Marketing a dental practice was a hell of a lot simpler 15-20 years ago, that’s for sure. You’d put up a sign saying ‘dentist’ on your building, whack a few adverts in the local newspaper and Yellow Pages, and wait for the patients to roll in.
Today it’s a lot harder and there’s more competition than ever before. The corporate groups are getting better at marketing and advertising is not as effective as it used to be. An advert in a local paper or on a radio station will give you a significantly lower return than it did years ago.
Most practices have seen this but have never figured out why. This kind of advertising is known as ‘interruption marketing’. You’re interrupting someone who has picked up a newspaper for the news, or is listening to the radio for the music. That was the only way of marketing for decades and it worked just fine. But these days it’s no longer cost effective.
Instead, the internet can put your practice in front of the small group of people who are looking for businesses like yours right now.
Why attempt to interrupt people with an advert when you can invest small amounts of resource into targeting people who type ‘dentist in [your town]’ into Google? These changes mean that if you’ve been a practice owner for a decade or more, it’s time to update your marketing mindset to the 21st century.
Here are three things I suggest you do:
1. Throw all your old marketing knowledge in the bin
What you learned about dental marketing 15-years or so ago has changed. Sure, the fundamentals are the same, but the mechanism that allows people to compare practices is significantly different. They use Google, and they make their decision whether to use your practice or another based on your website. Even word of mouth has changed – it used to direct someone to your doors; now it drives them to your website.
2. Start taking your online presence more seriously
If your website is like most (it has no real differentiation; it’s too focused on the building rather than the people, it talks about facilities and clinical experience when it should be communicating passion and trust) then you’re missing out. Size is no longer a huge advantage because the ability to communicate effectively online is more important.
So you need to constantly add new content to your website, to claim your Google listing and enhance your profile, and to truly interact with people on social media.
3. Communicate with clients and prospects in a way that suits them, not you
Traditionally practices have sent out a few recall letters to clients and that’s been it. Some practices now go a little further, using texts, but there are dozens of different ways to contact people, most of them not used by practices – emails, private direct messages on Twitter, phone calls, as well as texts and letters. Try a mix of these methods.
Get your free copy of Paul Green’s book The root of the problem posted to you by visiting www.dentistsmarketingbook.co.uk.