Marketing is often a major blind spot for health practitioners. After all – you’re a healer, not a salesperson! Not to mention that marketing, trying to find new clients, and even just talking about money are often taboo topics – and make some people feel “sleazy.”
But the truth is, marketing is just as essential for your practice as is keeping up your certifications or finding an office space. If you aren’t marketing – in one way or another – you won’t be able to grow or sustain your business.
But don’t worry: you don’t need to become a marketing guru yourself – or sacrifice your personal convictions – to effectively market your practice.
Season 3 of Good Medicine On the Go, co-hosts Dr. Nathan Morris and Kara Ware are breaking down the common myths and mishaps of marketing – to help you reach more patients, build stronger relationships, and grow a more resilient and enjoyable practice.
Through insurance, hybrid, and eventually a cash model, Dr. Morris had slowly grown his Ohio Functional Medicine practice. His word-of-mouth referrals generated a 6-month waiting list. When Dr. Morris and his family moved to Colorado, these long-time business partners, Nathan Morris and Kara Ware, needed to learn the art of marketing.
Today, we’re going to discuss the two major types of marketing, and why one is far better than the other for health practitioners.
Type #1: Mass marketing
Mass marketing – also called brand-based marketing – is what most people think of when they think of marketing.
According to Allan Dib, author of the 1-page marketing plan the point of mass marketing is to get a company’s name out into the world. Some examples include:
- Billboards featuring the company name and logo
- Sponsoring a building (i.e. “The Staples Center”)
- Giving out branded gear and freebies (pens, mugs, t-shirts)
This kind of marketing is about building name recognition – and it does work – for big companies with a BIG marketing budget.
“[But] for most small businesses, you just don’t have the firepower to do that. And by firepower, I mean, budget, timeframe, energy, team, all of that sort of thing,” according to Dib.
Fortunately, there is a second type of marketing that is better for small businesses.
Type #2: Direct response marketing
According to Dib, Direct Response Marketing is another type of marketing that is all about getting people to respond to advertisements (as the name implies!).
Compared to mass marketing, Direct Response Marketing is much more personalized and works especially well for companies that have a specific niche – or target audience – that they work with.
Some of the key tenets of Direct Response Marketing are:
- Targeting a niche (specific) audience
- Speaking to the niche’s pain (join the conversation in their mind)
- Focuses on the perspective of the client, not the company (what are they thinking, feeling, wishing)
- Focuses on educating, building trust, and rapport – not selling
To help understand the difference, think about a Coca-Cola billboard. The billboard shows an image of coke (or maybe people enjoying it) and says the brand name. There is no direct “ask” of the person viewing it. (Though it may trigger someone to think “Coca Cola sounds good right now!”)
On the other hand, an example of Direct Response Marketing might be a billboard for a lawyer who specializes in helping motorcyclists who get into accidents. The billboard tells viewers to call a specific phone number for help. This billboard targets a specific niche (motorcyclists in accidents) and speaks to their pain, and asks them to do a specific thing (call this number) to solve their problem.
What are the advantages of direct response marketing?
Direct Response Marketing compels a high-quality prospect to take immediate action and opt into the advertiser’s offer.
The “opt-in” doesn’t have to be about spending money: it can be to opt-in to an email list, pick up the phone and call for more information, visit a web page or place an order or book an appointment.
This focus on acquiring leads – aka potential customers for your business – is one of the biggest advantages of Direct Response Marketing compared to mass marketing.
Another massive advantage of targeting a niche, as in Direct Response Marketing, is that your marketing naturally becomes less expensive. Targeted advertising ends up costing less than mass marketing because there is a lot less waste.
A final advantage of Direct Response Marketing is that even to people who are uncomfortable with “selling” – it feels natural because it is based on educating and giving.
Direct response marketing in action – no selling, yet!
A key aspect of Direct Response Marketing is that it is education-based.
Instead of telling people “buy this!” you’re:
- Establishing credibility
- Delivering value
- Positioning yourself as an authority
- Building trust and a relationship
- Offering an “ethical bribe” (more to come on this)
All of this is done by offering free resources to your customers. Some examples include:
- A free consultation call
- Expert blog posts on your website
- A free download or guide targeted to their interest
The goal is that the potential customer doesn’t need to be convinced or “sold” on your company or services – instead, they have already built a relationship and trust, and you are becoming a trusted guide.
Direct response marketing redefines marketing
With Direct Response Marketing, the focus is relationship building, not sales. It acknowledges there is often a decision-making process and that decisions are based on emotional connections.
As a health practitioner, Direct Response Marketing is the most effective and ethical way to grow and sustain your practice with engaged, happy customers.
Stay tuned for more blog posts and episodes of Good Medicine On the Go where we will continue to break down marketing for busy health practitioners.
And if you haven’t yet, listen to Season 3, Episode 1 ‘Marketing to Everyone but Appealing to No One’ with Direct Response Marketing expert Allan Dib.
I am a paid advisor at Pure Encapsulations, I do not have any other conflicts of interest. All podcast productions represent the opinions of the co-hosts and do not represent the position or the opinion of the sponsors. Reference by the presenter to any specific product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, or manufacturer does not constitute or imply endorsement or recommendations by the Sponsor. The podcast is not a substitute for standard medical care. The podcast is intended for licensed health care practitioners. Practitioners are solely responsible for the care and treatment provided to their own patients.