Don’t believe what you’ve heard — marketing is not a bad thing! It’s possible to employ dental marketing strategies without sounding like a salesperson.
While the reputation of dental marketing is improving, there are still plenty of dentists and office managers who resist using marketing techniques entirely.
They assume marketing involves a moral compromise — slicked back hair, a fake smile, and a sales agenda. Others see it as a necessary evil.
Unfortunately, marketing is a taboo phrase in many practices, unappreciated for what it really is — a way to help patients improve their dental health.
Marketing is all about knowing your patients, and connecting them with services they need or want. It doesn’t have to involve a sales pitch. In fact, it shouldn’t!
Misconceptions of Marketing a Dental Practice
Of the many misconceptions related to dental marketing strategies, there are two very common beliefs that keep most practices from succeeding.
One is that marketing is done externally. The other misconception is that the primary goal of marketing is to sell.
Some office managers approach marketing as a separate department, hired out by agencies and salespeople to do the work for them.
While getting professional help with marketing is always a good idea, the most effective work happens internally.
What does internal marketing look like?
It is a hygienist reminding patients to schedule their next appointment in order to maintain great oral health.
It is getting your team in the marketing mindset to elevate your level of service.
Internal marketing is all about inspiring patients and gaining their trust.
Good marketing training founded in authenticity improves patient care and boosts recall because it makes patients feel valued. Eighty-four percent of people trust recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues over other types of marketing — and that starts in your office.
Helping Instead of Selling
Long gone are the days of blindly following a bottom line. With the surge in ethical branding and increased corporate consciousness, the goal of marketing has shifted.
Marketers today would rather help than sell.
Clear communication, confidence, and a genuine desire to help is at the core of effective dental marketing strategies.
Your job is to make patients feel comfortable about their dental hygiene, not to constantly upsell.
With these misconceptions out of the way, it’s time to get down to specifics. These do’s and don’ts will help you and your staff promote you practice and advocate for your patients while avoiding the most common pitfalls of a bad sales pitch.
5 DOs and DON’Ts of Dental Marketing Strategies
DO Budget Time for the Initial Consultation
You get one chance to make a first impression, and since new patients are worth well over $4,000 to your practice, you better make it a good one.
Give patients your undivided attention. Even if it’s for only fifteen minutes, this helps you get to know them. Moreover, it instantly sets an expectation of personalized care from the start.
DON’T Focus on Yourself
Patients should always be at the center of your dental marketing strategies.
Giving them extra time in consultations is great, but not if you spend the whole time talking about yourself and all the endless benefits of your services.
Listen to your patients. Ask questions in order to avoid that whiff of salesperson that can be smelled a mile away.
DO Highlight the Problem a Treatment Solves
You will be hard-pressed to run into any patient not wanting a beautiful, healthy smile.
Whether you offer preventative, restorative, or cosmetic services, you are filling either a need or a want.
While discussing options, be sensitive to the difference between the two. It is your job to address both wants and needs while delivering the best care.
DON’T Make Patients Feel Pressured
Again, pay attention to what a patient values about their dental health. The key to your dental marketing strategies is knowing your audience.
Always offer but never push. This is a particularly important rule for cosmetic treatments where there is more room for buyer’s remorse.
Never make a patient feel uncomfortable, or like they need a certain elective treatment.
DO Designate an Employee to Discuss Finances
This will ideally be your office manager, administrative assistant, or receptionist.
The doctor’s job is to provide care, not upsell treatments.
Leave the dollars and cents to a third party. Doing so will keep the doctor’s relationship free of any associations with stressful financial costs.
DON’T Rely on Patients to Set Up a Payment Plan
Cost can be one of the biggest reasons people stay away from the dentist.
Create messaging to display subtly in your office and train employees about how to address the cost of services.
DO Educate Your Patients
Transparency is everything.
Tell patients how long a procedure will take, what it will feel like, and what the consequences of not getting the treatment are — especially when there are large payments or lengthy recovery involved.
Always take the time to give as much information as you can.
DON’T Let the Treatment Sell Itself
Most dentists believe that the value of a dental treatment is self-explanatory.
Remember that most patients don’t know the first thing about dental treatments, the consequences of not getting X-rays, the benefits of a whitening treatment, etc.
This ties in with education — just because you’re selling something doesn’t mean people are buying.
DO Encourage Patients to Follow You on Social Media
This is a subtle way to keep patients engaged after they leave your office.
It also gives you endless opportunities to strategically boost patient recall through social media reminders.
DON’T Let a Patient Leave without Scheduling Their Next Appointment
Most patients like to book it out of the dental office the second they get the all-clear, which makes rescheduling a challenge. Make it easy for them to schedule electronically in office and consider offering a special discount or offer for patients who schedule their next cleaning in office.
If you can’t lock in a date for the next appointment, at least discuss scheduling with every patient before they leave. This enables you to discuss the importance of follow-up treatments.
Remember: dental marketing strategies always come back to authenticity.
Create an environment where your work speaks for itself, while going the extra step to ensure patients feel confident and comfortable with the service they receive. In doing so, you will be well on your way to creating a sustainable marketing mindset!
Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.