Marketing is everything a business does to communicate value. It is not your advertising, neither is it your logo or your direct-mail campaign or your pricey advertorial in your local city magazine, your website or your Facebook page.
Marketing is the underlying approach that informs all of these items as well as everything you do to communicate the value of your services.
Ignoring your audience.
So we know that marketing is everything you do to communicate value. And we have an idea of what message you want to communicate. But does that message connect with your market?
You probably conducted a full demographic survey before you opened your practice, but have you continued to study your audience?
Communities change over the years. Less affluent areas gentrify. Middle class areas fall on hard times. Children grow up and have families of their own. Empty nesters move to warmer climes and new families move in. All of these demographic changes affect the way you communicate. Ignoring these ways is a sure way to lose your patients.
An out of date website-or no website.
One of the primary ways consumers research businesses is through the web. When it comes to dentistry, only personal recommendations beat web research for choosing a practice. And even personal recommendations have gone online thanks to Facebook, Twitter, HealthGrades, Angie’s List, Yelp and myriad other review and referral services.
Today’s consumers are Internet savvy and they expect a professional practice to have an up-to-date, helpful website that not only provides a vivid glimpse into the experience of being a patient of your practice, but also adheres to contemporary web standards in terms of functionality and look and feel.
What about existing patients? Is your website optimized to make scheduling and communication simple? Is this functionality mobile-optimized to benefit the increasing number of patients who access the web from their mobile devices? Beyond your website, do you use electronic communications such as e-mail and text messages to keep your patients connected?
Ignoring the power of social media.
When it comes to social media, most dentists fall into one of two camps. Some dismiss it as frivolous, and at best, throw up a poorly conceived and managed Facebook page. Others believe social media will be a magic bullet that will bring patients running to their doors.
The key to successful social media is engagement. If you’re on Facebook, then you need to do more than just use it to advertise your whitening specials. You need to engage.
Failing to measure the results of your marketing.
Since many dentists treat marketing as an afterthought, they also tend to ignore the data they need to properly evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing components and the return on their investments in terms of time and money.