So many dentists invest in ventures with the hope of drawing in more patients to their practice. However, just because you have spent your hard-earned money does not necessarily mean you are actually INVESTING, let alone anticipating new patients actually booking appointments and bring you an income.
When considering marketing strategies we need to have an investor mindset. Investors spend money for a return on investment, i.e. spend money to generate more money. In this case, spend money to generate more income from our patients.
This is a very important topic that must not be overlooked because you will most definitely be wasting your potential investment opportunity and losing out on other strategies which may have generated more income from the right calibre of patients.
Marketing is simply getting the right message to the right people via the right media and methods. It can be done using a variety of resources, not all of which are expensive.
There are in today’s economic markets thousands of different strategies and techniques available to let people know about who you are and what you can do for them. The question is not “what can I do to attract patients?” the question should be “which strategy is going to best suit me?”
This way, you will invest in the appropriate mediums which will make the best use of your resources. But before you consider these mediums, you will need to create the proper message to deliver to the appropriate audience.
This is the essence of what all marketing should be based upon. Lead generation is basically all the possible ways in which you can create potential prospects. This term is essentially a business term, and sometimes dentists fail to see themselves as business owners who can advertise and inform patients of what they can do for them but who also need to generate income to be able to best provide for their patients.
Dentists are scientists at heart, and some find it very uncomfortable to blend business acumen together with the science of dentistry. But if the science is to be delivered aptly to the correct patient and in the most appropriate manner then it would ultimately be in the best interest of your patient and their long-term health to combine business and science to produce effective and efficient dentistry.
The way to use a lead generation strategy is to first understand your unique positioning in the market. Thereafter to understand who it is in the general population that you can benefit with your uniqueness. The final job is to simply pick and choose the correct marketing strategy that best works for you. Most dentists tend to pick the marketing strategy first and then look at their budget and fit the chosen strategy into their budget. The consequences of this can easily be seen in our current struggle for more new patients and in our attempts to come to terms with the best marketing strategies.
Development of your Unique Position
The following questions need to be answered:
- What is it in dentistry which sets you apart?
- Why are you different?
- What can you offer that no one else can?
These are important questions, and the answers are not simply a case of – I am a dentist offering dentistry. Every dentist has a unique style and way of doing things. E.g. you may be extremely good at cooperating with very nervous patients, or you may enjoy endodontics. Determine what you can offer – your unique position within the market, which compels your potential patients to choose you over and above any other dentist.
The concern we as dentists should have is – how will we market our services to an audience that will be interested in what we have to offer. The question is how to capture a TARGET AUDIENCE with target marketing.
A target audience is that part of the population you believe will most benefit from your services.
Once we have this essential tool, we will be marketing in a way that will count toward increasing the likelihood of potential patients. And they are likely patients because the process does not terminate at this point alone. We will then have to “entice” these prospects to become patients of the practice. But marketing correctly will give us this opportunity to benefit these new patients.
If we market our services and attempt to target everyone, we may be drawing in patients who do not fit into our philosophies. This may utilise considerable effort and time on our parts in attempting to offer our services and advice to patients who may not be interested. This is the primary reason why many patients often refuse to go ahead with the recommended treatment. Discover your target audience.
There are essentially two ways of doing this:
- Deciding who will best benefit from your unique position
- Deciding on what actual service your patients require from you.
These factors will enable you to generate leads correctly and cost-effectively.
Once the above factors have been considered, you will be equipped with the knowledge of who you are targeting with your strategies, and this will allow you to work out the demographics of how to find your target audience. Once you know this, it is simply a matter of choosing the most cost-effective and productive marketing tool.
The lifeline of any practice
Drawing in new customers is actually the lifeline of any practice. And if we are to be successful at becoming well known for our services and advice to potential patients, then we need to implement our marketing plan with great care so as not to miss any opportune strategies.
The number one is an extremely disliked number in marketing. It implies the entire budget is spent on one strategy. If that particular method didn’t work, then we would have a negative return on investment. Our ability to attract new patients may diminish, which will not allow you to grow as a practice. It often ends up tying you into a vicious circle, which many find very difficult to break away from.
For this reason, embark upon as many strategies and techniques as your planning and budget will allow. Your marketing plan should work out all the possible ways you are going to reach your target audience and at what cost.
- Who is your target audience?
- Why are they your target market?
- What is your unique position?
- How are you going to reach your market?
- When are you going to implement the strategies?
- Where are you going to implement the strategies?
- How are you going to monitor the effectiveness of the methods you choose?
- What is your back up plans?
Target marketing is a simple and straightforward strategy to make sure all you invest in actually counts and works hard for you. This technique indirectly also will assist in increasing the number of patients accepting your recommendations, simply because you have cleverly attracted the correct type of patients who want and need the services you offer within your unique position.
Target marketing allows you to efficiently generate leads of the most compatible nature.