Many dental practices would admit that their marketing can often fall down among their list of priorities.
There are a couple of understandable reasons why this is the case, such as most practices not having a team member specifically focused on marketing, and the general busyness of practice life.
Budget is also often seen as a big obstacle. However, effective marketing doesn’t have to mean expensive marketing. Even if you only have a small pot of cash to work with, it is possible to raise your profile, attract new patients and retain the loyalty of your existing ones.
Below are my top three tips to help you do marketing well on a budget:
Use social media – it’s free
Setting up an account and posting on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, is completely free, and a great way to show off your practice’s personality and promote your services. The key to doing it well is deciding what audience you are targeting and which platform will be most relevant to them; Facebook is the most common, but many youngsters are now solely on Instagram.
Posting regularly – at least three times a week – is also important, an out-of-date page with old information is not attractive. And, of course, your posts need to be interesting, personal to your practice and engaging, rather than an obvious sales pitch. For example, sharing a customer’s testimonial about the impact their treatment had on them, will resonate more than just telling your audience you offer that service.
Once/if you’re comfortable with social media you may then choose to begin advertising on one of the platforms. While there is a cost for this, it is substantially lower than traditional channels which can make it another cost-effective avenue worth exploring.
Go out in the community
‘If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…’, prospective patients won’t necessarily come to find you, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Your closest supermarket can be a good place to raise your profile with the kind of people you want to reach – the local community.
It will take some investment of time, but by having a table with some brochures and enthusiastic team members (some of whom may even be willing to wear a toothbrush costume!), or doing a charity bag pack, you can make it convenient for people to find out what you offer and meet your team. We all know how important building rapport is, there’s no reason this couldn’t start in the supermarket!
Getting your practice’s name out there and having positive interactions with people could just be the deciding factor when those people are looking for a new dentist or elect to have some treatment.
Have a website that matches your level of service
If you are going to invest in anything, let it be your website – this is your online shop window, and if people are looking for a new dentist this is usually the first place they will go to. People will use your website to judge what your practice is like and whether it is the right one for them. So, if it is old, tired and/or broken, they will assume that will be the kind of service they can expect to receive from you, and you’re less likely to convert that patient.
It doesn’t need to be all bells and whistles though – just a clean, functioning and clear website that’s easy for the patient to use and can easily be updated should you have any changes, should be sufficient. Allocating the budget you’ve saved through other cost-efficient marketing methods towards ensuring your website is up to scratch, could be a wise move.
With these three tips, your practice can reap the rewards of a marketing strategy – whatever your budget!