The Step-by-Step Formula for Creating A (REAL) Viral Growth Model for Your Practice
This post is my first
in a series that I've put together in order to show you the step-by-step
process for creating a viral growth model for your practice. QUICK NOTE:
The following information applies to both Dental practices and to
dental companies who are selling either services and/or tangible
products. The models I'm presenting would be slightly altered if your
product was 100% digitally-based. I have intentionally started with the
simplest possible model because this subject, albeit a very important
and potentially profitable one to be familiar with, is unfamiliar to a
majority of Dentists, dental marketing experts and practice management companies.
After I have walked
you through how to construct (and use) this first (simple) model we will
work our way up to a model that simultaneously accounts for non-viral
channels, how you retain users over time, and even how a user's virality
changes over time. A model like this can arm you with realistic
expectations, and can give you a predictive tool that you can keep up to
date with real data. NOTE: This material is covered in great detail in the Dental Marketing University Modules on Growth Hacking and Gamification.
According to Andrew
Chen "Viral marketing is not a marketing strategy. Many times, viral
marketing is seen as a "marketing strategy" that is interchangeable with
other methods of acquiring new users/customers (in our case
"patients"). That is, you go through three steps:
Through the process of
practice development you create a plan on how to make attract and
convert new patients... then retain them... then generate referrals from
Declare viral marketing is one of N approaches (along with SEO, SEM, PR, Referral marketing, etc.)
Or perhaps you have gotten interested in using a Facebook widget or something like that to make it "viral."
If your idea of viral
marketing is that it's a hot new marketing strategy, you’re already set
up for FAILURE. Dental practices that have achieved virility don’t have
viral marketing bolted on once the practice management program has been
developed and incorporated.
Instead, it’s designed
into every aspect, function and fundamental architecture of the
experience patients have in your practice. Viral marketing is not a
feature of your dental marketing program. Similarly, no single feature
of your practice (i.e., "same-day-crowns") determines the viral success
of a practice.
Instead, it’s part of a
viral growth model (i.e., "viral loop") that connects a disparate set
of functions into a cohesive motivation for your patients to tell their
friends. If the fundamental experience patients have in your practice
doesn't drive a viral motivation from them, then it’s very hard to force
it. Viral growth in your practice can only be accomplished through a
fundamental understanding of product design and predictive analytics.
Creating A Viral Growth Model for Your Practice: What Does a Dental Practice That Has Achieved A Level of Virility Look Like?
acquire new patients via a variety of channels, such as press,
advertising, online efforts and joint venture relationships. Perhaps the
most intriguing channel of new patients comes from your existing
patients. A dental practice that has achieved a level of virility
derives much of its growth from its existing patients recruiting new
patients (i.e., "referral"). A patient could recruit another through a
simple invitation ("You should check out my Dentist... He's
cool/affordable/didn't hurt me once/etc.")
Is there a way to
predict how viral your practice will become? How long will it take to
acquire 500 new patients? Will we get to 5,000 active patients in our
practice before we max out? To answer questions like these, we need to
build/create a viral growth model for your practice.
Where to Begin Creating A Viral Growth Model for Your Practice? With the Simplest Possible Model
To keep this easy and
interesting, let's say we start with 1,000 existing patients in your
practice. How many new patients (referrals) will these existing patients
recruit into your practice? Well, some patients will love your
practice, whereas others will dislike some aspect of it. Some patients
will refer many people, whereas others will not refer anybody at all.
Some patients may refer people after their initial visit with you,
whereas others may not refer until their first hygiene visit.
Let's sweep all these uncertainties away,
and say that, on average, 1 in 5 of your patients will successfully
refer a quality new patient into your practice within one month of
becoming a patient of yours. In other words, our viral factor is 1/5 =
0.2, and our initial 1,000 patients will recruit another 1,000 * 0.2 =
200 new patients after their first month. These 200 users will then
recruit another 200 * 0.2 = 40 users in month 2, who will then recruit
another 40 * 0.2 = 8 users in month 3, and so on. What does your new
patient growth look like? (Follow along on the sheet labelled "1.
Using the base number
of 1,000 existing patients in your practice and the referral rate of 1
referral from 1 out of every 5 patients (during the first month of their
care) you will (in this example) acquire users at a decreasing rate
until we have 1,250 active patients in your practice. Stay with me
because if you really want to create sustainable growth in your practice
the process we're working through now is going to help you achieve it.
This will NO DOUBT get your Growth/Production/PROFIT Juices Flowing!
What happens if our
viral factor is instead 0.4? With a viral factor of .4 it means that 2
out of every 5 patients you have (and will obtain in the future) will
refer one additional new patient within 30 days of starting treatment
Again, we acquire new
patient referrals at a decreasing rate. But this time, our growth tails
off at around 1,666 active patients in your practice.
Now what happens if our viral factor is instead 1.2?
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE REST OF ARTICLE #1 IN THIS SERIES!