Welcome back for part 2 of our look at whether you might be killing your own marketing efforts. We’re looking at three questions you have to answer before you can begin to draw new patients.
Last time I told you that there are three questions any dentists should ask before they begin a marketing plan to make sure they are not sabotaging their own efforts:
What do I want out of my practice?
Why should someone choose me over any other dentist AND over doing nothing at all?
What do you know and what do you want to know?
Let’s Look at These Three In More Depth
The first, knowing what you want out of your practice, is a key business question – THE fundamental question that should drive all of your business decisions, marketing included. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?
Do you want a practice where you work two or three days a week with a small staff and make $2 million-$3 million per year? You’d better be able to sell elective dentistry to the affluent.
Perhaps you would be better as a specialist who relies on a referrals. Your marketing had better not step on the toes of the dentists who are referring patients to you.
Maybe you’re a volume practice looking for more patients at lower margins.
Where a dentist falls on this spectrum will dictate how they run their marketing.
This requires the dentist to take a hard look at himself and ask things like:
How important is my family’s standard of living?
How much do I want to put away for retirement?
How important is time off?
How big do I want my practice?
You Must Differentiate Yourself From Other Dentists
Once a dentists decides those questions, he can begin to market himself based on why potential patients should choose him over other dentists AND doing nothing at all.
You must market yourself based on patients’ needs.
If your differentiation is expertise in advanced procedures, market that.
If your differentiation is flexible hours, market that.
Every dentist is a “gentle” dentist. Every dentist is a cosmetic dentist. You cannot market what you do unless it is different from what others are doing.
Again, this requires doctors to do some self-analysis as well as analyze their marketplace. What are other dentists doing, and are you doing “me-too” marketing? If so, you’re killing your marketing before it even starts.
You also have to market against a patient doing nothing. There you can highlight their problem and offer them a solution. The fear of loss is more motivating than perceived gain.
How Involved Do You Want to be In Marketing?
That leads to the third and final question: What do you know and what do you want to know? The what do you know part is very interesting to see firsthand:
Most of you likely got into dentistry because you wanted to help people and saw dentistry as a way to do that. Marketing is what you do to keep the business going and to reach the most people in need.
Maybe you realize that you have a working knowledge of marketing concepts but little idea of how to implement them. Or maybe you have tried to learn as much as you can about marketing and just can’t understand why everything you’ve learned and put into place isn’t translating into more patients.
The second part is “What do you want to know?” Why did I put that in there? Because it is possible to spend as much time and money going to marketing conferences and workshops as continuing education and dental workshops.
Is that really why you got into dentistry, to put most of your free time and energy into marketing your practice? It is for some; there are several very high-profile dentists who are fantastic marketers.
For most, though, they can pay someone else to market the business. That’s when they call someone like us.