When it comes to marketing, I find many dentists would appreciate a ‘magic wand’ to wave in order to conjure up a ‘yellow brick road’ to follow.
Don’t get me wrong, I do understand why. After all:
- You know the way you market your dental business is important
- You know your marketing strategy deserves quality time
- But you simply don’t have the time (and perhaps the resources) to make it happen.
There’s just so much marketing theory to cut through and so many other tasks that demand your attention.
Now, it’s not quite a magic wand, but what I can do this month is share the following process for you to follow.
This process simplifies and distils a number of marketing ideas, approaches and acronyms into just 3 steps. So it should save you time in pinpointing what marketing messages you should share and where you should share them.
OK, let’s get going…
It’s tempting here to reply ‘any patients!’ But I put it to you that, when you think about it, there are patients you would rather NOT have…
Patients who don’t appreciate how they benefit from looking after their oral health and therefore just visit when they are in pain. Patients who complain about your fees (much for the same reason as the non-recallers, they just don’t see the value in what you do). Those who are not pleasant to deal with.
So instead of just hoping any type of new patient lands in your lap, paint the picture of your ideal patient with your team and you can target them specifically.
And by painting the picture, I mean just that. A ‘pen picture’ in marketing terms involves giving your ideal patient a name, a geographical home, a place and nature of occupation, an age, etc. So make them ‘real’. If you’re a visual person like me, you’ll find this is powerful in hardwiring the image of your ideal patient in your mind.
STEP 2: Answer the question –What does my ideal patient REALLY want?
Now, I’ve deliberately used CAPITALS here because the ‘REALLY’ bit is key.
Take a bit of time with your team to consider:
- What do they want from their health?
- What do they want from their life?
- What do they want for their family?
It’s simple to say that they are looking for healthy teeth and a great smile, but there’s more to it than this. So try and delve a little deeper.
Which brings me to…
STEP 3: Bring what they want and what you do together
When you marry what they want and what you can deliver, you find your core marketing message.
I talk to dentists about translating the features of what they do into benefits for their patients. This is a valuable thought process in terms of getting to the heart of your marketing message. Linking phrases such as ‘which means that’, ‘so that you’ and so on, are useful here.
For instance, ‘we provide a hygiene service’ continues ‘so that you have the support you need to enhance your homecare regime and keep naturally strong teeth for life’.
But often the dentist doesn’t go far enough with this thought process.
Yes, your patients want to keep healthy teeth. But what, then, does this give them?
Have you considered that this:
- Enables them to eat what they want to eat without fear of breaking their teeth, so they can enjoy all the important times spent sharing good food as they celebrate with their loved ones?
- Makes sure they don’t have to cough up for expensive restorative treatment in the future which comes from gums receding and teeth falling out, and therefore spend more of their hard earned cash on the things they enjoy instead?
- Set a great example for their children to follow and prevent the wider health issues bad oral health can bring, both for themselves and their family?
Linking this back to your answers to step 2, isn’t this the kind of benefits your ideal patient is looking for?
You can sense how we’re getting to the heart of their goals and aspirations here. Bringing out the ‘bottom line’ benefit for them involves taking your thinking further in this way.
The bottom line benefit is often a more emotional proposition. And marketing is largely about emotion these days!
You know as a member of the public, when messages connect with you emotionally they cut through all the marketing ‘noise’ and grab your attention.
Do bear in mind you are likely to have more than one core message to share.
Once you have identified your core messages, it’s time to put some words behind them. Just make some words out of the messages you have identified. These are the words which, with some expert editing perhaps, should be across your marketing.
On your website, around your practice, in your newsletters, on your social media platforms etc. etc. Think about linking them to the promotion of some appropriate patient stories. This is very powerful marketing-wise.
Lastly, discuss your edited marketing messages with your team and make sure they can communicate them verbally too. Not verbatim, but in a way which allows them to be walking promoters of your core message.
3 clear steps. Why not use them to make sure you get your marketing messages right?
Got questions or comments on this process? Do leave them in the box below and I’ll be sure to respond.