You’ve probably been looking at various online web directories for promoting dental practices, online press releases, Google ad word campaigns and other online dental marketing ideas. Not every approach will suit your needs however.
The simple fact is that Internet dental marketing really only works in larger cities where there is a higher density of dental practices and catchment area within a short commuting distance of possible patients.
While online promotion should still be considered, there are still 10 traditional dental practice marketing techniques which can prove to be much more effective.
These range from improving your customer service skills to using radio campaigns.
- Fostering a relationship-based practice. By building up good rapport and relationships with existing clients you are increasing the chances of good word-of-mouth promotion and marketing by these individuals to their friends, colleagues and relations. This form of dental office marketing requires good service and personalized services to succeed & flourish long-term.
- Hiring the right staff. This is one of the more unique sorts of business ideas since you have to take a broader view of marketing your practice through the quality of your staff. If you hire the right dental technicians, secretaries and receptionists to help the smooth running of your dental service then these individuals provide a high-quality human touch to the service you provide. This level of customer service, where staff are genuinely compassionate and helpful with your customers in a proactive manner, requires hiring the right people to start off with (attitude, personality, work ethic and communication skills) as part of your dental marketing strategy.
- Create a marketing brochure or newsletter. Providing additional information to customers about services you provides an opportunity for them to stay informed of extra services you provide and changes in your practice. It can also be combined with special offers or seasonal discounts. Use e-mail based newsletters as part of a concerted digital marketing strategy.
- Don’t scrimp on giving a complete exam on initial visits. First impressions count and that first initial exam will determine whether or not you can get repeat service from the patient and just how much positive word-of-mouth they will spread about your practice. This requires spending enough time to find out the clients dental background, concerns and ongoing dental requirements.
- Start up a mailing list. This can follow the traditional route using regular postal mails or try Internet dental marketing mail lists by capturing e-mail addresses at each client visit. Do not spam clients with mass e-mails however as this will leave a bad impression. This can form an overall communication strategy which includes newsletters, mailing lists, follow-up calls, etc.
- Start a patient referral program. Offer discounts to existing patients who referred her friends and colleagues to your dental practice. Combine these dental marketing ideas with newsletters to existing patients along with your own promotional brochures. Other guerilla marketing approaches & ideas depend on you & your staff doing all the leg work – with patient-referral your existing client base are effectively working for you!
- Place ads in neighborhood community newsletters. This is one of the old school dental marketing ideas which still actually works. The majority of your patients are going to be from the local community, at least initially. Good word-of-mouth will eventually spread to other districts/areas which will encourage people to travel further for your good service.
- Institute a patient follow-up program/process. It is essential to provide some form of follow-up call or service to customers to establish if they’re happy with their treatment. Ideally this should be within the first 24 to 48 hours of their visit to have the greatest impact. These type of dental marketing ideas only cost the price of a phone call and a short amount of time with each patient to establish some good rapport and feedback. Assistants, technicians and secretaries can also contribute to this process without compromising your business ethics, practices & promotion.
- Join your local business consortia and your community Chamber of Commerce. This gives you direct access to other SMEs in your district where you could possibly even provide in-house marketing (e.g. discounts for local businesses advertised on their in-house notice boards).
- Don’t forget local radio advertising! Again, this type of dental practice marketing is an old school approach which can still pay dividends. Many locals will be visiting to local radio for specific community information so it is a prime way of establishing contact with local community. Using memorable business name ideas will help keep your practices brand in the mind of customers.
So what about the dental office marketing ideas which I left out?
- Direct mail: The use of direct mail campaigns has really been done to death by this stage. It should be one of your lesser used dental marketing ideas in general as most individuals despise spam mail and the conversion rates can be quite low. Combine this with your online content marketing strategy when creating informational blog posts you make (a great way to reach out to your existing clients – just so long as your posts are genuine & useful).
- Online directories: There is a variety of web directories and Yahoo sponsored search directories where dental practices can provide details of their services. Most individuals would rather look up Golden Pages to find local dentists than use such online services. Web directories can also contain so many different practices that individuals are overwhelmed by the volume.
- Web searches and ranking: Internet dental marketing involves paying search engine specialists to promote your website using online marketing tools (e.g. twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and article creation) and get it to the top of local search results. Having an online presence is definitely worthwhile so that individuals can find you and your contact details. The active promotion of your website will only pay off if you have a large enough catchment area of potential patients (i.e. your practice is within a large city district) and you instigate an effective Internet marketing plan.