10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Practice Marketing
“Marketing” can be a scary word that brings about thoughts of expensive mailers and little return. But when you put effort into the right marketing strategies, your business grows. Marketing is essential to recruiting new patients and creating a loyal base. And we have a few easy tips to help you make great strides towards those marketing goals.
#1: Review your current marketing efforts
First thing’s first. Look at your current marketing strategies with a critical eye. Check the data. What’s pulling patients into your practice? Where are your efforts being wasted? This may seem like a painful step, but it depends entirely on how you look at it. This is a learning experience. The point is to evaluate what you’re doing and improve upon it. Although this step takes time, effort and thick skin, it will prove to be the most useful.
#2: Build your brand
Branding is about more than just designing a new business card. It’s about sending a clear message. You know your business better than anyone. You should be able to sum it up in a few sentences. Go ahead and write it down. This is your new mission statement. Every part of your business should radiate this message. It’s how the world will perceive you, so you want to be sure to have a consistent and cohesive look and feel across the board – emails, logos, collateral, website, etc.
#3: Build a great website
Sometimes a practice’s online presence falls to the wayside. But an up-to-date website makes all the difference to prospective patients. Current and well-captured photos of you, your team and your offices help patients get acquainted with your practice. Showcasing your services gives potential patients the confidence to choose you. Blog posts and new pages added to your site can also improve SEO, making it easier for new patients to find you.
#4: Don’t forget to remind them
Remembering an appointment isn’t always easy. Help your patients stay on top of it with reminder cards, emails and texts. The best part of this marketing tactic is that it’s so easy to automate. You can schedule emails and texts to be sent to patients before their appointments. But don’t forget the postal mail! A physical mailer increases the likelihood that patients will remember their appointment. And with SmileMakers reminder cards, you have plenty of fun options to send.
#5: Get your boots on the ground
Getting involved with the community is a great way to get the attention of potential patients. Participate in health fairs, or get a booth at your local farmer’s market. Volunteer to speak at area high schools, or sponsor a neighborhood sports team. Support for small and local businesses is at an all-time high. The more people see your involvement with the community, the more they’ll want to support your practice. Remember to shake a lot of hands and get contact information before the conversation ends. Names, phone numbers and emails are a great start to building a contact list. And don’t forget about giveaways! Handing out custom items like lip balm, pens or toothbrushes with your practice name and phone number on them is a great way to be remembered. And for as little as pennies per item, they won’t cost you a fortune either!
#6: Rewards for referrals
More than likely, you have the support of your friends, family and current patients. Use that to your advantage! They’re already your biggest fans, so don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get the word out on your practice, and get people in the door. You can even set up rewards for referrals as a thank you to your patients. The laws on those rewards vary state by state, so be sure to check with your local or state governing body to see what’s acceptable.
#7: Automate wherever and whenever you can
Time and money are two of your most valuable business assets. And when you figure out how to streamline and automate a process, it saves you both. SmileMakers offers automated shipping on hundreds of products, so you can set it and forget it. Always have your practice essentials and patient rewards on hand and you’ll increase patient satisfaction, leading to even more return visits and referrals!
#8: Curate and keep up with your social media presence
People want to connect with you and your practice. Make it easy for them to do so. It’s a great way to reach patients in real-time, promote services and amenities, and recruit and entice new patients. It’s also great for your brand! Tout your office culture, talk about the topics that interest you and your patients, and stay relevant in your patient’s minds. There are plenty of platforms to choose from. Just pick a few that you feel comfortable with and remember to stay consistent. It’s better to post once every two weeks rather than five times in one day and then not at all for the rest of the month.
#9: Ask for feedback and improve
Ask your patients for honest feedback. Positive reviews are great for testimonials, but negative reviews can be used to improve your processes. This self-examination could also take the form of one-on-one conversation or surveys. Is there anything you or your staff could do better? What do patients wish was different about your practice? How’s your chairside manner? Find the pain points and use that feedback constructively.
#10: Ask for reviews
When you’re confident that you’re doing well, make sure you ask happy patients to review your practice. The most valuable places for reviews are Google, Yelp and Facebook, so it might be most advantageous to ask your digitally savvy patients. You can also send invitations for reviews in follow-up emails and texts after appointments, when the experience is still fresh. This process can also be automated, making it even easier to market your practice!
Now that you have these new tools in your arsenal, try a few out and see how they affect your return on investment. The more you do – and do well – the more you’ll see your business soar!