Les Jones presents three top tips on how to approach your marketing activity for your dental practice

I support many practices up and down the country with their marketing and you would be surprised how many practices tend to be a little ad hoc with their activity. Normally when business drops off then they tend to do a bit of marketing, but it rarely tends to be focused and specific.

So with this in mind, here are my top three tips to support your dental practice with its marketing activity.

1. Goals and measurement

I always advise practices to set tangible and measurable marketing goals. The perfect example of the opposite to this is, ‘We want to increase the number of treatment uptakes in a particular month.’ Because this only says ‘increase’, there is no real measurement there whatsoever. You need to get specific, so something like this, ‘In the next 12 months we want to increase the number of treatment uptakes from 60 to 100’. By stating ‘the next 12 months’ you will have something that is time-based, and by stating ‘60 to 100’ you now have something that has a start and end point, which means that you can monitor your progress every step of the way.

Another benefit is that you also have something tangible to present to your team that they can actively contribute towards.
Remember, marketing should give you a return on your investment as much as a new chair in your surgery would, or a new member of staff. Your activity is not a cost, but a tangible investment that should pay dividends for you and your practice.

2. Language

Dentists are fantastic at talking to their patients, but unfortunately the majority of the time what they say is far too technical, which means that the vast majority of patients don’t understand them. The key is to speak the language of the receiver, which means speaking in a way which the patient can understand what you are talking about. I don’t think there is anyone that thinks to themselves, ‘You know what, I’d really love to go to the dentist this morning.’ Dentistry is a means to an end for your patients. Which means that it is all about increased confidence, being happier about themselves, or having a better appearance. So you need to talk about the benefits of having a treatment in those terms, not the features.

3. Remove barriers

You would be surprised how many barriers dentists unintentionally put up but expect their patients to overcome. For example, most people work nine to five; and if they want to get in touch with their dentist during the week they are most likely to ring at lunchtime – however, this is usually the time a practice is closed ‘for lunch’. Straight away it is a barrier and one that is likely to result in a loss of enquiries.

Another example are treatment plans, lots of patients would like to invest in high-value treatments, but they can’t afford it outright – it’s a question of affordability. If you aren’t offering an affordable solution, for example patient finance, then you are missing out yet again. And finally, if a prospective patient is looking for a specific treatment, a dentist in the area or simply looking up a friend’s recommendation, then they are more than likely to search on the web. If your website isn’t on the first page of their search, or your website is not connecting really quickly, then you’re probably out of the game.

Make sure that your website is structured in a customer-friendly way and speaks the language of the patient. All of these example are quite simple things to fix, so take a moment to think about any more possible barriers in your practice and how you could fix them.
There we have it, three very easy tips to support you with your practice marketing. If you implement them into your practice, your marketing activity will increase and the results will also become much better.