Is Growth Hacking a Viable Addition to Your Dental Marketing program? Is growth hacking simply a trendy buzz word that Dentists have been excitedly talking about in social platforms, or is there more to it? Just how does the job description for a growth hacker differ from a “regular” dental marketer? Or is this actually a fancy way to describe a dental marketing professional? Let’s take a look at the growth hacking phenomenon and how it will revolutionize the strategies and format that Dentists include in their Dental Marketing programs in the future.
Definition of Growth Hacking and How It Differs from Traditional Dental Marketing
To answer the question: " Is Growth Hacking A Viable Addition to Your Dental Marketing Program " we'll quickly discuss how Growth Hacking came about as Internet start-up companies (with little money to spare) began hiring marketers who would work on a “performance-basis” as opposed to traditional production or service companies who wanted to get paid (a lot) for creating ads, promotions, marketing campaigns, etc. (whether they produced results or not).
My friend Sean Ellis actually coined the term “Growth Hacking” in early 2010 after playing the key role in the explosive growth of Internet giant DropBox.com. Ellis stated that growth hacking is “the art and science of creating awareness, traction, adoption, and advocacy using unorthodox and surprising means. It’s quite literally a hack for traditional processes to accelerate business.” There are, however, several significant differences between a growth hacker and a dental marketer, including but not limited to the following:
Significant Dental Marketing and New Patient Generation Goals Met in a Relatively Short Period of Time
As of 2014 Dental Marketers and the Dentists who hire them often operate in a developed and saturated market with a high degree of penetration. For that reason, their (realistic) goals usually include growth by single percentage points or sustaining their market shares at a minimum.
If we analyze a successful (Internet) start-up company, we’ll immediately see that it has been designed for aggressive growth, measured in double digits or more at the least from the outset. The question " Is Growth Hacking A Viable Addition to Your Dental Marketing Program " is becoming more clear as we go!
While it’s not enjoyable for the Dentist, a doctor who’s been in practice for any length of time and has enjoyed a decent track record of success can temporarily survive an under performing dental marketing program, while a start-up (Internet business and/or a new dentist trying to open a practice on his/her own) needs dramatic increases in revenue in order to breakeven, bring profits, and ultimately become truly successful, which is the goal of any new and/or existing dental practice.
Ken Newhouse is the ‘OFFICIAL’ Growth Hacker for the Dental Profession Worldwide™ (and to date the only Growth Hacker serving the Dental profession around the globe.) The challenges growth hackers who primarily work with startups face are pretty much the same challenges I face as a growth hacker working with Dentists (and Dental companies): I’m usually challenged by having to work with small marketing budget which limits access to external data and paid research.
As a direct result of these challenges and limitations, effective growth hacking of your dental marketing program requires a high level of creativity and open-mindedness. It means constantly searching for new and efficient, low-cost methods of increasing high-quality new patient appointments for my clients and at the same time creating strategies that improve patient retention.
Secondly, it creates the need for constant data gathering, measurement and analysis, conducted internally on a regular basis. There’s really no viable method for outsourcing data collection and analysis, so you need to become an expert yourself. The well-being of your dental marketing program and ultimately your practice depends on your ability to draw valuable conclusions and gather insights that will facilitate continuing improvements from the data you have access to, so it is critical to learn to find resources that suit your needs. We're not done yet... but ask yourself " Is Growth Hacking A Viable Addition to Your Dental Marketing Program ?" and you'll probably have to agree that you're getting closer to a definitive answer.
Strong Focus on Innovation
Growth hacking also demands interdisciplinary and high-tech knowledge and expertise in areas such as search engine optimization, digital marketing strategies, content management tools, technical writing, web mastering and even many forms of web/Internet coding.
Fast Paced and Agile
Agility and the ability to adjust and respond to a fast changing environment is crucial for a successful growth hacker.
His role is to challenge the status quo, to initiate change and constantly search for new opportunities to generate high-quality sources of new patient traffic for his client. It is included in his responsibilities to make intuitive decisions, often while also facing uncertain circumstances.
Specific Dental Marketing KPIs
Working with Dentists as a growth hacker (as opposed to startups) means targeting characteristic Dental Marketing KPIs, which most commonly include, among others:
- Increasing QUALITY New patient traffic
- Attracting and acquiring prospective new patients as Users and followers who value your content
- Increasing case acceptance rates, and engaging new patients in a strategic manner that increases retention and increases the “average lifetime of the patient” (i.e., “how long they remain in your practice)
- Increasing the rate at which existing (and new) patients refer to the practice
- Increasing the average production per patient
In summary, one can say that these KPIs are linked to building and further accelerating the dental marketing program’s sources of quality new patient traffic for the practice. It’s worth mentioning that creating effective Patient Relationship Management (not to be confused with “case management”) is also an important responsibility the growth hacker must build into the improved dental marketing program for his clients.
An effective growth hacker needs to create a structured environment for his client that improves patient satisfaction, encourages them to remain in the practice and increase their word of mouth recommendations.
Growth Hacking Tactics and Tools That Will Dramatically Improve Your Dental Marketing Program’s ROI
The main tools incorporated and utilized by growth hackers in the Dental Marketing platform:
1. Leveraging Your Blog
It is a no-brainer that a well-maintained blog is a valuable asset for a growth hacker. Unfortunately, very few (an understatement) Dentists even have a blog and the ones who do have a blog post little more than garbage for content and/or don’t post anything at all. This phenomenon is almost entirely due to the fact that few Dentists have an employee capable of creating content that prospective new patients will find valuable, and hence, consume. A certified Dental Marketing Assistant will easily solve this problem for Dentists as well as an array of complex Dental Marketing needs. Is Growth Hacking A Viable Addition to Your Dental Marketing Program ? You may want to know more about it.
The blog should serve the hub of your inbound dental marketing strategy, attracting prospective new (and existing) patients to your practice website and practice via creating high quality, in-depth content. Blogging is not a new online marketing technique and the question is not whether you should have a blog… rather, how to make your blog as effective as possible. One of the most tested and efficient methods is guest posting. Your Dental Marketing Assistant can also write for other blogs which allows you to interact with fellow members of the blogosphere… many of whom can become a terrific source of new patient traffic – free of charge.
You can share your expertise, receive inbound links to your blog, and gain exposure to a new and far broader potential audience. It goes both ways, so inviting an influential author to post on your blog may also bring advantages in terms of reach and traffic.
2. Social Media Utilization
Social media is an entire area of expertise within the dental marketing community. It brings undeniable and nearly unlimited profit potential for your dental practice. Building online communities of prospective new patients and Joint Venture partners allows for generating more quality new patient traffic and improved case acceptance as well as creating buzz and igniting viral dental marketing for your practice.
Social media campaigns involve two-way communication with the viewers, which creates an opportunity for gaining precious input and feedback and may become a useful CRM tool as well.
Due to a wide variety of social platforms and their own respective specifics, you would need a strategy (or, more likely, a set of strategies) for dental marketing success with facebook, dental marketing with LinkedIn, dental marketing with Google+, and dental marketing with SlideShare (you can access our FREE Dental Marketing on Social Media Guides Here). Nevertheless, there is no doubt that social media expertise is a must for a successful growth hacker in today’s market.
3. Dental Marketing Automation Tools
Automation of your Dental Marketing program essentially focuses on moving prospective new patients down your intake funnel from the top to the bottom, from prospects to paying patients, by the use of messaging, e-mail marketing and social platforms. When creating an intake funnel for your Dental Marketing program, a growth hacker plans the entire automatic communication at every stage in order to optimize the process.
4. Ongoing Optimization Tools
Effective Dentist SEO (search engine optimization) requires incorporating tracking and analyzing online statistics into your everyday tasks. Optimization of your Dental Marketing program and strategies is where the Growth Hacker excels, but this is an area that typically proves quite quite challenging for today’s dental marketer due to several reasons:
- The measurements have to be reliable and accurate.
- There are multiple sources of information that must be analyzed and integrated into overall actionable insights.
- Tracking and data gathering must be conducted on regular basis.
- The conclusions should be translatable into actions.
This may be overwhelming and time consuming, but analysis allows a growth hacker to assess the results of his online marketing efforts. It is crucial to identify the channels that bring the most (and best) new patient traffic into the Dentist client’s practice and the content that generates the most links and site views (2 factors important to your PageRank). Furthermore, it’s essential to distinguish valuable traffic and what brings the highest website visit to scheduled appointment conversion rate and ultimately accelerates the profitability and success of your Dental Marketing intake funnel. Only then is it possible to optimize actions and investments. Who else wants to know " Is Growth Hacking A Viable Addition to Your Dental Marketing Program "?
It is a smart solution to make use of existing Dentist SEO tools, which provide accurate and up-to-date measurements for keyword positions, traffic trends, and conversion rates for specific keywords. Moreover, with these tools you measure and rate the quality of your inbound links so that you know exactly who is writing about your practice and what they say. These tools also track your competitors’ Dentist SEO—they automatically reveal, analyze, and help you outrank your business competitors' websites. Thanks to this, you can have all the necessary data in one place, presented in an intelligible and user-friendly way.
5. A/B Testing
This is yet another area where a growth hacker has a huge advantage over “traditional dental marketers and dental practice management companies”. It has been said that a fast pace and need for quick reactions are essential to growth hacking. At the same time, it’s important that a growth hacker can actually react quickly.
Comparing to e.g. a corporately owned dental chain, testing and launching a new communication campaign or a new products takes months of consumer and market testing, legal and/or quality alignments, as well as bureaucracy and costs. In the case of a single doctor (or small multiple doctor practice), you can conduct A/B testing on almost every aspect of your communication, whether it’s your dental practice website, landing page, logotype, e-mail messaging, or display campaign. It takes relatively little time and allows you to improve the effectiveness of your dental marketing program almost overnight.
To achieve this goal: It’s crucial to keep in mind that every stage of the Dental Marketing intake funnel has separate KPIs and different objectives. The graphic below is a good example of this case. It reflects the variety of goals at each step of the funnel. Dental Marketing Intake Funnel Optimization requires analyzing each of the stages separately while not losing sight of the ultimate objective—the new patient appointment and subsequent case acceptance.
Is Growth Hacking Gaining More Importance Than Dental Marketing In The Eyes Of Dentists?
According to a 2013 State of Marketing Measurement Survey, released by a voice-based marketing automation Ifbyphone, the role of growth hackers is increasing in importance across marketing teams in various businesses.
A study conducted online among 400 respondents in the U.S. responsible for marketing within their company showed that every third company claimed to employ a marketing technologist and every fourth had a growth hacker in their marketing team. In this case, a marketing technologist was defined as “a marketer with significant IT skills,” whereas a growth hacker definition was “a marketer who combined marketing knowledge with a strong technical background to drive growth.”
As the ‘OFFICIAL’ Growth Hacker for the Dental Profession Worldwide™ I don’t have enough research to indicate a trend shifting towards using a growth hacker as the overseer of the Dental Marketing landscape. I can, however, tell you that the majority of our clients, members and connections have at minimum expressed a great interest adding the growth hacking element to their Dental Marketing program.
Big data and complex analytics… tools exclusively used by the growth hacker give the Dentist who employs a growth hacker a dominant advantage over every competitor who has yet to discover and/or enjoy the many benefits offered by this advanced Dental Marketing Methodology. You can read more about Growth Hacking Strategies in Dentistry IQ Here.
Is Growth Hacking A Viable Addition to Your Dental Marketing Program ? Well... Growth Hacking itself is a relatively new term (the creation dates back to 2010 as I mentioned at the outset), it is striking how popular it has become across multiple industries in such short period of time. It appears in multiple job descriptions and even goes beyond SAAS (software as a service) and the start-up environment. The fact that one quarter of companies claimed to have a growth hacker on their team proves that this trend will continue to grow and the role of growth hackers within the Dental profession becoming more and more sought after.
To learn more about how Growth Hacking can inject life back into your Dental Marketing program and Generate MORE Cosmetic, Dental Implant, Dental Crown and Full Mouth New Dental Patients for your practice each month you may want to attend the Premier Growth Hacking / Dental Marketing Seminar “Mass Referral 2.0 “DOUBLE Your New Patient Traffic In 60 Days” Seminar sponsored by Growth Hacker Central and Practice Doctor.