Marketing has dramatically changed in the last decade. Digital media has entered our daily lives and is changing everything—from the way we choose where to eat to the way we communicate. Most dentists fully understand the need to update their marketing strategies to grow their practice but they don’t have a plan on where to start and what to do.
It is more important now than ever, given the range of marketing choices available, to have a system in place that will help organize marketing efforts and allow the practice to grow efficiently.
Here are the five essential building blocks for creating a strategic marketing system to get results.
- In-House Marketing Guru
Responsibility and accountability are two pillars of success. How many times have you started a marketing project that did not come to fruition due to lack of time and organization? Even if you get outside marketing help, someone in the practice has to follow the steps and communicate with the team to make it happen.
It is essential to give someone in your dental practice the responsibility for all marketing endeavors. Otherwise, results will be less than desirable and you will be sacrificing patient care and quality. Allocate the marketing responsibility and ensure you have support from your team.
- Patient-Centric Marketing
In the dental world, patients should always be the top priority! It is no secret that the best marketing happens inside the practice. Always make sure that the patients feel valued, important and special.
What sets you apart from the competition is the ‘WOW’ patient experience—an experience your patients rave about. Word-of-mouth referrals are an indispensable part of marketing, and you want patients referring you to friends and family 24 hours a day. Make your patients a priority and a part of the practice culture.
Do you track your referral sources? Data is invaluable and the foundation that is necessary to start, upgrade and evaluate marketing. It is crucial to track all marketing efforts. Since you will now have a marketing team member, this will be his/her responsibility to manage on a daily basis. Your marketing won’t be effective unless you can identify where the new patients are coming from. It sounds obvious but this is often overlooked. The right systems will enable you to capture this information effectively.
- Marketing Evaluation
Capturing data on where new patients are coming from is one part of the puzzle. The other is reviewing and interpreting that information.
You can start by looking at:
- New patients—by month and by year. Trends upwards and downwards show which marketing efforts are effective.
- Cross-referencing referrals for new patients against production. Identify which marketing methods are bringing in more ROI.
- Slow months—the reports will show which months are consistently slow and this will act as a trigger to boost marketing—e.g., do your marketing for slow September in July and August.
- Patient feedback—it’s important to know how you can improve patient experiences and understand what they value.
Gather data and then evaluate it to streamline your marketing efforts.
- Target Market
It’s time to analyze the marketing and allocate appropriate budget towards it. Understanding your target market will get you more ROI. If you are targeting a younger population, consider digital media. For older patients, try print media to stay more relevant.
Regardless of your target audience, be prepared to invest in a responsive and functional website, search engine optimization, and showcasing your ‘WOW’ factor on all marketing aspects.
If you’re struggling with marketing, then pull apart these five essential building blocks and put them together again. If your marketing isn’t working, then evaluate which of these building blocks is not working as effectively as it should be. If needed, seek help from a marketing expert so that you can put these marketing building blocks to work and bring in new patients for a successful business.