If you’re concerned about the ROI of your marketing efforts or working within a tight budget, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are several ways you can market your practice for next to nothing.
Whether you want to attract more patients, increase your profile within your community, or keep your current patients coming back for more – these ten tips will help you hit your goals without breaking the bank.
1. Publish blog content
The first thing that we can talk about when it comes to marketing on a shoestring budget, is to post great content onto a blog. What you want to be able to do is to understand your ideal patient, what are their fears and frustrations that they might experience when they go to the dentist, what are their hopes and aspirations, and think about creating content that really resonates with that particular audience.
Once you’ve created that content, make sure you can leverage that content by distributing on your social media accounts. This allows you to drive traffic back onto your website, when they might have been browsing Facebook or Instagram. You need to also ensure that the content you’re producing is of a high quality, informative, entertaining, and it speaks to your ideal patient avatar. Otherwise, you’re just sort of throwing stuff out there and seeing what sticks. The key here is to be deliberate, strategic, and high-quality.
2. Comment on other people’s posts
One of the things that you can do, is look at other local businesses like hairdressers, beauticians, accountants etc. and take a look at what they’re publishing. If it’s content that’s specific to your local area or likely to be of interest to your ideal patient avatar, you could consider sharing and reposting or commenting on the posts. It helps you build a relationship with other local businesses, and really connect with each other’s communities. You might just find it opens the door for potential referrals and partnerships…
3. Retain your existing patients
There’s no point spending big bucks and investing large amounts of time and energy trying to attract new patients, if you’re not retaining your existing patients. It’s going to be much more costly, and it’s a bit like trying to fill a bucket with a massive leak it in it!
What’s important, is building long-term relationships built on trust and delivering value. People do business with those they like and trust, so that’s ultimately what’s going to keep your patients returning and completing treatments. If you think of your patient base as a community, they’ll sense that you really care and be more likely to return.
4. Have a seamless complaints system
If you’ve been in business any length of time, you’ll know that despite our best efforts, things go wrong. We’re all human, we’re all prone to error, we’re all fallible, so it’s inevitable. I really welcome complaints because when someone cares enough to complain, it gives me an opportunity to fix it. It’s important for patients to see that you care, and that you’re taking care of the problem.
There’s this principle called the recovery paradox where as a result of a complaint being taken seriously and addressed with care, patients who were once complaining can become your biggest advocates.
One of the keys to handling complains is to ensure that one person manages the process so that things don’t get forgotten, things don’t get dropped, and so someone can oversee that process all the way through.
5. Public relations
Public relations is an important area of marketing that often gets overlooked. It can be a little bit trickier to secure, but it does hold a lot of weight with prospective patients and is incredible for your personal and practice reputation. It’s worth taking a look at the different agencies around, to see if there’s some way you can work together to build your profile.
If you’ve got a particular area of expertise you could register as an expert and when the opportunity arises, you might be able to give an interview or be featured in a piece of media. It’s an excellent way to build credibility and authority in your space.
6. Generate referrals through word of mouth
If you want your existing patients to refer their friends and family to you, there’s a four-step process we use called ESAR.
E – Earn the right to ask for a referral. Both in terms of great clinical work, and a terrific patient experience. It’s important to consistently deliver your A-Game and leave patients feeling noticeably cared for every single time. They’ll only refer people if they’re impressed.
S – Setting the scene. Most patients aren’t even aware that practices want referrals. It’s not on their radar, they don’t really think about it, and they have no reason to. So, we need to set the scene by letting patients know very clearly that we welcome referrals.
A – Ask. Having a framework for asking for referrals is critical, and it doesn’t need to be long and convoluted. Something as simple as asking for feedback and then mentioning “if you have any friends or family you’d like us to look after, we’d be more than happy to do so” is perfectly adequate.
R – Recognise and reward. Make sure to follow up with a quick thank-you to whoever has referred you patients. If you make someone feel good about referring to you, they’re more likely to do it again.
7. Generate reviews
Make sure you’re asking for and generating reviews onto your Google My Business page. You can let patients know at the start of their appointment that you’ll be asking for feedback at the end, and then if the patient is satisfied, ask if they’d be willing to leave a short Google Review if you emailed them a link.
While it might not seem like a crucial part of marketing, it can be the decision-making factor for many prospective patients,
8. Multiply the booking
Multiplying the booking is really a very simple verbal skill that is asking if there’s anyone else in the family that needs an appointment while we’re at it. What typically happens is we find that when a parent comes in for their own appointment, we can easily say “While I’ve got you, is there anyone else in the family who needs an appointment while we’re at it?” Then you’ll often find they book for their partner or kids while they have the chance.
9. Building corporate partnerships
This is really about engaging with other businesses and looking to cross pollinate. How can you look after each other and create a win-win-win situation? It needs to benefit you, your prospective partner, and the clients/patients you have in common. If it doesn’t win for everyone, it doesn’t win at all.
A really great example is to look at a large organization local to you, and maybe say “We know that a large part of your philosophy is making sure your team look after themselves, we’d like to support you in that by offering after hours access or preferential times to employees and families of your business. That means your employees can prioritise their health and look after themselves, without needing to take time off or affecting your productivity.” It doesn’t have to be that offer exactly – it could be more around prices or package deals or what have you – but that’s an example of the kind of corporate partnerships we’re talking about.
It’s really important to build and develop your own network and you can do that in a plethora of different ways. There’s no one size fits all and there’s not only one way to do this, but just as an example, you could be engaged in community groups or join a business networking group. It’s important for you to get your name out there, and build relationships with people. You might have the opportunity to be known for your expertise by delivering presentations, or create content that demonstrates your authority, which will encourage people to come to you themselves or refer others. themselves and/or refer others to you as well. That’s really, really important to do all of those things.
These ten principles are very simple, but can add up to big results without investing a lot of money. We originally covered these principles on an episode of the Savvy Dentist Podcast – check out the full episode for a more in-depth look at how to execute these tips.
P.S Want to scale your dental practice and take your profits to 7 figure success?
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