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Episode 046: The One About How Marketing Has Changed Since 1907 (…Or Has It?)

How Marketing Has Changed Since 1907 (…Or Has It?)

Internet marketing, often thought of as mysterious, secretive, not really sure what internet marketing is or how it works. We hear about SEO and pay-per-click and optimization and videos and free reports and autoresponders, but what does that really mean to a dentist that just wants new patients? And why has marketing so drastically changed in the last ten years? I propose it hasn’t. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you why.

Some might call me crazy for saying marketing fundamentally hasn’t changed since the early 1900s. The marketing techniques, the tactics that are used from ordering a free report to building an opt-in mailing list to humanizing yourself and your practice to make you look like a nice guy, writing books to make you look like the expert to putting your best foot forward and making a great first impression on your patients. All these techniques, these marketing tactics, these principles if you will have been the same for the past 100 years of marketing.

So what’s changed in this internet era? Well nothing really. The vehicle has changed, the method in which you transport those principles to your prospective patients has changed. Back in the early 1900s you did it by newspaper, which still works very well in some cases today. In the 1950s of course the fad was mail order advertising and mail order advertising was the latest and greatest thing. A couple of years later you had the Yellow Pages come out, the Yellow Pages has of course fizzled down to just about nothing in today’s market. Shortly after the 50s you had radio, you had TV which are still producing results today. The internet came about in what, 2002, a little bit earlier depending on how you could coming about, but the marketing principles, people, essentially have stayed the same for the past 100 years. They still respond to the same techniques and tactics, they still think the same, the only thing essentially that’s changed is how you reach your prospects.

By and large the Yellow Pages is dead. I made a prediction 12 months ago that they would be dead within 18 months and they’re right on track it seems. I talk to dentists every day that are finally starting to put tracking numbers in their Yellow Pages and realize that they’re getting five calls for the entire year or just something ridiculous. Yellow Pages online service is just like any other directory listing out there. My advice, go to Google, Google your name, Google your keywords, if YP.com doesn’t show up don’t market in YP.com. Nobody goes to YP.com to look for a dentist, they go to Google.com. 80-82% of the people that go online to search are going to go to Google.com and search, but I don’t want to get too off topic.

The principles of marketing are the same, the vehicle has changed, now we’re doing it online. Instead of saying tear the corner out of this magazine and mail it back in and we’ll send you our free report now you have people that go to the internet and can do an instant download with a PDF. Instead of having that Yellow Pages ad that talks about how great you are and the services and how you can help people, now you have a website. Instead of having a recorded hotline that people can call into and get more information, you have videos that put your best face forward on the website. Instead of having a mailing list that you can send newsletters out to on a regular basis, we have autoresponders where people can come to your website and opt-in and get information automatically until they get tired of receiving it, for years. Instead of going down to the library to research information or find out information about their condition or something they want to learn about, they can go to Wikipedia, they can hop on the internet.

The confusion that surrounds internet marketing, the mystery that surrounds it, is really I think kind of a myth that’s perpetuated by a lot of the marketers in the industry; the fear that Google might change tomorrow or that you have to optimize and you have to stay with each of these new fads that come out. Jumping on the latest fad train, the latest buzzword or techy thing that comes out is a surefire way to burn up a lot of money really fast. Solid marketing principles, the marketing principles that have existed for 100 years, when you use them on the internet just as you would have used them before successfully in the Yellow Pages, in the newspaper. Whatever that medium, whatever vehicle you’re using to project your message onto your prospective patients, the solid marketing principles are still solid.

Of course, the economy might not be what it was a couple of years ago and that is a consideration that the pool of patients has shrunk a little bit. You have to be a little bit more savvy about your marketing, especially if you’re trying to be selective about who you’re marketing to and targeting specific types of patients.

Take a look at your marketing campaign, think to yourself, put yourself in the shoes of your consumer, forget everything you know about dentistry and try to think from an emotional point of view. That’s how your patients are going to think, they’re going to look at you and they’re going to go what do I think about this guy. Look at the dentists in your market that are killing it, that you think are killing it and see what first impression they project or how you feel about their web presence or videos or marketing principles that they use. Chances are somebody in your market has a solid grasp, it might be you, has a very solid grasp on solid marketing principles and they’re using them, they’re engaging prospects on the internet and they’re capturing the lion’s share of new patients.

That’s all for Wednesday. Keep moving forward.

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