Performance Marketing: A Low Cost Way To Grow Your Practice!
Expanding your private practice by cost-effectively recruiting new patients can be, as many of you may have probably already discovered, a hit or miss proposition. Marketing by its very nature calls for a constant testing of message, creative, technology and measurement methods to arrive at an optimum Return-on-Investment (ROI) for each marketing dollar spent.
Who among you has the expertise, or the time to develop the necessary expertise, to direct a marketing campaign that will yield a good return on your investment?
Introducing Performance Marketing
There is a viable option for you, involving what is perhaps the most underrated and misunderstood media channel in online advertising—performance marketing.
It now comprises about 70% of the online advertising industry's estimated $40 billion in annual advertiser expenditures, and every physician who wants to expand, or create a private practice, needs to be aware of its potential advantages.
Why Performance Marketing Is Winning Over Brand Advertising
Before we begin, here is a little known secret---some performance marketing agencies who are confident in their performance marketing skills, will actually conduct ‘full performance’ services, thus investing in your campaign, paying for brand story content planning, copywriting, developing the creative (website, landing pages, banner ads, emails), buying the media, and conducting analysis. This approach has successfully turned upside down, the traditional ‘value proposition’ of advertising, shifting the responsibility for real-time measurement of return on investment (ROI) to the marketer. The agent has ‘skin in the game’ and it forces them to become accountable. No more wasted ad dollars!
Performance marketing is a comprehensive online marketing and advertising program that exists between a brand and an advertiser/marketer. It is a widespread term that refers to online marketing and advertising programs, in which advertising agents are paid when a specific action is completed, such as generating a new patient lead. Performance marketing's objective is to drive a specific action, and physicians/advertisers only pay when that action, such as a lead, is completed.
Campaigns can be tailored to target a specific physician’s demographic needs, This combination of advertising and creative innovation supports practices in ever-changing ways, helping to build your brand while generating excellent response. Moreover, it creates triple win results for all the involved partners (the physician/advertiser, the website publisher, and the ad agency).
Performance marketing stands in stark contrast to brand advertising: Brand advertising tells the story of who you are and creates a consumer relationship, while performance marketing makes the sale. Brand marketing is based on impressions cost per thousand (CPM), or sponsorship and is more of an ‘art.’ Performance marketing is based on cost per click (CPC), cost per sale (CPS) or more commonly cost per lead (CPL) and is more ‘science.’
Combining Brand Direct With Performance Marketing
With brand/direct performance marketing, end of campaign results are measured by cost per acquisition (CPA). This is the total budget divided by the number of patients generated. It factors all costs for content planning, copywriting, website development, email communications with your prospects, advertising media expense and analytics review.
So, how to you get the best bang for your buck? Work with your agency to conduct brand/direct campaigns and have them pay for the cost of the campaign. By combining performance marketing with brand advertising, you will get brand exposure and leads. You get to tell your brand story while generating a direct response from consumers. Best of all – there isn’t any upfront cost from you.
When a brand/direct campaign is appropriately targeted to your audience, with the right ‘story’ message and strong calls to action --- creative (message, website and email design), offer (referred to as a lead magnet), lead form (it should be easy to complete), you increase the opportunity to resonate with your potential audience. The more you or your marketer knows how to test and improve campaign characteristics, the better the response and lower the costs.
Advertising No Longer Has to Be A Costly Proposition
It’s important to emphasize again that unlike other forms of traditional digital advertising, where fees are paid up front and do not depend upon the success of the campaign, advertisers in performance marketing only pay for successful transactions (E.G. - qualified leads). That saves you a lot on direct, out-of-pocket costs.
Now you have an insight into why most advertising agencies won't offer the full service performance marketing service to you--- they make more money by selling you traditional digital advertising and have little or no accountability. Traditional digital advertising (CPM, Sponsorship, Directory Listings, Google Ad Words, Search Optimization, Banner Placement) while accountable and measureable to some extent, is only part of the story.
In other words, most traditional digital advertising pretty much keeps you in the dark about the actual effectiveness of your practice promotion efforts. However, with a little legwork, you can find agencies that will conduct your campaign based on full service performance.
With performance marketing, your advertising agent becomes your marketing partner, with a vested stake in your business growth. Research “performance marketing agencies” on the search engines and you will find many resources on the subject. Now you can have a new way to get patient leads without having to make a huge upfront investment.
Next month’s column will present “A Social Media Guide For Physicians And Medical Practices.”
Paul Epstein, CEO of PrevientMD, is a serial entrepreneur and visionary pioneer in coalescing trendsetting concepts into strategic plans resulting in lucrative business models. Paul’s experience spans integration of team building in advertising and marketing, brand/direct building strategies, client services, business development, technology, financial modeling, and business planning to catapult companies to success. Paul has especially leveraged his experience successfully syndicating products and services across the Internet for more than 20 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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