Editor’s Note: This is the last in a series of Signal and Noise posts that have explored some of the changes in patient acquisition strategies and the ability to gather more precise data about potential customers is becoming an essential component of a modern marketing strategy. In this final post we examine how small to medium sized practices can utilize many of the data gathering tools that many people often equate with Fortune 500 companies.
by Brad Dodson
In today’s digital landscape, full-scale agency services and tools — data modeling, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) — are available to small and medium business, making it easier than ever before to find the ideal prospect, eliminate wasteful spending, and improve your response rates.
Big data, machine learning, and AI are swiftly shifting the marketing landscape. While consumers can still find the information they need on billboards, in pieces of direct mail, and via radio ads, avenues for communication continue to grow. Your patients and prospects are wearing smart devices, uploading personal information to healthcare apps, and sharing statuses on social media every day.
As your target market’s behaviors evolve, so must your marketing efforts. This influx of data must be at the core of your omnichannel marketing plan. This way, people see your hearing care practice’s name among multiple platforms — direct mail, targeted top prospect email, PPC, social media and outbound calling efforts — for the highest impact.
The Data Model
Using geographic, demographic, financial, and behavioral attributes of your current customer base, AI can identify top responders in the market and optimize your spend. These curated data models create segments, giving you a clear picture of surrounding competitors, community home values, and the population density around your practice’s location.
Armed with such granular information, you can then market in an ordered, principal way, starting with those most likely to respond before hitting budget goals. Data science makes this possible, as it can use the unique attributes of your current customers to find look-a-like patients in your market and surrounding zip codes. Thus, you’re not only communicating with prospects who would have been targeted using traditional approaches but finding those who would have been missed without the help of segmentation.
Direct mail has a 10 times higher response rate than traditional paid searches, email marketing, and social media marketing. It is imperative you create a strong presence in your patient and prospect’s mailboxes, all while using data to target the most lucrative destinations.
In order to maximize effectiveness of direct mail marketing, you need to take a systematic approach to reinforce both online and offline efforts. Strategically implementing digital techniques with your direct mail campaigns ensures increased ROI, no matter the success metric you’re targeting or goal you’re trying to reach.
Maximizing Online and Offline Marketing Efforts
Here are a few ways to synthesize your digital and direct mail efforts.:
- Email: Campaigns that complement your direct mail to reach the right hearing care patients at the right time to increase campaign response. Whether you’re announcing a new product, sending appointment reminders, or advertising a sale, well-designed email campaigns can capture attention and spur action.
- Pay Per Click: This form of search-engine advertising can drive more traffic to your website by local area patients who are actively searching for hearing care services. Using high-converting keywords, you can easily make your practice appear more visible, driving more hearing tests and appointments.
- Retargeting ads: When someone visits your website, they provide valuable data in the form of IP address. Running those addresses through a “reverse append” algorithm can determine their physical home address, making it easier to send interested prospects pieces of direct mail.
- Display Ads: Using the same IP technology, you can send digital display ads to direct mail prospects for increased exposure to your message
While building a robust digital presence is important for just about every business, it’s now evident that it’s even more important to build it as a complement to a robust, consistent direct mail marketing plan. Gone are the days of blasting 10,000 mail pieces to your clientele with the hopes of booking as many appointments as possible; together, direct mail and data can elevate not only your marketing, but the bottom line of your business.
When used in conjunction with big data, machine learning, and AI, traditional channels for marketing only enhance your online marketing efforts. Direct mail marketing can trigger an emotional response, but also adds value to your overall campaign message. Together, they make your marketing efforts memorable, but more importantly, successful.
About the author
Brad Dodson is a regional account executive for Bluewing Hearing Care. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org