September 9, 2019
by Naren Arulrajah, Ekwa Marketing
Maybe you are fresh out of dental school, and ready to open an office. More likely, you’ve been working for someone else for a while, and are ready to strike out on your own. Either way, the idea of marketing a brand-new dental practice can be daunting. With no established reputation or patient base, there is no foundation to build on. Where do you start? Where do you go from there?
Yes, you are already quite well educated – as a dentist. However, dental school does not prepare you for entrepreneurship. Clinical skills are no use in accounting, HR (human resources), PR (public relations), computer network administration, marketing, and business management.
In reality, you probably won’t be handling these things personally. The business side of dentistry is a full-time job, or several of them. A large, busy practice will have several employees or contracted companies overseeing various aspects of management and marketing. However, as a business owner, you will be hiring these people and overseeing their work. It is important to learn the basics, and understand every aspect of your business, even the ones you aren’t actively involved in.
Start with a good business plan
What are the demographics in your area? Who is your ideal patient? What services do you want to sell the most? How quickly do you expect to grow? How many similar dentists are already in the area? What differentiates your practice from them?
These are just a few of the basic questions that you will encounter when developing a branding and marketing strategy. The answers should be in your business plan, which is a written document detailing your business description and strategies. If you don’t have a business plan, it is advisable to draft one now. It will be an invaluable reference and “roadmap” as you develop your marketing plan and other aspects of your practice.
Define your brand
Consistency is essential for making your message memorable, as well as for effective SEO (search engine optimization). The following elements should be decided and recorded before you begin marketing.
RELATED ARTICLE: Dental Practice Internet Marketing Strategies, Boost It Up!
Lay the foundation for branding and marketing
You want to establish a basic online presence and brand identity before you open your doors, or shortly thereafter. This includes:
Opening and marketing your practice
The transition from planning to actively marketing happens a few weeks to months before opening. If you start too soon, people will lose interest. However, you need time to create a buzz and generate leads. How can you get people excited about a new dentist in town?
As a dentist, you are focused on the clinical aspect, getting the right equipment, hiring qualified people, and planning your services. Marketing might seem like a vague concept, something you can put off until later. That is the first marketing mistake that many new practice owners make. It’s never too late to start marketing, but the best way to get an edge on the competition is to start planning early.
About the Author:
Naren Arulrajah, President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, has been a leader in medical marketing for over a decade. Ekwa provides comprehensive marketing solutions for busy dentists, with a team of more than 180 full time professionals, providing web design, hosting, content creation, social media, reputation management, SEO, and more. If you’re looking for ways to boost your marketing results, call 855-598-3320 for a free strategy session with Naren.
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My dad would like to start operating a dental clinic; that’s why he’s currently looking for used medical equipment. I agree with you that he must create a business plan first, so it will be easier for him to develop a marketing strategy. We’d also keep in mind to come up with a nice logo, and set up a website where potential clients could read good reviews about the service.
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