Dental Marketing: For Better or For Worse

Conquer the Uphill Battle – Then Keep on Pumping

Melinda SpitekSpecial Marketing Feature
By Melinda Spitek, CEO, Hycomb Marketing

If you’re an avid bicyclist (or even if you’re not), you can probably appreciate the concept: along the route there will be hills, there will be valleys, and there will be long pleasant flat stretches.

The really successful cyclists (the Tour de France types) maintain that, to be a leader, you need to keep pedaling at the same rhythm no matter what the situation. Switch gears as needed to adapt – but never come to a stop!

There’s a lot of carryover in that concept to maintaining a healthy dental practice.

Sure, life and production has its peaks and valleys. Right now we are reading that we (might be in/are already in/may be emerging from) a business downturn. Perhaps you are experiencing this firsthand in your own practice.

So often when things get tight, the first thing to go is the marketing budget. It’s easy to justify a little self-promotion when things are going great (think, a long flat stretch of pavement on a pleasant sunny day). But the time you really need to market your practice is when things aren’t looking so rosy – when it feels like an uphill battle. Times like right now.

As a nation, we’re going through a phase of profound uncertainty. The never-ending war, mortgage defaults, who will become our next President and what those policies might bring. Just 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 an uphill battle ahead of time than to deal with a crisis after it happens.

The key word here is momentum. Marketing your practice can’t be just 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, especially in a slow economy, patients want to 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.

That’s what practice marketing is all about. And why it’s so important that if you’re not already, you begin now, and stick with it – before things begin to deteriorate. Before that bike comes to a dead stop and you have to start from scratch all over again.

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 between appointments like a personal letter or a quarterly newsletter. A little can, and does, go a long way.

Essentials of Practice Marketing:

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

Call Hycomb today for a personal marketing consultation. We’re on your team. Not on your payroll.

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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