For a dental startup, marketing is probably the very last element you are considering. It is well known that dental startup marketing is essential for your practice. But you probably have no idea where to start. You didn’t go to school for marketing. You haven’t had time to learn and teach yourself the ins and outs of creating an effective marketing mix and strategy. When you are first establishing your dental practice, set aside some time to determine how you will market your practice.
Dental Startup Marketing
This dental startup marketing guide will provide tips and insight if you have no idea where to begin. It will allow you to avoid additional stress and anxiety you will already be feeling from a dental startup. There will not be the generic “cookie cutter” tips for your dental startup. Instead, you can find the groundwork for an effective, personal marketing strategy in this guide.
As with all aspects of business, your marketing efforts will take time and effort. You don’t expect to open a dental practice and just have a steady stream of new patient sign-ups. The effort you put into your marketing will have a direct correlation to the health of your practice.
Dental startups will try to save money where they think they can. Most times, that means money does not go towards your marketing plans. This is where dental startups severely mess up.
Having a healthy budget of $4,000 per month to spend on marketing efforts at first is key to advertise your practice. Use this capital for aspects such as a professional logo, building signage, online advertising on social media and Google, lead generation, mailers, billboards, commercials, etc. A dental startup needs to be diverse with its marketing strategy to find the best method of bringing in new patients. This may seem like too much to think about at first, but the earlier you establish how your practice will market itself, the better ROI you will see.
Most of your marketing efforts are going to cost, but there are a few strategies you can use to increase new patient sign ups at your practice. Having a well-rounded marketing mix will fuel your dental startup, and set you apart from any local competition. Continue reading through this (guide?) to find some strategies you can use for your dental startup.
Platforms and Lead Generation
To create a strong base for your marketing strategy, you need to focus on lead generation for your practice. Dental startups frequently use these digital marketing strategies:
- Online Directories
- Social Media
Online directories can help people in your community locate your practice. Information such as your name, your practice’s address and phone number, and patient reviews shows on these directories. The information in the directory needs to match with the information found on your practice’s website and social media accounts.
SEO, search engine optimization, is the basis of how your practice displays on Google search results. SEO takes time to see results organically but can pay off in the long run. This is a crucial part of your dental startup marketing plan.
Google Ads goes hand in hand with SEO. It is a tool that’s used to create advertisements and bid to show at the top of the Google search results. There’s a lot to learn about Google Ads and SEO best practices. So, it’s most efficient to hire an outside professional unless you want to commit to mastering Google Ads to avoid wasting your money.
Google My Business is the bare minimum that a startup dental practice needs to set up. This is how potential new patients will find out basic information about your practice at a glance. Ratings, business hours, location, phone number, website, etc. are all categories on Google My Business.
Is setting up Google Ads too time consuming? We can do it for you.
Gaining attention on social media for your practice can be a challenge at first. Social media sites, such as Facebook, offer advertising tools that can get a direct response from potential new patients. Posting promotions or special offers are a great tool for lead generation. New patients will also judge your social media profiles to understand the environment and attitude at your practice.
How to Use Social Media to your Advantage
Using social media as an advertising tool is extremely cost effective when done properly. But, social media still offers an organic, free method of lead generation. Social media is an excellent way to build a sense of online community within your local community.
Consistent posting on your practice’s social media profiles is an excellent way to create an engaged audience. Create a schedule to routinely post on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Or wherever your practice’s audience is.
Your practice should invest in a scheduling tool to take the guesswork out of social media posting. This allows your content to be posted at optimal times. Using an automated scheduling tool enables you to focus on other aspects of your practice.
It may seem unrealistic to post on all of these media platforms consistently, so simply focus on the platforms that you see the most benefit from. Additionally, you may cross-post content from one platform to another to ensure that all audiences see it. This also allows you to recycle content. That means that you do not need to create new content for each platform separately.
Social media is also useful for building relationships with other medical professionals and local businesses. You can establish referral relationships with these businesses to direct their customers your way and vice versa.
Your practice should brainstorm about the ideal patient you’d like to attract. From there, your marketing and social media strategy should work to reach them.
When sending mail campaigns, it is important to target the specific audience that you wish to convert into patients. The location around a dental startup usually has a high growth rate meaning that there will be new people moving to the area. Prioritize these people for your mail campaigns. Your new practice and the new community members can create a relationship early on. Send mailers welcoming them to the community and distinguishing your services as local and convenient.
You can purchase lists of new move-in community members. Often, these lists are sold by the post office or realtors. These lists will enable you to save money by only sending the mailers to new move-ins. This is money well-spent to establish an early relationship.
To have a memorable start to the relationship, use your first mailer as a hand-addressed welcome letter to the area. It is better to stand out and be creative at this initial interaction to make a unique first impression. Mailers are more frequently opened when they are hand-addressed in ink.
The uniqueness of a seemingly outdated marketing technique allows your practice to stand out and be memorable.
The other forms of non-digital placement complete a comprehensive advertising strategy. Billboards, radio, and television are still effective for marketing your practice. They are a bigger commitment than digital advertising because they typically have a higher price and a longer run-time. Consider these forms of advertising once you have a grasp on your digital marketing and mailers.
Billboards, radio, and television are not as effective for increasing patients. Instead, they increase awareness for your practice. Tracking ROI on these forms of advertising may be tricky. But, they can be invaluable to your marketing mix to keep your practice at the forefront of people’s minds.
Brand development is crucial for success. Without it, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on advertising. All of your digital and physical items should be cohesive. This includes patient service, your logo and stationary, building signage, and website.
You should utilize practice management software to feature automated marketing and appointment features. This will create ease for the patient. There are many facets to these programs, and it is necessary that you eventually learn how all parts of it can benefit your practice.
In addition to your automated features, be sure that your staffing enhances your practice’s goals. Having consistent hours and phone protocols takes any guesswork away from the patient. To review your staff’s performance, you can utilize HIPAA-compliant phone recording software. After reviewing, you should train your staff to make any adjustments.
Create a logo that separates you from other local dentists. Your logo needs to convey that you’re a dental practice while also distinguishing yourself as a memorable brand. Do not settle for a run of the mill logo. Find a talented professional to create one for you.
With your custom logo, begin using it whenever possible. Your practice’s stationery should display your logo. This includes invoices and receipts, envelopes, reminders for appointments, mailers, business cards, etc. Make sure current and future patients see your logo as much as you can.
Creating the most memorable first impression is critical. Many potential new patients are going to find your practice through your website. Make sure you are properly defining services, hours at available practices, and an ability to schedule visits to your practice. These are only the necessities for your website. You should continue to add more features. A highly optimized website will make the best first impression possible.
We can optimize your website for you.
Having your new practice in an area with high traffic is very important. Cars passing by need to see your building and signage. For signage, factors such as location and placement, size, type of lighting, and overall design are critical. We are told to not judge a book by it’s cover, but your practice needs the best looking ‘cover’ possible. Work with a professional to make sure all aspects of your practice are cohesive and eye-grabbing.
Referrals and Tracking
To be able to track your campaign efficiency, you must first clearly define your goals. Each campaign will have a different objective. For example, one week you can post a photo of your office staff on Instagram with the sole intention of digital exposure for your practice. The next week, you begin a promotion for teeth whitening and want to bring new patients into the practice.
To accomplish this goal, post this promotion to Facebook with links to either your phone number or website to make an appointment. You can run multiple campaigns, but each needs to have a designed goal.
The most simple form of marketing is word-of-mouth. Research has shown that most consumers will refer someone they know to your practice if they have had a positive experience. Incentivize your patients to refer friends or family by establishing a referral program. This program will show gratitude to your patients while you receive the benefit of their referral.
Internal patient referrals can be through social media and reviews online. New patients will often do a Google search to find information and reviews for doctors and practices they are not familiar with.
Referrals are also valued from other medical professionals. Getting to know the professionals in your local area allows you to build trust and eventually referrals. Patients feel more comfortable visiting new practices when they have heard good reviews from their doctors.
If you are using internal marketing efforts, you need to track ROI. ROI is tracking where patients have heard of your practice, which is critical because you gain patients by different means. For example, a new patient may have seen your Google Ad, saw your billboard display, and also have been referred by their coworker.
It can be difficult to determine which channel brought them into your practice. For new patient sign-ups, be sure to list your current advertising channels for the patient to select which methods brought them in.
You must also track your results to determine which marketing campaigns have been most successful. This gives you actual data to rely on when assessing your ad budget. Prioritize ad spend on the channels that work most efficiently for your practice. In addition to asking new patients where they have heard of your practice, you should utilize call tracking to compile accurate data.
It is necessary to spend time reflecting on your marketing campaigns. Ensure that they are the most efficient ways to spend your money and time.
Let our experts track and analyze your results.
Values of Your Practice
To let your practice stand out from the rest, create a marketing plan that displays the values of your practice. By establishing your values, you will connect with your patients on a more personal level. Integrate your values at the beginning of your marketing plan and incorporate it into every decision you make along the way. Planning this strategy helps you to craft your local reputation.
The impact of this type of branding increases patient interest and deeper relations within your community. Supporting a certain cause or engaging in a community-wide event will highlight your authenticity. Authenticity shows that you truly care for your cause and compels patient loyalty. Loyal patients prioritize common values over pricing and discounts. When a brand fakes its authenticity, consumers can detect it from a mile away.
This feigning of interest turns people away in distaste which hurts your reputation. So when determining which values you’d like to highlight in your practice, focus on what you are truly passionate about. When you attract patients that share your values, you begin to find your ideal patients.
Reflecting on your practice’s values in your marketing will differentiate you from your competitors. No matter the size of the competitor, new patients will choose you based on shared values.
Getting out in your community builds recognition, likeability, and a sense of familiarity. Without overselling your practice, get involved in community organizations. Or even engage in a simple conversation at a local event. Allow your community to get to know you and your practice without having to see an advertisement. This is a free form of marketing and only relies on you and your people skills.
As a new dental startup, a free marketing tool is simple community philanthropy. You can volunteer your time, skills, or resources to support your community and also spread the word about your practice. Solving problems in your local area is rewarding and fosters local team-building.
Marketing for dental practices is necessary to establish your place in your community. Digital marketing is an excellent way to drive new patient sign ups with targeted spending efforts. Non-digital marketing is still highly effective, even in a digital world. Mailers may seem outdated, but they offer a personal touch for your practice. All of your marketing efforts and ROI will be wasted if you are not adequately tracking your results. Also, do not neglect crafting your practice’s image to increase recognition in your community.
Creating a plan early on for community philanthropy will set you aside as a unique dental practice. When you stay engaged with your community, they will trust and respect you. They will be more likely to visit your practice and refer other community members. Use this dental startup marketing guide before you open your practice, and watch your community become your permanent patients.