Don't let common misconceptions about dental marketing hold you back from achieving more.
As a dentist, marketing and self-promotion may not come naturally to you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become successful at marketing your dental practice. You may not have much first-hand experience with marketing campaigns and promotion strategies yet-and that’s okay.
You don’t need a degree in advertising to learn how to attract and retain patients. The important thing is to remain committed to the concept of marketing your practice because whether you like it or not, it’s a very necessary component of running a successful office.
Let’s examine three of the most common myths dentists believe about marketing.
Myth #1: I don’t need to market
New patients are the lifeblood of every dental practice, and it’s nearly impossible to attract a steady stream of new patients without marketing and advertising. Now, if you’re a dentist who has been fortunate enough to rely solely on word-of-mouth marketing up to this point, you might believe this myth to be a universal truth. But, there will come a time when every dentist will need to market his or her practice.
You might want to grow your patient base in the hopes of attracting an associate or buyer for your practice. You may need to boost production and profitability in order to offset the costs of shiny new technology, or perhaps you’ll want to open an additional location.
Related reading: 5 time-tested marketing tips that never go out of style
Myth #2: Marketing is magical/marketing doesn’t work
This duo of marketing misconceptions are different sides of the same coin. Put together, they’re one of the most common reasons I’ve heard from dentists over the course of my nearly 20-year career in the industry.
The danger is in believing marketing is a magic bullet-and then doubling down by deeming a marketing campaign a failure when it doesn’t immediately resolve your practice’s plethora of problems. In real life, there’s no button you can push that instantly sends new patients through your front door, nor is there a guarantee new patients who do come in will become life-long members of the practice. On the contrary, marketing is a process-one of many processes a business owner must master-and it requires an investment both in time and money. You need to develop a marketing strategy, build momentum for your marketing tactics and learn how to capitalize on your marketing’s output (e.g., how to turn callers into patients) before you see the fruits of that labor.
Don’t fall into this negative cycle. Even if you “don’t believe in marketing,” the next dentist down the
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Myth #3: I don’t have a marketing team
Some dentists have the budget for a dedicated marketing staff member, and while that’s certainly helpful, it’s not a must-have. The truth is you actually do have a marketing team in your office-your dental office staff and your patients. These are two powerful resources that can fuel your marketing efforts.
Everyone on the team who interacts with patients on a daily basis should be actively asking for referrals and/or to post positive online reviews. These communication touchpoints are terrific drivers of word-of-mouth marketing. In today’s digital age, word of mouth has been transformed from a one-on-one interaction between the patient and a friend or family member to a one-to-many platform for sharing with anyone and everyone in the community who’s looking for a dentist by singing your praises from the digital rooftops.
Dentists can also tap into their existing team to find someone who is eager and adept at monitoring and maintaining online profiles like Facebook and Instagram as well as online review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp! and Healthgrades. Delegating this task frees you up from having to do it all and allows you to give added responsibilities to a trusted staff member who may enjoy this new role.
Let’s face it, it’s much easier to avoid the things we don’t understand or aren’t naturally good at. But, ignoring your dental practice’s marketing can cause more harm than you may realize. If you’re struggling to get started, there are skilled consultants and innovative solution providers who specialize in helping dentists every step of the way. Regardless of whether you choose to do it yourself or to hire outside help, once you begin turning the marketing gears, you’ll discover it’s not as frustrating or difficult as you once believed-and you may even have some fun along the way.