Stop spending money on your websites. Don’t hire “professional” dental marketers. Stop Your Google Ads. Don’t pay for direct mail. Forget Facebook. Don’t do what everyone else does.
And here’s why: it doesn’t work to bring in and keep high need / high IQ patients. You’ll get bottom feeder patients who will simply look for deals, have no loyalty and will leave you once your campaign ends. Websites and direct mail, etc. have a limited chance of success UNLESS they are part of an overall brand and marketing campaign. If you’re just going to do what everyone else does, then be prepared to be disappointed (and be out of pocket LOTS OF MONEY!)
Understand this: 90% of your ideal patients come from word-of-mouth referrals. Read that again. Now take a look at your marketing budget (if you have one) and DECIDE RIGHT NOW to invest in your existing patient base. And here’s how:
Step #1: Identify Your Ideal Patient Within Your Patient Base. How old? Male or Female? Single, Professional, Family? Where Do They Come From? What Language(s) Do They Speak? What’s Their Income Level? What Life Stage Are They At?
Step #2: Develop a brand that caters to your ideal patient. If you want to know more about what a brand is, read this blog and this blog too! I also HIGHLY recommend you read Contagious, Sticky Branding, and the Brand Within.
Step #3: Get Your Brand Out There. Your Brand should be both online and offline. It should be in the hands of your patients (don’t depend on REFERRALS from third parties; go direct to your ideal patient!). And not just any patients: but those who will help spread it through social dissemination (likely in person to others). I highly recommend you read the Tipping Point to understand the3 types of patients who help spread brands.
Let’s look at an example, shall we?
Step #1: my ideal patient is a wedding couple about to get married. They aren’t afraid to spend money to make their smile more aesthetic before their big day. And they’re afraid of those pictures (which Photoshop won’t be able to correct).
Step #2: I want to make my dental office look like a banquet hall. I want a giant chandelier. Bright white everywhere. Elegant. I want my ideal patients to seem like I’m part of the wedding process. My team should be trained to help promote that brand. Using the right language when they speak to patients is so important. Having the right smell and imagery in the office is equally important. I want to show patients what they look like how their life would be significantly better by having me fix and whiten their smile (instant gratification using the language of lifestyle enhancement).
Step #3: I need to be present where wedding couples are looking. That includes trade shows, bridal magazines, etc. I should network with other wedding professionals (photographers, banquet halls, florists, etc.). AND ONLY NOW should I spend money to promote my practice online (including Google Ads, Facebook, Websites, etc.) but keeping my brand in mind at all times. I’m not interested in targeted everyone; only wedding couples. I’m not wasting money. I’m engaging my ideal patient and niching my practice to survive and thrive in a competitive environment.
Other tips and tricks: when I’m promoting my brand, I need to show my target patients that I CARE about them; that I’m trying to solve their pain; that I’m not just trying to ‘sell’ dentistry. I need to understand what motivates them; what they’re afraid of; and what would make them want to SWITCH to my practice from all the other practices near their home/work. It may take 18 months to get the word out there that I cater to couples about to get married, but by the time I’ve invested in this niche branding, I should be on solid financial footing.
Note: this is just an EXAMPLE. You can use this example to give you ideas on how to target just about any ideal patient. Also, remember to review the RCDSO guidelines on ADVERTISING so you don’t get into trouble. Also, take a look at this article that was published about niche dental practices – are they the future?