In my last post, I pointed out the importance of following through on good advice. In the spirit of that sentiment, I’m going to offer some advice. Again, it is important that you do your research and consult your team about any major decisions. Take any changes a step at a time and always keep your eyes open as you move forward.
Now that we’ve come into the Winter of 2022, the Pandemic, though still here, is starting to wane here in Canada, which means normal may be just around the corner.
That’s why this is the perfect time to think about marketing.
I don’t mean an expensive deep dive into all things advertising, either (we can look at those in a later post). Instead, I’m going to focus on inexpensive marketing communication tools that you might not even know you have.
A lot of people make the mistake of conflating marketing with selling. But what marketing is really is a form of communication you can use to reach out to those uncertain existing patients and potential patients who are just looking for a dentist, hygienist, or denturist that they can rely on in these uncertain times.
Marketing is about reaching out
The first thing you need to know is that marketing is not about flashy promos and expensive commercials, especially now. Marketing comes down to extending your reach and communicating to potential patients with a strong, enticing, and sincere message.
Reaching out to patients requires so much more than a promotion; it requires patient education, acknowledgement, and an understanding that your clinic is exactly what they’re looking for. Below are three inexpensive marketing tools to help you communicate by sending a sincere and valuable message or providing those patients with an opportunity to learn of your vision and purpose in the community
Education is an engagement tool that can encourage potential patients to check out your clinic and existing patients to return with the knowledge and security that you’re putting their needs first. There are several ways to broadcast patient education, whether it’s something as simple as a how-to on proper flossing techniques, or an article that is customized for certain patients who might be nervous about an upcoming treatment.
If you have a website (which I highly recommend), use it to create a blog, or post on social media and reach out to a more general audience, with easy-to-understand oral health tips and how-to’s.
You can also use your reminder system to send a short educational article customized especially for patients who have outstanding treatments.
Ever since the internet has made it possible for people to express their opinions about certain products or services online, everyone has jumped on board. And once it started gaining traction and review sites started popping up, it became less about trusting blindly and more about scanning reviews to ensure a company lived up to their purpose.
Before 2020, I was already on board with reading reviews before buying. But afterward, reading and relying on reviews became the norm. Trust is difficult to build now, with so many scammers and criminals out there. Our paranoia of always being duped has kept us on our toes, forcing us to take precautions before just diving in. This goes for any company, whether it’s a department store, a software company, or even a dental or hygiene practice.
Online reviews offer an assurance that your practice is not only legitimate but sincere in its purpose to cater to a patient’s oral health needs. Take some time and encourage your patients to leave a positive review about your clinic. Use your reminder system to send surveys to patients asking for their honest opinion and endorsement of your clinic and increasing your positive reviews online.
I am not a social media junkie like so many friends of mine are, but I do know the benefits of having a social media platform. First and biggest thing: it’s free! Second: Your reach is extensive, with over a billion users on Facebook alone. Third: It allows for real patient engagement.
I have seen quite a few dental practices use social media (my own included), and in addition to being able to post notable memes and quotes (as many do), it’s a fantastic platform to broadcast general patient education to those seeking it, whether by text or by video (be creative!). These platforms allow for a discussion between you and the patients regarding the educational content you provide, and the more knowledge a potential patient receives, the less anxious they’ll feel about coming to see you.
The Truth about Marketing – the Takeaway
The truth is that marketing is just another form of communication, and contrary to popular belief, it does not require a whole lot of money, just a sincere message broadcast using more than just the phone or in-person communication.
When it comes to marketing, you can use the tools you already have, like your current reminder system. Use it for more than just sending reminders about upcoming appointments, use it to educate your patients. Or get in touch with the social media platforms available (if you haven’t already) and start posting valuable content that you can use to engage your patients in a conversation about what really matters – their oral health.
Remember also that reviews matter. Send email surveys or even just ask your patients to leave a positive review of your clinic online.
For more resources and stats, check out the links below: