February 5, 2020
by Timothy A. Brown FRI, CEO & Broker of Record - ROI Corporation
I have had the same advice for this profession since I started with my father as a youngster. Guard your marketing dollars very carefully. Yes, the marketing world has changed. Yes, social media is here and it is here to stay. Yes, you do need to have a social media profile. But it does not have to be all media at once. Pick one and do it really well is my advice. Ideally, it would be closely aligned to the media that the majority of your patients use. By that, I mean if you primarily serve professional business people, LinkedIn is probably where most of those people hang out. If your practice is primarily focused on young people who are single and on the dating scene, you may find that Instagram is more suitable. And of course, most families and the general population are very familiar with Facebook. That is not to say these are the only three media. Social media is a great place to celebrate your success. Like it or not you are part of the conversation and you should be in that space controlling the narrative. Contributing positive content and celebrating the positive content of others is the best way to own this domain. The results can be phenomenal.
What about direct mail—is it dead? Yes, it is expensive. But it works! People still like snail mail and we still like paper! Baby Boomers (the ones with all the money!) continue to demand literature and we often ignore and/or delete electronic marketing. And what about good old-fashioned customer service? Treating the patients you already have on your active list with respect and asking them one simple question: Would you consider referring a friend or family member to us? I will send a free sign if anyone wants one that works 24 hours a day while asking your patients for referrals.
Like you, I would assume your staff are bought into the product that you deliver at your practice. Staff are often your strongest acolytes and you should be encouraging them to bring their extended networks to benefit from the service you provide. Very often they are just not switched on to the possibility. Sometimes being humble is the easy way out and a disservice to yourself and the business, but if you are a great dentist, you need to share that enthusiasm with your patients. As my drama teacher would tell me in grade three, “Don’t hide your light under a bushel”. Most equivalent full-time dentists in Canada have about 1,500 full-time and active patients. If every one of them referred one patient to you in the next two years, you would effectively double your practice, not counting for natural attrition, such as people that leave the area or switch dentists for reasons that are sometimes unknown and never to be discovered.
In conclusion, guard your marketing dollars carefully. Keep them locked in the vault. You do not need to do what we did 25 years ago—using old-fashioned Yellow Pages. You do need an individual brand presence and this requires some marketing. Finally, asking patients to refer to you is easy and it is probably the most logical place to start. Why not try this free and simple sign for 2020 and see how that works for you?
Timothy A. Brown has risen to national prominence as CEO and Broker of Record of ROI Corporation, Canada’s #1 professional practice appraiser and broker. His insights, research and experience has made him a highly sought after professional speaker and a respected author and publisher. As a leading national authority in understanding and identifying the potential of today’s market, Timothy has customized presentations that illuminate themes and trends that are of interest to business owners at all stages of their careers.