(212) was a big deal
For several decades all businesses wanted to have a 212 area code. It meant your business was located in New York City. This was a big deal because New York City was considered the most prestigious and populous city in the United States. A 212 area code meant you were in a high rent district which translated to success! Even to this day, NYC is recognized for its impact on global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. Several years ago, the phone companies ran out of 212 area code phone number combinations. This led NYC to implement the 718 area code which was largely used by the surrounding boroughs previously. Today, because of the ever growing amount of cell phone usage, NYC will now introduce (929) as the new NYC area code! The reason I mention this is because cellular phone/smart phone usage has exploded and now everyone has a cell phone. Now kids, teens and adults have personal cell phone numbers and everyone is talking and texting. It’s huge! – You can’t even shop at the market without seeing someone texting or talking on the phone! If you are like me, you probably have a cell, office/fax and home phone number.
Many of us also have e-mails, texts and social media sites showing up on our smart phones, home and office computer. Soon we will carry devices that incorporate most, if not all, of our communication and technology tools! “We will have intimate eye to eye conversations with friends or family members while being thousands of miles away. At the same time, you will be watching a newly, released movie together while one of you is sitting in their easy chair and the other lying in bed in their hotel room!” “You could be in Europe on a business trip and watching your child’s favorite television show with them, simultaneously checking your bank balance or Facebook news feed”.
Things certainly have changed and a 212 area code isn’t as important as it used to be. However, the phone has become more popular, powerful and useful than we would have ever imagined!
The take a way – Things change and we must to!
Still think it’s only for kids and teens?
*The below statistics are from 2008 and are modest compared to current day numbers. You can do a Google search and see for yourself. Just type in – text messaging statistics in the Google search bar and you will be amazed at all the data! The numbers have grown exponentially!
- 72.2% of wireless users have paid for SMS packages. This equates to over 203 million Americans (2008).
- 57% of wireless users 13+ are considered regular text message users (2008).
- There has been a 107% increase in text message use in the USA in the past year (2008).
- 2.5 billion text messages are sent each day in the USA (2008).
- More text messages are sent per phone than phone calls. The average text messages used per month is 357 compared to 204 cell phone calls (2008).
- 15 million Americans used video on their cell phones in quarter two, 2008.
I resisted texting for a long time but many younger co workers, manufacturer reps and my kids communicate that way. You can say, I caved in or just needed to connect more effectively with the people in my life. Regardless, texting has its advantages and I am glad I conformed. There are times that a phone call is prohibited or just plain rude, but you can quickly send a text without disturbing the people around you. *FYI – the forty plus generation is the fastest growing segment using text messaging!
Did you know that DemandForce will text your patients the day of their appointment to remind them of the time? It will also improve your patient activation/confirmation and communication activities. DF will help you market and protect your brand like no other communication product. Active DF accounts improve their relevance on Google searches and benefit from the social media component. Call me to arrange a one on one demonstration!
The New Normal in Dental Practice Marketing
The web has changed the marketing game and the recent economic downturn has changed the perception of value. So how could your dental practice compete during tumultuous times? I submit it is done with the same time-tested fundamental business principles that make business successful in any economy. First and foremost, marketing your dental practice requires careful, business driven planning around your primary and secondary markets. Proper marketing identifies those variables that, overtime, will lead potential patients to the inescapable conclusion of choosing you over the competition. It’s that simple and that hard.
How Do We Do That?
As a dentist, like it or not, your brand matters to your patients more than ever before. This is not a trend that will reverse itself. You must understand what this means, and more importantly, how to harness it to grow your practice. Additionally, your web reputation is your reputation. The web can be and should be the center of your marketing universe, but only if it is done right. Start with a 12-month integrated plan. This allows you to budget and measure. You must allow yourself to disabuse the idea that every marketing idea will necessarily work. Successful marketers understand that some things work, and others won’t. The trick is to get more things working for you than those that don’t, and that requires active management of your marketing plan.
Your brand as a dentist is not about your logo, your website, or your advertising; it is about the essence of your practice. It is about how patients and people feel about you. The essence of marketing is creating and distributing the brand. Think about it, Coke took decades to become a real “brand,” the same goes for Sony or Apple or IBM or your practice. Because branding requires one essential element, trust.
The Myth of the Web
There are several myths floating around dental practice marketing at this time, and most are related to the internet.
Myth 1: A website can generate patients. Fact: A website without a strategy is simple online brochure, and if doesn’t at least protect your online reputation, (which is your reputation), then it is useless.
Myth 2: Social Media is free and easy to do. Fact: The nature of social media involves lots of hours of work, it must be on-brand, and engaging. After all, it’s about expanding your network and influence online.
Myth 3: Google AdWords will drive results. Fact: That’s debatable; the data is mixed on this. AdWords may drive traffic, but a limited budget will not sustain your rankings, so organic search strategies may do better for you over time.
Choose Your Tools Wisely
There’s a big difference between tactics and strategies. Use strategies to map out tactics and hire the right people for the job. For example, advertising requires a strategist to be effective, not a graphic artist. Effective web development also requires proven strategies, and generally, those do not come from a web developer.
What Your Dental Practice Really Needs
What your practice really needs is someone focused on marketing it. Not a graphic artist, not your next door neighbor, but someone who understands the nuances of business-driven, strategic marketing. By the way, while it would be nice for them to know about dentistry, it’s not necessary. When American Express interviews marketing consultants and advertising agencies, they are looking for good ideas, and rarely ask the question “what do you know about financial services?”