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.

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

When to use radio for dental practices

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.

Think Inside The Box First

We often talk of “thinking outside the box“, which is now a bit 90’s isn’t it?

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 internal marketing.

At Smile we regularly encounter these situations, they all amount to under valuing the potential of your patient list:

  • 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 less than finding new patients.

For a FREE practice marketing Health Check call 0845 287 3051 or email info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk. 

Make Back to School Work

For Your Practice

It’s that time of year again, parents are booking haircuts and buying new shoes for their children, it’s time to remind them about their kids most visible feature – their smile!

It’s another great time of year to kick start a good oral health routine, so remind everyone that it’s in their best interest to ensure their children attend regular appointments and brush twice a day for two minutes – saving them from more expensive dental work in the future.

Do you offer family appointments? Or patient plans with family discounts?

Why not introduce them to your patient list and to the community in your area?

As the time of greatest change in the mouth, the school years are key to long term oral health.

Make sure your local area is reminded of this by by placing an article in your local paper, and include within your web and social media messaging for example.

If you’d like help with growing your practice then call us on 0845 287 3051 for a Free Marketing Health Check.  We’ll talk through what you’d like to achieve and how to get there. Then we’ll create a unique proposal especially for you.

Offline Media Drives Online Traffic

We’re all used to hearing about the world moving into the digital age, but there’s a strong tendency to assume that means we should all be moving away from offline media.

Whilst Facebook marketing, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube have all become very important as part of your media mix and have a strong role to play in driving visitors to your website, offline media such as direct mail, posters, flyers, door drops and postcards can all work brilliantly in driving potential patients to your practice website.

But remember, if it’s direct mail for example, the copy is king. Great dental copywriting is vital to achieve the results you desire such as a low cost per acquisition if you are looking for more patients or maximising your recall if patients are waiting a bit longer before returning for their next check-up.

As with all media, from Pay Per Click (Google Adwords) and E-Newsletters to bus shelter posters and advertising boards on ferries, an enticing message and a strong call to action (your website address, phone number, Facebook link, email address, etc) make all the difference and can do wonders for the visits to your website.

If you need help with your offline marketing or website get in touch, as here at Smile Marketing we’re experts in all things marketing, exclusively for dentists.

Marketing for Next Year's Patients

Start your marketing when you have plenty of patients.

This may seem backwards but you have to remember, you are not marketing for today’s patients, or even tomorrows, but for your long term patient numbers. When you have enough patients you’ll have the money to invest in a marketing campaign as well as enough time for the campaign to take effect before you need the patients to start booking themselves in.

Don’t leave your marketing until you are lacking patients.

By then you may not have the budget to produce a high quality campaign and by the time the effect can be noticed in your patient list it may be too late. Save yourself the worry of letting your patient list deteriorate. Keep your practice healthy by getting a Free Smile Marketing health check today, reinvest your practice profits in your marketing to ensure a profitable practice future.

Get in touch on 0845 287 3051 or info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk.

Kick Start Your Outdoor Media

Marketing in the “digital age” isn’t just about email, texts and social media. A recent campaign for a dental practice promoting implants achieved a three fold ROI (return on investment) within one week of  a six-sheet bus shelter poster campaign.

You are of course building awareness, but the real acid test is the response – in this instance, high value cases. The keys to success are:

  • Position: sites where heavy traffic is always slow moving
  • Creative: simple designs that stand-out
  • BIG call-to-action: telephone number and web address – Call us now!

Of course, mentioning when the posters are going up in a Tweet or Facebook post won’t do any harm!

Call Smile Marketing on 0845 287 3051 or email us and we’ll help you achieve your goals.

Are marketing budgets now out of date?

Private dental practices, like many types of business, have traditionally set a marketing budget for say 12 months, if they have money reserved for patient recruitment and internal marketing at all.  But putting a sum aside for marketing is really coming at it from the wrong starting point. The starting point is looking at the notion of buying patients.

The key question is: “how much am I prepared to pay for a new patient?”. If it’s a dental implant case worth say £2k, are you prepared to pay £100 for that patient, or £200 or £250?  For general patients, who start with a £50 or £75 consultation and then go on to become a regular over 3 – 5 years, what are those patients worth to you and how much are you prepared to invest in each one?

The point of this is that once you have worked out those numbers, it’s easier to determine the best strategies for finding those patients, the media to use and the return on investment to plan for. And as new patients or referrals come into your practice, you can decide whether to increase or decrease the numbers of patients you are buying.

With this change in mindset, there’s a much clearer focus on what you are looking to achieve from any marketing investment and really helps practices to avoid making costly mistakes.

If this approach appeals to you, contact us for an initial chat about finding more patients for your practice.