Marketing is an important tool for dental practices to attract prospective clients. Effective marketing methods may mean the difference between a flourishing and a struggling clinic. However, many dentists cannot afford to spend a lot of money on marketing themselves, especially those who work alone or in small practices. This does not mean you should forget about competing with large multi-speciality practices or hospitals. There are several inexpensive methods of marketing which can be highly effective even without considerable investment. A few of them are:
1. Use social media
Social media marketing can mean anything from having a Facebook page for your business to maintaining your own blog. If you have the time you can even consider having profiles on multiple networks such as Facebook, Google+, etc. to reach the most number of people. It can be a very effective method to target younger customers since most of them are Internet savvy and are more likely to use social media to get recommendations from their friends and family about doctors.
A business profile on a social network should include basic information such as contact details, hours of operation and a brief description of your practice. You may also include testimonials from your current patients (with their consent) and provide discount coupons/offers for new clients. If you have a blog where you regularly publish content, you can link to it from your main profile.
2. Engage with the community
Most dental practices are local businesses and largely serve the needs of the community in which they are located. Having a positive community image can go a long way in establishing trust and gaining recognition in the minds of prospective clients. You can easily do this by involving your practice in local celebrations or volunteering in charitable activities. You can also sponsor the local sports team or give educational lectures at nearby schools to raise awareness about dental hygiene. This can give you valuable opportunities to interact with potential clients.
3. Provide excellent customer service
The best form of advertising is word-of-mouth which is unsolicited and unpaid. A pleasant clinical experience provided by smiling and courteous employees can go a long way in creating a good impression on your customers. Impressing your current patients is still the best method of getting them to refer others to your practice.
Not only are the above methods relatively inexpensive and easy to implement, they are more successful than traditional forms of marketing such as flyers or billboards. They also serve the dual purpose of retaining your existing customers and attracting new patients through the process of delivering exceptional value.