One is wise, to develop a dental marketing strategy before they jump in and start developing marketing plans and running ads. Strategic dental marketing is the surest route to victory in attracting a continuous pool of new patients.
Marketing is a long-term game. With a good strategy in place you should feel confident in knowing you have an action plan in place to be successful and keep you on track to see the program to fruition.
It takes a little more time up front to develop a strategy, but saves you a lot of time and money in the long run.
So what is a dental marketing strategy and why do we need one? A marketing strategy is an action plan to accomplish your marketing goals and objectives. Your plan should be well thought out to keep you on the path to success. To be more effective, it needs to take into account possible pit falls to avoid and prioritize the order of action items.
It should start with a thorough evaluation of your current marketing to examine what is working, what is not working and what is missing. Next, you need to form a baseline to track and measure your success and establish growth goals and objectives.
Once the evaluation is complete and goals are in place, a target patient needs to be determined. You start by looking at current patient data base, competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and strengths of your practice. You need to consider what makes the practice different and why do patients value this difference and continue to be loyal, long-term patients.
Good dental marketing strategies start with your target patient. You need to find out why they value your practice. They could value you for a number of reasons, below are a few of the most common:
- I feel comfortable, the staff puts me at ease
- The professionalism of the staff. They make me feel well cared for
- I like their cutting edge approach to staying up to date with the latest equipment and procedures
- The office is warm and inviting, I like all the modern amenities
- I have confidence in the ability of the dentist
It might surprise you to learn that great customer service, a fair price and quality work are an expectation among the majority of patients and you cannot differentiate yourself based on these strengths unless you are head and shoulders above everyone else in the industry.
It is generally the little things that set you apart that really make the difference. Such as:
- Answering the phone in person
- Quickly returning your calls for appointments
- Being seated right away and attended to with little wait
- Taking the time to answer all of your questions
- Giving you options to getting the work done
So how do you find out why your patients value you? You ask. You pick up the phone and you ask them the following questions:
- How did you hear about us?
- Why do you continue coming in?
- What are our strengths?
- Have we ever let you down (Service, communication, billing)?
- What do others do that we don’t do?
- Would you refer us? If so, why? If not, why not?
- What is your biggest frustration with dentist and dental practices?
- What could we do that we don’t?
- If you were to perform a Google search for a dentist what would you enter to find one?
- In one word, how would you describe us?
In summary, dental marketing strategies are a combination of:
- Evaluating your practice to form a baseline
- Setting written goals and objectives to accomplish
- Understanding who are your ideal patients
- Survey to find or develop a differentiation that patient’s value
This should give you enough information to find a gap to fill and to attract your ideal patients. When it comes to a competitive field like dentistry, it is all about positioning yourself to leverage your strength and attract a patient base you can best serve.
If you want to evaluate the marketing of your practice go to www.redstarmarketing.com and take the Dental Practice Marketing Audit. You will receive a 30 minute, no-cost consultation to determine what you need to do next to improve your marketing.