Dental Marketing Principles for 2018
By Mike Shoun, CEO
Twenty years ago, marketing for a dental office was fairly simple; build it and they will come. Hang your shingle. That was about all you needed to start a successful dental practice. And if you wanted to grow your practice, all you needed to do was put an ad in the phonebook and maybe do a local health fair.
Ten years ago, marketing for a dental office was still considered relatively easy; build a simple website, print the web address on some postcards and mail them out to your local area, maybe advertise in a local paper or magazine. These tactics were all you needed to outdo the competition and keep your practice relevant.
Today, marketing for a dental office is much more complicated, sophisticated, and confusing. Websites, mobile websites, search engine optimization for Google, Bing, Yahoo and more, online maps and directory listings, social media, blogs, online display advertising, pay-per-click ads, mobile phone advertising, online reviews; good ones needed and bad ones to deal with. Whew! Plus, you have competition with many other dentists in your area who all seem to be advertising deeply discounted offers, not to mention corporate dentistry growing at an increasingly fast rate. Can a privately owned Dental Practice in 2018 grow in all this chaos? The simple answer is: YES!
Dental Practice Marketing: Where Do You Start?
Although the different forms of marketing have changed over the years, as well as the sheer volume of ways to market your dental practice, one thing that has not changed are the principles of marketing.
Patients are your customers; therefore, you must operate using the same principles that drive the marketing dollar decisions made by multi-million and multibillion-dollar corporations. These large companies, including corporate dentistry, are purely in business to make a profit. For every dollar McDonald’s spends on advertising, they are getting a large return on investment. They know if they stop spending money on marketing, their revenue and profit will dry up.
McDonald’s and all these giant corporations are spending marketing dollars on the same people who are your patients. Your patients and potential patients have a customer and consumer mindset. The principles that work for McDonald’s marketing dollars will also work for your marketing dollars, no matter how much money is in your budget (within reason). The first principle of marketing is consistent brand recognition. It is critical that your logo and any graphic images, photos and colors used on your website must be consistent and look the same on all marketing that you do.
Imagine if the McDonald’s logo was blue and green and blurry at one location and red and blue at another? Confusion would set in, and lack of trust in the product would surface. Logo recognition comes from the “brand” that is seared into the mind of the consumer. The consumer knows what that logo means, and they know what to expect when they visit.
The next principle is repetition. You cannot just do something once when it comes to marketing. You must have a plan to get your message and brand out to the consumer repeatedly and consistently. Keeping McDonald’s as our subject; why do they keep advertising even though everyone knows who they are? Because if they don’t keep their message in front of consumers, they will lose market share to other companies that are advertising on a regular basis. A consumer’s mind is very fickle. We see over 5000 messages a day, and the one that keeps appearing will be the one that sparks a reaction. You want to be the one that gets the spark.
The final principle is having a message that connects to your targeted market. You will notice that McDonald’s has many messages to communicate to many different target markets (as most large companies do). Dentistry is no different. A mother of teenagers is going to need a different message than an older person with no children. Focusing on the correct message for your target audience allows the patient to connect to you more so than your competition.
Yes! A privately owned dental practice can grow in 2018. Applying these principles is the most critical part of making any marketing strategy work. Keeping your brand active and being consistent with a focused message is the best place to start before diving into the real meat of the marketing world. Having a solid foundation will make the rest of your marketing strategy successfully come together.
Mike Shoun is President and Founder of Affordable Image - a full service marketing company dedicated to the client's overall success.
Mike can be reached at (602) 265-2299 ext. 211, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit www.affordableimage.com for more information
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