Les Jones is the Editor of BoD Magazine and the Marketing Director at Practice Plan and shares some of his knowledge here.
Earlier this year I delivered a couple of events entitled ‘marketing on a budget’. As the current economic climate continues to squeeze every practice’s finances, I thought I’d share just a few of those ideas with you.
1. Let’s start with a real biggie…websites!
Following some research we recently carried out into the use of websites by dental practices, we were shocked to discover that over 25% of practices don’t actually have a website! AND…a further 25% had websites that were the equivalent of a mouth full of decayed teeth – they were there, but they were probably causing more pain and harm than good. By not having a website that is smart, informative and engaging in this day is, in short, marketing madness! If for example, you’re a practice in a town like Chester, on average, ‘dentist in Chester’ is googled 2400 times a month – 28,000 times a year – that’s a lot of potential business. So, if your website doesn’t show in the first page of results, you’re out of the game!
If you haven’t got a website that you’re really proud of, say this to yourself ten times a day until the penny drops – ‘no-one chooses a new dentist these days without first checking out their website’.
2. Train your front desk team
Not so long ago, I carried out a little test – I went into three private dental practices and said to the people on the front desk, ‘Hi, I’m looking for a new dentist for me and my family’ – and then I left the rest up to them.
All three were uniformly and utterly useless! Not one of them asked for my name or captured any of my details. Not one of them gave me the relevant information I needed. Not one of them showed me round, told me their name, asked me the right questions, or made me feel in the least bit welcome or valued. I walked out of each practice – a hot lead, never to be seen again. Your front desk are the window to your practice. They are, in many ways, the guardians of the first impression…think about it!
3. Create experiences!
When you go to a ‘Jamie’s Italian’ restaurant and ask for the children’s menu, it doesn’t arrive as a piece of laminated card as you might expect…oh no! It arrives in the form of a child’s view-o-matic, with backlit pictures of the meal options. It’s a WOW moment, that gets people talking. It’s also very inexpensive – what if you did something similar with the children in your practice, perhaps educating them about oral health hints and tips. Think about it, if you want people to talk to others about your practice, you have to give them something positive to talk about. As consumers, we love experiences and stories.
It’s all about a bit of creativity and a desire to do things a little differently. Which is what we try and help you achieve at Practice Plan. For support in tapping into your creative flair, email our expert marketing team!