You now have a stunning dental practice environment, a well-trained team who convert most new enquiries and a target audience for your marketing, so let’s implement the marketing plan for your dental practice.
Be clear on the differences between strategy and tactics. Your strategy may be to become the largest dental implant provider in town. Your tactics are the various media and channels such as website, social media, press etc., that you choose to realise that strategy. That example of a strategy is likely to be reasonably long term. If you are preparing to sell and have two to three years to worky with then a more realistic strategy may be to increase the dental implants carried out by 20-25%.
Give serious consideration and time to your strategy. It needs to stretch you and the team but at the same time not be so unrealistic as to demotivate everyone very quickly. It may well be you need to implement it in stages so you and your team can have wins along the way.
As we saw in Part Two, defining your target audience as tightly as possible will allow you to better define the best media to reach them. This can be quite different depending upon the treatments involved. For instance, dental implants are likely to appeal to a female audience of 45 and up whereas orthodontics will strike more of a chord with young professionals of both sexes.
However, for this blog to be of practical use I thought that I would share some ideas of what has worked well for clients of ours and what I believe will be of most benefit to those considering selling.
Internal marketing is where you need to start for the best return on investment and the most chance of success. This is simply because it costs less money to ‘reactivate’ a consumer or gain a new treatment from someone who already has a relationship/contact with the practice than it does to invest in gaining someone entirely new. Some examples of internal marketing that can work well, include:
- Email marketing. If you have a database of email addresses, start using it. Communicate with your patients on a regular basis – say once every two months or so. Use the Reithian adage of Inform, Educate and Entertain and you won’t go far wrong
- ‘Reactivation’ newsletter. You are likely to have patients on the database who haven’t been to the practice for several years. However, don’t assume that they are not interested in visiting you. They’ve been busy, put it off, and had other things happening in their lives and so on. A printed newsletter sent to their home address with the sole aim of enticing them to return can work wonders. This can also be done for those whom you have email addresses for who haven’t attended for some time.
- Invest in welcome literature. When a new enquiry presents at the practice they need to feel loved and good quality patient packs and information (not the ones the companies give you to promote their products) will help convey how much you value their custom.
New patients are of course the lifeblood of a practice so external marketing cannot be ignored. You may consider:
- Almost all practices now have a website but what does yours do for you? Can it be easily found by Google for basic terms? Considering getting your web hosting company to provide SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) services to be sure you can be easily found when clients search on line for the services you provide. Consider providing some guides to harvest prospective client e mail addresses you can subsequently market to. Consider adding an on-line chat so prospective clients can easily interact with you from the site. We recommend Tawk.
- Social media. Can be a great way to interact with new and existing patients. Facebook advertising is brilliantly targetable for reaching your target audience.
- Local Press. Don’t overlook this – especially if you are looking to reach a more mature audience. You will be able to benefit from the fact that a great deal of advertising spend has moved online and the printed press are in a mood to do deals!
- If you can connect a treatment to an event at the practice e.g. an invisible braces event or teeth whitening event, these can be promoted easily and cost effectively via Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising.
You must decide at the outset what ‘success looks like’, so you can determine how you are doing. You need to decide upon what a realistic goal in the timeframe is for the campaign. For example, you may be targeting patients for orthodontic treatments and decide that 20 new invisible braces patients over the six months of the campaign is achievable. Everyone needs to be aware of this target and it needs to be tracked on a weekly basis to see how it is going and any tweaks or changes that could be made to improve response.
Be sure to keep track of your marketing spend and set a budget which is a % of your turnover. I am not going to presume to give you a number because it is an individual decision and it needs to tie in with what you want to achieve. However, remember how much money Coca Cola & Guinness spend on marketing, when you consider they are two of the world’s most famous brands.
With a little time, forethought and application, a cost-effective marketing campaign will add real sales value to your practice and make it a much more compelling proposition. So without further ado, Let’s Implement the marketing plan.
Written by Lily Head Dental Practice Sales & Corona Dental Marketing. www.coronadental.co.uk