December 30, 2008 by Erik Cunningham
The new year is upon us! And although dental marketing strategies are likely to evolve in 2009, 2010 and beyond, societal traditions of change and self-improvement at the beginning of each new year are timeless.
That’s why January, February and March are great months to attract new dental patients, with New Years resolutions to visit their local dentist, to your practice.
Orthodontists and Cosmetic dentists can benefit from prospective patients who want to improve their appearance in the new year. General dentists and dental specialists can attract patients with renewed motivation to take care of cavities or dental hygiene issues they’ve put off in years past.
The first few months of the new year are also host to several school holidays, which are perfect opportunities for Pediatric dentists to schedule new dental appointments for kids.
This year, take advantage of all of the dental marketing opportunities 2009 has to offer by marketing your practice online, through dental web design or in your local yellow pages.
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December 3, 2008 by Erik Cunningham
You don’t have to be a statistician or a marketing guru to identify the basic strengths and weaknesses of your existing dental marketing campaign.
All it takes to measure the success of your marketing efforts is a little effort, some basic record keeping and a bit of simple math.
The easiest way to track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts is simply to ask your dental patients how they found your practice. The best time to do this is during their initial visit or phone call, when it’s fresh in their minds.
If a patient finds your phone number on the internet, odds are that they still have the web page open on their computer and can give you the name of the website where they found your listing. If they saw an advertisement for your dental practice in the yellow pages phone book, ask them which yellow pages they used.
Coupons are also a great way to track the success of your dental marketing campaign. If you’re marketing your dental practice through direct mail, make sure you include a coupon on your postcard.
A coupon for a free checkup or teeth cleaning will encourage new dental patients to hang on to your postcard and give you an easy way to track the number of responses your direct mail campaign generates.
If you market your practice through your own dental website, make sure you have traffic monitoring software installed. Web traffic reporting software like Google Analytics can tell you where new patients visiting your website are coming from and let you know how many leads your site generates through email contact forms.
Your dental website may also generate phone leads. As I mentioned before, your receptionist can track these referrals by asking patients where they found you during their initial phone consultation.
Record the source of your new patient referrals in a spreadsheet or in a notebook. After collecting data for a few months, divide the total number of new dental patients you received from each marketing strategy by the amount you spent. Compare the cost per patient totals and see which strategies in your dental marketing campaign were the most cost effective.
Once you have your comparison figures, see if you can adjust your budget to increase the efficiency of your dental marketing campaign and maximize your return on investment.
November 22, 2008 by Erik Cunningham
Of all general and specialty dental practices, cosmetic dentists may be the hardest hit by downturns in the economy.
Many treatments and procedures offered by cosmetic dentists are elective and are not covered by insurance. And because these treatments don’t address issues involving pain or potentially worsening conditions, they’re tougher to sell to prospective patients who are tightening their financial belts.
But don’t let these things scare you. Although difficult, marketing your cosmetic dentistry practice in a tough economy is essential to the continuing success of your business. In order to succeed, you need to understand and adapt to changes in your market.
Tough economic conditions reduce the demand for many of the elective dental treatments and procedures that cosmetic dentists offer. Lower demand means greater competition. And greater competition requires greater effort and creativity to win out over competitors when marketing your cosmetic dental practice to your community.
Increasing your marketing efforts doesn’t necessarily mean increasing your budget. The type of effort that pays off in a slow economy is mental effort. Here are a few ideas for adapting your marketing strategy in a shrinking marketplace.
You may be able to save money and attract more dental patients to your practice by increasing the efficiency of your existing dental marketing campaign. One strategy for accomplishing this is to narrow the scope of your direct mail marketing or local advertising campaign to include only geographic areas with the highest income level households.
Another idea is to take advantage of the extra time you may have in your day to work on long term marketing strategies like researching dental web design companies, blogging, adding your dental practice to free online dental directories or participating in online dental discussion groups and message boards to promote your practice.
Don’t forget to take advantage of your existing assets. If your office traffic is slow, ask your receptionist to start calling past cosmetic dental patients to offer follow-up treatments or additional procedures at discounted rates.
When financial times are tough, marketing messages that speak to the hearts and minds of consumers can change drastically. It’s time to put on your thinking cap and come up with new promotions and ad ideas that appeal to a market of prospective patients with shallower pockets.
If you have the option of offering financing for your cosmetic dental procedures, now is the time to let potential dental patients know. If you offer treatments that are covered by insurance, make them more prominent in your advertising efforts for the next few months.
Cosmetic dentistry marketing in a tough economy is difficult, but far from impossible. If you put forth the effort to adapt to the changing marketplace you can make your cosmetic dentistry practice succeed where others fail.
October 1, 2008 by Erik Cunningham
We’ve heard a lot about the nation’s current economic crisis on the news lately. With all of this negative talk about the economy, some dentists are considering scaling back on their dental marketing efforts.
There are many ways to weather and even prosper during difficult economic times. When properly executed, streamlining your dental marketing campaign can be one of them.
The key to successfully marketing your dental practice in a troubled economy is to carefully assess the productivity of each area of your dental marketing campaign. Cut the low producers and increase your budget in the areas that yield the highest return on your marketing investment.
If you’ve hired a dental marketing company, they should be able to do this for you. If you market your dental practice yourself, start asking your new patients how they found you and keep track of which dental marketing methods are working best for your business.
You may also need to change the marketing message of your ads to reflect difficult economic conditions. Increase your focus on affordable financing options and co-pay opportunities or encourage your customers to take care of expensive dental procedures now, while their dental insurance status is stable.
It’s possible to succeed and even thrive during difficult economic times if you make wise and well informed decisions about changes to your dental marketing campaign. Streamline your campaigns, don’t make blanket cuts, monitor the results of your marketing programs and invest in stategies that work.
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