In 1980, I knew very little about marketing. Still I tried my hand at writing what I thought was compelling copy for a brochure. Looking back on those various pieces now makes me laugh. I didn’t have a clue!
The copy failed to do what I wanted it to do – bring in a treasure trove of new patients. What is obvious now wasn’t even on the distant mental radar back then. I wish I could say something clever about my early ineptitude. The only thing that fits is misery loves company. The entire profession was below poor. Much of it still is.
Now almost thirty years later, I have acquired the skills and understandings necessary to write well, to put in place complete multi-channel marketing campaigns and understand what works.
One of the basic, yet often missed elements of successful marketing is crafting a compelling message. One would think that this basic would be understood and in common use by the vast majority of those marketing anything. Au Contraire. It is but a small minority that pulls off the basics of messaging effectively. As a sidebar, large corporations are often among the most guilty of omitting compelling messages. Their solution is to do a lot of marketing to defend the image of the brand. That should read as institutional advertising. Their concept is to be everywhere and simply throw a lot of money at the problem. They get enough success that they continue. Hundreds of millions will do that.
For regular businesses and professionals, these branding campaigns are fruitless. It costs too much and it takes too long.
Before these simple principles can be invoked, consider this: does a market exist for what I want to offer? That may sound silly, but on a broad scale many new enterprises fail simply because they offer a product that the public does not want or understand well enough to buy! Some of the brightest marketers first figure out what is wanted by some specific group and then develop products and services to match that desire item. When done well, the success of the enterprise becomes so much easier.
There is a second group of savvy marketers. These deliberately look for products and services that the public does not know it wants. This is a far more risky method. It requires someone to intuitively stumble upon an offering they think could be successful. Starbucks is often mentioned as an example. True, it was a new concept. But, it followed a successful model already in use in Europe. The human nature side of the offering had already been plumbed. So, be careful with intuiting what you believe the public will want! It is far safer to research what is missing and desired and then offering that.
Now for Dentistry, this is moot point. The public needs what we provide. Still, if the public doesn’t understand the why of a service, it will use it far less. This is a point for you to consider with all of the services you provide. This is also the reason that you have difficulty with keeping your hygiene schedule full. For too many people, it is “just a cleaning.” Unfortunately many dental teams believe this too!
Before we stray further away, let’s get back to our principles of creating a compelling message.
So what are the elements of a compelling message? Here is good news: The principles are few and they are simple. And that may not mean easy.
Principle 1 Who is the Market?
Who is the offering designed for? Is it a specific group? Specific groups or niches make your marketing appeals more effective.
Is it broad based – everyone? The problem of being for everyone is that the message will be so broad that it typically lacks ummph! Even everyday items are typically marketed by attaching a probable user to the message. An easy example of this is the P&G product the Swiffer. The protypical “housewife” is shown using it to beat the problem of dirt and grim in her home. The power of knowing who your customer, client or patient is makes it far easier to create a message that appeals to them.
What are their interests? Age? Location? Income? Education? What do they read? What are their values? What beliefs do they live by?
A typical practice has multiple potential niches.
The better you know your targeted typical client, the easier it is to create a message that the niche can identify with and agree with.
The agreement and identification are keys to resonance. Think of resonance as being on the same wavelength.
When you are on the same wavelength with your prospective patient the nidus of trust is created. For many people, discovering someone who thinks like they do is enough to begin the process of making trust.
That trust coupled with an offer and some urgency or scarcity that matches a perceived need gets your prospect to accept your offer.
Next time we’ll discuss more of the parts of the compelling message.
I leave you with this question: Does this same formula apply elsewhere? Where? How?