Dental Practice Marketing Business Models
Before venturing to explore dental practice marketing essential, it may also be a good idea for us to give ourselves a brief overview of the two main models on which dental practitioners operate. The first is where they set up their own private practice clinics. Typically, under this arrangement, they operate as sole entrepreneurs, although it is not unheard of them employing other dentists in the event of the workload becoming too heavy for them.
The other model is where they operate under the management of a given hospital (like where a hospital decides to establish a dental unit, and subsequently has to employ dental practitioners to man it).
The Main Challenges In Dental Practice Marketing
One of the major challenges in Dental Marketing is that of dealing with professional restrictions, which basically bar dentists from putting up outright advertisements for their services. There is also the fact that most people associate anything to do with dentistry with pain, so that they are not receptive to most dental practice marketing messages.
They only go to dentists when they absolutely have to (on account of excruciating pain). And even then, their inclination is to go to the first dental clinic they can remember: it is not something they give too much thought to, like where to shop – especially given the painful circumstances that tend to prevail at such moments.
Principles Of Dental Practice Marketing
Dental Marketing usually has three objectives. One is by the dental practitioner in question, to create awareness about his or her practice. People will, after all, only seek services from a dental practice if they are, at the very least, aware of its existence.
Second is the objective of maintaining good visibility for the dental practice in question: keeping it in mind that when it comes to making the decision on which dental practice to seek services from, people simply tend to opt for the one that they see/encounter most frequently. Third is the objective of creating a brand for the said practice (so that there are certain things the prospective clients can associate with it, and expect from it).
This is where dental practice marketing comes in. Leaving aside what you do with your patients once you get them into your chair. Marketing is about getting new patients and existing patients to spend money with you, on a repeatable basis which you can predict.
This predicable type of marketing with clear return on investment means that you don’t have to hope that people are going to come into your dental office. You know from one month to another how much business you are going to do, and how you can increase your business if you wish.
Doesn’t that beat the other option of staying awake at night worrying?
If you integrate planned and tested marketing into your dental office you will first and foremost increase your turnover.
Your bottom line increases because you have more new patients coming into your dental office on a predictable and regular basis.
You can build relationships with both your new and existing patients so not only do they spend more money, but they refer you to all your friends. Having excellent dental office marketing systems in-place means that you can maximize this happening whilst increasing your income.
If that isn’t a good enough reason to get involved with marketing then how about increasing the value of your relationships with your patients. A lot of doctors think that marketing is going to annoy or scare their patients away, but actually they are pleased to hear from you. Marketing is about consistent communication not just reminding me when I need to get my check-up.
Best of all, think of the future. By increasing your dental list and the way you do business in your dental office, increases the value of your practice both now and in the future.
The Truth About Dental Practice Marketing
Funnily enough to get the most of your potential and existing patients there is not one solution. Online is not better than offline and visa versa.
The truth and where you find the real gold is combining marketing methods together so that no matter what a person needs and likes, you get them to buy when they are ready.There are different things for different people – one size does not fit all.
The most effective way to do marketing is by doing as many methods as you can in a predictable and measurable way. I wanted to give you a heads up on some of the things you might come across and what they mean.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – this is all about where your website/information appears on Google and this is increasingly important as 80% of people are searching for dentists online. It is called natural search positioning because you don’t pay directly for a place; Google ranks you instead (which is a whole article in itself).
Pay Per Click (PPC) – these are the adverts that appear on the right-hand side when you do a search on Google. Businesses have paid money to appear on this list, and bid against one another for position.
Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Delicious etc there are hundreds of websites which are all captured under the social umbrella because people are engaging in conversation and sharing stuff with each other.
Video Marketing – this comes in many different forms but in essence using video as the media to get your message across to your patients.
Email Marketing – it is mind boggling how many emails get sent every day. By putting together a useful and effective marketing campaign that means you can keep in touch with your patient list regularly and very cheaply.
Direct Marketing – sending many different forms of adverts through the post so that people receive something physical to read like a brochure or a postcard.
Sales Letters – the original and still incredibly effective method of communicating and selling to your potential and existing patients.
Tele-marketing – call people on the telephone to sell or inform your target audience.
Speaking – engaging in public speaking can be a really effective way of speaking to lots of existing and potential clients all in one go.
There are many more, newsletters, faxing, webinars, PR to name a few but the best thing is mixing it up.