Dental Marketing Meets the Holiday Season

Scrooge Misses Out on Valuable Marketing Opportunities

Merry Christmas, folks! This week I thought I’d review how some dentists take advantage of the dental practice marketing opportunities presented by the holiday season.

Holiday Shopping… At the Dentist’s Office?!?

Just because you’re not a retail store doesn’t mean you can’t cash in on Christmas spending! One Ohio dentist is doing just that. Dr. Mindy Munowitz is selling what she calls “Holiday Sparkle Packages” that patients can purchase as gifts for friends and family. (Read more)

Zoom tooth whitening treatment is a part of each “pamper-me” package, but that’s not all. Recipients also get gift certificates for massages and facials. It’s a great way to make a profit off of today’s spa dentistry trends!

Secret Holiday Marketing Weapon: Christmas Lights!

Holiday lights are a great way to draw attention to your building! The photo you see here is of Lake Texoma Dental Care in Denison, Texas. Each year, Dr. Stephen McAnaney makes sure his practice gets noticed by the community. He hires a professional lighting company to decorate the office building with a sophisticated display that not only looks great but also generates new patients. Together, the decorated office and the sign really make a strong impact that says this dental practice is truly bringing the holiday spirit to the community. It also drives home the point that this dental office is warm, sophisticated and probably a great place to receive your dental care. (Read more)

Let’s look at the return on this investment – remember, ROI is a great way to make business decisions! Your first year is an investment; the initial cost of lights will likely range from about $750 to $2,000, depending on the size of your building and types of lights you use. Plan on another $1,000 each year for professionals to hang and later take down your lights. (Unless you’d rather risk breaking your own neck up on the roof?)

How much money does a single new patient bring in? I figure that the average net contribution to the bottom line for an additional new patient, after all the costs of delivering the dentistry, is going to be at least $500, and quite possibly much more. By this math, you would only need six new patients to pay for this the first year and just two additional new patients in succeeding years.

Free Advertising: The Price Is Definitely Right

One IDA dentist has been working hard to use the marketing know-how he’s picked up from The Wealthy Dentist to pick up new patients and increase name recognition of his practice. Dr. Jeff Clay of Shady Spring, West Virginia, teamed up with a local radio station to offer a holiday dental giveaway.

Listeners are invited to enter on the radio’s website (where there’s a prominent link to Dr. Clay’s IDA site, of course!). Visitors get to vote on which candidate needs dental work the most, and the winner will receive up to $2,000 in free dental work from Dr. Clay’s practice. In return for providing free care, the radio station is airing 100 60-second contest promos and another 100 five-second spots – that’s a $2400 advertising value! How brilliant is Dr. Clay’s strategy? Remember, there are more ways to pay for advertising than with money alone! (Listen to the radio ad)

Your Next Chance: New Years’ Marketing

By now it’s a little late for you to launch a Christmas marketing campaign – but not to worry, New Year’s is right around the corner! You can bet that lots of patients will be resolving to finally get the dental treatment they need. Plus, it’s a great time to market yourself to insurance patients whose benefits are renewed with the new year.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Dying?

“Family Dentistry” More Profitable Than “Cosmetic Dentistry”

Is cosmetic dentistry dying, or is it just in hibernation for the recession? There is no doubt that consumer interest in cosmetic dentistry, as judged by searches on Google, has seen a steady decline. (Red arrow below.) The interesting thing is that the decline goes all the way back to 2004, the first year that statistics were kept. This decline progressed even in the face of a steady increase in news media references to cosmetic dentistry. (Green arrow below.)

cosmetic dentistry trends

What this tells us is that even while the dental industry was beating the drum, consumers weren’t being swayed by the hype. The question is: has the dental industry exhausted the consumer demand for cosmetic treatments?

Let’s look at “Tooth Whitening,” another segment of the industry that has seen a tremendous growth in the last few years. Again, we see a significant drop in consumer interest.

tooth whitening web searches

Now let’s contrast this with the results for “Dentistry” in general. Interest in dentistry is slightly up over the last four years.

dentistry search trends

Now for the big one! Interest in the term “Dentist” (as found in search terms like “Dentist Chicago” or “Dentist Miami”) has been steadily going up for the last four years. This has been understandably tempered with a slight drop in the last six months starting with the collapse of the financial markets. Overall, this tells us that consumers are looking towards the internet to learn more about dentistry and to find a dentist in their area.

dentist web trends

What it says about cosmetic treatments is more troubling. We are seeing a long-term drop in consumer interest that transcends the current economic recession. Further, we are seeing this drop in cosmetic interest in the face of a dental industry that has geared up tremendously over the same period with increased doctor training, better materials, equipments and massive marketing. It is not a pretty picture.

5 Simple Online Marketing Strategies for Dentists

dental online marketingThe right Internet dental marketing strategies have been proven to grow a dental practice and attract new patients. With over 5,000,000 searches for “dentist” online, it’s now more important than ever to have a viable web presence.

When considering your online dental marketing practices, it’s best to start out with the basics and build on your relationship with your patients. Ask them where they spend time socially online, what kind of emails they would like to see from you, and what kind of online interactions they might enjoy seeing from your practice.

Then start small, building from one dental marketing interaction to the next.

Here is a list of 5 simple online marketing strategies for dentists:

1. Be listed in Google Places.
Make sure you have a business listing on Google Places. Go to www.google.com/places to claim your free Google Places listing. This is a quick way to ensure your business information shows up in local search. Google Places offers an area for photos of your office, hours of operation and links to your website.

2. Have a fully optimized, SEO-friendly website.
Make sure your business website was designed in the last 4 years, content is new and optimized for your particular keywords — especially geo-targeted keywords.

3. Make sure your dental practice is listed in online dental directories.
It is important to submit your dental practice website and contact information to local business directories and dental directories. These provide powerful link-building to your website.

4. Capture email addresses for email marketing.
The greatest asset your business has is your patient base. Your email list is your connection to that patient base. You can increase sales and revenue with email marketing, while investing only a small amount of time and money.

5. Have a Facebook Fan Page and involve your practice in social media.
Social media is all about connecting with your patients. A dental Facebook Fan page is a great way to provide updates from your office staff, educate patients on new procedures, and promote fun events happening in your office. It’s another way to engage your clients in a way that makes them loyal to your business. Go to Facebook’s Create a Page to begin interacting with your patients on Facebook.

These 5 Internet dental marketing strategies help you expand your customer base, connect with other dentists in your area and get the word out on your dental practice. Being engaged with your patients online helps you understand who they are, what they like and what services they would recommend. You’ll notice behavior patterns in your patients in the way they interact with you online and gain information that will help you be build a dental practice your patients will love.

Are you using any of these 5 online marketing practices to grow your business? Please share your experiences with us!

Dental Marketing: What Kind of Dental Practice Should Advertise on the Radio?

Dental Marketing: What Kind of Dental Practice Should Advertise on the Radio?Dental marketing is all about efficiency. It’s always best to keep doing the things that work and provide the most bang for the buck.

I’m one of the biggest proponents of radio advertising in the dental marketing industry because I’ve worked with so many practices who have seen great success from it. My company, Ridgway Consulting, is best known for our dental practice radio campaigns.

That being said, it’s not right for every practice.

Radio is a broadcast medium, like TV. This is significant because the radio signal often reaches a larger geographic area than what you might normally consider your practice’s base. Depending on the population in your area, you may mostly see patients that are within five, ten or twenty miles of your practice.

By contrast, some radio stations have the signal strength to reach listeners that are hours away.

The challenge with enormous “reach” of a broadcast like that is cost. When you advertise, you get what you pay for; in radio terms, that means radio stations charge you based upon the amount of listeners. So the problem is this: how can you be efficient when you are spending a portion of your marketing dollars to reach people who won’t travel as far as your office for dentistry?

The answer is simple – you need to have something that distinguishes you from the competition.

Radio only makes sense if you can offer something the other local practices are not offering. You need to give people a reason to pass by all the offices that are closer to their work and home, and make you their dentist of choice. That unique service, whether it be Invisalign, implants, sedation dentistry, or whatever, also needs to be a relatively profitable service.

It’s difficult to make an acceptable ROI when you advertise a low-dollar service like cleanings or whitening. Instead, use radio to advertise something like sedation. One big case, from someone who’s been away from dentistry for years, can pay for months of radio time.

Ed Ridgway has executed marketing campaigns for hundreds of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. He is nationally recognized for his ongoing campaigns with many of the top dental practices across the country.

Dental License by State Drives Many Dentists Crazy (video)

universal dental licenseAs we all know, dentists are licensed by state dental boards and they can only practice in the state where they are licensed.

And this drives a lot of dentists crazy like the one who complained, “This is SUPPOSED to be a free country where people can relocate as desired. this current system is just regional protectionism. It sucks!”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists if once a dentist is licensed in one state, should he or she be allowed to practice anywhere in the U.S.

Watch this video to hear what dentists had to say on universal licensure

What are your thoughts on universal licensure? Should dentists be allowed to practice anywhere in the U.S. under one license?

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