Get New Patients with Permission Marketing

Permission marketing can help you reach exactly the types of new patients you want, for less money than other types of marketing, and generally less effort.

But first, let’s talk about how permission marketing differs from “interruptive” types of marketing.

You see interruptive marketing all day long and you either ignore it, are interrupted by it OR, in some very specific and minute circumstances, you respond favorably to it and take action. You may even have paid for interruptive marketing channels, like newspaper ads or radio spots.

While this type of marketing is common, it isn’t very focused, and you have no way of knowing if most people who see your ad have interest in what you’re offering. People put up with interruptive marketing because they realize it’s what pays for the content they’re receiving – and even though it can work, no one particularly likes the interruption.

Permission marketing is different. Only people who want it, get it. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because it’s a relatively new way of looking at your initial relationship with your customers.

Instead of interrupting your prospective patients with a disruptive advertisement, you get their permission (or tacit permission) to give them helpful information they actually want.

According to Seth Godin (the online marketing expert who coined the phrase back in 1999),

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”

This type of interactive marketing is only possible in an interactive medium – like the Internet.

Newspaper, TV, billboards – these medium are one-way, non-interactive platforms. The customer’s choice is only to look closer or to look away.

Permission marketing, like opt-in email subscription, search engine results, pay-per-click (PPC), social media and text messaging alerts, work better for the simple reason that the people who get the messages have asked for them because they’re interested in the subject matter being presented.

These forms of marketing are also much easier and cheaper, (if not free) for several reasons:

  1. Paid permission marketing is efficient.

For paid forms of permission marketing, like PPC, you target exactly the small subset of search terms you think your customers will search for. You’re not paying to have an ad appear in every printing of a newspaper – you’re only paying to be seen by people who want exactly what it is you have to offer.

Even better, since everything online is tracked, measured and documented, you can easily see how well your paid efforts are working. You can make meaningful changes based on feedback and get exact data on what kind of return on investment you get for each campaign.

  1. Free permission marketing (like Social Media) is easier.

When someone friends or follows your practice on social media (like Facebook or Twitter) you have multiple chances to forge a meaningful, helpful, informative and even collaborative relationship with your potential patients. You don’t have to ask for them to book an appointment up front, you can have a conversation that displays your value, dispels objections, and provides answers to questions. Ultimately, it lets them choose when and how they want to contact your practice to schedule an appointment.

  1. Permission marketing is not salesy or pushy.

You don’t have to come up with catchy marketing tag lines or aggressive sales techniques. You can be yourself, post about your practice and share your thoughts and experience in an honest, “no-strings-attached” manner. For the 98% of us who aren’t pushy salesmen types, it’s much more natural and less stressful to be straightforward.

So how can dentists get started with permission marketing?

Keep in mind, permission based marketing is all about talking to people who are already interested in what you have to offer. Where interruptive marketing is focused on a specific action or result, permission marketing takes a longer, more relaxed view at your relationship with potential patients.

And that’s what you want, right? You want a result where patients who come to you based on trust, who get to know you, and ultimately decide you’re the right fit.