Maria called me from Florida to ask what went wrong with her medical PPC ads. She and her husband had recently advertised to 15,000 potential patients and had gotten just two inquiries. She’d just spent the bulk of their marketing budget on an ad that only generated a lead or two and cost far more than it produced in revenue.
I’m sure you’ve seen similar promotions. It could be in the form of a sponsored article, a pop-up ad, or a simple PPC ad. In each case, the advertiser launches right into the sell phase of marketing with the hope you’ll instantly pick up the phone or go to their website and make an appointment.
This approach is called one-step advertising and represents approximately 95% of the promotional efforts you’ve seen.
Have you ever used this one-step approach?
Were you happy with the results?
The most common response by practice owners after they’ve spent thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on marketing that does almost nothing to generate business for them is, “PPC Advertising doesn’t work.”
Have you ever said this or thought this?
If you have, you’re right. One-step advertising doesn’t work. This is a marketing strategy that most people cling to the same way lottery ticket buyers cling to the hope they’ll hit the jackpot. The truth is that lottery ticket buyers with ten million-to-one chances are far better at making money from their investment than most people who invest in one-step advertising.
I’m not suggesting you stop spending money on advertising and start buying lottery tickets. Instead, I’d like you to dispense with the notion that one-step advertising will help you grow your practice.
Actually, the only situation I’ve seen where it works is for business liquidations. For the 80% of businesses that go out of business in the first five years, one-step advertising works just once, to help them shut their doors forever.
One-step ads are focused on just one thing: Their purpose is to generate an immediate sale. It doesn’t build a relationship with a new patient.
Why doesn’t this approach work?
One-step advertising fails because:
- It focuses on your products and services—not what the prospective patient wants.
- Your prospective patient may not need your help today.
- Your patient may be one of the 85% of people who spend a couple of weeks researching practices, evaluating their options, providers, and pricing.
- Your prospect may still be figuring out whether insurance will help pay.
- Your patient may lack an urgent need for your products or services.
- 95% of ads used are missing the key elements necessary to establish credibility.
- 98% of ads don’t help the patient determine the value of your products and services.
Most patients increase their propensity to make an appointment after the sixth follow-up contact. When you use a one-step approach, you’ll miss the majority of your prospective patients. If you’re thinking that running the same ad six or more times in a row will do the job, then banish that thought from your mind.
Applying one-step advertising over and over is just that. It’s still one-step advertising. If it didn’t work the first time, then it’s not going to work the sixth time.
The only people who can make this model work are Fortune 500 companies with advertising budgets that run into the billions of dollars.
To get away from one-step ads and promotional efforts, you need to redefine the purpose of advertising. The purpose of your advertising and promotional efforts is to generate interest and patients contacting you.
It’s to start a conversation, so you help new patients get what they want.
Advertising, whether it’s an online ad or a postcard, should be the first step in your marketing sequence. Once you have a new patient’s interest, the next step is to follow up.
Do the math. Let’s say, like Maria, you advertised to 15,000 prospective patients, and instead of trying to generate an immediate appointment, you used your ad to prompt people to contact you for free health information or a screening, whether they were ready to come in today or next year.
At a minimum, you should be able to get a half to one-and-a-half percent response rate. That’d give you 750 to 2,250 potential patients who want to learn more. The more interested patients you have, the more appointments you’ll generate.
When you replace one-step advertising with a marketing sequence designed to give new patients the information they want, you’ll see your advertising investment pay off handsomely in increased appointments.
Ready to attract many more patients? Talk to us.