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Branding Vs Direct Response – Which is Best For My Practice?

I’m asked frequently how important Branding is to a healthcare practice. My answer is “it’s critical”. Every potential patient (and referring physician) is asking themselves a critical question that your marketing message has to answer “Why you?”. Branding helps you differentiate your practice from your competition and provides the answer(s) to the question “Why You?”.
I’m also asked what type of marketing is more important, building your brand or getting new patients to come to your office quickly and cost-effectively. This type of marketing is called “direct response” marketing. I believe that both are important factors in the success of your marketing campaign.
Branding is a form of marketing where a consumer (your prospective patient) sees or hears your message through any medium (web site, email, TV, print ad, radio, direct mail, etc.) and hopefully remembers who you are, what you do, and why they should consider you if/when they need or want your services. Most of the time, the action isn’t immediate (i.e. “direct response”).
The marketer has to hope that once the consumer sees/hears the message they remember it. Advertising studies show that the average consumer needs to see a message 5-7 times before it becomes familiar to them. You must hope that the consumer has enough name recognition from your previous marketing that when they do need/want your services, they think of you first and don’t get distracted by your competitors’ marketing messages. This can happen often if the prospect goes to the Yellow Pages or Google and then sees your competition.
In “Direct response marketing”, there is generally a strong message with a compelling offer or “call-to-action”. You’re giving your prospective patient a reason to contact you NOW. You’re directing the consumer where to go next (i.e. “Click here now” or “Call today”) and you’re giving them a reason to do so now. A big benefit to “direct response” is that it’s easier to measure results. You can look at metrics like response rates, open rates, click through rates, and conversion rates. You can directly calculate your ROI (return on investment), which helps you offset any advertising costs from the profits you generate.
Although branding is not as accurate to measure and your efforts can take time, you have to develop your brand to help overall conversions in your direct response marketing. Ideally, your marketing message should answer both these questions: “Why You?” and “Why Now?”. This is why Branding and Direct Response are both extremely important.
If you need help developing a more compelling message to build your brand or you need a better direct response rate to improve your ROI, contact me to assistance. Proven Strategies for a Strong, Profitable Practice!…