For many Dentists and Orthodontists, they have had to shut the doors to their practices during this pandemic. This has provided both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is that you have expenses that need to be paid, and your practice isn’t generating as much money. And the opportunity is that you have a bit more time to contemplate the future and how you will make your practice more successful when it reopens. From a dental marketing perspective, there are probably things you should have been doing but never got around to, but is now the right time to focus on them? Yes, now is the best time to focus on your dental marketing.
There’s a Chinese proverb that says ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.” This is particularly relevant when it comes to marketing, because good marketing takes time. The marketing strategies and tactics that will provide the biggest payoff for your practice growth need to be planted strategically, and given time to sink their roots down deep in order to flourish. Although there are still offline marketing strategies that work, digital marketing has eclipsed them because they are more cost-effective and measurable. Here’s a recent article from Forbes entitled ‘Why Companies Turn To Digital Marketing To Survive COVID-19‘ which is worth a read.
Do You Struggle With…
- Knowing how to market your practice effectively
- Deciding where to spend your marketing dollars to get the biggest return on investment
- Understanding how your practice is competing with similar practices in your area
- Hiring the right marketing partner who will provide real results and understand your practice
What to do right now to set up your marketing for success
During this ‘lull’ there are very tangible things that you as a practice owner can do to set yourself up for success. If you’re like most dentists, you would benefit greatly from working with a dental marketing consulting agency like DENTAL MARKETING HEROES to guide and direct your efforts. But regardless of whether you go it alone or hire a partner to lead and implement your efforts, here is the key marketing activities you should start right now:
Stay in touch with your patients
Even if you’re not in the office, you are a leader in your community and a health professional that people look up to. In this time of upheaval in people’s lives they are looking for consistency and positive leadership, and people are consuming social media at the highest levels ever. You’ve built up a following through your email list and your social networks. Don’t go quiet at this time. Be supportive, keep educating, be kind, and stay in touch with people.
Share how you and your family are surviving the COVID-19 pandemic at home. Share the activities you are doing to not only keep your sanity but thrive in this current environment. Share what movies you’d recommend to your patient’s families, etc. There’s so much you could be sharing while remembering that people buy from people, so be an engaging person during this time.
Perform A Marketing Review
‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’ said business guru Peter Drucker, but unfortunately, many dentists don’t know how to measure their marketing, what to measure, or even how to gauge if the results are good or bad. If knowledge is power, then you owe it to yourself to be as knowledgeable as you can be about this key expense area in your practice. But how do you do this? What tools do you need? How much work is it? Great questions, and unfortunately a lot of tools are needed to do this well, and you need an experienced team to look at the results, digest them, and provide the insights you need to inform your decisions. So you can either try to learn everything yourself and hope you get it right, or you can hire a reputable agency to perform this for you. Is having better information and deeper insights into your practice critical for growth? Is it worth the investment? A resounding ‘yes’ to both of these questions! That’s why we’ve created the Complete Dental Online Presence Audit. This audit will dig deep into your current online marketing as well as that of your competition and deliver a detailed report, key insights, and actionable recommendations. The real benefit is that this will give you the information you need for Step #3 – Build a Marketing Plan.
Build A Marketing Plan
‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ is another well-known quote that is also true. There are many things that you could be doing with your marketing dollars, but if you’re like me, you’ll want every dollar to produce a maximum return on investment and that only happens with careful planning, monitoring, and execution. SOS is a common problem that every business owner struggles with. SOS stands for Shiny Object Syndrome, and it denotes the behavior of zigging and zagging from the last shiny object to the next one and wondering why nothing good is happening. A Strategic Marketing Plan will help ensure that you are choosing the very best strategies and tactics to attract more patients, give them a great and repeatable experience, and turn them into referral engines. But be aware that not every marketing agency is strategic in their thinking. At DMH we are a ‘Strategy First’ agency, where we start with strategy first and then implement the plan for our clients.
Your Strategic Marketing Plan will set you up for long term success.
Design A Marketing Calendar
An important part of a solid marketing plan is a calendar. The reason a marketing calendar is vital to your marketing success is that it ensures you’re accomplishing the most important tasks at the appropriate time. The result is fewer dropped balls and fewer missed opportunities. A marketing calendar is comprised of all of the key strategic elements for the year ahead. It should include content themes, blog posts, social media, events, holidays, sales/promotions and specific goals for each month. Once you have a good marketing calendar created, the best thing is to use it! For obvious reasons, the discipline of living by the calendar is equally as important as was creating it. Review it weekly with your marketing agency and team to ensure you’re doing what you need to do.
Rebuild Your Website
Your website is the most important online property you have. In fact, it’s the only online real estate you actually own. You don’t own your Facebook or Instagram Profiles, or your GoogleMyBusiness Profile, and businesses, unfortunately, have found these properties ripped out from under them for various reasons.
So if your website is your online property and the hub for all your marketing, it’s important to keep it fresh, up-to-date, and even more importantly, optimized using SEO for attracting, engaging, and converting visitors so that it becomes a 24/7 salesforce for your practice.
Did you know that a large percentage of dentists and orthodontists have let their websites get behind? They look old, they don’t engage their visitors, or worse, they are poorly written and ineffective in helping prospective patients travel successfully through their buying. Visitors arrive at your website because they’re searching for information to help them choose you. Few people want to look at site after site to find a provider they like and can trust. It’s up to your site to move them systematically through their decision-making process – to move from ‘checking you out’ to booking an appointment to come in for treatment. Even if your website is half-decent, if it was created more than two years ago it’s probably underperforming on Google. A lot has changed with Google that has raised the bar of what’s required for a website to show up on the coveted first page of Google results.
The great news is that now is the best time to work on a new website. Find a great dental marketing agency to help you create a cutting edge and SEO optimized website with brand messaging that sets you apart from your competition and guides visitors through their buyers’ journey.
Start Implementing The New Plan
So you’ve got a great plan, you’ve got a marketing calendar now, your website is top-notch, what’s next? Implementing your awesome marketing plan. Now comes perhaps the hardest part of the whole equation, getting the necessary work done day in and day out. The very best way of doing this is by implementing a Marketing System into your practice, so the right things get done at the right time, in the right way, repeatedly. If you choose to hire multiple vendors to get your plan implemented (i.e. social media person, website person, email marketing person, content person, etc) you will find that you, by necessity, become the conductor and leader of all your marketing activities. This puts a tremendous strain on most owners as they aren’t gifted in this area, and even if they are, they can’t effectively run the dental part of the business while managing numerous marketing vendors.
The very best option is to hire a dental marketing agency that implements a systematic approach that gets all the work done and creates a complementary force multiplier into the equation – where each activity magnifies another activity. With a proven marketing system running in your business you will find your practice growth reaching rates of 2X – 5X.
Want to learn more about how to get going on this? Book a discovery call now by clicking here.