In today’s environment, it is not enough for doctors to rely on just the quality and reputation of their practice. Doctors must also create an image and brand to generate and sustain their client base. A good reputation is still the cornerstone to success. However, in order to grow the practice substantially to earn that reputation, a new doctor must think outside of the box. That reputation will come as a direct result of the doctor’s ability to market himself or herself in the community. Health and dental care are businesses just like any other sector, and doctors need to apply the same principles and strategies to be profitable as other businesses.
Here, we will present 4 marketing tactics that when adapted correctly, will enable you to accomplish these goals and help create new sources of revenue for your practice.
1. TARGET MARKETING
Target marketing is a direct and affordable way to attract new clients. Unlike mass marketing, where healthcare professionals spend a significant amount of money on marketing to a broad audience, target marketing allows healthcare professionals to shrink their marketing budget and reach clients that they are actually targeting. One of the most efficient channels for hyper target marketing is Facebook and Instagram Ads (available on the same advertising platform).
A doctor can narrow down the population by selecting a number of different criteria. He or she may be interested in introducing the practice to new residents and/or certain consumer profiles. These criteria might include gender, income level, age, type of treatment needed, etc. For example, if you have a practice that focuses on esthetic dentistry and you are located in a wealthy area, you may want to target a specific group, such as individuals between the ages of 35-65 with incomes of over $100,000 for certain procedures. In today’s competitive environment and tough economic times, it is important for doctors to spend their marketing dollars wisely. Target marketing will help you focus your efforts and spend your advertising budget more efficiently.
2. WEBSITE AND DIGITAL MARKETING TOOLS
A website is an essential key ingredient that provides information and transparency to a practice. The Internet is a permanent part of our lives and will only continue to grow and shape the way we live. More and more patients turn to the Internet to find their dental professional. Your website should create an image that is consistent with who you are and what your practice represents.
It should list all of the services you perform and information about these services, so that patients can learn about your practice with a simple click of a mouse. Things such as personal bio, office hours, procedures performed, insurance plans accepted, payment policies, and even the ability to make appointments online should all be easily accessible to everyone that uses your site. Flexible hours of operation are highly recommended.
The objective is to impress and educate your new potential patient so they can make an informed decision and call your office for an appointment. Having your website positioned and appearing in the hierarchy of the top five slots of a search engine, such as Google and Bing, is crucial to attracting new patients.
Hire a firm that specializes in search engine optimization (“SEO”) to get your practice to naturally appear on specific searches. For example, if a dentist from Paris wants to have the first website listing to appear when a potential patient searches “dentist in Paris,” a SEO company can help him or her achieve that goal. A user-friendly and interactive website will enable a patient to communicate their requests to your office, creating interaction via the web.
Creating a website and making sure it is relevant and accessible is probably the most important marketing tool at a doctor’s disposal.
3. E-MAIL MARKETING
Accumulating email addresses of your existing patients is a vital tool to a successful marketing campaign. It is not only an effective and cost-cutting method of staying in touch with your existing patients, but it can also be used to send reminders, promotional offers, and birthday wishes to them. Email marketing saves postage, printing costs, and enables communication instantly.
4. MARKETING TO YOUR EXISTING PATIENT BASE
Analyzing and marketing to your existing patient base is another excellent method for generating additional revenue. Use of what is called the “3 I” system will make this much easier: “Identify, Isolate, and Initiate” procedures that generate the greatest income and market them to your patients. Ideally, you should promote the procedures and offers that can be given to existing patients to enhance their appearance, overall health, and well-being. Sending information, recommendations, tips, and news on procedures will keep your name visible and, ultimately, generate more income for you, the doctor.