Invest in the least risk marketing first. Don’t start out with radio, TV, expensive magazines or billboards. Doing marketing out of the proper sequence puts your dollars at risk. Dental office marketing is an inherently risky activity. Guard your marketing dollars and protect against excessive risk.
Signage. Both external and internal. Your outside sign is critical. People who are already looking for you need to be able to find you. But people who aren’t looking for you will also see your external sign and be reminded that they need to see a dentist. You win either way.
Internal signage. Internal signage would be photos of great smiles on your walls. Also reception room videos. These present what is possible.
Create a kick-ass website. Not necessarily a BIG dental practice website. Videos are essential. Present the result, not the steps that lead to the result. Video patient testimonials are essential. No retracted smiles. No pics of your ops. Nothing surgical. Nothing that will remind them of the sound of the drill (zzzt zzzt). None of that.
Proper SEO. Dental SEO is too complicated for you to manage yourself. Just don’t go there. Hire this out.
Start your external marketing with the least risky medium which is dental direct mail marketing (properly done of course). This might mean postcards but I would advise not to do that first. Present your prospective new patients with a full tri fold presentation that gives them 8 or 10 reasons to choose you. You can’t do that with a postcard (not enough room). Stay away from excessive price incentives. If you think you can compete with the corporate dental chains on price – you can’t. You will lose. Actually you have already lost. They have much bigger marketing budgets than you. Don’t compete on price. Target the top half of the dental market instead. This would be moms/women who would never choose a health care provider for their families based primarily on price. The bottom half are looking for a “deal.” The top half are looking for value. Target the top half.
Practice Management Consultants. At some point along the way you will likely need the services of a practice management consultant. Your marketing should get the phone to ring with high quality prospective new patients, but what happens after that? If they aren’t properly on boarded and delivered to in an effective way, you will see them exiting through the back door.
Handle New Patients Properly. Another thing that is very important is how new patients are handled when they call the practice. You may think that the dentist, the RDH’s, the assistants, etc. are the most important people in the practice. And they ARE. But your entire enterprise rests on the shoulders of the person/people who answer the phone. Nothing happens in a dental practice (of a revenue consequence) until or unless the phone rings. If the people who answer the phones aren’t properly trained then your practice is doomed. They will squander your marketing dollars unless they know how to convert callers into new patient appointments.
Track Incoming Calls. Along with that is proper tracking of the incoming calls. How did they hear about you? You need call tracking to really know the answer to that. This will prevent you from wasting money on marketing efforts that aren’t working.
Use Resources Available to You. The above is the foundation for your marketing house. Our company does all of the above, but some practices may prefer to have several different companies performing the various tasks.
Build a Solid Foundation. You can’t build a house without a solid foundation first. After you have that you can venture into other forms of print media, radio, TV, billboards and so on. But without the foundation you will be wasting money on the other mediums.