We’ve all jumped on the Groupon craze at least once. Whether we bought up a few cheap dinners at a favorite restaurant or cashed in on a skydiving excursion, websites like Groupon and LivingSocial have cornered each and every one of us into an impulse buy. But more and more, doctors, dentists, and other medical practitioners are starting to pop up on the mass purchasing sites in order to gain a little marketing mojo and find a few new patients.
Websites like Groupon operate by having businesses list various specials at a discounted rated, taking a cut from what each customer spends. Many businesses don’t actually make a whole of money in the process, but the pay off is supposed to be in the customers, or in this case, patients you will receive in the end. But this would require the kinds of shoppers on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial to be looking for a loyal brand to patronize, when in reality, many shoppers are simply looking for a deal, testing the waters, and skipping from business to business.
You might get that patient’s business for a one-time consultation, but chances are they’ll only come back when you have another coupon. Or worse, they’ll go see another doctor with an even better Groupon deal next time. All in all, you’ll spend money to lose money. Doesn’t sound like a good deal for your business or the patients you’ll only get to treat once. Luckily, there are several alternatives to still getting the same effects that Groupon marketing can have without attracting one hit wonders and paying money to a middle man. Try these tips on for size.
Offer A Coupon Of Your Own
Shopping behavior doesn’t change, regardless of platform. Whether people are shopping online or looking for a doctor, a deal is a deal is a deal. And people love deals. So if you’re still itching to offer a discounted rate for your services, offering a coupon through your own website or social media accounts will help your reach those deal-lovers but on an entirely different level.
When you offer a coupon on your own, you’re telling potential patients that you think your services are so good that you’re willing to let someone try you on for size because you know they’ll love you enough to come back and pay full price! Whereas a Groupon might say that you’re a doctor who needs a little more business. This might be fine for a restaurant or an arts and crafts shop, but people aren’t willing to put their health on the line for a doctor’s office without patients. Offer your own deals and still inspire confidence in your practice.
Rev Up Word Of Mouth Marketing
Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial don’t just live off of great deals, they also get fuel from word of mouth. Many of their deals have a suggestion to tell their friends, share the deal to their Facebook page, and to buy a second deal as a gift. Usually, you’ll get a treat in return for promoting their offers. While you might not be able to create such a viral sensation, you can definitely generate word of mouth through the coupons you offer on your own site.
One alternative is to offer patients a free service if they refer a certain amount of people. For instance, a dentist’s office can offer free teeth whitening for every three people a patient refers or a LASIK practice could offer a free pair of designer sunglasses after a certain amount of referrals to their patients. You’ll still be tugging at the deal-loving heart strings of your patients without spending money to a third party like Groupon.
You can also generate word of mouth buzz through social media. If you’ve been researching any kind of business promotion, you’ll know that websites like Facebook and Twitter have become essential for modern businesses. Ask your fans and followers to share your page with their own friends and family members. In return, you can offer a few coupons or free consultations to a certain number of sharers or the first few who opt in. Not only will your current followers start sharing, but the people they bring in might want that free consultation as well and start sharing your Facebook page to their friends! Social media has made word of mouth a faster and more effective process that your medical practice can take advantage of.
Groupon and LivingSocial have made quite a splash amongst shoppers, especially those looking for business in their area to try out. Unfortunately, the keyword is “try out.” Many of the patients you’ll find from a Groupon deal will simply wait for an offer from a different doctor to get their next check up. You might be f
inding a few patients, but they won’t be loyal patrons willing to pass your name onto a friend or relative.
Take matters into your own hands by cutting out the middleman and offering a deal of your own. Through your website and with the aid of social media, you can bring in some new patients without worrying about their loyalty. Not only will you be marketing your practice, but you’ll be marketing it to the right people.