In today’s connected world, dentists cannot afford to ignore modern marketing methods. Tried and tested strategies like advertising in the Yellow Pages no longer work well, if at all. Practices have to use a mix of social media marketing, print, online ads, and patient referrals to bring in new patients.
Just because your appointment book is full doesn’t mean you can stop marketing. Some of these same strategies will help you retain patients as well. You don’t want to lose valuable clients to a competitor!
Stay in Touch with Marketing Strategies
How familiar are you with your marketing strategy, performance, patient acquisition, and patient retention numbers? Larger dental clinics might have a marketing coordinator in-house or engage consultants to do the job. In a smaller practice, the dentist is also wearing the marketing hat. In both these cases, you should have a hands-on approach to marketing. If you don’t know what’s happening, you won’t be able to see if your current plan is working or not.
You should tailor your marketing strategies towards specific goals. Are you interested in retaining clients or does your clinic need new patients? If you have just started offering new procedures or specialized techniques, you might want to focus your marketing strategies on highlighting these aspects. A clinic that caters to children will need different marketing strategies compared to a practice that focuses on cosmetic dentistry.
As a leader, it is vital that you stay in touch with the marketing side of the practice. Without your leadership and vision, your team will lose focus. You will not be able to meet your targets or reach specific goals. The tactics that worked five years ago may no longer be working for your clinic. An apathetic attitude to marketing is the quickest way to lose money and waste valuable time.
Revitalize Your Marketing Strategy
The world of healthcare has changed quite a bit in the last decade. Traditional marketing venues like billboard advertising or TV spots are not always the best channels to reach potential clients. People looking for a new dentist are likely to ask friends for a referral or browse online for best-rated practices in their area. If you don’t have a referral program in place, it’s not too late to create one. Why not reward your clients through a loyalty program that offers bonuses for successful referrals?
Even patients who love your practice may not always have the time to spread the word. Make it easy for them to refer their friends or family by including referral cards when you mail their bills. Give them out when patients are walking out the door after a visit. Offer incentives like discounts or free checkups when friends or family members make an appointment with your practice.
Another way to boost your online presence is to solicit reviews. It is well-known that customers are more likely to complain about a bad experience than praise a good one. Don’t wait for patients to review your clinic, seek them out yourself. Include links to popular review sites when you send out emails. Encourage patients to talk about their successful visit to your clinic on social media. Connect with your clients outside the office as much as possible.
Remember that your employees are also brand ambassadors for your practice. Incentivize your employees by rewarding them for successful referrals. Recognize their hard work when patients leave positive reviews mentioning specific staff members by name. Creating a marketing strategy for your brand will require time, effort, and money. But the right plan is crucial to the success of any dental clinic.