Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to do to become a successful dentist was excel in school and then open an office? Those days are long gone. Today, managing and growing a dental practice takes the same kind of marketing acumen as succeeding in any other business. That means you have to think of other dentists in your community as “the competition.”
Since you’re competing for the same potential patients, your dental marketing has to be better than theirs. Don’t let that overwhelm you, though. Here are three ways you can produce marketing that puts you in the forefront.
But first: do you even know what your competition is doing? You should.
You can’t be better unless you have something to compare to. What marketing methods are your competitors using – website, blog, social media (which ones?), traditional advertising? You can use those same channels more effectively to get your message across, or you can use different channels that may be better targeted.
What are competitors saying about themselves in their marketing? Knowing that helps you determine how to position your practice so you stand out from the competition. Which leads us to point #1.
1. Stand out: Differentiate your practice.
What makes your practice different? Your marketing cannot be “better” if it cannot convey what is better about your office, treatment approach, staff and so on. Points of differentiation can include:
- Specialized skills or experience you bring to your practice.
- Comfort factors such as television monitors, music, anesthetic or other pain-free techniques, etc.
- Convenience factors such as evening or weekend hours, on-site parking, payment plans, a child care area, etc.
- Innovative features and amenities such as videos on Google Glass technology or leading-edge office equipment.
2. Stand out: Personalize yourself and your marketing.
People prefer to do business with people they know and like. And there’s nothing more personal than selecting a dentist. For both those reasons, it is essential that prospective patients see you as approachable and caring, not just knowledgeable and experienced in your specialty or as a general dentist. If your marketing focuses solely on the facts – your treatment services, office hours, etc. – it cannot help people warm up to you.
You also have to personalize your marketing for your prospects. Today’s consumers expect to be treated as individuals, so you need to deliberately reach out and engage with them. One simple way to do that is by responding to social media posts that ask questions. This is considered critical for marketing success now, but surprisingly few business owners bother to keep up with their social media accounts.
When you ignore your fans and followers – or anyone who has a question – you’re bring rude, and everyone else can see it. Your following will dwindle as people look elsewhere for a dentist that cares. On the other hand, when you respond quickly and helpfully, your prospects and existing customers will be pleased and impressed. And they will share that experience with their social networks, by posting glowing reviews about you, etc. They will become ambassadors for your practice, boosting you head and shoulders above your competitors.
3. Stand out: Be versatile.
In the old days, you could buy an ad in the phone book and consider your marketing “strategy” complete. Today, no one uses the phone book, but they do use a wide variety of other resources to shop for everything from new shoes to a new dentist. You have to be where they’re looking or they can’t find you, so you need a multi-pronged marketing approach.
With a diverse strategy that includes your website, monthly dental postcard marketing, email, networking, etc., you’re more likely to reach prospects your competitors are missing. When you reach them with messages that differentiate and personalize your practice and resonate personally with them, your marketing will be the definition of “better.”