We often hear from dentists that they are apprehensive to work with a marketing agency because they have done so in the past and have had a poor experience, or as they say, been “burned.” They’ve either lost time, money or sleep from signing on with a less than stellar partner. The answer, while tempting, is not to stop all marketing. The answer is to start marketing smarter and with strategy.
Here are 5 ways to make it happen:
- Strategize. Strategy for top marketing professionals often comes in the form of target market research. However, this is often a forgotten step if a practice has different agencies doing different things. Perhaps you have one company handling SEO and another doing direct mail. If neither vendor has taken a deep dive into your target audience and you’re not seeing great results, it may be best to start here. Survey your best patients to better understand why they chose your practice, where they look in the marketplace for other healthcare providers and how best you can encourage them to make a referral. Having this data will allow you to put your marketing dollars in the most effective places with the most meaningful message.
- Start small. If that “burned” feeling won’t subside, consider starting small. Perhaps you aren’t ready to dive into a comprehensive 12-month marketing plan but see the value in posting monthly blogs to the website because the majority of your patients reported finding you online. In that case, contract with a reputable marketing agency for content marketing support. They will be able to write the content, post it to your website, distribute it to your database and share it on your social media.
- Do-it-yourself. If you want a better grasp on what’s actually happening with your marketing efforts, consider bringing it in-house. We don’t typically recommend that you, the dentist, handle marketing (because you have your hands full!), but rather you hire a marketing coordinator or train someone on the team who can handle this task. With the right training, your staff should be able to handle basic website updates, social media posts, blogging and internal marketing, among other marketing initiatives.
- Appoint a leader. Poor marketing performance may be caused by too many cooks in the kitchen and no real chef. When the marketing is distributed among multiple vendors, the dentist and other team members, it can feel cobbled together. To create a more cohesive system that works efficiently and produces results, consider having one person lead the charge. Ideas and approvals will flow through this person, giving the entire practice a clear process for implementing, deploying and measuring marketing tactics. You can always appoint an outside leader, too. Even if you’re not ready to fully dive in with a marketing agency, many have experts on staff who can help you to create a program that runs on time and on budget and keeps the entire team accountable.
- Face your fears. When things don’t go as planned, it’s natural to feel fearful. Don’t negate those feelings, process them. Feel the fear in your body (tight shoulders, stomach in knots), then work to move that fear out of the way. Practice yoga, play an instrument, meditate. Calm the mind, and then fill it with all the good things you love about your practice. What’s working well, who is a great team member, how has your work changed someone’s life? All those good vibes will radiate out to the universe and help give that extra push your marketing needs.
We often say that marketing is the oxygen to your practice. So don’t stop! If you’ve been “burned,” take a moment to heal your wounds and get back into the game with the tips outlined above.