Generate potential implant patients with white paper marketing
What is a White Paper?
A “White Paper” is the term used to describe an authoritative document, usually in the world of Government.
The term has also been adopted by marketers to describe any educational or informative material that a prospective client downloads before making a new business enquiry and/or purchasing decision.
White Paper Marketing describes an orchestrated and automated system that allows visitors to your web site to download information in return for their email address and permission to keep them informed over both the short and long term (thus avoiding accusations of spamming).
In my last article, I described in detail the 7 steps in the Lifecycle Marketing process. White Paper Marketing is used at step 2 as a means of data capture.
What happens if you don’t use strategies to capture potential customers data?
Here is a sobering tale of what can happen if you ignore this step.
In 2013 a client in Ireland ran a smile makeover competition in collaboration with an Irish breakfast TV channel. The lucky winner was filmed before and after the treatment that preceded her son’s wedding and the results were clinically excellent and life transformational for the patient.
After an emotional broadcast, the practice was contacted by potential new patients who agreed to treatment collectively totalling a 7-figure Euro sum – an excellent business result.
Disappointingly, however, around 12,000 people visited the practice web site after the broadcast and not one of the visitors left an email address and permission to keep them informed with future newsletters and offers.
Why not? Because there simply wasn’t anywhere on the web site that the request for an email was made. A huge future opportunity lost.
Not surprisingly, a visit to that same web site now will reveal a much different result, with a number of White Papers available on various treatment modalities, including implants.
Differentiate yourself with white papers
The public are savvy. They (we) use the web daily for retail research on almost everything we buy and, for the larger purchases, we love to investigate, compare, read reviews, search and find out more.
Implant dentistry is firmly in the mix when people come to do that research and it is no longer sufficient to create a web site as a shrine to your own cleverness or, for that matter, to the “relaxed and comfortable environment” that you have undoubtedly created.
As more dental practices offer implant solutions, the public want to know how they can differentiate you from your competition. Is it your pricing (a race to the bottom, to be avoided), is it your clinical experience and qualifications or is it the quality of the customer service experience that you deliver both before, during and after treatment?
White Paper Marketing allows you to start that differentiation process even before the patient has made contact with you.
So, if you accept the principle that White Paper Marketing can be useful, what are the top tips to make your White Paper and follow up stand out?
Tips to make your white paper stand out
Make the offer of further information:
- Simple – “3 ways that dental implants can change your life”
- Brief – no more than 3-4 pages in length
- Clear – no jargon, straight-forward language and illustrations
- Branded – in line with your overall practice image
- Calling for action – a very specific “what next?” if the reader is satisfied and wants to take the next step
- Easy and automated – just ask the visitor to supply a first name and an email address – after that, every step of the process is on auto-pilot
- Measured – have systems in place that will alert you when a White Paper is downloaded and allow you to monitor the progress of a prospective patient through a short-term sequence of nurturing follow up emails
- Integrated – with your existing practice management software, to avoid double-entries of data
- Connected – to your longer term nurturing activities, such as monthly patient email newsletters
Many of our clients are surprised when we suggest to them that an initial request for a White Paper should form part of a sequence of 7 emails that the prospective patient will receive over a 33-day period after their initial enquiry.
“Surely the prospect will feel spammed, hounded or pressurised and walk away?”
Well, provided you follow some simple protocols the evidence is to the contrary.
Let’s consider the content of those emails:
- Email 1 – thank you and link to the White Paper download
- Email 2 – further information about the practice
- Email 3 – a video testimonial from a patient who has completed treatment
- Email 4 – answers to FAQ’s on the treatment
- Email 5 – a second video testimonial
- Email 6 – a time-limited special offer on the treatment
- Email 7 – a third video testimonial and a request to add the recipient to a long-term newsletter list
When I describe this sequence to a new dental client they are often concerned that the accusation of spamming will follow.
Lots of people won’t receive all 7 emails
Every single email includes two important options for the reader:
- Request a call-back (in which case the sequence will end)
- Unsubscribe (in which case the sequence will end)
So the recipient is in complete control at all stages and can hit the “off” button whenever they like.
Conclusion – use a combination of White Paper marketing and short-term automated emails.
So why bother?
I was wondering when you would ask me that.
Because the evidence from the world of automated email marketing is that the White Paper download plus short-term nurture sequence will increase your conversion rate on new patients from 18% to 80%.
So I hope that might get your attention.
Imagine a 4-fold increase in new patient consultations and what that would do to your business growth, assuming, of course, that the other steps in the Lifecycle Marketing process are being followed properly.
White Paper Marketing, done properly, can have a dramatic effect on your sales.