Dental Marketing During Slow Times

Melinda SpitekHard Times Marketing: Maintain the Momentum!
Special Marketing Feature
By Melinda Spitek, CEO, Hycomb Marketing

It worries me to see how often dentists who slip into a production slump immediately decide that cost-cutting is in order. Then, the first thing to go is their marketing budget. Sure, it’s easy to justify a little self-promotion when things are going great. But the time you really need to market your practice is when things aren’t looking so rosy.

Times like right now. Today.

As a nation, we’re going through a phase of profound uncertainty. A few years back, with the stock market headed for the stars and the world situation pretty much under control, who’d have thought we’d be where we are today?

That’s the nature of cycles. And believe me, it’s always better to be prepared for downturns ahead of time than to deal with a crisis after it happens.

The key word here is momentum. Marketing your practice can’t be a good-times event. Through good times and bad, high points and low, the focus always has to be: market, market, market. The instant you stop marketing your practice, patients forget you exist. After that, reminding them effectively costs you double (or more) what it would have cost to keep them informed on a regular basis.

Think of maintaining momentum as a bicycle ride. Uphill on a 10-speed, if you keep pumping, you’ll reach the crest with no problem. But if you come to a dead halt, it’ll take all your energy just to get up to speed again, to say nothing of achieving your goal. Your patient base has a lot on their mind these days. And where does a need for, and appreciation of, your dental skills rank in the Mental Priority List? Not very high, I’m afraid, unless you keep your message in front of them.

That’s what practice marketing is all about. And why it’s so important that you begin now, and stick with it, before things begin to deteriorate.

Marketing can be as simple as asking for a referral after a procedure that has pleased one of your patients. Or sending out helpful reminders like a computer generated personal letter or a quarterly newsletter. A little can, and does, go a long way. But doing nothing, especially in times like these, can be poison to your practice.

Essentials of Practice Marketing:

  • Ask for a referral, in person, with every appointment
  • Reward patients who refer you a new patient
  • Quarterly practice communication—newsletter or letter to your patients
  • Professionally created “welcome packet”
  • Printed stationery and thank you cards
  • Consider newspaper, magazine, radio advertising
  • Direct-mail prospecting service.

Consult with a professional marketing specialist first — ask an expert.

Melinda Spitek is CEO of Hycomb Marketing Inc. Hycomb is an authority in marketing for dentists. Melinda has had plenty of hands-on experience as well, having worked 23 years in dental offices. For help with marketing, just call Hycomb at (800) 523-6961 or visit www.hycomb.com.

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