With the introduction of the internet and so many new dental practices being started in each area worldwide, marketing your practice has never been so important. Years ago, I remember just opening my doors each morning and my patients would flood through the doors. In the United Kingdom we have two different dental practices, NHS (National Health Services) practices and then private dentists. Private dentist offer the same emergency and general dentistry as the NHS dentists, but we also provide cosmetic dentistry and dental surgery services.
In recent years, I have noticed how many new private practices have opened up in my local area, which has resulted in me having to concentrate heavily on marketing to ensure that I maintain my patient numbers and encourage new patients to use my services on a daily basis.
The fact that I was one of the youngest dentists to ever graduate in the United Kingdom or that I received my fellowship in dental surgery at one of the top dental colleges in the country doesn’t have an impact on my marketing. I need to get through to my local area, tell them more about me and encourage them to use my practice on a daily basis.
Before I was corrected about marketing, I was running blind and making so many simple mistakes that were having a negative impact on the success of my marketing campaigns. I was told to focus on my research. Learn as much as I can about my patients, what neighbourhoods they come from, what services they use and their languages. This has helped me identify on the areas I need to focus on when it comes to marketing and has helped me focus on a particular target group, ensuring I get my message across and increase my brand visibility.
These days when you mention marketing, the first thing you think of is the internet. There is still old off site marketing which is crucial in your local community. You need your practice name to be known and recognized. I found that sponsoring our local sports team and having our practice name blazed across their sportswear is just one of the ways my community involvement has increased my patient numbers.
I also found that attending local events in my area and meeting the locals, talking to them and handing out flyers and business cards has also had a very positive impact on our patients and have helped increase patient numbers.
When it comes to the internet, it is better to embrace technology than to shy away from it. I hired a professional and reputable internet marketing company who have helped me with all my online marketing solutions. They helped me with my website and analysed it to tell me where I was going wrong and they have helped me put a marketing plan together to ensure that I reach my patients with ease.
I now have a professional website for my practice and we put together one about me too, this way I know my patients get all the information they need to identify whether to use my services or not.
I have also found it to be exceptionally important to engage with my patients on a daily basis, so I have opened social media accounts. Social media enables you to engage with your patients even when they aren’t visiting your practice on a regular basis. It’s also an opportunity for them to ask questions and learn more about me as a dentist and my practice.
The final tip I can offer to effectively market your dental practice is to track your progress. Identifying where your patients come from if they are visiting you practice for the first time can help you identify what marketing works and what doesn’t. After collecting the information, you can then do away with any marketing efforts that aren’t helping push your practice forward and concentrate on the marketing campaigns that are.