Myth 6: “Low prices result in high volume, high prices result in less volume”
Fact: We don’t care as much about price as you might think we do.
In survey after survey, patients place price among one of the last criterion they used to choose their surgeon.
But, why does every prospective patient ask about price at their first opportunity? Because they don’t know what else to ask.
They don’t know how to compare lasers, procedures, surgeons, or facilities. But they do know how to compare prices.
So they start there.
Your job, therefore, is to give them the answer they seek and swiftly and deftly pivot the conversation to what they care about: VALUE.
So, do low prices or high prices result in more volume?
The answer is neither always does, when done in isolation. However, what results in more volume is more perceived value, driven by a documented patient journey, actionable metrics and well-chosen tools and tactics.
Myth 7: “People will choose the best surgeon (or procedure)”
Fact: We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.
When we’re marketing, we tend to assume that prospects will consume our messages, consider all of the available options, and choose the best one.
In reality, we don’t choose the best option. We choose the first reasonable option, a strategy known as satisficing.
If you study how people make decisions, you’ll observe that most people don’t act rationally, even when the stakes are high and the pressure is extreme.
- We’re usually in a hurry
- There’s not much penalty for guessing wrong
- Weighing options may not improve our chances
- Guessing is easier
That is not to say that people never weigh options before they choose. They weigh up easy things, like how high you came up on Google when they searched, how easy it was to find what they wanted on your website, and how the nice and confident call handler made them feel when they first called.
Myth 8: “I should spend less on marketing as time goes on”
Fact: They who spend the most will win the most customers.
In 2009, Jeff Bezos famously said: “Advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product or service.” It’s no secret that Bezos doesn’t (or rather, didn’t) believe in ads. He’s since changed his mind.
Today, he’s one of the biggest ad spenders on the planet because he now understands that to acquire more customers, you need to spend more on marketing.
When it comes to customer acquisition, one of the most common rules of thumb is to have a 3 to 1 LTV (Lifetime Customer Value) to CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) ratio.
So, as long as you’re acquiring a customer for about a third of what that customer is worth to you, then you’re near the right place.
Instead of trying to get more ROI on your marketing budget to grow,
- focus your activity on your best payback campaigns.
- Increase your average customer value (e.g. your price)
- Allocate a higher percentage of your gross margin
- Secure growth capital to fund your campaigns.
Don’t focus on spending less (e.g. cost per click, reducing the budget, cutting costs), instead focus on getting more customers and EARNING MORE.
Myth 9: “I must consider my colleagues’ opinions when I market my practice”
Fact: Unless your colleagues pay your practice’s bills, focus on what drives results
If your peers are not in private practice, then they will have different views on what success is and it requires. For them, patients arrive in their operating theatres with seemingly little effort. All they need to do perform well on the day and keep their reputations clean.
Thus, they judge you, the private practitioner, by those same standards. Therefore, they might see marketing as unnecessary, manipulative, or even unethical. That is especially true in more traditional environments where the private practitioners are in the tiny minority.
The reality is that they don’t have the same needs, aspirations and obligations you do, which is to grow your private practice from scratch.
If your critical peers are in private practice, then you need to think about why they might disapprove of you. Might your success potentially eclipse theirs? Might they see the pie as finite, with you taking a larger piece than theirs at their expense?
The truth is, your competition may like you personally, but they don’t want you to win at their expense.
Even this scarcity mentality, however, is a logical fallacy – a zero-sum game. As I pointed out in Myth 1, the opportunity is virtually INFINITE while the current volume is relatively low.
The one caveat to this approach is that you needn’t overtly compare yourself to your competition to win. When surgeons work together to build each other up, the WHOLE MARKET grows.
Myth 10: “I need to have everything in place (and purchased) before I start marketing”
Fact: Your business is your patients, not your facilities, staff, or technology.
Don’t confuse the business with your overhead. Your business is the value it can generate. The value is in your patients.
Therefore, don’t wait to have all of your ducks in a row before you start thinking about marketing.
You should ask, before anything else, is there a market for what I’m offering?
- Can you identify the market?
- Can you reach the market?
- Can you monetise the market?
Only when you can answer “YES” to these three questions should you even BEGIN to start shopping for a facility, or laser or start hiring staff.
After you’ve answered those questions, your next tasks are to answer:
- How (precisely) will you create customers from scratch?
- How will you evaluate success?
- How will you then choose and implement the tools and tactics you need to make it all happen?
Put first things first. Marketing should be what helps answer the fundamental Go or No-go question:
“Should or shouldn’t I do this?”
And that’s not all…
As we brainstormed a list for this post, we identified many more myths and misconceptions we’ve all heard over the years. These myths are equally pervasive but more focused on specific tactics.
So, we’ll explore them in future blog posts. In the meantime, if you’d like to see examples of your peers that broke through these established misconceptions, we’d be happy to talk about it.