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This is going to be a very high-level list of things to keep in mind when looking at your marketing. For those of you who are new to dental marketing, it will be a good look at the basics. For those of you who have been doing it for a while, and may even be pretty good at it, it’s an opportunity to make sure you aren’t overlooking anything.
So let’s get started:
- Marketing is telling prospective patients what you offer and why you are their best choice to provide it. What you’re trying to do isn’t complicated. HOW you go about doing it is what’s complicated.
- Focus on your prospects’ needs. Remember, as a dentist, you are not only competing with other dentists, but against prospective patients doing nothing at all. Here are two simple words: Pain and fear. Pain, either physical or emotional, is why they should come and see you. Fear of something is why they don’t. Your marketing has to address one or both of those.
- You’re competing for attention. The dentist down the street isn’t your biggest competition. LIFE is your biggest competition. Your prospect is bombarded with 5,000 marketing messages a day. What makes you stand out?
- You’ve got to get a prospects’ attention quickly. If you don’t get them fast, you’re not likely to get them at all. Again, talk to them FIRST about THEIR NEEDS, not about your expertise. That comes later, and isn’t the most important motivator for the vast majority of patients.
- Differentiate, differentiate, differentiate. What makes you different? Stand up and stand out.
- Talk to the prospects you want. If you want to do big-case dentistry, don’t advertise drill-and-fill specials. If your target market is 40- to 60-year-olds, don’t run ads with pictures of children.
- Your website can be the hub of your marketing effort. Even your offline advertising can drive people online. Online, you have unlimited word count, unlimited space, unlimited number of images and videos, and unlimited control of your image.
Are there others? Sure. But if you’ll do these seven things, you will be successful. HOW you do them is a much more complicated issue, and that’s where you may want to retain the services of an outside provider. After all, you didn’t go to dental school to be a marketer; you studied all those years so that you could help people.
However, not all online marketing firms are created equal; not by a long shot. Some know what they’re doing, do it well, and charge a fair price for their services. Others… well, let’s just say that the marketing profession has its share of fly-by-nights, snake oil salesmen, and too-good-to-be- true promises, just like any other.
You can use these seven principles to analyze what a marketing firm proposes to do for your practice, and how it’ll go about it. Regardless of any “silver bullet” they may offer, your marketing has to accomplish one specific goal – to convert prospective patients into staying and paying patients. And no “silver bullet” can accomplish that without adhering to these principles.