Marketing is a fundamental part of any business, and it’s no different for dental practices. An innovative marketing platform can help attract new customers, encourage repeat purchases, and boost overall profit and growth.
But to truly evolve your dental practice, all marketing activity must be patient focused. After all, the ultimate goal is to help your patients; to grow your practice whilst staying true to their wants and needs.
So we have created a guide to help you promote new products and treatments, with a responsible and clinical approach…
Laying the groundwork
Before you start promoting new products and selling services to patients, it’s essential that you lay the groundwork. Without a strong platform to begin with, your marketing efforts are bound to fall short.
To start, ensure you have the following:
- Patient understanding: without a clear understanding of your patients’ needs, it’s going to be a challenge to offer them the advice and services they want.
Get under the skin of your current patients and ask questions during visits; what problems have you had in the past, what products have you previously used, what problems do you struggle with the most, what treatments interest you most etc.
- Team buy in: team training is a critical aspect of successful marketing in the dental industry. Although they will be actively learning about new treatments and services, they might not understand how to effectively communicate this knowledge to the patient.
Ensure each member of your team is a part of the training, including receptionists, hygienists, nurses, and dentists so everyone feels comfortable selling new products.
- Excellent patient care: if patients value you and your practice, they will trust what you have to say. Excellent patient care gives you a greater opportunity to build valuable relationships and make treatment recommendations that patients will actually listen to.
For most dental practices, the majority of new patient enquiries come from recommendations; if you exceed the expectations of your patients they are more likely to tell their friends and family.
- Products and services you believe in: as a dentist, you are invested in the welfare of your patients. So invest in products and treatments you believe in and would use on your patients confidently.
Once you’ve established the initial platform, you should be ready to successfully market new products to patients.
Marketing a new smile
Over the last few years, there has been a consumer-driven phenomenon to achieve the perfect smile. And it’s no surprise…
‘99.7% of adults believe a smile is an important social asset’ - AACD National Survey.
But how can you approach your patients regarding their smile, and help them achieve their goals?
Here we look at three ways you can market new products to patients and help deliver the smile makeover they’ve always wanted.
1. In practice marketing
In practice marketing can be a really effective and valuable technique to promote new services without the demand for heavy investment. And it is really simple to implement…
The key is to highlight the benefits of the product, showcase the results and encourage enquiries.
- Use brochures to explain the process and benefits of the treatment. They can be placed in your waiting room for light reading whilst patients wait to be seen, handed out at promotional events or sent to patients within patient letters.
- Add posters or framed pictures to your practice to highlight the results of the treatment and encourage enquiries. Position them outside of each dentist’s room or in the waiting area to pique interest.
- Create a before and after smile gallery and put your patients at the heart of your story. Seeing examples of how the treatment has helped others will engage your patients. Try adding these to a TV screen in the waiting room, or create a glossy hardback that patients can browse whilst waiting to be seen.
- Write and send patient letters to promote new and existing treatments. This doesn’t have to be limited to new patients either; sending a letter reminding patients of maintenance treatments is a really effective way to show you care about their smile - and it encourages revisits.
2. External marketing
Many dental practices believe external marketing is just about attracting more patients. But it can also be used to promote new or popular services to a targeted audience.
A great place to start is with your local press. Whether it’s advertising or public relations, it’s a simple way to build trust and awareness in your community and position your practice as dental experts.
Offer human interest stories and comments on new trends - the content that is going to be of real interest to potential patients.
Once you’ve established your business as the dental specialist in the area, you could also create ties with local lifestyle brands.
The perfect smile is becoming increasingly important for more and more adults, so targeting businesses that exude similar values - like boutiques, beauty salons, spas and gyms - will help you reach a valuable audience with news and offers on your latests treatments.
Another great example of external marketing is paid advertising. Making sure you feature inside the right publications and target the right audience all comes down to your understanding of your customer base - so be sure to speak to your patients and establish who you are trying to reach.
Just remember to use engaging imagery, a punchy message and a captivating story to grab the attention of your target audience.
3. Brand management
You should approach your dental practice as a brand, rather than just another dentist surgery.
From the moment your patient visits your website or walks through the practice doors, to meeting the dentist and undergoing the treatment, your brand should appear consistently throughout.
This means an attractive logo is not enough. Instead, carry your brand through each of your marketing materials and use it across all of the products and treatments you offer too (where possible).
For example, if your patient has to take a product home, weave your branding into the product packaging. After all, there’s nothing more powerful than word of mouth advertising, and seeing other patients leave your practice with branded bags will help spark enquiries.
Evolving your business…
Although you may not think dentistry and marketing go hand in hand - they do, and should. And as long as it is focused on improving the patient experience and their end results, you should be looking to be as creative as possible to differentiate yourself from the surgery down the road.