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Thursday, 19 September 2013 08:49

Does Your Dental Practice Marketing Bring You the Kind of Patients You Want? Featured

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post 61 picMarketing the dental practice has come a long way since I first began working in the dental field. 

I recall the days that the only type of marketing we did was to ask our beloved patients to refer their friends and family, have an elegant sign outside of our door and to list in the phonebook a simple, informative advertisement. 

And yet, as much as we cherish those simpler days of ordering business cards to hand to our patients and renewing our agreement with the telephone directory, we continue to seek for more ways to market our dental practice in the modern world.  

 

Creative ways.  Marketing methods that work.  A piece of collateral that can break through the bombardment of advertising that our patients’ eyes see and their brains will need to process. 

It has been said that the average American adult will visually see over 20,000 advertisements per day, and yet only process a fraction of them.

Developing a marketing strategy isn’t something that dentists necessarily meet with the same gusto as practicing clinical dentistry. 

They know they have to, but the idea of marketing themselves somehow goes against their belief in why they began doing dentistry in the first place.  They became dentists because they want to help people. 

Marketing “I want to help you with your oral health needs” seems to go against the nature of their purpose, considering advertisements seem impersonal and cold.  

“Love your market first, then love your product.”  I’m not sure who wrote this statement originally, but I will give credit to Sam Dyer of Dental Optimizer. 

Now Sam is an interesting guy.  He knows marketing, and he knows dentists.  And somehow he has been able to blend the two in a way that it all seems to fit together. 

Dentists hate to think of their patients as a market base.  And they hate even more to think of caring for patients as a product.  But in the marketing world, that is exactly what they are. 

If you love your patients first, then you can love your services to those patients.  What this philosophy is telling you is to understand your patients, evaluate who they are and what it is that they are seeking from your dental practice.  Then provide the services or the product that they want from you.  

When considering a marketing strategy for your practice, there is a wealth of information available, mostly with links to consulting services or software for purchase. 

Both of these avenues have value to the dental practice and the choice is very personal, after all the marketing is a direct representation of your practice.  I have had the opportunity to work with Moda (formerly ODS) marketing department and have learned a lot about marketing in the corporate environment.  A couple of take aways that I can share with you:

•    Develop a brand, and consistently market that brand.  The community will recognize your logo and style with your practice after just seeing it a few times.  

•    Incorporate in your marketing plan several touch points.  Learn about social media, mailers, patient education tools, website development.  There is a wealth of avenues to reach out to potential patients.  Learn to utilize the tools that are available to you.

•    Make a strategic marketing plan that evaluates your target audience, defines your mission statement and business goals.  It should include a SWOT analysis that captures your practice’s strengths, weaknesses and describes opportunities.  I found an example of a dental marketing plan on a website at Mplans Dental Office Marketing Plan.  

Many practices feel overwhelmed at the idea of developing a comprehensive marketing plan and aren’t sure where to go to get cost effective tools to put their plan into action. 

Dentists Management Corporation works closely with other affiliates that provide services to dentists such as print and mail services through Moda Print and Mail, or Dental Optimizer for web marketing. 

If you want to learn about social media for dentists, pick up the book Social Media for Dentists 3.0 by Jason Lipscomb DDS and Stephen Knight. 

Taking the opportunity to learn about and to build a marketing plan for your dental practice is a right click.

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