Marketing Solutions for Dentists and Teams

Archive for December 2008

Recession Marketing for Dentists, What’s Hot & What’s Not

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To thrive in these economic times it’s best to focus your marketing dollars on retention, case acceptance, word-of-mouth and referral strategies. Concentrate your efforts amongst those who already know and trust you rather than attempting new patient acquisition from unknown and potentially skeptical audiences. ritazphotoimage22

What’s hot: Invest in improving the patient experience. Now is the time to impress patients, as more than ever they will scrutinize everything you do and say. Consumers are paying more attention to everything they spend their money on. Some may question whether they should keep spending their money with you or go elsewhere. Invest in training for you and your team and be sure your patient relations skills are finely honed. There has never been a better time to implement new techniques to increase your case acceptance rates.

Invest in referral marketing. If you don’t already have an organized referral program, get busy and create one. Actively promote your program- not just twice a year by word of mouth when patients are in your office. Be sure to promote the fact that you want referrals the whole year long. Ask verbally and in writing (No you won’t come across as a pest or seem desperate because most people are busy with life and won’t likely remember the last time you asked, even if you ask them many times per year). Make sure you invite referrals verbally, and also put your invitation in writing. Tangible forms of promotion help visual learners (about 65% of the population) to remember to refer. If you’d like to know more about this, check out my referral guidebook and learn step-by-step how to create a successful turn-key system for your practice.

Invest in your online reputation. Google yourself regularly and see where your website rates. Also be sure to police yourself… confirm the first few pages of your search come out clean, accurate and don’t contain any negative patient feedback. It makes no sense to invest in search engine optimization if you don’t even know that negative patient feedback could be found alongside your name.

Consider investing in social media. While not for everyone, when done well- and authentically, participating in sites like Facebook and other social spaces gives you an opportunity to get your name and face in front of potentially influential networks. Have fun with it. If you know nothing about social media, ask someone on your team who enjoys this to help you. Again have fun, but at the end of the day be sure whatever you or someone else posts about you maintains your personal and professional brand and represents you well.

In this economy, what’s hot now is the return you’ll get from marketing investments related to customers/patients who already know you.

What’s not hot: Investing in brand building or awareness marketing such as radio, television or expensive magazine ads. The first problem is that these mediums are not generally geographically focused. The second problem is they require much repetition and thus very large investments before they penetrate enough to work. Even in good economies these mediums can be expensive and risky investments. With a population scrutinizing every dollar, becoming more skeptical about who and where they buy from and holding-off unless it’s an emergency, it’s better to avoid these types of marketing vehicles for now.

Have a question or comment to share? Email rita@tangiblemarketing.com. I’d love to hear from you!

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Online Referral Facilitation Tool for Dentists- Product Review- Featured Product: LinkBox®

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Convert your website visitors into patient appointments and referrals… LinkboxTM is a website add-on that provides valuable marketing tools to any existing website. LinkBoxTM encourages website visitors to contact your practice, as well as refer friends. And because it’s a stand-alone product, LinkBoxTM doesn’t integrate with your current practice management systems in any way – so it’s simple to set up and start using right away.ritazphotoimage21

I especially like the way the product opens the door for dialogue. Consumers today have become so accustomed to sharing their thoughts, opinions and requests through their computer keyboards… This tool gives potential new patients one more way to explore you, and gives existing patients one more way to refer you.

Watch a demo and learn more about their terrific no-risk 30 day trial here.



Recession Marketing Tips for Dentists

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Lay-offs, rising grocery bills and a flood of bad economic news in the media are causing consumers to tighten their purse strings… How can dentists help to protect and even grow their practice in times like these? Here are a few smart recession marketing tips for dentists.ritazphotoimage2

1) Be impeccable with the patients you already have. This includes phone, patient relation and case presentation skills. Need to know if you are impeccable or not? To diagnose your performance, try surveys, hire a ghost shopper or get an experienced consultant to observe.

2) Be REALLY impeccable with the patients you already have. How long has it been since you’ve brushed up on your case presentation skills or taken your team to a seminar or workshop about exceptional customer service. Now is the time to invest in learning everything you and your team can do to get more from the customers (patients) you already have.

3) Keep in touch. Follow up with patients- consistently and effectively. Patients will be putting off elective, cosmetic and non-emergency treatments, so make sure you maintain relationships with patients while they are saving up or waiting for some good economic news. Be sure you are top of mind when they are ready to buy dental again. This means calling patients to follow up (phone calls are quick, easy -inexpensive- and effective!), sending customized patient newsletters (consumers are now cocooning— staying home, nesting with family and they have time to read and learn more about you and your services), emailing (use email communication sparingly, make your notes brief and memorable).

4) Money, Money, Money– Make sure your fee quotes, insurance filing, payment options and related communication is flawless. People are more sensitive to money issues than ever before. Now is the time to be extra courteous, knowledgeable- and considerate of patient’s potential financial quandaries.

5) Internal marketing first, external second. Don’t spend thousands of dollars for a flashy magazine ad if you don’t have a patient referral system in place. Invest dollars to maximize internal marketing first (referral systems, sales training, newsletters, etc.), then look to external marketing tactics such as postcards, advertising, etc. This is even more important during a recession when external new patient acquisition becomes more challenging.

Need help? Or have comments to share? Email rita@tangiblemarketing.com