Top tips for cost-effective marketing
The concept of marketing may feel alien and challenging for some dentists, however for those entering the implant market – or who have already done so – it is key to fulfilling your potential in this growing area of dentistry.
After all, if no-one knows you’ve added to your practice’s offering, how are you going to get anyone in to treat them?
Such a marketing strategy needs to be two-fold: firstly, reaching out to patients – both existing and potential – and, secondly, general dental practitioners who may have patients to refer on to a trustworthy implant practice that consistently achieves good outcomes.
Your existing patient list offers myriad marketing opportunities without having to push the boat out. Why not create an easy-to- understand digital brochure about dental implants, explaining what they are, why they may be appropriate for selected patients, their value (as opposed to cost, as there’s no denying the expense), for example improved quality of life, better aesthetics etc., and how to arrange a consultation.
Then all you need to do is email the ‘brochure’, add it to your social media outlets, pop it on your website and, perhaps, print some out (preferably professionally) for the waiting room or to hand out personally to patients visiting the practice who you think may benefit from implant treatment.
Be sure to include your practice’s actual case images (before and after photos) to really highlight the difference you can make to patient’s looks and lives. Get permission from previous implant patients to use their photos and see if they will provide a written testimonial to be used on your website, social media and the brochure or other collateral internally. You could even video them if you do have the budget as this will be more impactful and can show of your practice too. A testimonial from a previous patient is impactful and you can bet that your competition have done this.
Of course as per the GDC guidance on using Social Media and guidance on advertising ‘you must be careful not to share identifiable information about patients without their explicit consent’.
Beyond your pre-existing patients, why not collaborate with local businesses that provide beauty and health services, such as hairdressers, gyms, and facial aesthetics providers? Printing out high-quality brochures is a minimal expense, especially when you place it in the context of getting new patients through the door, at which point it will have paid for itself.
Getting referrals from general dental practitioners is another fantastic way to build your implant business and, again, marketing to this cohort need not be expensive. To get your message out there, you could start by creating a study club for local dentists. It doesn’t need to focus just on implants but perhaps form part of a comprehensive education plan, which will allow the subject to come up organically, if you feel more comfortable with a less ‘direct’ route.
If you are feeling confident, you may want to invite the same local dentists to see you in action, to help them to understand more about what it would be like to partner with you for implant dentistry.
As an aside, it is important to let referring dentists know that you will return their patients to them after implant treatment. It is a common worry that patients will be persuaded to stay with the implant provider for their general dental needs, so do offer this reassurance. There’s no cost involved but it can be an extremely effective marketing strategy!
Making friends with the media
On the professional side, there are many dental journals in the marketplace, many of whom have a great reputation and are worth trying to work with in order to get your message out there.
Beyond adverts and press releases, which cost money to place, there are fantastic opportunities for those who can create pieces with editorial integrity (e.g. not influenced by outside interests or commercial pressures, etc.).
One of the best ways to market your implant dentistry is to write up case studies and provide high-quality images to illustrate what has been achieved for the patient. As a rule of thumb, the type of information you want to incorporate into your piece may include:
- Patient gender, age and oral health and general health at the time of presenting
- Why they presented including whether it was a referral
- Treatment options offered
- Why the decision was made to follow one particular treatment plan
- Description of treatment done with time-scales
- Dentist and patient expectations and how the outcome compared to this
- Any follow-up treatment planned/hygiene routine for maintenance.
The article will be published in your name, and a short biography published alongside the article can provide interested readers your contact details for them to get further information.
Before you look to do this, however, do bear in mind for all of this whether you need to get
permission from the patients and whether there is a need for their anonymity.
When you have built a good relationship with a publisher or editor, you may want to offer opinion pieces, or answer readers’ questions on implant dentistry in a regular column, both of which will help to build your reputation and therefore, potentially, your implant business.
Collaborating with trusted brands
Your implant provider may also offer cost-effective marketing routes. They, too, for example, may like you to write up a case study where you used their products, to be printed in a dental journal in partnership with them.
In addition, some implant companies offer a range of educational opportunities throughout the year, which may be worth attending not just to meet your own CPD needs but also because it allows you to network with like-minded individuals. From implant specialists to general dentists just starting out, each offers you a unique opportunity to market your services and, perhaps, to learn how to do it better!
Some implant companies will also have patient education collateral, models, patient friendly images for you to use in your own collateral and patient education implant videos that you can use in your consultations and have on your waiting room TV.
Staying on track
Hopefully you can now imagine how you might like to market your implant practice proactively, successfully and cost-effectively. However, it also important to bear in mind that the General Dental Council view on advertising.
As point 1.3.3 of ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ states: ‘You must make sure that any advertising, promotional material or other information that you produce is accurate and not misleading, and complies with the GDC’s guidance on ethical advertising.’
For assistance in meeting the GDC’s expectations, the document ‘Guidance on advertising’ can be downloaded from the GDC’s website at www.gdc-uk.org.
In the meantime, if you might like to partner with BioHorizons as part of your marketing plan, please do not hesitate to get in touch.