Apparently a good idea bears repeating! About a dozen docs have written me lately to get a better understanding of Push vs Pull Marketing. So here goes. Watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special on TV if you've already read this!
PUSH MARKETING is anything that pushes a consumer through your door: a referral from a satisfied patient or a cross channel partner, an article in a publication, an interview in the media, your name viewed in a program that denotes you as a supporter of a nonprofit organization, sponsor of a Little League team, etc. In other words, just about anything that isn't an ad!
PULL MARKETING is anything that pulls a consumer through your door. These are primarily your marketing materials such as your practice website and your advertising, particularly ads that include "specials". Remember, target "special" prices to customers who are either new to the practice or new to that procedure/treatment. In this way, you counter the tendency for a consumer to do business with you only when you give a discount.
Obviously, a higher conversion rate will generally occur with consumers who come to you via Push Marketing, as even before you meet them, they have a positive opinion of you. Unless a bad marketing bridge gets in the way (poor office behavior of some kind, pricing beyond the consumer's ability, etc), you should easily convert over 90% of Push consumers.
To increase conversions in your Pull Marketing activities, remember to focus on that which is most important to consumers: trust. Increase trust by adding high quality before/after photos (with permission of course!) and testimonials to your marketing materials and website; by adding testimonials both in writing and via video on your site and in the office waiting area; and by putting testimonials and excellent before/afters in your blog, e-newsletter and auto responder emails.
If you are in the rare position to have access to consumers walking past the office, consider putting banners in the windows showing before/after results. This is particularly great for skin treatments, ZOOM! whitening, Invisalign and face lifts or rhinoplasties. Again, confirm twice that you have patient permission to use their images, particularly if they are used in a very public forum.