It surprises me to see how many dental offices I visit that are hard to find. It might be because their office is buried in some office building or their office staff isn’t good at giving google mapdirections. If you are curious about how easy it is for patients to find your practice, use my 5 point ”Locator Grader” to see if your practice is easy to locate. Rate yourself from 1 to 10… 10 being excellent.

(1) Building or location signage: This is first on the list because not only does not having signage make your practice hard to find, but easy to read, visible signage can actually be an excellent way to attract new patients.

Some locations will not allow outdoor signage or it is so small it is ineffective. Check with property zoning to see if there are any restrictions on adding a sign, so you are not surprised once you sign a 5 year lease and you can’t back out. Also, make sure your office suite is listed on the building marque. 1 to 10 ____

(2) Location: Being located on a well-traveled thorough fare, with visible signage, makes it easy for patients to remember you when it comes time to find a dentist. Especially when you are located on their drive routes to frequent destinations, e.g. grocery store, gas station, school, shopping mall, strip center or work.

Make sure you have easy drive in access to your office building and are not blocked by mediums, one way streets or long waits to turn across traffic. Be sure the parking lot has ample parking spaces close to your office and handicap access as well. 1 to 10 ____

(3) Directions: Do you give directions on your website, written and by map? Do you include these methods in your advertising? If you are still using Yellow Page display ads, do you include directions in your ad? Also, make sure the directions are large enough to read and clear enough to understand. 1 to 10 ____

(4) Does your front office have an easy way to explain how to find your practice? If you don’t know, call and ask them. See how they respond. They should be clear enough for you to understand. If they are inherently difficult, did they ask you to get a pen and piece of paper to write them down? You might have directions typed up, laminated and positioned by the front office receptionist’s telephone. Do you have directions on your phone message answering machine? 1 to 10 ____

(5) Local online directories: Have you claimed all the space on your local directories and input your practice profile including directions to your practice for such sites as Google + maps, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Merchant Circle, City Search, Manta, Insider pages, Best Local, Hibu, and YP.com. Also, don’t forget to include dental-specific directories, such as mylocaldentist.com, healthgrades.com or zocdoc.com. Make sure you use consistent information in each of the profiles including directions. 1 to 10 ____

Add up your score from above _____

If you score above 40 (Excellent)

From 30 to 39 (Good)

From 20 to 29 (Average)

From 10 to 19 (Bad)

From 0 to 9 (Poor)

For additional information on improving your practices marketing, go to www.redstarmarketing.com and down your 25 page whitepaper report, “7 steps to dental practice marketing success”.