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What You Don't Know Is Killing Your Practice

April 11, 2011
You may be neglecting important opportunities and preventing the growth of your practice if you don't know the difference between advertising and marketing.

Advertising or Marketing ... or Both?

by Joy Gendusa, CEO, PostcardMania
Most people use the words advertising and marketing interchangeably — but they are not the same! This subtle misunderstanding is hazardous to your practice. You may be neglecting important opportunities and preventing your growth!So what is the difference?Advertising is what you spend money on to promote your practice, such as direct mail postcards, radio ads, TV commercials or ads in the yellow pages and is included in marketing. But marketing is so much more — covering everything that goes into the transaction between you and your patients. This includes everything from the personality of your staff to your practice’s Facebook page. Any way your patient interacts with your practice is covered under marketing.Most dentists know they need to advertise, but often they forget to market! But doing both is crucially important.So, what does that really mean for your practice?Apply these four proven marketing techniques (along with standard advertising such as direct mail postcards) to pull in new customers.1. Review and overhaul your websiteIn most cases, your website is your first impression, so it better be a good one. I’ve found 90% of prospects will visit your website before they call you for an appointment.It is important to have a unique, professional site, so patients remember you after comparing you with other dentists. Review your current site and ensure it reflects your other advertising efforts and messages. If it’s not up to par, contact a credible web design firm. Make sure they show you samples of their work based on your desires and goals.Is your website up to par?2. Have the right people upfront!A good receptionist is absolutely vital to your marketing. Your office staff interacts with your patients far more than you do. If they aren’t of the highest caliber, you could lose patients.Hire a front desk person with an upbeat, friendly personality who will greet patients with a smile. Office skills can be taught, but great customer service usually can’t. Find the right person for the job, and watch patient satisfaction go up.3. Get socialSocial media is the most affordable way to build relationships with patients to increase the lifetime value of your patients.The start-up process may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s not if you have the right guide. 4. Publish an informative eNewsletterBy creating an area on your website to collect email addresses, you can follow up with leads by sending a newsletter. An eNewsletter establishes you as a trusted information source and gives you the chance to offer free tips and discounts to your patients and prospects.Staying in touch with patients and prospects ensures they remember you the next time their candy-eating ways catch up with them. Work with your marketing firm to develop a weekly or monthly eNewsletter and consistently send it to your email list. Marketing works hand in hand with advertising to bring the maximum amount of new patients into your practice. Advertising brings in new potential patients while marketing closes the deal by providing a consistently positive brand image for your practice and follow-up system.Find more resources at