Marketing evolves as customer habits change. If you’re using the same tactics to attract patients that you’ve been using for ten years, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on lucrative opportunities to bring new patients into your practice.
Remember when you used to sit through every commercial on TV (unless you had to go to the bathroom). Before DVRs, TV commercials demanded our attention. Now, most viewers skip them. That doesn’t mean commercials are worthless, but it does mean they’re less effective and businesses have to look to other marketing methods to help make up the difference.
The Challenge of Push Marketing
TV commercials are a version of push marketing – trying to push your message out to viewers while they’re focused on something else. For a long time, push marketing was basically synonymous with marketing. As such, most traditional marketing tactics fall into this category. Here are a few other examples of push marketing:
- Billboards – try to capture your attention while you’re driving
- Banner ads – try to get your attention while you’re on another website
- Direct mail marketing – try to get you to look at an ad while you’re sifting through the mail
- Radio commercials – interrupt your music or show with an ad
- Magazine and newspaper ads – try to distract you from the story you’re reading with an ad
- Cold calls – interrupt whatever you’re doing to get you to listen to a pitch
Notice a trend? Many of these tactics are designed to try to get you to stop doing whatever you’re doing and focus on what the company has to tell you instead.
Push marketing can be successful, or companies wouldn’t continue to spend billions of dollars on it each year. Nonetheless, as people encounter more and more distractions vying for their attention, push marketing has increasingly become less effective, at least on its own.
The Rise of Pull Marketing
The internet has changed most people’s lives in more ways than we can count. Unsurprisingly, it’s also completely revolutionized how marketing works.
Specifically, it’s helped to empower the rise of pull marketing. Instead of competing for attention by trying to interrupt whatever a potential patient is doing, pull marketing is designed to attract them to you.
Pull marketing therefore employs a number of tactics that have the primary aim of providing your prospects with something valuable at the moment they need it. This can be tricky, but it can also be very lucrative. Pull marketing can bring in leads for 62% lower cost than push marketing, and it’s easier to track your success as you go.
Even if you’ve never thought of it in these terms before, you’ve encountered pull marketing. It includes (but isn’t limited to):
- Pay-per-click ads – these are the ads that show up at the top and down the right hand side of the results you see in Google and other search engines. You’ll notice, they’re always directly related to whatever you’re searching for and therefore often helpful in solving your need.
- Search engine optimization – this describes the methods used to help your website show up higher in search results. Google and the other search engines work hard to serve up results that do a good job of providing people what they’re searching for. SEO is designed to help make sure your dental practice is high on the list when patients are looking for the services you provide.
- Blog marketing – You may have noticed that more dental practices and other local businesses now have blogs. That’s because a blog provides a space that’s perfect for answering questions your patients might have. It’s one more way to make it easier for them to find you right when they need you.
The goal of pull marketing is to educate patients, answer any questions they have, and provide enough value that people want to come to your website (and ultimately your practice) on their own.
Dental Practices Should Use a Mix of Both
Marketing has evolved toward pull marketing for a number of good reasons, but that doesn’t mean push marketing should be ignored. Combining push and pull tactics can help both work better.
For example, you send someone a postcard (push), from that they visit your website and read a few of your blog articles (pull), however they don’t call at that moment. They are then placed into your retargeting campaign and your retargeting ads (push) appear as they visit other websites, Facebook, etc. with the goal of getting them back to your website and ultimately calling to schedule an appointment.
Push and pull marketing can be combined in any number of effective forms. Every dental practice is a little different, so there’s no one-size fits all solution.
If you want to get a better idea of how best to deploy push and pull marketing sign up for a complimentary Marketing X-ray.