There is great deal of buzz around the use of social media, websites, search engine optimisation and so on by dental practices. And for good reason. These are all important areas for a dental business to harness in order to maximise its promotion and growth.
But allow me to take you back a step. To provide a few reminders about the more fundamental marketing areas I see some dentists forget in the process of setting up facebook pages and targeting high website rankings.
Here are my 5 tips for ensuring you don’t overlook a few of the marketing basics:
1. Use your knowledge of your existing patients
Taking time to chat to your patients enables you to learn about their concerns and issues. You’ll appreciate this is vital in terms of establishing and agreeing additional treatments and services your patients require.
Things change for your patients of course, so making use of a smile questionnaire or similar helps you hasten these conversations and keep up to date on what your patients are thinking and feeling. Don’t just use them with existing patients – with the right introduction this type of questionnaire is just as effective for existing patients.
As you get to know your patients, you also learn what they enjoy in terms of pursuits and hobbies. I recommend you treat this information as highly valuable as it gives you opportunities to make individual patient visits remarkable and memorable for them. You can provide some welcome reading material for a patient or play their favourite music. You can say ‘thank you’ for any new patients they recommend in a highly personalised way.
Knowing where your patients work and what they do also allows you to identify those patients who ‘swim in the right pools’ for you in terms of recommending more ideal patients or having access to a large team of potential new patients. They’ll be more inclined to recommend you to their co-workers if you make their visits something to talk about of course!
2. Use the time in between your patient appointments
You may only see some patients twice a year so use the time in between their appointments to communicate with them.
Newsletters, ezines and emailshots all give you the opportunity to let them know what is going on in your practice and also provide information and advice which is valuable to them in between their visits. When produced well, these items are welcomed by patients and serve to increase their goodwill towards your practice.
Why not send them a thank you email after they have finished a course of treatment, letting them know how much you appreciate their custom and how your team have enjoyed seeing them? You can also encourage them to provide a written or online testimonial to aid your marketing and remind them they are welcome to recommend others to you.
Some dental teams track key patient dates such as birthdays and anniversaries and mark these important occasions for their patients with a card. Simple but powerful.
By keeping up to date with what your patients are interested in or concerned about, you can also ‘segment’ your patient database to produce lists of patients who are interested in a certain treatment. Then you have the opportunity to periodically share stories of patients who are already benefiting from the treatment.
3. Use your signage
I recently visited a practice which operates in a lovely old house but was indistinguishable from the outside as a dental practice. By installing attractive signage, including an A-board to encourage passing motorists and pedestrians to take note of the practice, the team are now generating a significant number of additional new patients each month.
Does your practice have the external visuality it needs?
The use of smart, fresh and impactful internal signage is also effective in enhancing a patient’s experience as they enter your practice. Plus it can help your team members to feel a greater sense of pride in where they work.
4. Use your window space
Like any business you have a ‘shop window’ to utilise!
I’m not suggesting you cover your window and block out what’s going on inside, but some well-placed quality messages can generate interest from existing patients and potential new patients alike. So promote your practice news, offers and details of new/existing services you provide.
Just remember to refresh posters and signs before they get tatty or faded.
5. Use your internal wall space
Once again, I’m not suggested piling your walls with a mind-boggling array of posters, but you have the opportunity to use your internal wall space wisely.
This is part of your marketing ‘real estate’ and you should use it to let your patients know what is going on and what they can benefit from during their visit.
If you’d like to discuss any of the above areas in more detail, please post your queries or questions below. Alternatively, just give me a call. I’d be delighted to chat about any particular area(s) in more detail.
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