7 Hot Tips to Market Your Family Dental Practice

General dental practices are an integral part of every neighborhood because they improve the dental health and well-being of families in that neighborhood. As a locally-owned and operated, community-focused business, dental practices should include the ‘Buy Local’message in their marketing to reap the benefits of marketing to patients within proximity of their practice. As a new family dentist, regardless of where you decide to open your practice, you are competing with dentists who have been practicing in that area or zip code for many years. Your patients will come from the families in the immediate proximity of your practice – all of the homes and businesses, and their personal recommendations. As an established family dentist who wants to grow your dental practice, revisiting some proven marketing strategies and trying some new ones, may provide the answer. So… how will you, the family dentist, tap into the heart of the community and build or grow your practice? Here are 7 hot tips to help you:

First… Meet the Neighbors

As a Local Business, you want to gain new local patients. Using a new technology called proximity marketing, the GO helps businesses market through mobile marketing channels and will push your message to your local patient base faster than other sources and at a fraction of the cost of other marketing channels (postcard direct mail campaigns are expensive and require 6-12 months of repetitive mailings to generate an impact). The GO can be as low as a few pennies per exposure and will be effective 24 x 7 x 365 at reaching out to your nearby patient base. You can even track the exposures generated by the GO in real-time with their GO SERVICES web-based platform. The exposures are your proof proximity marketing is working for you.

Create a Referral Rewards Program

Every patient is worth five (5) additional referrals to other family and friends. Consider how you will reward patients for their referrals. Create a business card that asks for referrals and provides a reward. Offer a reward with value commensurate with the referral – for example, offer coffee shop gift cards worth $5 for the first referral, but for the third referral, offer movie tickets. The tickets are worth more because the patient is providing a valuable ongoing service. For a nice touch that will leave a lasting impression… thank your patients for each referral with a handwritten thank you note.

Business Cards

While business cards are an additional expense, nothing is as valuable to your staff as their own card! Order business cards for every staff member including Front Desk and Dental Assistants, Dental Hygienists and Dental Associates. Staff will ALWAYS love passing out their own cards and ‘showing them off’ to their family and friends. This will encourage referrals, especially if you Offer a special incentive on the backs of the business cards to encourage the new patients to visit your office.

Members of the Family

Treat your patients and staff as members of the family – you will always get more loyalty and professionalism from your staff and patients by treating them with courtesy, dignity and respect.  All patients and all staff will continuously provide you with a stream of referrals when they feel respected and valued.  Include links to the American Dental Association‘s MouthHealthy.org website, too and use the approved graphics and suggestions to build rapport with your patients.

Play Ball!

Choose a local charity or local sports team to sponsor. Share your support in your social media campaigns, newsletters, photos in your office and even outings and events surrounding the involvement. Use social media to build a viral campaign with contests and fantastic prizes for other local businesses. As a local business yourself, keep in mind that buying local and supporting local business will come back to you tenfold.

Identify the influencers within the community

When you can identify who influences your local patient base, you can focus on the strategy to market directly to the influencer. Influencers who make positive recommendations about your practice become cheerleaders for your business and can help you to grow your patient base through referrals. Influencers may include top family restaurants or dessert spots for the local sports intramural teams. Perhaps a top influencer is a religious organization. Some top influencers in your neighborhood could include a teacher, a politician, a well-established family, a large business, or maybe even a local corporation.

Contests and Games

Create Games and Contests that use social media to generate fun and excitement and include photos that will engage your local community. Contests are a terrific way to engage your patients and create a dialog that keeps you at the forefront and top of mind. Prizes ignite excitement around your practice and create a reason for neighbors to ‘look for’ your practice.
Some great contests include:
– guess the number of beans in the jar
– scavenger hunt around town
– repost a funny photo of the staff or doctor
– spot the Tooth Fairy and take her picture, tag on social media (i.e., Facebook or Instagram)
Reaching your local market is easier with the community members ‘on your side’ providing you with referrals and support. Participating in the community as a whole will increase your stature and your ability to grow your practice with entire families coming to see you for their oral hygiene visits. Families will provide referrals to new people who move to your area, providing you with a steady stream of new patients. Adding new marketing technology like proximity marketing, that works for you around the clock to promote your practice, can also be a powerful and inexpensive way for you to attract new patients.

3 WAYS TO INEXPENSIVELY MARKET YOUR VETERINARY PRACTICE

Veterinary Hospitals need to Market without Breaking the Bank
Just like any other business, a veterinary practice faces challenges in effectively marketing their business without breaking the bank.  Here are three (3) ways to market your veterinary practice without feeling like you have to rob a bank in order to pay for it.

Marketing Tip #1:  Design a Compelling Veterinary Website

Personal Referrals lead to Visits to your Website

Remember that your website will most likely be the first thing people see when they are referred to you or if they are new to an area and looking for a new veterinarian. You will most likely be directing potential clients to it on social media or with direct advertising so create a great first impression for your practice. As we know, most people form impressions quickly and at times, superficially.  In just a short time with what they see and read on your site, they may decide to trust you with their pet or not.
Make sure that all navigation is clear and that your content points them towards a clear call to action. The objective is to direct people to schedule an appointment with you for their pet.

Pro Tip: Make sure to use authentic images of you, your practice, staff, etc. Hire a photographer to take pictures of you with your patients; candid is great!!

Digital audiences are very visual and in the world of selfie-obsessed viewers, an image that is real will receive a much more positive response than a generic stock image. Images should help make an impression and aid you in telling your story.  If you need some free professional photos, try Unsplash, where you can find photos like this:

Marketing Tip #2:  Make it Social

People Love Their Pets and Share About them on Social Media

People think of Facebook as the place to check in with friends and share pictures of your family, events, etc. Well, it still is. Social media offers some of the most robust marketing and advertising opportunities available, both as organic (free) and paid traffic drivers. Your potential clients are on social media.  Facebook is still supreme, but others like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest all offer opportunities to expose your brand and run direct response ads.
We all know how much people like to share things about their pets on social media. And 30% of pet owners follow celebrity pets!! We all know how quickly a picture can go viral. As a vet, you can tap into people’s innate interest in pets and spread your brand name with free posts.  Your clients will like your page and begin sharing your client’s posts about their pets – your brand name will spread fast.
Include some pet health tips, pet food recipes or safe toy ideas and research from the AVMA (Association of Veterinary Medical Association.) Include a link back to your website or blog. It’s very easy to target people who own pets, or better yet a specific type of pet, and display paid advertising only to them.  Between building an audience with fun, interesting, useful free content and running targeted ads, you have some great chances to win new business on social media.

Marketing Tip #3:  Leverage Proximity Marketing

Vets Market to Nearby Potential Clients

This is a relatively new way for businesses to market their services and products. Using proximity marketing solutions, a veterinary practice can market directly to customers mobile phones when potential customers come within proximity of their practice.
Here’s how it works… You have a tiny wireless piece of hardware that can fit in the palm of your hand called a GO that you either carry with you or stick it to your front window. Using a web-based platform called GO SERVICES, you decide the promotional message and link you want to program with your GO. The GO broadcasts your message and link and can be viewed as a notification by nearby smartphones & devices.

Use GO Services in Your Storefront to Draw in Customers

There is even an add-on to GO SERVICES called GO PLUS that you can use to share an ad that includes
–  an image
–  details about your practice
–  a discount or a special for a new customer
–  your phone number
–  website or video link

This ad can be saved to people’s mobile phones and shared to other mobile phones or to Facebook.

How cool is that!

You would think this technology would be expensive, but you can have it for less than a few dollars a day!

This three-step process of driving customers to your practice with the help of proximity marketing, that directs them to your social media pages and then website, will promote your practice inexpensively and effectively.