Introduction – Dental marketing is a unique craft. It takes consistency of effort, a strategic marketing plan, branding and an advertising campaign specific to your practice.
a. Intro to Marketing, Branding and Advertising
Marketing is a process that educates your potential patients on why they should choose your dental practice versus your competitors. As the Father of Guerrilla Marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson, has said many times: “Marketing is Everything.” From the way your staff greets your patients, to how your practice appears online, and to how your patients feel during their appointment. Overall marketing should gradually give confidence to your prospective patient that your dental practice is the right fit for them.
In college marketing courses, you’re taught the 4 P’s: Product (Services), Place, Price and Promotion.
Product / Services: Your dental office needs to clearly identify the products and services that you offer. Don’t assume that your patients know what your practice does. For example, you need to clarify the difference between cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics and your general practice. Most patients don’t know the difference so you need to educate them on it. As you’ll see in the following modules, we’ll teach you the most effective way to do so online.
Place: Depending on what services your dental office provides, you need to realize that most patients will only drive a certain distance from your location. Obviously if you’re a specialist, your patients will drive out of their way to find you.
Price: Most of your patients are fully insured. It’s best practice to know which insurances your dental practice accepts and to market that to your patients. For those that are not insured, we recommend offering various self-pay options.
Promotion: It’s always important to get a continuous flow of new patients; put out a new patient special. It could be a basic checkup and cleaning for a fixed cost. Throw in a branded toothbrush if you can. Remember, marketing is everything and marketing goes a long way with people.
Think of every patient interaction and list them out:
What products and services does your dental practice offer:
Where are you located? How far will people drive from to see you:
What insurances do you accept; what are your self-pay options:
What special can you offer to new patients:
In Scott Bedburry’s book, A New Brand World, it states that, “Plato believed that behind and above and beneath everything concrete we experience in our daily lives is the idea of that thing, which gives the thing lasting, even everlasting, meaning.”
Your dental practice brand is your reputation; it’s people’s first impression when they think of you. You can’t be everything to everybody. You’ll see more success if you concentrate on a specific market. We’ll explain further when we discuss your practice’s target market. As they say, image is everything. The fulcrum of your brand online revolves around your logo, your website, social media posts and digital advertising. Make sure everything you do is consistent with the dental practice’s brand.
In a commoditized economy, what differentiates your practice from your competitor a few miles away? The goal is to build enough brand equity that the patient has a clear choice on who they decide to see.
Do you have a logo? If so, does it represent your brand?
What is your tag line?
What is your company’s mission statement?
If your brand was a celebrity, who would he or she look and act like?
What makes your practice different and better?
What do people think when they’re at your practice?
What is your brand’s promise?
Think of a promotional item that really brands your company:
Advertising is an announcement to draw patients to your practice. It’s also an opportunity to build name recognition or modify a preconceived belief of your brand. Depending on where you’re at with your practice…if your practice is new, you’ll need to establish the practice’s brand identity. If you’re growing, you need to demonstrate what makes your practice better than your competitors. And, if you’re established, you need to remind people why you’re the best dental practice around.
What is the objective in your advertising campaign?
What are your key performance indicators or goals, e.g. website unique visitors, social media engagement, contact form inquiries, phone calls, appointments, and walk-ins?
Who are your advertising to (your target market)? *We’ll explain your target market in the next section.
Come up with an advertising campaign that would appeal to your target market. Be Creative! Think of the imagery, sound and video.
What is your advertising budget?
Where will you advertise?
Test the efficacy of your advertisement and its placement. Sometimes you might have the right ad, but it’s on the wrong social network.
b. Target Market:
Your target market is a pinpointed group of individuals that align with your products and services. These individuals can be partitioned by demographics and psychographics.
Target Market Exercises
Describe your ideal patient:
c. The Importance of your online presence
Back in the day, before the internet, marketing meant brand awareness, advertising was deployed through traditional media (tv, radio and print) and targeted messaging was implemented through direct mail and cold calling. Now the internet has changed everything. Patients are more savvy and inquisitive; they’re hungry for information and they’ll go right to the internet to find it.
As an independent dental practice, you’re now responsible for your online presence, i.e. website, social media, online reviews, blogs, seo, digital advertising and emails.
As Constant Contact stated, “Social Media Marketing is building your social network fans, followers, and connections using relevant and interesting content that is shared, allowing you to reach and engage more people and drive more business.”
From the leading authority on inbound marketing, Hubspot, “Inbound marketing is an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful.” Through a premeditated website landing page strategy, you would be able to educate your patients on your services and have them book an appointment.
With a well-designed and thought-out strategy, your online presence should create a brand that your patients can trust.