So you have started to think about marketing your dental practice. Before you do, there are a number of things you must consider.
- Analyse – The first step you need to take with your dental practice is to ask the why’s, when’s and what if’s. Only after you have asked these sort of questions can you move onto planning your marketing campaign. You should be asking questions such as; why do I want more patients?, by when do I want to see an increase in new patients?, and what happens if we see a significant increase to new patients?. When answered, you will have a clearer view of where you want your business to go, how long it will take, and what it means to the day to day running of the practice when your marketing starts to take off.
- Planning – Have you taken time out of your day to plan your marketing and have you documented it? Marketing is a minefield, with so many options available to you. You could leaflet drop, advertise in targeted or local magazines, advertise on billboards, or the radio. You could consider investing your time in social media, search engine optimisation or even Google adwords. But can you do them all? You should be considering local news and events, calendar specific events such as Halloween or the Summer, and viral content. Like I said – it is a minefield. And we have only just touched the surface. Planning your overall strategy, your budget, and more importantly sticking to it is key to getting the most out of marketing.
- Budget – It is very easy to get carried away with advertising your practice here there and everywhere. We work with a dental practice who were advertising in a number of publications that hit the exact same people. Wasted money I hear you say! By carefully planning your marketing budget, you will prevent yourself from saying yes to simply everything and ensure that you don’t put your practice at risk by spending what you do not have.
- Outsource – Outsource what you cannot do. Doing everything yourself can put you in a bit of a mess. If you are not sure how to manage your social media channels effectively; outsource it. If you have no idea how to run an Google adwords campaign; outsource it. Experts, like onefoursix, will help you get more from your marketing. Take adwords for example. It is relatively easy to set up a Google adwords account and manage a campaign yourself. However, did you know that the content of the web page you are directing your Google ads through too can play a part in how much you spend per click? We have experience monitoring Google adword campaigns that actually cost the end client less money, resulting in them also having more time to do the things that they are good at.
- Targets – Set yourself targets. Your targets should be carefully considered when carrying out the analysis and planning side of your marketing campaign. Think about how many new patients you want to see come through the doors, consider the amount of money and time you are willing to put into your marketing campaign, and set yourself realistic targets.
- Monitor – Monitoring where your leads are coming from is key to knowing whether your marketing has been successful or not. To do this you need 2 things. Firstly, set up a very simple excel spreadsheet (or use your CRM system if it allows) with rows and columns identifying each new patient and each method of marketing. Very simply put a ‘1’ against each new patient and against whichever way they heard of you. Almost like a tally chart. At the end of each month, tally it up, and over time you will see which methods of marketing are working best for you. Secondly, get the dental team to buy into it. Everyone from your receptionist through to your dentists should be asking each new patient where they heard about your dental practice. If you do not do this, how will you ever know what works.
- Expectations – Nothing is immediate so manage your expectations from the outset. We started working with one of our dental practices just over a year ago. Although we did see an immediate increase in the number of new patients coming through the door, it took a whole year to get this to 4 times the original number. Be patient with your marketing. Your future patients may not buy into you from the word go, and some may not buy into you at all, however the more your message is out there, the more people will see it and more new patients you will take on board.
onefoursix specialise in bespoke marketing campaigns for the dental industry. Our most recent client has seen a steady increase since we started working with them just over a year ago. During their most recent review, we identified that they had achieved 4 times the amount of new patients since we started working with them.
Author: Dave Williams
Dave Williams is the founder and director of onefoursix; a digital marketing agency based in Northampton. After setting up onefoursix in 2011, Dave has gone on to grow it to one of Northampton’s finest agencies. His expertise include social media, user experience and SEO.
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