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Friday, May 4, 2012

Maximizing your Marketing Dollar

Lenora Milligan
Salt DPM Consultant
Part 2 of 2

External marketing can also be effective.  Traditional ways: direct mail, news papers, magazines, billboards, radio and television ads, can all be very effective, although they tend to be more costly.   If you choose this route, spend the money required to hire a professional to assist you.  Some tips: Your advertisement should showcase one item, have a call to action and a time limit.  Decide how you want the prospective patients to contact you and provide one way only.  Simplifying choices lessens the opportunity for confusion and provides better results.  Come from an emotional place with your wording. Most financial decisions are based on emotion, not logic.  If you doubt that, think about the car you drive.  You need transportation; does that mean it has to be a Hummer or a Porsche?  Of course not! But those cars make you feel….special?  It’s emotion. 
What about Yellow Page advertising?  Do you use it?  Or do you Google everything? The newer, exciting and sometimes confounding area of marketing today is the World Wide Web.  The land of web crawlers, cookies and tweets, oh my!  Where do you begin?  Hopefully you have a website. If not, there are companies that can provide you with a very professional site quickly.   If you are not asking patients for their email addresses, then get started today.   It used to be the more elaborate and flashy the website the better you were perceived.  Now, you may want to consider something more simplistic that loads quickly on the computer screen.  People are unwilling to wait for pages that load slowly. 

Your website won’t help your practice if it doesn’t show up in search engines on page one during routine, non specific searches, for example: “Riverside general dentist”.  If the only way you can find your website one page one is by typing in your exact name or practice name then you have a little work to do.  To create an online presence is becoming a little more challenging than it used to be.  Years ago clicking repeatedly on your web site helped get you to the top of the list.

Now you need more than a well-clicked site to get on page one. Search engines now want to know how relevant you are.  They are beginning to consider where else you are mentioned, i.e.: Face Book fan pages, tweets on Twitter, or online surveys and blog entries.  There are companies that provide reasonably priced packages that collect surveys from your patients and post them online.  Make use of free tools like Google analytics and Google places.  Google it, you will be guided through the simple process which can help you show up during online searches.  Create a fan page, if you have a Face Book page scroll down to the bottom and on the right it will give an option to “create a page.”  It’s easy, just follow the instructions.  Once your page is complete you can send a mass email to patients and referral sources to ask them to become a fan.  You want fans, not friends.  Once that is accomplished, periodically post comments that will go out to all the fans.  Keep your posts short and interesting.  You may post about special services you have added to your practice, offers you have in place, or links to health information that may be relevant. So go ahead and tweet, blog, post, and use banner ads on your website.  It’s the future of marketing.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com
                               This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

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