How much value do you derive from a referral? If you’ve long dismissed relationship marketing, you may want to reconsider. A few major shifts have occurred, creating the perfect recipe for referral and relationship marketing to deliver higher returns than ever before.
The first shift is how consumers are dissecting information. A quote from a recent New York Times article entitled The End of Newspapers said, “Young people judge the validity of information by the network of friends which passed it on, rather than by which media outlet broadcast it.” The power of relationships has always been strong, but who knew it would reach the strength to dissolve the power of traditional media.
The second shift is Facebook now surpassing Google to become the most visited website in the U.S. Hitwise, a web analytics firm, also reported the market share of visits to Facebook.com increased 185% in 2010 from the same week in 2009. Google grew, but only 9%. While most of us aren’t yet using Facebook as a search tool, it’s time to pause and consider if that is one of Facebook’s future goals …
The third (potential) shift is that Google may in fact surpass Facebook as a search tool. Facebook has aggressively enhanced their search technology. In fact, a recent post from a Facebook representative was entitled, “Delivering More Search Results as You Type”. Facebook is essentially facilitating word of mouth among “friends” even more. An excerpt of that post is shown below:
“Now as you're typing in a query in the search bar, you will instantaneously see results not only of the people, events, groups and Pages you're connected with but also the connections of your friends and globally relevant results.”
What this means is that if your patient is a fan of your practice and one of their Facebook friends types in a search for ie: “Dentist” or “Orthodontist” they are likely to see your page as one of the top search results.
The ROR or return on relationships has become a more powerful force than ever before. Expect the return you get from loyal fans, who are happy to share you with their network of friends, to become even more valuable. What are you currently doing to increase your ROR (return on relationships) with your patients?
Rita Zamora is a relationship-focused dental marketer, specializing in referral marketing, patient relations, case acceptance and social media for general and specialty practices. Rita developed her referral marketing expertise working hands-on in specialty and general dentistry practices.