How to Grow Your Dental Practice More Effectively
Beginning with the end in mind is the cornerstone of strategic dental marketing. Lose sight of this and you will win the battle, but lose the war. If you don’t know where you are going, it’s easy to get lost. Are you taking a tactical or a strategic approach when it comes to growing your dental practice. If you rely on tactics you will find yourself jumping from one shiny object to another with little to show for your efforts and the money you spent. But if you think strategically, your marketing efforts will be laser focused and hyper profitable.
What is your Goal for your Dental Practice?
You must always begin with the end in mind, or you may spending a lot of time climbing up the ladder and realize too late that it is set against the wrong wall.
What is your overall goal for your dental practice? Do you want it to remain a 9 to 5 job which pays well, but constantly zaps your time and energy? Or do you want to build a highly profitable practice that will fund a secure, comfortable retirement, one that will allow you to leave a legacy because it almost runs itself, while producing steady cash flow?
If your goal is to build a highly profitable practice, you need to think strategically about how you acquire new patients or you are unlikely to achieve this goal.
Your Ideal Dental Patient
Once you have a strategic goal for your dental practice, you need to put rubber to the road and determine exactly what it will take to get your practice to where you want it to go. The type of dental patients your practice acquires makes all the difference.
Who would you rather have as a patient? Someone with bad teeth and great dental insurance or someone who only needs routine dental care who pays out of pocket and is highly price conscious.
If you don’t know the characteristics of your ideal patient, how are you going to attract them?
Strategic dental marketing is all about first knowing exactly what your ideal client looks like before you spend a single penny on marketing or advertising. Otherwise you are wasting a huge percentage of your marketing budget and you might be attracting patients, but the wrong kind of patients to meet the goals of your dental practice.
A Potentially Weak Link in your Dental Marketing Chain
By now you probably have noticed that I am working backwards from identify your practice’s main objective, to determining the ideal patient to meet that objective. And now the next step is to make sure that your dental practice doesn’t needlessly turn away your best prospective patients.
The last link in your marketing chain before a new patient comes in to see you is your receptionist.
Does she turn off patients with her demeanor? Is she making highest and best use of inbound phone calls from prospective patients? Is she making every effort, to capture the contact information of every caller?
Sometimes things get busy for your receptionist. How does she perform under pressure? Does she remain warm and friendly on the phone or does she revert to being merely professional. Imagine you are a prospective patient and you are greeted by someone who is warm and friendly versus someone who is merely professional. Which would make you feel more welcome?
Do you have several mystery callers call your receptionist once a month or once per week to assess how well she is doing?
Well you might want to consider doing so, because you could be spending thousands on marketing, but if prospective patients are greeted by anything less than the warmest, friendliest person on the planet, you are definitely not getting your money’s worth.
Message versus Media
When it comes to any product or service, there are three things that matter: the market, the message and the media. The most important is the market. Is there a demand for the product or service that you are offering? Fortunately, this is easy to answer, until humans no longer need teeth, I suspect there will be a huge demand for dental care.
So out of message and media, you message is by far much more important. Media encompasses decisions like online or offline, print versus internet, radio versus television and so on. Media is more of a tactical than a strategic decision.
Your message however is highly strategic. Have the wrong message or worse yet have no real message at all and no matter what media you use, your marketing efforts will fall flat on its face.
Go find your local yellow pages book. Dust off the cover, assuming you even keep it around your office. Open it to the dentist section and look at the ads. You know the ads that you and your competitors spend gobs of money on.
How many of these ads all look alike. A picture of a dentist, name of the practice, website url and phone number.
Why should a dental patient choose one dentist over another? I suppose if your name was Tom Cruise, just listing your name might work.
But what sets you message apart from all the other dentists out there? What reaches out and grabs a prospective patient and tells them why they should choose you over all the other dentists out there?
If you can’t answer this question, you are just wasting your advertising dollars.
Strategic Dental Marketing: It’s Easier and Harder Than You Think
Obviously I can’t cover everything in one short article. But if I had to leave you with only one thought, it is to think strategically rather than tactically when it comes to your dental practice’s marketing efforts. Don’t waste your efforts on quick fixes. Tactics are temporary. Strategy is timeless.
If you are a Honolulu Dentist, a Hawaii dentist or even a dentist in North Dakota and you want to talk, you know where to find me.