As the owner of a dental practice, you may be involved with all facets of the business: staffing, scheduling, bookkeeping, accounting, IT support, and so much more. With all that on your plate, marketing may not be a top priority. In order to attract new patients and keep the schedule full, though, marketing is vital. If you are just starting to market your practice, here is a three-step guide on how to do just that.
Step 1: The first step in marketing your practice is to conduct a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis identifies the following for your practice:
- Strengths – Look at what makes your practice unique. What do you offer that your competitors don’t? List out everything your practice does better than the rest.
- Weaknesses – When identifying your practice’s weaknesses, be honest with yourself. What could you be doing better? What’s hindering your success? Think about it from a patient’s perspective (wait times, ease of scheduling, hours, etc.).
- Opportunities – Look at the areas where your practice could grow and expand. Perhaps you’re now in a position to hire an associate or expand into a second location. Think of how these areas can help your practice grow.
- Threats – When you look at threats, what can you anticipate or prepare for that may impact your practice? Is there a new practice opening next door? Is construction happening, making your office difficult to locate? Are you experiencing heavy turnover? Be sure to look at both internal and external threats.
From this analysis, you will be able to determine where to focus in order to yield the most success long term. You can look at what you’re already doing well in terms of attracting new patients and keep doing that, and you can also look for areas of development to see where you might need to invest more to grow.
Step 2: Once you have finished the SWOT analysis, you will want to build out an ideal patient profile. Having an ideal patient profile will help you identify the types of patients you want to replicate and uncover how they found you, where they look for healthcare resources, what would inspire them to make a referral, etc. Survey this list of ideal patients in your current practice to pinpoint the kinds of marketing they pay attention to so you can invest your marketing dollars there.
Step 3: After you have gone through the SWOT analysis and have created an ideal patient profile, now it’s time to construct your marketing plan. Based on the research conducted in steps one and two, your marketing plan should unveil itself – you’ve answered the questions such as “What’s worked well in the past?” and “How are patients currently finding you?” Identify the handful of tactics with which to proceed and then measure results for three to six months to properly assess if your plan has worked. Do the heavy lifting upfront and you’ll see your efforts pay off!
Still having a tough time building your marketing plan? Contact Big Buzz at 720-350-4484. We have built hundreds of marketing plans for practices nationwide and would love to help ignite your practice’s marketing and fill your appointment list!