Practiced effectively, marketing is simply a system.

dental-marketingWhile this may be hard for some dental practice owners to come to grips with, like those who feel that “dental marketing is a strange form of creative voodoo thinking,” marketing is not only a system—it may be the most important system in any business.

To understand how to approach marketing for a dental practice it may be helpful to understand the Duct Tape Marketing System definition of marketing. Marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you.

Here is an overview of the 7 core steps that make up the simple, effective, and affordable Duct Tape Marketing System. Dental practices that appreciate and implement this approach to marketing grow in a consistent and predictable manner.

– John Jantsch

Duct Tape Marketing

1.    1) Strategy before Tactics

Dental practices always want to grab the idea of the week. And dentists are absolutely the worst at this because they’re doing a hundred things.

So the shiny object that makes the most noise this week is now the marketing plan. The thing is, if a dental practice owner gets the strategy part right in marketing, he or she can surround it with just about any set of tactics that are performed and measured consistently and be successful. That’s how important the strategy piece is.

There are two very significant components to getting a marketing strategy down for a dental practice: to narrow focus down to an ideal patient, and to find some way to clearly differentiate one’s practice.

2.    2) The Marketing Hourglass

Most marketers are familiar with the concept of the Marketing Funnel: a whole bunch of leads are loaded into the top of a funnel, and they’re choked until a few patients squeeze out the small end. The game is always about putting more and more patient leads into the top of the funnel.

But what good are leads if they aren’t converted into patients, repeat business and referrals? What if, through remarkable customer experience, a practice had the ability to retain the same patient and generate a significant number of new leads and referrals from those happy patients?

When it comes to lead referral generation, the patients experience is it.

3.    3) Publish Educational Content

By now practice owners are tired of hearing the phrase, “Content is King.” As true as it may be, today’s prospects instinctively gravitate to search engines to answer all their burning questions. The mistake many practices make is that even if they churn out continuous content, they don’t make it part of their overall strategy.

Your content and publishing efforts must be focused on achieving two things: building trust and educating.

These two categories of content strategy must be delivered through the creation of very specific forms of content, not simply through sheer volume. Every practice is now a publishing business, so you must start to think like one.

4.    4) Create a total Web Presence

There was a time, just a few short years ago really, when dental practices finally concluded they must use the web to supplement their marketing efforts and create another potential channel for marketing messages.

Today’s practices must evolve that thinking radically again—or face extinction. The onslaught of social media use didn’t simply create another set of marketing tactics; it signaled, to those viewing it strategically, a shift in the marketing landscape that has become preposterously evident.

The Web and digital interactivity now represent the center of the marketing universe. Most marketing decisions must start and end there.

5.    5) Operate a Lead Generation Trio

Traditional lead generation tactics—Yellow page directory advertising, radio, magazine, print ads—are quickly losing appeal with practice owners. There are two very good reasons for this decline:

1) Traditional methods are some of the most expensive.

2) Traditional methods are proving less effective in terms of lead generation.

Message and information overload, technology to block ads (Caller ID, TiVo, XM Radio) and the availability of information may make traditional and more expensive outbound marketing efforts a thing of the past.

Dental practices must change the way they think about and approach patient lead generation. They must think more in terms of being found and less in terms of finding.

6.    6) Make a Selling System

Oftentimes, the quickest way to make an impact on an organization’s marketing results is to go to work on the lead conversion or sales process.

The lack of any semblance of a systematic approach to selling is the biggest weakness for most practices. The focus of marketing is almost always on generating more patient leads. While leads are certainly important, the obsession with generating them consumes a significant amount of time and money.

Installing a sales system, one that everyone in the organization who is involved in selling operates, is the fastest way to improve overall marketing results.

7.    7) Living by the Calendar

It’s tough to get around to marketing. We get it. You didn’t start your practice because you were dying to get your hands dirty with blogging, copywriting, and selling. But you soon found out that your practice would die if you did not. So, what to do?

The secret to getting marketing done is to make it a habit. Or, if we may roughly paraphrase Aristotle – “We are what we repeatedly do. Dental marketing then is not an act, but a habit.”

Most of us have more experience trying to break a bad habit than establish a good one. The secret is to create a system and practice until it becomes second nature.

For the full report go to www.redstarmarketing.com and download your free 25 page whitepaper, “7 Steps to Dental Marketing Success”, written by John Jantsch, owner of Duct Tape Marketing and adapted to the dental industry by Shawn Russell owner of Red Star Marketing.