Low cost marketing ideas for your dental practice
To help make your practice a success you need to make marketing an integral part of your daily operations not just an after-thought. By making your practice more marketing-orientated, (i.e. putting the patient at the heart of everything that you do) you are laying the foundations for a more successful practice. Marketing isn’t just advertising, marketing is about communication and everything that you say and do.
Marketing activities should be carried out regularly and consistently with promotions and offers dispersed (but not over used) throughout the year. Check out an earlier blog here about the importance of regular communication to your dental patients http://www.ident.co.uk/blog/the-importance-of-regular-communications-to-your-dental-patients
Taking the time to plan out your marketing will ensure you are making the most of any marketing potential in the most efficient and cost effective manner. Also, being confident that you’re on track with your practice marketing will make you less likely to be swayed by costly, in-effective quick-win marketing initiatives.
Make the most of your website
Your website is your 24/7 marketing tool and as such should not be neglected. It should provide patients/prospects with the information they require and make it easy for them to get in contact with you.
Search engine optimisation is a complex topic; however a guiding rule is to ensure that your website is useful, relevant and user-friendly.
Don’t view your website as a static entity as you would a practice brochure; you need to breathe life into it – keep it updated with relevant information and news, use it to engage with patients/prospects – make use of enquiry forms and live chat facilities and link to your social media pages.
When used correctly, email is an excellent marketing tool and trumps all other marketing channels! Sending out a regular email newsletter is an excellent way to communicate with your patients. Also, consider sending out specific messages to particular patients. For example, an email to those patients who aren’t already signed-up to your dental plan promoting the benefits of joining or a targeted email to those patients who enquired about a treatment but didn’t follow through.
One of the main reasons for patients leaving a dental practice is because they didn’t feel valued. You must regularly keep in touch with your patients to keep the relationship alive (and not just to remind them that their check-up is due!)
Stop ignoring your existing patients
Make the patient feel cared for and like an individual person not just ‘another patient’. The more genuinely cared for you make the patient feel, the more likely they are to connect with you.
Little touches such as Birthday/Christmas cards and thank you’s for referrals take a little bit of effort, very little cost but reap huge rewards in terms of cementing loyal relationships with your patients. Happy, loyal patients go on to refer their friends and family to you – the cheapest method of marketing available!
According to Sidekick Dental Magazine, 75% of your new patients should be coming from your current patients and working as a snowball effect. In order to do this though, you must look after your existing patients as this encourages loyalty.
You need to actively ask your patients for referrals. A simple referral card can be cheaply produced (perhaps featuring some form of incentive to both referring patient and referee) yet has the potential to provide you with a steady stream of new patients.
Ask for testimonials/reviews
Food for thought for you - genuine, positive testimonials and reviews will do a far better job of sustainably marketing your dental practice then spending thousands on short-lived Google advertising that merely drives traffic to your website.
Increase revenue per patient
Don’t assume that your existing patients know about everything that you do – tell them, and keep reminding them. Remember the regular email we mentioned earlier? Also think about posters in your practice waiting room – another inexpensive, effective marketing tool to employ.
Be active on Facebook
You need to be where your patients are and with 1.32 billion active daily users – the place is Facebook! Research has also shown than people are 68%* more likely to do business with a company that has an active Facebook page.
As a social platform, Facebook is an excellent vehicle to help you engage and connect with your patients.
Facebook also provides the opportunity for highly targeted advertising that is relatively inexpensive in terms of reach as well as the opportunity to boost posts.
(*according to modernmediageeks.com, July 2017)
Keep your patient database up-to-date
Make sure you regularly cleanse your patient database – it may seem like a time consuming task but it will ensure efficiencies in the long-term.
A regular email/phone call to any dormant patients provides you with the opportunity to re-connect with them.
Harness the power of local marketing
Advertising in relevant, suitable publications is inexpensive, but effective and a great way to make your presence in the local community be known.
It is also worth considering setting up strategic alliances with other local businesses - get face to face, set up reciprocal referrals and become part of the community.
Special offers, prize draws, discounts and competitions are all important weapons in your arsenal, but use them sparingly.
If you need some help with your marketing strategy or would like a quote on some budget-friendly marketing initiatives then please get in touch with our marketing partner Blue Horizons. Call them on 01242 236600 or drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.