How to market your dental practice in 2017

The Cosmetic Revolution

As appearance becomes an increasing focus in today’s media, people are becoming more and more obsessed with doing everything they can to get their looks as ‘perfect’ as possible. From hair to make-up, eyebrows to eyelashes, and wrinkles to teeth; the appeal of beauty treatments has never been higher.

The dental industry is no exception to this. No longer is it just a case of oral health and maintenance. Nowadays people are turning to cosmetic or ‘aesthetic dentistry’ to improve their appearance and for many it is no different than a trip to the hairdressers.

With options to straighten, lighten, reshape, repair and replace teeth, the range of specialist treatments is huge; from veneers to crowns, bridges to tooth-coloured fillings, implants to teeth whitening. Orthodontics have also come on a long way in the last few years.

The growing demand for these treatments has turned Dentistry into a highly competitive industry. The facts speak for themselves – UK private spending on improving teeth increased by over 27% in the past 5 years with the market now valued at over £7 billion per annum! What dentist wouldn’t want a piece of this?

The Importance of Marketing

Your business’ future success is likely to depend upon successful marketing. One of the most common objections to any marketing spend is “We just don’t have the budget right now!” yet any marketing expert would advise the exact opposite. Advertising can be expensive but it is an investment. A typical marketing spend of a practice looking for growth should be between 15% & 30% of annual turnover but as the saying goes ‘you reap what you sow’ and you should also be seeing a good return on your investment.

An increase in sales = an increase in turnover = an increase in profit

Marketing has two main aims; to increase awareness and to increase sales. Many practices become awareness obsessed and direct their whole marketing strategy to recruiting new patients, but the opportunity to enlist is already limited as a person is only likely to seek a new dentist if they are making a geographical move, they’ve previously had a negative experience, their existing provider is selling up / closing down or if they don’t realise that a cosmetic treatment is available.

However, it is significantly more cost effective to retain current patients and maximise their spend. Obviously it is important to do both, but your existing patients are a huge asset to your dental practice because they already have loyalty to your practice. It is vital to concentrate time and efforts to your internal marketing, and looking after your current patients because, unless your patients are aware of everything you offer, they will look elsewhere for treatments they could be having done by you.

Promotion through education is a subtle but powerful marketing strategy. You provide more than just dental treatments; you provide solutions to problems and answers to desires.

“People rarely buy what they need. They buy what they want” – Seth Godin

Let’s face it, patients don’t actually care about products or services, they care about themselves, and by educating them on how you can help them fulfil their needs, you build an emotional connection with your business stimulating more interest. The more you entertain, the more they don’t mind being sold to.

The Best Channel

Where else do you get the opportunity to tell them what you do like your own waiting room? Your waiting room boasts your very own captive audience; it provides a perfect marketing opportunity to educate and promote products and services while patients have nothing else to do. But how to best communicate with your patients in the most cost effective manner?

It’s fair to assume that the nation’s cosmetic obsession has been hugely driven by the growth of digital media. Forget about posters and leaflets; independent research over the last six years has shown that fewer than 8% of visitors to dental practices actually read printed materials. Research has also shown that humans have such a short attention span, even a goldfish holds a thought for longer! Videos will attract much more attention than static displays and even those engaged on their Smart phones will look up at some point and be subconsciously drawn to a screen.

Many practices are installing a screen but are wasting the opportunity, as well as money on a TV licence, by showing episodes of Mr Kyle and Houses Under the Hammer. While this may offer some light entertainment, it has no benefit to your business and it would be much more useful as a device to communicate with and inform your patients. By empowering them with knowledge and treatment information while they wait, you stimulate interest and prompt an enquiry before they have even seen the dentist.

The Whole Package…

It is also crucial that your team understand the value of every enquiry, and the importance of the patient journey. This starts from the moment they walk into the practice and continues even after they have left. How you greet them, how the dentist handles their treatment and how they feel in your waiting room; every element is vital for aligning credibility with your brand. Patients want the whole package and if they are getting it, they will have no reason to go elsewhere and will actually start to recommend you.

Why SmileVision?

Waiting room TV from SmileVision is a professional tool that offers a tailored channel to the practice.  The bespoke playlist captures and holds patients’ attention, keeping them entertained whilst at the same time educating them about oral health and the dental treatments available at the practice. Patients are entertained by the inclusion of news & sport and entertainment updates created exclusively for the system.

The system allows you to personalise videos to include photos and price promotions. Before and after photos are valuable marketing tools. They add credibility to your work by showcasing prior results. Patients like to be able to see what they can achieve with a treatment; it creates desire and aids your patients to trust your work.

SmileVision also includes the facility to send further information to patients via email, from a bespoke library of leaflets and videos, allowing you to continue to communicate with them even after they have left the practice.

For more information on how to enhance your patient experience and make the most of you waiting room, contact SmileVision on 0207 99 33 888 or visit www.smilevision.co.uk

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