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today ADX Sydney 18-20 March

practice & science 22 ADX Sydney 2016 n As a dental professional, you face unfamiliar challenges in running and marketing your prac- tice. You are confronted with in- creased competition (both locally andabroad),anoversupplyofden- tists, ever-rising practice operating costs, and more marketing-savvy patients.Ontopofthis,yourpoten- tial patients are becoming more discerning about where they go for dental treatment, with many heading overseas. Inordertoachievepracticesuc- cess, it is essential to build long- term relationships with patients and prospects. Long-term patients are more likely to feel satisfied. It is they who welcome the opportu- nity to refer others to you and who will continue to use your services in the future. Over my years working with hundreds of dentists as a mar- keting consultant, I have ob- served the common mistakes that prevent them being able to market their practices success- fully. 1.Not knowing your numbers and not tracking them One of the most common mis- takes that I see is that many den- talpracticesjustdonottracktheir numbers. There is a saying that “ifyoufailtoplan,youplantofail”. It is critical that you track all of the metrics in your business, and your marketing spend is no exception. The significant numbers that you need to know and track are: 8 average lifetime value of a pa- tient 8marketing return on invest- ment 8 new patients 8 patient loss. 2. Not knowing your ideal patient One of the cornerstones of any marketing campaign is knowing who your ideal patient is. Many practices make the mistake of not identifying this in their eagerness to go ahead with their marketing campaign as soon as possible. You need to stop and think about whom your marketing will be directed to, what this group of patients wants, what problems theyhave,andwhatsolutionsthey need. The key to implementing a strategic marketing plan is identi- fying your practice’s ideal patient or target patient profile. Once you know your market, you need to es- tablish how best to communicate with them. 3.Wanting a silver bullet Marketing your dental practice toattracttherightkindofpatients, keep them active and encourage them to refer you to their contacts is no easy task. Manypracticesthink(andhope) that there is a silver bullet to solve theirmarketingissues.Thisleaves them open to unscrupulous sales people and to disillusionment and frustration when their marketing efforts fail. The companies trying to sell you the marketing silver bullet that will solve all your marketing worries are constantly calling. Well-meaning friends, colleagues and patients may give you advice on what they think you should do to market your practice. The range of marketing media is evolving, and the rapid changes in online marketingmakeitalmostimpossi- ble to keep up. 4.Taking a scatter-gun approach I speak to many dentists who tell me that they have tried many different types of marketing and they have all failed and nothing has worked for them. When I dig deeper, I discover that they have tried many different approaches, but nearly all of these have been done in a haphazard way and in short bursts. I call this a “scatter- gun approach” to marketing. It does not work to try one approach for a month or two in an inconsistent manner without trackingtheresultsorrefiningthe campaign. This will always end in failure. It has been shown that it can take between six and eleven repe- titions for patients to see or hear a message before they act on it. Do you know how many ways and how many times you communi- cate with your patients? 5.Doing it all by yourself You have to remember that patients are more savvy than ever before. They are constantly exposed to a huge amount of mar- keting and their expectations of whatisandisnotprofessionalare continually increasing. The real- ity is that when you are compet- ing against the corporates, you need to ensure that your market- ing is up to scratch. Itisverycommonforpractices to have their branding and logo professionally designed and then decide to take it over, producing home-made brochures and other marketing collateral that use different colours, fonts and even versions of the logo. If you are not consistent, your attempts at establishing a brand will be in- effective. 6.Procrastinating There are just so many things for you to think about when it comes to your dental marketing. How can you fix your website that is not effective? Should you be en- gagingwithyourpatientsonsocial media and how to start? You know that you need to educate your patients on a regular basis, but whataretheybestwaystodothis? Youneedreactivationandreferral campaigns, but you have no idea how to carry this out in a profes- sional and consistent manner. Itisnotuncommontobesocon- fused and overwhelmed that you spend your time procrastinating and doing nothing. 7.Not getting the right advice When you own or run a dental practice, in fact any kind of busi- ness, there is no shortage of mar- keting advice to follow; there is an overwhelming amount of advice out there. You may have had the experience of wasting time or money on poor advice. The problem is that many den- tists are not getting the right den- tal marketing advice. They may listen to many different sources andformopinionsbasedonadvice from people who may not under- stand the business of dentistry. 8.Summary There is no magic when it comes to marketing your prac- tice successfully. Quite simply, it comes down to: 8picking the aspects of market- ing you want to use, wisely and with due care and thought 8 ensuring that, whatever mar- keting activities you decide to undertake, you perform to the best of your ability and budget 8 being consistent 8 tracking your results—setting your goals and reviewing or re- fining them on a regular basis 8 gettinggoodadvicefromtrusted experts in the area of market- ing you are undertaking. It takes time, but the effort that you put in will be rewarded by more patients, increased produc- tion, better relationships with your team and patients, and a sense of control when it comes to your marketing. It is now time for you to focus on your marketing. By marketing well, doing it consistently, and avoiding the scatter-gun approach, you can avoid making the com- monmistakesthatmanypractices make. 7 Seven dental marketing mistakes ...and how to avoid them By Carolyn S.Dean,Sydney Carolyn S. Dean is a dental market- ing and communications specialist and seminar speaker. As Managing Director of My Dental Marketing,she works with practitioners throughout New Zealand and Australia on en- hancing websites, improving brand- ingandgrowingdentalpractices.Her book Fully Booked:Dental Marketing Secrets for a Full Appointment Book will be published in March and be on sale at ADX16 Sydney. At the event, Carolyn will be presenting three dif- ferent lectures on the importance of marketingfordentalpracticesaspart oftheADX16continuingprofessional development programme. “Many practices think (and hope) that there is a silver bullet to solve their marketing issues.” There are just so many things to think about when it comes to successful dental marketing.

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