Read time: 8 minutes
‘Marketing’ is a bit of a buzz phrase at the moment - everyone’s talking about it, and supposedly, everyone’s doing it because it’s “so easy”. And that’s true - to a degree. But at the same time, it’s a quagmire of advice and options out there that, can be difficult not just to navigate, but to prioritise and know where to focus on.
Step 1: Set your goals
The first step in starting any new venture or when developing any new marketing plan is to set your goal.
Hassan from The Creative Composite recommends looking at your practice beginning with your goals and vision for the practice in the next 5 to 10 years:
- How do you see the patients responding to your brand
- How does your team feel about working at your practice
- How do your patients feel when they walk into your reception
- What treatments do you see yourself enjoying day-in-day-out
“The trick is to see the goal, the end, and then to work backwards.”
Step 2: Define your audience
Once you’ve set your long-term goals, the next step is define who your target audience is - who are you marketing to and who are you trying to attract.
A. Find out who your current patients are.
Trevor at Smile Marketing suggests starting by looking at your current patients. Don’t just rely on a ‘gut feeling’ but actually look at your data and segment your existing patient database to determine who you’re currently attracting:
- Who are they?
- How active are they?
- How much do they spend per year?
- How old are they?
- What treatments are they interested in - and could be interested in?
B. Determine your ideal patient
From there, it’s all about determining who your ideal patient persona is, according to Derek at Ignite Growth:
- What are their values, beliefs, and behaviours?
- What challenges might stand their way?
- What motivates them to look for new treatments?
- What are they aiming to achieve with treatment?
“It's this kind of basework that will help you attract ideal patients whilst repelling those that aren't a good fit! There is a great template on digitalmarketer.com - just look for "Customer Avatar Worksheet" to find it - don't skip this step just because it's not ‘exciting’
Step 3: Define your service
Once you know exactly who you’re aiming to attract, you then need to figure out what is going to attract them.
A. Check your competition.
The first step to determining what will attract potential customers to the practice, is to determine how you’ll stand out in the crowd. Trevor recommends, “taking a good hard look at your local competition” so as to get an “honest view of how your practice compares.”
Checking what marketing your competition is doing, what experience they’re providing and what values their pushing can not only give you inspiration, but also show you what messaging is still open or might be more effective.
B. Establish the practice values.
Determining what your practice stands for - and how those values make it stand out amidst all the noise of your competition is the next thing to work through.
Derek suggests focusing on benefits of attending the practice, not just the features.
“Truth be told - patients don't really care all that much about the fact that a practice is family owned or that they have the latest iTero. Everyone can tick one of those boxes. Instead, they care about the results - what the practice can do for them.”
C. Map the patient experience.
The last exercise is great for determining the theoretical values of your practice, but it’s essential to make sure that these values match the actual experience that patients have at the practice.
Hassan recommends looking at, “how you can enhance their experience of your service” and focussing on the question, “what will get my patients talking about my service once they leave the practice?”.
Make sure to ‘walk-the-walk’ when considering these and put yourself in the patient’s shoes.
Step 4: Start Marketing
Now that you’ve determined who you’re marketing to and what you have to offer, it’s time to look at putting it all into action.
A. Invest in internal marketing.
The team at The Creative Composite recommend that the first place to start is by investing time and money into re-engaging your existing patient database.
Look back to that list of current patients from earlier in the planning process, and determine who could be open to finding out about other treatments - then look at running marketing to those patients, specific to those new treatment options.
“This marketing is the cheapest and...you’ll soon realise that it’s easier to make your existing patients spend money with you than investing in external marketing for new patients.”
B. Communicate your values.
Following Derek’s recommendation earlier to determine your practice’s values and its benefits over its features, he suggests that the next step you should take is to generate “testimonials and before & afters to support that narrative” - create “social proof” of your values.
“Facebook, Instagram, Google and Tik Tok are just platforms (just like leaflets and radio) - but if you get the messaging right, that will create more ‘value’ for your ideal patient than any other ‘USP’ ever would. It will be your secret marketing weapon!”
Step 5: Keep Track
Once you’ve started your marketing, make sure to keep track of the results so you can tweak, adjust, and improve depending on the reactions you receive.
DenGro’s very own marketing manager, Sara, believes that, “no marketing should ever be given a chance to stagnate, it has to be flexible and it has to respond to the engagement of your audience”.
So with that in mind, make sure that you’re monitoring the basic numbers:
- How many leads have your received.
- Which marketing channels/sources/campaigns did they come from.
- How many leads booked a consultation/appointment.
- How many leads started treatment.
- What were the top 3 reasons why leads didn’t go ahead with treatment.
DenGro is a lead management tool that can not only help you manage your leads more effectively, but can also help you track what marketing campaigns they came from and assess the success of each campaign.