How To: Create a Practice Event

At the moment we’re helping several clients to create and promote open days. This is a great way of showcasing new treatments as well as building relationships and rapport with patients.

To help you create an event for your practice here’s a list of the things you’ll need to think about:

tick list

Your Event Checklist

  • Select a main theme
  • Decide on a special discount for selected treatment
  • Prize draw to win e.g. free tooth whitening
  • Post updates on Facebook & Twitter
  • Create momentum prior to the event
  • Press release sent out to local media
  • Book photographer / ask a team member
  • Print leaflets for local businesses
  • Promotional merchandise ordered
  • Print posters for your windows
  • Patient e-newsletter / newsletter update
  • Motivate staff and assign roles
Need help with your events?

To celebrate our sixth anniversary we’re offering six FREE half hour slots for consultations at Dental Showcase in Birmingham, so book soon to avoid disappointment!

Book an appointment with our lead consultant Steve Davey at Dental Showcase on 23rd & 24th October. Get in touch via email or call us on 0845  287 3051.

How To: Create Affiliate Links Locally

This is possibly the best marketing tip for any business on a tight budget; and it is a great way to encourage patient referrals from local businesses to your dental practice.

What are affiliates?

Individuals or companies who promote your treatments on their website, in their premises or via their newsletter in exchange for discounts on treatments for their customers or referrals from you.

Having a team of affiliates marketing your practice to potential patients is invaluable as the recommendation comes from a person or company that they already know and trust.

There’s no limit to the number of local businesses that you can have promoting your practice.

Interracial business group meeting

We recommend the following local businesses for dental affiliates:

  • Hair salons
  • Florists
  • Gyms
  • Vets
  • Spas
  • Hotels with gym/spa facilities

What do I do?

A cheap and effective way to work with local businesses is to produce a joint venture flyer branded to your practice.

For each affiliate you amend the flyer template to feature their logo (as well as yours), a tagline aimed at their customers and an offer ‘exclusively’ for their customers to use at your practice.

For guidance on practice affiliates simply get in touch via email or call us on 0845  287 3051.

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Marketing. Making it happen!

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.

Marketing business sales

To make it happen, you first need a plan, a roadmap if you like. In the same way you don’t get in your car without knowing where you are going and how you are going to get there, it’s the same for building a business.

A business plan supported by a marketing plan that helps you achieve your business objectives is the way to reach your destination, whether measured in income, profit, cases, professional standing or exit, if you have an exit plan (which is a different subject in itself).

For a marketing plan from the people in the know, it’s important to work with people who know your challenges, your industry and the roadblocks potentially in your way.

Of course, it’s not only about having a great plan.

That plan has to be implemented.

After listening to our clients and talking to many successful principals and entrepreneurs in the dental industry, Smile Marketing has launched a new service called Team Smile.

It’s an opportunity for dental practices to access a marketing department dedicated to them, a blend of skills and experience that ‘dovetails’ neatly with their marketing objectives, team resources and budget.

For more info on Team Smile or a road map to growth, contact Steve on 0845 287 3051 or

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How To: Win Back Dormant Patients

Keeping in touch with your patients, whether current or lapsed, is one of the best ways to keep your patient lists full and appointments booked.

Sure, breakthrough thinking and new ideas are the lifeblood of really successful businesses – and dental practices are no exception. I talk to numerous practice owners and business owners from several industries, however, and they are often so busy looking for new out of the box ideas that they miss the clear opportunities staring them in the face – the “in the box” profit opportunities.

A great example of this is attempting innovative ways to bring in new patients when you have an under-tapped patient list. In other words; putting too much emphasis on new patient acquisition and not enough emphasis on patient recall.

At Smile we regularly encounter these issues that represent wasted opportunities:

  • Not enough communication with patients
  • A recall process that isn’t robust and doesn’t include all patients
  • Giving up too soon on patients coming back for treatment
  • Poor recall letters and emails – I see many that are ‘cold’, matter of fact and unfriendly
  • No newsletter to ‘up-sell’ your treatments – many of your patients simply do not know everything that you offer
  • Little or no ‘ownership’ of recall within the practice
  • No segmentation of your patients – they are not all the same!
  • A practice website that lacks key patient information (treatment, team, prices)
  • Patient plans and membership schemes that are not well promoted

These are all “in the box” issues that can be addressed and are guaranteed to help build income and patient retention.

And here’s the thing. Generating income from your own patient list almost always costs much less than finding new patients.

For a FREE practice marketing Health Check call 0845 287 3051 or

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Your Cost Effective Dental HR Solution

Every now and again we like to introduce other recommended services to the dental community.

Right Hand HR is a leading provider of flexible and practical people management solutions for practices of all sizes. They are the right choice for your practice if you want:

  • Reduced Costs
  • Increased Productivity
  • Legal Compliance / Peace of Mind
  • A People Management ‘One Stop Shop’
  • Dedicated Points of Contact

Whether you want a monthly-retained outsourced HR services such as Easy HR, Essentials or even a bespoke HR and Recruitment Solution, then RHHR can help.


Right Hand HR bring people and systems together to make sure that you get exactly what you want. They start by asking what your desired outcome is for your practice, so that they can get to know you and put forward the right solution for your needs.

Committed to giving an excellent, responsive service, you will always be given a named qualified HR Consultant.

If you think this approach is for you take our Health Check Survey or for a free, no-obligation consultation call 01494 451861 to discuss your practice needs.

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Educating Your Patients

Make sure you keep your patients informed about oral health. The BDHF released some interesting facts about oral health in Britain to make people more aware of their oral health.

  1. 74% of all British adults have had a tooth removed

    That works out to more than 60 million adults who have lost a tooth, this can be changed with regular visits to the dentist.

  2. 27% only visit their dentist when they have a problem

    More than half of us have admitted that we wished we had care for our teeth better and prevention is almost always better than cure.

  3. 50% of Brits are unhappy with their smile

    A BDHF survey found discoloured/crooked teeth are the biggest reason we are unhappy with their smile, 1/3 said a good smile is the most important attribute in attractiveness.

  4. 10% would cut oral care items from their shopping to save money

    Keeping your smile maintained is relatively cheap with a tube of fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush, compared to ongoing dental costs and painful treatments later in life.

  5. 1/3 of children are starting school with visible signs of tooth decay

    If something is not done this figure will continue to grow.

  6. Healthy’ alternatives are not always what they claim to be

    These can be as damaging to teeth as sugary soft drinks. Some fruit juices, while 1 of your 5 a day, can contain more sugar than the same amount of fizzy drink.

  7. Brits do not have the worst teeth globally

    Research shows 92% of American adults show signs of tooth decay – 28% in England.

  8. 2/3 believe their teeth affect their prospects at work 

    Many people feel employers will overlook them for promotion if they have poor oral health.

  9. 14% of people are frightened to visit the dentist

    Trips to the dentist ranked top in a poll on what make people nervous, this was more popular than heights and nearly 10 times as many compared to the doctor.

  10. UK tooth whitening market is worth an estimated £40 million

    This industry has soared in recent years as more people desire the ‘perfect smile’.

  11. Only qualified professionals can legally whiten teeth 

    It is illegal for anyone other than a dental professional to perform tooth whitening.

  12. Women smile more than men

    In general women actually smile more than men with studies showing this starts from when they are babies.

Smile leaflets web montage

Why not post this blog to your practice Facebook page or website? If you’d prefer a print version we can design and write patient-friendly copy for oral health educational literature, call us on 0845 287 3051 or email for more information.

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Blog Lesson 1: Show Your Knowledge

Your dental website cannot contain all of the details about everything you know without losing its overall effectiveness as a key communication to patients and prospective patients.

newspaper_bw_1302514860243One of the best things about a blog is that the small, focused nature of each article allows you to expand on one specific aspect of dentistry and go into detail about it.

Most blog set-ups will allow you to categorise each one so that people can find the articles on a specific topic easily.

Blogs are the ideal platform to show not just how much you know about dentistry in general, but how in-depth your knowledge is about the areas of dentistry that interest you most.

Having a store of good quality dental blogs can answer questions that your patients have and follow up from specific conversations either with them or staff at the practice.

Sharing your dental knowledge on your blog will help to ensure that patients feel they have a truly skilled and experienced dentist.

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SEO for your Practice Website

Google’s Algorithm Updates Explained

panda clip artPanda, introduced Feb 2011, hits weak and duplicate content and stops them from appearing in Googles top search results. This increased the ranking of news and social networking sites as they are content heavy and regularly updated.

Panda is occasionally updated – in one instance to help small business websites do better within the Google search.


Penguin, introduced April 2012, hitting unnatural links that don’t follow Google’s quality guidelines. Whilst Panda is getting softer over time on it’s work against poor content, Penguin is getting stricter. This shows that Google is gradually lowering its tolerance of webspam. Black hat SEO tactics have been targeted e.g.:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Link schemes
  • Cloaking, “sneaky” redirects or “doorway” pages
  • Purposeful duplicate content


Hummingbird, introduced August 2013, is about Google being able to catch users’ actual search intent and find the content that matches this intent the best. Using semantic search it works out the context of the search query, not just the individual terms.

Hummingbird is more than an update, it’s a new algorithm to ensure that Google understands your entire sentence, not just the words you used.

pidgeon060806_600x489Pigeon, introduced July 2014, aims to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results by connecting web search and map search in a more cohesive way.

While it hits local businesses, Pigeon is also a unique animal because it allows Google to adapt to our behaviors and uses location and distance as key part of search strategy.

For more information about SEO tactics and creating great
web content get in touch via email or phone us on 0845 287 3051.

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Are dentists doing enough marketing?

The answer is, many or even most, are not.

With businesses that are classed as SMEs (small & medium-sized enterprises with up to 250 employees), research shows that investment in marketing is often too low and that this hinders growth. Private and ‘mixed’ practices without NHS contracts fit into this category.

Here are some facts about SMEs:

SMEs report that they could raise sales by an average of 15% if they maximise the impact of their marketing effort

The average SME only achieves 39% of their planned marketing activity 

11% do NONE of their planned marketing

1/3 rate their marketing efforts at under 5 out of 10 yet 77% recognise it is important to the success of their business

Reasons for not doing enough marketing: 36% say there isn’t enough money, 21% there isn’t enough time

The average SME spends £23,810 a year on marketing

Every £1 spent on advertising benefits an SME 8 times as much as it would a larger firm

Of course, it’s not solely about making a larger investment to help build a dental business. It’s about spending it wisely through careful marketing planning and avoiding costly mistakes.

For a no-obligation chat about your objectives contact us on 0845 287 3051 for a free initial consultation.

Sources: Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) Advertising Association

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How To: Manage a Door Drop Campaign

A great tool for any local business, door drops can get you in touch with your local community.

1. Who do you want to target? What is your ideal patient type?

We use patient mapping to assess where your current patients live, showing any gaps in your local area to target. Then we run socio-demographic profiles on the local area and target all the areas that fit with your ideal patient.

Marlow Door-drop-spread

2. What will you send?

It’s always a good idea to have an offer as this attracts more patients quickly and improves your ROI (more on that later!). A succinct offer and a strong call to action – your phone number and website – are key to a successful door drop. Keep the design ‘on brand’ and use a suitable image for the offer you’re providing and the audience you’re targeting.

3. Get it printed with a quality and finish that reflect your practice.

Although it’s tempting to go for the cheapest print option to save on costs, you need to think about the kind of patient you’re trying to attract. If you’re looking for high value patients e.g. implant or orthodontic cases you will need to get a quality paper and luxury finish. In fact for all patients it’s still worth investing a little more on your print as it will improve your response and the quality reflects on your practice.

4. What is your Return On Investment (ROI)?

This is where a good promotion or offer comes in, with a simple code to quote when booking or inquiring you can easily keep track of which patients and calls are from the door drop. It’s important to keep track of the journey of these patients, as you’ll need to know how much money they have spent with you to work out the return you saw from the initial door drop investment.


Remember to keep this information safe for next time you’d like to campaign for new patients, you can create a more successful campaign every time by improving on what worked last time.

If you’d like a successful door drop campaign but don’t have the time to implement it yourself, call us on 0845 287 3051 or email us.

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