Marketing your dental practice doesn’t have to be tricky or include every new thing that comes along. Your strategy should start with the basics, and build from there.
1. Business cards and brochures.
In-person networking remains a key component of marketing success for dentists, because it’s essential for prospects to get to know you as a person as well as a skilled professional. And what’s the most important tool used in networking? Yes, business cards. Don’t leave home without them, and hand them out liberally.
You should offer two types of brochures in your office. One should provide an easy-to-understand overview of you and your practice, and several explaining specific treatments or procedures, mouth care tips, etc. If you don’t produce these yourself, be sure they are at least branded with your name and contact information so patients associate them with you.
This information should also be available on your website, where it will be accessible to a much broader range of people. Establishing yourself as an informative resource on dental health matters will go a long way toward building trust and confidence in prospective patients.
You cannot survive in business today without a website. And it has to be interactive, easy to navigate and frequently refreshed, not just an online brochure. Talk to your marketing expert about why “content” is a must-have cornerstone for dental marketing today, and ask them about how you can incorporate a blog to build your reputation and help prospects find you.
3. Social media.
Along with your website and blog, you need at least a couple of social media profiles, notably Google+ Local, which is the #1 must have for local businesses, and perhaps Facebook. You don’t want to be spread thin on multiple social networks, but not being there at all makes it harder to connect with prospects and patients, and it makes your practice look outdated.
Remember the “email blast”? Thankfully, that has gone by the wayside, replaced by well-targeted email communications that have become vital to manage your practice and stay top-of-mind with current patients. You are undoubtedly using email to send receipts, appointment reminders, etc., but are you regularly publishing an e-newsletter?
This is the ideal way to keep your patients apprised of your latest blog article, changes or additions to your practice, dental health news, etc. Your e-newsletter should be brief, with “teasers” about two or three subjects and links to additional information on your website. You can include a special offer, too.
5. Direct mail postcards.
To grow your practice, you have to reach out into the community to people you’ve never met. Postcards can help you do that efficiently and cost-effectively, and dentists will tell you the response and return on your investment can be impressive, indeed. Mail them monthly, because postcard repetition is particularly important for dentists.
Repetition builds name familiarity and confidence in potential new patients, and repeatedly seeing your mailings reminds existing patients that regular “repetition” of check-ups and cleaning is essential for ongoing dental health.
Some universal truths.
Make sure all your marketing materials carry all your contact information. People expect to be able to reach you (and learn about you) in multiple ways, and listing all the options tells people you’re up-to-date on your communications. So include:
- Phone number(s).
- Office address.
- Email address.
- Website address.
- Social media icons.
Just because we’ve listed five extra-important marketing materials here doesn’t mean you don’t need more. Every practice is a bit different, so the marketing techniques that qualify as “must haves” for you may be different than for your colleague across town.
At the very least, you should be using these basics, but as you build out your marketing strategy, stick with things that are most pertinent for your type(s) of patients and that are most comfortable for you. Personalizing your marketing is just as important as personalizing your practice.