When I first started analyzing practice growth over 15 years ago, I became aware of something very surprising. Most of the dentists that I met did not actively market their practices! Since then, things have come a long way and practice marketing has steadily increased—an industry shift that my team and I have been working towards for almost a decade. But the marketing in most dental practices still has a long way to go before it’s close to perfect…
When practice marketing is done right, it is easily a full time job. That’s why we advise our clients with larger practices to hire a Marketing Director who can take full ownership of creating and tracking marketing campaigns, and overseeing the image of the practice. The dentists that have followed this advice have seen enormous success—in the form of skyrocketing new patient numbers, production, and collections.
However, if you’re a smaller practice or you’re struggling to stay afloat, this could be a fantastic opportunity to find the talent that’s hiding right under your nose—someone who’s already on your team! Chances are, someone works for you who’d love to take on this project, and you just don’t know it… because you’ve never asked! As your marketing brings in more new patients and your practice begins to experience growth, you can revisit the idea of hiring a full-time Marketing Director.
Although dental practices come in every shape and size imaginable, I’ve discovered certain facts during my extensive research that are true for every business in the industry…
First, judge everything with a critical eye.
Try this: for one day, observe every single detail of your practice that a typical patient would observe. That means sitting down in the treatment chair, looking up at the ceiling in the waiting room, noticing the friendliness and engagement of your staff when someone walks in the door, and what the televisions are playing in your reception area. Now begin to examine these experiences… What opportunities for marketing are you missing out on?
Next, consider how your practice is viewed in the community. For a lot of you, your lack of public marketing comes down to a fear of seeming egotistical. Maybe you are so afraid of seeming bigheaded that you miss out on a ton of marketing opportunities in your city. Reality check! You have got to stop letting fear of judgment and fear of failure get in the way of your success. This is one of the BIGGEST rules of marketing.
You belong to one of two categories:
-Big fish in a little pond, or
-Little fish in a big pond.
If your practice is located in a tiny city, congrats! You are in the perfect position to dominate the marketing scene. So own it! Get your name out there as much as possible and become the practice name on everyone’s lips.
On the other hand, if your practice is in a big city, you need to take a different approach. Narrow in on a specific audience of desirable patients. Consider this audience. Where do they go? What appeals to them? How can you get their attention? If that audience happens to be the twenty-mile radius around your office building, use that geographical information to maximize your marketing investment.
Next, raise your tolerance for rejection.
If there is one piece of advice for you to hold onto when it comes to marketing, this is it. I have never once learned as much on a successful day as I did on a day full of failures. If the creativity of your marketing is crushed by fear of rejection, I can guarantee you—it will show. The campaigns you produce will come across lifeless, two-dimensional, and dry.
Think of it as a stroll through an orchard. Many of the fruits you reach for on the lower limbs will be picked over, but the firm, flavorful ideas are at the top of the tree. You have to work to get to them, but these are the campaigns that will excite your prospective patients.
You’re going to have to accept that a large percentage of marketing is strategic guesswork. It’s very difficult to pin the market down, especially because it’s constantly shifting. Social trends, media crazes, buzz words… they’re all constantly shifting, making your job as a marketing strategist very experimental. The key is: test, track, tweak, and amp up whatever is working. The more you lower your fear of rejection and change, and maximize your creative energy, the greater your marketing successes will be!
Growing practices is what I love to do, and marketing is one of the most excellent tools at our disposal. So ask yourself… Are you truly maximizing your resources? Are you striving to be the best in your town, and to spread the word to all of your potential patients? Or could you be doing a whole lot more? Don’t settle for mediocrity!!
If you’d like to find out more information on the marketing trainings we offer, and other tools that can help you become SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU, call 866-917-2808.
Until next time,