Turn Your Luck Around: 15 Low or No-Cost Marketing Tips
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The immortal words of the Roman philosopher Seneca are as true today as they were a couple thousand years ago when he first spoke them. I suspect many of you are looking for something of a turn in your own luck, particularly when it comes to keeping the schedule full.
If we are to believe the economic forecasters, we are certainly in a better place today than 12 months ago. And if during this economic slowdown you’ve been preparing your practice for an increase in patients during the coming year, then I believe you will find that “luck” will soon be smiling upon you. The past year certainly was challenging, but it was also your opportunity to clean up practice systems and retool your staff into a highly functioning team. It was the time for training and for analyzing what can be improved and enhanced. It was the time to dig in and tackle those areas that have long needed attention, but were never given it when everyone was too busy to bother with system details and the practice seemed to be functioning perfectly fine on autopilot.
If your focus over the last several months has been on what is happening internally in your practice, now is the opportunity to begin looking externally, specifically at your external marketing. It’s time to get off the sidelines, dust off the marketing plan and get your name back out to the soon-to-be-buying public.
While I never advocate a total shutdown of external marketing, I recognize that this is precisely what some practices did during the economic downturn. However, the patient/consumer market is shifting and it is time to once again educate your community about what you do best: dentistry. Below are 15 tips to get your name out to those who can benefit from your services. Best of all, most of them won’t cost you a dime.
1. Join your local chamber of commerce and your local dental society. Both are excellent for networking, continuing education, and getting your name into the community.
2. Hand out your business card to everyone you meet, and give your employees business cards with their names on them to hand out as well. On the back consider offering a financial incentive for new patients.
3. Offer to write an article on the impact of oral health for your local newspaper.
4. Contact your local talk radio hosts and offer to come on their shows as a guest from time to time to discuss advances in dentistry.
5. Offer to speak to local organizations.
6. Make sure that everyone in your building or business complex knows you are a dentist and that new patients are always welcome.
7. Advertise in your church bulletin regularly.
8. Give parents of small children a laminated card that explains what emergency measures to take if a child suffers trauma to the mouth, along with an extra copy to give to a friend.
9. Send a congratulatory note to those recognized in the newspaper for special accomplishments or deeds, be they adults for a business announcement, students for an academic success, or athletes for an athletic achievement.
10. Volunteer to speak at your local high schools during career days, to the science classes, etc.
11. Continually educate new and existing patients on the services you have to offer.
12. Send congratulatory notes/cards to patients for major life events, graduations, weddings, birth of children, and condolences.
13. Send out news releases to small local papers about continuing education classes that you and your team have completed, services offered, new products available in the marketplace, the link between oral health and overall health, etc.
14. Identify your top 10-20 patients and send them a special thank you gift. Next time they are in for an appointment, ask them why they chose your practice.
15. Never let your patients leave your office without something in hand that educates/reminds them of you, your team, your practice, or your services.
Next week, the number one marketing tool for your practice.
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