For innumerable long hours, I’ve been doing dental marketing consulting for the health industry. I have talked and interviewed dozens of health care practitioners, especially dentists. All them living in different parts of the country like Florida, New Jersey, California, Texas and more.
When I talk to them, the first thing I notice is that even when they are willing and clinically prepared to deal with their patients, many of them are still struggling in their practices. My six year research has always throw me the same result, regardless of the state they practice in.
I have concluded that the reason these private doctor’s offices keep having such challenges is that, in a great number of cases, a poor marketing plan or no marketing plan at all creates such a condition. Over and over.
This is a critical factor and it seems kind of unfair to me every time I see it. There I am, meeting many good, well trained health care providers that even when they have all the good intentions in the world, are not prospering. I knew there had to be a reason. And that reason was an important one.
Dental marketing education is not part of the doctor’s curriculum, it is not included on their career education. They may take a marketing class on one of the semesters but this is all general marketing, not really dental or medical marketing, especially the way is done now with the internet.”
In a typical day, doctors are focusing on filling in their patient’s scheduling, taking care of patients and dealing with the staff problems they usually encounter. The day goes by quickly this way with no much time for marketing their practices.
The Not So Good Solution
To solve the marketing issue, it’s common to see doctors asking someone at the office to do the marketing at the same time they do other things like answering the phones, doing treatment presentations and so on. Or they simply hire new, but not so well trained staff to do the marketing, which includes the handling of social media. When that happens, the so called ‘marketing or social media department’ becomes a camouflaged activity. The results are not good and are even difficult to measure At the end, the time and money invested equals to a poor ROI.
This is because these marketing actions have been added to the already staff’s busy duties or are being done by a staff member with no real marketing training. As simple as that.
Common Misconceptions in the Way
Another common misconception I keep finding is that of thinking that just by investing on creating a website is going to bring many patients naturally, without no additional marketing effort.
Probably that was the case ten years ago, but now, we see dental franchises employing big advertising and marketing agencies that directly compete against other doctors in the same area. Since they have big marketing budgets, they are taking the lion’s share. They are aggressively working to be on top of Google Local results, buying Facebook and Google ads, for example. They are abreast of all the most sophisticated marketing techniques and constantly testing them.
Witnessing this, my marketing firm decided to do a complete medical marketing research, also known as marketing audit, in order to solve this issue for small and medium size medical offices.
One of the biggest challenges doctors were facing, was in getting a high value return on investment (ROI) on every advertising dollar spent.
Prospective patients often need months to make a decision to have treatments done, like implants, crowns, even cosmetic procedures, for example. Dentists and Physicians in general need to understand that they first need to build trust to position themselves as educators and advocates for the success of their patients’ health.
A New Scientific Approach to Marketing
We are talking here about approaching marketing from a more scientific way, the way doctors are trained to see things. We don’t expect poor results from their treatments done, quite the opposite. In the same way, we need to give them measurable dental marketing results.
Fortunately, with the new marketing tools available now online and offline, it’s possible for the small to medium size dental or medical office to compete against national chains, if they know how to do it right. If doctors are willing to help more patients, they also deserve a better chance.