When Marketing Plan A doesn’t work for your practice, that doesn’t mean marketing does not work. It simply means that the marketing strategy you selected is not working for your practice right now.
When that happens, it’s critical to move to Plan B. I see too many practices neglect marketing altogether after one or more different “failed” approaches.
First, know that there’s no such thing as “failure” in marketing. Even if the strategy you chose didn’t translate into the exact number of new patients you needed, it likely gained you added exposure and increased the practice’s brand equity. Further, every “mistake” in business is a learning opportunity. At least now you know what doesn’t work for your practice.
Next, consider your options for Plan B:
Option 1. Do-It-Yourself. If you want more control, and prefer that your team create the marketing, this is the right option for you.
This is not to say that you, the dentist, should do your own marketing. In fact, that is highly discouraged. Hire an office manager or front office team member who has interest in marketing, and get that person trained on how to execute marketing for the practice.
Here are just a few marketing efforts that can very easily be handled by your team, with the right training:
- Basic website development
- Inspiring the team to regularly ask for referrals
- Improving phone skills
- Social media strategies
- Search engine optimization
- Internal marketing strategies
Seek out an expert that can provide step-by-step instructions and one-on-one sessions to you get the right tools and education to be successful.
Option 2. A la Carte. Perhaps you’ve been burned in the past, cash flow is not as strong as you would like or you’re wary to invest a great deal of money in a new plan. Or maybe you would like to take baby steps with a new provider to formulating the right marketing mix for your practice. If this sounds like you, then a la a carte is the best option.
These marketing efforts can be usually deployed individually to work incrementally toward your goals:
- Custom website development
- Online advertising (Google AdWords, Yelp Advertising, Facebook Advertising, etc.)
- Direct mail
- TV/Radio advertising
Look for a provider that offers market research and a marketing plan so that you are investing only in those tactics that are right for your practice, not wasting more money on trial-and-error marketing. Any reputable firm will start with research and report to you where your marketing dollars are best invested in order to reach your goals. Keep in mind that a la carte marketing results are typically not as strong as with integrated marketing. Which brings us to the third option…
Option 3. Integrated Marketing. Maybe, after your not-so-good experience, you are ready to nail marketing once and for all. Perhaps you prefer to outsource the marketing to an agency and focus the team exclusively on patient care. If either of these is the case, integrated marketing is the right choice.
Integrated marketing encompasses all that you need for marketing, and is highly strategic. An integrated dental marketing agency will complete market research (surveying patients, differentiation from competitors, etc.), develop a strategic marketing plan based upon their findings and deploy that marketing plan.
There are essentially 35 different marketing tactics that a dental practice could deploy, yet only a handful of those are right for the practice at any given time. A reputable integrated marketing agency will detail for you exactly how to determine and document which dental marketing tactics are right for you right now, as shown by the market research. Investing in integrated marketing means you will get the biggest bang out of every single marketing buck.
No matter what happens, never stop marketing. Marketing is the oxygen to your practice. With it, you keep a steady flow of new and happy patients loyal to your practice.