If you’re ready to open your first private dental practice, you will be faced with the task of marketing your office to potential patients. Where do you start? How can you be certain that the money you invest in marketing will yield new patients? First, you need realistic goals.
Based on your expenses, target market, office and staff size, location, and market saturation, what is a reasonable number of new patients per month? An established, one-dentist office that has a great reputation can bring in 15-30 new patients a month on average, though some bring in upwards of 60 in peak months. Multi-doctor practices should bring in more, of course. The hurdle is, new dentists have to start from scratch. Creating a name for your business online and in your community takes time.
You need to give yourself (and your budget) 6-12 months to work up to a steady influx of patients. Just as your name has to earn a reputation in your community, your website domain has to earn credit with Google, and this takes time. To supplement, you might consider additional signage, direct mail, partnering with neighboring businesses, and hosting or attending events. In my opinion, you do not need to draw in new patients with discount offers. Most dentists find that a great percentage of people who take advantages of discounts are not loyal. The popular coupon-based marketing companies usually require a 50% discount on services, and then their fee is about 50%. Small businesses end up losing money, and for dentists, the model isn’t profitable, even long-term.
Best Strategies for Dental Marketing
The Internet is where marketing lives today. If you neglect online marketing, you will impede the success of your new dental practice. Start with a strategically designed, responsive website. The site should have a solid SEO strategy, based on keyword and demographic research, and include a blog with a minimum of three original posts per week. Your site must function properly on mobile devices (all phones and tablets) and across all browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.). You need an email contact option on your dental website, and you or a member of your team needs to check the email all day, every day, during business hours. Follow up emails or calls should be conducted within a few hours, especially for a new dental office.
In addition, your website should be connected to Google Analytics, Bing Analytics, and Google Webmaster Tools. These resources significantly help in planning and measuring an SEO strategy. The content (text) on your website must be original, meaning it cannot be found elsewhere online. All photos need alt-image tags, and meta data is essential, as well. You’ll need business pages set up on Facebook, Google+, Google+ Local, and Yelp. Don’t forget that an SEO strategy requires diligence. Each month, or every few months, you’ll need to examine your website traffic and keyword rankings, then tweak your strategy to make improvements.
I could go on for days about best online marketing practices, but these recommendations are a good, solid start. You should also become involved in your Chamber of Commerce and local schools. Meet your neighbors, kiss babies, and always, always, always hand out your business cards. Dental specialists must prioritize meeting and building relationships with local general dentists, because referrals are important.
Get Professional Help
At MDPM Consulting, we’ve helped many dentists become successful in brand new, as well as assumed, offices. For your success, give us a call today. We’ll analyze your online presence or discuss your goals, then place you on the road to success. MDPM Consulting offers completely custom websites for dentists and physicians. We build on a WordPress CMS, have a team of competent SEO writers, and can set you up with all the tools your dental practice needs to succeed online. Our website designers and developers stay on top of the latest trends, so we build responsive, user-friendly sites that yield new patients. Call us today at 972-781-8861, or email us here.