How to Own The 3 Stages of the Sleep Apnea Buying Decision
By Lane Rizzardini and Ryan Towe
As you enter sleep medicine, you’ll find countless resources on insurance billing, operations, treatment, everything you need to run a successful sleep practice. There’s one area where resources and strategies are glaringly missing: how to drive new patients.
Marketing companies abound for legal, home services, dentistry, but when it comes to sleep apnea the most popular strategy seems to be getting doctor’s offices to send referrals, which requires regular sales visits, follow ups, gifts, all things requiring your time.
You got into sleep apnea to treat patients and get freedom back in your life, not do sales. Why isn’t there a simpler way to drive new patients?
It comes down to two basic drivers of buying decisions: want and urgency.
When you’re shopping for a TV, or an engagement ring, those are wants. You desire this thing because the benefits of it to your life are already clear to you. Jewelers don’t need to sell you on why you should buy an engagement ring (your future spouse already did that), they just need to sell you on why you should buy from them and not another guy.
When your air conditioner breaks, you don’t want to pay a ton of money for someone to come out and fix it, but you have urgency to make that purchase decision because your house is unbearably hot and fixing the air conditioner would solve obvious discomfort for you.
Sleep apnea has neither of these features. No one really wants to go to the doctor, they go because they need to solve or prevent a health problem. But while a toothache or broken bone has urgency due to pain, sleep apnea lacks urgency because the symptoms happen while you’re asleep. Think about it:
- Do you hear yourself snore?
- Do you feel yourself stop breathing while you sleep?
- You may wake up tired, but that could be caused by many factors.
This is what makes it so easy for most OSA sufferers to ignore the problem, or find any excuse to delay seeking treatment. Sadly this results in an estimated 38,000 deaths annually from heart disease directly complicated by sleep apnea, mostly from people dying in their sleep.
Solving sleep apnea marketing will save lives. Which is why we at Sleep Apnea Leads invested so much time in order to successfully solve the problem. By taking the time to understand the unique state of mind of the patient, we’ve developed a proven program that:
- Helps you reach prospective patients at every stage of their buying decision.
- Makes you the local authority on sleep apnea.
- Can drive 80+ qualified patient leads per month into your sleep practice.
In our experience working in dental sleep medicine, prospective patients fall into three distinct segments. Understanding how to reach them and what you need to get them to choose you is central to a successful sleep apnea marketing strategy. We’re giving you the playbook:
STAGE ONE: “Do I have sleep apnea?”
Overview: Very early in their research phase, these prospective patients already have some awareness of sleep apnea either from friends or a spouse telling them they snore at night. In fact many times the searcher isn’t the patient at all, but the patient’s spouse trying to find out if their partner has sleep apnea.
What they may not know yet is how serious the problem is.
What they’re looking for: Information on symptoms, causes, dangers, anything confirming positively or negatively whether they or their spouse could have sleep apnea.
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- An SEO strategy centered around well researched blogs answering questions such as “What is Sleep Apnea?” “Symptoms of Sleep Apnea” “Is Snoring a Sign of Sleep Apnea” and more.
- Provide exactly the information they want, emphasizing the demographics, symptoms, and most importantly dangers of untreated sleep apnea.
- A Sleep Apnea Screener that tells them based on their information whether they likely have sleep apnea. It should include BMI, questions around snoring, age, neck size, etc. and should immediately tell them whether they need to seek testing.This works so well because it gives them personally tailored information without having to speak to a person. It also gives you their contact information so you can follow up with them via phone or through an automated email and text sequence.
STAGE TWO: “I need to get tested for Sleep Apnea”
Overview: At this stage the buyer (either the patient or the spouse) has been convinced there’s a potential need and is ready to take the next step of finding out if treatment is needed.
What they’re looking for: testing options, cost of testing, does insurance cover testing, how long does it take to get test results back.
What they’re really looking for is EASY. The easier you can make the process sound, the more willing they will be to move forward.
What they’re NOT looking for: long drawn out explanations of the history of your practice, details about anything other than testing, and cost of treatment.
How to get them to choose you:
- Your patient intake specialists should provide a clear, easy outline of steps for how to take the test and get results and stick only to these details unless asked. Remember, the patient is looking for any excuse not to seek testing and treatment, so any obstacle sounding too difficult will lead them to abandon the search. Your coach at Awaken2Sleep will have expertise and objection counseling to help your team that is critical to the success of any marketing program.
STAGE THREE: “I have sleep apnea and need treatment”
Overview: These are your best leads, because they already know they have sleep apnea and view it as serious enough to seek treatment. Their problem is many times one of dissatisfactory treatment options, and you have the perfect alternative solution for them!
What they’re looking for: Treatment for their sleep apnea, or alternatives to their CPAP machine. They’re also looking for pricing and information on whether you accept their insurance
- A Google Ads campaign targeting keywords such as “CPAP alternatives” “oral devices for sleep apnea” or “Sleep apnea treatments” that lands on a page talking about your treatment options.
- An authoritative local presence, including correct maps listings, lots of great Google reviews, and pictures of your office, staff, and treatment options.
- Simple, clear steps to getting treatment, as well as what you need to provide pricing and insurance information. Do NOT provide a fee or guesses over the phone. Provide a range at most but that you have no way of knowing until you can run their information and speak to the doctor.
Some of this, such as writing quality content, setting up your Google Business Page, and getting reviews you can do yourself for free. Other crucial pieces, such as coaching and patient-friendly sleep testing devices, can be provided via the team at Awaken2Sleep. The #1 reason we see sleep apnea marketing fail is poor phone skills.
Other aspects, such as a website, SEO, and Google Ads, are best taken care of by professionals. Sleep Apnea Leads has affordable packages and programs designed specifically for your sleep practice to get patients in your door from every stage of their buying decision and will work directly with your Awaken2Sleep coach to provide phone transcript data and reporting to ensure we’re maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Awaken2Sleep members can get $1000 off a website, as well as member discounts on all programs. Learn about how you can get a website for free with certain marketing programs by booking a free 30-minute consultation.