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Getting more new dental patients can be an expensive and time-consuming process, but with careful planning and by following a few simple steps, you can get your current marketing to actually do more for you.
Dental marketing (I like to call in “patient attraction”) should do your heavy lifting for prospective patients before they come to the office. You want a marketing message that speaks to more than one person at a time and really leverages your marketing elbow grease and all the time you've invested in it.
There are masses of potential patients who are looking for what you do right now; they just didn't know you existed. With any marketing, there needs to be a clear goal or intention of who would be interested in it and what the expected outcome would be for the dental practice when the patient takes action.
This applies across all practice marketing, even your online presence. When building a website, it becomes easier after gaining clarity because you know all about your prospective patients. You know who your target audience is and you know what they're looking for. It makes it possible to leverage that on a bigger scale.
Patient attraction is not image branding. Your marketing is about making yourself available for people who need and want what you have already provided. You're not manipulating people, you're not tricking people, and you’re not making them do something they don't want to do. You are providing a way for them to get what they want and need.
To proliferate and get more from your marketing, I have six what I call "non-negotiables” that need to be included.
The Six Non-negotiables:
It has to have a great headline. The headline should be the biggest thing on the page and have the biggest font on the page. It's not your name and it's not the office's name. It's what's going on in the patient's head, and it's easy to phrase that question format.
You need to list the benefits. Don't list all the features on all the services you do. What are the benefits to the patients for having this procedure and electing your office as opposed to somewhere else?
It's a testimonial. You can tell patients how great you are and get nowhere. But when it’s from somebody else (a third party), it has more power. People really look for testimonials. They go to Yelp. They look at Google reviews. They let complete strangers help make decisions about their healthcare because they have confidence in those reviews. People are looking for outside people to tell them how great your practice is.
Have a "call to action." You need to tell them what to do. Perhaps they went to your website or they saw a marketing piece in the newspaper. They might have received a postcard in the mail. Whatever it might be â¦ what do they do now? You need to tell them what to do next. What's the next step? “Call our office now,” as opposed to thinking, “Well that's a great website, I should look at it later” or “That's a great dentist, maybe I should call someday.” It needs to tell them to call now. People subconsciously need to be told that to connect the dots.
The offer. What's in it for them? It could be a feature, a discount or information that is relevant to their wants and needs. It's something of value to them. It's listed on every marketing piece.
My last (and favorite) one: It's a deadline. You need to tell the patient to take action by a certain date because, without deadlines, things don't happen.
Editor's Note: Photo by David Goehring.