Marketing on a dime


by Deborah StephensMarketing on a Dime

Before you spend one more dime on marketing, consider the many ways there are to market your practice that work and won’t “break the bank.” Here are my top 3 suggestions for marketing on a dime.

1. Just ASK!

When you come across a new acquaintance, it is very common to ask, “Who is your dentist?” Most of the time, you will find that they say they don’t have one! Just by asking, you have created a relationship with a potential new patient! You would naturally tell them that you are a dentist and you would want to give them a business card. STOP! Here is the right approach: ASK them for their business card. Let them know that you will give them a call when you return to the practice and would love to get them scheduled.

Now here’s where you can choose to either call them yourself to schedule or assign a team member to make the call. But remember, we are in the business of relationships and it is you who just built that new relationship. I guarantee that they will tell those within their circle of friends about the “above and beyond” service that their new dentist just gave them.

At the time that you are scheduling a patient on the phone, also ASK them, “while I have you on the phone, who else of your your family or friends should we go ahead and schedule? You’d be surprised by the number of additional appointments that can be made by just asking!

2. The Patient’s Place of Work

While the patient is in the chair, ASK them, “Where do you work”? Here are a few ideas to surprise your patient or simply give them “ToPService!”
• Offer to do a “lunch and learn” and provide the meal.
• Surprise your patients and deliver treats to them and their co-workers.
• Leave a basket of goodies in the break room with your practice name on each and refill the basket periodically.
• Offer to do free oral cancer screening on a certain day at their work.
• Ask if their work ever has a health fair for employees and who you should contact to be involved.
• Send them away with 5 toothbrushes instead of 1. On 4 of those brushes, attach your office business card and a new patient offer.

3. Community Involvement

A great way for a practice to attract new patients is to be involved in doing good in your community. Not only is it beneficial for the team to be involved in charitable causes, but people like to be associated with those who are doing good. Here are a few good examples:

  • Make sport mouth guards for the high schools in the area at no charge. Offer to be the team dentist! In return, you could barter for a page ad in the football/basketball, etc. program for the season. We all know that getting people in the door is the first step to getting them to be a new patient. Eventually, you will see players or family members who need a new dentist and show up to give your office a try. Coaches and their families will end up being patients as well.
  • Participate in the Smiles for Life Campaign. For four month each year, the fees for whitening in your office go to charity. Everyone on the team talks to patients about what your practice is doing. They wear matching t-shirts one day a week which naturally triggers conversation with those at work. The practice has banners and posters advertising what the charity campaign is all about. Educate them on the charity. Ask if they would like to have their teeth whitened or know anyone who might. For more information on participating in the Smiles for Life Campaign, (www.SmilesForLIfe.org) contact the Crown Council at 1-800-276-9658
  • Offer to do free Oral Cancer screening. Many organizations have a health fair. It is in their best interest to keep their employees healthy! One way that your practice can participate is by offering free oral cancer screenings. The supplies to make it happen are minimal. Many times, the doctor and 2 team members can do the entire event in just two hours while educating everyone who comes and building relationships with potential new patients. This is also a great opportunity to educate the public on the systemic link of the mouth and the body.

You do not have to spend a lot to successfully market your practice. Take a few extra seconds to just ASK people for their business cards so you can schedule appointments for them, their friends, and their family. Reach out to a patient’s place of work. Surprise them with your “ToPService!” Lastly, do good in the community and they will do good things for your practice!