10 Dental Practice Marketing Questions You Should Not Avoid

At Kutner Law LLP we often have the opportunity to meet with other professionals who operate in the dental space. We were recently at a seminar put on by Dan Pisek, Senior Account Executive at Full Contact Marketing, which we found particularly insightful regarding marketing for dentists. When we act for dentists who are purchasing

It is a competitive game out there for sure. Dentistry will always be about providing excellent patient care, but today more than ever, it is also about superb business management. Anyone in business is aware of one simple truth: your business would not exist without customers. These customers are the most valuable asset in any business and a professional approach to marketing is essential for locating and keeping customers.

With practice marketing now being more important than ever, you must ask yourself an important question; how are we doing with our own practice marketing? Are you achieving your goals or falling short? Below are 10 questions to ask yourself about the effectiveness of your current approach to practice marketing.

1) Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset in how you manage your marketing efforts?

The most successful doctors that we work with are great at seeing the big picture. They have an excellent understanding of their present business situation, and are also receptive to new ideas to move their business forward and produce better results.

These doctors have specific plans, such as creating and following a budget, for achieving their goals. They are action-orientated and know how to make business growth initiatives happen, either on their own or by hiring in professionals. In short, they see their practice as one of their most valuable assets and marketing as an investment to boost its value.

2) Does your brand identity project a professional image?

In today’s world, image is everything. A more experienced dentist may provide the best dental care, but an amateur dentist who makes a great first impression, will likely have the first chance to secure the prospective new patient who is looking for the best care and patient experience.

The more successful practices today have a name and a logo design that projects an image of confidence. We then ensure all aspects of the practice live up to this image. From the office décor and the dental equipment to the people and the overall attitude of the practice, everything must work together to convey the image of success.

3) Do you have a great website?

Over 83 percent of Canadian households are connected to the Internet and Canadians spend hours online each day. Your practice website is the center point of everything that you do to market your practice. From advertising campaigns to simple patient referrals, marketing is about getting your name out there and introducing yourself to prospective new patients. Now that you’ve made the connection, people are able to go to your website and learn more about you.

Given the importance of your website, you can’t afford to take an amateur approach. When a viewer lands on your homepage, you have all of six seconds to make a favourable impression and convince him or her to go deeper into the website. The website needs to be user-friendly and easy-to-understand.

4) Do you have the right social media presence?

Is social media a good fit for your dental practice? Social media shouldn’t be at the core of your new patient acquisition strategy, but rather act as a tool for patient relationship and referral building. You can use social media to take your patient communication to a higher level with a proactive approach that engages and informs.

If social media (i.e. Facebook) is a good fit for your practice, you must take an “all in” approach to managing it well. Appoint someone in your practice to manage your social media presence and make sure that there are posts on your Facebook page every day. Make sure the posts are informative, engaging and project the practice image that you desire.

5) Are your patients aware of the full scope of your offering?

Consider all that you have invested in your practice by way of equipment, technology and training. Now think about the elective treatment and other dental related services that are available in your office. Don’t forget that you are also welcoming new patients. Now ask yourself: How aware are my patients of these ideas?

For many practices, patient communication is simply the reminder call to the patient two days before the scheduled exam. The more successful practices take patient communication to a much higher level. They realize the great revenue building opportunity that exists inside the practice in the existing patient file. If you are not in regular contact with your patient file, your local area competitors probably are.

6) Do you have a complete patient referral program in place?

Your patients like you and the dental care that you provide. They are likely very happy to refer you to family and friends when the opportunity arises. The problem is, many of your patients don’t know that you are welcoming new patients, let alone looking for referrals.

Whether you are a dental office, auto dealership or a florist, every business appreciates new customers. To have a successful patient referral program, you must do three things; you must consistently promote the fact that you are welcoming new patients and appreciate referrals, you must consistently acknowledge the support of your patients by saying “thank you,” and you must devise a way to track the names of your referral champions.

7) How aware are the households in your local area of your dental practice?

People are living very busy lives and simplicity is key. Generally speaking, with all other factors being close to equal, convenience is a crucial component in a potential client’s decision-making process. That being said, the people that live within a 5 minute drive to your office represent your best new patient opportunities.

Make sure that your marketing plan has a component that focuses on getting the right message into these households and establishes your practice as their local community dentist and best choice for quality care.

8) How aware and engaged is your team regarding your marketing efforts?

Do the people working with you know how well your dental practice is doing? Do they appreciate how competitive the market is and how challenging it is to attract new patients and run a successful business? Are they interested in the success of your practice, or merely punching a clock?

You are the leader of your team, and the first order of business is to show your team that you’re all in this together. Communication is key, and it starts with having regular meetings to communicate your goals and the plan for achieving these goals. The more team members that you have working with you, the more business building momentum you have within your practice.

9) Does your team have a sales minded culture?

The purpose of marketing is to get the word out about your practice and all the great work that you do. The mailer piece has been noticed, the website has been perused and now the phone is ringing. Is your front desk ready and able to translate these calls into new patients?

From potential new patient inquiry calls, to the conversations that are happening with your existing patients, every day at your dental office is filled with selling opportunities. The idea of selling makes many people nervous, but this is not a high pressure selling approach. It is simply having a team that is confident in the practice. Your team must learn to pay more attention to selling opportunities and take positive action with those opportunities.

10) Are you aware of your unique practice building opportunities?

As stated earlier, your local community is important to the success of your business. Along with marketing to the local community, you also want to be perceived as an active member of the community. This means sponsoring local sports teams, getting involved in local festivals or coming up with other unique ways of giving back to the community.

Encourage everyone on your team to take notice of local community involvement opportunities. At your next team meeting, start a list and welcome ideas. From this list, decide to move forward on a couple ideas. Don’t forget to share your community involvement on Facebook. Few people realize that a competitive advantage can be as simple as getting involved in the local community.

In this very competitive industry, it’s necessary to ask difficult questions and give yourself honest answers. Doing so will give you a truer understanding of your customers, lead to a new and dynamic approach to practice marketing and catapult your business to the next level.