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Chapter 1: Finding the Noise in Your Marketing

I've focused my new blog series on connecting doctors and dentists with the No. 1 concept required to successfully market a specialized medical or dental practice: Eliminating Noise.

So, let's talk about noise. I'm sorry to inform you that it's deceptively present in every aspect of your business. Noise is anything that slows, stops or confuses your message. Noise is not just a bad message - it can be a behavior, attitude or a projected tone. Worst of all, noise causes disconnection with your audience. The good news is, if you can spot noise, you can easily address it.

Dog Star Media's core purpose is to find and eliminate noise in our clients' marketing efforts. This concern is built into every strategy we execute and all the media we produce. When our clients understand how and why we eliminate noise, they proceed in their marketing and sales with confidence. Nine times out of 10, if a business owner questions the value or progress of your marketing efforts, they are out of alignment on how to eliminate noise. When both parties focus on what is important - eliminating noise - it is easy to agree on tools and strategies.

In this Art & Science of Digital Marketing blog, I'll go into detail about finding and addressing noise in small-business marketing. Here are a few ideas I'll be exploring in the coming weeks.

• Noise

I'm going to challenge you to change your paradigm on noise in marketing. Noise can be everything from a bad picture on your website masthead to the wrong choice for a casual social media post to a poorly trained employee answering the phone. Noise can be you receiving a tracking number report with recorded incoming calls from your website ... and you not listening to the calls. Noise slows the system in many ways. Fixing it means you earn more money. Challenge accepted?

• Low User Experience

You made a lot of presentation decisions about your website. You trusted your designer. Maybe it was last week, or maybe it was years ago. Do you know who tells you the most about your website? The visitors. If you are not listening to them, you're adding noise to the evaluation process. Let's focus on that noise and get that issue fixed.

• Friction

Web visits are going up because of your new strategies, but calls and contacts are lagging. You've got friction on your site. Sure, we can't expect every visitor to smoothly slide into the contact form and call you. But we can expect to identify where the rough parts are on your website. Smoothing those problem areas out eliminates friction. There are tools out there that help us interpret that noise so we can eliminate it. Interested?

• Leakage

Leakage is when an incoming prospective patient call or email is dropped, botched or otherwise mishandled. A good lead just leaked through the bottom. In more than 20 years of marketing, I've never seen more resistance to addressing an issue. It is 100 percent a training issue and fixable. Some of the noise in this area is an owner's unwillingness to insist on improved performance.

• Unclear Brand Message

Buzz words, vague language and coined terms get in the way of a clear statement of value. Brand is an easily accessible idea that communicates value to a broad audience. My best advice when it comes to brand is to trust a professional. I've seen amateurs build in more noise than brand value, not just in practices, but also on a national organization level. If it needs to be explained, it's hurting you. Here's a hint how the pros do it: We start by understanding how the audience (or listener) perceives the message. There's a lot more to branding than what the owners want to say or project outwardly.

• Bad Message for the Medium

Whether it's a set of before and after pictures on Facebook or lengthy videos on social media, it is possible to use the wrong message or medium in the wrong place. This comes from one-size-fits-all thinking. I spend on a video, so people are going to watch it no matter where it is. People want to see my before and after gallery on my website, why not on Facebook?

The fact is, with today's metrics, we have data that show us what works and where. Media strategies are constantly being revised based on user trends. You add noise when you have one-size-fits-all thinking, because doing so creates unrealistic expectations, then frustration. Honing in on eliminating noise refocuses everyone on what needs to be done to be successful.

• Owner Paradigm

Practices with successful marketing efforts all have one thing in common: The owner understands why the strategy works and empowers it. If your favorite color is chartreuse and thus your website has to be colored chartreuse, you may be adding noise. If you want to make a first impression with a crazy picture of your team on your website masthead, you may be adding noise. If you bury the value by insisting on talking about the features of a service you offer, you may be adding noise.

But, if you allow a professional marketing company to identify where the noise is and you are willing to make necessary changes in your paradigm, you will be eliminating noise. Does that sound like a change you are willing to make?

There's more. I'll go into a lot of detail as this blog progresses. I'd also like to answer your questions. If you have a question as to how the concept of noise may be affecting your practice, email me at donald@dogstarmedia.com. I'll answer questions from readers in this blog that I think would be of use to the larger community of readers.

Let me know what you think. Where do you think noise may exist in your marketing efforts? 

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