Selling is the action which converts the product or service into cash vs. Marketing is the process of identifying, meeting and satisfying the customer needs. When selling, you are chasing down the sale of your dentistry / when Marketing, you are creating the demand for it.
Marketing is Not a Four Letter Word, Fear is.
Marketing is a term that many in the dental profession have deemed a bad word. There is a stigma out there that you didn’t go to Dental School to be a salesperson. Truth be told, it takes a combination of clinical skills, business systems, and strong communication skills to be a successful Dentist. Marketing is all that and its purpose is to continually create awareness for your services and essentially shortening the sales cycle and even eliminating it via effective communication. Too often, dentists are afraid to go all-out with their marketing. They hold back from doing what really matters.
Marketing will always be important period. Your marketing strategy will be built out of what you decide is needed in any combination of what I call the Five Areas of Marketing to serve your vision.
Branding and Identity: We have literally millions of images in front of us each day, and we associate emotions with the brands we see. It’s the same in Dentistry branding is creating patient loyalty through what they think or believe about you. Create a name for your practice and get creative. What do you want potential patients to think of when they think of you?
When creating your brand, craft your unique story, and what you stand for. What is it that you want the world to know? Then have a symbol, a logo, designed that best represents this and a tagline that sums up your vision. Get your name and logo on everything the customer sees; cards, signage, lab coats, scrubs, letterhead, etc. Of course, any company today, including dental practices, must have a website. And your website is part of your branding. It should communicate your image and services as much as anything else.
Internal Marketing: Internal Marketing is the most cost-effective and best way to get new patients. That’s right. What you do inside the office will help you get more new patients who are now on the outside. Another way of saying Internal Marketing is Customer Service.
Remember that you are building a relationship with your patients, and people buy from and refer to doctors they like. Make your patients feel they are the most important person in the world, so they refer you to their friends and family.
There are many aspects of internal marketing such as office appearance, goodie bags, and TVs in the operatories. Have the right team in place and give them proper training because internal marketing can only be done by definition. You cannot hand it to an outside firm. Consider who is answering the phone and how they communicate with patients because even in today’s hi-tech world, your telephone is still the most powerful portal into your office.
Remember, the single most important aspect of high impact internal marketing is the team’s attitude and connecting emotionally with your patients.
External Marketing: Often, people confuse marketing with advertising. External advertising is only a part of marketing. If you are going to do an advertising campaign, know what works and what doesn’t. The rule of thumb is reach and frequency. You want to reach a targeted demographic over and over again. People need to see your image repeatedly to make an impression. This is why radio, TV, billboards, yellow pages, magazines, and newspapers are generally ineffective. Only if the subscriber base is targeted and you are able to run the ad frequently. When it comes to external marketing, it comes down to “does it make financial and business sense for your practice?”
Case Presentation and Enrollment: The most important aspect of enrollment is getting to know your patients on an emotional level. First, you must establish rapport, that means conducting a New Patient interview before they even get into the chair. Get to know what makes them tick and whether their top dental value is affordability, longevity, cosmetics, pain/comfort, or a trusting relationship with the doctor. Ask multiple open-ended questions and then listen.
Offer the individual the solution they want and need. Don’t focus on the treatment, rather focus on what the treatment will do for them emotionally, how it will meet their values.
Example; the implant is a titanium post that will replace their tooth. Very interesting technically, and maybe to someone who is an engineer and perhaps that’s enough. But, to most, it’s about the emotions…so say, “This titanium post with a crown on top, what it does is make you look younger, feel more confident and make you smile more.”
Digital Media Marketing: Ask yourself “Who’s telling your story?”. The answer better be “I am”, because if you are not telling your story, then somebody else is. In the world of social media and digital marketing you have an option, to own your narrative or let others dictate it. That’s what digital media is all about, telling your message, your story, and communicating with the world.
This is an area that is ever evolving. You better be too. There is a myriad of platforms in digital marketing, and within each, there are unique functionalities, capabilities, and applicability. Consider these ideas about Facebook alone:
- Over a billion people log onto Facebook daily.
- 75% of Facebook users are women, ages 35-55 = the people making healthcare decisions for their families.
- Some say “Young people aren’t on FaceBook any more” maybe so or maybe not, but the real question is are they the ones making healthcare decisions for their families?
- Ask for likes! Constantly ask for likes. Ask people in practice and in your communications: “Hey have you liked our Facebook page?”
- Videos and photographs are “liked” more often than words, articles, or other content.
- Post what’s going on inside your practice. Be authentic, people can tell if it is. That’s why people, your patients and potential patients, “like” photos of real people, your people! (Don’t rely on only canned information.)
Much more falls under digital marketing than the other four. For example, Digital Communication Systems like RevenueWell must contact, update, and communicate with patients. It is a powerful tool that will save your staff time and be more effective at reaching people.
Make sure your webpage is modern, up to date, and filled with customized content, including video that you change up frequently. Your website must be mobile device friendly as most people now lookup services on their phones. Your services and technology should be promoted along with you and your amazing team. Your website is a place to show off your team, culture, personality of the office so do not post bloody, gory, pictures of your cases…these may fascinate you, but patients will be turned off. Yuck!
Digital marketing brings with it the power of online reviews and testimonials. Even though word of mouth referrals are still tremendously impactful, people still look up everything online, even if referred by a trusted friend or family member. The importance of building up online reviews cannot be overstated. Today’s younger generations will take the word of mouth referral, look at how many reviews the business has, and look at their website. Millennials make their decisions based on the reviews.
FACT: 77% of patients use online reviews before selecting a dentist. 84% of patients trust online recommendations as much as a personal referral.
Designing a high impact marketing strategy means building your approach in each of the five areas of marketing. Each one plays a part in driving your practice towards its goals and your vision. Do this and you will have a comprehensive plan of attack that will build your practice from within and outside the office.