Naturally, you have certain things that differentiate your dental practice from everyone else’s. Perhaps you hold unique certifications, you have the latest gadgets, or your technical skills are unrivaled. Yet none of those things matter if your prospects are unaware of them or, even worse, are unaware you exist at all. Regardless of your level of service, you must follow the same basic marketing practices as any other service provider. Here is what you must know.
Why Market Your Practice?
Today’s world is busy and ever evolving. People move in and out of town. They get buried under a constant onslaught of information. Even your most satisfied patients tend to move on to other priorities. Marketing helps you stay top of mind to both current and prospective patients, and lets newcomers in your community know you exist. It also gives everyone a boost, including your staff and loyal patients, by making your practice feel like an important part of the community.
Developing a Marketing Plan
A good marketing plan is a natural outgrowth of a strong business plan. You need to fully understand where your practice is now and where you want it to go in the future. You also need to define both your short-term and long-term goals in practical, actionable terms. Finally, you need to become aware of your target market and the best ways to reach those people who are the best fit for your practice. For example, a big city cosmetic dentist who specializes in high end procedures has a very different target market than a rural family dentist who focuses on making dentistry as affordable as possible.
With your goals and target market clearly defined, you can begin to focus on the specifics of marketing your business. There are endless ways to market, from branding small items such as pens and stationery to sponsoring a local baseball team to hosting a charity event. Think through the ways you feel most comfortable interacting with and giving back to your local community, and marketing ideas will begin to flourish. Match your marketing to your natural interests and comfort zone, as well as your practice’s brand identity.
Implementing Your Marketing Plan
A key decision is determining who will actually be responsible for implementing the marketing plan. Remember that in addition to doing the actual marketing tasks, you will need to track the results, so you can get the highest return on your marketing investment. Present your marketing plan to your team, and pay attention to who becomes the most enthusiastic about which parts of the plan. You may want to run the show, or you might prefer to delegate authority, but either way, you will need support and assistance from your team. Let team members take on the tasks that naturally suit them, and they will be motivated to ensure the plan is a success.
The hardest part of any big new project is finding the motivation to actually start. When it comes to marketing, there is no perfect “right way” to start. Just sit down at your computer or pick up a pen and start making lists. Then choose something to try. Trial and error can get you unstuck and give you the feedback you need to create and implement a formalized marketing plan.
If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.