The Marketing 1-2 Punch
Find prospects on social media, and reach them directly via email
Jonathan Hill, BS
Did you know that marketing and dating are eerily similar? Dating often starts with two parties who do not know one another or met through a mutual connection. After spending some time together, they may start to develop feelings toward each other; feelings of like and, maybe eventually, love. As the relationship grows, trust is eventually developed. But it takes time for the other party to prove they are trustworthy. Marketing is identical, and the way you won over your spouse may be the same way you can win over your prospects.
Distrust is now society's default emotion. Nearly six in 10 people say their default tendency is to distrust something until they see evidence it is trustworthy.1 When distrust is the default, we lack the ability to debate or collaborate. Our businesses can break the cycle of distrust everywhere, however, as trust is the currency of the future.
How can we get our prospects to trust us and our respective businesses in such a challenging digital age? Social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are businesses first, social media platforms second. They are more interested in their own profits than they are with sharing your family's vacation pictures or what you ate for dinner last night.
Social media platforms are changing daily. Facebook and Google are working to launch "targeting-free" versions of their platforms, which had been a primary source of personal data for our prospects and customers. They were our main sources to acquire customer information such as what pages they visit, what links they click on, etc. They were the way you could find a digital dentist, in any zip code, who was looking for a new laboratory. Yes, they were that targeted.
Gone are the days where we can only focus on a Facebook page, a Google listing, or some online ads. If Google or Facebook closed tomorrow, and these platforms were the only places your customers lived, you would immediately lose access to every one of them. Owning your customer data on some place that is off these platforms is critical.
We are entering a point in time when those who have the most accurate, personal data on their customers and prospects will win. But we need data that people freely volunteer to give to you, not data that is acquired on the back end from site visits. We must become our own platforms, but how?
Social media platforms are great places to find our people. Step 1 is to leverage these platforms to find your people. Find the exact dentists with whom you want to work. With billions of people on these platforms, you can be certain your exact audience is there.
You can start to experiment with online advertisements on Google, Facebook, and/or Instagram. It is just like fishing: throwing different lures in the water. If you feel overwhelmed, start on one platform and work your way up to multiple platforms. The rule of thumb is to only market where your dentists are. Spend a few dollars per day on advertising, test the ads, watch them closely, and see what works. Then, make tweaks, dial in your ads, and begin promoting in more places. Before you know it, you will be catching "fish" on repeat.
However, finding them is only the first step. We then must move them off that platform, and into our own place. Remember, social media is where you are the tenant, paying rent to the landlord when you advertise. They own this real estate, and if they shut it down tomorrow or your account gets banned or compromised, how would it impact your business? If social media is your primary lead-generation source, you can see how this would be detrimental to the life and success of your business.
We need to learn what we want to ask and collect, and get our prospects to fill out a survey, quiz, or questionnaire. It should be made up of data points we want to learn about our customers. Once they volunteer and provide this information to you, simply have this data go into a customer relationship management (CRM) and/or email marketing software. Now, you own this data and are no longer in jeopardy of losing your prospects to these social media giants.
Market on Your Terms
This brings us to Step 2 in the 1-2 punch. When you own customers' data, you can drip valuable content to them via email. Remember, they opted in to receive information from you. Something you offer is of interest to them. Leverage email marketing as the primary vehicle to provide content that helps them solve a problem. You know your audience and should also know what they need help with. Simply provide this information on a consistent basis and their trust will continue to grow with you.
Email marketing is one of the most underutilized resources from the marketing tool belt. Whereas with social media, you are the tenant and they are the landlords, the opposite is true with email. Once you have contact information, you are the landlord and you make the rules. Also, unlike social media, email has no algorithm that decides where your message goes. With few exceptions, you send an email and it will land in their inbox.
Leveraging social media and email together is the 1-2 knockout punch. Done correctly, they are two of the most powerful tools to grow a business, and they both are completely free. "Not having enough money" can no longer be the excuse for any small business. There are countless ways to maximize limited marketing dollars to grow your laboratory. Start with, and leverage, these two affordable vehicles. Find out where your dentists are spending their time, and spend your time there, too.
1. Edelman Trust Barometer. Edelman website. https://www.edelman.com/trust/2022-trust-barometer. Published January 18, 2022. Updated January 24, 2022. Accessed July 5, 2022.
About the Author
Jonathan Hill, BS, is the owner of EXCELerate, LLC, in Charlotte, North Carolina.