5 Elements Of A Dental Marketing Plan
Dental marketing is a lot like dentistry. Really. Dentistry requires you to follow a specific set of processes for a specific outcome – and that’s exactly what you want to do with your marketing. In fact, the very same skills that took you through undergrad and dental school can be applied to marketing. And here’s the best part: if properly designed, your dental marketing campaigns can be reduced to a set of processes that almost run themselves and can be delegated to the right provider.
The problem we see over and over and over again here at Patient News is that this disciplined planned approach is often avoided in favour of as-needed piece-meal initiatives. The scene unfolds something like this: Practice growth is falling off, margins are dropping, and new patients are becoming harder and harder to come by. So the practice decides to try a new marketing gimmick, or buys an ad, or sends out a direct mail piece. Patient flow may increase for a while, but then it drops off again, and it’s back to the marketing drawing board to try something else.
Do you see the flaw in this approach? The problem is lack of consistency. There are no cross-disciplinary activities because there is no overall plan. There are no pre-determined procedures and processes. Your marketing, like your dentistry, requires strict attention to details at each stage and strong commitment to maintaining every element of the overall process on an ongoing basis. Really, it’s not much different from prepping for a three-unit bridge. You need to know what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, and what you’re going to need to complete the procedure.
So how can you make an integrated marketing plan work for you? Well, there are five main elements which, working together, can result in an ongoing stream of new patients. I’ll be writing about each of these areas in detail in upcoming blog posts, but for now, let’s give you an introduction.
1. Environmental Factors
These are things you can analyze and predict, but not control. Things like market segmentation, market size, demographics, and competitors. These are all things you can’t change. But you can use them to guide your strategic decisions and marketing campaigns.
2. Your Value Proposition
You need to know who will buy the services you want to provide and how you’re different from your competitors. Deciding who you want to attract as a patient, what they want most (and when), and how you’re going to deliver can be one of the most important factors of your dental practice success.
3. Your Campaigns
Maximizing marketing results boils down to providing the right message to the right people in the right places, where your message will be seen and acted upon. Your message will need to be consistent and attractive to the kind of patient you want to draw.
4. Patient Development
This is all about converting inquiries into first-time patients and turning those first-timers into loyal long-term clients. And that’s where your marketing processes have to go in-house. Everything from who answers the phone, to the front desk greeting and scheduling capabilities, to chairside manner and follow-ups become crucial.
5. Continuous Improvement
You must analyze every aspect of your dental marketing campaigns on an ongoing basis to make a good patient experience even better. That’s what will elevate your practice in your community and lead to referrals and long-term loyalty. This is your place to shine in the eyes of everyone who comes into contact with your practice.
Are these things simple? Of course not. They require research, commitment, and ongoing discipline to make them work over the long term. Your challenge is to make time and find resources to develop your practice in addition to your technical skills. But those efforts can pay extremely healthy dividends in the long run. It’s a huge challenge, but one that you don’t need to worry about because Patient News has each one of these elements covered. Please contact your account manager if you’d like to learn more about your market reach, your market potential, and how to improve and maximize your dental marketing results.