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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Attracting New Patients Effectively – With Patience. (Part 1)

Author: Dan Pisek, Practice Marketing Coach

You probably know the numbers that make your practice tick. You are also aware of the value of a new patient in year one, year two and beyond. And knowledgeable of the revenue and profitability of each individual treatment or service being offered. However, perhaps you are not aware of the extent that practice marketing can be utilized to help realize these business goals.

In many conversations with dentists and practice office managers, the discussion seems to revolve around the desire for immediate results, and not “ bigger picture” thinking. This marketing planning approach, or “visioning”, is something that a planned, professional marketing approach can provide.

Be Pro Proactive Marketing

While your need for a new patient response is immediate, there might not be a need for a new dental office relationship in any local home on any given day. This is where a proactive and planned approach to marketing comes into play.

We had a client meeting recently where the dentist was very specific: he wanted a marketing campaign that would specifically deliver new dental implant cases to his office. He paid little mind to the fact that his competitive landscape was loaded with high-end practices all wanting these same cases. The discussion seemed to revolve around what the message for this specific campaign needed to be, and how it would be executed. However, the more difficult discussion was getting him to see the benefit of taking a big picture approach to realizing a bigger picture success.

This is called “brand building”. Starbucks, Mercedes, Nike: these are all brands you are aware of, yet they continue to do “marketing” and get their message out there. While the need to purchase might not be there today, when the successful dentist is ready to shop and choose their next car, the right marketing message can place Mercedes “top of mind” and immediately on the short list.

The key is to have the right message in your campaign – the right message is the right mix of design and copy. The design and copy needs to be all about the consumer. The overall message needs to be about them and not about you. The right message will connect with the target consumer and spark the desire to learn more about you.

The other important element to getting the right message out to your target audience is ensuring that you use the right media to deliver your message. Is it direct mail, magazine, outdoor advertising, transit, on the wall in the restroom of your favorite restaurant? You have many options, and you need to select the right one - the one which will connect with your target with the most frequency and reach, and stick with it for a while.

A great example of a successful marketing tool is our community newsletter program, where the goal is to attract families to our clients’ family dental practices. In our follow-up with these newsletter clients, many of them say it took two or three editions, but now clients in the local community almost expect it on a quarterly basis.

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