Clinical skills, expertise and experience are not the only criteria for a successful dental practice. As a practice owner, you have to show business acumen in various areas such as finance, marketing, human resources and so on. You can give some of these tasks like preparing your taxes to specialists. However there are still some processes you have to manage on your own.
Marketing your practice is one such area. Although you can hire external consultants for specific campaigns, you are still in charge of marketing your practice to current and potential clients. This is because you cannot separate advertising and marketing from the patient experience within the clinic. Patients won’t come back if the advertised features and prices don’t match what you actually provide.
Marketing strategies don’t stay static for long. What worked for you yesterday may no longer be relevant tomorrow. For a long time, postcards were the standard method of reminding patients about their scheduled appointments. Today most patients want reminders in their email inbox or via text. As things change, you have to adjust your marketing tactics and adapt.
Has Your Marketing Changed Recently?
Your skills as a dentist are an important factor in the high standard of care you offered to patients. No doubt you are investing in training, education and seminars on yourself and your staff members. But what about your marketing? Many practices create a marketing strategy, put it into action and then forget all about it. Have you evaluated your marketing strategies recently? Are you sure that they are still working to retain your current clients while attracting potential patients?
It is easy for practices to get stuck in a marketing rut which sees them repeating the same thing over and over again. Here’s how you can break out of the mould and implement new ideas.
Involve All Your Team Members
Marketing your practice should not have to be the sole responsibility of practice owners. Get your entire team involved in brainstorming ideas and gathering input. The perspective of a dentist will be quite different from that of the front desk receptionist. Everyone has their own ideas and views on what can improve the patient experience. One way of getting those ideas onto paper is to have regular meetings, say once a month. You can solicit ideas from all team members and identify the best ones to implement.
Assign Responsibilities to Everyone
Apart from generating ideas, your team members can also be responsible for reporting on various marketing aspects. You probably market your practice in different ways – through a dedicated website, on social media channels, email and texting, billboards etc. Each staff member can monitor one part of the system and report on it at the monthly meetings. Encourage them to be on the lookout for how to improve the system.
Talk to Your Patients
Many practices overlook this simple step. The best way to gauge how clients are responding to your marketing is to ask them. You can send online surveys to busy patients along with appointment reminders or as them in person when they come in. Solicit their ideas on areas for improvement as well as feedback on how satisfied they are with their experience in your clinic. Not everyone will have the time or patience to talk to you. But you can still get good feedback from a handful of respondents.
Perhaps the most important step in breaking out of a marketing rut is to not accept the status quo. Remember that no matter which area you’re targeting, there is always room for improvement!