Beginning in 2012, Dentistry IQ has periodically offered its readers the chance to explore tips from practice management experts that cover all areas of the dental practice, from patient relationships to the staff to financial concerns to front office matters to marketing strategies.
Whatever your role in the dental practice — whether you're a dentist, hygienist, front office worker, or even a consultant — there's sure to be something in this collection of tips that will help you as you continually commit to your job and practice.
The two previous incarnations of the 100 Tips articles have been big hits on the Dentistry IQ website — the original version still ranks as one of the top-read articles on our website. This fall, the Dentistry IQ editors decided to gather another round of tips. Due to a slight decrease in the number of tips we received this time around, and to increase clickability, we've decided to post each category of tips as a separate article. The separate articles will make it easier for readers to read only the tips that benefit them, although we urge you to read as many as you can!
Here are the top nine marketing tips from practice management experts:
Integrating technology within your practice not only grows the dental practice of today, but also protects the practice. Don't be afraid to embrace technology in all its forms, from EDRs to digital radiography to digital impressions to social media and even things we haven't imagined yet. Integrate technology into patient care as much as possible. Use technology to educate and motivate patients to accept recommendations and needed care.
An-Marie DePalma, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH
Marketing your practice — it’s not rocket science! Sharing (or yes, selling) the benefits of your practice shouldn’t be complicated or boring. Start by simply becoming involved in your community:
· A great first step is to join your local Chamber of Commerce.
· Build relationships with local businesses.
· Offer coupons to those businesses as part of your patient appreciation day.
· Set up a table at a community street festival showcasing your practice with pictures of the office and staff. Hand out fun giveaways, discounts for services, etc.
Be involved and share that involvement. Potential patients will notice!
Founder and President, Common Sense Dental Advisors
One of the things we have seen with successful dental offices is that they do most of their business in the community surrounding the office. No matter where the doctors and team members actually live, the ones that do their banking, go to the gym, eat at restaurants, get their nails done, do their dry cleaning, shopping, etc. closest to the office are noticed the most. As an added bonus, wear your office name or logo on your scrubs or outerwear, carry business cards with you wherever you go, smile, engage in conversation, and watch your practice grow like crazy!
The Madow Brothers
Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow
Social media is now essential. While many practices realize the benefits of social media from a marketing standpoint, most have yet to understand that social media has become necessary. Many new patients and those contemplating treatment often expect practices to use the following sources of information:
· Testimonials on Google Plus.
· Reviews on sites like Yelp.
· Videos on YouTube.
· Comments and photos on Facebook.
· Content showing the healthcare provider’s human side or values.
Those with a limited online presence will be seen as mysterious — a precarious place for practices to be in this age of visibility and transparency.
Social Media Marketing for Dental and Medical Professionals
Everyone seems to be on the hunt for the “Next Big Thing” in dental marketing to beat the competition. However, what you currently do might already be great. You may not need to bounce from scheme to scheme looking for instantaneous windfalls if you truly understand what works well and what can be adapted for your practice’s market area.
The important thing is to learn to execute a comprehensive strategy consistently, to track everything, and to adapt accordingly! Excellent marketing support (whether on-staff or from an outside company) with a holistic approach might be what you need. Bottom line: find a marketing professional.
CEO and Co-Founder, Dental Practice Marketing 360°
The world has gone mobile — and so should all of your internet marketing efforts. Seventy-four percent of all local searches on Google are conducted on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Twenty-eight percent of these mobile searches result in conversions (calls, appointments, or purchases). Whether it’s your website or patient-facing portal (the password-protected site they access to pay bills online, choose reminder preferences, refer friends and family, etc.), prospective and existing patients need to be able to find and choose you on any mobile device they use. The payoff: more new patient appointments; an active, loyal patient community; and sustained practice growth and profitability.
Dr. Lou Shuman
President, Pride Institute
Dial up your radio advertising! Radio provides local and targeted coverage. Select a station with the highest percentage of adult women listeners — they make the healthcare decisions. The production of radio spots is usually included in the advertising rates. What’s more, your spots can be changed quickly, and multiple spots can be rotated. Be sure to sponsor broadcasts with high listenership, such as news, weather, and school closings. Hosting a live radio promotion at your practice is true social media. Placing oral health tips in your radio spots will have better results than posting those tips on Facebook. Radio station websites usually get a lot of local traffic — negotiate an on-air/online advertising package.
Owner, Ventriello Communications
Break through the clutter of advertising and marketing. People need to hear, see, feel, and experience your message five to seven times before they will act on it. This means that ANY marketing effort in which you decide to engage, you must create a plan that ensures you are communicating your message at a minimum of five times. The more methods you use, the better. This can include information being distributed by your team; in-office signage; emails; e-newsletters; postcards; letters; ads; on-hold messaging; website; hygiene insert, etc.
Misty Absher Clark
Vice President of Creative Services, Jameson Management
Delegation can be difficult, and dentists, like many small business owners, often suffer from the ‘do-it-yourself’ mentality. But continually adding to the dental team’s marketing to-do list without crossing anything off can be discouraging, and knowing when to seek outside help is an important skill to cultivate. A dental marketing consultant, together with qualified vendors, can get the practice’s marketing plan off the ground, ease the learning curve, and ultimately pass the baton back to the dental team to implement and maintain.
President & Founder, Minoa Marketing
Chief Marketing Consultant, Pride Institute