Promotion has to do with the methods you choose to communicate about your brand to prospective and existing patients, customers and clients. In determining who will succeed and who will fail, promotion is HUGE!
Promotion requires that you first identify the best channels to reach your target marget, to get information to the people you can best serve or uniquely serve. Finding the right channels of communicating about your work may determine whether you get heard or get lost in the noisy marketplace. In my case, my preferred channel is referrals. After some 30+ years of delivering speaking and training work, I’ve been able to build my business almost entirely through referrals. I’ve learned to ask for referrals during each and every presentation. My newsletter invites subscribers to pass it on. And I tell my clients in no uncertain terms that my business is kept alive through their good will and referrals.
For others, the internet is a meaningful channel to communicate about brands. However, this is the ultimate in noisy and crowded, and getting people to pick up your signal amidst the noise is no easy task. If you think the internet is going to be your best source of patients, customers and clients, then you would be well advised to hire someone who understands how to get above the crowd and have them develop your internet presence accordingly. I’ve been social networking and blogging for over 4 years, and I honestly don’t get business from any of it. If there’s a secret sauce, I don’t have it. Fortunately, the longer I speak and train, the bigger my audience, so I use the internet as an additional channel to communicate with my audience, and nothing more.
If you can find a way to convert your customers and clients into raving fans, you will get good word of mouth. Word of mouth carries much farther. And consumers can now influence the success or failure of your practice in a much shorter amount of time than ever before. You can do some of this through networking and social networking. But you’ll get further faster by building real relationships, based on honest feedback. Survey your patients, offer them an attractive and ethical bribe to give you specific feedback. Maybe a shopping bag (no, not a paper bag) a reusable shopping bag for groceries; or a 2 for one, or a free physical, or special invitation to a closed event. something they would find desirable. You can even invite people to dinner, pay for the meal, and ask them questions, answer them too.
The big question is, Where do your patients get their information? Do they read the paper? My father read it every morning, cover to cover. My wife does the same, but only with half the paper. Me? I read headlines, I get my news and information online. If you serve the elderly, social media is likely a poor channel. i will only see your ad if my wife points it out to me. The key is to promote where your potential patients are already paying attention.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on branding and marketing. Your comments, questions and feedback are welcome.