Identifying the Right Market for Your Practice and Reaching It

‘Build it and they will come’ is no longer a viable marketing plan.

It used to be that you could just open up shop and clients would come pouring in. But competition has become fiercer in the intervening years and most dental practices have had to figure out the best ways to market themselves effectively.

The first step in any marketing plan is to know your target market. Is your practice heavy on kids but that wasn’t intentional and you’d like to balance it out with other age groups? Do you have a lot of patients who followed you when you moved the office, despite living a fair distance away, and no new patients from the local area?

You need to analyze your current patient list and decide what you would like it to look like. The gap in between is your target market.

The second step is to identify your value propositions. What makes your dental practice different from the one down the street or across town? Why should patients come to you? Perhaps you have a specialist on retainer for oral surgery consultations? Or maybe you specialize in handling kids, including kids with sensory issues or other afflictions like attention deficit disorder? Maybe you’re branching out into more cosmetic dentistry because some patients have been asking for it and you want to promote that in the wealthy neighborhood you happen to be located in? All of these value propositions are important to note because they help you to define your target market even more closely.

Figure out where your target market consumes information

We talked before about the value of word of mouth referrals. While it is a very strong way to get attention and new patients, it’s only one tool in the marketing array that you can leverage.

Recent data shows that social media platforms are growing and not always with the audiences that you might assume.

55 percent of Americans 45 to 54 have a profile on a social networking site.” (source)

Bet you didn’t see that coming!

Here’s another one:

“47 percent say Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior.” (source)

Social media is an outlet for marketing that you just can’t ignore:

56 percent of Americans have a profile on a social networking site.” (source)

There are important rules and caveats to follow when using social media as a part of your marketing plan, some of which we talked about in our post “Is It Okay for the Dentist to Tweet?” This is one of the areas of your marketing plan that you should not hesitate to outsource, if it’s not your thing.

If your practice is more rural, local community newspapers can be a great place to add some value. They’re often looking for content and will be happy to place an informational article next to your ad. This helps to build your brand as expert in the fields you choose to write about. And if they have an online presence, so much the better for getting the content out there, while providing a back link to your own website (an important tool to improve your site’s search engine ranking!)

It’s not only about where you place content but what type of content matters too

Social media platforms are just that: platforms. You also need to consider what kind of content you are putting out there. All content should be mobile enabled, so that a person consuming information on a phone or tablet will be able to read it without difficulty. And while the over 55 group does read a lot online, millennials show a preference for consuming their information via video. Kick Facebook Live videos are, for example, a great way to get your message to those individuals.

In terms of topics, the sky’s the limit. You could do short hacks as videos and visuals for parents to get their kids’ teeth brushed and flossed: just short, quick bites of information, which of course include your brand / logo. Or what about some funny pieces on healthy alternatives for Halloween that won’t get your house covered in rotten eggs? If your ‘readers’ get to know you a little, they’ll see you as more than a dentist, an office or a brand. They’ll see you and your staff as people. That relationship is key to turning them into patients.

Old school marketing materials still have their place

Brochures and one sheet informational sheets still have a place in your marketing arsenal. The key is to make them customized. If someone pops in to the office to inquire about services for their children, they should be handed a brochure that specifically addresses these, rather than a generic brochure with a picture of an elderly couple on the front.

Bottom line: you can’t reach your market if you don’t know who they are. Once you know who they are, you need to know where they consume their information. Armed with that information, you’ll be off to the races.

Don’t get stuck stagnating in your practice. There are ways to change and grow, keeping it interesting for you and lucrative too.

Contact the experts at Dental Management Advisors and we’ll help you get back to doing more of what you love.

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