Note: New Patient Marketing is a basic principle used in any dental or medical practice. Advertising is a part of getting more patients. However, without an important step called “UN-Advertising“, you will never get the quantity and quality of new patients that you are looking for.
Most companies and definitely almost all medical practices that do advertising alone are throwing their hard-earned money out the window. They might increase the total collection but almost never the bottom line.
The reason is simple: advertising is hardly noticed and definitely not believed. The amount of advertising in America is way up, but for most it means less and less profits.
Here are the some of the roadblocks you will need to overcome while advertising:
1) If your advertising message only talks about the benefits of your service and your experience and your qualifications, you will sound alike with your competitors’ messages. Patients cannot choose easily among services which ‘look alike’.
2) You are tooting your own horn. People do not 100% believe an ad. Your prospects already expect you to say, “We have new technology”, “We are experienced” etc.
3) Ads have little staying power in creating long term impressions. The minute you stop advertising, no one will remember you.
4) Your prospects are bombarded by 500 advertising appeals a day. You are trying to get your message heard in an overcrowded marketing environment. Thus advertising cost goes up and returns go down.
How about traditional word-of-mouth and networking activities?
1) Many offices depend on word-of-mouth as their primary source of new patients, but depending only on internal marketing alone could not help you to break through production plateaus. You will reach a peak and then stop growing.
2) Networking meetings and luncheons to stimulate patient referrals from other doctors and related businesses are time-consuming. You can send your staff to bring donuts to another doctor’s office to thank them for referrals but how many ‘donut’ trips can you make to ALL the possible referral sources? This time-consuming and costly ‘gift-giving’ will eventually dead-end for most – due to not enough time for the doctor and for the staff to do.
What can I do to get more from external advertising?
There IS a place for advertising but it is after — and only after a reputation, trust, name, etc. has been recognized by the public. It would not matter how long you are in this neighborhood already and how many people you think know you – maybe they do know you, but IF they are not coming in large quantity to your practice then your “brand” is not known, trusted, liked, remembered, looked as better or different!
The missing link with most business people is that they do not know that Un-Advertising is the ONLY thing which can and will start the fire – it is the spark – and without this spark, there is no fire – thus no wind can spread this non-existing fire! Advertising is the wind and doing advertising without first establishing a position or perception which was put in people’s minds by other sources than you will be a waste of money.
Your message must be believed, build trust, increase patient loyalty and make your practice stand out from your competition, especially in these trying times of economic recession.
Now is the time to have your messages stick out more so than ever before.
Remember: Advertising can help get new patients and grow your business but the practice of using it must be consistent. The more consistent you are, the more patients will come in on a consistent basis.
Author and Founder
Un-Advertising Marketing Strategies
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Category: Healthcare Marketing.