How to Build Trust, Likability and Credibility Through Nurturing to Build Yourself a Consistent Stream of Patients
Insidesales.com recently published a study that showed that 50% of all sales happen after the 5th follow-up with a customer.
This statistic offers one of the biggest opportunities to dramatically increase your sales – but before I share the two things that you should be doing to drive more sales through effective follow-up, I want to discuss “nurturing”
According to Google, here’s what it means …
It essentially means to care and protect something whilst it grows.
If we translate this to marketing, it means to put effort, attention and care into a relationship to help a prospect or customer through their journey.
Successful clinics that use Lifecycle marketing understand that the large majority of leads, prospects and patients are not ready to make a buying decision on day one.
Yet the far majority of clinics that use the old style of marketing set-up to only serve these people.
Their website is trying to sell hearing aids, their call-to-actions are pushing people to only book an appointment and if somebody doesn’t show up for an appointment, is tested not sold or completes a contact form and does nothing else – they have no form of follow-up in place beyond one or two phone calls.
But just because the prospect was not ready to make a decision straight away – it doesn’t mean that they are not going to buy in the near future.
If we flip the industry, imagine going onto Ford’s website and requesting a brochure about one of their new cars.
A salesperson would likely call you and have a chat.
If you were to say that you like the new model and you’re considering your options, would you expect Ford to follow-up again?
Of course, you would.
You would expect the sales guy to call you again several days later, you would expect to receive emails sharing information of new models and you would expect to receive some direct mail pieces in the future.
They would NEVER let you forget.
Or to use an aggressive direct-response marketing term, they would follow-up until you buy or until you die.
But in the hearing care industry, it seems we give up on leads unless they’re ready to hand us money straight away.
I’ve heard multiple reasons for this.
Some have said that they’re worried about being too aggressive and up-setting a patient and others have said that they don’t have the resource.
But allow me to be brutally honest with you …
If your aim is to help care for the hearing of as many people as possible, then it’s your duty to not let them forget that you exist.
Your follow-up doesn’t have to be aggressive – it solely has to remind them of the reasons they visited you and the benefits of taking a next step versus the negatives of not taking action.
The large majority of this can be automated and run in the background, ensuring no resource, time or large financial investment is required.
I can’t stress the importance of this.
Because the journey from coming to terms with a hearing loss to being ready to buy hearing aids isn’t an impulsive-buying decision – it takes time, it takes nurturing and it’s gradual.
The biggest advantage that you can have in your marketing right now is to understand lifecycle marketing.
Let me explain how this works …
Before a patient books a hearing assessment, there is one of two paths that they have likely gone down.
The first is that they’ve come to the realisation that they may have a hearing loss themselves.
If this is the situation, then here’s what their timeline will have looked like:
They will have considered that they may have a hearing loss and done some research into the subject.
They will likely go online and research, they may speak to friends or they may speak to their physician who will refer them.
But this research period that every single one of your patients go through represents the big opportunity (which I’ll share shortly).
The second patient journey is where a care-giver or loved one notices the hearing loss and wants to help their mom, dad, grandma or pops.
The care-giver/son/daughter/grandchild will notice that their struggling to hear and do the research on their behalf.
Naturally, due to them being a younger demographic – they’ll turn to Google.
They’ll ask questions, they’ll learn about the benefits/negatives of the options and they’ll make a decision on what they believe is the best solution for their loved one.
They’ll then introduce the conversation to their loved one and decide upon a provider/option to help.
The problem that the industry has is that it’s ONLY trying to persuade people to choose them once the patient or care-giver has done their research and is at the ‘deciding provider’ stage.
But the biggest opportunity that you have is to be a big voice in the research phase to influence, establish credibility and persuade the patient or care-giver that you are the person to help.
This is where the BIG OPPORTUNITY lives.
Because using helpful content to help patients through their research phase is a critical part of being visible and establishing credibility through the research phase.
However, taking their attention and using intelligent marketing to stay top of mind is where you can build a database of future patients that will predictably and consistently flow to you (without having to spend big advertising dollars).
Best of all, because they seen you as the authority, they desperately want to work with you which removes price objections, competitor challenges and as you have educated them through content prior to their first appointment, they’re in the position to make an informed buying decision.
The question is, how do you convert attention into leads and nurture them to want to do business with you.
There are two core ways to do this.
#1 – Establishing Relationships through Email Marketing
We do business with people that we either like or trust.
One of the best ways to fast-track like & trust is through effective email marketing.
For example, by the fact that you’re reading this – it shows that you receive emails from us.
These emails feel personal, they interest you and they help you. This means that naturally, you’re more inclined to want to do business with us because we’ve established a relationship.
We have developed like & trust.
You should be doing this in your business to build relationships with patients and caregivers during their research phase to win their like/trust and attract them to do business with you.
If that all makes sense then I’m assuming you want to know-how.
Well, your first step is to obtain their email address.
The best way to do this is to bribe the visitor when they’re on your website in their research phase.
If your blog is performing like we discussed in the previous article, it’s answering commonly asked questions and they’re reaching your website to learn and educate themselves – then having a call-to-action on the right-hand side of your blog which asks them for their name/email address in exchange for something free, will naturally result in a percentage of people completing the form.
For example, look at this form that sits next to blogs on this website:
When visitors reach the website to read up and learn about a specific subject that they’ve searched, they’re bribed with an option to download a guide called ‘Everything You Need to Know About The Three Different Types of Hearing Loss’
Equally, this could be any form of download/incentive.
But this form adds people to the clinic’s database that they can establish a relationship with so that when that patient is ready to move ahead and schedule their assessment, then they’ve already established a relationship with this clinic.
The emails that the clinic then send vary.
At the very minimum, they have a monthly email newsletter that shares the personal side of the key audiologist, sharing what they have been doing and their community involvement. It then links to new blogs with helpful information and any additional extra information (things like ‘patient of the month’ or ‘meet the team’)
Other emails include things that the key audiologist has seen that they may believe will benefit the recipient – whether it was a video on Facebook or a poem about hearing loss.
Then at least quarterly, they have more incentivised campaigns to drive the recipient to some form of action – whether raising awareness for hearing loss through to complimentary screenings.
These emails build trust, they build likability towards the clinic and they result in relationships being developed.
There is little investment required, but can you see how having all these assets in place means that your blog will consistently attract prospects in their research phase, your bribe/incentive will consistently convert acquire their email address and your emails will nurture them until they’re ready to take their first step to healthy hearing.
#2 – Retargeting (Being Omni-Present Across the Internet)
I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end of retargeting.
Have you ever visited a website, whether you’re looking to buy something or just having a look around a website – then all of a sudden, you see adverts online for them everywhere you look.
- You go on Facebook, there’s an advert.
- You go on YouTube, there’s an advert.
- You go on random websites, there are adverts.
It can all feel a little scary.
But all it is is something called retargeting.
This is where you can make adverts appear solely to people that have recently visited your website – they cost pennies and they have a tremendous impact on staying top of mind and not letting patients forget you.
But there is a problem.
Google do not allow medical retargeting campaigns.
If somebody is researching a sensitive subject on a family computer and then adverts are bombarding the computer regarding the sensitive subject – it’s unfair and unethical.
Google determined that hearing aids falls into that bracket.
So, running retargeting ads that talk about hearing aids will result in your Google retargeting or Facebook marketing account being shut.
Instead, you have to be smart about it.
Your retargeting adverts need to promote something not directly liked to hearing aids.
The way around this, and the most logical step from a marketing perspective is to have your retargeting adverts promoting your free guide/give-away.
For example, if your retargeting adverts said:
“The 10 Questions That Every Hearing Care Specialists Should Be Able to Answer” – Download Now
This would get around Google’s rules … and it’s the logical next step for the patient.
They visited your website to read one of your blogs, they have then left your website but are seeing a banner to promote your brand giving away further information to help them.
If they click the ad and download the guide – they’re now on your email list and you can start building a relationship.
If they don’t click the ad – then you stay top of mind as they keep seeing you.
Co-Founder of Orange & Gray, Oli became one of the UK’s most sought after marketers and copywriters between 2012 and 2016, helping businesses in highly competitive niches to use cutting-edge online marketing strategies to quickly grow revenue, increase market share and deploy retention strategies through lifecycle marketing. In 2016, he joined forces with Phil M Jones to start Orange & Gray and focus his attention on helping the hearing care industry to fight against big-box retailers through sophisticated localized marketing.
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