Recipients of marketing materials have what is called the “validation process”. When somebody receives an item from you, it validates you as a real business. They connect to you in two ways. First would be answering the need that your service provides. Second, they can review their own validation by searching you on the internet (assuming you are on there, but that is coming up later). This validation process leads them to trust you and move forward with their decision to use you. Just as important, it serves as an invitation to call your practice.

Interesting side note: JC Penny is reissuing their catalogs after a 5 year hiatus. They did a study finding that people prefer looking at a catalog then going online to buy. Again, it is the tangible touch/feeling response you are also trying to achieve.

2. Website
You will hear a million different takes on how a website should function or look, and everyone thinks they are an expert these days. But the reality is there are only a few ways people use sites and only a few ways they should be built. The first is to shop, the second is to get information, and the third is to be entertained. 

When you are shopping, you don’t want to have the site look like your news source or vice versa. There are tried and true formulas that work for different industries and target markets. Keep in mind when you see the latest trends – you might think a site looks cool, but is it functional for getting new patients and retaining them?

Keeping your site fresh and up-to-date is the key. This is the consistency thing I keep coming back to. Your website needs to look pleasing and friendly. After all, you are trying to be their family dentist. It needs to function properly and most of all give the patient the information they are looking for. They are looking for your location, your hours and a picture of you and your staff. Make sure you don’t have a template site, as this only confuses patients who have seen the site before from your competitors. Brand Awareness is the key here. Your website also allows your direct mail piece to connect you to the user and come alive for them.

3. SEO
The mystery of SEO. What do these letters stand for? Search Engine Optimization. This marketing technique is a must for all websites that want to be found. You can’t just take the “build it and they will come” attitude here, unless you did some outrageous stunt that was on the nightly news and got Tweeted out to the world and made you an overnight success. You can’t take chances on marketing – instead, follow strategy and planning.

Having a successful SEO plan is critical, and you should be on a monthly plan until you are ready to go out of business. Make room in your budget now so you never go one month without it. It is the new “Yellow Pages” and just like in the old days, if you are not in the book, you are not found and your competition can run away with your patients.

These three techniques are critical to any practice, and you should take time now to go over your marketing budget and see how you measure up for 2015.

Mike Shoun is the President and Owner of Affordable Image Dental Marketing Solutions - a full service marketing company dedicated to the client's overall success. 

Mike can be reached at (602) 265-2299 ext. 211, or email mike@affordableimage.com

Visit www.affordableimage.com for more information

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