Posts Tagged ‘new patients’

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.

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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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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 info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk.

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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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The Best Free Marketing Tool

A great way to create trust in your brand is by asking patients for testimonials.

It costs nothing and can sway potential patients to visit the practice when they see other people like them have had a good experience in the chair.

You could email your patient list, ask patients when you see them for their appointment or have testimonial cards on your reception desk and encourage patients to share their thoughts.

Here’s some examples of our recent testimonials:

Great service….we launched our practice and August 2014, Steve and the team looked after our marketing needs from flyers through to referral packs.  They were efficient, competitive and the end result was of a very good quality.

Parmajit Kaur Athwal | Wightwick Dental Practice

I have worked with Smile Marketing for over 5 years as regards marketing all 6 of my practices and the results have been that each of my practices’ turnover has increased by over 10% each year. It’s nice to work with a marketing team that has a thorough understanding of dentistry. 

Dr Mitesh Badiani | Devon Dental Centre of Excellence
Dental Awards Winner | Dentist of the Year

Not sure how to best to approach patients for testimonials or not sure what to do once you have them? Get in touch for a no obligation consultation.

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National Smile Month 2015

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May 18 – June 18

It’s your time to shine! Promote your practice locally to attract new patients & encourage preventative oral healthcare.

National Smile Month promotes 3 key messages, so make sure your promotions are in line with these:

  1. Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least 1 other occasion with fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
  3. Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend

The aim is to ultimately improve the UK’s oral health.

Dentists across the country will be trying to educate, motivate and communicate positive oral health messages in a targeted campaign to improve smiles around the country.

You could run a Direct Mail campaign to lapsed patients, or a new patient examination discount. You could start an e-Newsletter to your patient list to remind them of key dental facts, your latest cosmetic treatments and any practice news.

Organised by the British Dental Health Foundation, the campaign hopes to raise awareness of important health issues.

National Smile Month will see hundreds of events and activities up and down the UK engage local communities about the importance of a healthy mouth, and hopes to make a positive difference to the oral health of millions of people.

The campaign, which takes place May 18 – June 18, encourages all dental and health professionals, schools, pharmacies, community groups, colleges and workplaces – in fact anyone with an  interest in good oral healthcare, to join in.

For advice on how to best use this PR opportunity and help your community, contact us.

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How To: Manage a Practice Blog

A blog is a ‘web log’ – effectively an online diary about your business. There are some very good reasons for your practice to have a blog:

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  • It’s a great way to keep your patients up to date on details of your practice that are too long to tweet
  • It helps your websites SEO as you’ll be updating your website every time you write a blog
  • You can write detailed articles on hygiene, how to floss or anything that you feel would benefit patients
  • To keep your patients up to date with the practice, staff and new treatments

If you are going to create a blog for your practice you need to do the following:

Host the blog on your own domain. (For example – www.YourBusiness.com/blog). Whoever set up your website can easily add a blog for you to use. Alternatively you can open a WordPress blog and have a link in your site navigation that directs people there.

Thinking of something interesting to say each time you blog is the tricky bit. You need to be able to write good content that will be interesting for your patients. They won’t read a long sales pitch.

Keep it up! Posting on a blog once is pointless, you may as well have just created a webpage for that post. You can write about anything related to dentistry, your practice or your local area, for example:

  • Jenny our dental nurse is going on maternity leave and will be replaced by Kim
  • Did you know? (you should brush for 2 mins, you need a pea size amount of toothpaste)
  • A coffee morning for charity will take place on 26th May at 10am – there will be cake!
  • How to floss like a pro
  • Our new implantologist

If you like the idea of a blog but need more direction and assistance in the set up and management then get in touch.

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How To: Write Practice Press Releases

It’s a great idea to get local PR for your practice as it reminds your potential patients that you are an established and respected dental practice in the community. It also supports your brand and communicates how you help people to improve their confidence and improve their smile. For your current patient list, great PR confirms in their mind that they have chosen a quality practice.

Firstly you need to think about how to get the press excited, you need news that the editor thinks will benefit readers.

New treatments or a new clinician at your practice may be news to you, but not to a reporter who has hundreds of releases about new products and services to read.

Imagine an Orthodontic practice has just added lingual braces to their treatment offering and as part of the launch has decided to offer patients a free initial consultation. Here’s what not to do:

Orthodontic Practice Launches Invisible Braces

(Name) practice, based in (place) is now offering invisible braces. As part of the launch, the practice is offering a free initial consultation……”

You’re more likely to get a story printed and generate interest by changing your headline and first paragraph to focus on the offer and what’s in it for readers.

Orthodontic Practice Introduces FREE Consultation for Invisible Braces

For adults who’d prefer a discrete brace option, (named) practice, based in (place) is now offering the latest in invisible braces. As part of the launch, the practice is offering a free initial consultation……

Before you start writing the release, choose the best angle from the patient’s point of view. If you will be sending your release to various media (local newspapers, dental press, local radio and local blogs) you may have to use different angles for the different media.

For help with a PR strategy or news article writing, contact us.

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Marketing with Payment by Results

The most forward thinking marketing companies are now looking at different ways of structuring their pricing, and many are introducing payment by results for a proportion of their fees.

When you think about this, it makes sense. An experienced, skilled marketing agency will be confident in their ability to achieve results – it’s about partnership and sharing success.

Having spent many years working with dentists who often have very little experience with marketing, (and why should they?) it’s not surprising that if your clients are employing a marketing agency for the first time, you need to reassure them – not only with your experience, expertise, success stories and client recommendations – but for some having a proportion of your fees based on results, whether enquiries, new consults, practice income or ‘bottom line’.

Measurement and Transparency

Measurement and transparency are of course essential and both parties need to pre-agree the campaign budget, objectives and targets. Ambitious dental practices looking for continuous support to grow their business are more than happy to share management and financial information. That’s a true partnership. The more we know about the dental practice and the way it is set up and run, the better the outcomes will be from our business development and marketing activities.

To find out more about how this approach is being embraced by more and more dental practices and other businesses in the sector, contact us on 0845 287 3051 and ask for Steve Davey.

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To mail or not to mail…

That is the question.

Figures from the Royal Mail* show that more than 92% of direct mail is opened and 48% of adults took action after receiving direct mail last year:

  • 14.2m bought something
  • 10.5m used a voucher or coupon
  • 2.8m tried a new product or service
  • 3m made an enquiry by phone

You are of course looking for patients and referrals, so think about the type of people you are targeting. Are they more likely to respond to a banner advert of a local website, an email or a letter through their door?

Direct mail has an amplifier effect when used in tandem with other advertising channels, so using direct mail can improve your existing practice marketing.

If you’re lost at sea with the amount of options available then get in touch, not only can we help you to decide the best media to put your money behind, we can also help you to implement the most cost effective marketing tactics.

Sometimes all you need is some guidance in the right direction.
Why not send us a message?
Or call us on 0845 287 3051.

*http://www.royalmail.com/node/19353839

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When to use radio for dental practices

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We get asked this a lot. Well, for many practices, it’s a sound business opportunity!

Typically, and in our experience, radio works best for:

  • Practice launches – reaching as many people as quickly as possible to build a patient base
  • Promoting a unique service in your catchment e.g. cosmetic treatments not offered by competitors
  • Communicating convenience e.g. children’s braces without NHS waiting list
  • Promoting an event e.g. practice open day (often at launch)
  • Seasonal offers e.g. teeth whitening for summer and the “wedding season”

Regional radio stations with a good % of local people listening can work really well. You just need a creative advert with a strong message and clear call to action (your phone number, web address or text number)

Ah, my “ideal patient” I hear you say. Everyone should have a profile of who they really want in their practice but that’s a subject for another day.

There are best practices in buying radio advertising or sponsorship and it’s always best to consult a professional marketing company for assistance.

Next time, we’ll dispel the myths of radio advertising, for example it doesn’t have to be expensive – in fact it can be extremely cost effective if you look at the cost per thousand of reaching your ideal patients.

For an initial no-obligation phone consultation with us to discuss your practice future, call 0845 287 3051 or email steve@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk.

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