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CAD/CAM - international magazine of digital dentistry

| practice management marketing mistakes 06 CAD/CAM 2 2016 Seven dental ­marketing mistakes... and how to avoid them Author: Carolyn S. Dean, Australia As a dental professional, you face unfamiliar chal- lengesinrunningandmarketingyourpractice.Youare confronted with increased competition (both ­locally and abroad), an oversupply of dentists, ever­rising practice operating costs, and more marketing-savvy patients. On top of this, your potential patients are becoming more discerning about where they go for dental treatment, with many heading overseas. In order to achieve practice success, 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 opportunity 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 amarketingconsultant,Ihaveobservedthecommon mistakesthatpreventthembeingabletomarkettheir practices successfully. 1. Not knowing your numbers and not tracking them One of the most common mistakes that I see is that many dental practices just do not track their numbers. Thereisasayingthat“ifyoufailtoplan,youplantofail”. Itiscriticalthatyoutrackallofthemetricsinyourbusi- ness,andyourmarketingspendisnoexception.Thesig- nificant numbers that you need to know and track are: ·· average lifetime value of a patient ·· marketing return on investment ·· new patients ·· 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 ea- gerness 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 they have, and what solutions they need. The key to implement- ing a strategic marketing plan is identifying your practice’s ideal patient or target patient profile. Once youknowyourmarket,youneedtoestablishhowbest to communicate with them. 3. Wanting a silver bullet Marketing your dental practice to attract the right kind of patients, keep them active and encourage them to refer you to their contacts is no easy task. Many practices think (and hope) that there is a silver bullettosolvetheirmarketingissues.Thisleavesthem opentounscrupuloussalespeopleandtodisillusion- ment 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, col- leagues and patients may give you advice on what theythinkyoushoulddotomarketyourpractice.The range of marketing media is evolving, and the rapid changes in online marketing make it almost impos­ sible to keep up. 4. Taking a scatter-gun approach I speak to many dentists who tell me that they have triedmanydifferenttypesofmarketingandtheyhave allfailedandnothinghasworkedforthem.WhenIdig 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 tracking the results or ©koya979/Shutterstock.com “Many practices think (and hope) that there is a silver bullet to solve their marketing issues.” 22016

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