The word “marketing” can have several meanings based on the perspective of the end user. While some view marketing as a sales effort with the primary role of gaining business, others use “marketing” to describe the overall promotion of a practice (the brand). Sales and positive branding are both important in overall practice growth. While some prefer largely investing in these areas, there are several less expensive options that produce great and long lasting results.
Here is a simple marketing recipe to boost your practice’s growth:
- A large serving of “Word of Mouth”
Patient/Client Satisfaction is the key to the success of any business. Not only will patients keep coming back and become loyal to your practice, but they will also share their experiences and satisfaction with friends and family. Marketing isn’t just about impressing your new or potential patients, it’s also about keeping the current ones happy. By ensuring that each patient has a good experience (not necessarily perfect- but perfect is ideal) in a comfortable environment with friendly staff, you’re already one step ahead. Offering flexible office hours is also a plus.
- A cup of Online Reviews
If you looking for more visibility, create a Yelp profile- yelp is an online review website that helps people find great local businesses like dentists. Patients have the ability to write reviews on your practice and rate their experience on a 5-star scale. Consumers in all industries base the majority of their decisions on referrals and reviews. If your business profile is well maintained, meaning great reviews and appropriate staff responses to posts from patients who may have had some concerns, your yelp business profile can grant positive exposure and lead to potentials seeking your services.
Yelp is a simple and user-friendly platform to get started. If you are looking for a more structured review-based platform and willing to pay a fee, Angie’s list is another good option.
- A heap of Website
Potential clients will want to learn more about your practice. A website is a great way to advertise your services. While there is some investment involved, it’s most definitely worth it. In fact, there are several web development companies that offer comprehensive and customizable packages that include services such as domain purchasing, hosting, site design and support at reasonable rates. GoDaddy.com and Wix.com are two of the most popular.
Potential clients are interested in learning as much as possible about your office before even booking their first appointment. Include information about the dentist(s), his or her educational and professional background, staff details, a list of services offered, accepted insurance and payment plans and most importantly the office’s contact information.
Adding forms to your site is an extra bonus
Appointment requests, general questions, and even online payment options are all types of forms that offer convenient ways to keep the patient engaged. Assigning staff to respond to these forms in a timely fashion (24-48 hours max) is crucial to the success using an online form. Follow up adds a personal touch.
- A dash of Social Media
Social media is a great tool that compliments having a website. It keeps both new and existing patients engaged in the current events of the dental office. If you have a staff member that can add maintaining your social media site(s) to their list of duties, posting messages frequently builds rapport. Patients feel more comfortable learning more about the personalities of the dentist(s) and staff. Social media is also a great way of communicating general messages such as office closing, new hours, etc.
- Combined together, these simple ingredients will get you started on the right path. Please note, these are recommended portions, please add enough of each ingredient to taste.