If you’re like most doctors, you probably spend more time thinking about how to get clients in the door than you do thinking about them after they leave. If that’s the case, you may want to rethink your position as nothing carries more weight with the former than the experiences shared by the latter.
That’s the premise of “Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World” by author and entrepreneur Gail F. Goodman. (She’s also CEO of Constant Contact Inc., which helps small businesses develop online marketing programs.) At 198 pages, it’s essentially a how-to manual on fostering good word of mouth in the digital age.
According to Goodman, it all comes down to staying engaged with customers after the “sale.”
When you stay connected to your customers — both online and offline — you drive more word-of-mouth referrals. And the more those connections happen, the more you can turn the one-to-one referral into socially visible endorsements for your business.
To accomplish that, she suggests a 3-step process:
Deliver a WOW! Experience
Obviously, it all starts with a patient’s initial experience with your practice. Less obviously, it’s not all about their clinical results. A quick response to an email inquiry, a warm welcome when they walk in the door and a sense that they’re being listened to during a consult all help set the stage for everything that follows. Ignore those outside-the-exam-room experiences and what will likely follow are more openings in your surgical calendar.
Entice customers to stay in touch
Most aesthetic consumers are predisposed to show off their great results — Don’t believe us? Check out the reviews on RealSelf — but you can encourage that predilection by asking them to if it’s okay to keep in touch via email or social media. The key is to do it quickly while that wow experience is still fresh. Once they agree to “opt in,” your efforts will keep you top-of-mind when they’re considering subsequent treatments or responding to a friend’s inquiry.
Engage people with great content
There’s a place for deals and discounts but ultimately the goal is to generate a genuine conversation. Provide the kind of content that sparks one in the echo chamber that constitutes social media and it’s bound to spread to a larger audience.
As Goodman says,
As you engage with your customers (and their friends), you’ll achieve highly targeted social visibility; your customers’ networks are filled with great prospects for you.
In other words, instead of reinventing the wheel with each new customer; reinvigorate the cycle with the ones you already have.