Once upon a time, there was a veterinarian who said, “My practice already has a website and a Facebook account.
But I don’t see any real difference in my revenue because of it. These methods don’t really work!”
He was wrong. The methods do work, if only he knew how to use them the right away. In our consulting practice, we talk a lot about developing a plan, being unique and spreading your message. Today, we want to share an extremely powerful way of accomplishing this. It’s called word of mouth advertising.
A recent issue of Journal of Marketing quoted a research report showing word of mouth advertising is 20 times more effective than event marketing, and 30 times more effective than media advertising. Why does it work so well?
Think back to your childhood. Remember when your mom would plop down a plate of some new, previously unheard of food item? Chances are, you rebelled against trying it. You were sure it was some disgustingly healthy, horrible tasting thing that was going to give you a seizure if you ate it.
Now, imagine instead that you were at your best friend’s house and he (or she) was eating something you had never seen before. “Try it- it’s good,” he said. So you give it a go, just because your best friend said to. Maybe you liked it and maybe you didn’t, but the point is that you ate it.
Word of mouth advertising works in much the same way. It leverages peer influence to get people to take action. You are, in essence, recruiting your customers to act as free sales agents. Done well, your message can spread faster than Parvo virus, from one friend to another- until you have an all-out epidemic.
You can do this by offering your customers an incentive or just by generating interest in your practice by giving them something to talk about. Here are a couple of generalized examples:
Proctor and Gamble garnered 2 million direct referrals by offering a free can of hair spray and sweepstakes entry for each consumer that persuaded 10 friends to visit the website about the company’s new Physique shampoo.
Some big companies, such as Ford, GM, Sony, and Radio Shack pay to have their brands incorporated into video games. It gets people talking about the products they see in the games that they play
Case studies are a fantastic way to do this. Whether you choose to do a picture slide show, video or blog post, use your customers success stories to get people talking. Promote your content by sending it to your clients.
Use it in your everyday practice too. Train your staff to up-sell services by having real life story for them to share with clients. Are dental cleanings important? Yes! We had a 10 year old dog showing signs of liver damage and acting lethargic. 3 months after cleaning his teeth, his liver enzymes were normal and he came back in feeling like a puppy again.
Another possibility if your practice up-sells laser surgery would be to create a photo journal documenting the superior healing with a laser versus without. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, here