You can have a great practice with an amazing team and top-of-the-line technology, but if you don’t have the patients, you won’t get far. Marketing is crazy important, so I recently spoke with my good friend Xaña Winans, CEO and founder of Golden Proportions Marketing, about what makes dental marketing work. Her answer? A plan. When you have a plan, you know where you’re going, and it forces you to follow a step-by-step process instead of just throwing money at the wall. Before you can create a plan, however, you need to identify your DNA:
Every human looks, sounds, and acts differently, but we’re all made up of the same core DNA. The same is true with marketing, and when you identify your marketing DNA it allows you to get to your true authenticity, because that’s what consumers latch onto.
Set Your Direction
Most dentists don’t know where they want to go, so it’s crucial to think about your goals and your vision for the practice. Gino Wickman’s Traction devotes time to building a razor clear vision for your business, and it starts with your core values. Like I said to Xaña, “Getting your core purpose is really important, because once you get that locked in, all your motions can go through the lens of that.” Ask yourself:
- Where do you want your practice to go?
- What type of patients do you want to attract?
If you’re not clear about the direction you want to go, then the only thing that will satisfy you is the word “more.” More patients, more team members, more operations, and that’s dangerous.
Establish Your Needs
Once you figure out your direction, then you can start to get some clarity on what you need to start moving in that direction. Think about how you can best reach your patients to retain them, reactivate them, and get them advocating for you. Xaña noted that most doctors approach this backwards, opting to go for the shiny object without knowing if it’s the right strategy or how to implement it. Think about it through the lens of your vision; if you already have a pretty good practice, for example, you’re often looking for a specific type of patient instead of just getting new ones every month. You’re looking for patients who want comprehensive care, implants, Invisalign—treatment with a higher cost than just cleaning and putting in fillings. In this situation you’d want to go with:
- Google paid search
- Facebook ads
- Social media campaigns
The idea is to get people engaged in the message of what it is that you’re selling and show why they should pick you with a message that’s clear, authentic, and a reflection of who you are.
Advertise Your Attributes
This is where you bring it all together and figure out what makes your practice uniquely you. Everyone has a website, social media, or Google Ads, but what sells you to your patients is you. No matter the type of dentistry, they’re buying the person in the practice as much as they’re buying the work you’re doing for them. Your personality, your style, your authenticity—these all resonate with your patients. They value their oral health, so they don’t want to buy someone who’s just trying to get them in and out as quickly as possible to collect as many insurance dollars as possible.
Make it Work
Once you’ve executed your strategy, you need to make yourself accessible. Xaña said a lot of doctors put up roadblocks, almost on purpose, even when there shouldn’t be a roadblock. Telling them you won’t take their insurance, not being able to schedule them soon enough, or not spending enough time talking to them will only alienate the people you worked so hard to attract. What truly makes marketing work is what happens in the practice:
- Answer the phone quickly
- Make sure the schedule is available for appointments
- Spend more than five minutes with the patient
- Show that you’re excited to see the patient
Like I often say, “Being consistent is crazy important,” so implement systems to keep your practice running predictably.
You need to be able to track your marketing metrics, because otherwise you don’t have any concrete evidence of what kind of ROI you’re getting. Thankfully, Xaña created the Smart Market Dental software for this exact purpose—it creates transparency for your strategy and shows what you’re getting back in relation to your investment. It utilizes call tracking technology and analyzes your marketing calls via AI, and then integrates with your patient records to show you the results of the call, the value of the patient, and your ROI. It takes all the anecdotal decision-making out of your hands, prevents you from hiding behind bad results, and forces you to be better.
Marketing is incredibly effective if it’s done right, and the important thing to remember is this is your practice, so the marketing strategy should reflect YOU. You need to participate in the process and be passionate about it, because every decision you make reflects what you want and where you want to be going. You can’t put it in a team member’s hands, because it’s your DNA that matters. Asking the questions to identify your DNA can be difficult, so reach out today and get help. The ACT coaches are available to provide the guidance you need to identify your unique vision that will lay the foundation for an effective marketing strategy and help you build a Better Practice, and a Better Life!
Kirk Behrendt is the CEO and Founder of ACT Dental