Instagram… Facebook…. Twitter…. Pinterest…. Everyone reading this is probably familiar with one of these social media platform names.
Why are you familiar with it? Who told you about it? Do any of your friends NOT know about these social media platforms?
Social media has become one of the best ways and honestly the most budget friendly way to interact, communicate, brand yourself, and market your dental practice/ business.
However, I still come across dentist who either understand this and then neglect it or just ignore it in total. Social media creates opportunities! Ignoring social media marketing is like ignoring the phone when it rings in your dental practice! Someone out there is looking for you on social media; you just need to be found!
Now, I know many of you understand that social media is something to take into consideration when you are advertising and marketing your dental practice. However, what I want you to understand is that the majority of you (business owners) are marketing on social media all wrong.
IS THIS YOU?
So you decided to be on Facebook and created a business page or a business profile. Once you did this you got really excited and posted something like “New Patient Special blah blah blah” on your feed and hoped people would come to it.
However, you noticed you didn’t get much traffic, if any, on your post. So you tell yourself “don’t worry I just need to be consistent and then eventually people will start to notice my post and people will want to come and visit my dental practice because of what I am saying on Facebook, it just takes time”.
So you continue to post your “New Patient Special” and dental related things but you start noticing nothing is really coming out of it. Now your consistency starts to die. You feel like Facebook is probably not the best platform to advertise your practice so you do the EXACT same approach on Instagram or on another social media platform.
Why would you use a failing technique on another platform? You just witnessed, first-hand, how NOT to market and advertise your practice. You literally saw NO new patients come in this way so why would it work anywhere else?! (For even a more clearer insight on what exactly you should avoid on Facebook read this article now!)
Now, let’s break down what you did wrong into 5 steps
- You didn’t do your research on which social media platform your target market is mostly on. You’re trying to attract patients who need dentures, why are you marketing that on Snapchat? What’s the ideal patient you are trying to attract and which social media platform are they mostly on?
- Your content is barley content. Did you just post something up to post it? Was there any research done behind the post you posted for your audience to be intrigued and moved by?
- Do you even have an audience? Even if your posts are one of a kind, just because it’s amazing does not mean it is easy to find. Who is looking at your stuff? Is your audience the type of patients you want in your practice anyways?
- The times that you schedule your posts. Are you posting during the times your target market is offline or not on social media? Are you posting around the times where everyone will less likely engage in your post?
- How consistent are you with your posts? Consistency is great but are you being annoying? Are you just posting to post without any true value?
Ask yourselves these 5 questions and think about it in depth and you’ll realize this takes much more work than just posting up your “New Patient Special”. However, if this is done right, the reward is MUCH greater.
I have seen dentist who only market and advertise through social media (which by the way boosts up your website ranking on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!) and have received an influx of new patients every month! This is their only medium of marketing and it produces fantastic results!
Now obviously doing social media marketing on your own is a lot, and I mean A LOT, of work. I only stated 5 key points you need to be looking after. There are many more with much more depth!
However, just because it is a lot of work does not mean you should neglect it! Hire someone to take control of this if you have too, but just get the ball rolling on your social media marketing ASAP!
If you are thinking of hiring a social media marketing company, do your research before just hiring any company. One I can recommend to you is www.ddsconnections.com. They solely work with dentist and their track record proves their success. Check them out if you’re thinking to outsource your social media marketing (which if you are a dentist, you’re WAY too busy and should really be outsourcing your social media marketing).
Be sure to mention “the dental marketer”, where the red arrow is pointing, so you can receive a FREE 2 week trial on behalf of me!
Hopefully this has helped you guys and gals understand and take a deeper look at why it is CRUCIAL to have a working social media plan that produces results. So go get started!
One major complaint that has popped up a lot last week (after Episode 003 of my podcast #TDMTALKS) was that their Chamber of Commerce SUCKS!
You either feel that the chamber of commerce is like “squad” or maybe they look like they are just playing “high school” all over again!
Well, I couldn’t agree with you more! It is exactly that.
Going to the early morning breakfast meets, networking events, ribbon cuttings, and grand openings may seem like fun and sure yeah you’ll introduce yourself and your business and hand out your cards to everyone but, then what?
Did everyone you handed out your business cards to, go to your practice? Did they even call your practice? Are you even the only dentist in your chamber?
You’re probably telling yourself, “NOPE”!
So now what? Do we still keep going to these networking lunches, breakfast meetings, ribbon cuttings, and events and keep hoping someone we give our cards to comes in?
What we need to do is introduce ourselves, persuade, and execute.
Let me break it down for you.
Next time you go to an event or networking type of deal, do NOT go in with the intention of selling or mentioning your business and “deals” to everyone; they don’t care, sorry. They all have the same hope as you did “Here’s my card, whenever you need this *job* done then come to me and only me and give me your business”.
Throw this way of thinking out the window NOW.
Go in with the intention of listening and just laughing it up and taking everyone else’s business cards and showing genuine interest, even if it’s like the newest accounting firm or dog grooming business that just joined the neighborhood, who cares, just go in with the intention that you will help them out somehow or that you just genuinely care about what they have to say and grab their business card!
Make it a game and see how many business cards you can obtain!
Make sure you grab their cards and know them on a first name bases. Save the cards.
Make sure you create some sort of rapport or at least some type of friendly memorable face time with the manager, owner, or whoever gave you their business card in the networking events at the chamber.
Next day call them, however before you call them, BRAINSTORM.
Brainstorm about how you and your business can collaborate. Maybe the business you’re calling is some sort of retail, insurance, or any type of store where they have customers/ clients. Maybe you can convince the owner/ business to have a customer appreciation day and you can give their clients/ customers free or discounted services for being a client of theirs.
This shows the business that you are calling that they appreciate their customers and it also shows that your business is exclusive to them and you play a role with the local community and residents.
Spy on the Chamber of Commerce Directory
Next what we can do is go into your local Chamber of Commerce website and look for any grand openings or ribbon cuttings. Typically there should be a couple each month. Once you find them look for the business and the person that is hosting these events/ ribbon cutting and call them!
Let them know that you want this grand opening/ ribbon cutting to be fun and exciting and you would like to help out and give “free toothbrushes” (or whatever you want to give for free) and have everyone who comes receive free whitening certificates (or whatever you want to give for free).
9 times out of 10 the business you call will be excited about this and happy you reached out. Make sure you ask if you can set up a small booth or table to the side and have all these free products for them laid out on the table, also make sure everyone who receives a free teeth whitening certificate exchanges their name and some sort of contact information.
Use the name “Chamber of Commerce” to your advantage literally!
If you feel like “Michael, my chamber never has grand openings or ribbon cuttings” or “My chamber never wants to collaborate with my business when we network”; well, then let’s just use “being a part of the chamber” as our foot in the door.
This is what I mean. Say you go into a doctor’s office that is part of the chamber.
Just walk in and say:
“Hey guys, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and *your dentistry’s name* we would like to give you all some free dental exams for the employees and the employee’s family! In our dentistry its ‘Doctor month’ so we want to show our appreciation to best Doctor and doctor’s staff in our neighborhood! We would also like some of your business cards to put into our office as well to give to our patients!”
*smirk* Works like a charm every single time!
This could also work through the phone.
You see what I did here?
I used the name “Chamber of Commerce” as a way to get my foot in the door, then I let them know we appreciated them by celebrating a month that you made up in your practice, and then I offered them a chance to promote their doctors office by bringing or giving us their business cards to have in our dental office.
Now you have access to the staff and can think of creative ways to market/ cross promote!
Or you can just go and visit them, tell them the script above, and have people sign up for a free *whatever service you want to do for free* on the spot and BAM be done with it and onto the next business in the Chamber of Commerce Directory.
Try one of these above.
No, really, TRY ONE and let me know how it goes!
Honestly, I have a million and one tricks up my sleeve on how to use the chamber of commerce to your best advantage but I do not want to overwhelm anyone so let’s start off with these three methods and see how it goes!
Everyone, wants to have a booming business with new patients flowing in, but if i’m constantly bringing you in new patients and you can’t seem to retain them or multiply new patients from existing patients then what sense does that make?
You have no excuse to have an empty schedule or a tough time filling up your schedule, unless your making marketing mistakes. And to be honest, 8 out of 10 dentist I see are always making marketing mistakes. Which is understandable! Your job isn’t to market and sale, your job is to change peoples lives and create a better lifestyle worth smiling about (don’t take that slogan lol just kidding you can take it).
Let’s start with the three main internal marketing mistakes I ALWAYS happen to see and let’s identify it and fix them to make sure your dental office marketing is effective to these patients and attracting them constantly.
In anything you do with your practice, as far as portraying your message or vision for your dentistry, BE TRANSPARENT and let your whole staff know your vision for your practice and get them excited about it!
If I walk into your practice for the first time and ask the lady at the front desk what her job title is and she says “I’m the receptionist” or “I am the main Support Representative for the company”, who do you think will talk more about their job and place of work when they’re not at work? They both have the same duties but one title seems to have much more value! It even makes me want to ask, “Oh, what’s that mean”? This leaves an impression not only on the patient who walks in for the first time but especially the employee. If the employee feels important they will expose importance in the work place, they will expose importance to the new potential patient walking in for the first time. However do NOT intimidate the new patients. Make sure you are ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS kind and helpful. You feel important when the CEO or main manager handles a specific problem for you, right? Therefore the “Support Representative of the company” should portray the exact same feeling to the potential patient; actually everyone in your dental office should.
Attracting patients begins with your staff first. They will be attracting more patients then your marketer believe it or not. Have them think of it this way: Imagine if your dentistry is located on Wall Street, would your staff talk, dress, answer the phones, handle treatment the way they are doing it now? Your staff has to be elite, always professional, building rapport with absolutely everyone they come in contact with in the office, and handle treatment coordination aggressively!
Once your staff begins this process then you need to look at your practice.
No, I mean really look at it.
Do you think someone is going to drop $40,000.00 down for a full mouth reconstruction on a place with 20 year old wall paper, three chairs in the waiting room, two year old magazines, and table somewhere in there? It may happen a couple times just because you’re a great dentist but wouldn’t you rather have someone drop that type of money down constantly in a month from different satisfied patients?
Of course you would!
I’m not saying do a full office make-over of your dental practice but start somewhere and make sure absolutely everything you buy to upgrade your office is set for marketing purposes (paint, commodities, furniture, etc.) we will discuss how to build your practice to market in another blog post.
Another thing is pricing your treatment.
Discounting your beautiful work only discounts your value. Understand that just because 20 patients are going to “Family Dentist” down the street because they’re prices are lower does not mean you have to make your prices lower! This just means there is a whole different market out there that you need to attract and bring in.
Why is LA Fitness opening up more chains and 24 Hour Fitness is slowly declining? Lets look at the facts:
- LA Fitness is NOT open for 24 hours a day seven days a week.
- LA Fitness closes even earlier on the weekends and Fridays.
- LA Fitness is more expensive than 24 Hour Fitness.
- LA Fitness is smaller than the SUPER SPORT 24 Hour Fitness.
Yet, LA Fitness just bought all the 24 Hour Fitness gyms in Arizona! Why is that?
LA Fitness saw a different market out there and attacked. And don’t you dare tell me “but Michael they are in different locations, I have 2 dentist right down the street from me”!
Do you think LA Fitness thought about every other gym and their market? I live 5 minutes away from 24 Hour Fitness and 3 minutes away from LA Fitness and in that 3-5 minute time frame you pass 3 cross fit gyms, four personal 24 hour small gyms, and 2 group boot camp gyms. Do you think they said “there is no way we can win when our location is so saturated”?
NOPE. They provided something that has always been there but has yet to be implemented. A cleaner and more organized environment…. and raised their prices for it too.
Don’t discount your work just because everyone in the neighborhood is doing it. Understand that your market of people or new patients that you want is out there, all you need to do now is just learn on how to bring them in.
So these are just the first few steps to market and attract new patients.
Let’s work together (c’mon at least work on 1 of these)
So to summarize what we need to work on this week is:
Staff. Treat your staff as if they are the absolute best in any dental business and they will feel like it. This means from job titles, research or ask me what awesome new job titles you can give your front office staff and make it seem like it’s a promotion for their great work or try even taking them out to lunch each time they close an Invisalign case!
Your dentistry. Make sure you get feedback from friends who aren’t dentist, staff, and patients that you may have now on how to continue to elevate the image of your practice. Do not expect to do this all at once. Bringing up your image as a dentist takes time and bringing up your image as a dentistry takes money. So maybe get a small TV and put it in 1 operatory each month or have a mini aquarium for the patients in the waiting room and have them name their “pet fish”.
Last is don’t immediately de-value your work. Ask yourself does my work really need to be discounted? Have you ever finished working on a patient and thought to yourself “man that was a lot of work, I should’ve charged more”. Be honest with yourself. I understand we all want to be nice but nice does not pay your staff and the bills. Your practice has to portray that whoever enters needs to understand you’re getting the latest and the greatest work done here and you know that every penny the patient pays you is more than worth it.
So lets do this! Let’s start this week trying to implement these strategies and please give me feedback and let me know how this is going!
Are your current patients talking about you?
Believe it or not but many times you don’t even need much; only a good patient referral system. This with great quality work and great customer service and BAM! You have yourself a pipeline that will produce good quality patients.
So how can we start getting your current patients to refer more of their friends, family, and co-workers?
Let’s start by assessing the type of patients you currently have. Take a look at who they are and their background. Look at the patients coming in for this week and note down from memory who is friendly and if they have the type of insurance you would like to see more of or if they are the type of patient you would like your dentistry to have more of.
Once you’ve done that make these patients the main priority from who you will get referrals from.
When your patient comes in for their appointment ,seat them early in the operatory chair, maybe like 5 minutes early, early enough for them to pull out their phone and start using it. Then have the dental assistants or whoever will be prepping the room and putting the bib on the patient say
DA: “Hey have you ‘checked-in’ on Facebook or Yelp”?
Wait for their response.
A lot of times these patients say
Your Patient: “oh no I didn’t know you had a Facebook or Yelp” (Although you send out newsletters about joining your social media all the time, they’ll still probably say this).
Ask them to “check – in” then and there.
This allows the patient’s friends, families, and co-workers who are following their social media accounts to see that the patient is at the dentist and may remind them that they need to go to the dentist or need some work done. Believe it or not many dental practices receive a lot of new patients this way so make sure this is happening!
Make sure you have “Social Media Icons” around the operatories and waiting room as well so when the patient is sitting down they are also reminded to follow you on other Social Media platforms such as your Instagram or Twitter. (If by now you haven’t guessed it, social media platforms are great ways to generate interest in new patients; just create tactical & strategic campaigns and use the platforms that work best for your audience! *more on that in a later post*)
What Can You Do After The Patients Procedure?
Once the patient is done with their procedure, ask them:
“How did everything go”? *As your handing them a toothbrush*
Wait for them to reply.
If they say: “Everything went great” then ask them if you can take a picture WITH them to put on your company’s or dentistry’s Facebook under “Our Amazing Customers” or “Our Family Is Growing” (I’m sure you can think of a album heading that has emotion in it, if not contact me and I’ll help).
Make sure you feed their ego. 9 times out of 10 they’ll say yes but be sure the doctor or someone from your staff or your whole staff is in the picture, not just the patient alone. People like seeing the dentist that their friends go to, it makes the patient’s friends more inclined right then and there to make a call to action.
Having the patient’s picture on your Social Media platform encourages the patient to tag themselves in the picture, this lets the patients friends, family, co-workers, and whoever is following your patients account, know that you exist! They are aware of a great dentist that they’re friend (an influencer) has and will think of you when they are in dental pain, have dental needs, stop seeing their current bad dentist and more!
Patient Survey Them Without Them Knowing It.
Now that the patient is walking away from the procedure and back to the front office, have them go to the front or wherever the patient has to go to set up their next appointment (whether it is a 6 month appointment check-up or whatever have them set up something then and there).
When the patient is in the front office, hand the patient a “Patient Survey”. It could be the size of half a paper with 2 questions on it and the questions can say:
- From 1-10 how would you rate the doctors service?
- Have you liked us on Facebook?
Then under the two questions have something like this:
“REFER SOMEONE YOU KNOW PLEASE:
Have about three “Name & Number” slots so that they can refer people. If you see that they put down referrals then give them a gift card from a coffee place with a small amount like $5.00.
If you see that they did NOT put anyone down on the referrals ask them politely: Is there anyone you know who would maybe need a dentist? If they still say “NO” then tell them:
Front Office: “You have good insurance, where is it you work again”?
Telling them the above will do two things.
- It fills their ego which helps them to feel more important as a patient.
- Now you have a way into their work place! Knowing where they are currently working can give you a means to do research on their company and see if they have any HR events, Company Health Fairs, their jobs may allow or invite local businesses to lunch and learns and speak to employees, etc.
So the point is to never EVER have any current patient leave your dentistry without giving you important information or interacting with your business by referrals or unknowingly referring their friends, families, and co-workers.
Notice how this can all be done within one visit! This should be done with the majority of your patients and constantly! It WILL improve your new patient flow DRASTICALLY!
Please plan this out and if you implement it right, then I guarantee you will love the results and see a huge increase in your new patients/ referrals.
Starting up a brand new dental practice is no easy task, let alone a very expensive one. We are talking about at least 3 operatory rooms, new dental equipment, having an awesome front and back staff, and any remodeling/ upgrades to the office (your logo, painting, etc.).
This obviously puts a huge dent into your budget and now you’re left with a much smaller budget to market your practice, which ultimately should have been your first budget to have been set because your marketing is what will bring you your new patients, which means consistent and higher profits.
However, assuming you do not have a large budget to market with, I don’t want you to be too concerned or feel like all you have left to do is send out post cards to your local neighborhoods and pray that someone will come; there are much more ways to market your practice successfully on a budget.
Aside from doing the obvious which is inviting family, friends and colleagues to check out your new practice (which I am assuming you have done already; even if they have already told you they have a dentist, still ask them to check you out). Let’s see what else we can do!
Participating In your Local Community Events
Each community has a Chamber of Commerce or something of that sort where the city’s political and local community matters occurs.
So go online and get onto your search engine. Let’s say you live in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Type into Google “Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce Events” and then see results.
Click on the first couple of results that aren’t ads and look at the calendars of their upcoming events. Here you will see either many meetings, networking events, grand openings, and more happening, this is all planned out monthly by the Chamber of Commerce.
Take note of the events occurring and see which ones best fit your schedule and you could participate in. Each event in the calendar has a person to contact, so contact that person and let them know that you would like to set something up to help out or participate in the event. Most of the time this will cost you absolutely nothing!
So, so far we have spent, really, $0.00
Marketing Online With A Budget
I’m going to assume that you know we live in an age of where everything is ran online and internet is king! So this means I am also assuming you have already spent money on creating a website!
Now that you have your website we want people to look into it and do the obvious, pick up the phone to call your dental practice.
However, with millions and millions of dental practice websites all saying the same thing you are saying, how can we start attracting new patients or creating awareness of your brand new practice?
Remember how we used Google before to look at your local community events. Well now what I want you to do is use Google again but this time let’s look up “local community bloggers” or “local dental bloggers”. (You can also type *your city’s name* bloggers or *your city’s name* dental bloggers).
Then do the exact same as before click on the links that seem to be the most relevant to you and your business. Of course local bloggers may not be really relevant to dentistry but look at the bigger picture here. These local bloggers may have a bigger influence on your community than you think! Offer them a free tour of your practice, free dental check-up, free bleaching if they write about their positive experience. Make sure when these “community influencers” come in that your customer service is ON POINT! Believe it or not but this response brings in crowds of people which is pretty much exactly what you want!
Also, what you can start doing is set aside an hour every other day or so to write small articles about dentistry, your dental experiences, your business experiences, and more.
This helps out a lot when you are searching for “local dentist bloggers”. Search for them and click on a couple links. Take note of the websites that seem to attract the type of audience you want to have for your website.
Then look for an About Us page or Contact Us page on the “local dentist bloggers” website and contact them. Be very transparent and let them know that you like their latest post or a specific article that you saw on their website about cosmetic dentistry.
Now, see if you can contribute a specific article that you wrote to their website and appear as a “guest writer” or “guest post”.
Most times, the “local dentist bloggers” will let you appear as a “guest writer”. Putting your name and article out there on other websites gives your website more credibility and helps build an audience as well. This audience may create referrals for you, spread your article around so more new potential patients can see it, or the audience may say “hey I need a dentist that can do that, where do I call?!”
So, assuming you already have a website, we have spent a total of: $0.00.
Talk To Everyone About You and Your Practice
No, I don’t mean this:
Me: Hey, what’s up!
You: Hi, I’m Bill DDS. Here’s my card. Check out my brand new dental practice. I am now accepting new patients.
Me: Cool story bro. *puts chewing gum in card and throws it away*
I mean be friendly and nice with everyone. Treat everyone as if they are your new potential patients because guess what; everyone who smiles and has teeth are your new potential patients!
Let your cashier at Target know that the bag of chips you are buying is a flavor you have never tried or the pack of gum you are buying is a flavor you love and then see her response. Ask her if she thinks that’s the best flavor.
The point is to spark up some small talk!
Then when she tells you the total of your groceries or purchase start paying and say “hey if you want this week we are doing free teeth whitening for you and your family right down the street if you’re interested? It’s exclusive to only the Target employees”. See what the cashier says and proceed from there. The worst that can happen is that the cashier will say “no”.
The best that can happen is that they will say “yes” or ask for your card. Regardless, you have built awareness to them that you EXIST! Your dentistry is right down the road and now they know. Who knows maybe during that week they may tell their co-worker or their family!
This has worked like a charm for me almost 10 times out of 10!
So in total, our marketing expenses have really come out to $0.00
So remember to always talk about your practice when the opportunity presents itself, if the opportunity is not their then create it. You need to participate in your local community events and reach out to your local online influencers and bloggers. Remember, if you are on a tight budget and need help, re-read this article! Most importantly remember marketing your practice should be a blast! Have fun with it!