Sabri Suby, founder and Head of Growth at King Kong, explains why automation is vital to the success of any marketing strategy.
With demand for aesthetic medical procedures on the rise, and client databases expanding, nothing could be more beneficial than to have all of your marketing efforts taken care of in one place. If you are new to the industry, and just starting your business, then email marketing may suffice to get your marketing efforts off the ground. However, if you have plans and desire to grow, or you are struggling to keep up with demand, then various methods of marketing automation may be the most effective way to convert prospects into long-term patients.
Marketing automation enables you to take a step back from your marketing efforts, removing the need to micromanage every communication, but there are a number of classic mistakes made that you should take time to consider before putting your marketing automation into action. The first step is to understand what marketing automation is, and how best you can attribute this to your business style.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is about streamlining your marketing efforts, which essentially frees time for you to focus on business growth. It is also about optimising your marketing techniques to become more effective and completed on a larger scale, and ultimately increase your business revenue. Marketing automation can also bring these results about much faster and on a larger scale, thanks to the power of the technology and software behind it. If you are a small medical practice looking to raise brand awareness, or simply drive more traffic to your website, then email marketing automation could be the perfect starting block for you.
Email marketing automation will send out communications to existing and potential customers based on a schedule or triggers that you define. For example, you may wish to capture someone who has visited the site, but not taken action. Or you may want to automatically follow up with a patient who has booked for a consultation. Or inform your past patients of other procedures that you are offering they might be interested in, since your existing customer base is often one of the greatest untapped opportunities for sales. Email marketing automation is also a great way of keeping your existing client database up to speed with current news and trends, to remind them you are there at all times and with your finger on the industry pulse. This will help to define and strengthen your brand as an authority in the field.
Keep the ‘human’ in automation
Marketing can sometimes be too automated, and you need to find a balance where your automation remains authentic and genuine, as this is where many businesses fail. Allowing your communications to become too robotic, or too frequent can often result in annoyance to your customers and ruin relationships with followers that you may have spent years cultivating.
Keep an eye on the details, for example, ensure that you are never contacting the same person in short succession, ensure that your communications still maintain a degree of personalisation and never stop learning new things about your customers. Ensure that you and your team are still personally following up with potential and existing customers (a telephone call can go a long way) and ensure that some degree of audience analysis has been performed ahead of communications going out. For example, a patient who has recently undergone facial reconstructive surgery probably isn’t going to want to hear about the latest trends and offers of injectables. Be sensitive and considerate to what information you are sending, and to who you are targeting, so that your efforts are not disregarded as ‘spam’.
‘Spam’ is one of the biggest myths surrounding marketing automation. Automated marketing is only considered ‘spam’ if you are doing it incorrectly, and it can actually have huge benefits to your business ongoing such as helping you to learn more about your customers and to segment them into different pockets of interests and needs. Learning more about your audience will give you the tools to create a better service, to retain those customers and essentially convert them into advocates of your brand.
Marketing automation is a lot simpler than it seems, and you may even be actioning elements of marketing automation in your practice already, without even knowing it. Take your email list, for starters. Instead of personally sending the emails and categorising your followers manually, you can install software that does it for you, which will send the right information out at the right time, and to the right target audience. As an example, you may want to split your contact list in order of dates, for example, this could be a list of those who have visited the site for the first time ‘A’, those who have visited a number of times ‘B’ and those who have undergone a procedure ‘C’, and are considered customers.
Group A might want to receive more information on the practice, the doctors and more in-depth information than the website alone can offer. Group B might need a little encouragement to book a consultation, and might want to receive a one-off discount code to do so. Whereas group C might want to receive information on after-care, events and offers coming up or even a follow up call and email which checks up on their progress. All methods of communication act as ‘prompts’ which keep each group engaged with the brand, at different stages of their consumer journey.
There are many software tools that can help you to find the perfect marketing automation system that works for you and your business, however it is important to select the one that fits your brand and what you are trying to achieve. When making your selection, pay close attention to CRM integrations, the import and export features of customer data and how well the software can be tailored to suit your individual needs, and make sure you have a strategy and ‘end goal’ in place.
While marketing automation can help you to automate some parts of your business, it is less about becoming a robot and more about giving your patients the individual attention they deserve without diluting the time you spend on other things. As medical practitioners, the service you offer is personal from start to finish, and your marketing efforts should emulate that – automated or not.
Marketing automation allows you greater visibility into what your existing and potential customers are doing, how they are interacting with your brand and the necessary steps you can take to convert these visitors into long-term customers. AMP
Five steps to success
These five easy steps should keep you on your way to implementing successful marketing automation:
1. Set your goal. What is your intention? To drive sales, generate leads, retain existing customers or simply to make a certain number of sales? Remember that automation isn’t about blasting your customers with an excess of information. Tackle your project bit by bit, in small bite-size chunks before actioning on a larger scale.
2. Know your audience. Do you research and segment your audience. Do not bombard your clients with information they will not find useful or informative. Work out who they are, what they want and if you can segment them into categories, each of which contribute to your end goals.
3. Define your strategy. Identify gaps and areas in your existing communications that need optimising and improvement. Understand the natural path that customers take on their procedure journey, but also as they visit your website. Where do they click and what are they looking for? Knowing the ‘problem’ up front will help you identify unique ways in solving those problems.
4. Segment your leads. Whether this is by age, location or customer journey. Define where each category is, and where you want them to be before reaching out to them. Trying drafting a workflow on paper before scheduling with software. Understand the natural path that your customers are currently taking, and identify the path you want them to take.
5. Align your conversion funnel. Now that you have segmented your audience, put different triggers in place that align your customers with where you want them to go, such as, a pop-up at the ‘about us’ page, or a follow up email to those who drop off of the site. Keep them engaged and lead them back to where you want them to be. What you set up will of course be determined by your goal and overall strategy.
Sabri Suby is a serial entrepreneur, author and founder of Australia’s fastest-growing full-service digital marketing agency, King Kong. As a business growth specialist, he has advised billion-dollar companies and thousands of SMEs and was crowned the ‘King of Consulting’ by Foundr Magazine.