When you put together a dental marketing strategy, it is easy to become too complex with your efforts. In this blog I will discuss 3 strategic dental marketing concepts to make putting together your dental marketing strategies easier.

dental marketing strategyBut before I get started, you need to keep in mind the difference between marketing and advertising. Marketing is the work of understanding: what your patients look like, what they value and where they get their information. If we do this well it makes the advertising easier and more effective.

Once we have the dental marketing strategies in place, you will need to advertise to make prospects aware of your practice and your services. Advertising is taking the marketing message developed in the strategy and finding a medium to reach the predetermined audience, buy the medium efficiently to maximize your ad dollars and design the ad to be attention-getting & drive results.

1)    Know your ideal patient: Advertising without a dental marketing strategy is almost impossible to run if we do not know who we want to reach. Most advertising reps will be happy to sell you advertising anywhere to make a commission and without any regard to whether it will work for you or not. Therefore, it is critical that you do the upfront work to determine your ideal patient.

Use the following to identify them: They use your services, pay you, come back year after year, refer you, follow your prescribed treatment and are easy to work with. You should always want more of these patients. Use a spread sheet to list these patient qualifiers to see if there are common traits among them.

2)    A practice differentiator: You standout more when you are different. In the world of marketing; it is better to be different than better. When prospects can’t tell the difference between you and another practice, they default to price or location. The best way to find your difference is to ask your ideal patients. And the best way to do this is to have a third party administer a short survey. If you try to administer it yourself, they won’t always share their true feeling as they would with an outsider.

When giving the survey, they need to dig and ask for examples or ask questions such as, “give me an example of some good customer service you received” or “how did they go about making you comfortable?” These are where the golden nuggets reside. The trick is to look for trends on why they value you.

Look at your competition. Go to their websites. Ask yourself, what makes them standout, how are they different, and who are they trying to reach? Begin to look for a gap they are not pursuing.

Determine your own strengths and what you do well as a practice. Maybe you are always on time, or you keep friendly employees for a long time.

Now, position your practice around these gaps and your strengths.

3)    Brand your practice:  Now that you have an ideal patient in mind, have asked your customer why they value you and have effectively positioned your practice around these differences as well as your strengths, you can begin developing marketing messages that reflect these findings. There are 3 messages you want to consider.

The first one is an internal message for the practice and can be answered in a short sentence to the question: Why are we in business? You may come up with: to serve the patient, to make our patients comfortable or we provide a great dental experience.

The next message you need is one to describe your practice to the public. Some call this the 30-second elevator speech. This can be used by all employees in the practice. You know you really have a great message when someone hears it and ask you, “Really how do you do that?” Then you have a prepared answer.

The last is taking the previous two messages and boiling them down to a tagline phrase of about 7 words or less. This tagline should have a nice ring and describe very succinctly what you offer. Mine is “Painless Dental Marketing”. Once you have a effective tagline use it everywhere: Signage, business cards, welcome folders, health forms, website, advertising, uniforms, even invoices.

If you are interested in getting more information about developing your dental marketing strategies, take the following dental practice marketing audit.