No, email is not dead. But while it remains an efficient and cost-effective marketing channel, email isn’t enough.
When choosing a plastic surgery practice, patients rely on an increasingly wide variety of platforms to collect information, including social, web, mobile, and email. So for your marketing to reach the people you’re targeting, you have to be where they are. And today, that’s everywhere, making multi-channel marketing the new imperative for practices that want to increase revenue and grow.
Need another reason to move beyond email? Consider this: Multi-channel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers, according to industry data.
But creating and executing effective, engaging multi-channel marketing doesn’t happen at the click of a mouse. Technology and resource constraints lie at the heart of why even practices that understand what needs to be done to grow still aren’t doing it.
If you’re thinking about investing the necessary resources in multi-channel marketing, here are some important factors to consider:
Multiple Channels Offer Convenience—and Control
Patients value control over how they interact with you. They want to make appointments and get information on their terms and schedules. They aren’t always available during your business hours. Provide ways to make appointments or ask questions online, and offer easy links to do so from your email and landing pages, as well as through texting and mobile apps on smartphones.
And, remember, people have communication preferences, so you’ll reach the most targets—at the most opportune times—when you’re not dependent on a single channel.
For Danville, California-based Blackhawk Plastic Surgery, a multi-channel approach is fueling growth by capturing the attention—and wallets—of its contacts.
Since early 2016, the practice has been executing integrated campaigns through six digital marketing channels: branded email, text messages, push notifications, targeted Facebook ads, web landing pages, and automated conversational content on a smartphone app.
“With multiple channels, we’re reaching people we may have missed with just email,” says Megan Scott, the practice’s director of marketing. “What we’re doing has brought back people who have not been here in years, and that’s our goal.”
In less than 6 months, Blackhawk Plastic Surgery’s multi-channel marketing has generated 460 appointment requests.
You establish credibility when you regularly communicate information—across channels—to your patients. Set and stick to a regular schedule. But don’t over-communicate or you’ll find your open and click-through rates will decrease, while your unsubscribes increase. The best way to determine the right schedule is to test and measure results. Weekly communication through each channel is a good place to start.
“Someone may not respond to a message or offer the first time, and that’s OK,” explains Dr Sheena Kong, of San Francisco’s Sheena Kong Med Spa, who began communicating to her contacts through a systematic, multi-channel approach last year and has seen measurable results.
“Consistency is important because the timing has to be right for people to take action. Patients are busy; They want to act on their terms,” Kong says.
Dr Kong generated more than 230 leads (appointment requests) in the first 12 months of implementing her multi-channel approach, tying directly to revenue.
Track & Measure Results
Before you begin a multi-channel campaign, clearly identify the metrics by which you will judge success. If it’s customer appointments you want, ensure your marketing campaigns provide a clear path to make an appointment. You will also need an easy way to monitor and track results, and then tie them to specific efforts. You want to know what works and not waste money on what doesn’t.
Listen to your patients, then adapt to the methods they prefer and respond to most.
When to Seek Help
If you want to grow your business through multi-channel marketing, you have to first determine if you have the internal resources and expertise to do it on your own.
Marketing automation tools are an option, but does your staff have the time and expertise to implement them effectively? While an initial investment is necessary if you choose to outsource, the most cost-effective path may be to hire an expert. An expert familiar with marketing best practices and executing the work for you will likely yield results much more quickly than an overburdened and inexperienced staff member’s trial and error. With outside help, those internal resources can remain focused on other vital business operations for your practice.
The Bottom Line
Plastic surgery practices investing in multi-channel marketing are reaping big rewards—stronger customer engagement, reduced competition and ultimately revenue growth. Overcoming the initial technology and resource barriers to multi-channel marketing may not be instant, but is necessary for growth in an increasingly online, offline and mobile world.
Bob Fabbio is the CEO and Co-Founder of Austin, Texas-based eRelevance Corp, a technology-enabled marketing automation service providing small- to medium-sized aesthetic practices with affordable internal marketing that reduces workload and generates more business www.erelevancecorp.com. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.